Nancy Grace covered the case on HLN on February 18, 2014. You may read the transcript below.
Missing Baby`s Body Found in a Ditch
Aired February 18, 2014 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
NANCY GRACE, HOST: Breaking news tonight, live, Memphis, Tennessee, and the desperate search for 7-week-old baby Aniston.
|Andrea and Aniston Walker|
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Memphis police have now confirmed the body found in a ditch 11 miles from the baby`s home is missing 7-week-old infant Aniston Walker. Authorities say Aniston`s body was found lying face down in the ditch and showed signs of having been there for quite some time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: And tonight, suburbs, Birmingham, Alabama. A beloved and long-time preacher at a huge Baptist church, First Baptist church of Birmingham, allegedly murders his wife to begin a new gay life overseas? The pastor just spotted boarding an international flight to Germany.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She adored Richard. She loved him very much.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Shahan (ph) is accused of killing his wife, Karen Shahan (ph).
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why would a popular pastor want his own wife dead? Prosecutors say Shahan wants to run away with his gay lover and start a new life.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: And we go live to North Carolina, where a 41-year-old mom and wife claims, My husband forced me to hide body parts of his girlfriend so we could avoid jail. Believe her? I don`t!
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Josie Killeck (ph)...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Severed into multiple pieces.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wife helps husband viciously murder ex-girlfriend.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Placed in an ice chest, acquired a U-Haul trailer, tossed her remains...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE) you`re here because you`re charged with first degree murder.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. Hayes (ph), you`re here charged with first degree murder.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Good evening. I`m Nancy Grace. I want to thank you for being with us.
Bombshell tonight, to Memphis, Tennessee, and the desperate search for 7-week-old baby Aniston. In the last hours, the search for the baby girl comes to a heart-breaking and horrific end, the baby`s body found, still dressed in a football onesie, thrown down a ditch in an obvious attempt to throw the body down a deep culvert. Tonight, who kidnapped and killed 7- week-old baby Aniston?
Liz, let`s see that search video -- searches by air, by land, by water, volunteers, police search for this baby. Baby Aniston`s search comes to a heart-breaking end as the baby`s body is found thrown down a deep ditch in an obvious attempt to throw the baby`s body into a deep culvert.
Joining me right now, investigative journalist Rita Cosby. Rita, how did the baby go missing?
RITA COSBY, INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALIST: Well, that`s what authorities are trying to figure out right now. But what they do know is that a motorcyclist made this horrific find, Nancy. This motorcyclist just happened to be going to this orchard to meet some friends, suddenly walked (ph) off his bike, and there it was deep in a ditch, face down, the body of 7-week-old Aniston Walker. Authorities right now still do not know...
GRACE: Whoa! Whoa! Back it up! Back it up! Rita, you said a motorcyclist found her? Was that a male or female motorcyclist, and they just happened to come upon the body?
COSBY: They just happened to come upon the body. They were going there to a produce stand. It`s in a big orchard. But it looks like it was concealed. He was walking around, suddenly saw this horrific find.
GRACE: Out to the lines. Paula in Texas. Hi, Paula. What`s your question?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, Nancy. I want to say I think you`re just great and I love you and your show.
GRACE: Thank you.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want to ask, Nancy, why in this great country -- the United States is supposed to be the greatest on earth -- we have more people kill children so (ph) other people`s children can rape children like they did here? I don`t...
GRACE: You know, Paula -- go ahead.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because we`re a nation of wussies, I believe, a bunch of bleeding hearts that want to use the excuse, Oh, maybe they weren`t breast fed as a child, that postpartum depression. Maybe they had mental illness. I say it`s all a bunch of horse crap!
GRACE: You know, Paula in Texas, another thing is that in our country, these type of crimes and searches for babies like baby Aniston -- for those of you just joining us, in the last hours, the search for 7-week- old baby Aniston has come to an end. The 7-week-old baby girl has been found in a ditch, her body has been found in a ditch -- let me rephrase that -- in an obvious attempt to throw the child down a deep culvert.
Paula, these stories and these searches get nationwide attention here. And a lot of places, they don`t. But also, jails are like a revolving door. Whoever takes her and kills her is going to go in and out.
And another thing, Paula. I know you don`t want to hear this, and I don`t want to say it, but it`s the truth. When the victim is a baby or a child or an infant, those cases are usually pled down because there`s nobody there to fight for the victim. So there`ll be an involuntary manslaughter plea, a light sentence, and the perp will get right back out from behind bars.
Everybody, we are taking your calls. We`re on the scene in the search for baby Aniston. The search for 7-week-old Aniston comes to an end when her body is found. There you see where cops were searching, right behind that blue area. They have cordoned the whole thing off as they process the scene.
Back to you, Rita. What more can you tell me?
COSBY: Well, the last time the baby was seen, apparently, was by relatives. What`s so fishy is the mother`s story, Nancy. The mother claims that she took her 5-year-old boy to school, left her 3-year-old and 7-week-old baby Aniston in the house. She says the house was locked, and when she suddenly came home, she claims about half an hour later, the baby was gone. Cops do not buy that story.
GRACE: In the last hours, the search comes to an end. Very quickly, Dr. William Morrone, medical examiner, forensic pathologist and toxicologist joining me from Madison Heights. Dr. Morrone, is the autopsy any different on an infant than it would be on an adult?
DR. WILLIAM MORRONE, MEDICAL EXAMINER/FORENSIC PATHOLOGIST (via telephone): Nancy, you have to be very delicate. The skeletal structure of an infant that small is more flexible, and there`s a lot more cartilage and a lot less bone. And you have to be very careful because the exposure out in the elements may create things that look like trauma, and you have to know what you`re doing.
GRACE: You`re seeing the morgue right there. Her body, we understand, has just been taken to the morgue there at Shelby County. Dr. Morrone, I`m going to come right back to you.
Clark Goldband, what can you tell me about this area?
CLARK GOLDBAND, NANCY GRACE PRODUCER: Well, Nancy, as you can see on your screen, and you`ll see behind me shortly, this area is certainly a large wooded-type area, and there does appear, by that culvert, to be an attempt to conceal the body.
Now, before we take a look at it, there you can see it behind me, folks -- look at that. You can see there`s that culvert we had spoken about, and here is where there are attempts to be (ph) some way to try to conceal the body.
Here`s the deal, though. There`s been snow on the ground, Nancy, on and off for the last two weeks. So a key question in all this is how much could that snow have helped slow down the decomposition?
GRACE: You know, another question. Back out to you. Let me go to Matt Zarrell. Is it true the father reports the baby missing? Because the mom says she takes the 5-year-old sibling, the brother, to school, leaving the 7-week-old with a 3-year-old? She leaves them at home alone? And how does the father end up -- she comes back. She says the baby`s gone. A, I find that a very unusual time for a child to go missing, you know, 8:00 o`clock in the morning.
But that aside, why doesn`t she report her own baby missing?
MATT ZARRELL, NANCY GRACE PRODUCER (via telephone): Well, I think that`s one of the questions police have because when she arrived home and she located (ph) it, she saw that the baby was missing, her first phone call was to the baby`s father. And the baby`s father was the one who called police and reported Aniston missing.
GRACE: Back to Dr. William Morrone. Dr. Morrone, like many people across the country, there have been extreme weather conditions in that area. How will the snow -- there`s been a lot of snowfall in that area since the baby went missing. How will that affect -- let`s see the video of the snow conditions there since baby Aniston went missing.
How is that going to affect the condition of her body?
MORRONE: It`s going to preserve the body and make autopsy easier because there`s less decomposition. And you just hope that there`s no other elements like scavengers or animals that made some post-mortem trauma that would be confused with any other trauma. But the snow and the cold weather is good for the pathologist.
GRACE: And Dr. Morrone, the child`s body has made its way to the morgue, we have been told. How do you conduct an autopsy on a child? What happens?
MORRONE: You know, it`s almost a spiritual experience to be around a small baby. It`s more reverence than an adult because there`s a lot more innocence.
And you begin by washing the body, preparing the body, and examining the outside of the body. And then you get your tools ready, and you make your cutdown and you begin to look for trauma. And you have to separate post-mortem trauma from animals and scavengers from perpetrators. And that`s the difficult part. And you have to do an X-ray, and then you do the same toxicology just in case for poisons, and you do trace analysis in the lab.
GRACE: You know, Dr. Morrone, looking at baby Aniston, just 7 weeks old -- I remember when the twins were just 7 weeks old, they were totally helpless. I want justice for this child. There is no way she left the home on her own. No way could this child get out of that home on her own!
Many people have suggested the sibling, the 3-year-old, had something to do with it. No! Statistics show that type of homicide is rarely linked up to a sibling, very, very rarely.
We went -- Rita, remember the same claims were made when JonBenet Ramsey was killed. Everybody thought it was the brother, Burke? Of course it was not him. It`s very rarely a sibling. What are the clues left behind, Rita? What do we know about the way this child was found, Rita?
COSBY: Well, the way the baby was found -- it`s so heart-breaking, Nancy! Little 7-week-old Aniston was found face down, and they`re trying to determine cause of death right now. The other thing, the mother`s story doesn`t add up. The mother said that the home was locked when the two children were inside, and cops found no sign of a break-in.
GRACE: Everyone, for those of you just joining us, the body of 7- week-old baby Aniston has been found.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Cops now say a body found in a ditch by a motorcyclist is confirmed to be baby Aniston.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Seven-week-old kids don`t mysteriously disappear without some circumstances behind it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: According to police, the body showed signs of being there for quite some time when it was located face down. The clothing Aniston was last seen wearing was found with the body.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Welcome back, everybody. In the last hours, The search for 7- week-old baby Aniston has ended. The baby`s body has been found face down in a ditch in a very clear attempt to throw her down a culvert.
We are taking your calls. Unleash the lawyers, Hugo Rodriguez, Miami, Alex Sanchez, New York. First to you, Sanchez. The mother`s story doesn`t make sense.
ALEX SANCHEZ, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, it seems to me a lot of people are being very suggestive that she has something to do with this. And unless you have some type of evidence physically linking her to this alleged abduction and murder...
GRACE: Did I say that? I said the mother`s story doesn`t make sense. That`s what I said.
SANCHEZ: Yes, but what are you -- what are you really saying, and what is everybody else on this program saying? They`re saying...
GRACE: I`m saying I`m suspicious of her story.
SANCHEZ: No, but they`re pointing the finger...
GRACE: She didn`t call 911.
SANCHEZ: ... towards here. And unless you have...
GRACE: She didn`t report the baby missing.
SANCHEZ: ... evidence -- don`t make accusations, Nancy, unless you`re coming here with evidence. This is a very serious offense against somebody.
GRACE: I`m giving you evidence right now. I`m giving you...
SANCHEZ: Well, what is that -- what is that evidence?
GRACE: ... circumstantial evidence that the mother had sole and complete control over the 7-week-old child, that she was the last one...
SANCHEZ: All right, you want to charge her -- right. You want to charge her with neglect?
GRACE: ... that she was the last one with the child, that she knew the child -- she discovered the child was missing, never called 911. She never made a public plea for anybody to help her find the child. She didn`t even call police, Sanchez.
SANCHEZ: Yes, she has bad parenting skills and maybe she should be investigated by the bureau of child welfare. But to elevate that to murder? No, Nancy.
GRACE: ... these facts. Where was the body, Clark? Where was the body found in relation to her home and where she works at the IRS, Clark?
GOLDBAND: Sure, Nancy. Well, if you take a look at her home, it`s in Frasier (ph) all the way up north, and we`re talking about 10 miles to Millington (ph), where that body was found, certainly no indication...
GRACE: But you`re saying it like it`s a long distance. Where does she work in relation to this?
GOLDBAND: Well, Nancy, somewhere in between this route. We`re still trying to determine exactly where the office is, but I can tell you we`re talking about a maximum of about 10 miles for the whole shebang.
GRACE: So you`re acting like 10 miles is a big journey. Back to you, Sanchez and Rodriguez. The body`s just 10 miles from her home. She was in her car that morning. She says she took the 5-year-old to school. So she leaves, the body`s 10 miles away, and she`s in the car. She`s the last one with the child.
HUGO RODRIGUEZ, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: So?
GRACE: What do you mean, so?
RODRIGUEZ: So? You used -- you used Ramsey. Ramsey`s parents were accused and charged and then later dismissed.
GRACE: And? Well, they didn`t...
GRACE: Actually, that`s not what happened.
RODRIGUEZ: ... do any of the things you`re talking about. You have no...
GRACE: A grand jury indicted them.
RODRIGUEZ: ... physical evidence.
GRACE: That`s not even what happened in Ramsey.
RODRIGUEZ: It doesn`t matter...
GRACE: You know, you`re not going to spout out the wrong facts. The Ramseys were charged...
GRACE: ... by a grand jury...
RODRIGUEZ: ... indicted, Nancy.
GRACE: ... and the district attorney chose not to go forward with those charges. So at least get your facts straight.
GRACE: What? What?
RODRIGUEZ: Nancy, you can get charged and indicted for jaywalking. That`s not the issue. There is no forensic evidence...
GRACE: Have you ever seen an indictment for jaywalking? If you haven`t, don`t say that again.
RODRIGUEZ: Anyone can get indicted. That`s the one...
GRACE: Really? Have you ever been indicted? I haven`t.
RODRIGUEZ: Close to...
GRACE: So anyone can`t get indicted! You know what?
RODRIGUEZ: I believe they can.
GRACE: No! No! You are arguing with nobody because you`re not dealing with the facts. I`m going to go back to you, Sanchez. Ten miles from the home is the body, OK, obviously thrown in haste down a ditch. That says nothing to you?
SANCHEZ: Well, I`ll tell you one thing. A defense attorney, if this case is -- if there`s ever an arrest and there`s a trial in this case, there`s some peculiar facts surrounding the finding of this body.
GRACE: Like what?
RODRIGUEZ: I`m not making any accusations...
GRACE: ... finding it?
SANCHEZ: I`m not making any accusations...
GRACE: Put him up, please!
SANCHEZ: ... towards anybody, but there -- this is an orchard...
GRACE: Hold on. Wa-wa-wa-wait!
SANCHEZ: Aren`t there workers...
GRACE: I`m with you on that.
SANCHEZ: Wait a minute. Aren`t there...
GRACE: Didn`t you hear me asking Rita, How did they happen to find the body? But the fact is this motorcycle person meets up with other friends, and they all decide to stop at a fruit stand. It wasn`t like one person goes, Oh, I had a dream, a psychic experience, I know where the body is, which is a little suspicious. That`s not the way this went down, Alex. I thought the same thing.
SANCHEZ: But wait a minute. Isn`t this -- isn`t this an orchard? Aren`t there workers there? Aren`t there people that are maintaining the property?
GRACE: Not in the middle of a snowstorm, but good try.
SANCHEZ: But they maintain it, they take wood away, they travel up and down...
GRACE: No, they don`t!
SANCHEZ: ... they want to make sure that there isn`t floods. I mean...
GRACE: Will you -- put him up! Aren`t you sitting in the middle of Manhattan? What do you know about an orchard, please?
SANCHEZ: I know enough. I know enough.
GRACE: Yes, you know enough to throw it out there.
SANCHEZ: And you don`t have to know that much to know that there`s...
GRACE: Rita. Rita.
SANCHEZ: ... people out there working.
GRACE: Show me the picture of Memphis again in the snow. Rita, there were not any, as Alex says, migrant workers out working in the orchard that could throw the body down. What they`re both trying to do is get away from the mother.
COSBY: And also, the area where the motorcyclist found it is not exactly where the workers would even be working. It was close by.
The other thing, the mother is not cooperating. Authorities have said from day one she has been cagey, her answers have not been consistent, and she is lawyered up and not speaking.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Aniston was last seen wearing a brown onesie, and now cops say the physical description and clothing found on the body match the clothing Aniston was last seen wearing. The motorcyclist rider who found the body 11 miles from the baby`s home said he had just stopped in the area to wait for friends when he made the disturbing discovery.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Welcome back. For those of you just joining us, in the last hours, the body of a 7-week-old girl has just been found, and tonight, we want answers. We are speaking out for 7-week-old baby Aniston because, apparently, the family is not speaking out for her! The family never made a public plea to help find her. The conditions under which she went missing, very unusual.
To Eris Huemer, psychotherapist joining me Dr. Eris, I find it disturbing the mother or the father never made a public plea of any type for people to help find the baby.
ERIS HUEMER, PSYCHOTHERAPIST: Yes, it is absolutely disturbing. And the question is, what kind of parent does this, if the parent is guilty, if the mother is guilty?
I heard a lot of people talking on the program earlier about post- partum depression, but there also is post-partum psychosis, where it actually can lead to a parent murdering their own child. And this is absolutely the ultimate expression of rage.
But what kind of parent does this? It`s somebody who has a lot of stress in their life, financial difficulties, single, being single, and maybe more than one child.
GRACE: Everyone, for those of you just joining us, baby Aniston just found -- her body, that is.
To Dr. William Morrone, how long until we have a cause of death in this child`s murder?
MORRONE: You should probably wait about 7 to 10 days. They`re going to want to do some lab work, and that`s what`s going to take the time. They won`t do it at the end of the day. They`ll do some lab work, about 7 to 10 days.
GRACE: Everyone, the search for baby Aniston has ended. The child`s body has been found. Tonight, we want justice. At this hour, we are just hearing the mother has been taken into custody.
When we come back, a beloved and long-time preacher at a huge Baptist church, first Baptist church of Birmingham, allegedly murders his wife to begin a new gay life overseas?
GRACE: And now live to the suburbs of Birmingham, Alabama. A beloved and long-time preacher at a huge Baptist church, First Baptist church of Birmingham, allegedly murders his wife to begin a new life overseas with his gay lover, the pastor just spotted boarding an international flight to Germany.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He`s a pastor at the First Baptist church of Birmingham, but now he`s accused of butchering his wife to death in their own home. Prosecutors say the pastor wants to run off to start a new life and marry his gay lover.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Straight out to Dave Mack, syndicated talk show host. This is, I think, the biggest Baptist church in Birmingham, and this is a long- time and beloved pastor. What tipped the cops off that he may be involved?
MACK: His answers were enough to make him a suspect, and they actually held him for 48 hours, which is the max they can hold him without charging him for the murder.
GRACE: Everybody, you are seeing shots of the First Baptist Church of Birmingham. The pastor there spotted boarding a flight to Germany, allegedly to be with his gay lover and start a life anew, away from the U.S., away from the Baptist church, and away from his wife, Karen Louise Shahan. To Stacy Newman, what do we know about the condition in which her body was found?
NEWMAN: Well, Nancy, investigators describe this as a brutal scene. She was cut, slashed and stabbed to death and left on the couch. And at the time what we learned is there was an unidentified sharp object. Well, now we`ve learned in the last few hours, Nancy, prosecutors say the weapon was a knife.
GRACE: Everyone, you are seeing shots of a home turned crime scene. A beloved and long-time pastor at a Baptist church now suspected in the murder of his wife. Why? Motive? According to cops, so he could start a new life overseas with his gay lover. Dave Mack, what can you tell me about him being spotted on a plane to Germany?
MACK: That`s actually where Homeland Security caught up with him, Nancy. As he was getting ready to board that plane, he had $27,000 in various types of money prepared for a nice long visit, never to come back, apparently.
GRACE: The flight to Germany, how did they get tipped off he was on his way to the airport and actually boarding?
MACK: It actually came from the church. They knew where he was going. He claimed he was going on a mission trip, and that was his plan all along, and when they caught him he said, hey, if I had known you wanted me in Birmingham, I would have been there.
GRACE: So this was under the guise of a mission trip?
MACK: Yes, ma`am. He laid this out so well, Nancy, he actually started playing it out in 2012. 90 days after his wife`s body is found, he is ready to go on a mission trip for three years and he`s not coming back. That`s why they caught him when they did. If they hadn`t, he would have been gone as much as Snowden.
GRACE: Dave Mack, how did he manage to live a life for all these years as pastor at a Baptist church in Birmingham, married, and nobody ever finds out that he has a double life?
MACK: Yes. And I think that`s a very common occurrence. It`s a lot more common than I think a lot of people understand. I think people knew, I think they were aware, and I think that`s why there is a big shake-up happening right now. And prayers go out to the people of the church, but you`ve got to be honest with one another. You can`t cover this stuff up. You`re going to tell me nobody knew at one of the biggest churches in the Southeast? I don`t buy it.
GRACE: And, Stacy, what can you tell me about the wife`s injuries?
NEWMAN: Well, Nancy, we know that she was stabbed and cut multiple times. It was a bloody scene, Nancy, and all of this evidence will come in if the grand jury decides that this case will actually go to trial.
GRACE: Now, where exactly was he going to? I thought he was going to Kazakhstan.
NEWMAN: This was an elaborate scheme. It started with him going to Germany, and then from there he was going to make his way to Russia. But we found out from prosecutors they have evidence he actually had a plan to go all the way to the United Kingdom and start a life there with his new lover.
GRACE: So long story short, the wife is found, Kerry Louise Shahan, found on the couch inside the home. According to sources within the police department, the death was brutal. He leaves her there, gets freshened up, and hops on a plane to Germany to start his new gay life. Here`s the problem. Is it true he`s out on bond and living with his mother, Dave Mack?
MACK: Nancy, this is the sickening part of this. It`s like not even caring there is a victim here. He`s out on $100,000 bond. And he is -- he has a bracelet he has to wear, but he`s under home confinement with his 86- year-old mother.
GRACE: Her butchered body found in their suburban home basically in the shadow of First Baptist Church. There she is, she stuck by him all these years. She had to wonder, gee, what`s wrong with me. The whole time he never told her he was gay? He hid it from the whole congregation? If they did reject him, and I`m not saying they would, why couldn`t he just go get another job somewhere else and start a new life with the person he really loved? Did he have to murder her, Alex Sanchez?
SANCHEZ: You`re saying he has to murder her. I don`t know why you`re saying he has to murder her without any evidence that he allegedly committed this offense. But let me tell you something, Nancy.
GRACE: About 3,000 e-mails planning the murder and talking to his gay lover online, how about that?
SANCHEZ: This guy is the object of a lot of hatred in that community. Because once it came out that he was gay, a lot of people in that church --
GRACE: I don`t give a flying fig if he`s gay, straight, purple, I don`t care. But did he have to kill his wife? Why couldn`t he just have outed himself and go have a life?
SANCHEZ: I wonder about the people in that community. And I`m beginning to wonder whether or not he`s being targeted --
GRACE: Oh, you`re going to blame them for this? It`s their fault she`s dead, butchered on a sofa?
SANCHEZ: No. I`m wondering whether or not he`s being targeted because he`s gay.
GRACE: He`s out on bond with a bracelet. He`s hardly getting harsh treatment. He`s at home with his mommy eating chicken soup.
SANCHEZ: When people talk about him and his gay lifestyle, they make it sound like he had some propensity to commit crime more than a normal person simply because he`s gay. I don`t buy into that line of thinking.
GRACE: No one said that.
SANCHEZ: You`re not saying it, but a lot of other people suggested it.
GRACE: Really? Like who. You`re the only one that`s even mentioned it.
SANCHEZ: There`s a lot of people reporting this incident, and when you talk about it and read about it, it make it sound like it`s almost something diabolical.
GRACE: I don`t have a problem about gay at all, I have a problem with murderers. Put that in your pipe and smoke it. Dave Mack, this guy is hardly targeted because he`s gay. That is B.S.
MACK: No. He`s the victim`s husband who didn`t have a good excuse or a story that would hold together. The fact that he was a pastor means nothing in this. The fact of his homosexuality, if that is even the case, Nancy. Nobody has even talked about that in an open way. They`re talking about him as the accused here, because he was married to the victim. That`s why. It has nothing to do with his --
GRACE: Again, you know what, I don`t give a flying fig if he`s gay, straight, I don`t care if he`s a cross-dresser, transgender, don`t care. But what I do care about is his decision, according to police, to butcher his wife, leave her on the sofa. For Pete`s sake, what if he goes off to Kazakhstan and somebody else gets blamed for her murder? What if they, for instance, get the death penalty? That wouldn`t happen because I`m sure the evidence is going to point right back to him. That`s what I`m talking about. To Dr. William Morrone, in a butcher, a slaughter like this, there`s got to be his DNA there somewhere.
MORRONE: Not only is there DNA, but they`re going to be able to show was the person who did this left-handed, were they right-handed, did they cut themselves, is there mixed blood, is there trace evidence? You can`t have this much of a mess and get away with it. And that right-handed-left- handed thing, that usually gets people because they never think about it.
GRACE: So he allegedly butchers his wife to death and he`s not even behind bars tonight. He`s at home with his mother with an electronic anklet.
When we come back, a 41-year-old wife and mother claims, my husband forced me to hide body parts of his girlfriend so we could avoid jail. Believe it? I don`t.
GRACE: Now we go live to North Carolina. A mother and wife claims my husband forced me to hide body parts of his girlfriend so we could avoid jail? Believe it? I don`t.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The whole time we wonder who could do this to her. Who could do such an inhumane thing?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I knew what Grant was doing. I didn`t want to be there in any shape, form or fashion. I didn`t want to participate in it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Gwen has a personality disorder, sociopath.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If I didn`t help him, that he was going to kill me, that I would be next.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Amanda Hayes` story makes zero sense.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: My husband forced me to hide his girlfriend`s body parts so he and I could avoid jail? Take a look. You`re going to see the wife and mother and the girlfriend. Rita Cosby, investigative journalist, as I understand this, she, the victim, Laura Jean Akerson, 27 years old, she, the wife, Amanda Hayes, 39 at the time of the killing, she has a daughter by the man, the girlfriend also has children by the same man, and apparently the wife was there when the girlfriend is brutally murdered, and they hid her body in the shower for three days? I mean, how could she not say she knew about it when, hello, there is a dead body in your shower! I assume she took a bath every day. She didn`t see the dead body there, the bloody body? Did she ever think of calling 911?
COSBY: That`s what prosecutors are saying, that they cannot believe this story in any shape or form. And not only was the body sitting there, they`re claiming that the body was dismembered with a ski cutter, basically, with a saw, that, in fact, there is proof that the husband bought. And then they drove --
GRACE: Whoa, wait a minute. Cut her apart with a saw.
GRACE: And the wife stood by. Now, first of all, good Lord in heaven, is that the saw? The saw in court? And the wife stands by while the husband is chopping up the girlfriend`s body with a saw? Do I understand this correctly, Rita?
COSBY: That`s what the allegation is. And then the body parts were then put in a cooler, Nancy, driven hundreds of miles from North Carolina to Texas, and only then the body was then dumped into a river. And that`s where they discovered the body, and she`s claiming, oh, she just stood by and was basically forced and pressured to do this, that the husband is the one who did it.
GRACE: So what was the route they took, Rita Cosby? She claims her husband forced her to hide body parts of his girlfriend. All right. How long were they in the car? Good Lord, all the way from Richmond to Raleigh, there was not a time in 1,200 miles she could call police or get out of the car, not once?
COSBY: It`s unbelievable. It`s 11 days basically of when the body was found, and it took them several days, as you can imagine, to go 1200 miles.
GRACE: Joining me right now, Wes Wolf, reporter with the Free Press in court today. Wes, did she take the stand in her own defense?
COSBY: Yes, she did. But her explanation of her role in it, there were definite holes and the prosecution made a big --
GRACE: What is her story, Wes Wolf? In a nutshell, what was her story to the jury?
WOLF: She claims that she didn`t even know that Laura Ackerson was dead until they got to Texas.
GRACE: Oh, OK. That`s totally impossible. The dead body was in the shower, Michael. How did she not know?
CHRISTIAN: Her claim is that apparently it was dismembered, it was being kept in pieces in coolers with ice. These coolers were then put in a u-haul that they drove to Texas. Again, as Wes says, she`s claiming she did not even know this woman was dead until they got to her sister`s in Texas.
GRACE: So I guess all that happened while she ran out and had coffee. What`s really disturbing is for all of this to happen, the children were there in the apartment. This guy has children by the wife and children by the girlfriend. That is the petrie dish of simmering criminal conduct. Dr. William Morrone, medial examiner, forensic pathologist, toxicologist. How hard is it to dismember a human body?
MORRONE: It`s really hard for one person to do it. It would take two people and good tools. A good autopsy takes two or three hours to do it correctly. And doing it fast, you could get hurt, you leave a lot of evidence. It`s not easy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She told me that Laura was dead and that she had done it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The couple dumped the remains in a creek across from Berry`s (ph) house.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Grant and Amanda Hayes killed Akerson, dismembered her body, packed the remains in coolers, and then drove them to Texas in a u-haul.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don`t think you can imagine the kind of fear I was under. I honestly don`t think you can imagine.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Fear? Fear? Come on. According to cops you just helped her husband murder and dismember his girlfriend, the mother of some of his children. What fear is that, Rita Cosby?
COSBY: She claims that he said when they were in Texas, look, if you don`t help me, none of us are going to get back to North Carolina. The problem with her story, Nancy, is there are these pictures with her lovy dovey with her husband. Even now behind bars --
GRACE: She doesn`t look scared to me.
COSBY: She sure doesn`t.
GRACE: I`m not saying you can judge a book by the cover. But Wes Wolf is with me, reporter, Free Press in court. Wes, apparently she told people she committed the murder and helped dismember the body.
WOLF: Yes. She allegedly had conversations with a woman she was detained with at the Lake County jail. And a former inmate says that -- (inaudible) participated in some way, and then told her it was an accident. Down in Texas she initially told her sister that she had killed Laura Ackerson, but then before she left she kind of made body language that she was just covering up for Grant.
GRACE: I still say it`s pretty hard not to notice a dead body in your shower.
Unleash the lawyers. Rodriguez and Sanchez.
RODRIGUEZ: Nancy, there is no evidence presented that she was present nor participated in any murder, zero, nada.
GRACE: Other than she told people about it.
RODRIGUEZ: Who did she tell? She told the jailhouse snitch. I`d ask you this question, would you allow that jailhouse snitch to babysit your children? The answer is no. They are not credible. You can`t believe them.
GRACE: Who do you think the witnesses are in a murder? Nuns and priests and virgins? Get it together. You know, Rodriguez and Sanchez, here is the thing. You keep saying there is no evidence, but it was her shower stall where there was a dead body for three days.
RODRIGUEZ: No evidence she was there. No evidence she saw it. No evidence she participated in it.
GRACE: Put him up. Do you see the commode right there? You don`t think she had to go to the bathroom in three days?
RODRIGUEZ: Nada. None. They didn`t present it. It didn`t exist.
GRACE: They don`t have to present it. I can see the commode myself. What about it, Sanchez?
RODRIGUEZ: Beyond a reasonable doubt that she committed murder, nothing.
SANCHEZ: Nancy, I`m surprised at you. I really am. This woman has been -- don`t you think this woman has been living under the dominion and control of this monster?
GRACE: No, because they were split up and he was with his girlfriend.
SANCHEZ: Do you think he just suddenly woke up and decided he was going to murder and dismember somebody? And if somebody is capable of murdering and dismembering somebody, wouldn`t you be in great fear of that person, and wouldn`t you do things that you ordinarily would not do?
GRACE: If my husband left me and went and had children with his girlfriend, he wouldn`t be back in the house to commit a murder, word to the wise.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who struck the fatal blow? Who cut Laura`s arms off? Who cut her legs off? Who cut her head off?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was very scared. I didn`t see anything.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who can do such an inhumane thing as murdering someone?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He had a dream that he was in a forest and that he had killed Laura, and that if I didn`t help him, he was going to kill me, that I would be next.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: I love it when criminal defendants have dreams about the murder and then say they know nothing. Michael Christian, what, it all came to him in a dream?
CHRISTIAN: That`s what they said, Nancy. This is a classic case of he said-she said. He said she is the one that committed the murder, and he reluctantly helped her cover it up. She says he is the one who committed the murder, and she reluctantly helped him cover it up. So this jury in this case will have to weigh what she says versus what they have heard from others.
GRACE: You know, the thing is, wasn`t she living in the home when the body was being stored in the shower, Michael?
CHRISTIAN: That body apparently was in the bathroom. I think it is possible, I believe I saw a diagram of the home, and I think maybe they had two bathrooms. So that might answer your bathroom question.
GRACE: Michael Christian, Michael, please.
CHRISTIAN: But apparently, she was there for a couple of days before they moved the body or the remains of the body, the severed body to Texas.
GRACE: The severed body.
CHRISTIAN: At least seven pieces. They chopped the body up and put it in several coolers and carried it over 1,000 miles away to dump it. The photos show her all snugged up to the husband. She was not afraid of him. She hated the girlfriend. She hated the girlfriend`s child that she had by her husband, and she killed the girlfriend. That is what happened.
Everybody, let`s stop and remember American hero Army Specialist Josiah Crumpler. 27. Hillsboro, North Carolina. Army Service Ribbon, National Defense Service Medal, loved his God, family, and country. Parents Pam and Dennis. Two brothers, one sister. Widow Shanna. Two children. Josiah Crumpler, American hero.
And tonight, congratulations to newlyweds Michelle and Michael. They just got married this morning. Aren`t they beautiful? God bless you. Drew up next. I`ll see you tomorrow night 8:00 sharp Eastern. And until then, good night, friend.