Guests: Mary Chepak, J.T. “The Brick,” Bernadine Cruz, Jackie Speier, Mary Fulginiti, Scott Andreassi, James Cobb, Beth Holloway Twitty
MIKE BARNICLE, GUEST HOST: Right now, on SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, Natalee Holloway‘s mother, Beth, on her way back to Aruba with new evidence and new hope after the suspects give what seems to be conflicting statements. Beth Holloway Twitty is here in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY to talk about these new developments.
Then, were patients in a New Orleans hospital killed on purpose? Authorities are performing autopsies to see if there were mercy killings in the terrifying hours after Hurricane Katrina struck. We will have the latest on this troubling investigation.
ANNOUNCER: From the press room, to the courtroom, to the halls of Congress, Joe Scarborough has seen it all. Welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.
BARNICLE: Thanks for being here. I‘m Mike Barnicle, in tonight for Joe, who is taking a couple days off.
We will be talking to Beth Holloway Twitty in just a second.
And later, police say this is the scene where a woman tried to steal her pregnant neighbor‘s unborn child. It‘s a horrible story. We will have an update on the condition of the mother and the baby later, and we will ask, how could this mind-boggling crime have happened?
Then, the pro football boat party that turned into a sex party, and tonight, new details. Wait until you see who was invited. We will have the latest on that story.
But, first, new momentum in the case of missing Alabama teenager Natalee Holloway. In Aruba, the new police commissioner says the three main suspects know much more than they are letting on, and he wants answers. Natalee‘s mother, Beth, is headed back to Aruba next week. She joins us live tonight from Birmingham, Alabama.
Beth, thanks very much for being with us.
BETH HOLLOWAY TWITTY, MOTHER OF NATALEE HOLLOWAY: Thank you, Mike.
BARNICLE: Beth, I want to tell you as a parent, seven children, I have watched you since this horrific event began, and each time I see you on TV, all I can think of, and I want to ask you tonight, how do you get up every morning and go through your day? What is it like to live your life?
HOLLOWAY TWITTY: Well, Mike, it‘s millions of people just like you that have supported us and stayed with the family, and, you know, that is what gets us going and has kept us going every day.
I mean, that is huge, to have that support.
BARNICLE: Beth, Clint Van Zandt is here.
And, Clint, you have worked with the Holloways. Well, why don‘t you talk to Beth about what she is going to do next week and what has happened?
CLINT VAN ZANDT, MSNBC ANALYST: Well, hi, Beth.
Probably, no one has been back and forth to Aruba more times than you have, and on these unfortunate circumstances. When you and I were down there before, talking and working together, it‘s—we hear there are new statements by Deepak and others, and obviously that‘s true.
The challenge to me, and I have got to believe the challenge to you, too, is that these guys have made anywhere from two to 25 different statements. You and I have seen statements that are supposedly made by Joran van der Sloot, where he says Deepak was the one who kidnapped, assaulted, and, in the worst-case scenario, murdered Natalee. I mean, how do you separate the good from the bad, the truth from the untruth in this case?
HOLLOWAY TWITTY: Well, you know, Clint, when I look at Joran‘s statements, there‘s—and what has happened as far as this taped confession from Deepak, there‘s always one thing, though, that keeps coming up, and those are the sexual assaults, and it‘s also to Joran admitting to having sex with Natalee in one of his statements.
And now with this new taped confession from Deepak, they all had sex with my daughter. And Joran in his statements, he wasn‘t inconsistent on having her falling asleep and waking up repeatedly. So to me, that constitutes—that‘s kidnapping and a gang rape. What they did with her after that, yes, it has been inconsistent.
But the kidnapping and rape, I think they have been there all along.
VAN ZANDT: I think the challenge is here, Beth, to put these together. We have got Joran confessing or saying they did one thing. We have got Deepak saying another. I mean, this is like the old layers of the onion, where we are trying to lay them on top of each other.
My challenge as an investigator, were I down there working this case, is to line up three—these statements, these two statements, these three statements, and try to find the level of consistency and then find something that the Aruban police are willing to actually charge these guys with.
HOLLOWAY TWITTY: Absolutely, and cross-referencing all these pieces of evidence is what needs to happen. And, you know, the charges can then be brought forward. I mean, you know, kidnapping and rape, as I said, they have them on that.
BARNICLE: Beth, can I ask you a question? What is your feeling about the effectiveness of the United States government on your behalf? Your daughter is missing on an island, not part of the United States of America. I mean, the police behavior in this, at every level down there, has been mind-boggling, just the people who read about it and watch it on TV.
What is your reaction to any effectiveness, if any, on behalf of the United States government on behalf of your daughter?
HOLLOWAY TWITTY: Well, I think what the family has chosen to do is to remain very respectful of the Dutch law, and we chose to work with the Dutch law, in hopes that it would provide justice for Natalee.
As we all witnessed, though, September the 1st, it has failed Natalee greatly, and now we are relying on the support from the U.S. and from government agencies to get involved, you know, from the governor of Alabama that I met with last week, from state senators to U.S. senators who have been contacting the family. Now it is time for us to seek help from them, because, you know, we tried. We did our part. We remained respectful. We remained just so...
BARNICLE: Yes. Yes.
Clint, there are three suspects.
VAN ZANDT: Yes, three primary suspects, always have been.
BARNICLE: Where are they now? Where are they now, physically?
VAN ZANDT: Well—yes, we have got—we have got Joran van der Sloot, who has been able to slide back to Holland again, strut back to college.
I mean, this is what frustrates me on Beth‘s behalf and as a parent. I mean, here is a guy who 100 percent has acknowledged inappropriate contact, illegal contact. At the very least, Mike, he has acknowledged that, and he gets to troop off to Holland and be a freshman in college.
BARNICLE: And the other two are still on the island.
VAN ZANDT: And the other two are still on the island saying, well, we are not quite sure what we are going to do now. Well, how about tell the truth now, to start with?
BARNICLE: And there‘s a new police commissioner.
And MSNBC‘s Dan Abrams interviewed Aruba‘s new top cop and asked him if he is sure these are the guys responsible for Natalee‘s disappearance.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, “THE ABRAMS REPORT”)
DAN ABRAMS, HOST: Do you believe that Joran, Deepak, and Satish were involved in Natalee‘s disappearance?
GERALD DOMPIG, ARUBAN DEPUTY CHIEF OF POLICE: Well, at this time, I think that all three persons know something that they are not telling, at least not telling us.
ABRAMS: Something about her disappearance?
DOMPIG: Exactly. And I go by the rule of thumb that the first 40 days—I said in a different program, the first 40 days, law enforcement has probably also already spoken to the perpetrators.
So we feel strongly that we have already spoken to them and there‘s no one else outside this group that could be involved or responsible, so sometimes people ask us that, are you not tunnel-visioned? Maybe you should look at other possibilities. Of course. We did that, but we still feel that every time you go on a path, a different path, that path leads back, comes back to these three boys.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BARNICLE: Beth, what‘s your reaction to what he just said?
HOLLOWAY TWITTY: Well, of course, I totally agree, and I do know that they interviewed—the investigative team, they interviewed countless persons of interest.
And, as he is saying that, each time they did, it only led them back, that they would just complete the circle back to Joran van der Sloot, Deepak and Satish Kalpoe, with also the father, Paulus van der Sloot, as being a key person of interest.
BARNICLE: Clint, you interviewed Deepak.
VAN ZANDT: I did. I interviewed Deepak, and then I had a chance to talk to Beth afterwards.
BARNICLE: So, all your years in the FBI, you met the guy; you were in the same room.
VAN ZANDT: Yes. Yes.
BARNICLE: So much of life is in the eyes.
VAN ZANDT: Yes.
BARNICLE: Tell me about—what was his reaction, his body, his physical reaction, his eyes?
VAN ZANDT: You know, what is—what‘s interesting is, when you get these guys, sometimes, when they are talking to the media and they start saying these terrible things about Natalee, and, you know, I am sitting there watching on television and I want to reach through the screen and grab them by the neck and jerk them right back through the screen and, you know, come here; let me talk to you.
VAN ZANDT: And, yet, when I am standing there face to face with him, Mike, he kind of shrinks into himself. He kind of does the turtle. He kind of rolls into himself.
But he said—the one thing that I will carry the rest of my life, when I asked him, I said, do you think this case is going to go away? He says, oh, no. He says, Beth will never let it go away.
And that shows the tenaciousness that Beth brings to this and that many times when we lose somebody, someone else has to speak for them. Beth is there to speak for her daughter when Natalee can‘t speak for her, and has to have the strength that Natalee would have, and she has shown that.
And Deepak—I think these guys are afraid of her, and I think they are afraid of the economic pressure that the United States can put on the government to make them do something, as opposed to just let the one boy go off to college and the other two kids hang loose.
Now, we got to prove it. You know, Dan Abrams would say, you know, Clint, you got to prove it. Show it to me right here.
VAN ZANDT: That‘s fine, but the police were slow out of the blocks when this case started. They have got to pick up speed, and they got to stay on these three guys. They are going to make a mistake. They‘re going to say the wrong thing. They‘re going to tell somebody, and someone has to be there to hear that, write it down, and get it to the authorities and keep them moving forward.
BARNICLE: Beth, Clint just indicated that Deepak is afraid of you, of your tenacity and your persistence. And it‘s your daughter, and thus understandable to anyone who has a child. What, if anything, are you afraid of?
HOLLOWAY TWITTY: Well, you know, I really don‘t feel that I have anything to be afraid of.
I think of Deepak Kalpoe, and I think, though, I‘m certain he has fear for himself, and that how he has put his island, how he has single-handedly damaged the integrity of Aruba, from every citizen there. And I think that, you know, Deepak can only look within himself, and he is the one who is responsible for this, he and his brother, Satish Kalpoe, and Joran van der Sloot.
BARNICLE: Clint, what does your instinct tell you on this, as we wrap this up?
VAN ZANDT: Well, it‘s these three guys, Mike. We have got to stay on these three, and I absolutely believe that they are going to say something, they are going to give something up.
But you always go back to what Joran van der Sloot‘s father said, no body, no case. That‘s the legal advice that he brought to this, that he gave to his son, that he gave to his son‘s two friends. I believe Beth. I think that the father had an involvement, too.
The challenge is putting this together in a legal case, so the Aruban authorities can move forward, get their equivalent to an indictment, and get some justice to this case. So far, I mean, because you lock somebody up and turn them loose, that‘s not justice. Justice is get them before a court, bring the evidence, and, if they are guilty, convict them.
BARNICLE: Beth, when are you leaving?
HOLLOWAY TWITTY: I am going to be leaving in the upcoming week, and, you know, I am hoping that they have already received this taped confession from Deepak.
I think it‘s not only audio, but video, and I think that will be a huge turning point in the case, as Dompig said. This new evidence has been brought forward. The boys are talking. It is time now to utilize this new evidence that has come forward.
BARNICLE: Beth Holloway Twitty, Clint Van Zandt, thanks very much for joining us.
HOLLOWAY TWITTY: Thanks, Mike.
BARNICLE: Stories of murder in New Orleans as the waters rushed in. Were people killed by health care workers to save them from Katrina‘s wrath?
And new details on what may have led to a brutal attack on a pregnant woman—what we are learning about the neighbor accused of trying to take that unborn baby.
Don‘t go anywhere. We‘ll be right back.
BARNICLE: U.S. troops fighting overseas, their thanks, a bill from the government, and some are calling it a case of financial friendly fire.
General Barry McCaffrey is here to about this incredible story.
BARNICLE: Were any of these people victims of mercy killings during the panic of Hurricane Katrina? The only people charged in connection with the death of hospital and nursing home patients are the owners of St. Rita‘s nursing home, where 34 people perished.
Despite repeated attempts, the attorney general for Louisiana, Charles Foti, has declined our invitation to appear on this program. The attorney for St. Rita‘s and a member of the Tulane University faculty, James Cobb, is with us tonight. And he is angry.
Mr. Cobb, what are you mad at?
JAMES COBB, ATTORNEY FOR ST. RITA‘S NURSING HOME: Well, Mike, what I am mad at is the fact that this investigation continues. I think there was a rush to misjudgment by the attorney general, in arresting Sal and Ms. Mable Mangano, without giving them the chance to talk to the attorney general‘s assistants about their side of the story.
BARNICLE: Those are your two clients.
COBB: Yes, sir.
BARNICLE: And what would they have said?
COBB: Well, they are upset because we had an appointment with the attorney general‘s office on Tuesday morning to go in and give them our side of the story before any action was taken. We had an appointment.
Instead, they canceled the appointment, didn‘t bother to hear our side of the story, and issued an arrest warrant. Now, no prosecutor on the planet would turn down the opportunity to interview somebody before bringing an arrest warrant. These guys did, and it makes the whole motivation of what they have done highly suspect.
It‘s, also, they brought these charges precipitously. Within five days of contacting us, they brought the charges.
BARNICLE: What is the indictment for?
COBB: Well, it‘s not an indictment. It‘s an arrest warrant. They didn‘t go before a grand jury, like Mr. Rove and all of these other folks. This is simply an investigator in the attorney general‘s office who signed an affidavit saying, I believe certain things are true. They presented that to one judge, who said, OK, that sounds like probable cause to me, and issued an arrest warrant. It‘s not an indictment at all.
And what‘s troubling is, the statute of limitations for these charges is five years. They could have taken the careful time required, looked at this case, listened to the other side.
BARNICLE: Well, are your two clients being lumped in with the larger investigation that is ongoing now in New Orleans as a result of several deaths in other hospitals, as well as the nursing home we are speaking about?
COBB: No, Mike, I don‘t think so. I think that‘s what happened is, I think the attorney general‘s office went off half-cocked and too quickly with my clients, and now everything has slowed down. No one else...
BARNICLE: What is your clients‘ side of the story? You referred to that a couple of seconds ago. What is their side of the story?
COBB: Their side of the story is very simple, that the news reports -
and I think this is what General Foti acted upon, not upon any investigation, but what he read in the newspaper. You know how dangerous that is.
COBB: And what he acted upon was the notion that these people abandoned the nursing home residents, fled the scene, and they were left to die. Completely, totally false.
BARNICLE: How many health care workers are employed at that St.
Rita‘s, your clients‘ nursing home?
COBB: Twenty or 30 are in the building at that the time of this tragedy. As a matter of fact, Sal and Ms. Mable Mangano, their children, their grandchildren, their nieces and their nephews, were in the facility at the time of the tragedy.
So, this isn‘t a case of negligent homicide, where someone put someone in harm—in harm‘s way. These folks evacuated to that spot as the best place for themselves, their children, and their children‘s children.
BARNICLE: Well, why do you think no one else has been charged?
COBB: Well, because I think that the attorney general‘s office is given pause by the magnitude of the tragedy that happened every place, and the problem that they have is, how do you start charging people with criminal responsibility, with making choices, in the face of an unprecedented emergency?
The statute in Louisiana says, you have got to be grossly negligent. You have got to willfully and wantonly inflict bodily harm upon another person.
BARNICLE: What is the legal timetable now for your clients, Mr. Cobb?
What happens next?
COBB: Well, what happens next is that the charge has to be referred to the district attorney in St. Bernard Parish.
It‘s attorney that General Foti, who brought the arrest warrant, can‘t prosecute in St. Bernard Parish. Only the district attorney can do it, unless he asks the attorney to take over the prosecution, which to my knowledge hasn‘t taken place. St. Bernard, as you know, is totally wiped out. There‘s nothing happening in St. Bernard Parish.
BARNICLE: Yes. Yes.
COBB: So I believe it was an ill-timed rush to misjudgment.
BARNICLE: James Cobb, thanks very much for joining us.
COBB: Thank you, Mike.
BARNICLE: We will keep watching that story.
Now General Barry McCaffrey is here. There‘s a “Washington Post” front-page piece today having to do with the troops having served in Iraq, some of them coming back limbless and getting hit, getting dunned, actually, by the United States Army and then bill collectors, for loss of equipment, things like that.
First of all, your reaction to the story?
RET. GEN. BARRY MCCAFFREY, NBC MILITARY ANALYST: Well, it‘s disturbing.
There‘s 17,000 soldiers and Marines killed and wounded in that conflict, so to read of this kind of insensitivity to their situation is disturbing. Having said that, Mike, we ought to be careful about this. You know, 1.6 million men and women in uniform. There‘s a giant automated pay system. There‘s a challenge having Reserve, National Guard and active under the same pay system.
So, to some extent, this is just bureaucratic background hassle. We have got to remember, that‘s the best health care system in the world, Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Bethesda Naval Center. We are taking great care of these kids. I think this is a small problem.
BARNICLE: General, let me ask you. You are an Army guy, your whole life in the Army. You have given this country noble and honorable service. Tell me today the status of the United States Army, the Reserves, the National Guard in Iraq, the Army over there.
BARNICLE: Recruitments, enlistments, difficulty.
Well, look, if you take a snapshot of the Army in combat—I just came out of Iraq this summer and out of Afghanistan this summer—take a snapshot of it, it‘s the most courageous, competent, well-led army in history, and Marine Corps, and Air Force, and Navy, and Coast Guard.
The morale is high. The reenlistment rate is extremely high. The casualties are a fraction of what they should be given the level of violence directed at these young soldiers and Marines. So, they are doing pretty good. I am concerned, looking forward, that Congress needs to give the Army the tools they need to maintain in recruiting results.
We are short 7,000 privates this year. And I think we got to be very careful to look at the National Guard. It is in the process of encountering terrible personnel shortages. We have got -- 40 percent of those soldiers in Iraq right now, Mike, are National Guard and Reserve.
BARNICLE: Yes. And they are not there just feeling sandbags.
MCCAFFREY: Eighteen-month tours.
BARNICLE: They are in combat.
MCCAFFREY: And we got to—the National Guard is an institution that is vitally important to the nation‘s 54 state and territorial governors, so we have got to protect that institution. It‘s under great strain, but it‘s a tremendous fighting force and it‘s not going to break in combat.
BARNICLE: So what would you tell someone out there, 22, 23 years of age, in the police force, fire department, thinking of joining the National Guard, reading the papers every day? You are the recruiter. What is the allure for joining the National Guard today?
MCCAFFREY: Well, you know, I actually have gotten two kids in the National Guard in the last year. And the pitch is, come in. Help defend your country. Be prepared to defend your state in the event of a national disaster. Get six months medical training. One of these young women I got in the National Guard went through six months, certified as a professional medic, and then—and get college money.
I mean, there are some real good arguments, if your son or daughter is 19, to go in the National Guard. And a lot of them are doing it, but I think we got to give them new tools. If the contractors are going to be offering $120,000 a year to go drive a truck in Iraq...
MCCAFFREY: ... then we had better give our recruiting command a $40,000 bonus to get a young private to come in the Marine Corps of the Army.
BARNICLE: We only have about a minute left here. There‘s been a lot of talk about the new look of the Army down the road, four or five years, smaller, more mobile forces. Give me your snapshot in your mind. What is the United States Army going to look like five years from now?
MCCAFFREY: Well, they have got a pretty good transformation plan.
They are going to increase the number of combat brigades. They‘re going to try and civilianize a lot of their support functions. They‘re going to try and modernize it. We are going to three common brigades, sort of a high-intensity combat force, medium Stryker brigades, light infantry. Something called future combat systems is where they are going. It‘s going to take us 20-plus years to get there. I think they have got a pretty good strategy, but Congress has got to resource it.
We break that Army, as we did after Vietnam, there won‘t be a time out for 10 years. We need these kids ready to fight.
BARNICLE: I wish they had listened to you a few years ago, General.
Thanks for being here.
BARNICLE: We appreciate it, General Barry McCaffrey.
What would cause someone to be so desperate for a child that they would attack a pregnant woman and try to cut out her unborn baby? What we are learning tonight about the suspect in this horrible case.
And, keeping you safe from dogs that kill. Some say a controversial new law goes too far. You can decide.
BARNICLE: A horrible crime outside Pittsburgh, a pregnant mother beaten and cut, apparently so her attacker could steal her unborn baby. Tonight, we are learning more about the suspect, the victim‘s own neighbor,.
But, first, here‘s the latest news from MSNBC World Headquarters.
BARNICLE: What happens when a family pet is a killer dog? Too often, the result is tragedy. But now a new plan to restrain these dogs is sparking outrage. Does it go too far?
And, later, allegations of drugs, sex, and prostitution. Tonight, a new twist in the case of what happened on the pro football boat party.
Welcome back to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY. I‘m Mike Barnicle, in for Joe tonight—those stories in just a couple of minutes.
But, first, doctors in a Pittsburgh hospital are guardedly optimistic about the recovery of Valerie Oskin, the pregnant woman found beaten and bleeding in the woods yesterday. She may be able to shed more light on what happened to her, allegedly, at the hands of her neighbor and friend, who may have been trying to steal her unborn baby.
NBC‘s Rehema Ellis has the story.
REHEMA ELLIS, NBC CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They were friends and neighbors, but today, 38-year-old Peggy Conner is being held without bail in what authorities call an ugly, gruesome crime. She allegedly beat 30-year-old Valerie Oskin with a baseball bat and cut her abdomen with a razor.
SCOTT ANDREASSI, ARMSTRONG COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY: It was her intention as a result of the beating to obtain the child that Ms. Oskin was carrying.
ELLIS: According to authorities, Oskin, who was eight months pregnant, was beaten inside her home near Pittsburgh for at least a day, before Conner drove them to this remote area. A 17-year-old boy riding his four-wheeler nearby spotted Conner in the vehicle and Oskin bleeding on the ground.
CHRIS SILVIS, AUNT OF WITNESS: He could see the woman‘s foot and then he saw a little bit of blood, but—and he just—he left and went to get his dad as quick as he could.
ELLIS: John Wilks, the suspect‘s boyfriend, says, Conner, herself a mother of three children, is innocent and claims the two friend were sharing their pregnancy.
JOHN WILKS, BOYFRIEND OF CONNER: They was getting closer as days went by. They was pregnant today. They was helping each other out.
ELLIS: But authorities say pregnancy tests on Conner came back negative.
(on camera): As bizarre as this case is against Peggy Conner, this kind of thing has happened before. In fact, less than 12 months ago, a Kansas woman was also charged with attacking a pregnant woman and trying to steal her unborn child.
(voice-over): Oskin‘s baby, delivered in a local hospital by caesarean section, is reported in good condition today, but in this community, people are stunned by the crime against a pregnant woman and struggling to understand why it happened.
Rehema Ellis, NBC News, New York.
BARNICLE: As Rehema indicated, the baby is in stable condition, and Valerie Oskin herself is improving.
Joining us now to talk about the case is Armstrong County district attorney Scott Andreassi.
Give us an update. Well, first of all, Scott, let me ask you, the county itself, give me a feel for the county. How big is it? Where is it in relation to Pittsburgh and Philadelphia and State College, Pennsylvania? Where are you located?
ANDREASSI: We are located about 30 miles north of Pittsburgh. It‘s a very rural county of about 75,000 residents, primarily farmland.
BARNICLE: Up along the New York border?
ANDREASSI: Actually, no, about halfway, halfway from the southern end of the state to the northern end of the state.
BARNICLE: And what kind of—give me a typical day in your life, or the crimes that you ordinarily deal with.
ANDREASSI: Generally, we see domestic violence, drunk driving, retail thefts, things like that.
BARNICLE: So, what goes through your mind when you get the report of this crime having been committed?
ANDREASSI: The first thing that goes through my mind is, I am thankful we have the Pennsylvania State Police and their major crimes team.
The second thing that goes through my mind is generally disbelief that we can have a crime like this happen in a relatively rural, quiet county like we live in.
BARNICLE: And could you give me a sense of the environment where both of these women live, the neighbor, the person charged with the crime, and the victim, who is in the hospital with her baby?
ANDREASSI: You are talking about where they live?
BARNICLE: Yes. Yes. Was it a neighborhood? Was it a little cul-de-sac? Was it a PTA kind of neighborhood. Was it more rural? Give me a feel for it.
ANDREASSI: It‘s typical of many neighborhoods in Armstrong County. This was a trailer park that you would find just about anywhere in the county. Very quiet. Full of families and kids.
BARNICLE: And what happens now to the defendant? What is the legal -
what is the legal implication of the case? Where are we at now?
ANDREASSI: She is being held without bail in the Armstrong County jail. She will be held there until Tuesday, when a preliminary hearing has been scheduled at 1:00 p.m. before Judge Goldstrom (ph).
BARNICLE: Public defender?
ANDREASSI: We understand she has made application, and that‘s likely the direction the case will go.
BARNICLE: Have you seen her to speak to?
ANDREASSI: I have not. During the interview process, she spoke primarily with the state troopers, and I was not part of that process.
BARNICLE: Yes. This is a bizarre case.
BARNICLE: Armstrong County, Pennsylvania, district attorney Scott Andreassi, thanks for coming to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY. We appreciate it.
As horrible as it is, this sort of crime is not an isolated case.
Right now, Lisa Montgomery is awaiting trial for murdering eight-month pregnant Bobbie Jo Stinnett and stealing her baby. She actually showed the baby off as her own before her arrest.
Joining us now to talk about the phenomenon are former prosecutor Mary Fulginiti and psychologist Dr. Mary Chepak.
Doctor, let‘s start with you.
What would go through a woman‘s mind to make her even contemplate doing something like this, never mind doing it?
DR. MARY CHEPAK, PSYCHOLOGIST: Well, you know, people commit violence crimes for various reasons. You know, we have sociopaths, like the BTK killer. And that‘s a gross example, but then there are people that end up backing themselves into a corner because they are maybe of unstable personality to begin with, and they feel a need to have some kind of a fabricated life.
And so, as they continue to fabricate and fabricate their life, they tell the person that they are living with that they are pregnant. They start making plans. They bring home a sonogram of the baby, and they continue to go on with this lie. Now, this kind of person is backed into a corner, living a life that is a lie. And now, because they are unstable, they now—now they are inspired to do some kind of a horrible crime.
But we haven‘t seen this only in this particular kind of thing. Remember, last year, with the Hacking case in Utah, it was the same exact thing. That man was unstable.
BARNICLE: Yes. Yes.
CHEPAK: He made a fabricated life for himself, and then he killed his wife.
BARNICLE: Mary, let me ask you, make believe you are prosecuting this case. You are a former prosecutor. They come in. You know what the case is. You have got the book. You have got the forensics on it from the state police or the local police, or whatever, and the lawyer comes in, public defender, and says, my client is crazy. Do you buy it, or do you prosecute it? Where do you go?
MARY FULGINITI, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Well, you know, there‘s a couple of avenues the defense counsel might do here.
One, they might claim that the defendant was incompetent to stand trial, which is a separate evaluation, and the other one would be whether or not the defendant had some sort of legal defense based on her psychological state of mind at the time she committed the crime, which would be potentially insanity or diminished capacity.
As a prosecutor, really, though, you sit there, and if they want to bring a hearing, whether it be on competency, which is really the only type of hearing you would have prior to the trial beginning, the court would typically order some evaluations, psychological evaluations, of the defendant, to determine if the defendant understands the proceedings and is able to asses the nature and the consequences of the proceedings, and be able to assist in her defense.
If the answer to that is yes, then she would be competent to go forward with a trial, and then the next step would be for the defense to determine whether or not there is a defense to this crime. I mean, was she so psychologically impaired at the time the crime was committed that they might have a legal avenue to cling to?
BARNICLE: What is your instinct on that? Do you think an insanity plea is coming down the pike here?
FULGINITI: You know, as a person, it seems to me it‘s so difficult to even conceive of somebody committing such a horrible, unthinkable crime like this, unless they were severely psychologically deranged.
But I am not a psychologist, you know, and I think she very well may try to pursue that avenue, but, you know, at the end of the day, a psychologist will have to do evaluation and determine whether or not she did have any diminished capacity or...
BARNICLE: Well, quickly, what does it tell you, with your prosecutor‘s hat on, that apparently from news reports she had a swing set in the backyard all ready to go, little baby stuff ready to go, and yet she has two other kids. I mean, crazy or what?
FULGINITI: Yes, here‘s a woman that is clearly living in a fantasy world of some sort, and clearly has it...
FULGINITI: As an act of desperation, maybe, wanted a child, and decided to pursue one of the most heinous acts known to us. So, it‘s a sad, sad case.
BARNICLE: It is, indeed.
Mary Fulginiti, Dr. Mary Chepak, thanks very much for joining us.
Loyal pets or four-legged killers? Next, a controversial plan to put an end to killer pit bulls, does it go too far?
And the pro athlete party that‘s making headlines tonight, more fallout and a stunning twist. Wait until you hear who was allegedly on board the love boat.
BARNICLE: They are genetically insensitive to pain, bite with a force of almost 2,000 pounds per square inch, and many argue that they are bred to fight.
In June, a pit bull mauled 12-year-old Nicholas Faibish to death. It was his dog and in his own home. Now California is taking action with a controversial new law to fix their deadly dog problem.
Joining us now to talk about it, California State Senator Jackie Speier, who is behind the law, and Dr. Bernadine Cruz, a veterinarian.
Senator Speier, first of all, what district in California do you represent and where are you located?
JACKIE SPEIER (D), CALIFORNIA STATE SENATOR: I represent the San Francisco Bay area. Nicholas Faibish was a constituent of mine.
BARNICLE: Well, that explains in part why you introduced this legislation.
What does the law do?
SPEIER: This law is actually quite simple and straightforward. It allows cities and counties to pass breed-specific ordinances that allow for spaying and neutering and for backyard breeding.
Dr. Cruz, that sounds like a pretty good law to me. You disagree with any of that?
DR. BERNADINE CRUZ, VETERINARIAN: I think it‘s fantastic to go ahead and spay and neuter pets. It‘s very important.
But this legislation really is inappropriate from the standpoint that it has not addressed where the real problem is, because we know that any breed, any dog, any age, any size dog can bark and bite, but it‘s really the owner that needs to be educated. And we need to address the owners‘ irresponsible actions that allows these dogs to become the killer dogs.
BARNICLE: Dr. Cruz, could you explain to both Senator Speier and the vast listening audience out there what you mean when you use the horribly overworked P.C. word inappropriate? Why is this legislation inappropriate?
CRUZ: Inappropriate because the problem lies with the pet owner.
Yes, it is important to spay and neuter, but it‘s even more important because no matter how you ban an animal—right now, in Italy, 90 different breeds of dogs are banned, and these people that are having the fighting dogs, the aggressive dogs, are they going to really mind that these dogs are banned? No, we will just go from pit bulls to another breed that could be aggressive if that‘s what they are looking for.
So, that part is not going to work. Those dogs that maybe are part pit bull, who determines how much is a pit bull before it is required to be spayed and neutered? And, again, I think that all dogs should be spayed and neutered, as well as cats.
CRUZ: But who is going to make that determination?
BARNICLE: Senator Speier, have you gotten any noise from your constituents, or from anyone, actually, saying, you know, hey, why pick on pit bulls; throw cocker spaniels in there as well?
SPEIER: Well, the law actually allows for breed-specific ordinances that are for spaying and neutering only. There‘s no ban on any specific breed, and it may be pit bulls that will be required to be spayed and neutered this year because they are a popular breed. Maybe next year it will be German shepherds.
But we did not, intentionally, have any kind of a ban on a specific breed, and it‘s important to appreciate that certainly in San Francisco, where there were 150 vicious dog hearings last year, 94 percent of them were unprovoked. And 70 percent of them were pit bulls.
So, we do know that this breed can be bred for protection. It can be bred for viciousness. And what we want to do is get a handle on those breeders, those backyard breeders, and we want to send a strong message that, when you spay and neuter an animal, you are reducing their aggressiveness. You are lowering their testosterone and their estrogen.
BARNICLE: Dr. Cruz, how could anyone with any sense oppose any aspect of this legislation? I mean, pit bulls, any time you read about them in the papers, coast to coast, it‘s because they killed someone or maimed someone. They are not Airedales. So, what is wrong with this?
CRUZ: It‘s not just the bite severity that‘s important. It‘s the frequency of bites.
CDC has found that it‘s really the number of bites that really should be addressed. And when we have these animal officials now, animal control officials, out there trying to bring those dogs in, oftentimes, that will take them away from even more important jobs, like going after the aggressive dogs.
So, yes, we found that the AVMA, the American Veterinary Medical Association, found over a 20-year period, 25 different breeds of dogs were involved in dog bites that led to fatalities. And that was everything from dachsies to German shepherds to even a Yorkshire terrier. So, all breeds can be a problem. We really need to educate our pet owners as to how to select a pet that it going to be appropriate for their family, to socialize them. That is so important.
CRUZ: To go ahead and have them spayed and neutered. All of this will make a difference.
BARNICLE: Senator Speier, last word, please.
SPEIER: Well, I think all of us want the same thing. We want to be able to take our children out to the park and not be fearful that they are going to be bitten by a vicious dog. We want to be able to walk our dogs and not feel uncomfortable that they might be bitten by another animal that is vicious. So this is all about doing what is sane and reasonable. And this law is, I think, the best for all of us here in California.
BARNICLE: I‘m with you, Senator. We appreciate your time.
SPEIER: My pleasure.
BARNICLE: Senator Speier, Dr. Cruz, thanks for joining us.
Another case of professional athletes gone wild, stories of sex, drugs and booze swirling around the Minnesota Vikings. And now a twist in the story that you are not going to believe.
That‘s coming up next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, “THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO”)
JAY LENO, HOST: I guess you heard about this. Several Minnesota Vikings players are being investigated after a boat cruise on a lake turned into some kind of wild sex party. Witnesses say they realized the women were prostitutes when they started having sex with the kicker.
See, no women ever do that.
LENO: They realized, oh, that‘s what it was. They have to be pros.
Nobody sleeps with the kicker.
KEVIN EUBANKS, BAND LEADER: That‘s bad. That‘s bad, man.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BARNICLE: Yes. And the kicker went, it‘s good.
BARNICLE: The Minnesota Vikings, everybody‘s favorite punchline this week, but not everyone is laughing. Police have identified 17 Viking players who took part in what is being called a wild sex party on this boat last week. And now investigators say the players may have flown in strippers from Atlanta and Florida, not from the Falcons and the Marlins, just for that cruise.
Joining us now to talk about this public relations nightmare is syndicated sports talk radio host J.T. “The Brick.”
Now, well, first of all, what do your friends call you, Brick, Mr.
Brick, J.T. or...
J.T. “THE BRICK,” RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: J.T. works great, Mike.
BARNICLE: J.T., let me ask you, public-relations nightmare for the Vikings or for the National Football League, for both? What is your take?
J.T.: For both.
The NFL does not need this type of problems on their hands. And, Mike, clearly, the Minnesota Vikings, they are trying to get a new stadium down the road. They are a 1-3 football team, probably the biggest disappointment in the NFL so far this season, but, to me, this case comes down to one thing, the individuals who worked on this boat, the employees of this boat company. Did they feel intimidated? Did they feel that they had to be propositioned to get involved in anything that went on that was lewd on this boat?
Other than that, it‘s a classic story of athletes getting out of control during the bye week.
BARNICLE: Well, you know, J.T., you know better than I do. Some coaches, some organizations, in all sports, football, baseball, they place a lot of emphasis when they draft someone or when they sign a free agent on the issue of character. Do the Vikings have a larger problem with this issue than other teams?
J.T.: No doubt about it, because this is a character issue. Even if you are someone out there saying, what is the big deal? The big deal is this is a business. This is a corporation, and this isn‘t how you act in front of civilians and other people and friends and especially employees of a yacht company.
If you get out of control this way, it definitely is a shot at the character of this team, and, Mike, this team can‘t afford it at this time for a number of reasons. Let me tell you, I have said it on my radio show, heads need to roll over this. Mike Tice, the head coach, is a nice guy. He has to get fired over this, and the Vikings organization needs to clean house and change the image of this franchise.
BARNICLE: Well, Tice is probably lucky he didn‘t fired for ticket scalping, right?
J.T.: Well, he has had problems, believe me.
Onterrio Smith, a former running back, had problems, as he was trying to duck a drug test. I‘ll tell you, they have had a lot of image problems. But this team that is loved in their community. The fans of the Minnesota Vikings are strong, and they are national.
J.T.: And, Mike, to me, this comes down to the fact that these fans are embarrassed. If you are a season ticket holder for the Vikings, you don‘t want to be embarrassed on sports talk radio and on this television show because there‘s a negative light shined on your football team.
BARNICLE: Well, when you think of the Vikings, you think of Fran Tarkenton. You think of Carl Eller. You think of great Vikings players of the past.
But I think for a lot of people, they might think of the Twin Cities. It‘s nice. Lake Minnetonka. They don‘t think about something like this happening in that environment. What do you figure would have happened if this had occurred with the Falcons in Atlanta, with the Giants in New York, or with the—you know, out in Oakland, where you would expect maybe the Raiders to have had—in another market, a larger market, what would happen?
J.T.: Well, first off, where this would probably happen, people would think Vegas. Guys have the off week. They fly to Vegas. They get a couple of hotel rooms. They have a couple of limos. They have a good time.
But it‘s in the privacy of a hotel room or the privacy of a residence. Mike, once this boat went out on the lake, and there were people that were working on that lake—imagine if you are the parents of a 19- or 20-year-old girl who is working on that boat and she is bringing out drinks or food for people there, and, all of a sudden, she looks out, and she sees that.
That is what this issue is all about. People who go to work and they are employed to do a job shouldn‘t have to put up with this. If it happened in the privacy of a player‘s house—this happens every Friday night, every Saturday night—it would be no big deal. It wouldn‘t be a story.
BARNICLE: Hey, J.T., quickly, we got to go in just a couple of seconds here, but the Vikings have a new owner. They are looking for a new stadium with public funding. What do you think their shot is of getting the legislature to go along with public funding after this?
J.T.: Well, the legislators should go forward with this.
J.T.: You can‘t blow up multibillion-dollar industry, a football stadium in a city...
J.T.: ... because of an act like this.
Hey, I want to leave you on this note. Why aren‘t the players apologizing? Why doesn‘t everybody just apologize and move on from this?
BARNICLE: Good question.
J.T. “The Brick,” thanks a lot. We appreciate it.
We‘ll be right back with this week‘s SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY champion.
BARNICLE: He was once a hero to Boston Red Sox fans. Now he is back in Beantown as a different kind of hero. We will explain next.
BARNICLE: Now it‘s time for our SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY champion of the week.
A former hero who was once a star in my hometown finally redeems himself. Well, he didn‘t have to redeem himself. He has the greatest name of anybody who has ever played baseball in Boston, Nomar Garciaparra.
Earlier this week, or late last week, two women ended up in Boston Harbor, right alongside Nomar‘s condominium. And the former Red Sox shortstop noticed this, came out of the condo, jumped into Boston Harbor, along with his uncle Victor, and fished both women out of the drink, while bystanders called 911.
One of the rescued women, as Nomar dragged her up out the water, looked at him, and said, are you Nomar? The fact that he may have saved two lives has some baseball fans calling Nomar, Nomar Garciaparra, the real Mr. October.
That‘s all the time we have for tonight. “THE SITUATION WITH TUCKER CARLSON” starts right now.
TUCKER CARLSON, HOST, “THE SITUATION”: Thank you, Mike.
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