Guests: Joseph Bruno, Matt Behl, Steve Huff, Catherine Crier, Ben Ganje, Ruben Trapenberg, Joseph Harris, David Gest, Franki Phelps, Duane “Dog” Chapman, Sandy Chasm, Dan King
RITA COSBY, HOST: Tonight, shocking video of a brutal police arrest. As if things weren‘t bad enough for the New Orleans Police Department, now this, a man seen pounding the—the cops are seen pounding a resident, and it is all caught on tape. And we‘ve learned some frightening new information about the man at the center of the investigation of a college student found dead in rural Virginia. Wait until you hear how many sick names this guy used on the Web.
And has the case gone cold for a man accused of killing a 13-year-old girl? Not if bounty hunter Duane “Dog” Chapman can help it. He‘s got a new lead, and he‘s here to tell us all about it.
But first, we start with that shocking police beating in New Orleans, and all of it is caught on tape. NBC‘s Jennifer London is live in New Orleans with the very latest on the investigation. Jennifer, the cops are back on the hot seat tonight, right?
JENNIFER LONDON, NBC CORRESPONDENT: Well, good evening, Rita. The New Orleans Police Department is certainly coming under fire, this after an alleged police beating was caught on tape. The incident occurred on Saturday night at the corner of Conte (ph) and Bourbon Street. An AP camera was rolling as police attempted to arrest 64-year-old Robert Davis for alleged public intoxication.
But even after Davis was restrained and on the ground, he received repeated punches to his face and his head. He was taken to a nearby hospital and treated for head lacerations and was later released. An AP producer who was also there that night got roughed up a little bit by another officer, who grabbed the producer and shoved him against a parked car.
And while the police department has certainly been working under some very tense and stressful times—a number of the officers have been working around the clock, other officers lost their home in Hurricane Katrina—the department says that is no excuse for the alleged use of force that we see in the videotape.
This morning, the three officers did appear in court for an arraignment. They have been suspended without pay, and they have been charged with battery. The three officers have been ordered to return to court on January 11. And the three officers this morning entered a not guilty plea.
And in other news, two other police officers have been charged and arrested with looting. These were officers who came to New Orleans to help out after Hurricane Katrina. And according to the attorney general, these two officers are charged with stealing a box of Ray Ban sunglasses, two suede leather coats and 23 T-shirts, totaling $1,200. Rita, these looting arrests are the first involving law enforcement.
COSBY: Jennifer, thank you very much.
And now we want to show another dramatic picture from the beating, but we want to warn you it is graphic, so beware. This photo shows the immediate aftermath of the beating, showing 64-year-old Robert Davis lying in a pool of his own blood. New Orleans police officials insist this incident does not reflect the majority of the cops on the force.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LT. DAVID BENELLI, POLICE ASSOC. OF New Orleans: You see one angle of one small instance of a larger situation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSBY: And joining us now live in an exclusive interview is attorney Joseph Bruno, who represents the man who was beaten, Robert Davis.
Mr. Bruno, first of all, what kind of condition is Mr. Davis in now?
How‘s he doing?
JOSEPH BRUNO, ATTORNEY FOR ROBERT DAVIS: Well, he‘s doing pretty well. He‘s obviously very shaken. He‘s upset. He‘s got fractures in his cheekbone, around the orbit of his eye. His eye‘s full of blood. Right now, he‘s resting. He‘s had a long day of interviews with any number of media personnel. He‘s a great guy, a sweet human being. And I think he‘s going to come through this as well as can be expected.
COSBY: Now, one of the things they‘re looking at is public intoxication. He is a prior addict. Was he drinking or was he not drinking that night?
BRUNO: No. I have to tell you, you know, I‘ve been knowing this man for a long, long time, and I was absolutely amazed by his admission on television during an interview to support his statement that he wasn‘t drinking at all, that he is a reformed drug abuser and has been involved in rehabilitation for years and years and years. The man had absolutely nothing to drink.
COSBY: So why do you think he was targeted that night? The cops are saying that he resisted arrest.
BRUNO: Well, I don‘t—you know, “targeting”—tough word. His story—he was having dinner at the Doubletree Hotel, went down to Bourbon Street to get some cigarettes. You may or may not know that Bourbon Street‘s about the only street with open stores. The place is dead around here. Approached a policeman on horseback, asked the policeman about the curfew. He was very worried about being back in his hotel before the curfew ended.
While he was speaking to that police officer on horseback, another police officer came up to the two of them, and in Robert‘s words, inappropriately interrupted their conversation. Robert turned to him and said, I think you‘re acting very unprofessionally. They finished their conversation. He walked away. And as he was walking away, he was struck from behind and attacked.
COSBY: So does he—was he resisting arrest, or was he not resisting arrest at all?
BRUNO: Well, first of all, in order to resist arrest, you have to be placed under arrest. The first thing that has to happen is the police...
COSBY: And I guess my question to you is, was he fighting with the cops at all?
BRUNO: Well, I would say after he was attacked from behind, he was doing what he could to protect himself. I mean, he didn‘t know who was coming after him. He reacted in a way that any other human being would act who was being attacked from behind.
COSBY: Does he believe that enough is being done to these cops because, I mean, the officers are definitely outraged. Let me show a statement, in fact, from the police department. And you know, I do applaud the police department. So far, they have come out publicly and said that they‘re very frustrated. They say, “What concerns me was the degree of force used by the officers to get this man to submit to a lawful arrest. The few officers who failed to uphold the department‘s mission will be dealt with severely and decisively.”
Are you confident that these men are being held accountable?
BRUNO: I certainly hope so. I must tell you that Robert has come public and has told me to share this with you. First of all, he applauds the work of the New Orleans Police Department over the past week. This police department has—has had experiences like none other, a lot of heroics, a lot of great guys, a lot of great women officers, who have done extraordinary things. He does not hold the entire police department accountable. These are the acts of a couple of rogues, a couple of bad apples. They need to be appropriately dealt with, and we hope and believe that they will be.
COSBY: And he‘s, in fact...
BRUNO: But he does not want...
COSBY: Go ahead.
BRUNO: I‘m sorry? He does not want the public at large, the people of this country, to believe that this is a place or a city to be feared. He knows, as we all do, we‘ve got to rebuild the city. You‘ve got to believe in the police department in order to come here and feel safe. It‘s not the police department, it‘s a couple of rogue guys. They acted inappropriately, and we hope and believe that they will be dealt with accordingly and—as I said.
And as you‘ve just pointed out, it‘s wonderful, finally, to—this early in the game to have the police department say that these guys are under suspension, they‘re going to be investigated. And hopefully, they will be removed from the police force.
COSBY: Now, do you believe race was a factor at all in this case?
BRUNO: My client says, in his mind, that he does not believe that race was a factor in the case, and we don‘t want to—you know, we‘re—we‘ve been through too much in this community. I mean, we‘re beat up. We‘re down. We‘re depressed. We don‘t know what‘s going to happen tomorrow. He wants to send the message to the people, the public at large, he doesn‘t believe it was racial. It was highly inappropriate. It was not right. It was not fair. It shouldn‘t happen to anybody. But he doesn‘t believe race was a factor.
COSBY: Well, that‘s good to hear. And again, I do applaud the police department for stepping up (INAUDIBLE) is horrible. As we look at this video, it is just jaw-dropping to see what is happening to your client.
Thank you very much, Mr. Bruno. We appreciate you being here.
And new information tonight in the tragic case of a college student, Taylor Behl. Suspect Ben Fawley has been charged again, but still not in relation to Taylor‘s death. This time, it‘s for possession of a firearm. Taylor Behl‘s autopsy results have yet to be released. They‘re expected very soon. Meantime, did Taylor Behl leave behind some clues to her death on the Internet?
Joining us now Taylor Behl‘s father, Matt Behl. Matt, first of all, it‘s got to be heartbreaking for you as you‘re waiting for the autopsy, waiting for this information. How tough has this whole ordeal been for you and your family?
MATT BEHL, TAYLOR BEHL‘S FATHER: Very tough, Rita. The support that I receive from my family members and friends has been great. It‘s helped me get through it. And we‘re just hoping that the police force is very thorough in collecting all of their evidence.
COSBY: You bet. Have you gotten any indication when you‘re going to get some answers on the autopsy, which could show cause of death, time of death, things like that?
BEHL: No, it‘s my understanding—and Taylor‘s body is still with the Richmond medical examiner—and it could be possibly a couple of weeks after that that we receive the information, as they‘re doing tox screens, things like that.
COSBY: Now, your daughter was involved with, you know, the suspect, Ben Fawley. He‘s yet to be charged in this case, but clearly, the cops are zeroing in on him. You met him. What‘d you think of him?
BEHL: At the time that I first met Ben, in February, when Taylor was going to look at Madison High School, visiting a friend down there, who Ben Fawley—was Ben Fawley‘s roommate, he was personable towards me. I had no idea because he doesn‘t look 38 years old, but you know, invited Taylor and I into the townhouse to look around, while we waited was talking about the school and everything. So at that time, I had no indication that he was going to be a threat to Taylor.
COSBY: And Matt, stick with us because I want to bring in right now Steve Huff. He is a crime blogger. He‘s also a writer for Court TV‘s Crime Library. He has some new information into Ben Fawley‘s sort of various identities. I want to show that. This is sort of both the physical changes in his appearance and also some of the things on the Web. Let‘s go back to (INAUDIBLE) sort of his different look.
Steve, let‘s show—this is sort of the list. I was amazed. Ben Fawley‘s screen names—he had 15 different screen names.
STEVE HUFF, CRIMELIBRARY.COM WRITER: At least.
COSBY: And if we could put them up—At least. And some of them are kind of creepy.
COSBY: You know, the “dark evil (ph).” If we can continue on—some of the last ones are really, really scary—“RVA,” which I would assume is Richmond, Virginia, “serial killer.” What does this say about this man?
HUFF: You know, there‘s a really funny dichotomy in his personality.
On the one hand, there‘s the guy who‘s the same age as I am, which is
almost—I‘m almost 38 -- who seemed to tell a lot of people that, you
know, he felt abashed at looking so young. And on the other, there is this
there‘s a lot of shifting in Ben Fawley. And the screen names to me—
I don‘t know how he could even keep track of all of them.
COSBY: Yes, and he seemed to keep changing them. (INAUDIBLE) You‘ve been involved in this case from the start.
COSBY: You‘ve been getting e-mails from so many different folks. Who have you been hearing from sort of center (ph) to the case?
HUFF: Center to the case, the ex-girlfriend of Ben Fawley‘s, who helped point police toward the location of Taylor Behl‘s body by identifying photographs that Fawley had made of certain locations of Mathews County, Virginia. Erin Craybill (ph) -- I‘ve had communication with her. I‘ve also had some communication, not a whole lot, with Mike Cino or Chino—I‘m not sure how he pronounces his last name...
COSBY: That‘s one of his friends, yes.
HUFF: Yes, one of his friends who was also a mutual friend of Taylor Behl‘s.
COSBY: And let me show—in fact, I have one of the e-mails. This is from Fawley‘s ex-girlfriend. This is the note that she sent to you. It said, “When he was pursuing me, he dyed his hair blue. My hair was blue at the time, and I just decided that I didn‘t want to keep up with it anymore. He just kept complimenting me on it, so I gave him the rest of the bottle.
By the time he met Taylor‘s dad, the blue had faded to copper-pipe green.”
This seems to be someone who is a—a bit of a chameleon. I want to show another picture. I know Taylor was really into Johnny Depp...
COSBY: And this guy looks like Johnny Depp in some of the pictures. Look at this. Was he just sort of trying to model himself after people that he was interested in?
HUFF: It seems as if, when he was interested in someone, he would target them, and then in his own way, it‘s almost like he would profile them and try to be what they wanted him to be, or what he thought they wanted him to be. I thought it was interesting, Taylor had listed in one of her weblog entries that one of her favorite actors was Johnny Depp. And that was one of the—he didn‘t comment on a whole lot of Taylor‘s weblog entries, but he made a point to comment on that one. And you know, the comment wasn‘t directly related to her saying Johnny Depp was her favorite actor, but I had to think that there was some sort of connection there, you know? But it was not—it was not through Taylor, it was through Ben. He was taking notice of all of these details and conforming himself to what he thought the person he was attracted to might want.
COSBY: And let me bring in Matt Behl. You know, Matt, as you look at the Internet and some of the communications that your daughter was having on the communicate—you know, with Ben Fawley and others on the Internet, how dangerous is the Internet? What would you want to say to parents out there tonight?
BEHL: Well, I would say, Rita, that as a legacy of Taylor‘s death, perhaps some sort of creation of information for parents to be aware of what is exactly out there and what our young kids, 17 years old, maybe even younger in high school now—where are they going on the Internet? And what are they putting out there?
A lot of this information that‘s out there now is like the old days, when young girls used to fill out diaries and put those diaries under the mattresses. The parents, you know, nowadays pretty much, I would say, may not know what their children are putting out there.
COSBY: Absolutely. And they‘re much more vulnerable, and things are unfortunately much more public, too. Both of you, thank you very, very much. And Matt, I hope you get some more information soon in this case. Thank you, both.
BEHL: Thank you, Rita.
COSBY: And up next, everybody, a man accused of killing a 13-year-old girl is on the run. Bounty hunter Duane “Dog” Chapman is coming up here live in the studio, and he has some new leads that could break the case. And that‘s just the beginning of what‘s ahead on tonight‘s big show. Take a look, everybody.
Still ahead: Is Natalee Holloway‘s family finally getting results from the island of Aruba? Tonight, you‘re going to hear what the Aruban government is doing to make sure the Holloways get justice.
And why are two church-going teenagers suspected of killing one of the boy‘s parents? Everyone says they‘re good kids, but wait until you hear the gruesome crime they‘re suspected of committing.
And David Gest. His rocky romance with Liza Minnelli kept the rumor mill going. But has he finally put his troubles with the ex behind him? And what‘s his pal, Michael Jackson, doing these days? I‘ll ask him LIVE AND DIRECT.
COSBY: Well, could there be trouble brewing tonight in the island of paradise, the island of Aruba, when it comes to a possible boycott by American tourists? It‘s a word that keeps coming up, especially after the disappearance of Alabama teen Natalee Holloway and the eventual release of three key suspects. The island‘s prosecutor appears to be trying to prevent any such boycott, saying in a rare statement that was released suddenly late in the day on Friday that the investigation into Natalee‘s disappearance is still very much open.
And for the latest on the case, let‘s go to the author of a number of books, her second big book, this one is called “Contempt: How the Right Is Wronging American Justice.” Court TV anchor and my friend, former judge and prosecutor, Catherine Crier. And also joining us on the phone tonight from Aruba is Ruben Trapenberg. He is a spokesperson for the Aruban government.
Catherine, let me show you this. This is just a quote out of the statement. Here it is, late in the day on Friday, and they put out suddenly this statement. Doesn‘t seem like there‘s any big development in the case. Let me show a quote. They essential say, “The investigation is still ongoing. The team is searching for new leads that may help solve the case. The investigation that has been done until now is being revised and evaluated.”
What do you make of all of this?
CATHERINE CRIER, COURT TV ANCHOR: Well, we all know about Friday afternoons. That‘s when you issue anything when you don‘t want the press to pick it up.
COSBY: That you want to get buried.
CRIER: Absolutely. And secondarily, I‘ve got plenty of leads for them. Let‘s just charge them with rape. We‘ve got their own words to confirm that particular felony.
COSBY: Why do you think they have not charged them with rape?
CRIER: I‘d like to know the answer to that question. I don‘t know.
And I keep saying politics, politics. Please don‘t let it be that.
COSBY: Let me bring in Ruben Trapenberg. Ruben, you can maybe answer
this for us. Why not charge them with rape? You have Deepak Kalpoe
announcing in his own words that they all had sex with her. You also have
on the other hand, you have Joran and his statement that we heard from Beth Holloway, saying that she was going in and out of consciousness. Those two together sound like someone who did something against her will.
RUBEN TRAPENBERG, ARUBAN GOVERNMENT SPOKESMAN: Could be, Rita. I am not the legal expert here, so I‘m not going to go into details of the case. One good place to check is the FBI. They‘ve been here with our local authorities since day one. And the reason that they put out that statement is that because people have been going around, unfortunately, saying that nothing is being done and calling for a boycott and because nothing is being done. And that‘s why the statement was released.
COSBY: But what is being done? Give me some specifics because a lot of people think the statement, as Catherine was just saying, is sort of a gratuitous, Let‘s just throw it out there to try to preempt a boycott.
TRAPENBERG: Again, I‘m—I‘m we‘re not the ones doing the investigation. There is an investigative team, and the right person probably to talk to would be the chief general Dampe (ph). He is the one in charge on the case. Now, what has been done? Remember, way in the beginning, we had F-16s even flying in here on the island. We had teams from the FBI for many, many days on the island. We had teams from Texas, teams from all over the U.S., and local Aruba search teams checking out every rock on this island. And they didn‘t check it once, more than once. So I mean, what else can be done? What else is being done right now can only be answered by the investigative team. I don‘t have those details.
COSBY: Do you have faith, though, in the Aruban government that it‘s doing everything it can do, Mr. Trapenberg?
TRAPENBERG: Absolutely. And Catherine is saying about politics. Politics has nothing do with the legal system here, and that‘s—I don‘t know how it is in the U.S., but here—you know, our judges are not elected. They don‘t have anything to do with it. It‘s a totally separate legal entity. They do what they have to do. And as much as the prime minister tried to get involved to feel that—let them feel that they‘d have the total Aruban support—and I mean the Aruban people and the Aruban government -- but still, the government is not the one doing the investigation.
And you know, when you hear talk about a cover-up, how are you going to cover up something when you have—when you‘re working with the FBI? You know, it‘s uncalled-for.
COSBY: Catherine, do you believe there‘s politics? He said there‘s not.
CRIER: Well, he says there‘s not—they aren‘t elected judges. You‘re right, they‘re not responsible to the people, they‘re responsible to the politicians and the upper echelon and...
COSBY: So in other words, they‘re accountable to the wrong people.
CRIER: Absolutely. And again, you‘ve got words from these guys about
about a felony that was committed, and yet all of them are free to leave the island. We know that Joran has already left the island. As I said before he did, if I was his dad, and not if I was a prosecutor, I‘d not only have him off the island, I‘d have him out of the Netherlands. And what‘s to stop the Kalpoe brothers from doing the same? Because right now, they‘re not under hold.
COSBY: The allegation from Mr. Trapenberg sort of in the U.S., maybe it‘s a different system. In the U.S., do you think they would have been charged with rape or it would have gone in a different direction?
CRIER: At this point in time, you might have gotten a grand jury to charge them with rape, once you had the words out of their own mouths, particularly Deepak, that, in fact, she was—she was—I will say assaulted. That‘s my choice of words (INAUDIBLE) but certainly in and out of consciousness. There‘s no question but you could certainly take this to a grand jury and probably get indictments.
COSBY: How worried should the island of Aruba about be about a boycott? There seems to be this groundswell a little bit. We know that Dave Holloway, I think, is going to be going back next week to Aruba. Dr. Phil‘s been talking about this. You got a popular talk show host. Will this ever come about, or is the threat enough?
CRIER: It could be somewhat effective. I‘d rather see her go to the State Department. I think Beth Twitty ought to be up there knocking on doors in Washington.
COSBY: Do you think she will be?
TRAPENBERG: The prime minister has...
COSBY: Yes, go ahead, real quick, Mr. Trapenberg. Go ahead.
TRAPENBERG: I‘m saying the prime minister has spoken to the State Department. They have had all the support that they need.
COSBY: Do you believe that, Catherine?
CRIER: Well, I hope that‘s the case. And if nothing‘s happening at this point, or if what he‘s saying is going on, it‘s not enough, then they should keep talking to the state department.
COSBY: Well, let‘s see where this case—you know this is far from over. Both of you, thank you. Mr. Trapenberg, I do appreciate your being with us, too. Thank you, Catherine, very much.
And now a Minnesota community is in shock tonight after a disturbing double murder over the weekend. Two teenagers, Matthew Niedere and also Clayton Keister are accused of killing Niedere‘s own parents at their shop in Hastings, Minnesota. Residents there are appalled that something like this could happen in their small, quiet town.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you ever want to meet somebody who‘s godly and likes Jesus Christ, I will show you—I‘d like you to meet Pete and Patty Niedere.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It‘s a sad situation, but it‘s—it‘s being a faith community that‘s binding us together here today.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSBY: And joining us now live is Ben Ganje. He‘s the managing editor of “The Hastings Star-Gazette” newspaper. And on the phone with us is Joseph Harris. He‘s a longtime friend of the Niedere family. He is also a county commissioner there.
Ben, let me start with you. Do we know a motive for this, what could have driven this boy and his friend to do this?
BEN GANJE, “HASTINGS STAR-GAZETTE” EDITOR: You know, police are not saying what any kind of motive might be right now. The only thing they have said—and they haven‘t speculated at all, but they have said that they don‘t believe drugs was an issue or were involved. But beyond—as far as a motive, they don‘t know right now.
COSBY: Did anyone have any clue that these two boys would be capable of doing this, one to his own parents and then pulling another one in?
GANJE: You know, I—you talk about that, and how do you try and judge what‘s in somebody else‘s mind? I don‘t know that anybody saw this coming. I don‘t know if anybody could see this coming. It‘s a horrific act. And what do you do when that happens?
COSBY: Yes, were there any warning signs? Was there any violence in either of their backgrounds?
GANJE: You know, we don‘t know right now. We don‘t know much. I didn‘t know the family personally. And the young man didn‘t attend Hastings High School. He went to a small private Christian school in Roseville (ph). So we don‘t know a lot about him yet. We‘re finding that out as we go.
COSBY: Well, let me bring in Joseph. Stick with us, Ben. I want to bring in Joseph because, you know, you also know the family, know the parents very well. How shocked were you, first of all, to hear this news?
JOSEPH HARRIS, FRIEND OF NIEDERE FAMILY: Oh, both my wife and I were just sick when we heard the news.
COSBY: What kind of parents were they?
HARRIS: They were wonderful people, absolutely wonderful people, did a lot of things within the community, did a lot of things within their church and had, you know, ties to the business community throughout Hastings and known by a lot of people.
COSBY: Was there anything in terms of any, you know, history in the family? Did you ever hear of any friction in the family?
HARRIS: I have never heard anything.
COSBY: Did you ever meet the kids, too? Did you ever meet this young boy, too?
HARRIS: I did not know the young—the individual that is possibly involved.
COSBY: But you never heard of any issues within the family or any problems?
HARRIS: Never. Never.
COSBY: Ben how...
HARRIS: I really—I mean, it‘s just—it‘s shocking, as you said.
COSBY: It is. It is. It is just—it‘s heartbreaking. And Ben, how is the community holding up? Ben Ganje.
GANJE: The community is—you know, I always say that Hastings is a city that wants to be a town. It‘s a city of about 20,000 people. And people live there because they want to know their community. They want to know their neighbors. They want to be involved in the community. They‘re shocked, to say the least, but they‘re going to—they‘re going to pull together and they‘ll help each other out.
COSBY: Absolutely. Well, both of you, please keep us posted on this horrible crime. Thank you.
And still ahead, a manhunt tonight for the suspected killer of a 13-year-old girl. The girl told the cops he was abusing her best friend. Bounty hunter Duane “Dog” Chapman says he‘s going to make sure that this case doesn‘t turn cold. He has spent his life chasing down fugitives.
Plus: Now that his marriage to Liza Minnelli is over, I‘ll ask David Gest if he can forgive her for what he says was a tumultuous relationship. That‘s ahead on LIVE AND DIRECT.
COSBY: New information tonight on the possible whereabouts of Melvin Keeling. He‘s the man police believe killed a 13-year-old and also two store clerks. And he‘s still on the loose.
But there‘s a possibility that he may be in Chicago with a new look. Meantime, we have abstained this exclusive home video that you see here of Katelind Caudill, the teenager believed to be savagely killed by Keeling.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KATELIND CAUDILL, 13-YEAR-OLD MURDERED: Patty cake, patty cake, baker‘s man. Bake me a cake as fast as you can. Roll it, pat it, mash it with a beat...
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSBY: And joining us tonight is Katelind‘s aunt, Franki Phelps.
Along with me right here in the studio, bounty hunter Duane “Dog” Chapman.
Great to see you here.
DUANE “DOG” CHAPMAN, BOUNTY HUNTER: Hi, Rita. Great to see you.
Thank you very much.
COSBY: No, it‘s good to see you here in person. It‘s always nice to have you in.
Franki, first of all, I got to ask you. You know, as you see that video, it‘s got to be heartbreaking and it‘s got to be troubling that this man is still on the loose.
FRANKI PHELPS, KATELIND CAUDILL‘S AUNT: It is troubling. I can‘t see the video, but I know exactly which one. I could hear it. She was playing with my little boy. That was her favorite. And it is troubling. It‘s been—it‘s three weeks today. And we‘re all terrified.
COSBY: It‘s got to be just heartbreaking. And, you know, I understand there may be some new information, Franki. You got some information about a van in Chicago. Tell us about that.
PHELPS: I spoke to Jasper County Police Department earlier. And they had told me that there may be a possible sighting.
They said a man fitting Melvin‘s description, but with a clean-shaven head and fresh-shaven beard and mustache, was in a van, but the plates didn‘t match what the vehicle was. So he told me they are checking into that, still nothing yet. They have like an APB or whatever out looking for it to find out who is driving it.
COSBY: And, Dog, let me bring you in. Could this be Melvin Keeling with a different look and a different vehicle?
CHAPMAN: Fifty-fifty chance, absolutely. At least it‘s a lead. At least it‘s something to give us all some hope.
We have a van—which he likes, OK—which fits his M.O. We have different plates—that means he stole someone else‘s plates to put on the van—and a clean look. If I was the guy, dyed my hair, shave it, shaved the beard, completely look different.
Where he went to the train track, Rita, they say there‘s two places to go, one of them was Chicago. So at least it‘s a hope. It‘s a lead.
You know, honey, Franki, what APB means is “All Points Bulletin.” Now, this is Chicago, Franki, OK? They‘re looking. OK, honey? They‘re looking.
APB, they‘re on the hunt. You know, this is Chicago.
COSBY: What advice would you give to Franki tonight? And understandably she‘s worried sick about this guy, this guy, if indeed he did look, he‘s got a history of killing three people, a poor little girl, two store clerks, this man is a horrible creature. This is a dangerous man.
PHELPS: He‘s a monster.
CHAPMAN: Yes. Franki, you know, I‘ve spoke to her. And what I‘ve told her is, you know, sorry to say this, but keep your door locked and don‘t shoot to wound, you know? Have faith in God. God will protect her.
We‘re all together on this right now, including you—thank you, Rita
to keep this guy‘s face out there. No matter who‘s chasing him, the ultimate goal is to catch him.
But we‘re all in this with you, Franki. We didn‘t lose a loved one, but we‘re here with you. And we‘re going to stick with you, Franki, until we catch this guy.
COSBY: Absolutely. And you are determined. And we are, too.
And, Franki, you definitely have our support. I understand you also have a benefit this weekend. Tell us about that.
PHELPS: Yes. It‘ll be Sunday at Charley‘s Throttle Stop (ph). They‘re having a benefit bike run and registration is 10:30 to 12:00. And the bike run leaves at 12:30.
COSBY: Is that a reward? Is that for a reward, Franki, or what‘s that for?
PHELPS: No, it‘s to help the family, help us pay for her funeral, her headstone, and just other bills. We‘ve lost a lot of work. And to help my mom out. We‘ve got to replace carpet in her house, and we‘ve got to replace doors in her house. So we‘re having—a friend of ours is doing this benefit for us to try to raise money.
COSBY: That‘s just great. And, you know, people do deserve to help.
Whatever they can do to help this poor family.
I mean, Dog, you‘ve taken an interest. You‘ve had a lot of cases in your day. And you‘ve got a show—I want to show, in fact, some clips. But you‘ve taken a real liking to this family. You‘re real caring about them.
CHAPMAN: Absolutely. And, you know, anytime there‘s a crime against women and children, you know, we‘re on it.
And I know that Franki doesn‘t have a lot of money. And I was thinking personally maybe it‘s to up the reward, but what she‘s saying, they got to replace the carpet. It‘s to help bury the little girl.
You know, Franki, I hope a lot of people show up at that to help you.
PHELPS: I do, too.
CHAPMAN: But we‘re on this guy. Honey, we‘re going to catch this guy.
One thing about it: This guy is going to be caught. You know, there‘s new leads developing. That means his picture now is in Chicago. You have millions of viewers. You‘re showing the picture as we talk right now. People are starting to memorize that look.
I‘d like to, you know, see the reward go up more, because...
COSBY: Money talks. Money talks.
CHAPMAN: That‘s right. I mean, 30, 25 from the Feds, and 10 from someone else, that‘s 35. A hundred grand, somebody‘s going to go to that phone and pick up it.
And I say this one thing: If someone is hiding—Melvin has a Christian background, as we saw on “America‘s Most Wanted,” how he played the leper that came back to Jesus, right? Well, that means that who‘s ever hiding him has a Christian background, too.
And as we all know, the Bible says, if you hide someone like that, you‘re committing the same crime. So the guy that‘s hiding him knowing, or the girl, that knows he did this to God is exactly doing the same thing.
COSBY: And you‘re saying turn him in.
CHAPMAN: Turn him in. The reward‘s going to go up. I mean, you‘ll see. The reward will be up by tomorrow morning.
Make some money. Do something right in your life. Imagine us ever stooping so low to do something like that. We cannot. If we hid someone that did that, we‘re doing the same thing. Whether it‘s scripture or morally...
COSBY: And it seems like he‘s getting some help...
CHAPMAN: ... turn Melvin in.
COSBY: ... because he‘s been on the run for a while.
CHAPMAN: He‘s getting some help.
COSBY: Well, Dog, I hope that people are watching tonight.
Franki, our prayers are with you.
And, Dog, you keep up the great work that you‘re doing out there to get all these guys.
CHAPMAN: Yes, ma‘am. Thank you.
COSBY: You continue it everyday, especially for this family.
CHAPMAN: Thank you very much.
COSBY: Thank you.
And, everybody, still ahead, a family‘s nightmare, as a woman leaves her home for a simple errand and never comes back. Now they‘re doing everything they can to find her. Stay tuned for this one.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SANDY CHASM, MISSING WOMAN‘S SISTER: I just basically just keep hope that she is alive. And that little bit of hope‘s what keeps me going, you know, keeps me from breaking down every day. I mean, it just—it keeps me strong.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSBY: Tonight, there is a hefty reward being offered for answers in the mysterious disappearance of a Georgia mother. Sue Ann Ray was last seen August 26th after a visit to the home of her estranged husband. She went there to get an oil change on her car, but her car was found later in a Wal-Mart parking lot. And there was no sign of Sue Ann.
Joining me now live is Sandy Chasm. She is Sue Ann Ray‘s sister. And also with us on the phone tonight is Sergeant Dan King from the Woodstock, Georgia, Police Department.
Sandy, when did you first notice something was wrong with your sister?
CHASM: Well, I knew something was wrong Saturday whenever I hadn‘t talked to her, but it was really unlikely for her not to be at work Monday morning.
COSBY: And why wasn‘t she reported missing for so many days? It seemed a couple of days went by.
CHASM: Yes, well, sometimes on the weekend, you know, it was the summer. She liked to go to Whitewater. And if she wants to go to Whitewater on Saturday, then she would have went on Sunday. And that was a big possibility. And so, you know, that‘s why nobody reported her missing until Monday.
COSBY: Now, what was her relationship like with her estranged husband? Because this obviously is very strange. I‘m sure police are looking at this. She goes to get an oil change at her estranged husband‘s place and never comes back.
COSBY: What was her relationship like with him?
CHASM: Well, they‘ve been married for like seven years and separated for like six months. In the past couple months, they had some rough times.
COSBY: Was there any violence in their background?
CHASM: There was, you know, a little bit. Nothing you know, like, major.
COSBY: Nothing major. Do you believe, though, he may have played a role in her disappearance?
CHASM: Yes, I do.
COSBY: And why is that?
CHASM: Just because he was the last one to see her. You know, he has had a tendency—you know, I‘ve seen him put his hands on my sister. And, you know, all answers, in my opinion, lead back to him.
COSBY: Sandy, stick with us. I want to bring in the sergeant.
Sergeant King, where does the investigation stand now? I would imagine, you know, you don‘t have a single suspect, but I would imagine you are looking at the estranged husband and others?
SGT. DAN KING, WOODSTOCK, GEORGIA, DEPUTY: We‘re looking at a lot of different people in this case. We‘ve interviewed a dozen or so witnesses, friends, family. And we just continue to follow up leads as we get them.
COSBY: Do we know—you know, Quinton, he was arrested—this is the ex-husband—on unrelated charges right after she vanished. Why was he brought in?
KING: Well, it‘s typical for us to interview friends and family right off the bat in a missing person‘s case, try and find out what the missing person was thinking, getting the information on where this person may have been going.
COSBY: Do we have a single suspect or a number of suspects that you‘re looking at now, Sergeant?
KING: Well, we‘re not really calling anyone a suspect right now. We have a few people that we‘re looking at, but I don‘t really want to call them a suspect just yet.
COSBY: And, by the way, we did also call his family, this individual, Quinton Ray for the comment. The family did not want to give a comment in this case. Again, no suspects at this point.
But I would imagine, typically, you follow sort of the pattern. Do we have any idea how her car ended up at the Wal-Mart, Sergeant?
KING: No, we have absolutely no idea.
COSBY: What seems to be sort of the biggest lead that you have right now? What are some of the pieces that you‘re putting together, Sergeant?
KING: We‘re trying to get time frame of exactly what time she left work, what time she went up to her husband‘s house, what time she left there, and where she went from there. And we‘re just trying to get a basic time frame together.
COSBY: Well, I hope you get some answers. And I hope, Sandy, that you get some answers about sister, too, as well.
And again, everybody, $105,000 reward, which I hope that some people do respond to, can give you some answers. Thanks so much.
And now, just with us here on MSNBC, the very first interview with Robert Davis, that‘s the man caught on camera being punched and thrown to the ground by New Orleans‘ police. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERT DAVIS, ARRESTED BY NEW ORLEANS POLICE: I haven‘t drank in 25 years. I haven‘t had a drop of alcohol in 25 and have no intentions of drinking. None.
Did you get—do you understand this right here? Drinking ain‘t the best thing. It‘s not healthy, for one thing. You know, and I haven‘t drank in I don‘t know how long. I don‘t even know what it is to drink. I wouldn‘t even know what alcohol tastes like.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSBY: That‘s the first interview with Robert Davis, of course, the guy who was punched by New Orleans‘ police. We had his attorney up at the top of the hour. We want to check in now with Joe Scarborough.
Joe, I know you‘re following this case very closely. What do you have on tonight?
JOE SCARBOROUGH, MSNBC HOST: Oh, we certainly are. Obviously, a beating scandal in New Orleans. That‘s about the last thing these police officers need down there.
As you know, Rita, they have really been under the spotlight since Katrina crashed on shores. Shots of cops looting back in the early days. And, of course, this doesn‘t help the situation.
And right now, there are reports out of New Orleans that we‘re hearing, you have assaults that are going up, batteries, looting continues. Two police officers arrested today for looting.
And so you basically have a city right now that appears to be on the brink, once again. And, at the same time, you‘ve got the mayor of New Orleans begging as many people to come in as possible. And yet, the city has a curfew every night.
So a very, very messy situation in the Big Easy. We‘re going to be talking about that. And also, we‘re going to be interviewing Beth Holloway Twitty on the latest developments out of Aruba.
COSBY: All right, Joe, thanks so much. You‘re going to be all over those two different stories, two big stories.
Everybody, be sure to tune into “SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY,” coming up in just a few minutes from now. My pal, Joe Scarborough, right at the top of the hour here on MSNBC.
And up next on this show, a relationship that played out in the tabloids. What‘s it like to be married to actress Liza Minnelli? I‘ll ask her soon-to-be ex-husband David Gest. Plus, hear what David Gest is currently up to in the entertainment world.
Also, lending a helping hand on live TV, find out what President Bush‘s big plans are for tomorrow morning in hurricane-ravaged Louisiana and who he‘s talking to. Stay tuned.
COSBY: Well, it‘s been two years since David Gest‘s messy split with wife Liza Minnelli. But now David Gest is back in the spotlight. He has a brand new TV special in the works, and he joins me now live.
David, first of all, you‘ve always been in the entertainment field. You‘ve been a big player, but you‘re coming back in a big way, sort of after a little bit of a hiatus for two years.
Tell us what‘s ahead. You‘ve got a big project.
DAVID GEST, HOLLYWOOD PRODUCER: I‘m real excited, Rita. Dionne Warwick is celebrating her 45th anniversary in show business. She started in 1961. And we‘re going to do a TV special, two hours, from the Kodak Theater on January 26th and 27th.
And everybody is on the show, more than 100 stars. And we‘re having a big kickoff party on October 17th, next week on Monday, at the Beverly Hilton. And about 28 of my friends are performing. And everybody is going to be there, from Larry King and his wife, Shawn, who is performing—she‘s got a great new CD out. Dionne‘s performing, Jame Zingram (ph), B.J. Thomas, and about 24 other surprises. And it‘s going to be a great evening.
COSBY: Now, what‘s the first thing, of course, everybody thinks about Liza Minnelli. Stuff has been in the headlines so much. How tough was that, to see your personal life so much in the headlines? And what‘s the first thing you think about when you hear the name Liza Minnelli?
GEST: Great, talented woman who is an incredible performer, somebody that people should go see live, because she really commands the stage. And, you know, our personal life is our personal business. And that‘s yesterday.
Yes, we have a court trial coming up. But that‘s between us. And I think it‘s time really now to go on. I‘m real excited about all these upcoming events.
I‘ve got a play that‘s going to Broadway next year that I‘m really excited about called “Devalicious.” And a very special evening for a great friend of mine, Jane Russell. It‘s her 85th birthday next June, so we‘re going to have a big Hollywood gala. And I‘m announcing two other TV specials.
So I‘m really thinking about what‘s in the future, not the past.
COSBY: And, you know, it‘s funny. I want to show a list of marriages. Because at the time everybody was saying, “Oh my gosh, 16 months.” But now, when you look at this list of marriages, you actually didn‘t do too bad by Hollywood‘s standards.
Britney Spears went 48 hours, that hers lasted. Renee Zellweger and Kenny Chesney lasted four months. You lasted a whopping 16 months. That‘s not too bad, now, when you put it in retrospect, right?
GEST: Yes, I mean, there was a lot of—you know, people talk about the bad times, but there was a lot of good times. And, you know, it‘s sad when things happen the way they do, but, as far as talent, this woman is just an unbelievable talent and has a great legacy of great films. And I‘m sure she‘ll do great things in the future. I only wish her the best in that field.
COSBY: Well, you‘re a class act to talk about things that way.
You know, someone else you know well, Michael Jackson, he‘s also coming back in a big way after everything, planning this Hurricane Katrina song.
COSBY: What advice do you have for him? Have you talked to him? Any idea how he‘s holding up, and do you think this will be the comeback for Michael Jackson?
GEST: I think, when he gets to performing live, that‘s what people want to see. There‘s nobody like him on stage. He‘s incredible.
And the one thing Michael has to offer is that great, raw talent. Nobody can dance like him, can command that presence on stage that Michael Jackson does. And I think that‘s what he has to go back to, is going before the public and letting them see who he is.
Sure, everybody has to reinvent themselves. Sinatra reinvented himself. All the greats have. But I think Michael Jackson will come up with some great new material, and he‘ll be back on the charts and on top again.
COSBY: What advice do you have for folks like yourself, who have, you know, been beaten back and forth in the press with personal stuff and coming back bigger than ever? What gets you through it? And what advice do you have for others?
GEST: You know, I‘ve never taken that personally. I mean, you know, these things, the rumors that I hear are so ridiculous, marrying a 91-year-old woman. What would I do with a 91-year-old woman?
Or, you know, having a Judy Garland collection. Never collected her. You know, I was into rhythm and blues and rock and roll. And it‘s just when I married Liza, you know, all these rumors came out.
And you learn that this is not the real world. The real world is having great friends, being around people you love, and just doing what you do best. And, for me, that‘s producing.
The personality bit, the celebrity bit, that‘s fine. But I never go by what the tabloids say or what people write. I‘d go nuts if I did. You know, I take it with a grain of salt.
And I laugh. I mean, I‘ve seen great impersonations of Liza and I that really made me laugh hysterically. But it gives people something to talk about. So, you know, welcome to the club.
Whitney Houston told me a long time ago, when the first tabloid article came out, she said, “Welcome to the club.” And, you know, take it with a grain of salt.
COSBY: Well, good for you. You have a great attitude, and I know you‘ve got a lot of good friends who are sticking with you...
GEST: I got to tell you, though, your coverage of Hurricane Katrina and, Rita, I saw you, was just incredible. You were right there on the spot. I thought you did a great job.
COSBY: Thank you so much. And, of course, it was little compared to what all those folks who lost so much, but that‘s kept me going.
COSBY: David, thank you very much. We appreciate it.
And, everybody, stick with us. We‘ll be right back.
COSBY: Tonight, President Bush is back in New Orleans for the eighth time since Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast. Tomorrow, he‘s going to be coming to Louisiana, installing one of the many houses built at NBC‘s Humanity Plaza.
He and First Lady Laura Bush will also be joining Matt Lauer for an exclusive, live interview tomorrow morning on “The Today Show.” So be sure to tune into that.
And that does it for me here on LIVE & DIRECT tonight. I‘m Rita Cosby. Don‘t touch that dial. Joe Scarborough coming up right now - Joe.
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