Guests: Henry Lee, Jim Giller, Jan Lawrence, Jim Zamora, Mike Davis, Maggie Mulvihill, Mitt Romney, Pete Norwood, Gina Eaton, Franki Phelps, William Mason, Paul Waymire, Alex Reinoso, Jeffrey Jensen
RITA COSBY, HOST: Good evening, everyone. Tonight, a developing story that has an entire town in danger, a dam ready to burst, nearly overcome with flood waters. We‘re live on the scene with it.
And a manhunt for a robber and a rapist who are right now running from the law. Cops say they have no idea what these two might do to stay free. And wait until you hear what this guy says did he with the dead bodies that he was transporting in his ambulance. They did not rest in peace.
But first, some big developments tonight in the murder of Pamela Vitale, the wife of high-profile defense attorney Dan Horowitz. Today, their neighbor, Joseph Lynch, who was interviewed by police, also had a short phone conversation with us. He told us that he had absolutely nothing do with the murder. When he asked him if he killed Vitale, Lynch told us, quote, “I can‘t be in two places at the same time. I wasn‘t on the premises.” And we‘ve heard that police now may be looking at another suspect tonight, someone with ties to Pamela Vitale, one of her ex-lovers.
For the very latest on where the investigation stands, we‘re going to bring in now live reporter Henry Lee from “The San Francisco Chronicle.” Henry, what do you know about this ex-boyfriend of Pamela Vitale‘s?
HENRY LEE, “SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE”: Well, the police are going to cast a very wide investigative net to look at everyone from ex-lovers to anyone who has had access to the property. Keep in mind, they were constructing their mansion dream home, and anyone who had access to that location, including past and current acquaintances of Pamela and Dan, as well as construction workers and people who live on the property, will be scrutinized very, very carefully.
COSBY: Now, Henry, you know, you talk about the access. And we‘re looking at the property there. It sounds like a lot of people had access. They were building that big, beautiful house. Tell us sort of how easy and how many folks were sort of coming in and out, unfortunately.
LEE: There‘s a lot of people that had access. And one thing that comes to mind almost immediately—almost as an aside—in ‘96, an Alameda pastor‘s wife was killed. It turned out it was the carpet cleaner that the family had invited to the home. It was Dan Horowitz who defended the carpet cleaner. I sat there in court. It‘s a grim reminder that sometimes we invite people into our home to provide a service, and those people end up being the prime suspects.
So that‘s a possibility only, Rita, and the cops have to take care that they look into those people, as well.
COSBY: Henry, let‘s look at the timeline, if we can show it up on the screen. That is what we know so far. At 7:30, Dan Horowitz leaves his home. About two hours later, he calls his home. There is no answer. He says he calls again at 2:00 PM. Still no answer. And then he returns home at 6:00 PM and finds his wife murdered.
Horowitz thinks—and he was telling me this, too—that he believes his wife was murdered before the first phone call. Do police seem to think that that‘s the timeframe? And why are you hearing as to why that is the case, Henry?
LEE: The police have not publicly said anything about a timeline. However, Dan Horowitz, in an interview with “The “Chronicle,” does say that he does suspect that his wife may have been killed as early as 9:00 or 9:30 AM, hours before he made that tragic discovery. Suffice it to say, every single minute, every single hour of any person of interest is going to be meticulously drawn up to rule people out, to rule people in and make sure they know exactly what everyone was doing at any given time.
COSBY: You know what? And Henry, you talked about they‘re sort of casting this sort of wide net. Let me show also—this is a comment from famed defense attorney Roy Black about if he thinks whether or not maybe some of the cases could still be tied to the murder.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROY BLACK, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Criminal defense lawyer is a lot less dangerous than people think, looking from the outside looking in. Usually, lawyers are not threatened by their clients or associates of clients or witnesses or things like that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSBY: Do you believe that cases can certainly be ruled out? Seems like it was a crime of rage. Everyone I‘ve talked to, Dan included, seems to be someone who knew the house, knew him, knew the family, right?
LEE: Exactly. And unfortunately, as you and I know, Rita, sometimes murders occur simply because the bad guy wants to eliminate a witness permanently, so we don‘t know what the actual initial intent was. If it was assault, that is certainly as unfortunate as homicide. Now, certainly, past cases that Dan has been involved with include death penalty cases, drug cases. I think a lot more danger, quite frankly, does happen in the courtroom once someone finds out that he has been convicted of death, convicted of life without parole, he—sometimes you see a lot of courtroom attacks on the attorneys right there in court.
COSBY: Well, speaking of an attorney, let‘s bring in now, if we could, someone who worked with him. This terrible crime, of course, has shocked a lot of people who know Pamela Vitale. Almost everyone says she was well liked and she had no enemies. Joining us now is Jim Giller. He‘s a close friend and also colleague of Dan and Pamela.
Jim, let me ask you, if I could—you know, you dealt with a lot of these death penalty cases. Do you believe anything related to Dan‘s background, some of these RICO, some of these Mob cases, could have played any role?
JIM GILLER, FRIEND AND COLLEAGUE OF DANIEL HOROWITZ: No, I don‘t know any of the cases he‘s handled—I think every death penalty case he‘s had, he‘s had with me, and I don‘t think any of those cases would come back to haunt him or anybody else.
COSBY: You don‘t? OK. Let me bring in also...
COSBY: Jim, stay with us, if you could, because I want to bring on the phone with us Jan Lawrence. This is one of Pamela Vitale‘s closest friends of almost three decades. Jan, first of all, you‘ve talked to the kids. These are her kids. We haven‘t heard any comments at all. How are they holding up, including Marisa (ph)?
JAN LAWRENCE, CLOSE FRIEND OF PAMELA VITALE: They‘re devastated. They‘re absolutely devastated. They‘re trying to keep themselves together, but it‘s very difficult. They‘re—as you can imagine, they‘re falling apart.
COSBY: Yes, I bet. You know, anybody who‘s known him—and you may know, I had the pleasure of going out to dinner with Pam a couple of times, and she is an amazing, amazing lady.
Do you know anything at all—I just have to ask you because you were quoted in an earlier article about this ex-boyfriend. Do you believe he played a role or not?
LAWRENCE: Well, I—the only thing I can say is that police were looking and wanting to know about anyone, and this particular person had been madly in love with Pamela in the past, and he did track her whereabouts. I know he was very unhappy when she married Dan, and he did track her whereabouts. Now, whether he—Daniel does not believe that he is a viable suspect, and I understand his reasons for that and perhaps that‘s correct. But police are looking at anyone and everyone, and so this may be nothing.
COSBY: You know, we‘re looking at some pictures here, Jan, the two of you together. You guys have known each other three decades. Again, I had the pleasure of meeting her. Will you tell me what made her so special? You know, this is such a loss.
LAWRENCE: Pam was a beautiful person on the outside and on the inside. She would help anyone, and she was the type of person that was very giving and loving and giving of her time. She was an exceptionally loyal friend. She didn‘t have a lot of very close friends. She had a lot of acquaintance. But when she was your friend, there was nothing that she wouldn‘t do.
She was an excellent mother. She loved her children and they loved her. They were very close. She and Dan had a fantastic relationship. She had lots of struggles in her life. She was a young single mother when she came out from Minneapolis. She had baby Marisa, and Mario (ph) was a little toddler and—but she was such an adventurous person and always optimistic and upbeat. She always looked at the bright picture, even with everything that was happening with the house and the delays in the construction, et cetera, she still was optimistic and she was happy it.
She picked out everything, every tile, everything. That was hers. It was her design. It was her—she‘s in that house. I mean, that‘s everything. She even had her children‘s names incorporated in the walls. And she was just—there was nobody one that didn‘t like her. You couldn‘t help it. She was not the type of person that was confrontational. She would never make anyone feel angry at her. She was—she was just a very likable, very intelligent, articulate woman.
COSBY: She was. And I agree, beautiful inside and out.
Jim, you know, one of the focuses—and I know Dan was looking at this guy who he tried to get a restraining order on. This is the neighbor and—you know, Joseph Lynch. You know this guy. You represented him.
And I want to show first—this is a quote. Dan tried to help this guy, and this is a letter that we obtained separately. Back in 2004, Dan wrote a letter on this guy‘s behalf. I know things obviously clearly went downhill, but back in 2004, he said, “Joe Lynch, despite his personal demons, is a highly respected contributing member of our community. I think there has been a meaningful improvement in Joe‘s outlook on life.”
But then, you know, a year later, he files a restraining order. Is this guy—you know this guy, Joseph Lynch. Is he capable of murder?
GILLER: Well, I don‘t know him that well. I represented him in a case Dan referred to me because Dan was tied up in another trial and he asked me to represent his neighbor, Joe Lynch. And that was in January of 2004. It was a drunk driving case. So it wasn‘t anything very complicated at that time, except Lynch had problems. He was an alcoholic and he had some drug problems, and he had been in the vets hospital in Martinez, California, because he had some psychiatric issues. But basically, it was handled as a first offense drunk driving.
Then about six months later, his sister wrote a letter to the court, saying that he was violating his probation and that he wasn‘t going to the drug programs. He wasn‘t doing this or doing that. So they called him back to court, and that‘s what prompted Dan‘s letter because it looked like maybe Lynch was going to get thrown in jail. So Dan wrote a letter, which I filed with the court, asking the court to be lenient with Lynch because Lynch had a lot of personal problems, that he was an alcoholic, he had drug problems, et cetera. And Dan wrote a two-page letter, which, as I said, we gave to the court. And the court ended up putting Lynch on—further—just continued the probation and gave him a certain number of community service hours, as well as requiring certain drug programs or alcohol programs for him.
COSBY: Jim, stick with us, if you could, because I want to bring into the conversation now Jim Zamora of “The San Francisco Chronicle.” Jim, you spoke face to face with Joe Lynch today. What did he tell you?
JIM ZAMORA, “SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE”: Well, I spoke to him for quite a while yesterday, and the Joe Lynch that I spoke to did not seem like a killer at that time. He seemed remorseful. He seemed very upset about what had happened. He seemed like a guy who liked his privacy. But I have to—I have a caveat with that, is he admitted that—he said he‘s been clean and sober. This is not the guy that was portrayed in the...
COSBY: Do you believe him? Did he look like someone who‘s clean and sober?
ZAMORA: At that moment, he looked pretty sober.
COSBY: What time day was it?
ZAMORA: It was probably noonish or so.
COSBY: What about—you know, one of the things he said to us before the show—we also spoke with him real briefly on the phone, Jim. He said to us, “I can‘t be in two places at one time.” What‘s his alibi?
ZAMORA: Well, he said that he was away at the time. He said that he was with—you know, that he had other business. I don‘t know how good this alibi is. I don‘t know if the time sequence that we‘ve been talking about is exactly right. The investigators are still working on that. He‘s a guy they got to look at very closely. I‘m not saying he did it. I‘m not sure he didn‘t do it. But he‘s a guy that is—there‘s a lot that‘s very suspicious about him. He had run-ins with the family in the past. He‘s somebody who has a history of alcohol and drug abuse, which he fully admitted to me.
But then he turned around and he said that he was very appreciative.
He said that Pamela and Dan helped him a lot in cleaning up his life.
COSBY: Really interesting!
ZAMORA: He said that they were—he considered them very good friends. He said he was grieving for them, that he was in pain for them. Now, we don‘t know what really happened, but he‘s one guy who has a history of a beef with them, that—he‘s one person who‘s been an enemy.
COSBY: Yes, and I can tell you...
COSBY: ... that Dan told me, also, Jim, that he definitely believes he‘s a prime suspect. That was the indication he got from authorities. But that was 24 hours ago. You know, these things change fast and furious.
All of you, thank you very, very, very, very much.
And now we‘re going to move on to another interesting case. New information tonight in the death of Virginia college student Taylor Behl. Now a gag order has been issued for witnesses appearing before the grand jury in this case tomorrow. And even bigger yet, could the grand jury issue an indictment as early as tomorrow?
Joining me now is Taylor Behl‘s cousin, Mike Davis. Mike, are you hoping an indictment could finally come in this case?
MIKE DAVIS, TAYLOR‘S COUSIN: Absolutely. We‘re expecting one, too.
COSBY: You are? Are you expecting one tomorrow?
COSBY: You are? Now, why are you expecting that? Have you been told that?
DAVIS: No. No. I‘m just—we‘re just very optimistic over it. And
they‘ve done such a thorough investigation, they‘ve done so much, we feel
100 percent confident in what they‘re doing. And if there‘s—if the
timing is right and if it‘s tomorrow, then it‘ll happen. And if not, we‘ll
we know that it‘ll happen in due course.
COSBY: Are you getting the impression there‘s a very good chance it could be tomorrow, as a lot of us suspect?
DAVIS: You know, your guess is as good as mine, Rita.
COSBY: What is your guess as to what Ben Fawley said? Ben Fawley, we know is saying now a story that they had rough sex, that he had rough sex with Taylor, that it was an accident, he choked her accidentally. Do you buy this? Is this the Taylor you knew?
DAVIS: This is not the Taylor I know. And it‘s just interesting. My belief is, just looking at Ben Fawley‘s histories about Taylor, from the stories that he‘s been putting out since day one, it‘s just unbelievable. They keep changing. It‘s—it‘s—I just don‘t believe it. I haven‘t believed any of the stories that I‘ve heard him tell about Taylor.
COSBY: Well, Mike Davis, I hope you get good news tomorrow. I know your family has just been working hard, and we‘ve been keeping them in our prayers. Thank you very much.
DAVIS: Thank you, Rita.
COSBY: And everybody, another thing we‘re watching. Believe it or not, we‘re on hurricane watch again, and Hurricane Wilma just got bigger. Now it‘s a category two, maybe a category four when it hits land. Where is she headed?
And also right now, a dam that is in danger of breaking, threatening an entire town. We‘re going to take you to the scene LIVE AND DIRECT. And that‘s not all we have in tonight‘s show. Take a look.
Still ahead: How can a fugitive accused of killing a 13-year-old girl avoid capture for a month? Cops say he‘s left a trail of blood on his cross-country run. Tonight, the victim‘s family is coming here to plead for your help.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Please, please, we beg of you, please turn him in!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSBY: And you may have seen this unbelievable video. But tonight, we‘ve got the guy who was trapped inside. He‘ll tell me what it was like being in that blazing car.
And talk about disrespecting the dead. This guy was supposed to be taking care of the recently deceased, but wait until you hear what he was really taking.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I‘d like to apologize for my actions.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSBY: It‘s ahead LIVE AND DIRECT.
COSBY: And at this hour, a tense situation in Massachusetts has many worried a repeat of what we saw in New Orleans. We all remember the devastation that we saw in places like the 9th ward after the levees gave out following Hurricane Katrina. Now the situation of Taunton, Massachusetts, is also on the edge, with fears that a 12-foot-high dam could break at any moment, causing some major flooding.
For the very latest on this dangerous situation, we go live to Byron Barnett of our Boston affiliate, WHDH. Byron, what‘s the latest from there?
BYRON BARNETT, WHDH-TV: Well, tonight, the city of Taunton remains in a state of emergency. Everyone here is watching and waiting to see if this weakened dam will be able to hold back these devastating flood waters, which, if released, could really turn downtown Taunton into a lake.
We‘ve got a little video here to show you. This is the weakened Wittendon Pond dam struggling to contain the powerful currents of the Mill River, swollen by last week‘s heavy rains here in the Northeast. Early this morning, engineers noticed one of the support columns in the 170-year-old wooden dam had come loose, a sign that the dam is deteriorating. The mayor took immediate action, closing the entire downtown—businesses, government offices, schools, everything. If the dam breaks, engineers say, a six-foot wall of water could come cascading through the downtown area. Officials are also concerned about neighborhoods near the Mill River.
Earlier today, the mayor said that 2,000 residents evacuated their homes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAYOR ROBERT NUNES, TAUNTON, MA: It is our understanding that most people have evacuated. Again, we‘ll be out knocking on doors in the afternoon to encourage people to evacuate. But for the most part, most of the people in the area have evacuated to either the high school or to be with family and friends.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BARNETT: Now, Mayor Robert Nunes says that they are really hoping for the best, but they are preparing for the worst.
Now, tomorrow, all the city‘s schools will again be closed. No word on whether the downtown businesses will be closed. That decision will be made early tomorrow morning. Also tomorrow, Senators Ted Kennedy and John Kerry will be here in Taunton to get a firsthand look themselves.
That‘s the latest live from Taunton, Massachusetts. I‘m Byron Barnett. Rita, back to you.
COSBY: Byron, thank you very much. Please keep us posted.
And Massachusetts officials (INAUDIBLE) say they‘re very worried that they could have a catastrophe in their own backyard. We‘re joined now on the phone by Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney. Governor, you know, how worried are you? This sounds pretty bad. You know, we‘re just hearing from Byron that downtown could be a lake.
GOV. MITT ROMNEY ®, MASSACHUSETTS: Well, there‘s no question we‘re concerned about the status of this dam. I think the mayor is taking the right action in evacuating the 2,000 or so people who would be affected by this dam giving way. Fortunately, it‘s not such a wall of water that it would case enormous damage to property, we don‘t believe, but there‘d be a lot of water. And if people were there, they could be hurt. So we‘re taking all the precautions necessary, and hopefully, the dam will be able to hold.
COSBY: Now, you‘ve asked for the federal government to step in just a few hours ago. Are they stepping in? What do you need? What kind of local support and federal support are you getting?
ROMNEY: Well, the federal government really takes some responsibility for helping us financially when there‘s a major emergency of some kind. But the emergency response that‘s being coordinated today is being done by Mayor Nunes and by his team. They‘re doing a great job. The state is supporting them with our own state police and other resources. And the federal government will really not be necessary in terms of personnel, but when a situation like this develops, we, of course, acquaint FEMA with the circumstance. And hopefully, if we need additional financial support, they‘ll be there for us.
COSBY: You know, as you look back at the dam—I was looking at some of the history of it—in 1968, it flooded, right? In 1886, it flooded. There‘s a big history. The dam itself was built in 1832, related as “fair,” quote, condition in 2003. Why didn‘t anybody sort of see this coming, that this dam is a problem?
ROMNEY: Well, the dam has been rebuilt, of course, over the years many, many times. It now has a concrete base and is inspected. It was inspected regularly, had most recent inspection two years ago. And repairs are under way at the dam for various aspects of its maintenance. But what we have right now, of course, is a record-breaking rainfall. And with the 3,000 dams in our state, we‘re very fortunate that none have given way. This is one we‘re watching very carefully, and obviously, we think that we have, you know, a lot of challenges, but this one we hope we‘re going to be able to weather.
COSBY: You know, and Governor, you talked about looking at some of the other dams, as the assessment is that there are at least two others that are sort of, quote, “deemed as unsafe,” 38 others in, quote, “poor shape.” Obviously, I understand (INAUDIBLE) you‘re doing sort of an emergency inspection. How worried are you that other dams may give way?
ROMNEY: Well, at this stage, we‘ve gone through the heaviest of the stress on the various dams, and so we‘re not terribly concerned or worried, although we do see more weather coming this weekend. We recognize that there‘s a lot of private dams out there. In this case, we have, oh, about 2,700 privately owned dams. These are typically small bodies of water that are affected. Old mills from the 1800s were built that put dams in, and those are maintained by their private owners. And we watch them pretty carefully and have every confidence that they will be able to hold up.
COSBY: Governor Mitt Romney, thank you very much. We really appreciate you being with us, sir. I know you‘re very, very busy, and we‘re praying for the best for your folks there. Thank you.
And just a few hours ago, Hurricane Wilma upgraded to a category 2 storm, picking up steam in the Caribbean. Yes, another hurricane. Could the storm hit the U.S. by the end of the week as a powerful category 4 when it hits land? It would be the third category 4 of the season if that happens.
NBC Weather Plus meteorologist Bill Karins has the latest on the storm‘s track. Bill, all I‘ve got to say is, Not another one!
BILL KARINS, NBC WEATHER PLUS: Yes, here we go again. And this storm is rapidly intensifying. You can see the storm is located due south of Cuba. And over the last couple hours, this storm is just feasting on that warm water there. The water underneath this storm is about 85 degrees right now. That‘s bath water for this storm. Usually, as a general rule, anything above 80 degrees, you can at least get a storm to maintain its strength and possibly even increase. Eighty-five degrees, and this thing can jump off the charts.
And what we watch is the core of the storm. See this red circle here?
The more symmetrical that gets, the stronger the storm is going to get. And it‘s hard to pick up, but there‘s a little pinpoint of an eye. We finally have the eye of Hurricane Wilma showing up.
Got you a different colorized image here to kind of show you that eye. Inside this dark blue, you can see a little white spot. That‘s the eye of the storm. It‘s a little pin needle. The hurricane hunters have been in the storm, and they said the pressure is falling rapidly. That means the storm is strengthening rapidly, and we may have a major hurricane, category 3, on our hands here within the next couple of hours. If not, then definitely by tomorrow morning. And this could possibly go up to category 4 strength. Who knows? We‘ll have to wait and see over the next couple of days.
That pressure continues to lower. Remember this number: 954. To get all the way down where Katrina and Rita was, we‘d have to get that number down to about 902, 904, in that general vicinity. We don‘t think it‘s going to get that strong, but it still has a chance to be a very intense hurricane, a major hurricane, category 3. And for the first time, the Hurricane Center is even saying they expect this to become a major category 4 storm, but only for a short period. Once we get it north of here, heading into the Gulf, the winds aren‘t going to be quite as favorable.
And we‘re still very concerned with south Florida. But these storms sometimes can have a mind of their own. This is a couple days away. We have to closely watch this, not just for Florida, but for Cuba, the Yucatan, Belize, Honduras. This storm is going to hit somewhere, and probably hit hard. We‘ll give you the latest here at Weather Plus and on MSNBC.
COSBY: Thank you, Bill. Keep us posted. We appreciate is it.
Well, in the days following the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, billions of your tax dollars were used to help storm victims. Well, you are going to be outraged, I definitely was, when you see how some of these people are spending your money. An investigation by “The Boston Herald” newspaper on Cape Cod found some evacuees are using their money for booze and strippers.
LIVE AND DIRECT tonight from Boston is Maggie Mulvihill. She‘s a reporter with “The Boston Herald.” Maggie, how stunned were you to find out that these guys were using money for booze and, what, lap dances at a strip bar?
MAGGIE MULVIHILL, “BOSTON HERALD”: It was pretty surprising, given that, you know, the money was so hastily rushed through both on the state and the federal level. And it was supposed to be used for assistance with housing or, you know, other emergency issues. So when we were tipped off that, you know, perhaps they weren‘t using it for those reasons and using it to go out drinking or get lap dances, it was a story worth pursuing, which we did.
COSBY: Tell us about some of the pictures we‘re seeing, sort of what was actually happening at the time.
MULVIHILL: What happened is the evacuees would get bused from Camp
Edwards, which is where they‘re staying. There‘s about 114 of them left
there. And they—while they‘re supposed to be looking for jobs or
housing or getting themselves back on their feet, they‘d be bused to a
local strip mall, where they would get out—you can see in these pictures
they would get out, they would go to a local liquor store, empty out what might be in their thermos or container, and buy, in most cases, hard liquor, fill up their containers and then sort of spend the day at the Wal-Mart there, drinking and hanging out and listening to their Walkmans. And in other cases, we found them going to a strip bar nearby and getting lap dances from strippers that we interviewed there.
COSBY: Your jaw must have just dropped when you saw what they‘re doing with their money. You know, on the other hand, it‘s outrageous, of course. You know, we‘re trying to help these people.
COSBY: But technically, they didn‘t break any laws, right?
MULVIHILL: There‘s no restrictions on how this money can be used.
COSBY: So they can do whatever they want to do, right?
MULVIHILL: They can do whatever they want to do. And the concern is, I think, for news organizations, is that because there‘s been so much fraud on FEMA money spent on people who haven‘t really suffered effects of disasters, such as the $31 million we‘ve seen spent on people in Florida who didn‘t really suffer any effects of Hurricane Frances, we just wanted to take a harder look and see what, in fact, these people were doing with not only their money but their time.
COSBY: Outrageous! Well, Maggie, thank you. And please keep investigating. Please keep us posted. Glad you caught these guys in the act. It gives you a little pause about where your money is going, everybody. Thank you very much.
And still ahead, a dangerous duo on the run after a daring jail break. One is a killer, the other is a rapist. They‘ve already kidnapped one woman, and police say they will stop at nothing.
And what could you only call the lowest of the low? This is an ambulance driver who stole from the dead. You heard it right. The dead. And he‘s talking about what he did. Stay with us.
COSBY: And right now, an all-points bulletin for two fugitives who busted out of prison. Law enforcement officials are asking for your help in finding convicted murderer Aaron Olsen and convicted rapist Pharon Johnson. Both men apparently telling a former hostage that they will not be taken alive.
LIVE & DIRECT tonight in Oklahoma City tonight is Lieutenant Pete Norwood with the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.
Lieutenant, you‘ve got to be nervous when you hear somebody saying that to someone that they kidnapped. How dangerous are these men?
LT. PETE NORWOOD, OKLAHOMA HIGHWAY PATROL: We believe they‘re extremely dangerous. We‘ve been on the lookout for them. We have an idea on an area where they might be. And we have a major concern with these two.
COSBY: Where could they be tonight? Do you have any idea at all? As we‘re looking at some pictures.
And of course, everybody at home, as you look at these photos of these two guys, one of them is a murderer, one of them is a rapist, please call authorities. Please call the tip line that you see here.
Lieutenant, any idea where they could be?
NORWOOD: Well, our last known whereabouts—we think we found a van. Kansas Highway Patrol was actually working an accident on I-35, a little bit north of the Oklahoma-Kansas border.
And after they worked the accident, they saw the abandoned van and realized that that was the stolen van that we were looking for. The lights were still on. The radio was still on. And the ignition was still engaged. It was completely—it looked like it had ran out of gas.
COSBY: Tell us, they took someone hostage, right? Tell us how they got the van.
NORWOOD: Well, we believe the hostage victim was actually visiting the prison there. And they somehow blended in with the other people who were there. They were able to push her into the van, tell her a story, and actually drove up to Oklahoma City.
COSBY: What precautions are you telling people, as they‘re watching these photos tonight, if they should see them? What should they do?
NORWOOD: Any information that you can give law enforcement, contact your local law enforcement agencies, just look out for anything out of the ordinary. Right now, we know these people are dangerous. And we‘re going to need your help.
COSBY: Absolutely. Lieutenant, thank you very much.
And again, anybody, if you have seen—let‘s show those photos again if we could really quickly—if you have seen these men, if you spot them, they‘re armed, they‘re dangerous. Again, one‘s a murderer. One‘s a rapist. Please call authorities.
And of course, another manhunt that we‘ve been following from the very beginning, a suspected murder is still on the loose. Melvin Keeling is suspected of killing a teenager and two store clerks.
Tomorrow, it will be one month to the day that 13-year-old Katelind Caudill was brutally murdered after she told police that Keeling was molesting her young friend. We have now some new home video of Katelind. Let‘s take a quick listen of this beautiful girl.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KATELIND CAUDILL, MURDERED BY MELVIN KEELING: Stand up and dance.
You‘re not a dummy, are you? Are you a dummy? No.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSBY: And joining me now for the first time in our studio is Katelind‘s mother, Gina Eaton, and also Katelind‘s aunt, Franki Phelps, who have been on this case vigorously trying to bring this man to justice.
So great to see both of you. I said this to you before we started. I give you both so much respect. And I just think you both have such tremendous courage to be here and talk with us on the show. Thank you. We will do whatever we can to help you guys.
FRANKI PHELPS, KATELIND CAUDILL‘S AUNT: Thanks for having us on.
COSBY: As you look at these pictures, Franki, of beautiful Katelind, it‘s a month. How tough has this been?
PHELPS: Very tough. Very, very tough. It‘s the not knowing, not knowing anything that‘s going on. You know, where could he be? Where could he be?
I think someone‘s hiding him. I think someone—my thought is that he set it up, as far as the train. I think he called somebody, had somebody come up and get him, and take him somewhere else, is what I think.
COSBY: Now, the train, of course, Gina, is where—we know that we found—there was a wallet. His wallet was found nearby there.
Do you believe—you know, and, of course, two scenarios is—one, he‘s a master manipulator. He left it there on purpose to throw people off the scent. Or the other case is that he got clumsy and left it. What do you believe?
GINA EATON, KATELIND CAUDILL‘S MOTHER: I believe somebody is helping him.
COSBY: You do?
EATON: That he called someone, and...
COSBY: Do you believe that was his—that he didn‘t realize he lost his wallet there?
EATON: I think he planted it there just to make the cops think that, you know, he just threw it out to release his identity or to not have an identity, I should say, so that he can obtain something new, so that, you know, no one that knows who he is, they can‘t prove it.
COSBY: If someone is helping him tonight, Franki, what do you want to say? Because that‘s—we had Dog, the bounty hunter, well-known bounty hunter Duane “Dog” Chapman on our show. And he believes someone is helping him, too. He believes even maybe one of his co-workers at work.
That‘s got to be infuriating. Here‘s this man, this all-points bulletin. What do you want to say to someone who is out there helping him?
PHELPS: They‘re as low as he is. And if they are helping him, just think about if it was your child, you know? What if it was your child?
If they don‘t believe that he molested a child, they still need to have it in the back of their mind that it‘s a possibility that it could happen. And if they have kids—because Melvin doesn‘t see them as children. He sees them as young women. And that‘s what his girlfriend told us. He didn‘t see the one as a child.
COSBY: Well, he was molesting his own stepdaughter.
PHELPS: Right. And he didn‘t see her as a child. He saw her as a young woman.
COSBY: How heartbreaking has this case been for you?
PHELPS: It‘s devastating.
COSBY: You know, you‘ve got a stepdaughter who was molested, and then it turns out now, you know, your own niece was trying to do the right thing.
PHELPS: Right. It‘s devastating. It still just doesn‘t seem like it‘s happening. It just doesn‘t—we still feel like we‘re walking around in a fog. It‘s just a bad dream.
This is something we see on TV, not to be on TV doing it. You know, where we‘re from, nothing like this happens.
COSBY: You know, I want to show, if I could, even some more of the home video, because it‘s just so heartbreaking. And hopefully, people are watching at home are going to realize this was a beautiful woman, beautiful young girl, I should say, full of life, full of love.
If we can—let‘s listen to her just a little bit. I don‘t know if we have any sound on this.
But, you know, this was a girl that had so much life in her, sharp, smart, beautiful. You can hear her talking a little. Let‘s listen on this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CAUDILL: Stand up and dance. Stand up and dance. You‘re not a dummy, or are you? Are you a dummy? No. No.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PHELPS: Turn yourself in. Do the right thing. Turn yourself in. Or do us all a favor and turn the gun on yourself and let us get on with our lives. Let us grieve for Katie. And just turn yourself in. Do something right.
COSBY: What would you want to say, too, if he‘s watching tonight?
And I hope he is.
EATON: I mean, he‘s—he needs to understand—Melvin has a young daughter, also. And I want him to even think in his mind, what if he got a call saying that someone had murdered her? How would he feel?
You know, he needs to realize the pain that he‘s put our family through. You know, I can‘t watch my daughter grow. I can‘t, you know, hold my grandkids in my arms. I‘ll never have that. He‘s taken that from me.
And just turn himself in. You know, he‘s a low-life. He‘s not worth any breath.
COSBY: How worried are both of you about your own safety?
PHELPS: Very worried. Very worried. We can‘t walk out of our house unless somebody is with us, or we peek our heads out the door just to look at night.
You forget—you know, we hear little noise, we‘re up. We can‘t sleep. He doesn‘t know where I live, I don‘t think. I‘m pretty sure he doesn‘t.
But we‘re terrified. Someone comes knocking on the door, we grab our gun, you know? “Who is it?” They don‘t answer, you know, we call the police. “Somebody‘s at the door and won‘t tell us who it is,” and we are terrified. We‘re terrified.
COSBY: Well, we pray that you both get some good rest soon. And we love you both. We will do whatever we can to help you guys.
PHELPS: Thank you very much.
EATON: Thank you.
COSBY: And I hope he‘s watching tonight. And if he is, indeed, please turn yourself in. Also, anybody at home, make sure that you call, also, if you have any information, please call 911.
And there‘s the number again on the screen. Another number to call is 513-421-4310. Please, also, turn yourself in.
And still ahead, he was supposed to take them to the morgue. Instead, he took them to the cleaners. Find out what this ambulance driver really did. You‘re going to hear from him next.
No Hollywood stunt here. What was it like being trapped inside a burning car? You‘re going to hear LIVE & DIRECT from the guy who lived to tell about it. And also the amazing rescuers who saved his life. We‘ve got a lot more coming up.
COSBY: Tonight, an Ohio man is in big trouble for not letting the dead rest in peace. This is an incredible story.
This one bad guy, this sicko, he‘s an ambulance driver, Charles Slagle, was supposed to be transporting dead bodies. But instead, he robbed them.
LIVE & DIRECT tonight from Cleveland, Ohio, is William Mason. He‘s the prosecuting attorney for Cuyahoga County.
Mr. Mason, let me ask you about this. The judge said this was sort of the worst kind of theft. How do you describe it?
WILLIAM MASON, CUYAHOGA COUNTY, OHIO, PROSECUTOR: Well, he‘s a low-life. There‘s no question about it. I mean, it‘s pretty ghoulish to be taking credit cards and the such from people you‘re transporting to the coroner‘s office.
COSBY: Yes, how did he do it? Walk us through sort of where and how he did it.
MASON: Well, he was a contract employee for the Cuyahoga County coroner‘s office. They would transport the dead bodies for the coroners down to the coroner‘s office.
And in transport, he would go through the wallets or the pockets of the individuals he was transporting and take out their credit or their debit cards, or then immediately start to withdraw money.
And the way he found out how to get in it, the pin numbers, was either he used their date of birth, their Social Security number, and, in one instance, the pin number was right alongside the credit card.
COSBY: So how‘d he get caught?
MASON: Well, he was very unfortunate. He went to the same gas station, or same type of gas stations, to take out the cash. He was taking out $500 a day.
And, unfortunately for him, there was a surveillance camera just sitting there watching him as he was withdrawing the money on a daily basis. So when the family members discovered that they were missing—when they finally got their—you know, the checking records, and checked, and saw that these withdrawals were being made, they turned it over to police.
The police went to the place where the money was being withdrawn, and there he was on the film.
COSBY: It‘s so horrible. Let‘s show a little quote, a little comment from this guy, because he has talked. He has said, “I‘m sorry.” But let‘s show what he has to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHARLES SLAGLE, GUILTY OF ROBBING THE DEAD: I‘d like to apologize for my actions. Not only did I embarrass my family, my friends, but my profession as well.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSBY: And my understanding is that, in addition to serving some time, he‘s also going to have to make some restitution, make some payments, very appropriately so. Just a gross case.
Mr. Mason, thank you very much. We appreciate it.
MASON: OK, thank you.
COSBY: Thank you.
And now let‘s go, if we could, to Court TV‘s Catherine Crier, who‘s filling in on “SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY” tonight.
Catherine, why don‘t you give us a little sneak peek? I understand that you‘re looking into—this is an interesting murder mystery making some headlines not too far from us.
CATHERINE CRIER, MSNBC GUEST HOST: Yes, the famous “Great Gatsby” estate. Most viewers have probably seen this in movies, all sorts of things. Well, a body was found about 200 yards from the estate. They finally identified the young woman.
But nobody seems to know why she‘s there. Was she killed elsewhere, moved there? Apparently had some altercations with an interesting fellow who had a record of his own not too long before. We‘re going to try and find out, was she employed in the area, get more information and bring everybody up to speed on that case.
COSBY: Well, we will be watching closely in just about 12 minutes from now. Catherine, thanks so much.
And still ahead, you may have seen these amazing pictures. You‘re
going to see them right now. But tonight, you‘re going to hear what it was
like being trapped inside this burning car. The man who actually survived
it‘s amazing he did—he joins us next to talk about his fiery fate and what it was like inside.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Come on, you‘re coming out.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Go, go, go, go, go, go, go, go.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Way to go.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right here, right here, right here, right here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You‘ll be fine. You‘ll be fine, buddy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSBY: Wow. That was the dramatic rescue on a California highway, as you can see, caught on tape just seconds before the car burst into flames. And tonight, for the first time on national TV, the victim, Alex Reinoso, speaks out about his frightening experience.
We‘re going to hope to have him on the phone any moment from the hospital. But with us also, right now, we have the two officers who saved his life, Officer Paul Waymire and Officer Jeffrey Jensen.
Officer Waymire, what was your reaction when you first came upon the scene, this fiery scene?
OFFICER PAUL WAYMIRE, RESCUED MAN FROM BURNING CAR: Well, we saw the citizens around the car. And we immediately jumped out of our police car. And my partner grabbed the fire extinguisher. And we ran down there to try and help.
We didn‘t know if somebody was actually trapped in the vehicle until everybody started yelling at us that somebody was in there.
COSBY: We heard that he was screaming, too. Did you hear, like, any sounds coming from inside, too, officer?
WAYMIRE: As we approached the car, he came to. He was unconscious at first. And then he came to and started screaming about his legs being hurt.
I tried looking into the car. There was so much smoke. And the heat was getting pretty intense. Looked into the car to see if there was some way to maneuver his feet out from underneath the dashboard and their steering wheel, but things were getting really hot and really smoky really fast.
COSBY: Yes, now, were you worried, like, how am I going to get this guy out? I heard it was a lot more difficult than you thought. Did you try a lot of the different doors? How did you finally get him out?
WAYMIRE: Well, we tried all of the doors. And all of them were jammed shut. We ended up having to break out a couple of the windows to clear the smoke out of there, so we could see what we were working with, as far as maneuvering his legs and his feet from under the dashboard.
COSBY: You know, let me bring in Officer Jensen, if I could, real quick. Because, you know, you‘re a rookie cop. You‘re a lot younger. Not too much younger. I don‘t want to offend Officer Waymire too much.
But, you know, were you worried, “Maybe we‘re not going to get to this guy in time”?
OFFICER JEFFREY JENSEN, RESCUED MAN FROM BURNING CAR: No, it just wasn‘t an option. When we got there, I felt that Officer Waymire and I had good communication, what was going on. He checked all the doors. I worked the fire extinguisher first.
When I ran—when the fire extinguisher ran out, another citizen brought one up. At that time, like he said, we broke out the windows. And at no time did I think we weren‘t going to get him out, because as soon as it escalated to the point where Officer Waymire had told me, “You know, the fire extinguisher is running out.”
And as soon as he said, “The fire extinguisher‘s out,” and the flames started coming through the dashboard, and I could see him underneath the car, at that time, that‘s when I really started yanking on him. And at that time, it was either, you know, get him out then or I knew the car was going to go up.
COSBY: Well, you guys did a great job. Both of you, stick with us. We have the guy who actually survived that amazing crash. He‘s on the phone. He‘s in the hospital, but in good shape. He‘s going to be with us right after the break. Stick with us, everybody.
COSBY: As you look at this crash, it‘s amazing that the man survived. And he did. And he‘s on the phone with us now, Alex Reinoso, from his hospital bed.
Alex, I don‘t know if you‘ve been watching or listening, but we have with us also the two officers who saved your life, Officer Paul Waymire, Officer Jeffrey Jensen. What do you want to say to them tonight?
ALEXIS REINOSO, VICTIM IN FIERY CRASH: I want to thank those officers for having the courage to pull me out of that burning car of mine. It took me a little while to recognize, you know, I might have died there, but those two were courageous enough to stick in there and pull me out.
COSBY: You know, Alex, as we look—you know, we‘re hearing that the car exploded about two seconds after you got out. You almost didn‘t make it out.
COSBY: Are you amazed how close you came to not being with us today?
REINOSO: Right. As I‘, watching the video, it‘s kind of hard to see that happening. I‘m more focused on the people who kind of saved me and mostly my relatives and friends (INAUDIBLE) that did occur, that the fire did spread into the (INAUDIBLE) as I was pulled out.
COSBY: And real quick, how are you feeling tonight? I understand, believe it or not, you had no burns. Real quick, how are you feeling?
REINOSO: Yes, I have no burns. And I‘, actually feeling much, much better. Every day, every hour that‘s passed by, pain that‘s...
COSBY: That‘s great. Alex, we are so glad you‘re with us. And what an amazing story. And hats off to both of you officers tonight.
And, everybody, that does it for me for LIVE & DIRECT. Catherine Crier in for Joe Scarborough now.
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