CNN LARRY KING LIVE
Expert Panel Discusses Elizabeth Smart Case
Aired July 11, 2002 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight we're 37 days into the Elizabeth Smart kidnapping investigation.
Police have now charged Richard Ricci, the ex-con turned handyman, who they call a central figure in the case. They charge him with theft and burglary.
Joining us Ricci's attorney Dr. David -- rather, David K. Smith. Plus Court TV anchor and former prosecutor Nancy Grace, high profile defense attorney Mark Geragos, the world renowned forensic expert Dr. Henry Lee, and covering the case for KSL TV, investigative journalist Karen Scullin.
First the Smart family, Elizabeth's uncle and aunt, Tom and Heidi. All that, your calls next on LARRY KING LIVE.
Joining us first from Salt Lake City are Tom and Heidi Smart. Tom is the brother of Elizabeth's father Ed. Tom, what's your reaction to the charging today of Richard Ricci with various counts of theft and burglary?
TOM SMART, ELIZABETH SMART'S UNCLE: Well, it's encouraging that police feel that there's something to charge him with. That isn't the same thing as charging somebody with kidnapping, of course. But we continue to have faith that things will work out.
KING: Heidi, what do you make of the date coincidences that Elizabeth was taken on June 5 and the theft at the home occurred on or about June 6 of last year?
HEIDI SMART, ELIZABETH SMART'S AUNT: You know, I wasn't aware until today of those dates. I really haven't thought about any coincidence there.
T. SMART: It is an amazing coincidence.
KING: Yes, it is funny.
Tom -- funny isn't the right word. Tom, what do you make of Ricci a central figure but not the sole focus?
T. SMART: I think that that's wise, because we don't know that Richard did it. We've never -- we are very careful in not pointing at one person. I know that his attorney today said that Richard has been forthright and tried to do what he can to work with the officials, and the family is very grateful for him for coming out and talking about the burglaries, and it is our understanding that he did.
However, it is also our understanding from the investigators that he has not been 100 percent forthright as to certain questions that they've asked him. I don't know what those questions are, but I know that Ed and Lois would ask him to please be forthright with those questions also, to either exonerate himself or to help find Elizabeth.
KING: Heidi, do you know Richard pretty well?
H. SMART: I do not know Richard at all.
KING: Tom, do you know him?
T. SMART: I do not.
KING: Do not. Your brother said the other night with us that he rather liked Richard. So did your sister-in-law say that, even though he robbed from their house. What do you make of that?
T. SMART: My understanding is that he is not -- that he's a likable person on the outside and that he's a personable person.
H. SMART: Yes, and Larry, he -- Edward didn't know that he had robbed from his home.
KING: That's right. But while -- he suspected that he had, right? Hadn't he?
H. SMART: Not necessarily that it was Ricci. He had other people working in the house at the time. And so it could have been one of many, and Ricci was just one of many.
T. SMART: I think there were three people working in the home at the time, and he just stopped working with them at that point.
KING: Tom, anything further on that story yesterday about the letter that your brother received?
T. SMART: Well, there was a lot of confusion about that. My brother received this letter. He knew it wasn't 100 percent credible at the time. But at the same time, something inside of him said, you know, she's out there somewhere and we want to do everything we can to encourage whoever has her to contact us.
KING: Did you see the letter, Heidi?
H. SMART: I did. I did see the letter.
KING: How did it read -- how did it read to you?
H. SMART: Well, it read to me how it read to Ed. It was very interesting because Edward, as well as the rest of us, have received a lot of psychic letters and other kinds of letters. Yet this was the very first one that Ed had received that was more in the direction of from an abductor. So this was very different. And Ed felt very strongly that he wants to communicate with this person, not this person but whoever the abductor is.
KING: And of course, Tom, the hope would be that it is a credible letter, right? Because it would mean that your niece is alive.
T. SMART: The hope would be, but we don't hang our hopes on that letter by any means. And I don't think he did at all yesterday. From the very beginning, he said that he wanted to talk to the perpetrator and wanted to make sure that wherever he is, that he knows there. He was not hanging his hope at any time on that letter, Larry.
KING: Thank you both very much. Tom and Heidi Smart, Elizabeth Smart's uncle and aunt, in Salt Lake City.
Now joining us in Salt Lake City is David K. Smith, the attorney for the Ricci family. Angela was here with him, you'll remember, on this show.
Authorities have alleged that Ricci stole jewelry and $300 in cash from a house in the Smarts' neighborhood on April 1 of 2001 while the family was sleeping. They also alleged that he stole various items, jewelry, a bottle of perfume, et cetera. What, David Smith, is the difference between theft and burglary?
DAVID K. SMITH, RICCI ATTORNEY: Well, theft can occur simply by being in some kind of, say, a store or a house even, and if somebody else is there, you can maybe take something and that might be theft. Burglary would be entering into a residence for the purpose of committing a theft.
KING: Now, when you were on this show you said that you're basically a civil attorney...
KING: ...and if matters got very criminal, you would turn it over to a criminal attorney. Do you intend to do that with regard to this case now?
SMITH: We're looking at our options on that right now, Larry.
KING: I mean, do you think you might, if you're less experienced in the criminal area than someone might be...
SMITH: Yes, I think it's -- yes, I think it's very likely.
KING: What has been your client's reaction to these charges?
SMITH: Well, of course, he's -- I think he's saddened by them. I think he's somewhat depressed by it. And yet, I have to say he's determined. He's determined because he feels that he's been unjustly targeted and he adamantly states that he didn't do this. KING: So he has told you he did not do these -- either the theft or the burglary?
SMITH: No, no. I'm, perhaps, misleading you. He did -- he does not have anything to do with the abduction of Elizabeth. He has certainly talked free with the police about the alleged theft and burglaries, but I can't get into any specifics on that, of course.
KING: Could he face in the Utah system life in prison for the burglaries?
SMITH: Well, yes, it is possible.
As a matter of fact, I was talking about his parole officers today, and indicated that simply for the parole violation that he's in on now, not necessarily these new charges, but with the present parole violation, he could either be released tomorrow or serve up to life in prison. It really is at the discretion of the parole board.
KING: And they're charging him, what, as a habitual criminal? That's a term in Utah?
SMITH: Yes, that's a term under the statute. It's an enhancement term, and if somebody has been accused previously of two violent felonies, they call it, and they subsequently engage in another violent felony, then they can be charged as a habitual criminal, and the sentence, of course, is appropriate to that charge.
KING: By the way, David, is he being treated for the depression?
SMITH: I don't know that he's being treated specifically for depression. I think it certainly weighs on him and he feels somewhat depressed.
KING: But he absolutely denies having any knowledge of what happened to Elizabeth, whether he was involved or any knowledge of who might have been involved?
KING: Flat out denial?
SMITH: Flat out denial.
KING: We'll take a break and come back with more of David K. Smith, and then our panel will join us on this edition of LARRY King Live. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHIEF RICK DINSE, SALT LAKE CITY POLICE: Today, the Salt Lake County District Attorney's Office, in conjunction with the Salt Lake City Police Department, has filed one count of burglary and two counts of misdemeanor theft against Richard Albert Ricci.
The burglary and one theft charge stems from a crime that occurred in April of 2001 in the Federal -- in a Federal Heights residence.
The second theft charge stems with a theft occurring at the residence of Ed and Lois Smart during June of 2001.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: David Smith, the attorney for the Riccis, since Rick has told you that he did -- was involved in some thefts, is a plea bargain in order here?
SMITH: It is too early to say, Larry. That will come down the road.
KING: When will he be arraigned?
SMITH: My understanding is it will be next Wednesday, the 17th.
KING: Do you know how he intends to plead?
SMITH: That's yet to be discussed.
KING: If you do retain a criminal lawyer, will that solely be in his hands with Rick as to how he pleads?
SMITH: I would anticipate we would all discuss that together.
KING: There is a report that he soon may face federal bank robbery charges in connection with an area bank robbery, charged as an accomplice to someone the police are looking for. What do you know about that?
SMITH: Well, he has no charges yet. And we'll just have to wait and see if charges are forthcoming.
KING: Have you spoken to him about that?
SMITH: I have spoken with the district attorney's office. We have been in communication, but I really can't go beyond that.
KING: When did you last speak to your client?
SMITH: The day before yesterday.
KING: The latest on the white Jeep Cherokee. Despite the testimony of the garage shop owner, your client denies he took the jeep out of the shop. A law enforcement source has told CNN that Ricci has been offered a deal: If the jeep was involved in crime other than the kidnapping and Ricci will tell them about it, he won't be prosecuted for the other crime. Is that true?
SMITH: I can't confirm or deny that, Larry.
KING: Does it sound credible?
SMITH: I just can't go into it, I'm sorry.
KING: What is the state of Angela? How is she doing?
SMITH: Well, today she's got a cold, I understand, from talking with her. She's not feeling terribly well. And I think these whole proceedings are a little wearing on her. But she's very determined as well.
KING: On the case of Elizabeth Smart, he's been interrogated for hours, right?
KING: Taken polygraph. By the way, how did he do on the polygraph?
SMITH: We don't have the results so I can't tell you.
KING: In other words, they have never told you pass, fail, inconclusive, whatever?
SMITH: Yeah, no, they've never given me the test results.
KING: He's consented to searches of his trailer park home and all his belongings, right?
SMITH: Yes, he has.
KING: And he continues to firmly deny having anything to do with it? Did he ever tell you about knowing Elizabeth?
SMITH: Yes, he did say that he knew her. He saw her in the Smart home as he was working.
KING: Do you have any insights into the grand jury investigation?
SMITH: I don't.
KING: What do you make of that letter story yesterday the Smarts got -- just as a citizen, what do you make of it?
SMITH: I haven't seen the letter. I'll take the reports that it's probably not worthy of much credence.
KING: Has your client to your knowledge tried to talk to the Smart family?
SMITH: Mr. Ricci?
SMITH: No, he's really not in a position where he can talk to anybody right now except me.
KING: No, I mean, you'd think he might want to talk to them about the burglary or tell them personally that he wasn't involved in anything to do with their daughter?
SMITH: He has issued a statement where he talked to them through the statement.
KING: I mean, what is your making on all this, what is your read, David? I mean, you're basically in civil law. Now you're thrust into this and into the national spotlight. How are you reacting to all this?
SMITH: Well, I think it's certainly a sad situation for the Smarts, and I think for the community as a whole. All of us hope that Elizabeth can be returned to her family.
KING: David, I thank you very much. We'll be calling on you again. It's always good seeing you.
SMITH: Same here, Larry. Thank you.
KING: David K. Smith, the attorney for the Riccis. Again, Rick Ricci now charged with one count of burglary, two counts of theft occurring on or about in April and June of 2001.
Our panel of Nancy Grace, Mark Geragos, Dr. Henry Lee and Karen Scullin will assemble. We'll get into it; we'll include your phone calls. Don't go away.
KING: We now welcome our panel. They are in New York, Nancy Grace, anchor of "Trial Heat" on Court TV, former prosecutor. In Los Angeles, defense attorney Mark Geragos. In New Haven, the world famed forensic expert Dr. Henry Lee, professor of forensic science at the University of New Haven and author of "Cracking Cases." And in Salt Lake City, Karen Scullin, investigative reporter for KSL-TV who has been on top of this Smart case from the get-go.
All right, Nancy, what do you make of these charges today against Mr. Ricci. And by the way, we'll get into this. Why has he said that he did this? The theft.
NANCY GRACE, COURT TV: You know, I think that possibly he was trying to give police something. They had him dead in the water, basically, when they found those items in his mobile home. So he had to explain those away and basically tell him when he took them to disassociate himself from the time of Elizabeth's abduction.
But Larry, I've really learned a lot from the indictments today. I've learned his MO, his modus operandi, sneaking into homes at night while people are asleep. No fear of that. That's what happened the night Elizabeth was abducted. I also learned this: He covets that which he sees. He worked in the home; he saw the jewelry. He went back in and took it. Now the state is in a huge position of power. They've literally got him by the short hairs. They've got life hanging over him if he doesn't cooperate.
KING: Mark Geragos, your read on that arrest?
MARK GERAGOS, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: It's an amazing thing to think about that he went in and he talked and he basically conceded or gave the prosecution -- I don't agree with Nancy on just one element of that. Clearly, the prosecution's got all the power in the world at this point. I don't think that they would have had as strong a case if he hadn't talked about it. One of the options he had was to say, I'll talk about everything but the kidnapping if you give me immunity on all non-violent crimes or property crimes and you don't violate me. They found portions of the property...
KING: In other words, he still had clout. He could have...
GERAGOS: He still had all the clout in the world because they wanted to talk to him. The best he could have come up with was maybe a receiving -- you notice they filed two misdemeanor counts and the one felony count. He talked himself into the felony count. He talked himself into giving the prosecution a life sentence over his head.
KING: And Nancy, you're saying no to that. He had no power...
GRACE: I say no, absolutely. The only bargaining chip Ricci has left -- and, also, Mark, he didn't talk himself into a felony count. He violated the law. He broke into people's homes as they were sleeping. That's how he got a felony count. They police had him dead in the water...
GERAGOS: Nancy, he got the felony count when they did -- they had him...
GRACE: ... when they found the item belonging to the Smarts in his home.
GERAGOS: All they had was the receiving, at which point he made the case for them by opening his mouth. Nobody's disputing now that he's opened his mouth...
GRACE: He's still got power.
GERAGOS: ... nobody's disputing...
GRACE: Mark, he still got power.
GERAGOS: He's got a life sentence facing him. Either way he goes, he's got a life sentence.
GRACE: The power he's got is the knowledge about that car. Prosecutors could be willing to give him immunity to find out about that car.
GERAGOS: And that's why one of the wire reports today makes all the sense in the world, because they're talking about giving him something, anything to talk about the car. I'm saying he could have negotiated that from the get-go.
KING: Do you both agree that he should have immediately switched to a criminal lawyer?
GERAGOS: Look, I don't want to...
GRACE: ... has been great so far, but when you want a surgeon, you don't go hire a dermatologist. That's the long and short of it.
GERAGOS: And he -- look, I'm just telling you, he could have negotiated his way into a position where he could have told been everything he knows.
GRACE: You know he needs a criminal lawyer. His lawyer is great, he has got a great reputation, but if I was going in court with a life sentence hanging over my head, I would have a criminal lawyer, a criminal trial lawyer.
KING: OK. Let's bring in our other panelists. Dr. Lee, what's your read on this theft and burglary thing?
DR. HENRY LEE, FORENSIC EXPERT: Well, you know, look at the item he took. One glass with some shells and a perfume bottle. It's not what professional burglars usually take. You know, basically volunteered the information, he says $300. I'm sure the money he already spent. How the law enforcement ever knows $300. So basically volunteer, show his cooperation with law enforcement. Of course, now he did not realize how deep trouble he is in.
KING: Has anyone, Karen, told you -- anyone connected with the police, FBI -- that they think this guy is involved with the disappearance of Elizabeth Smart?
KAREN SCULLIN, KSL-TV CORRESPONDENT: Oh, well, absolutely.
KING: They think he's involved?
SCULLIN: I mean, he's clearly -- with Ricci -- with the abduction?
SCULLIN: Absolutely they think he's involved. He's been at the top of the potential suspect list for several weeks now. They're pretty darn sure he's involved. I think these charges are evident. I mean, the similarities between going into somebody's house while people are sleeping and stealing something and the night that Elizabeth was kidnapped -- the similarities between the two incidents are incredible. But you mentioned this earlier, Larry, and that was the federal charges that are upcoming that I've learned about. And I think those are going to prove to be even more interesting in that he could be involved in a bank robbery. And the reason I say that, is because you're not only now talking about a guy who likes to steal things -- well, now you're talking about a guy who has violent tendencies. And let's not forget, of course, the thing in the past where as he was attempting to rob a pharmacy, he shot at a police officer.
KING: Karen, does that mean then if he had no accomplice, Elizabeth is no longer among us?
SCULLIN: You know, that's hard to say. Certainly everybody's hopeful that Elizabeth will be found alive and well and returned to her family safely...
KING: So then we're hopeful that Ricci is not involved, right?
KING: Hopeful that he's not involved?
SCULLIN: Sure, we're hopeful that he's not involved. Or if he is involved that someone that he knows has her somewhere and is keeping her safely, but you know, we don't want to say one way or the other at this point without finding her.
KING: Nancy, don't you -- isn't the wish of the police, the parents, everybody, that Ricci is just a burglar?
GRACE: Well, you know, it could both be true. He could be involved in this and the girl's still alive if he has accomplices. Larry, in my mind, if Ricci is the one, it is clear to me he had accomplices. And again, I agree with Karen in that it takes a different frame of mind to break into a home -- and I think Mark will agree on this -- it takes a different kind of criminal to break into a home while people are in there asleep and steal. It really shows his frame of mind, his course of conduct.
GERAGOS: Well, there are specific terms for that. They call those kinds of burglars, go by different names and they fit profiles.
GERAGOS: Everything that I've seen so far, if this guy was involved, I can't believe that he would have pulled this off absent having an accomplice.
GRACE: I agree, Mark.
KING: He has got an accomplice.
GERAGOS: He's got an accomplice...
KING: Then what now is the motive?
GERAGOS: Well, money would be -- and some kind of a bungled kidnapping. I mean, there would have been some deal where they got in over their heads. They thought they weren't going to get to the family until later the next day.
GRACE: He's bungled everything he's ever touched. Mark, my God, a glass of seashells? Why?
GERAGOS: This group of people they call affectionately, I think, the gang that couldn't shoot straight. And so it does -- it wouldn't surprise me if this started off as a kidnapping...
GRACE: And now the girl may be dead.
GERAGOS: ... and -- well, I don't even like to think about that. I'd just like to say that if it is a bungled kidnapping, that's why there is no note, and then maybe she's still alive somewhere.
KING: Karen, you want to say something?
SCULLIN: Yes, I did. I mean, everything -- investigators tell me really at this point they're not going with the theory that he had an accomplice, at least not going in to get Elizabeth. Maybe somewhere after the fact someone was brought in on the plot, but as far as the night of going in there and getting her or, you know, going in to burglarize the home at least, there was nobody else in that police think at this point.
KING: Do you think it kind of amazing, Dr. Lee, that in all this time they've held him and they believe he did something, they can't get anything out of him?
LEE: Well, it is kind of surprising to me. Of course, you know, we have to study Ricci in a little bit more detail and more in depth his personality. Is he the type of person that can mastermind something more complicated than just break into somebody's house? He looks like an opportunist to me, just take something, whatever he can see.
If he, in fact, involved in the masterminding robbery or rob a bank, then that's a different scenario. If he's just part of a participant, an accomplice, that again we have to study more detail about his personality, his past crimes. If he, in fact, a mastermind person, then he could be involving the disappearance of Elizabeth.
KING: Nancy, is the wife's alibi a wash?
GRACE: Total wash. And we were discussing this the other day, Larry. The fact that she has claimed and professed her husband's innocence -- the man apparently has been involved in many, many crimes since their marriage, possibly now a bank robbery. And she claims he respected Mr. Smart, he was home that night, he's had nothing to do with any of this. Her alibi is crushed. And another thing, Larry, regarding the MO, this is not a guy that waits for you to leave on Saturday to go do your errands or go out of town, breaks the window and steals your VCR. This is a cat burglar willing to go in at night, take what he wants. That's what happened the night Elizabeth was abducted.
KING: Do you know any, Mark, cat burglars who are also rapists or predators who take women? Aren't they two different...
GERAGOS: Generally, it's two different breeds. I mean, anybody who has been in prison, there is a prison culture. We've talked about that before. And that tends to kind of throw things out of the mix.
However, it's clear at least to me and most people who do any kind of profiling -- and that's why I echo what Dr. Lee had to say -- you've got to study him, because it would seem to be at first blush that this is something so out of character for him that unless she surprised him and then recognized him and then he thought the only way he could escape and not get his parole revoked was to take her with him outside the window, something along those lines, dropped her down outside the window. Then decided he needed to have somebody else as an accomplice, that's one of the ways conceivably this could have taken place, or it could be that this guy is the unluckiest man on earth, and you just don't know until they get some further evidence or they get some kind of forensic evidence.
KING: Do they look in other places, Karen, away from Ricci?
SCULLIN: Absolutely. In fact, I just asked that question today. There are still people -- and I know for a fact one person -- that they're still looking at totally, totally unrelated to Ricci. They're still looking at other possibilities.
However, I'm also told that Ricci remains at the top of that list.
KING: All right. Let me get a break. We'll come back. We'll start including your phone calls. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHIEF RICK DINSE, SALT LAKE CITY POLICE: If I could have charged him, I'd charge him. Now, that doesn't mean I don't have anything linking him to this case. I'm not saying that. But if I could charge him and I could prove it today, we'd file on it today.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: We're back with our panel on this puzzlement in Utah. Montreal, Canada, as we go to calls. Hello.
CALLER: Hello, Larry.
KING: Hi. CALLER: Hi. I would just like to ask Mr. Geragos if Mr. Ricci will be able to file libel charges against the media or police if he's found innocent?
GERAGOS: If he's found innocent later on, it all would depend on what they end up saying about him. Generally, if it's the mainstream media and they're just reporting things that are being said at a press conference -- no, he's not got nowhere to go. If it's a tabloid publication that has...
KING: As in the case with Richard Jewell, it was NBC, it was CNN, all made payments to him for going a little above the line.
GERAGOS: Exactly, if they go over. But I haven't seen that really in this case in the mainstream media. I've seen it in others. There's Jewell, there's been others, you know, the ruling in Carolyn's case yesterday tends to indicate that. Condit. But that wasn't...
KING: What was that?
GERAGOS: ... mainstream media, that the "Enquirer" had gone over the line. So you get -- in various instances, if they go over the top, yes; usually it's reserved for the tabloids.
KING: Niagara Falls, New York. Hello.
CALLER: Hi, Larry, thank you so much.
CALLER: I would like to address this to Mark. Mark, don't you think it's a little strange that Ricci would go back in that building after he worked there, everybody knew what he looked like, including the kids? Would he risk going back in there knowing he could be spotted immediately, if he's -- especially to take the child? And does he have black hairy arms and hands?
GERAGOS: According to Angela the other night, he doesn't have black hairy hands nor on his arms, as she was pointing out.
The one thing that I think that the police logically expect here is that if the little girl did not scream, that she may have recognized whoever the person was. And there was some talk about this idea of he allowing whoever the abductor was, allowing her to go back and get shoes, suggesting that it was somebody who knew her, cared about her or something along those lines. That's something that they think is significant. That's what plays against it.
Your points are real good points in that you would say some logical, rational person is never going to think about going back in there where he's going to be recognized and all the other points that you've made.
KING: Nancy, is there a possibility of a vendetta against the family?
GRACE: Remote. Very remote. If there's a vendetta -- I've heard that theory advanced several times...
KING: I mean, what better way to harm a family?
GRACE: But, you know, think about it, if you really wanted to get at Mr. Smart, wouldn't you go for Mr. Smart? And also, I think that Smart would have told people -- told police who his enemies are. So far we've heard nothing of that.
GERAGOS: Well, you know, except, Nancy, some of these things where they say it's unconnected, that they've got suspects that are unconnected to Ricci -- we -- for all we know, that is somebody that he's talked about, and he seems to address people at times like he seems to know or have an idea.
KING: ... are there lots of whispers there about suspects, Karen?
SCULLIN: Oh, suspects and theories. And I think (UNINTELLIGIBLE) just trying everything. I mean, why not at this point? You know. He wants anyone who has any information, no matter who are, to come forward. So I think I would try the same thing if I were in his position. So I think he's just keeping all options open at this point.
KING: Pearl, Mississippi. Hello.
CALLER: Hi, I have a question for Mark. It was referred to briefly by a previous caller. I was wondering if you think that they are discounting this description given by the younger sister, which does not seem to match Mr. Ricci at all? He's obviously older than 30. She did not mention a mustache. And it's easy enough to prove whether he had dark hair on his hands and arms.
GERAGOS: Well, I think that's one of the reasons that I've said all along that they want to find out and they're so desperate to find out who was the other person that was there at the garage that was identified by the mechanic, who was identified as 5-foot-8 to 5-foot- 10, which fits in with this description that the younger sister gave. So that's one of the reasons I think that they also haven't filed charges here in this case.
KING: Nancy, as a prosecutor, what credence do you give a 9- year-old?
GRACE: Well, actually, some of the best witnesses I've ever had were children. But you have to take their language, Larry, and interpret it. For instance, I doubt very seriously whether the little girl said, 5-foot-8. Remember, she was lying down, pretending to be asleep. So she probably pointed to something on the wall and said, he's as tall as that picture. Something like that. We've got to take into account the way she's describing him.
Also, if you recall, there's been a lot of speculation she actually didn't see his face, that she saw him from behind more than his face. So that could explain why she couldn't identify him.
KING: Dr. Lee, were you going to add something? I'm sorry, I thought I heard your voice.
LEE: Yes, of course, you know, as I say, we talked a long time ago, the 9-years-old, that's the most crucial witness. She is the only person who saw what's happening. And (UNINTELLIGIBLE) and the description. If that did not fit Ricci, there's somebody else, which means he definitely had an accomplice.
I'm sure the police have to look at Ricci's background again. Is he, besides drinking, does he have any other habits, drug use or anything, what's the income, what's the expenses. And add it together, you can understand this person much better.
Again, the physical evidence in this case, they just don't have anything linked to him. The cut in the screen, that's another curveball in the whole case. We still have to look at the screen carefully. Why have it cut from the inside?
KING: To Syosset, New York, hello.
CALLER: Hi. Is it possible for the FBI or the law officers involved in the case to use sodium pentothal on Mr. Ricci and find out if he has any involvement with this girl's disappearance? Whether or not it can be used against him after?
KING: Nancy, is that allowed?
GRACE: Oh, how I wish, Larry. Unfortunately, it's not allowed under our Constitution. No sodium pentothal, truth serum, no beating, no torture. We have to wait for Ricci to crack. That's right.
LEE: That's so-called truth serum and not necessarily people will give you -- just people relaxing and easier to talk about. Not necessarily telling you the whole truth.
KING: Are you saying there's no such thing as truth serum?
LEE: Just like a lie detector, it's not...
GERAGOS: Lie detector does not detect lies. All it does is detect physiological changes in your physique. And so as a question is asked, if you have some kind of a physiological change, it measures the change. And different readers will take a look at it and decide what it means.
KING: We'll be right back with more and more phone calls. Don't go away.
KING: We're back. Let's go to Ft. Wayne, Indiana. Hello.
CALLER: Yes, Mark, I was wondering if the milkman's -- would meet the profile at all and if he's been checked out. GERAGOS: I'm sure they've checked out the milkman, checked out his route when they questioned him -- that's one of the first things they do, because so often -- not so often, but it's been the case where somebody is a supposed witness to something that you later determine upon interrogation that they actually had something more to do with it.
So my guess is that they've determined what time he came on duty, where he was, whether he made deliveries to the other places, and followed up on that.
KING: There were no screams, Karen, because of the gun? Is that the assumption?
SCULLIN: I'm sorry?
KING: No screams.
SCULLIN: One more...
KING: Nobody screamed.
SCULLIN: No, no screams. No, nobody screamed. One thing that you were talking about earlier in terms of what Mary Catherine saw about the suspect and that we didn't talk about, is that he was -- she described him as soft spoken, and interestingly enough, that's definitely how corrections officers have described him to me, is soft spoken to the point where he's polite.
And manipulative, they say. But he's also been described as a great guy, a heck of a guy. So I think this is a guy who has certainly an interesting -- some interesting characteristics.
KING: Haverford, Pennsylvania. Hello.
Caller: Hello, Larry. I have a legal question.
CALLER: If Elizabeth's DNA is found in Mr. Ricci's car, how could they prove that the hair or DNA tissue found wasn't from the car when the Smarts owned it?
KING: Dr. Lee will be the one to answer that.
LEE: Yes. That's a excellent question. As a matter of fact, we talk about this, you know, because the car belongs to Mr. Smart and give it to him. Therefore, they probably have some hair fiber stuff in there. However, this vehicle was give him a long time ago.
If this is have any hair, usually the tissue, the hair root are really dried out. So you have to look at the hair carefully to see whether or not have fair tissue on there, hair root on there. Also, of course, we have to look at this as which type of a hair. (UNINTELLIGIBLE) hair, collagen hair, (UNINTELLIGIBLE) hair. So important to understand that. Of course if you have a blood stain or DNA, we can look at the (UNINTELLIGIBLE), how much DNA there, and check whether or not consistent with the fresh DNA or older DNA.
Now, it's kind of an important thing for forensic scientists to reconstruct what has happened.
KING: From your distance, far away, Nancy, how are the police handling this?
GRACE: Well, you know, there are so many different agencies involved. You've got the local police, the FBI, the district attorney's office. I was concerned, frankly, when the police stated yesterday that they did not know anything about any burglary charges being filed, when the district attorney's office said the charges were imminent.
I think that if they were working hand in glove, there would be a better investigation going on. I'm still concerned about that video sitting for three weeks before anybody did anything with it.
KING: And they've discounted -- Karen, have they discounted that video now?
SCULLIN: Absolutely. In fact, I was told yesterday they discounted the video. They can sort of make out possibly the model of one of those vehicles and, sure, they're checking it out. But the problem, real problem with that video is that the cars involved that are on the tape never go up to the neighborhood or come down from the smart home.
And so they're going in totally different directions, and so I think that they just don't think it's involved in any way whatsoever, and they just haven't been able to tie it in at this point.
KING: Sitchuett (ph), Massachusetts. Hello.
CALLER: Larry, for Dr. Lee, why can't they place the cars of those under suspicion at the same hospital area and then measure the two video images to see if they match?
Because the -- Mr. Trullo (ph), I believe his name was...
CALLER: ...said he could not accurately identify what make they were, but if they took the two cars couldn't they measure them accurately?
KING: Dr. Lee?
LEE: Yes, definite we can study the videotape and do the control with all the models and try to do a image matching merging see whether or not the same type of vehicle and try to come up with some suggestion what the model, what make.
KING: Why not do that? Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Hello.
CALLER: Hi. I would like to ask if Elizabeth's little sister could not be hypnotized and if she could remember more or they could get finer details?
KING: Can anyone take that?
GERAGOS: I'll just tell you, part of the problem with that is that there have been court cases that have said that if the person has been hypnotized, that that may be unduly suggestive and that the testimony can't come in. It goes back to a point Nancy had made a couple of shows ago that they have to be very careful about how they interview her, how they treat her, how they -- whether it is a leading question, whether it is not a leading question.
Because if you do anything that's unduly suggestive, that can taint her testimony completely and the hypnosis is one of those things.
KING: And by the way, how much would she remember, Nancy, let's say, in a trial a year from now? How much would a 9-year-old remember?
GRACE: That's very disturbing, Larry, and it's an excellent point. Because after working with many, many child witnesses, their memory does fade after time, especially as in this case nobody wants to coach the little girl.
That would come out on cross-examination at trial and hurt the state's case, but by not discussing it, memories fade. The caller has an excellent point. You might get more facts from her, but it could ruin your chances at trial.
KING: We'll be back with more moments on this incredible subject. John Schneider tomorrow night with secret. Don't go away.
KING: Garden City, New York. Hello.
CALLER: Hi, Larry. I just want to say how much I miss Barbara Olson on your panel. And I want to know, when can we expect results from the forensic testing?
KING: Dr. Lee, when?
LEE: Well, I'm sure, you know, one of the key factors here of that have about 1,000 miles on the odometer. They should have a forensic geologist look at the soil. Forensic entomologist look at the insects; also a forensic botanist look at the pollen particle or grass seeds, try to find out whether or not Ricci drive the car, where he went. If he tells the truth he did not, then who else drove the car, whether or not he have a friend or were there other people using this vehicle. Because 1,000 miles on the odometer, that's a pretty important fact. It takes a while to get a known sample to compare to come to a conclusion.
The other physical evidence really meaningful, that's the cutting screen. Have to look at it again. That's a matter of reconstruction, interpretation. Any other physical evidence found in the house can link to somebody. Apparently, they have a fingerprint, DNA from all the relatives and friends. So that's a process of elimination. It takes a while to identify somebody.
KING: Boston, hello.
CALLER: Yes, hi. I'd like to ask, with all of these things being stolen from the Smart home, has there been any report of house keys perhaps being missing at any time?
SCULLIN: I haven't heard anything along the lines of house keys. Certainly if there were, that would be a very good explanation as to how he got inside. But at this point, no, no house keys stolen that I know of.
KING: Karen, has any answer ever been given to the screen, inside, outside, how it was cut?
SCULLIN: I wish I could say yes. But you know, it's funny because I haven't heard about the screen in a long time. Nobody seems to be talking about the screen, so I don't know if it hasn't provided any evidence. I also heard that possibly it was torn some time before the night of the kidnapping. So it seems that the screen has kind of shifted to the background at this point.
KING: Nancy, is there a -- how would you call it, good, great, maybe possibility this will never be solved?
GRACE: No. I think it's going to be solved. And I think they're on the trail. They've got a ton of evidence. They've got a lot of suspects they're looking at. And another thing, I agree with Dr. Lee about this screen. That has perplexed me from the get-go that it was cut from the inside out and it had never been noticed before that time.
But another thing that's puzzling to me, you know, you've got Ricci looking at life behind bars. He's confessed to the burglary. He's confessed to the theft of the other home. Here's the problem -- what is he still lying about? We know he's flunked a polygraph. So what is worth still lying about? It's the car. You put it together. I still think they're going to crack this case.
GERAGOS: If he was that sophisticated to be able to compartmentalize his lies after 26 hours, this guy's a lot brighter than I give him credit for.
GRACE: And he's told his wife, Mark. He's told his wife.
GERAGOS: I've met Angela, she seems like a nice lady, but I don't thing that requires, you know, the proclivity of a brain surgeon.
GRACE: Bank robbery. Burglary. She would know. GERAGOS: This guy -- this guy -- this guy I don't believe is sophisticated enough to withstand 26 hours of questioning.
KING: Do you think there's a strong possibility this will not be solved?
GERAGOS: No, I think there's a strong possibility it will be solved. I don't think it's going to take all that long.
KING: Windsor, Ontario, hello.
CALLER: Yes, Larry. I just wondered if the family have been removed from the umbrella of suspicion?
KING: Karen Scullin, can you say that or not?
SCULLIN: I can say that as far as I know, the family, you know, I guess they're not coming out officially saying that they've been removed from that umbrella. But last time I was told was that no, none of the family is under suspicion at this point. They're still going after Ricci. They still think they did it. They still think they're going to crack this case. They just need somebody to poke a big hole in his alibi, and they think that they'll get him.
KING: Dr. Lee, do you think this is going to be solved?
LEE: Well, this case drags longer, it is going to be more difficult. Of course, the bright side, they searched thoroughly again, did not find the body. And if Ricci involved, just like Mark and Nancy say, by himself, then we kind of worry about it, the safety of Elizabeth. If he's just an accomplice, there may be some possibility. Hopefully with the reward money, public awareness, everybody, the law enforcement, forensic scientists all work together, they may come up with some clue.
KING: And any, Mark, hope that she might be alive? I mean, do you have a degree of hope after this time?
GERAGOS: As long as you hold out hope that there's an accomplice, you can hold out hope that she's alive. I think as of right now, you have to believe that there's an accomplice.
KING: Right, Nancy, you agree?
GRACE: Well, no. I don't agree. I agree to the extent that if there are accomplices, there's a chance she is alive. But Larry, the hard truth is that she's probably not.
KING: Karen Scullin, you have a thought in that area?
SCULLIN: Well, I would have to say the same thing. I think as long as there are accomplices, certainly there's a glimmer of hope that, you know, maybe somebody's got her somewhere. And if I were the family, I'd still be hoping and praying. It has been a long time. It's been over a month. And you know, I think hope is fading for some people in this case. KING: We thank you all very much. More ahead. When we come back, we'll tell you about tomorrow night on LARRY KING LIVE. Don't go away.
KING: Actor John Schneider of "Dukes of Hazzard" fame is going to be with us tomorrow night. He's got a secret. The secret goes back to childhood, and what it did and how it had changed his life. I think you're going to find it interesting.
Speaking of interesting, Aaron Brown and "NEWSNIGHT" is next, and Aaron is going to tell us about these background messages behind the president. Look like home-plated ball games. Who's doing that? You're going to learn that tonight.
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