It’s been another busy week of on-air appearances regarding the “Baby Lisa” case that continues to unfold here in Kansas City (including HLN’s Nancy Grace and Prime News and ABC’s local affiliate KMBC-9 News). Developments in the case since my last post include the departure of the family’s local counsel from the case (no telling who initiated that departure), the reported refusal of the parents to be interviewed separately (at least unless/until the cops meet certain conditions), and the cancellation of interviews of the older two children in the Irwin/Bradley household by social workers.
Meanwhile, the cops continue to investigate reports of a man walking with a baby in his arms within walking distance of the Irwin/Bradley home on the night Baby Lisa disappeared, as well as a telephone call reportedly received by an apparently-unaffiliated citizen from one of the three (why they needed three is still unexplained) cell phones reported stolen from the Irwin/Bradley home on that same night. Keep in mind, though, that there aren’t just two possibilities — i.e. it’s not necessarily either that a stranger came into the home and took the baby out or that one or both parents took the baby out of the home, dead or alive — the baby could’ve been knowingly handed off to another person, either alive or dead (i.e. someone else could’ve been complicit in helping the parent or parents remove the baby from the home).
Bottom line at this point: I continue to believe that the parents are not behaving like parents who are doing everything they possibly can to accelerate the recovery of their missing baby. Instead, they look to me like parents who are doing things to delay the investigation, and why might a parent or parents want to delay the recovery of a missing child? Well, as chilling as it is, the Anthony case taught anyone who might want to dispose of a child’s body that: the longer it takes the cops to find a body, the worse condition it’ll be in, and the harder it’ll be to determine precisely how the person died, which is how someone responsible for a death can end up walking the streets a free woman/man.
My advice to authorities on a next step: Use the mother’s admitted intoxication on the night of Baby Lisa’s disappearance, with minor children in her care, as grounds to get a guardian appointed for the older two children (i.e. evidence of child neglect in that household — what if there had been a fire while the mother was incapable of dealing with that situation?), and then ask the guardian to reschedule the canceled interviews of those children. I see no logical reason (other than protecting the parents) not to have these interviews happen. I think the argument that the children could be traumatized by the interview process is bogus. The social workers who would conduct these interviews would be some of the best-trained social workers in the area, and that’s what I think may be the real fear — that they’ll uncover evidence of “coaching” by one or both parents if not crimes committed by one or both parents. The mother reportedly has asserted that these kids aren’t even asking about their missing baby sister, and I frankly just don’t believe that. Sure, their out-of-state lead attorney may very well have advised the parents to cancel the kids’ interviews, but keep in mind, his job isn’t to find Baby Lisa — it’s to keep the parents from being convicted.
In other Lawpsyc news:
A federal judge has refused to throw out the corruption case against former senator John Edwards, who stands accused of using campaign money to cover up an affair and an out-of-wedlock child during his 2008 bid for a presidential nomination. I’ve said that Edwards was a narcissistic scumbag since the day that story broke — I covered it extensively for HLN — and I maintain that belief wholeheartedly, so bring on the trial!
An Ohio high school teacher has been convicted of having unlawful sexual relations with multiple male students after raising an insanity defense based on her supposed total amnesia for the nights in question. Yeah, right, like she doesn’t remember a thing. I didn’t buy it for a second, and thankfully, the judge didn’t buy it either. The teacher’s off to prison for four years (but she could be paroled in as few as six months). Good riddance. Before I leave this one, though, I have to address comments played over and over in the national media from the mother of one of the victims. This woman talked about what a great kid her son was before all of this happened and how different he is now. Well, I’m sure the teacher didn’t help, but let’s be serious: While she wasn’t charged with any additional offenses, uncontroverted evidence presented at the trial showed that the teacher had also provided the boys with drugs and alcohol, which they gladly accepted and used. So, it sounds to me like there may be some parental scapegoating occurring here — i.e. this mother’s son, and her parenting of him, couldn’t have been too stellar beforehand, or he probably wouldn’t have been at the teacher’s house for drinking, drugs, and sex in the first place.
Next up, the toxicology is in, and just as I predicted, singer Amy Winehouse apparently died of…surprise, surprise…alcohol poisoning…despite her family’s initial insistence that alcohol and drugs had little or nothing to do with it. Not much left to say about that one.
Speaking of parents who make excuses for their kids, Lindsay Lohan’s father will have to do some serious excuse-making for himself after he reportedly jumped from a third-floor balcony to avoid arrest after violating a court order to stay away from his “girlfriend,” whom he is accused of threatening and beating. Another shocker, I know.
There’s a serial rapist on the loose in Dallas, and he’s targeting long-ago members of the same traditionally-black sorority Delta Sigma Theta. The weirdest thing about the case so far is that surveillance footage believed to have captured an image of the guy shows him to be a black man in his 30’s-40’s, too young to have ever attended school with any of the four victims, all of whom are apparently at least 10 years older than that. Theories abound, like maybe he once worked for the sorority, or maybe he’s carrying out a vicarious vendetta of his father’s or brother’s, or maybe he’s even going after his mother’s or mother-in-law’s sorority sisters. Who knows, but until he’s caught — which I predict will happen when cops figure out the connection between him and the sorority (he’s already made known “mistakes,” so I’ll bet he’s made others that’ll work to the cops’ advantage) — the cops are urging Delta Sigma Theta alumnae in the Dallas area not to publicly exhibit sorority insignia.
And finally, the manslaughter trial of Dr. Conrad Murray, the late Michael Jackson’s personal physician, continues in Los Angeles. The defense is expected to wrap up its case this week, which means it’s conceivable that we could have a verdict by the end of the week.
So far the defense has had several former patients testify about what a great doctor Murray was. When one such former patient testified that Murray became his “best friend,” however, as a frequent assessor of physician misconduct vis a vis professional boundaries (e.g. inappropriate relationships with patients), it did nothing to increase Dr. Murray’s credibility in my mind. Why? Because as soon as a patient starts seeing his/her physician as something other than a benevolent but objective medical resource, the doctor-patient relationship is compromised in that the patient may no longer want to disclose the full details of behaviors, symptoms, etc. that may violate doctor’s orders, may be embarrassing, may adversely affect the “friendship” or other extra-curricular relationship with the doctor, etc. Overall though, I don’t think that the “character” witnesses meant much to this case one way or the other.
The “star” defense witness is an expert on the surgical sedative propofol who has disagreed with the prosecution’s expert of the role that propofol and other substances played in Jackson’s death. Specifically, the defense expert has disputed the prosecution expert’s contention that Murray essentially drugged Jackson to death. The defense expert has opined that Jackson himself must’ve injected and/or swallowed additional doses while Murray was away from his bedside, i.e. that Jackson essentially killed himself.
Cross examination of the defense expert is upcoming, but once again, I’m not sure how much of a difference any of this makes. Why? Because involuntary manslaughter is unintentionally causing a death by doing something reckless that put the deceased at risk of great bodily harm or death. So, even if Jackson somehow overdosed himself (and I haven’t heard evidence to prove that, like Jackson’s fingerprints on drug containers), the questions remain: Whose fault was it that the drugs were in Jackson’s house in the first place? and Whose fault was it that Murray (or another qualified professional) apparently was not at Jackson’s bedside when the alleged overdose occurred? If the answer to one or both of those questions is Conrad Murray, then it seems like the jury still has enough to conclude that recklessness, and therefore manslaughter, occurred. Stay tuned!