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College Student, 19, Accused of Killing Parents, Shooting Brother; Airplane Vanishes Midflight; Ocean Mom has Killed Before; Biebs Like You`ve Never Seen Him

Aired March 10, 2014 - 19:00:00   ET


JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST: Tonight, breaking news. An arrest in southern California`s gruesome mansion massacre. Tonight, cops say the culprit was the victims` own flesh and blood.

This 19-year-old college student is accused of executing his wealthy mom and dad while they slept inside their California mansion. Cops say he also tried to murder two of his siblings. Tonight his 8-year-old brother is left paralyzed.

Why would this young man with no prior criminal history whatsoever suddenly try to wipe out his entire family with a gun? Good evening, I`m Jane Velez-Mitchell, coming to you live.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The only suspect, 19-year-old Ashton Sachs killed his mother, Orange County Sheriff`s investigators say. And his father, Brad.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Interviewed him at length. Also came back and interviewed him here at sheriff`s headquarters. Then he was placed under arrest.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Arrested for special circumstances murder, which could get him the death penalty.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: With the motive, we`re looking into all aspects of it. So I can`t sit here and tell you 100 percent it`s financial or any other reasons. I can just tell you that we`re looking into that right now.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Shot at his parents and little brother as they slept.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The whodunit part of this case has been solved.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Nineteen-year-old Ashton Sachs is behind bars tonight, accused of a double murder, and two counts of attempted murder. After prosecutors say he snuck into his parents` bedroom in the middle of the night, shot them both dead, and then tried to kill his 8-year-old brother, and his 17-year-old sister.

His kid sister managed to get out of the way and escape unhurt, But the little boy wasn`t as lucky, and he is now paralyzed.

This is sick. It all happened inside this nearly 9,000-square foot, $3.7 mansion in ritzy San Juan Capistrano, California. One of the wealthiest communities in America.

Prosecutors say Ashton left his home in Seattle, Washington, where he`s a college student, traveled all the way down to his parents` fortress on a murder mission, and then he fled back to Seattle. That was a month ago. It took cops to unravel this whodunit all the way from now, about a month. Now cops say the son is the only suspect. But why?

College Student, 19, Accused of Killing Parents, Shooting Brother> The motive is still a mystery.

What do you think? Call me, 1-877-JVM-SAYS. That`s 1-877-586-7297.

Our Lion`s Den panel ready to hash it out. But first to Sal Hernandez, crime reporter for the "Orange County Register." The suspect`s mother and father were clearly wealthy. They had been involved reportedly in some business dealings with this son.

What do we know about any possibility that that`s connected to a motive, Sal?

SAL HERNANDEZ, CRIME REPORTER, "ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER" (via phone): Well, that was actually the first thing that investigators were looking at. The family had a lot of business dealings, property. They dealt with tech and with green lawn (ph) businesses.

But I`m learning now is actually the investigators saying that they don`t believe that finances is the motivation behind the killings now.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: What I don`t understand is, he is living in Seattle, Washington. He comes down, brutally murders his mother and father, shoots his 8-year-old brother who`s adopted, and we`ll get to that in a second, and then targets the 17-year-old sister.

But obviously, the 17-year-old sister knows what she looks like. She escapes unhurt. Why didn`t she immediately call cops and say, "My brother just tried to kill us all"?

HERNANDEZ: That`s something that we`ve asked investigators, actually. What they`re telling us is that (UNINTELLIGIBLE) who was inside the house, there was two parents and there were three siblings in there. But the three survivors, none of them were able to recognize who the shooter was. And when the killing happened, actually everybody was a suspect at that point.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Fascinating. Well, thank you for that update.

I want to go to Monte Burghardt. This an exclusive interview with the real-estate broker and family friend.

First of all, Monte, thank you for joining us. I know that this is very difficult for you to talk about. You were friends with this couple. And the idea of them being executed, just while they slept, it`s beyond comprehension. First of all, this must have rattled the community, because for a month they didn`t know who did it.

MONTE BURGHARDT, FRIEND: Yes, it has affected everyone in the community.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, what was your reaction? Because I know, according to published reports, you`ve met this young man. But what was your first reaction when you hear, oh, my gosh, it`s their 19-year-old son? He`s the one they`ve now arrested. Not some stranger. Not some home invader. But the son they raised from birth. The son that this woman carried in her womb, and that these two raised apparently lovingly to birth to 19 years of age, that he`s the one police say executed them.

BURGHARDT: Well, we`re all innocent until proven guilty. I have to say that. I don`t want to try him in the press. I think the information will come out eventually. It is a mystery how anyone got in the property, that`s for sure. It`s a very big home.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, it`s a fortress. It`s a fortress surrounded by a giant wall. But if you`re the son and you grew up there, I would think that you have your ways to get over the fence.

BURGHARDT: Well, yes. I would imagine so. Guess he had (ph).

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tell me about this young man. Because I understand that you said he was just a little bit withdrawn, or maybe a little shy. I know you want to be very careful, but just give us a general description of who this 19-year-old is.

BURGHARDT: Well, he was very playful around me. But I haven`t been around him in a couple of years. Most of my interaction has been with Brad and Andra in handling their commercial and residential business affairs locally.

And -- but when I sold them the home, I spent a lot of time with the family at various parties -- Super Bowl parties, pool parties and what have you. And that`s when I interacted with -- with Ashton. And he was very precocious, very flamboyant, very bright. His mother always told me how smart he was. And he was a good-looking boy, too. And he had it all going for him. I just find it hard to believe that things are unfolding the way they are.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I understand your shock. I mean, if you`re friends with this couple and you saw this young man, and thought he seemed like a nice kid. That`s what everybody says, generally.

And again, no, we`re not convicting him here, but he has been arrested and accused by police, and I believe that police are pretty good at their jobs. So I`m not saying he did it. I`m saying the cops say he did it. And that he`s the only suspect.

And the question is, why. I have two theories. One involves sibling rivalry. The 8-year-old that he shot and paralyzed, allegedly shot and paralyzed, for sure paralyzed, was adopted. Was the 17-year-old girl, who was shot, was she the adopted sibling?

BURGHARDT: You know, the boy being 8, I know his sister, they were both Russian brother and sisters. Andra wanted to keep them together. And I believe it was the only sister, was 17. The adopted daughter was much younger. I think she was about 13. I don`t really know.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK. So that wipes out one of my theories. Because I want to -- I want you to stand by for a second, Monte. One of the first things that I thought of was, oh, my gosh, he shoots and paralyzes this 18-year- old [SIC] boy who already had a hard life. He`s adopted from Russia, and he comes to America to live the dream in a mansion in one of the richest communities in Southern California. And then he gets shot and paralyzed.

But I thought, well, I wonder if the other sibling he shot at, the 17-year- old sister, was the other adopted child. No, we`re hearing no, it`s not. So does that mean that perhaps this sort of -- I thought maybe possibly resentment of, oh, my love`s being shared with an adopted child, not saying that happens very often, but you understand what I`m saying as a possible motive?

WENDY WALSH, PSYCHOLOGIST: Well, I hear what you`re saying, Jane. It may simply have been about proximity. Generally, the younger a child is the closer that sleeps to his parents. And sometimes even in the same room, but the room may be just very close by. And as kids get older, they move to basements and upstairs and they have their teenage life, et cetera.

But, you know, this is family that I would call, at the very least, a nontraditional family. This the parents who were divorced about but stayed living in the same house so that they could run businesses together. And then even after their divorce, if I`m reading all the reports correctly, then adopted two children from Russia.

So I don`t know. If money was the primary value in this household, then money may be the primary motive for this shooter.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, that`s something I think that occurs to everybody, as soon as they hear this. Let`s go out to the phone lines. Mary Jo, Pennsylvania. What are your thoughts, Mary Jo, Pennsylvania?

CALLER: Hi, Jane. My thought is that money was the motive for this man. You look at his picture. He was jealous with envy with his siblings. He wanted to be the only one to collect the inheritance.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, you know, sometimes it`s that simple. I mean, he could have wanted his parents` money. And it`s possible that he could have just simply wanted his parents` money.

Now, here`s a couple of thoughts. He quickly moved to become guardian of his parents` estate, along with his older brother, who is not implicated. I want to make that clear: the older brother not implicated.

The parents were reportedly entrepreneurs who started tech companies and owned a lot of homes around the company and in Mexico. The lead detective told the "Orange County Register" there were, and we`re not saying this to speak ill of the dead -- this is just a fact; we`re trying to solve the mystery -- there were a long list of people who had grievances. There were various lawsuits that they were involved in for their businesses, as well as the couple.

And that was apparently the initial focus of the investigation. Somebody who was suing them over a business deal. But it turns out the suspect was their own child, their own flesh and blood.

Now, there are reports the parents were involved in business ventures that were linked to their sons, including Ashton, the alleged killer. So I want to go to Jon Leiberman on that, because sometimes you`ve just got to follow the money.

JON LEIBERMAN, HLN CONTRIBUTOR: Yes. And that is one thing that police are following. Also, there were a number of restraining orders between Ashton`s parents that were taken out.

But Jane, my police sources are telling me that they have rock-solid evidence in this case, including the murder weapon, including surveillance video from a nearby home, and also, they`re telling me, his own statements. They have statements from Ashton, and also they went back and re-questioned the surviving siblings, as well.

And they arrested and charged this boy after they interrogated him. And so they believe they got enough out of that interrogation to lock him up.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, Monte Burghardt, I just want to go back to you, because you were the real-estate broker and a family friend. Did you get any sense that, you know how -- look, he`s an underachiever in the sense he`s going to a community college in Seattle. Here`s a family that could afford to send their kid anywhere. You`re saying he`s very bright, but he`s underperforming. You know, kind of what exactly is he doing with his life?

Is there a sense that he was maybe tired of waiting and, gee, look, my parents have so many houses, they have so many businesses, I want it now?

BURGHARDT: Well, he was -- all their properties were in LLCs, which included all the children. So they had no want for anything. You know, all the property was owned free and clear. They paid cash for everything.

I mean, she`s a self-made millionaire, and he. Just very good, business savvy, rolling property into other properties, and just living the American dream, you know.

And all these lawsuits you talked about, they were all -- they were all tenant, small claims actions regarding security deposits and maintenance issues. I mean, that`s where the slant by the press was so heavily, looking for that. And I just couldn`t just sit by and watch them trash them, you know, like that, when nothing has been revealed in the last 30 days of them ripping anybody off, you know? So I`m glad that that`s behind us, at least resolved.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I know you want to speak for them, as their friend and say, hey, what they`re reporting in the press. If you`re a landlord with a lot of properties, you`re going to have legal issues with people. That`s just the way it goes. You know? A lot of people don`t want to pay their rent. They want their security deposit back when they don`t deserve it, because they trashed the place. Anybody who`s ever rented out an apartment knows what I`m talking about.

We are just getting started on this. We`ve got a lot more information to bring you.

Later, a pregnant mom drives a minivan with her kids right into the ocean. Yes, we have been reporting on this story. But you will not believe what we found out about her past. She killed once before. This time she tried to kill, was unsuccessful, according to cops. But she killed once before.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Police say they did respond, and evaluated her for about 30 minutes. But said there was no legal right to detain her.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The children weren`t in crisis. The woman said, "I`m going to a shelter." And she showed nothing, there was no display that she was a danger to herself or anyone at that time.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`re looking into all aspects of it. So I can`t sit here and tell you 100 percent it`s financial or any other reasons. I can just tell you that we`re looking into that right now.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Shot at his parents and little brother as they slept.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The whodunit part of this case has been solved.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: The Sachs achieved the American dream. They had 9,000- square-foot, $3.7 million mansion in San Juan, California, one of the richest areas in the country. They had a great family. They were divorced, but they remained living under the same roof, and even after they divorced -- that`s my understanding anyway -- they adopted two children from Russia.

But their biological 19-year-old son tonight is charged with executing them as they slept in their bed and trying to kill other family members, leaving the 8-year-old boy who was adopted from Russia paralyzed. And shooting at his 17-year-old biological sister.

You know what? It just blows my mind. I`ve got to tell you this. Kirby Clemens, former prosecutor, a high schoolteacher who taught Ashton just called us and said, "You know what? He was a sweet, smiling, friendly young man who very much admired his father and was an all-around great kid in high school." He`s only 19. You know, it`s just baffling.

KIRBY CLEMENS, FORMER PROSECUTOR: As if people who kill would somehow look scary. You understand? I mean, if all killers looked terrifying, then no one would ever get killed.

He can be sweet as he wants to be. The fact of the matter is, he killed his parents, from the evidence that we have, according to police. He shot his kid brother, and he shot at his 17-year-old sister. Most likely for money. And I`d be very interested to know what e-mails and text messages happened back and forth between he and his parents to see if there really was a financial dispute. Maybe they were going to cut him off, for all we know.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. Well, I did wonder, as soon as I heard he went to a community college, no knock on community colleges. Some of the greatest Americans of our time have gone to community colleges.

But when you think of a wealthy family. they could afford to send their kid anywhere. We just did a whole story about Duke University costing 60 grand a year. You think, why is he in a community college in Seattle? What is that -- what`s that about?

Let me ask Monte Burghardt. You`re a family friend and real-estate broker. Do you know any idea why he ended up doing that? It`s sort of odd.

BURGHARDT: No, I don`t. I did not know why.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Did they ever say anything about "My son`s a, you know, he`s a goof-off"? No?



BURGHARDT: That was not (UNINTELLIGIBLE). We just strictly kept our conversations to real estate.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Tom, California, what are your thoughts and theories?

CALLER: I`m just wondering if, when they adopted the child, did they have any kind of mental records from the past showing that he had -- if he had any kind of medical, or mental issues? And, you know, what does -- is he depressed? Was he depressed? Or did anybody in the family or friends know that he might have been depressed?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, first of all, Anna Yum, I think these are good questions.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Criminal defense attorney out of San Diego.

The idea that he moved so quickly for guardianship before anybody knew what happened. He and his older brother, reportedly, who was not even in the area, so let`s -- you know, the older brother is not implicated. I want to stress that. But he moves very quickly for guardianship over the estate and over the kids, including the one cops say he paralyzed and the one he shot at, allegedly.

YUM: Right. I mean, this case is extremely baffling to me, too, Jane. And your caller raises a good point. Is there a history of medical -- mental illness? Because in my experience, people just don`t wake up one day and decide "I`m going to shoot up my whole family." I mean, I want to know, were there some red flags before? Was there a history of mental illness?

And unfortunately, this case really reminds me of the Menendez brothers. I`m not saying that the parents here are abusive. I`m not saying that at all. But if we`re talking about possible motive or ulterior motives here, is there a possibility that there was some sort of abuse from the parents? I mean, these are very important questions that remain to be answered. And I`d like to know some answers before I rush to any judgment. As a fact...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Judy Ho, forensic and clinical psychologist, I keep getting back to the money issue. You know, somebody wants to be a trust- fund baby, wants it all now. And the adoption, could there have been a deep, festering resentment that the family is divorced, yes, but it`s confusing. They stay in the same house, and then they adopt children. And could that create a resentment in the biological son?

JUDY HO, FORENSIC AND CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST: Jane, yes. And I believe we can explore both of these hypotheses together. The money and a possible lurking mental illness.

The money issue: them sending him to a community college, trying to teach him boundaries, maybe some resentment about his siblings getting attention. Those could be what we could call triggers for somebody`s mental illness.

And because of his age -- some of the most severe mental illnesses, we know, Jane, like schizophrenia, paranoia, all of those things, a lot of times do tend to show their ugly head right around this time.

And during this time, he was without family support. He was away by himself in Seattle. And nobody may have even know the signals at that time when this really all came to light.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wendy Walsh, sometimes, though, it`s all about the money. It`s all about, "Well, I don`t want to have to work. I don`t want to have to go to a community college. My parents are rich, just give me the money!"

WALSH: Well, sometimes it`s purely a mental illness, and sometimes it`s a personality disorder related to poor attachment. Many the values that`s happening with this whole family were about money and not healthy attachment, and so maybe this was the thing that triggered it for him.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I don`t want to speak ill of the dead. They are the victims here. This is the person accused of doing something sick, sinister and unimaginable. Killing his mom and dad, while they slept. We`re going to stay on top of this story and let you know if we find out a motive.

This is Justin Bieber like you have never -- and I mean never -- seen him before. He`s doing a deposition. And he totally loses it. He flips out over and over again. But especially when he`s asked about his relationship with Selena Gomez.

And we`re going to play this depo for you. It`s wild.

Next, it`s a mystery that the whole world is watching. A jetliner with 239 people vanishes into thin air. Not a trace. Nobody has seen as much of -- as a tiny little item. How could that be? Nothing.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Less than an hour after takeoff, the tower lost the plane`s signal. No distress calls sent. And the weather clear at the time. The Boeing 777 and its 239 people aboard seemingly vanished.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How could a plane packed with passengers disappear over the South China Sea?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This plane stopped transmitting any information. It disappeared.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If it was terrorism, it had to happen very, very suddenly.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have not found anything that appears to be objects from the aircraft, let alone the aircraft.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This was way out of the ordinary. This is yes something that -- that happened instantaneously, or relatively quickly. And overcame the proof and overcame the aircraft.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: It`s a mystery that has the whole world totally baffled, and it`s terrifying everybody who has to get on a plane. A huge jet simply vanishes, completely disappears into thin air in mid-flight with 239 people onboard.

It`s been three days, and not a single tiny solitary trace has been found. What happened to the 239 human beings on that plane? What happened to the flight?

Less than one hour after takeoff, Flight 370 was at a safe cruising altitude. The skies were clear. With no warning, the plane just disappears.

Searchers thought they found an oil slick that might be from the plane, but turns out, wrong, it wasn`t. Then reports that a plane door and its tail had been spotted. Also wrong. It wasn`t. Not a trace has been discovered. Tantalizing clues tonight. Two suspicious passengers boarded that plane with stolen passports. And five people checked in at the airport, then failed to get on the plane. Their bags were removed. But could that be more than a coincidence? Five people didn`t get on this flight.

There were also reports the jet tried to turn around before it went out of range. But if somebody had tried to hijack the plane or there was a mechanical failure, why didn`t the pilots radio? They said absolutely nothing. It`s just a total baffling mystery. Listen to this.


MARY SCHIAVO, FORMER INSPECTOR GENERAL, U.S. GOVERNMENT: The debris field, if it was an in-flight, a midair explosion, the debris would be scattered wide and far. And so much on the plane will float. You know, the seat cushions, the life vests, the life rafts, the service carts and containers, parts of the wing, parts of the tail, all that will float. And there`s nothing. It is very, very surprising.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Straight out to John Lucich. You`re a licensed commercial pilot. How bizarre is this? I mean, it`s blowing everybody`s minds. It`s all we can talk about.

JOHN LUCICH, FORMER STATE INVESTIGATOR: It`s totally bizarre, because we can`t find the airplane. We know by now it`s somewhere, because it doesn`t have enough fuel to keep going.

So three things could have happened to this airplane. No. 1, it crashed into the ocean.

NO. 2, it crashed into the ground. Or got below radar and then landed someplace else, and they`re holding these hostages.

And you remember, the hijackers on 9/11 became familiar with the aviation system. If these guys knew aviation and knew what a transponder was, they knew that pilots would put in the squawk code of 7500 for a hijacking, which is a quiet alert to ATC, air traffic control. If they knew that, they would prevent the pilots from doing that, get them below altitude, and land that airplane. While I think that`s a far-fetched scenario, it`s still a possibility, absent of facts in this case.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Many say it`s unlikely the plane`s disappearance is due to a terrorist attack, because well-known organizations usually take credit for those attacks. Only one minor group is taking credit, and it`s been sort of discounted.

But listen to this conspiracy theory.


SCHIAVO: People forget something called the Bojinka plot. The Bojinka plot was a plot to take out 12 jetliners over the Pacific Ocean and they were aiming for U.S. jetliners but they did a trial run. They did a trial run on a Philippine jetliner and they used fake passports.


SCHIAVO: And they didn`t take credit because they didn`t want anyone to know that they were testing it, who it was. So there`s no indication here that that applies in this case. But there are similarities. And that would be why no one was taking credit.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: So Jon Leiberman, the question, could it have been a trial run for terrorists? There were two passengers onboard with passports that were stolen in Thailand. An Iranian man named Kazem Ali called a Thai travel agency on Thursday and booked one-way tickets for these two passengers with stolen passports and he paid in cash. He got them on the flight.

I mean is that the key that these two individuals with stolen passports and a very bizarre man from Iran calling to buy tickets for them in cash for one-way trips?

JON LEIBERMAN, HLN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, here`s the thing, Jane. Investigators deal with facts. And they try to unravel these investigations based on facts. And right now we have very few facts. One fact that we have is the fact that two people on there used stolen passports to gain entry into that plane.

So right now, the U.S. is actually running those people`s fingerprints, their photos against our no-fly list, against our terrorist databases, to definitively find if there is a nexus to terrorism. One other thing, Jane, though, and this should concern everybody, Interpol came out and said that last year alone, one billion different times, people used passports to get on planes, and they weren`t compared against Interpol`s database. Think about that -- one billion times.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: It`s ridiculous. It`s ridiculous.

LEIBERMAN: What a loophole in aviation security.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: We talk on the show all about the government is broken; well, globally the government is broken. They know who got the stolen passports, they know these passports are stolen but nobody checks, except for a few countries. So what`s the use?

I`ve got to tell you, this is all I can think about all weekend. I`m like how does a plane just disappear? Where is it? We`ll stay on top of this one.

Now, we`ve got breaking news for you in the case of a pregnant Florida mom. You know, she was accused of trying to drown her three kids by driving the family`s minivan right into the ocean. You will not believe what we`ve uncovered. But here`s a hint. She`s killed before.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She actually told them to close their eyes and go to sleep. She was taking them to a better place.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On Tuesday, Ebony Wilkerson drove her minivan filled with her children into the Atlantic Ocean. The dramatic drive on Florida`s Daytona Beach caught on tape as kids inside cried for help.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A woman drove her minivan and her children into the ocean.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Three counts of attempted first-degree murder for which you have no bond. You are also charged with three counts of child abuse.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are they saying "help"?


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight breaking news: an unbelievable twist as the pregnant mom accused of trying to kill her three kids and herself by driving her minivan right into the ocean is behind bars tonight on a whopping $1.2 million bond. And tonight we discover this woman has killed before and with a vehicle. That`s right.

Seven years ago, 32-year-old Ebony Wilkerson drove her car into another car, sending it spinning into a concrete barrier and badly injuring a woman who later died from her wounds. But back then Ebony wasn`t even arrested. She only got community service.

Take a look at her now. There doesn`t seem to be a trace of remorse or agony in this woman`s face even though she allegedly tried to kill her three precious children ages 3, 9 and 10, by driving them into the ocean, even though they screamed and yelled and hollered and begged for their lives.

Just take a look at this woman. She looks -- I don`t know, like she`s at an art gallery looking at painting -- either that, or completely catatonic. One thing I can tell you, there`s not a tear in sight even when the judge reads her the charges.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you prepared to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth so help you god?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ebony Wilkerson, you`re charged with three counts of attempted first-degree murder for which you have no bond. You`re also charged with three counts of child abuse causing great bodily harm.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ebony`s sister said right before the incident Ebony was ranting about demons in her house and talking to Jesus. Is she completely crazy or just completely callous? We`re going to go to a reporter on site, who has some new information.

But first, I want to analyze, Wendy Walsh, analyze this woman`s expression from a psychoanalytical standpoint.

WENDY WALSH, PSYCHOLOGIST: You know, Jane, what you would call "not a tear shed", I would call lack of affect. And what we mean by that is somebody whose emotions are not connecting to their physical expression. This is definitely -- or could be a sign of mental illness. This to me looks like a terrified woman who`s not all together.

Now, whether she`s under -- whether they`ve medicated her, I`m not sure. But her stilted walk, the eyes dashing back and forth, look very closely, this is a woman who`s mentally not quite present.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Judy Ho, your take as a forensic and clinical psychologist?

JUDY HO, CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST: Well, Jane, you know to follow up a little bit on what Wendy said, yes, her affect is completely disconnected. And maybe this is exactly how she was able to complete the action of driving her car into the ocean with her kids, screaming and asking for help.

The problem is, there were so many opportunities in this case where we missed her. We could have taken her in, this would have never happened, because her sister had called on the Monday before all this happened, took her to a mental hospital. They released her on Tuesday. She signed herself out, actually, because they didn`t find a reason to keep her.

As you mentioned earlier in the segment, the police evaluated her for about a half an hour, so they didn`t find any signs and let her go again

But the problem is, I don`t think that we are all very educated, all of us, who are in this field or even outside of it, like the police force coming into contact with these people about what signs we really should look for when somebody`s that disturbed.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, exactly. You know, when you`re mentally ill, you don`t wear a sign tattooed on your forehead that says, "I am crazy." You`ve got to figure it out. And so --

HO: That`s right.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: In front of her sister, she`s talking to Jesus and saying there are demons in the house. But then when the police arrive, she`s actually lucid.

Now today, there was a four-hour hearing to decide what should happen to these precious children -- smart, brave kids, who managed to roll down the windows -- she had locked the doors and rolled up the windows and they managed to get the windows down. One was trying to grab the steering well. Well, they saved themselves essentially thanks to some heroes.

We`re going to talk to a hero in a second. But what`s going to happen to them now that their mom`s in jail for allegedly trying to kill them? Ebony Wilkerson`s husband was outside the hearing today. We just got this in.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Anything you want to say about the kids?


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, Mark Starling, reporter, anchor 96.5; you`re in Orlando. She said, you know, she had domestic violence. This father absolutely denies that. He says that her talk is just another sign of her extreme mental illness. And that she`s trying to point the finger at somebody else. What have you learned tonight, Mark?

MARK STARLING, REPORTER/ANCHOR 96.5, ORLANDO: Well, Jane, the judge has placed a gag order on the case, so as far as the media is concerned, we`re really not going to be hearing a whole lot of anything until everything is resolved.

Like you said, Ebony Wilkerson was there today as well as her husband, Lutful Ronjon. The only thing he said to reporters was, "God bless everybody".

James Purdy, who is Wilkerson`s public defender, spoke with reporters just recently this afternoon, and really said nothing more than the fact that they`re working on a defense, would not say whether they`re working on a mental illness defense, or whatever the case.

There was a new police report that was released today, and basically it said the Daytona Beach safety officer asked Wilkerson if she was injured after she swerved the car into the ocean last week. And that`s the first time that she responded to anybody about the abuse allegations from her husband, Lutful Ronjon.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Look at the kids in the car. Look at the kids. Look at the kids waving. And this gentleman ran in there and rescued those kids.

And we want to go now to Stacy Robinson who also rescued the children from the van. First of all I want to say, Stacy, you`re my hero. We hear so often about strangers not doing the right thing. You were there. You just went for it. And that was a dangerous situation. You could have gotten trapped under the car. Bravo for you, sir.

What did you see in terms of -- we`ve heard reports that this woman actually tried to stop some of the rescuers when you guys were going in there to rescue the youngest kid.

STACY ROBINSON, HELPED RESCUE CHILDREN (via telephone): From that point, we knew it had become serious because when she made that left turn to go into the water, again, it was -- we were shocked. My natural instinct just kicked in. I knew I had to get the kids out of there.

As I approached the passenger side window, I noticed she had all the windows rolled up except the front window. From there, I stuck my arm in. I pushed every button I could get my fingers on. And that window began to roll down. I knew the kids were safe.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: She did not seem concerned about the kids, nothing, right? She walked out of the water, and did not say, "Oh, my little baby`s there." Did you see her trying to block somebody, trying to save her kid?

ROBINSON: No. Not really. After she got out of the water, there was no emotion whatsoever. No remorse.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, Stacy, I want to say -- I want to thank you again for doing what you did. And we need more people like you who don`t just sit around and watch when tragedy occurs. They intervened before.

You saved those kids` lives, along with some of the other folks who ran in there. And you`re my hero for that. Well done, sir.

Before Ebony drove straight into the surf with her kids, her own sister called cops saying she was having a mental breakdown. Listen to this.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What is she doing?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She`s talking about Jesus and that there`s demons in my house. And that I`m trying to control her or I`m trying to keep them safe.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She thinks there`s demons in the house?



VELEZ-MITCHELL: Briefly, Kirby Clemens, could the 2007 incident where she improperly changed lanes and clipped another car and somebody ended up dying, could that be connected in some way to her downward spiral?

KIRBY CLEMENS, FORMER PROSECUTOR: I think the defense counsel would try to argue that. That because she killed someone she became -- that the emotional stress of that is what caused her to go on that downward spiral. If I were her defense lawyer, that`s exactly what I would argue that as a matter of fact.

From a prosecution perspective, I would say she was clearly definitive in what she was trying to do that day. She drove into the ocean, she locked the doors. She displayed cold, callous, calculated behavior.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: We`re going to stay on top of it and find out what happens to those kids. They will not go into harm`s way, I pray.

It`s the Biebster next. And he`s obnoxious. I mean you`re going to want to throw something at the TV set.

Stay right there.


JUSTIN BIEBER, SINGER: I was down on YouTube. I think that I was detrimental to my own career.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m sorry, I can`t hear you at all. I`m sitting right next to you.

BIEBER: I think I was instrumental to my career.




BIEBER: I don`t have to listen to anything you have to say.

That`s a weird question.

Really? You didn`t want to interrupt.

Is this a film? Is this a film?

I don`t know. Katie Couric, you tell me.

What kind of question is that?

Guess what? I don`t recall.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, uproar. Brand new shocking video of pop superstar Justin Bieber full of bad attitude and arrogance while being grilled under oath in a lawsuit filed by a paparazzo. Watch. He is obnoxious.


BIEBER: I don`t have to listen to anything you have to say.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I didn`t hear your response.

BIEBER: You know, I didn`t finish. I didn`t finish my -- I didn`t finish.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m sorry. I didn`t want to interrupt.

BIEBER: Really? You didn`t want to interrupt. Is this a film?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would you please watch the television.

BIEBER: You said it`s a film. You said watch the film, is this the film?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is this different from a film or something else?

BIEBER: What kind of question is that? Is he my son? Guess what? I don`t recall.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: "Lion`s Den", Amy Palmer, founder of This guy is just snotty, obnoxious -- I mean I have to keep it clean here. Take it away.

AMY PALMER, FOUNDER OF POWERWOMENTV.COM: Ok Jane. Let me turn this around for a second. The lawyer was asking the most ridiculous questions. Do you know Selena --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Are you kidding me? You`re going to defend this guy?

PALMER: Yes. Do you know Selena Gomez? Do you know Usher? He knows the answer. Why was he asking him those questions? I think it set a bad tone, and I`m not saying that Justin wasn`t disrespectful --


PALMER: -- but if you really watch the entire -- the entire video, you will say these questions are ridiculous.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Kendra G, help me out.


KENDRA G, CORRESPONDENT: Jane I agree with your guest completely.

PALMER: Oh my gosh thank you.

G: First of all, listen, I have to jump in here because first and foremost, he needs to get a whipping from an old school black grandmother. He has no respect at all for anyone. I blame his parents for not teaching him how to be respectful, and I also blame us because we have made him the megastar that he is today. And it`s really, really sad.

And for you to say that they were bad questions, please, have you like slept with Justin Bieber? What are you talking about?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: We`ll be back in a sec.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have you ever been to Australia ever?

BIEBER: I don`t know if I`ve been to Australia. Have I been to Australia?


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Amy Palmer, he was in Australia last month.

PALMER: He was what, Jane?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: He was in Australia last month.

PALMER: I know he was, but -- and I agree with you. Listen, he is not being respectful, and I`m not condoning his behavior. But what I`m saying is he`s a kid. He`s sitting in there and the lawyer is asking these questions that he knows are going to piss him off. Not saying it`s ok. Kendra, I understand what you`re saying, but please, this is --

G: Jane, I agree with Amy on this one because let`s -- let`s say this. The attorney was obviously trying to get under Justin`s skin, but this was a four-hour-long-deposition, and this kind of conduct is not unusual in depositions. There is no judge there who can declare order in the court.


G: People get angry all the time Jane.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: First of all, I think both of you girls must know Justin Bieber in a private manner, because I can`t believe what you guys --