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Horowitz recounts finding wife's body

Friend says TV legal analyst 'pretty sure' who bludgeoned wife

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Horowitz: "I just told her, 'I love you, and you're beautiful.' "

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Daniel Horowitz
San Francisco (California)

LAFAYETTE, California (CNN) -- High-profile defense attorney and TV legal analyst Daniel Horowitz said Tuesday he knew his wife, Pamela Vitale, was dead as soon as he saw her lying inside their temporary home Saturday evening.

"I took it all in, and I knew she was dead," Horowitz told CNN's Nancy Grace in an exclusive interview.

"You scream, you cry. But I just basically sat with her, and I just told her, 'I love you, and you're beautiful,'" Horowitz said.

"It didn't matter any more what was around her, or the horror," he said. "I had just so much time with Pamela, so I just looked at her face, and it was beautiful." (Watch Horowitz describe his last minutes with his wife's body -- 4:50)

After reporting her death to police, Horowitz said he was put in the back of a squad car and not allowed to return to the trailer to see his wife.

He was later taken to the police station, where he was placed in a room normally used for juveniles.

Horowitz, 50, said police monitored him as a person who might commit suicide, but he said he had no intention of killing himself.

Horowitz said he found Vitale, 52, when he returned from San Francisco to the mobile home where the couple was living while their dream house was being built nearby on a remote hilltop near Lafayette in Contra Costa County east of Oakland.

Medical examiners concluded Monday that Vitale died from blunt trauma to the head, said a spokesman for the Contra Costa County Sheriff's Department.

Investigators were still on the property Tuesday looking for evidence.

Horowitz said he had been in San Francisco preparing for the trial of Susan Polk, accused of stabbing to death her millionaire husband in 2002.

The judge declared a mistrial Monday in the high-profile Polk case because of Vitale's slaying.

On Tuesday, Joseph Lynch, a tenant on Horowitz's property, dismissed as "ridiculous" the suggestion that police were focusing on him as a suspect, telling CNN he had nothing to do with Vitale's death.

"I am innocent. I have not been on the premises up there," Lynch said.

Officials have described Lynch as cooperative and said he is one of many people they have spoken with about the case.

Four months ago, Horowitz and Vitale petitioned for a restraining order against Lynch, charging that he was dangerous. But Horowitz told CNN they never had the order served because they feared inflaming the situation.

Lynch acknowledged he has had trouble with alcohol and drugs, including methamphetamines, for more than 20 years, but he said he has put those troubles behind him.

He said Horowitz had been supportive, even writing a letter on his behalf to the judge after he was charged with driving while under the influence.

"I've been a real jerk over the years, but now I'm clean, sober and trying to concentrate on the present and the future," Lynch said. He would not say how long he had been off drugs, only that he was "currently clean."

Jimmy Lee, a spokesman for the Contra Costa County Sheriff's Department, said Monday that the case remains "wide open."

"We're looking at all possible theories and motives. We're not focused in one area," Lee said.

Ivan Golde, a fellow attorney and friend of Horowitz, said Tuesday on CNN's "Larry King Live" that Horowitz "is pretty sure who did this crime" but cannot identify the person publicly.

Golde had earlier said police were "zeroing in" on Lynch as a potential suspect.

In response, Lynch said, "It doesn't matter what he says. I didn't do it."

Golde, who is Horowitz's co-counsel in the Polk trial, said he was "confident" there was no connection between that case and Vitale's slaying.

Horowitz and Vitale had been building a 7,000-square-foot Italian-style mansion for the past two years. It was primarily her dream house and she supervised the project down to the last detail, Horowitz told CNN.

He said he is aware that media attention will "probably" turn to him as a suspect in his wife's death.

"I don't care," he said. "My wife is gone. ... It doesn't matter. What's the difference?"

Horowitz has represented numerous high-profile defendants and appears frequently as a legal analyst on cable television networks, including CNN.

Golde said Horowitz carried a gun because "he received threats from time-to-time."

"Dan had to protect himself," he said

CNN's Rusty Dornin and Ted Rowlands contributed to this report.

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