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With Three Women Found Murdered in Eight Weeks, Daytona Beach Police Have Just Officially Acknowledged They're Dealing with a Serial Killer. Child Molester Receives Light Sentencing in Massachusetts;
Aired March 15, 2006 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
NANCY GRACE, HOST: Tonight, Daytona Beach, Florida, known for beautiful beaches, the Daytona Speedway, the spring break. Well, tonight on alert, police laying a net for the Daytona serial killer, three young women murdered, each just weeks apart, same MO -- modus operandi. He is actually killing on schedule.
And tonight, outrage! Just $500, people -- yes, one, two, three, four, five -- is all it takes for a convicted child molester to walk free on your street. Tonight, we say to Massachusetts Superior Court judge John McCann (ph), You are in contempt!
Good evening, everybody. I'm Nancy Grace. I want to thank you for being with us tonight. Tonight, Lady Justice spinning like a top! A superior court judge out of Massachusetts, Judge John McCann, puts a repeat child molester on straight probation and sentences him to an anklet -- yes, an anklet, like the one Martha Stewart wore. Well, despite his status as a most-wanted high-risk sex offender, he is back on the street. Thanks, Judge!
But first tonight: Does the seaside paradise community of Daytona Beach, Florida, play home to a serial killer? Already, three women murdered in just eight weeks. Tonight, help us crack the mystery before we read about the next victim.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The people who need to be careful are the people who are in high-crime areas, getting into cars with strangers or people that they barely know.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are asking them to buddy up, stay in lighted areas, get off the street, if they can.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They don't care who the person is. If you pull up, they'll jump in the car.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My parents warned me about it. They're just, You better be careful! They're, like, Anne, there's a serial killer.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Let's go straight out to the news director with WNDB radio. Joining us is Mark Williams. What do you know about the modus operandi of the serial killer?
MARK WILLIAMS, NEWS DIRECTOR, WNDB RADIO: Well, Nancy, Daytona Beach police aren't saying too much about what's going on. They're keeping everything pretty much close to the vest. They did -- they have these serial killers, or these bodies basically lined up, and what they've done is they've called in the FBI, the FDLE, Florida Department of Law Enforcement. They've called in the homicide unit of the Volusia County Sheriff's Department, and of course, investigators from the Daytona Beach Police Department, to try and put a profile together.
They even called an FDLE profiler to talk about this, and they came up with a couple of -- a couple of highlights, such as, it is a male that they're looking for. This guy has stresses in his life. This is how he relieves his stresses.
But other than that, it is being held close to the vest. They did say thus far that all three women died of gunshot wounds. But other than that, they're remaining tight-lipped on this. When they do find this suspect, they don't want to blow this case at all.
GRACE: Well, very interesting. You know -- with us, Mark Williams, the news director with WNDB radio -- police have come out -- this is not just our speculation here on the show, although it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out there is a serial killer in Florida. It's Trial 101.
Modus operandi, method of operation, how this guy does the crime. Police have made a formal announcement that they are dealing with a serial killer just in time for a number of big events in Daytona Beach, massive people flooding the area. Let's talk about modus operandi, Mark. For one, all three of them victims have been shot. All three of the victims have been shot point blank in the head, execution-style. All three of the victims are within a certain area, within miles of each other. All three of the victims, I believe, were killed at a certain time of day that can be determined sometimes by the body. All three of the victims have been seen in and around an assistance center there in Daytona. And all three of the victims believed to have been in and out of a car before their death.
Mark, what can you tell me about the location where the victims' bodies were found?
WILLIAMS: Well, it's interesting. The first body was found December 26 between two stores on Beach Street in down Daytona Beach. It's our main business district. The body was found next to an auto parts store. And initially, somebody thought it was just a homeless person. We have a homeless problem in Daytona Beach. They thought it was a homeless person sleeping it off for the night, until somebody really went over and examined the individual involved, and they found that this person had deceased. So that was downtown.
The other two victims, one found at a construction area near what we call LPGA Boulevard in Daytona Beach, west of Interstate 95. The second victim found the 24th of February in a wooded area off an area called Williamson (ph) Drive. These people, apparently, what police are saying, got into a car alive and they got out dead. They were just basically tossed out into a wooded area.
The one breaking part of this, of course, was yesterday, within the past 24 hours. Police had been seeking an individual who had called Daytona Beach police, saying that they had found the body of Laquetta -- Iwana Patton from Holly Hill (ph), which is a little suburb north of Daytona Beach. The person hung up. They didn't get his name. They didn't get a number. They knew he called from a pay phone.
They've had a media release going on and kind of a campaign over the past couple of weeks to get this individual to call back. This individual has called back, and they talked to him at length yesterday. He is not a person of interest anymore, but they are calling him an eyewitness to this case.
GRACE: Take a listen to what locals and police have to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My parents warned me about it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What did they tell you?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They're just, You better be careful. Of course, I got all different kind of speeches before I came down here. But they're, like, Anne, there's a serial killer.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The people who need to be careful are the people who are in high-crime areas late at night, getting into cars with strangers or people that they barely know.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Well, another issue -- back to Mark Williams. What about the other women, the five other women that were killed back in the '90s? Now, at first, police were saying there was no connection. That case remains unsolved. Is it true that there were five other women killed?
WILLIAMS: Well, I've worked in the Daytona Beach market on and off since 1995, and I don't remember those cases, Nancy, to be true. However, in a county north of us, Flagler (ph) County, which is a growing bedroom community -- it's one of the third largest county -- fastest-growing counties in the United States -- they had some unsolved murders from 1990...
GRACE: That's the ones I'm talking about here.
GRACE: There were five additional women found dead, never solved.
WILLIAMS: Well, they have contacted -- Daytona Beach police have been working hand in hand with the Flagler County Sheriff's Office, and at least two of the murders that they discussed, no connection whatsoever.
GRACE: Well, hold on. Hold on just a moment. According to Detective Skipper (ph), there with the Daytona Beach, my research says just because the manner of death was different with the other five in the late '90s -- five women, all unsolved, just miles away from this set of killings -- just because the MO is different does not mean they're not connected, says police officer Skipper.
I want to go to Pat Brown on that. It is true that serial killers can change their method of killing. And the proximity between the sets of killings, Pat Brown, I find highly disturbing.
PAT BROWN, CRIMINAL PROFILER: Right. Exactly, Nancy, because that can be -- that can be very true. Detective Skipper is correct. MO changes./ It changes when they decide something isn't working, or perhaps they take a knife to the first killing and they get too much blood on themselves, and they say, Well, that didn't work. I had to get rid of the shirt. So they change to strangling. And maybe they have a fight with a woman, so they decide to go for a gun.
There are some serial killers have changed their MO many times. There are some who stick with it straight through. So it all depends exactly what works for the serial killer.
GRACE: At least five of those women found beaten to death in Volusia and Flagler Counties between 1997 and 2004. While, police tonight are saying no link to the current cases, they have no idea who has killed the three most recent women. But we do know, Mark, that the killer is working on a schedule. Explain.
WILLIAMS: Well, the only schedule that we have -- and I took a look at the dates -- the first body was found on the 26th of December, OK? The second body was the 14th of January, the third body the 24th. So literally, a cycle of every three to four weeks, there's a body found someplace.
We have a lot of activities going on in Daytona Beach. As you said in your intro, we have the Daytona International Speedway. We have spring break going on. We just concluded Bike Week. We have black college reunion coming up. And one of the things that Officer Skipper said in one of his releases was the fact that these are not connected to any special events.
However, let me say this, is that with these three deaths, the killer or killers has an opportunity to come into town using Interstate 95. We may be looking at a person who may be out of town, coming into the Daytona Beach area, doing his dirty deed, hopping back on 95 and going to Jacksonville, Savannah, or even Miami because of the good road system we have here in Florida.
GRACE: Well, I find it interesting, Mark Williams -- everyone, Mark with WNDB radio, he is the news director there -- that police are very quick to rule out any connection with the other five dead ladies just a few miles away, although none of these are solved. There's not a clue as to who the killer is, but they're very ready to say there is no connection. There are eight dead bodies, and spring break is upon us.
Take a listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We told her that, you know, life is short and you're going to die one of three ways. Somebody will shoot you, you'll get your throat cut, and at the end, you're going to have AIDS because of the position or the way that they're working.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They're easy targets because any of them -- they don't care who the person is. If you pull up, they'll jump in the car. And they don't know you -- anybody's car.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Joining us tonight is a renowned forensic scientist, Dr. Henry Lee. I know you know him well. Dr. Lee, welcome. I've got a million questions I could ask you about the George Smith case...
DR. HENRY LEE, FORENSIC SCIENTIST: Thank you.
GRACE: ... but I will limit myself tonight to what's going on in Daytona Beach. This is not mere speculation, Dr. Lee. Police have made a formal announcement they believe they are dealing with a serial killer. And I find it very difficult to believe these three bodies are not connected to the other five bodies that were found between '97 and 2004 in nearby Flagler and Volusia.
GRACE: ... is it going to be difficult to get a DNA sample?
LEE: Yes, it's going to be very difficult because all three victim, they are involved in prostitution or street walker, and so DNA may have some problem. But it's not impossible. And last year, we solve a 14- victim serial killer and all prostitute, minority. But that -- those cases it's scattered around different area between 1992 to year 2002. We was able to solve it. The individual, Johnson (ph), was later charged and convicted.
This Daytona Beach case, there are a lot of good evidence there. First of all, all three victim were shot and execution-style. So you (INAUDIBLE) bullet. Now, the bullet we can compare. Is this a semi- automatic or a revolver? Is come from the same gun or not same gun? Now, the bullet we can put in...
GRACE: Hey, Dr. Lee?
GRACE: Guarantee you it's the same gun. You know why?
GRACE: Because police are -- let's read between the lines here. Police are coming out. There's nothing to kill a spring break tourism season like announcing you've got a serial killer killing women. But they are flat out saying it. There's no hesitation with them. Now, why would they say it? My guess is because the bullets are from the same caliber.
LEE: If same caliber, then we can search the data bank, looking for the gun, whether or not have casing involved. In addition, there are rumors that all three woman was bound. So what kind of binding material? And also, the possibility finding DNA on those binding material.
In addition, all three woman, they are half naked. However, their clothing still on them. So if they get into car, may have some carpet fiber, car seat fiber so to compare. That can give us a lot of lead. That -- you know -- (INAUDIBLE) just say, you know, not necessary local people. Could be somebody from other town.
Now, we saw the (INAUDIBLE) They have the videotape. So they should look at December 26, January 14, and of course, February 24, around that time, try to do a (INAUDIBLE) try to figure it out. So a lot of stuff we can do. Of course, public awareness, increase the reward money to generate some information. That's crucial, too.
GRACE: Very quickly, everyone, we will all be back following the heels of a police announcement that there is a serial killer believed to be in the Daytona Beach area just as spring break is upon us.
To tonight's "Case Alert." The anonymous donor pledges $100,000 for info leading to the return of this 24-year-old Jennifer Kesse now extends to Sunday. They want desperately for people to come forward and claim this reward. Kesse disappeared Orlando, Florida, January. If you have info on 24-year-old Jennifer Kesse, call Crimeline 800-423-TIPS -- 800-423-8477. Please, help us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My parents warned me about it, You better be careful! Of course, I got all different kind of speeches before I came down here. But they're, like, Anne, there's a serial killer!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We need hard evidence. We need evidence to link them definitely and to develop some sort of suspect information, as well as information that the public can use in specific areas.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: As not only spring break is upon us, but more activities in the area of Daytona Beach, Florida, police make a stunning announcement that is breaking news tonight. There is, in fact, a serial killer in the Daytona Beach area. Already, three young women have fallen prey to him, and now there is a suspicion that five other women in nearby counties -- counties Flagler and Volusia -- may, as well, have been his victims.
To Eleanor Dixon, veteran prosecutor. Let's talk about the fact that many of these women are hookers, OK? There's no way around it. That doesn't mean the killer's going to stick to hookers. That's why the three women we are showing you are in mugshots. But not all of these women are hookers. And should that even make a difference, Eleanor? And how will it impede the investigation?
ELEANOR DIXON, PROSECUTOR: Well, it may or may not impede it. But here's the thing you're looking at. Hookers, to use that term, are more vulnerable. They're usually working alone. They're easy prey. They're easy targets for a person who is looking for somebody to kill. And this person -- I'm sure the psychologist could speak to this, as well. They may be looking -- they're angry at women, wanting to take out some type of anger towards women. So that's why they're picking these vulnerable prey. They may have issues in the sexual arena, so that's why they're targeting prostitutes because there are lots of interesting areas to look at.
GRACE: Well, Eleanor, let's be blunt about it. You've got the police already admitting they've got a serial killer. They believe he's a man, and he's preying on hookers. So obviously, he's got a problem in the sexual arena. Now, I've already jumped ahead, past the investigation to the trial, and I'm concerned about how these victims will be portrayed at trial.
Take a listen to this. This was about the Green River killer.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Anybody that says a 15-year-old can't be a hooker just doesn't know much about hookers these days.
GRACE: That is a child! And I know plenty about child prostitution rings, sir!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, we have...
GRACE: And if you -- if you're suggesting that because she was a hooker, she's less of a victim, I'm going to have to, you know, take you out on that!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No! Lady, I didn't suggest that at all. These women, these girls deserved as much compassion as anybody. And I'm not lessening what Gary (ph) did because of their occupation at the time. And please don't misquote me that way.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Yes, he was. Yes, he was.
So Eleanor, once we ever do make it to trial, how will this be used against the victims?
DIXON: I think -- well, it'll be used against them to make them look like less of a person, like they deserved to get killed because they're out there, they're vulnerable. And what's important when this killer is killing prostitutes, you know, maybe the mindset is, Nobody'll care, they're just prostitutes. It's a throw-away person. Nobody will look closely into this.
And I think that's horrendous, to treat victims of a horrific death like this in that manner. So I think it's important to look at that whole situation.
GRACE: Well, another issue is, that you hit on to begin with, is that the easy prey aspect of hookers -- and I don't know what could be any easier than a bunch of drunk teenage girls there for spring break. Let's think about that for a moment.
We'll all be right back with the stunning police announcement that there is a serial killer stalking the women of Daytona Beach, Florida.
To tonight's "Trial Tracking." Remember Joseph Smith, convicted of abducting, raping and murdering 11-year-old Carlie Brucia? Well, today he had a little date with Lady Justice. He was sentenced to the Florida death penalty. A car wash surveillance camera caught Brucia's kidnap February 1, 2004. It sparked an intensive search and garnered national attention. Carlie's body found five days later beside a church. Police charged 37- year-old Smith, who many recognized from the abduction video.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are asking them to buddy up, stay in lighted areas, get off the street, if they can. If they can't, to -- you know, do anything they can to get off the street.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Welcome back, everyone. A stunning announcement from Daytona Beach, Florida, police that there is, in fact, not just speculation -- in fact, a serial killer stalking women there in Daytona Beach. We know of three women linked to one killer. There is a possibility five others lost their lives to the same male serial killer.
To Pat Brown. We rarely hear about female serial killers. The police have announced they do believe this is a man. Spring break is upon us. What is an easier target than a bunch of drunk high school girls?
BROWN: Well, exactly. And what might be happening now is this killer, who did target these women probably because they were easy targets -- he may find them no longer easy targets because there's such a focus on that community. He might just say, Hey, let me just move over to a different community, where nobody's actually looking.
And the serial killer actually does believe that no one cares about prostitutes, and he's often quite right because most prostitutes' murders hardly get reported, get a little paragraph in the paper. And when they're sexually -- you know, there is a sexual homicide, a clear sexual homicide, it's a serial killer crime, yet the police rarely tell the community. So these are often big secrets.
And the serial killers know how the police work. They know how secrets are kept in communities. And it is a big thing that police have come out and said there's a serial killer. But everybody has to be careful now because he may change communities, indeed.
GRACE: To Doug Burns, who is a veteran defense attorney both in state and federal courts. Doug, this type of killer, very insidious, very sneaky. None of these crimes are happening where there are any witnesses. And who would come forward and say they saw someone getting into a car? There's been very little public notice of this. And now spring break is upon us.
DOUG BURNS, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Absolutely. It's a very difficult situation. I mean, everybody's pointed out that these people are in what's been euphemistically described as a "high-risk lifestyle," which is prostitution. Let's not sugarcoat it. So they freely get in the car with him, and that's that. But I agree with you. I mean, now he may very well -- Pat Brown, I should say. He may switch his focus entirely...
GRACE: Well, yes.
BURNS: ... and go with spring break. I agree with you.
GRACE: And to Richard Herman, very quickly. To change MOs is not going to be that difficult. We've seen it before, to go from strangling to shooting or back again.
RICHARD HERMAN, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Not at all, Nancy. And I'll tell you, what a stunning announcement it would be is if they canceled spring break down there because it's going to be a very dangerous situation. And I don't believe these police~ know what they're doing. And this serial killer may, in fact, be a woman. They shouldn't rule that out, Nancy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I heard about it back home before we left for bike week, and I made sure to note what hotel I was at. Therefore, if I got separated, I knew how to get back.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Welcome back, everyone. A serial killer announced by Daytona Beach, Florida, police.
To Mark Williams, news director at WNDB Radio, what, if any, precautions are being taken?
MARK WILLIAMS, NEWS DIRECTOR, WNDB RADIO: Well, from what I can see, they've increased their police patrols in and around the area. Now, one thing we've got to take into consideration is, despite the fact these women were all prostitutes, known prostitutes -- and that's why you had those mug shots there -- is the fact nine chances out of 10 they were working a place called Ridgewood Avenue, which is U.S. Highway 1, which is a couple of blocks away from where the first body was found.
The spring breakers end up over on beach side, which is about a mile and a half away. Patrols have been increased. Police have been busting -- doing crackdowns on prostitution up there for the past couple of weeks. About every 10 days or so, there's always a prostitution bust going on up there, rounding the women of the evening up, putting them in the Volusia County branch jail for a short period of time.
Just last week, they ran a reverse string with Johns in the area. So they're doing -- the police are doing their best to keep things under control.
GRACE: Mark, are you seriously saying, with a straight face, that police are trying to stamp out prostitution? Because, word to the wise, not going to happen, OK? I think some other type of precaution needs to be taken because prostitution -- let me just say -- will always be with us. I'm talking about alerts to spring breakers, alerts on television, in newspapers, flyers. What's being done?
WILLIAMS: I have not seen any flyers. And let me just answer that last question. This has been an ongoing thing. I mean, you know, you and I know that they're not going to stamp out prostitution.
GRACE: No way.
WILLIAMS: This is a dog-and-pony show that they're doing right now, OK?
GRACE: OK, well, that's helping.
WILLIAMS: Well, yes. You know...
GRACE: No, I was being facetious; that's not helping.
WILLIAMS: Oh, it's not helping? No, of course, not.
GRACE: Once you hold a hooker in jail, 24 hours, she's out the next day and right back on the street.
WILLIAMS: That's right. Now, there had been reports -- are you ready for this?
WILLIAMS: Of some of these prostitutes who walk the streets at night carrying weapons, small pistols and switchblades. I heard that today. I haven't seen it myself.
GRACE: Well, I have to tell you something, Mark, I'm not surprised. I think they've been doing that for a really long time.
GRACE: You ever heard of a .22 caliber? It's about this big. You stick one right down your hose and it's all over.
To Caryn Stark, question: I know that this may panic the public to say that there is a serial killer, but it's the truth, just in time for spring break. A profiler who evaluated the case said that these women are substitutes. Explain.
CARYN STARK, PSYCHOTHERAPIST: Well, I think what the profiler is saying, Nancy, is that, instead of the real person that's irritating the killer, they're having a substitute. He's taking it out on prostitutes. That may be so. It may also be something that involves his past.
The most important thing, I think, to look at here is that we're talking about the possibility of teenagers who believe that they're invincible. And you take them and their drinking and they're not going to be that careful.
So there really has to be a tremendous amount of warning about what's going on, because he may not just target the prostitutes, as you said. He can change. He could look for girls. He can venture beyond what he's been doing all along. That's what serial killers do.
GRACE: And last, back to Pat Brown, criminal profiler -- Pat Brown is a high-profile criminal profiler -- Pat, give me your best shot.
PAT BROWN, CRIMINAL PROFILER: About who this is?
BROWN: Well, I think he's someone who obviously knows the community very well. I don't think he's a stranger. I don't think he's from out of town. I think he's been around for a very long time.
And that's the whole thing behind all of this. This serial killer has been there before the announcement. And in many cities, serial killers are there just living there year after year because they don't strike necessarily every month like this one has recently, but there may be a downtime of years between killings.
So there's always this guy in the community. So no matter where you live, you probably do have a serial killer living somewhere around, so you have to take precautions all the time, not just on spring break.
GRACE: Well, I find it impossible to believe that police have ruled out or claim they've ruled out the other five dead women -- they're just miles away -- because of a different M.O. Yes, serial killers normally stick with the same M.O., but have been known to change midstream. That is not unusual, Pat.
BROWN: Exactly, fantasies change. A lot of these guys, as time goes on, they get bored with one thing that they do and they go into a new fantasy.
There was one killer out there called Gary Taylor. He started off by hitting people over the head with wrenches on bus stops. Then he went to shooting people through their windows. Then he went to posing as an FBI agent and abducting the women, and raping them, and then he kidnapped prostitutes and brought them to his basement, raped them, and I think buried them in his backyard. So how many M.O.'s is that, at least four or five?
GRACE: I can only pray that the Daytona Beach police are listening to you tonight, Pat.
And to forensic scientist Dr. Henry Lee, a special guest with us tonight, Dr. Henry Lee, another thing I was thinking about, as morbid as many people would find it, is the weather factor, how the weather is affecting evidence relating to the bodies.
DR. HENRY LEE, FORENSIC SCIENTIST: Yes, the weather, of course, contamination grows, bacteria. The DNA may be deteriorated, but they still have a chance. More likely they found some DNA; that's why they determine it's a male, found some semen have a XY chromosome.
You mentioned that two previous case, 1997. Most of the time serial killer don't wait another 10 year to strike, unless this person was in jail. So it's kind of an important thing now, solving the case have to look at the trace evidence.
In addition, if this my case, all my career investigate a lot of serial killer case, I'm definitely going to release what type of weapon. Let the public give us some information. Let's say (INAUDIBLE) and a list we can get some positive information back, and we can investigate.
GRACE: Well, it took me all day to confirm that these women had all been killed in the head. I knew they had all been shot.
GRACE: But very little has been released, Dr. Henry Lee.
LEE: Yes. That's why I think they should, for example, this -- you know, the location, it's crucial. They should also release whether or not hair was found and looking for Caucasian, or American black, or even Oriental.
GRACE: And to Mark Williams with WNDB Radio, Mark, why is it police are not releasing more facts and evidence to the public?
WILLIAMS: You know, that's a tough one. Daytona Beach Police have always kept their investigations close to the vest, so to speak. You know, I'm getting some information from you that they have not even released to us yet. And we're...
GRACE: What, about the shootings in the head?
WILLIAMS: Well, about the shootings in the head, yes, that's the big thing.
GRACE: It took me all day long to nail that down.
WILLIAMS: Well, sometimes, you know, you've done some great investigative work, and we try and do the best we can. But, again, the information is very slow in coming.
GRACE: And very quickly, Doug Burns, why hold back evidence? There are reasons.
DOUG BURNS, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Oh, no, there are clearly reasons. They don't want to disseminate information. They want to make sure that, if somebody steps forward and said, "I have information," they didn't get it from the media. That's the basic Investigation 101.
GRACE: And to Richard Herman, I guess they also don't want the perp to change M.O.'s in order to link future crimes. But, you know, what's the price, stopping a future crime or being able to link a future crime, Richard?
RICHARD HERMAN, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Right, Nancy. I mean, three kills in three months, that's pretty quick. But I'll tell you, the reason they're tight-lipped is because spring break brings in big revenue to Daytona and they've got to step up here.
GRACE: Eleanor, what should they be looking for now?
ELEANOR DIXON, PROSECUTOR: Well, I think, as Dr. Lee said, they're going to look at the forensic evidence, see if there's any link, any fibers, look at the ballistics with the gun, what caliber weapon is being used with this, and trying to link all those three women through forensics, and perhaps being able to link the other women that were found 10 years ago, as well.
GRACE: Big thank you to Mark Williams with WNDB Radio. Mark, I can't stress the serious nature of this enough, as literally thousands of young girls pour into Daytona Beach. Friend, thank you for being with us.
WILLIAMS: You bet. Take care.
GRACE: Very quickly, before we take you to a judge I am personally holding in contempt tonight for letting yet another child molester out on the street -- yes -- let's go to "Case Alert."
In an Iraq courtroom today, former dictator Saddam Hussein blew his top in his first formal testimony at trial. The judge closed the session to the public when Hussein, for 40 long minutes, refused to stop criticizing the court itself and calling the trial a comedy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SADDAM HUSSEIN, FORMER DICTATOR OF IRAQ (voice-over): If it wasn't for the Americans, not you or your father would be able to bring me in here.
RAOUF ABDEL-RAHMAN, CHIEF JUDGE IN HUSSEIN CASE (through translator): You respect yourself. What is this? How can you talk to me like this? You are here accused of a criminal case.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Yes, yes, the benevolent dictator.
And today in West Virginia, the Sago mine reopens 10 weeks after the deadly explosion that trapped and killed 12 miners. Randal McCloy, the only survivor. McCloy in a coma for weeks, still recovering.
GRACE: Judge in contempt. You are taking a look at Glen Wheeler, now 56, sentenced by Judge John McCann to straight probation. Oh, yes, and then there's that nasty ankle bracelet he has to wear like Martha Stewart, for Pete's sake.
Let's go to "Boston Herald" reporter Dave Wedge. Welcome, Dave. Please tell me I'm wrong on the facts.
DAVE WEDGE, REPORTER, "BOSTON HERALD": Sure. Glen Wheeler was convicted here in Massachusetts in 1999 of 22 counts of indecent assault and battery on a child, two counts of...
GRACE: What is that specifically?
WEDGE: It's molesting, sexually assaulting a child, is what it is. And he was also convicted on two counts of posing a child in a state of nudity. He was making videos of the children. There were seven victims, boys and girls, some as young as five.
He served about five years in jail for these crimes. And when he was released, almost shortly after he was released, he violated his probation. One of the ways he did that was he living in a mosque in Roxbury among children where there's some sort of daycare in the facility.
He was violated on his probation. A warrant for his arrest was issued, and he disappeared for eight months before the state police tracked him down living at a mosque in Tampa, Florida. And he was brought back to Massachusetts, and he was before a judge about two weeks ago here in Massachusetts.
And the prosecutors wanted him sent back to jail for all of these probation violations, failing for register as a sex offender and other violations, but the judge imposed the sentence that you mentioned. He put him on probation and an ankle bracelet.
GRACE: OK. Ten years probation and an ankle bracelet. Let's go...
GRACE: ... to the star chamber. Joining us tonight, three veteran and well-respected trial judges are with us to take a look at what this judge, John McCann did.
First out to Congressman Ted Poe, former judge, Harris County, Texas. Straight probation?
JUDGE TED POE, FORMER JUDGE, TEXAS: Nancy, this is absurd. He first of all didn't get enough time the first time he was sentenced on 22 counts of child molesting. He gets out. He runs from the law, goes to another state, hiding out, and he violates his probation. Another judge says, "Oh, don't do it again."
He should be in the penitentiary for a long time, and the judge ought to be under review for his misconduct in this light sentence.
GRACE: Well, I've got a little surprise for you, Judge. Three states have lifetime appointments, and they are New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts. They're not elected; they got a free ride. Nothing is going to be done.
To Judge Margaret Finerty, former criminal court judge, New York State, what's your take, 10 years probation and he has to wear an anklet? That's just like Martha Stewart. Remember her?
JUDGE MARGARET FINERTY, FORMER CRIMINAL COURT JUDGE: He's nothing like Martha Stewart, Nancy.
GRACE: Same punishment.
FINERTY: I mean, it's incredible. And he can take that ankle bracelet off, and he can flee again, just like he did before when he was on probation.
In fact, Nancy, what was surprising to me is, during his trial, apparently he fled, as well, before he pled guilty. So I really don't understand the reasoning behind this sentence. I really don't understand what was going through the judge's mind.
GRACE: And last but not least, I want to go out now to our final judge, Judge, what do you make of it?
JUDGE GINO BROGDON, FORMER JUDGE, GEORGIA SUPERIOR COURT: This makes even my hair grow, Nancy. I was just baffled when I heard about this story. I was trying to figure out some reasonable explanation for what the judge did in this case, but he gave the guy carte blanche authority to victimize other kids. And the blood's under that judge's fingernails. I mean, this is bad. This is real bad.
GRACE: Let me formally introduce Judge Gino Brogdon. Judge Brogdon served on the criminal court felony division here in the city of Atlanta for many, many years, not a stranger to adjudicating, not only murders, but child molestations, as well.
And, Judge Brogdon, come on now. Get real just a moment. There are all these rehab clinics. There are all these psychologists and psychiatrists saying you can rehabilitate sex offenders. Be honest, Judge. You've seen them from the bench for years.
Would you agree with me that sex offenders, unlike many other criminals, I just don't believe they can be rehabbed?
BROGDON: Absolutely. If you look at the statistics, in terms of the repeat offenders, with pedophiles, and you look at some of the medical and scientific studies on these kind of offenders, it is insane to put an ankle bracelet on them or to do anything other than separate them from children.
This is crazy. If this judge is thinking about kids, he will see that this guy will be molesting kids while he's got the ankle bracelet on. This is insane.
GRACE: Joining us tonight, a very special guest, Anne and daughter, victims of Glen Wheeler.
Anne, when you hear that this guy is out on straight probation -- everyone, we are silhouetting them because of the embarrassment they have suffered from being victims -- how does that make you feel?
"ANNE," MOTHER OF THREE VICTIMS: Well, my heart just sinks. It makes us victims all over again that he's allowed to be in public and that he's allowed to be free, when he knew the penalty for one of the crimes he committed was to serve 10 years probation and to not violate that probation.
And he 11 times chose to do the wrong thing and came before a judge, and the judge basically just did not punish him. And so we feel victimized a second time.
GRACE: I want to go Matt O'May (ph). He is the trooper who apprehended Wheeler.
Trooper, congratulations. No telling how many young children you have saved. And believe it or not, Trooper, he has filed a civil rights complaint because he can no longer be at the mosque to have Ramadan...
MATT O'MAY (ph), TROOPER WHO APPREHENDED WHEELER: I did hear that, Nancy.
GRACE: ... where there are children.
O'MAY (ph): Yes, he did that roughly right after he was paid a visit there by his probation officer.
GRACE: Officer, stay with us. We've got to go to a quick break.
But tonight, we want to stop and remember Army Staff Sergeant Curtis Howard, 32, of Ann Arbor, Michigan, killed by a bomb near his vehicle in Iraq. All flags at half-mast. Staff Sergeant Howard, an American hero.
GRACE: Remember, live trial coverage of a 73-year-old Vermont woman on trial for the death of her husband, 78 years old, 3:00 to 5:00 Eastern, Court TV.
Welcome back, everybody. We are going straight back to a story, a judge being held tonight in contempt. There's no two ways around this judge, Judge John McCann, letting a convicted child molester walk free on straight probation and an anklet.
With us tonight, one of the perpetrators' many, many victims. We are calling her "Kim."
Kim, I understand you testified at court. That must have been excruciating. How does this make you feel that this judge, Judge John McCann, has let him walk free?
"KIM," VICTIM OF GLEN WHEELER: I feel very betrayed, because I feel that he should have gotten the 10 years that he was told he was going to get if he violated any of his probation, which he did 11 times. I went through the trial thinking that, if he did ever violate those, he would get the 10 years. And he didn't get the 10 years; he just got the 10 years probation.
GRACE: Well, did the judge sentence him without you being there?
"KIM": What was that?
GRACE: Did you know the judge was going to sentence him to 10 years straight probation?
"KIM": I was there when he said that that was his sentence.
GRACE: What did you feel like? What did you do?
"KIM": I was just shocked. I didn't know what to think. I was just very upset that he got off, because I was expecting him to get the 10 years.
GRACE: And very quickly to Anne, you must be in so much pain feeling that you cannot protect your own children thanks to Judge John McCann.
"ANNE": Yes, it is really painful to know that we've come so far. We've done our part. Our children were very brave and came forward, and we are putting our faith in the judicial system, hoping for some justice.
GRACE: You must be devastated.
Before I sign off, a special thank you to Anne and Kim, the victims, the victim and her mom, of Glen Wheeler. And a special thank you to Matt O'May (ph), the trooper who apprehended Wheeler, another hero in my book.
Thank you, Trooper.
But thank you to all of our guests. Our biggest thank you to you for being with us, inviting us into your homes. Coming up, headlines from all around the world.
And tonight, some good news. Another crime fighter joins our family. Congratulations to our executive producer Dean and Karen (ph) on the birth of their baby, Luke.
I'm Nancy Grace signing off. Good night, friend.