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CT Doctor Testifies About Murderous Home Invasion
Aired September 15, 2010 - 20:00:00 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. Imagine going to sleep at night in your own home, dad snoozing off, reading the paper, mom and her two girls bunk up to watch TV together -- 3:00 AM, the grim reaper enters your house on a quiet tree-lined street, the grim reaper in the form of two parolees. After bludgeoning Daddy nearly to death and separating him from the women, the Mommy and her 11-year-old little girl brutally tied up and raped after Mommy forced to walk into a bank and withdraw thousands. And then the house torched after Mommy strangled to death, the girls 11 and 17, die, choking down the smoke. And now, we find out police stood outside the home for over a half an hour, assessing the scene, while inside murder. Tonight, we want justice!
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Suburban Connecticut, a prominent doctor with a loving marriage and two beautiful daughters.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`ve got Bill Petit here, who`s hurt.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A picturesque home in an upscale community...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 295 Hotchkiss Ridge.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where most don`t lock their doors at night.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Her husband and children are being held at their house.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Feel safe?
911 OPERATOR: What`s your emergency?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dr. William Petit did.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You two, get in the house! Get in the house!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now testifying against two suspects accused of brutally killing his entire family inside that picturesque home.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If the police are told, they will kill the children and the husband.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ex-con Steven Hayes, 47, and Joshua Komisarjevksy, 30, accused of breaking into the Petit residence.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She says they are being very nice.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Torturing each family member for hours before torching the home.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They have their faces covered.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dr. Petit, the sole survivor of the tragedy, bound and beaten in the basement, helpless while his wife and daughters were brutally assaulted.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She was petrified.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Petit testified in court today, I heard the moaning and the thumps. I may have yelled out, Hey. A voice yelled back, Don`t worry, it`ll all be over in a couple of minutes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: And tonight, a stripper turned millionaire`s wife lives the high life, a luxury mansion, mounds of jewelry, mountains of cash at her disposal, but it all comes crashing down when the husband found drenched in blood, face down on a floor in his bedroom at the Ryebrook (ph) Hilton, covered in blood. Alleged mastermind, the stripper turned millionaire`s wife. And now cops suspect she had her mother-in-law killed, too.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was anything but a spur-of-the-moment murder, rather, officials say, a family affair.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A stripper turned millionaire`s wife accused of plotting the brutal beating death of her wealthy husband.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That man was Ben Novak, Jr. (ph), a Florida businessman.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We followed the evidence. That`s how we proceeded with this case. We never focused on one person.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But one person seemed to stick out, Narsy (ph) Novak. Federal prosecutors say it was the only way she could get her hands on his multi-million-dollar estate. The couple, who had a rocky marriage, came to Ryebrook for a business convention.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Suite 453, the Hilton Hotel, is where Narsy Novak claims she returned from breakfast to find the body of her husband beaten, covered in blood, laying face down on the hotel floor, his face and legs duct taped, hands bound behind his back, his eyes gouged with a knife.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Nothing short of a diabolical plan by a woman who was intent on eliminating her husband and taking his family fortune for her own.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Good evening. I`m Nancy Grace. I want to thank you for being with us. Bombshell tonight. Imagine going to sleep at night in your own home, and then the grim reaper enters in the form of two parolees. After bludgeoning Daddy nearly to death, Mommy and her two girls brutally tied up and raped, the house torched after Mommy`s strangled to death. The two girls, just 11 and 17, die choking in the smoke. Tonight, we want justice!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This type of crime doesn`t happen here.
911 OPERATOR: What`s your emergency?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Assault, first-degree aggravated sexual assault, kidnapping, burglary, robbery, arson.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This doesn`t happen in Cheshire.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Or so the members of this sleepy Connecticut suburb thought.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I guess they`re tied up.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Three AM, July 23rd, 2007. Ex-cons Steven Hayes and Joshua Komisarjevsky allegedly bursting into the home of Dr. and Mrs. William Petit.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I didn`t -- she wasn`t going to call the police.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Torturing the family for hours, brutally assaulting the couple`s teenage daughter.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And they told (INAUDIBLE) they wouldn`t hurt anybody.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The sole survivor, William Petit, painfully recalling the barbaric events in court just hours ago.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They tied my hands at the wrists and my feet at the ankles, says Petit, the suspect allegedly threatening, If he moves, put two bullets in him.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Anguish.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Absolutely disgusting.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Horrific crime.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tragic, evil thing that could be done.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the type of town where you go to bed at night and you leave your door unlocked.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Joining us right now at the courthouse there in New Haven, Connecticut, Matt Dwyer, reporter with WTIC AM 1080, and Michael Christian, senior field producer "In Session," in court today. First to you, Matt. Tell me about what happened the night of the incident.
MATT DWYER, WTIC AM 1080: Well, Dr. Petit had come home from a day golfing with his father. He said he was very tired, and after dinner, he laid down on a couch in their sunroom. He fell asleep about 10:00 PM. He had said that, ultimately, he felt a strange sensation later on, and said, Ow, ow, ow, or thought that, and started to wake up and realized there was something warm running down his face. He realized later that it was blood.
He said that it took about 20 seconds for him to actually wake up. And then he realized there were two men standing over him. Those men allegedly were Steven Hayes and Joshua Komisarjevsky. Hayes and Komisarjevsky basically then tied up Mr. Petit and brought him down...
GRACE: And separated him from the women. Out to Michael Christian, senior field producer, "In Session." Michael, we`re showing the viewers right now shots of Dr. Petit, his face bludgeoned in. After he`s tied up in the basement by the hands, by the feet, what happens upstairs, Michael Christian?
MICHAEL CHRISTIAN, "IN SESSION": Well, we know that these guys, Komisarjevsky and Hayes, are terrorizing these women. They sexually assault Michaela, who`s the young daughter. She`s 11. They convince Jennifer Hawke-Petit, the mother, to go to the bank. Steven Hayes is going to escort her to the bank and withdraw some money. So they go to the bank, she withdraws $15,000. But then they return to the home. Within literally minutes, Mrs. Petit has been raped and strangled and the home has been set on fire.
GRACE: I understand that today, pictures that caused the jury to break down and cry were shots of 11-year-old Michaela in her pajamas, tied at the wrists to her bed, her lower torso partially hanging off the bed. They raped the 11-year-old little girl, Michael Christian?
CHRISTIAN: That`s right, Nancy. I`ve seen these pictures, and it`s no wonder that the jury cried. I saw some of the reporters crying when we were showing them. As you say, Michaela was laying partially off the bed. You can see burns on her. She`s been partially burned because three guys have set the house on fire.
Now, both these girls died of smoke inhalation. They didn`t actually die of their fire injuries. But she`s been sexually assaulted. She`s on the bed. Hayley, the other daughter, is laying in the hallway, face down at the very top of the stairs. So either she had been released somehow or she`d gotten herself released and perhaps tried to escape, perhaps tried to help her sister, but just couldn`t make it and collapsed at the top of the stairs.
GRACE: Steven Hayes, Joshua Komisarjevsky, these two with a long criminal, history walking free. I want to go to you Ellie Jostad, our chief editorial producer. We are taking your calls live. Ellie, tell me something, how did these two freaks -- freaks! How did they find this nice family?
ELLIE JOSTAD, NANCY GRACE PRODUCER: Well, Nancy, prosecutors believe that earlier that evening, Jennifer Hawke-Petit, the mother, and her girls were at the Stop and Shop buying groceries to cook dinner for the family that night. They think Komisarjevsky, the younger of the two defendants, saw them that night. He followed them to their house. Later, he came back with his co-defendant, and sometime in those early morning hours, they gained entry to the house, and that`s when this nightmare started.
GRACE: Ellie, I understand that a lot of people in that neighborhood leave their homes unlocked. Was the home unlocked?
JOSTAD: Well, we don`t know that for sure. I haven`t heard that yet in testimony. But we know that this is a very quiet neighborhood, just north of New Haven, very safe, according to neighbors.
GRACE: I am sick. I am sick! Susan Moss, look at these rap sheets on Steven Hayes. Incredible! I`m looking at at least 12 to 15 larcenies - - carrying a weapon, burglaries, drugs. It goes on and on and on. And Komisarjevsky is no better. It goes all the way back to 2002 and likely before that. Why were they walking the streets to prey on these two girls and the mother? Why?
SUSAN MOSS, FAMILY LAW ATTORNEY: Because a huge mistake was made. But they`re not coming up for air once they get in that chair! It`s clear they`re going to go to the death penalty. These two are going to be convicted! And during the sentencing, we`re going to hear all about how they were on parole -- on parole! They`re going down!
GRACE: We are taking your calls. Out to Dorian in Illinois. Hi, Dorian.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, hi, Nancy. I have two questions, basically. One is, what kind of neighborhood is so safe, I don`t care where you live, that you can leave your doors open, if that happened? And two, when she was at the bank, why didn`t she first tell the teller that all this was happening, so the teller can contact the police right away? In that half hour -- I`m just horrified that, you know, it was smoke inhalation. It takes time to inhale smoke. I mean, this just (INAUDIBLE)
GRACE: Well, remember, Dorian -- remember, the home was not set on fire until after the mom gets back with the money. But hey, Liz, let me see the photos of this mom going into the bank, steel-faced, doing what she thinks is the right thing to save her family.
Out to you, Michael Christian. What exactly and when exactly did the mom tell the bank teller about what was happening?
CHRISTIAN: She did tell the bank teller, Nancy. She said that there were two men that had invaded her home and were holding her family hostage, but she said that, you know, she didn`t want the bank teller or the bank manager to tell the police, that she thought everything would be OK. Unfortunately, she was very, very wrong.
GRACE: Wait! Wait! Wait! She told them not to call the police?
CHRISTIAN: According to what the bank manager said in the 911 call, she thought everything would be fine when she got home with the money, that they were treating the family very nice, and when she got there with the money, they were going to leave everyone alone.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My teller walked in here with me and said -- you know, and I agree, it`s amazing how calm she was, so -- but then again, she could have been petrified. I don`t know.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I thought, it`s now or never, because in my mind, at that moment, I thought they were going to shoot all of us.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dr. Petit, his wife and two daughters were held hostage in their home for several hours.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They forced Jennifer Hawke-Petit to withdraw cash at this Bank of America branch.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And they told us they wouldn`t hurt anybody if she got back there with the money.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Fifteen thousand dollars.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They had their faces covered. She is petrified.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She tried to signal she needed help.
911 OPERATOR: She`s being held for...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Her husband...
911 OPERATOR: Her husband and family is being held?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
911 OPERATOR: At their house?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. She says they`re tied up.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: By the time they responded, the house was on fire. Jennifer Petit and daughters Hayley and Michaela were dead. William Petit was badly beaten but survived.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I felt something warm running down the front of my face. I was oozing blood rather profusely.
911 OPERATOR: OK, is she still in the bank?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, she is.
911 OPERATOR: OK, her husband and family...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Two -- yes. They`re tied up. She said -- she`s taking $15,000 out of her credit line. They told her they wouldn`t hurt anybody if they got back there with the money. She believes them. I think she`s walking out now. She`s walking out now. I don`t -- I will watch and see what kind of car she gets in. I`m in my office with the lights off. And I`ll try and see where -- but I don`t want to make anything look obvious. I don`t want to...
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Man, everybody`s all worried about making something look obvious. People are dying, all right? You are seeing actual bank videos, that will be shown to a jury, of this mom who walks bravely and stern-faced into the bank to withdraw $15,000 in the hope that it would save her family. It did not. The home and her two daughters lost their lives after being raped by these two parolees, say police.
Back to you, standing by, Michael Christian, senior field producer with "In Session." He`s there at the courthouse. Michael, do you have any idea -- you`ve been hearing the evidence -- how these two freaks got into the home?
CHRISTIAN: We have heard testimony, Nancy, that there was a broken lock on the back door -- excuse me, on the basement door, the casement steps that go down from the basement to the outside. Apparently, according to Dr. Petit, that lock had been broken a couple of weeks earlier and it just hadn`t been replaced yet.
But I have to tell you that Joshua Komisarjevsky likes to break into people`s houses. He did this a lot. He had a long history of burglaries, perhaps hundreds, according to his own accounts. And he said that getting into a house was never a problem for him. He could get in through a garage. He could cut a screen door. He could get through pretty much any lock that`s made. He likes to go into people`s houses.
Sometimes he stole things. Sometimes, he claims, he just went in the houses in the middle of night and sat there and looked at people`s belongings and listened to the sounds of house, listened to the sounds of the people sleeping upstairs. So getting into this house would not have been a problem for him, even if the basement -- or excuse me, the -- the basement lock hadn`t been broken.
GRACE: You know what, Christian? I`ve seen a lot. I`ve seen dead bodies. I`ve seen crime scenes. I`ve seen autopsies. But you just creeped me out, saying this guy would sneak into houses and just sit there and listen to the sounds of the house? Well, he did a lot more this time, including triple homicide and rape of an 11-year-old girl!
Out to the lines. Sheryl in Texas. Hi, Sheryl.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, Nancy. I love your show. Thank you for being the voice for the victims that can no longer speak for themselves.
GRACE: Thank you. And you know, we see a lot of these cases. We see murders. We see assaults. But there`s something about this case, something about this case that is just driving us over the edge.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It tears your heart out, it does, to think about how they tortured this family, you know, and...
GRACE: And Sheryl, when I think of this 11-year-old little girl, wearing her little PJs, tied to a bed, raped before she dies of smoke inhalation, believe me...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It makes you sick.
GRACE: ... they are wise in seeking the death penalty. What is your question, dear?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, Nancy, I was going to ask, how did Dr. Petit identify the two men that attacked him? They said their faces were covered at the time. How did he identify them?
GRACE: Good question. Matt Dwyer with WTIC AM 1080. how were they identified, Matt?
DWYER: I think the police have identified them. They actually saw the two men running out of the burning building. There was actually one police officer who was trying to back them -- excuse me, trying to box in their cars. They were trying to drive away. The two men actually hit that police officer`s car, then ran into two other police cruisers that were blocking the road a short distance away, and that was how they were captured.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have a lady who is in our bank right now who says that her husband and children are being held at their house.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: 3:00 AM.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They have their faces covered. She is petrified.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Deadly home invasion.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They beat a prominent doctor and held his family hostage for hours.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I got Bill Petit here, who`s hurt, my neighbor.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He was woken by feelings of pain, blood running down his face, seeing dark figures in the house, one saying, If you give us what we want, no one will get hurt.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Petit heard one of the suspects say, If he moves, put two bullets in him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: We are taking your calls. Out to Diane in Florida. Hi, Diane.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, Nancy.
GRACE: Hi, dear. What`s your question?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did the family have any alarms in the home?
GRACE: Good question. Ellie Jostad, what do we know?
JOSTAD: Don`t know of any alarm going off that day. And also, Dr. Petit, when he testified, said that they did not keep any weapons in the home, a question a lot of people had, as well.
GRACE: And Ellie, I think it was Michael Christian that told me they followed the mom and the two girls home from, like, a Quiktrip (ph) or a 7- Eleven?
JOSTAD: A Stop and Shop grocery store, Nancy.
GRACE: OK, Tom Shamshak, former police chief, private investigator, instructor at BU, Boston University. How can I avoid that? I go everywhere with the twins, just me and them. How do I avoid some perv, like this bunch, following us? I mean, I can`t look behind me all the time. I`m holding two children and dragging a broken foot along behind me.
TOM SHAMSHAK, PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR, FMR. POLICE CHIEF: Nancy, very good question. Thank you for having me on again. The first thing you should do is realize -- be aware of your surroundings at all times. Personal crime prevention needs to be practiced on a daily basis. Before you get out of your car, look around to make sure that there`s nothing suspicious there. And if there is, call 911. At night, when you`re leaving a mall, have somebody from the security escort you out to your automobile.
GRACE: I want to go back to Michael Christian. Michael, we`ve taken a look, as you directed us, at this long rap sheets. How long do you think this ordeal took place -- ordeal took, and how did the father escape?
CHRISTIAN: It`s believed that they entered the house somewhere around 3:00 in the morning, Nancy, and we think that`s when Dr. Petit was attacked. He eventually escaped. He was able to get free from the pole he was tied to in the basement. He hopped up the basement stairs, and because he couldn`t really move, he rolled, literally rolled over to the neighbor`s house, where he was able to bang on the garage door and ultimately call for help.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED CALLER: It`s amazing how calm she was, so -- but then again, she could have been petrified, I don`t know.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Dr. William Petit recounting minute after minute of what he remembered when he was awakened by severe pain some time around 3:00 a.m.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Dr. Petit painfully recalling, "It was very strange. I remember thinking or feeling, ow, ow, ow."
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: He could feel the pain in his head and then the warm blood running down the front of his face.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: "I was oozing blood rather profusely."
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Petit says he saw the outlines of two men standing in his sun room where he fell asleep around 10:00 that night. One of the men, Petit says, was holding a gun by his side.
UNIDENTIFIED CALLER: She is getting $15,000 to bring out to them that if the police are told they will kill the children and the husband.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Petit says the men tied his hands and wrist and then brought him to the basement at some point where he was tied to a pole and had blankets thrown over his head.
UNIDENTIFIED CALLER: I want to tell you, my teller said that she saw the driver. He had a black hood over a hoodie and a baseball cap on. She couldn`t identify him, but she did see that he -- there was someone in the car and he did have a sweatshirt over his head and a baseball cap.
UNIDENTIFIED 911 DISPATCHER: Black hooded sweatshirt --
UNIDENTIFIED CALLER: And a baseball cap.
UNIDENTIFIED 911 DISPATCHER: Baseball cap. White male, black male?
UNIDENTIFIED CALLER: Could you tell if it was a white male or a black male? Yes, she thinks white, but she can`t -- it was -- definitely not black.
UNIDENTIFIED 911 DISPATCHER: He was the driver?
UNIDENTIFIED CALLER: He was the driver? Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED 911 DISPATCHER: Did anyone get the license plate?
UNIDENTIFIED CALLER: No, we did, sir.
UNIDENTIFIED 911 DISPATCHER: OK.
UNIDENTIFIED CALLER: Sorry.
(END OF VIDEO CLIP)
NANCY GRACE, HOST: We are taking your calls. It`s my understanding the dad lost seven pints of blood during this ordeal. Is that right, Michael Christian?
MICHAEL CHRISTIAN, SENIOR FIELD PRODUCER, IN SESSION, IN COURT TODAY: That`s right, Nancy. He testified five to seven pints. He lost an awful lot of blood. He had very serious injuries. He was savagely, savagely beaten around the head with a baseball bat.
GRACE: The father, snoozing, dozes off to sleep while mommy and the two girls fall asleep, get drowsy watching "Army Wives" that night. They go on to bed. 3:00 a.m., the grim reaper comes in the door in the form of these two parolees.
May they rot in hell.
I want to go out to Dr. Howard Oliver, former deputy medical examiner, now forensic pathologist. Seven pints of blood? How much is that?
HOWARD OLIVER, FMR. DEPUTY MEDICAL EXAMINER, FORENSIC PATHOLOGIST: That`s most of your blood. That`s probably 60 percent of your blood.
GRACE: Take a look at him. And this is months afterwards.
Unleash the lawyers. Sue Moss, family law attorney, child advocate, New York. Bradford Cohen, the defense attorney, Miami. Colorado lawyer, Linda Lee.
First of all to you, Sue Moss, weigh in.
SUSAN MOSS, FAMILY LAW ATTORNEY & CHILD ADVOCATE: I -- there was absolutely no insanity here, but where was the humanity? The fact that these were so brutal -- an 11-year-old. An 11-year-old is raped.
These two. These two, we`ve got the figure out where we went wrong in letting them out.
GRACE: And let`s go to the defense attorneys, Bradford Cohen, Miami, Linda Lee, Colorado lawyer.
First to you, Cohen. The defense is --
BRADFORD COHEN, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: There is none.
GRACE: No, no.
COHEN: The defense is none.
GRACE: Their defense is, Bradford Cohen, that it was not premeditated.
COHEN: Oh, sure.
GRACE: They`re in the home for hours.
GRACE: That it was just a burglary gone bad. How can a burglary be good to start with? But how can it be a burglary gone bad and that it`s not premeditated when they`re there for hours and hours?
COHEN: Well, their defense is going towards the actual death penalty phase. Their defense is not going towards the actual act of what happened. They`re going to get convicted of what happened.
It`s very difficult to put on a defense where the individuals that are assaulted or left there, the house is burning, and the two individuals that committed the crime are then fleeing and crash into a police car right afterwards.
So their defense is really towards the penalty phase where they`re trying to save these two individuals` lives from the death sentence. That`s really where their defense is going.
The defense of the actual crime, there`s not much to it. In fact, that`s why they didn`t cross-examine the doctor because I think they didn`t cross-examine him -- it would really turn the jury off which they`re already turned off, to be quite honest with you, but it would turn them off even more and hate the defense even more if they started to cross-examine the doctor.
Really, there wasn`t much to do on the doctor.
GRACE: Liz, put up a shot of the family, the whole family all together. Liz, you got the lawyers up. I want to see the family. The family that lost their lives.
OK, that`s one member of the family. There you go.
Now, imagine this photo with all three of the women gone. That is what happened to this family.
OK, Linda Lee, let`s hear your defense.
LINDA LEE, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, honestly, Nancy, in this case, there is no defense. There`s no defense. What you could do here is mitigate the amount of punishment.
They`re looking at a life sentence or death penalty. And right now, the only thing any defense attorney could do is really try to mitigate it to avoid the death penalty.
GRACE: We are taking your calls. Out to Iris in California. Hi, Iris?
IRIS, CALLER FROM CALIFORNIA: Hi, Nancy.
GRACE: Hi, dear. What`s your question?
IRIS: I want to know why it took so long for the police officers to get there once they got that call from the teller that the house was on fire.
GRACE: Yes. And you know being a former prosecutor I normally side with police, but this one has me stumped.
Go ahead, Michael Christian, take a crack at it.
CHRISTIAN: You know, we heard from a police officer on the stand today, Nancy, and he was asked about that. And his answer was that this was normal police protocol when you have a hostage situation or a potential hostage situation.
So the police cordoned off the scene, they were there in some unmarked cars, they did some drive-byes, they got out of the car, they were in the area. But they didn`t approach the house until after Dr. William Petit got out and they saw the defendants attempting to flee.
GRACE: OK, you know what, that`s not flying with me. Mommy and the two little girls are inside, being raped, and choking down the smoke, dying, while the cops are outside, quote, "assessing the scene."
Now, listen, I`m not blaming the cops for the deaths, all right? What they did wrong, in my mind, is not going to change what these two defendants did. But they may have saved those lives.
What about it, Matt Dwyer, joining us from WTIC-AM 1080? What was the jury`s response to all this? How were they responding? And what are the cops` defense to this?
MATT DWYER, REPORTER, WTIC-AM 1080: Well, in terms of the police, they say they had no indication that there was violence inside. They simply arrived and once they saw the flames and the smoke, they immediately tried to get in. Although at that point, it was too late for them to get in.
Now, in terms of the jury, it was a very emotional day here today especially, but the judge actually said this was probably the roughest day for the jury today. They had to look at the photos of the victims after their deaths.
GRACE: Out to Dr. Patricia Saunders, clinical psychologist. Dr. Saunders, there`s something about this case. There`s something about it. And we`ve seen plenty of murders, we`ve seen home invasions, we`ve seen it all.
But some thing about it. I don`t know if it`s the 11-year-old girl. I don`t know if it`s the young 17-year-old, getting ready to go to college. The mom who tried so hard to be strong, going in that bank, being forced.
Let`s see the photos, Liz.
Being forced to withdraw thousands of dollars to save her family in a futile attempt. She went back home to save her family. She was raped brutally and strangled to death. She went to her grave knowing that these monsters had her two daughters.
What about it, Dr. Saunders? Why this case?
PATRICIA SAUNDERS, CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST: I think part of the horror is the hideous fact that this could happen to anybody, Nancy. This is a happy, successful, loving family, trusting. And the monsters took over. Another element is that this is real sexual sadism, and that creeps all of us out.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Steven Hayes and Joshua Komisarjevsky are accused in the killings.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Strangled his wife and killed his two daughters.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: His head covered, Petit says he was taken to the basement, tied to a pole, bleeding from his injuries.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: He heard moaning upstairs and a thumping sound.
(END OF VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: A stripper-turned-millionaire`s wife accused of plotting the brutal beating death of her wealthy husband on a business trip.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A 53-year-old man was brutally beaten, cut, bound and killed. That man was Ben Novack Jr., a Florida businessman.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Federal prosecutors say it was the only way she could get her hands on his multimillion-dollar estate.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The diabolical plan by a woman who was intent on eliminating her husband.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Suite 453 at the Hilton Hotel is where Narcy Novack claims she returned from breakfast to find the body of her husband, beaten, covered in blood, lying facedown on the hotel floor.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`re at the beginning of a criminal process, having now until the indictment and we are looking at a lot of different things.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: His face and legs duct taped, hands bound behind his back, his eyes gouged with a knife.
(END OF VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Breakfast. She goes to breakfast and when she comes back all of this has happened in the hotel room they shared?
Must have been the buffet, Alexis Weed. What happened?
ALEXIS WEED, NANCY GRACE PRODUCER: She says that she was on a business trip with her husband in Rye Brook, New York, at the Hilton Hotel, and she went downstairs for breakfast at 7:00 a.m. so she says. And she came back to find that her husband needed medical attention, called the police, that`s when police responded and found him laying facedown, covered in blood. He was dead when they arrived there at the scene, Nancy.
GRACE: OK. To you, Stacey Newman, you`ve researched this case extensively. What`s the state`s theory?
She had it all. Why kill the goose that laid the golden egg? Why kill the husband? He gave her everything she wanted. Money, jewelry, everything.
STACEY NEWMAN, NANCY GRACE PRODUCER: Well, Nancy, as you know, in cases like this, an affair always rears its ugly head. Apparently she claimed he was having an affair behind her back, he planned to divorce her, he planned to possibly marry another woman.
She wanted to make sure she kept her hand on those millions, and since other relatives were in line to get that money, she was also, according to prosecutors, going to off them as well.
GRACE: OK, Stacey, do they believe she hired the hit-man? Is that the deal? Are they suggesting she did it by her own hand?
NEWMAN: No. They`re actually suggesting that she had a whole line of co-defendants, Nancy, that she put a murder plot in motion, started this murder plot from Florida, planned on this business trip that she was going to open the hotel room, let these men in, and stand there and watch, Nancy, as they beat Ben Novack Jr. to death.
She also instructed them to gouge his eyes out, finish him off --
GRACE: Whoa, whoa, wait. Wait. Wait a minute, little girl. Did you say gouge his eyes out? I didn`t hear that part.
NEWMAN: With a utility knife, yes, they did. Then she also instructed them to, quote, in Spanish, told them, finish him off. She also turned over a pillow, handed it to one of the guys, told them, put it over his face to muffle his screams, and when it was all over, Nancy, prosecutors even allege she took her husband`s diamond bracelet that he never took off, his name was inscribed on it, she gave the bracelet to one of the co-defendants.
GRACE: OK. From what you`re telling me, this testimony could only come -- this information anyway could only come from somebody in that room. So are one of the killers rats? Is that where we`re getting the information?
NEWMAN: Nancy, come on, you know, when there`s multiple co-defendants --
NEWMAN: -- someone turns and starts singing like a canary, Nancy. And they were like, uh-oh, there`s so much evidence against us, she did it, she put us up to this, she`s the one to blame, she`s the mastermind.
GRACE: That`s why I always say I`m a firm believer in do-it-yourself.
OK, Julie Brown, reporter, "Miami Herald." What else does the state have on the stripper-turned-millionaire?
JULIE BROWN, REPORTER, MIAMI HERALD: Well, besides the charges that they have against her, they also have found out from one of the -- allegedly from one of the witnesses that she was behind the murder of Ben Jr.`s mother whose body was found about three months before his murder.
She was found in her Ft. Lauderdale home and she -- the medical examiner ruled that an accident. But after Ben was found murdered, they reopened the case. They examined it again. They still concluded it was an accident. And it wasn`t until the arrest of Narcy Novack and her co- conspirators that they found out that in fact -- indeed she was murdered in her home.
GRACE: OK. I don`t get it, Alexis Weed. How can they look at -- you`re looking a the mother-in-law right there. A mother-in-law who by all accounts had been nothing but kind to her son`s stripper wife.
OK. Alexis Weed, how did the authorities believe that she died of natural causes, not once but twice, before they figured out she was murdered?
WEED: Nancy, we don`t have any information as to why that initial evaluation after her death determined that this was an accident. The original medical examiner said that she had fallen, but later now that there is maybe this cooperating witness or someone who`s ratting out one of the co-conspirators, that we`re now hearing that no, in fact, there were a couple of men who entered the Ft. Lauderdale home of the mother of Ben Novack and that`s how she came to her death.
GRACE: We are taking your calls. To Angel in Illinois, hi, Angel.
ANGEL, CALLER FROM ILLINOIS: Hi, Nancy. Love your show.
GRACE: Thank you.
ANGEL: I`m wondering, on this case, was there a pre-nup? And do police have any prior calls for domestic violence? And since there were three other -- there`s three other defendants who are obviously ratting them out and she had a list of who was going to be killed next, could this have been a lover turned against a lover turned against a lover?
ANGEL: Because --
GRACE: Good theory. Good theory. In fact, the defense might use just that theory, Angel in Illinois.
We`re talking tonight about money, glamour, and murder. A stripper- turned-millionaire`s wife. This is the heir to the Fontainebleau Hotel dynasty. Yes. The man you`re looking at -- well, the man you were looking at.
The Fontainebleau, there you`re seeing shots inside of it, absolutely phenomenal. It`s a luxury hotel.
The heir to that. There`s one in Miami. They`re in the middle of building one right now in Vegas. They`re legendary. And this guy, the deceased, her husband, was the heir to that.
OK, Angela has quite a few questions. Let`s go to you, Alexis Weed. Pre-nup and domestic violence. What do we know?
WEED: Nancy, there was a pre-nup originally, but as we understand it was invalidated at some point. And in order for Novack to get her hands on this fortune, the mother had to go and the husband had to go.
GRACE: Lori in Maryland, hi, Lori. What`s your question?
LORI, CALLER FROM MARYLAND: Hi, Nancy, How are you?
GRACE: I`m good, dear.
LORI: Look, I was just wondering -- first of all, I want to tell you, I love your "SWIFT JUSTICE." It is great. I watch you every day.
GRACE: Thank you. Thank you. I`m a little -- I`m a little on the fence about the commercial with the Grim Reaper, but other than that I`m down with it.
What do you think about this case?
LORI: You know I just can`t believe how people can be just so desperate that they want to take somebody else`s life.
I`m just curious, why do you think -- or what do you think she told her husband why she was going to go have breakfast without him? What did she tell him?
GRACE: Well, I wonder -- I wonder if she ever left for breakfast at all.
What do you know, Stacey Newman? Don`t they have some evidence about her leaving the room, not as many times as she said she it?
NEWMAN: Well, actually, the evidence is there are surveillance pictures of her coming back from breakfast to the room before she suddenly finds her husband dead. Also, we do know that there was no hotel key used between the time she said she left and she came back, Nancy.
GRACE: OK, Linda Lee, Colorado defense attorney. What`s your best defense? Hit me.
LEE: You know what, Nancy? I would say alternate suspect. Her daughter is who I would be looking at. Her daughter is going to inherit everything if she gets convicted.
Her daughter has alleged that she has been hit by a crowbar. This incident was never reported. Her daughter stands to gain everything. She was there at the hotel when this occurred.
GRACE: Wait a minute. Wait a minute. Linda Lee, now are you sure you got your JD, and not your PhD in creative writing?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Narcy let her brother and three others into Suite 453. Ben Jr. was fast asleep. Police say the group bound and beat Ben Jr. to death, held a pillow over his face to muffle his screams.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: For years, Ben Novack Jr. made a successful living planning major conventions across the country. But little did he know an Amway convention would be his last. Allegedly murdered for millions.
(END OF VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: To you, Bradford Cohen, defense attorney, in Miami. Go ahead. Give me your best defense.
COHEN: My best defense would be that these guys -- the guys that are ratting on her, you`ve got to attack them. You`ve got to attack them and say that they don`t want -- they don`t want to spend the rest of their lives in prison so they`re going to blame it on anyone they can.
And if the AUSA or the government is saying, hey listen, she had something to do with it, she must have had a part in it, I`m going to say whatever I have to say to get my guy out of it.
So, obviously, that`s where they`re going with it.
COHEN: If -- that`s where the defense should go with it.
GRACE: Sue Moss, weigh in.
MOSS: Set up a pole. The stripper is working on a death toll. This was all her. And not only did she kill her husband, she killed her mother- in-law. She`ll be convicted.
GRACE: Dr. Saunders -- Dr. Patricia Saunders, psychologist, New York. Any chance this woman is ever going to break down and confess?
SAUNDERS: No. I don`t think so. She`s a liar. She`s sociopath. Her daughter is appearing against her -- as a witness for the prosecution. No.
GRACE: And very quickly, Stacey Newman, wasn`t there a prior robbery?
NEWMAN: Yes, that she allegedly masterminded. Again, letting guys into the home, having her husband tied up in a chair and blaming it on a twisted sex game.
GRACE: You know you would think the husband got -- would have gotten wise.
OK, let`s stop and remember Army Sergeant Bernard Sembly II, 25, (INAUDIBLE), Louisiana, killed Iraq. From a family of military vet. Awarded the Bronze Star and Purple Heart.
Dreamed of the Army since a child. He loved going to air shows and playing on the tanks. Remembered as a free spirit. Working with courage, discipline, honor. Leaves behind parents, Renee and Bernard, stepfather Frederick, brothers B.J. and Brian, son Tyler.
Bernard Sembly II, American hero.
Thanks to our guests but especially to you for being with us.
And happy birthday to one of our regulars, former police chief PI and instructor at BU, friend, Tom Shamshak.
Isn`t he handsome?
September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. 46 Mommas Shave for the Brave for childhood cancer research. The St. Baldrick`s Foundation raising awareness and funds. For more go to StBaldricks.org and 46mommas.com.
Everybody, I`ll see you tomorrow night 8:00 sharp Eastern, and until then, goodnight, friend.