HLN Transcript: Nancy Grace – Utah Physician Under Suspicion in Bathtub Death of Wife

NANCY GRACE

Utah Physician Under Suspicion in Bathtub Death of Wife

Aired December 7, 2010 – 20:00:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
NANCY GRACE, HOST: Breaking news tonight, live, Utah. An emergency 911 call from a doctor desperately trying to save his wife when he finds her unconscious, under water in the bedroom bathtub, the mother of eight just eight days out of a full facelift. After interviewing her husband, a doctor and director of a prestigious developmental clinic, the ME rules natural death.

But now nearly two years of a full-fledged affair with a younger woman uncovered. The doctor brings the woman into the home as the new nanny. Plus, we learn about decades of forging his way all the way to a medical degree, skimming government money, house loans, and even his dead wife`s estate.

Bombshell tonight. In a stunning twist, the case reopened. Tonight, will a prominent doctor/lawyer get away with his wife`s murder?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

911 OPERATOR: Pleasant Grove Police Department.

MARTIN MACNEILL: I need — I need an ambulance!

911 OPERATOR: OK, what`s the problem, sir? We need medical. Sir, what`s wrong?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Martin MacNeill`s wife, Michele, had plastic surgery. Eight days later, she was dead.

MACNEILL: She just had surgery a couple of days, a week ago!

911 OPERATOR: What kind of surgery did she have?

MACNEILL: She had a facelift.

911 OPERATOR: She had a facelift?

MACNEILL: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The death originally ruled as a result of natural causes, but for many family and friends, things just didn`t sit right.

MACNEILL: My wife`s fallen in the bathtub!

911 OPERATOR: Who`s in the bathtub? Who`s in the bathtub?

MACNEILL: My wife!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: MacNeill, a doctor, had reportedly made special arrangements with the surgeon to obtain a peculiar mix of medications.

MACNEILL: I`m a physician. I need help!

I`m a physician. I`ve got CPR in progress!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GRACE: And tonight, after a dream wedding, a romantic honeymoon and couples` dive trip turns deadly. There in the clear blue waters far below the surface, the blushing bride sinks to the ocean floor while the groom manages to make it to the top to breathe the fresh air, and then goes home to collect what he believes will be a big, fat insurance check.

Breaking tonight: Shortly after the groom moves on and remarries immediately, the U.S., specifically the great state of Alabama, brings the groom back to home turf for murder.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You never think that your daughter would leave for her honeymoon and her husband will kill her.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Tina was 26.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Dave Watson originally told police Tina got caught in strong currents and panicked.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: His story of what happened that day changed 16 times.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Initially, it had been what appeared to be an accident.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Tried, convicted and imprisoned for killing his newlywed wife in 2003.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I really believe that there`s a lot more to it than that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Money was a motive.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Group insurance that she carried at work.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was a qualified rescue diver.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He spent just 18 months in a Brisbane jail.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Until he actually faces the evidence for the first time.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Dave Watson.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dave Watson.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dave Watson.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Back in Alabama.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In a criminal trial before a jury.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Awaiting his first court appearance in his home state.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There can be no rest or no peace for anyone in our family.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GRACE: Good evening. I`m Nancy Grace. I want to thank you for being with us. Bombshell tonight, live, Utah. An emergency 911 call from a medical doctor desperately trying to save his wife when he says he finds her unconscious, submerged, under water, in the bedroom bathtub. After the ME rules a natural death, in a stunning twist, the case reopened. Tonight, will a prominent doctor/lawyer get away with murder?

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

911 OPERATOR: Pleasant Grove Police Department.

MACNEILL: I need — I need an ambulance!

911 OPERATOR: OK, what`s the problem, sir? We need medical. Sir, what`s wrong?

MACNEILL: My wife`s fallen in the bathtub!

911 OPERATOR: Who`s in the bathtub? Who`s in the bathtub?

MACNEILL: My wife!

911 OPERATOR: OK, is she conscious?

MACNEILL: She`s not. I`m a physician. I need help! (INAUDIBLE)

911 OPERATOR: Sir, sir, I need you to calm down. Sir, I can`t understand you, OK? Can you calm down just a little bit?

MACNEILL: I need help!

911 OPERATOR: OK, what — your wife is unconscious?

MACNEILL: She is unconscious. She`s under water.

911 OPERATOR: OK, did you get her out of the water?

MACNEILL: I can`t! I just (INAUDIBLE) I let the water out (INAUDIBLE)

911 OPERATOR: She`s under the water?

MACNEILL: She`s under the water, and I need an ambulance!

911 OPERATOR: OK, is she breathing at all?

MACNEILL: She`s not!

911 OPERATOR: OK, sir, the ambulance has been paged. They`re on their way, OK? Do not hang up.

MACNEILL: Why?

911 OPERATOR: What? Sir?

(END AUDIO CLIP)

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

MACNEILL: Hello?

911 OPERATOR: Sir, this is 911. Can I help you?

MACNEILL: I need help!

911 OPERATOR: OK, sir, they`re on their way. Is your wife breathing?

MACNEILL: She is not! I am a physician. I`ve got CPR in progress! (INAUDIBLE)

911 OPERATOR: You`re doing CPR?

(CROSSTALK)

911 OPERATOR: Sir, how old is your wife?

MACNEILL: My wife is 50 years old. She just had surgery a couple of days, a week ago.

911 OPERATOR: What kind of surgery did she have?

MACNEILL: She had a facelift.

911 OPERATOR: She had a facelift?

MACNEILL: Yes.

911 OPERATOR: OK, do you know how to do CPR?

MACNEILL: I`m doing it!

911 OPERATOR: OK, do not hang…

(END AUDIO CLIP)

GRACE: We are taking your calls. Straight out to Jim Kirkwood joining us from Salt Lake City, Utah, KTKK talk show host. Jim, amazing! Just listen to that 911 call. I see so many problems. Is he actually — this is a medical doctor stating that she`s submerged under water while he`s on the phone? That`s what he said.

JIM KIRKWOOD, KTKK RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: That`s what he said. And it`s unbelievable. He would know better, pull her out and do CPR. That`s what he should have been doing instead of calling 911.

GRACE: And then — I mean, put yourself in this position. Let me go to you, Jean Casarez. Jean Casarez, he`s saying he`s trying to save his wife. Think about it, Jean! And he`s answering the phone? Hello? I don`t get it. Why would you answer the phone while you`re trying to save your wife`s life?

JEAN CASAREZ, “IN SESSION”: And that`s something that came out afterwards because when, finally, paramedics arrived, there was water that was coming out of the lungs. And it was determined through investigation that if there had been proper CPR and attention at that moment, the water would already be out of the lungs when the paramedics had arrived.

GRACE: You know, there was also water coming out of her stomach. There are so many inconsistencies and discrepancies here. This is a very prominent doctor and lawyer who served with our American military.

I`m going to go back to Jim Kirkwood. We`re really getting ahead of ourselves but the big story is the case is now reopened. How this was ever deemed an accident, how this guy has skated along for this long without charges, I don`t know. Let me get down to the basics. Mr. Kirkwood, where was the husband at the time that morning, when all this — when she fell into the bathtub? Where was he?

KIRKWOOD: He had to have been there because he was there right away to help her. And that`s the question. And then the weird mix of drugs he was giving her that the attending physician didn`t understand. This is a really strange story, Nancy.

GRACE: Well, another inconsistency that I`ve been closely looking at. Jean Casarez, isn`t it true that he went to some type of a safety fair that morning, leaving his wife, eight days out of surgery? She was all worried he was having an affair, so she rushes in to get a full facelift. Of course, turns out now, he was having an affair. I`ll get to that later. But he leaves her alone in the home. He goes to a safety fair. He didn`t need to go to. There, doesn`t he become belligerent with one of the employees and then insist his photo be taken to show he`s at the safety fair?

CASAREZ: Exactly. He was very stressed. He was belligerent. He made sure he had his picture taken. And Nancy, when he went back home, that`s when he says he found his wife unconscious in the bathtub. Cause of death at that time, hypertension and cardiovascular disease. The heart just stopped beating.

But what they didn`t know at that time, that that facelift that happened eight days ago — that he was responsible for giving her the medication when she came home from the hospital, and now that cause of death has been changed to include drug toxicity.

GRACE: You know, another issue, Jean Casarez, is the number of drugs. It`s my understanding — look at all that! Lortab, Ambien, Oxycodone, Valium and more. But the attending physician who treated the wife says he would never have given all that, except the husband, who is a physician, told him to, and that he personally, the husband, would monitor the intake of her drugs. Isn`t that true, Jean Casarez?

CASAREZ: Yes, and investigators didn`t know that at the time they did the initial autopsy and the cause of death. But that was critically important for them to now change that cause of death. And Nancy, remember, he`s a doctor and a lawyer. He`s immensely respected in the community.

GRACE: Well, hold on. Hold on. Let me just address that very quickly. Joining me right now out of Salt Lake City, Utah, is a very special guest. This is a woman who never let go of this case, and now she has broken this story. Her name, Sarah Lenz, reporter with “The Deseret News.” (SIC) She`s has broken the story on Dr. Martin MacNeill and the death of his wife, Michele, an absolute beauty. She was a beauty queen, gave birth to four of his children, adopted four more children. When she started suspecting he was having an affair, she runs out and gets a facelift. Now she`s dead.

To you, Sarah Lenz. Number one, thank you for being with us. I`ve read your article, an extensive article. How did you find out about the girlfriend, Gypsy Willis? I`m not making that name up.

SARAH LENZ, “DESERET MORNING NEWS”: No, you`re not. Well, I got, actually, a — it was a document from the state, from the Utah County attorney`s office, about the time when she and Martin were both charged for the identity theft. And I kind of just kept looking into it, kept finding more and more. It looked interesting to me, and just kept looking more into it, talked to the family and found out that he had been living, basically, years of lies.

GRACE: And Sarah Lenz, isn`t it true he brings the lover, the girlfriend, Gypsy Willis, in, posing as a nanny, even taking his daughter to temple, telling her to pray for a new nanny, then setting up the nanny to meet them on the steps right after Mommy dies.

LENZ: Yes. That`s true.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

MACNEILL: My wife`s fallen in the bathtub.

911 OPERATOR: Who`s in the bathtub? Who`s in the bathtub?

MACNEILL: My wife!

(END AUDIO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did the doctor murder his wife?

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

911 OPERATOR: OK, is she conscious?

MACNEILL: She`s not. I`m a physician. I need help!

(END AUDIO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did the doctor murder his wife?

911 OPERATOR: OK, what — your wife is unconscious?

MACNEILL: She is unconscious. She is under water.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Authorities now reviewing possible homicide charges for the death of Michele MacNeill, who suddenly died after a routine cosmetic surgery procedure while in the care of her husband.

911 OPERATOR: OK, did you get her out of the water?

MACNEILL: I can`t (INAUDIBLE) I let the water out (INAUDIBLE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just days before her death, a daughter reportedly claims, she heard her parents argue over allegations of an affair.

911 OPERATOR: She`s under the water?

MACNEILL: She`s under the water, and I need an ambulance!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The day his wife died, MacNeill reportedly made many inconsistent statements about the way his wife died. 911 dispatchers say he acted aggressive, angry, and condescending.

911 OPERATOR: OK, is she breathing at all?

MACNEILL: She`s not!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GRACE: We are taking your calls. Straight out to Sandy in New Jersey. Hi, Sandy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, Nancy. I would like to know how the lawyer`s going to explain how he was doing CPR, making a phone call and her being under water all at the same time.

GRACE: Great question. Let`s unleash the lawyers. Joining us out of Atlanta, Raymond Giudice, defense attorney, famed attorney John Burris, defense attorney, joining us out of San Francisco. What about it, Giudice?

RAYMOND GIUDICE, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Tough problem. And he`s got another problem in that generally, in CPR, you can`t have someone sitting up or leaning in a tub. The right way for a doctor to do CPR would have gotten her flat on her back. And there`s some physical evidence about the pooling of blood that indicates she wasn`t flat on her back. So the caller has properly identified defense counsel`s, meaning me, biggest problem.

GRACE: OK, Ray, Ray, Ray…

GIUDICE: Yes. How am I going to do it?

GRACE: Not what I asked you!

GIUDICE: I`m going to come up with some — well…

GRACE: You`ve just restated what I have already told you and what the caller asked. Now give me an answer!

GIUDICE: Well, when you properly identify a problem, I want to give you credit for it. But what I`m going to do is try to set up a way that he could have done CPR with her in the tub. I`m sure we can find an expert that could show it was possible.

GRACE: Yes, you know who you ought to call, John Burris? How about Conrad Murray, Michael Jackson`s lawyer (SIC), who tried the same thing. Yes. Nobody believes that.

JOHN BURRIS, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: That`s (INAUDIBLE). Well, you know, that`s mean. But I will say that I think he is right…

GRACE: No! What`s mean is lying…

BURRIS: If I`m in that situation…

GRACE: … about CPR and letting somebody die! That`s mean.

BURRIS: I know, but…

GRACE: Me pointing it out is not mean!

BURRIS: The names you gave. But look, the lawyer — if you`re on the case, look, you got to figure out how to handle this. You do have to get an expert, some biomechanic, biophysicist, somebody to help you explain this. Otherwise, yes, you`re just accepting the prosecution`s theory. But that`s not the defense lawyer`s job. The job is to find a way to see if you can say that it can possibly be done, and that requires the expert who can help you do this. And without that, obviously, you`re in deep trouble. But you do have to find someone help offer some kind of explanation as to the possibility of this taking place.

GRACE: Back to Jean Casarez, legal correspondent, “In Session.” I want to hear from you and Sarah about his long history of lying. When I found out he was a doctor, I said, A doctor of what? Where did he go to medical school? I found out it was Guadalajara. I mean, he went from — where — Liz, put up that full screen. Where all did this guy leapfrog back into from — said he was hearing voices in the military. He worked at various locations, finally got his degree in Guadalajara, as I recall.

But specifically, Jean, as we put this up, I want to hear about the girlfriend, the 32, 34-year-old girlfriend. Here he is, 54, I believe. Where did Gypsy Willis enter the scene?

CASAREZ: Well, way before Michele passed away, friends and relatives say that she knew and she believed that he had a woman on the side, and there were a lot of arguments between the two of them. After Michele died, when she was gone, almost immediately, he told the family, Let`s go to the temple and pray for a nanny to come. They went to the temple. Out walks this woman, and there`s the nanny. She becomes the nanny. But she`s also the girlfriend.

GRACE: OK, wait! Wa-wait!

CASAREZ: And she moves in shortly after that.

GRACE: Put Jean back up. Are you telling me — let me get this straight — he takes the family, the children, into the temple to pray, tells them to pray for a new nanny. Then he sets up a meeting where his girlfriend, his mistress, is standing there on the front steps of the temple and goes, Hi, and the children think their prayers have been answered.

CASAREZ: Exactly. Exactly. Investigators say part of the premeditated plan.

GRACE: OK, you know what? I`m going to put him in jail for that alone!

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

911 OPERATOR: OK, what — your wife is unconscious?

MACNEILL: She is unconscious. She is under water!

911 OPERATOR: OK, did you get her out of the water?

MACNEILL: I can`t! (INAUDIBLE) I let the water out (INAUDIBLE)

911 OPERATOR: She`s under the water?

(END AUDIO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Questions swirling about MacNeill`s behavior before and after his wife`s death.

MACNEILL: I need — I need an ambulance! (INAUDIBLE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: “The Deseret News” reporting the morning his wife died, an employee reportedly filed a complaint against him, saying he was acting, quote, “belligerent and nervous.”

911 OPERATOR: Sir, what`s wrong?

MACNEILL: My wife`s fallen in the bathtub!

911 OPERATOR: OK, is she conscious?

MACNEILL: She`s not. I`m a physician. I need help!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GRACE: How many times is he going to tell the 911 operator, I`m a doctor, I`m a physician? OK, let`s talk about the scene, the scene that they found, the EMTs found when they got there. To Jim Kirkwood, talk show host, KTKK, joining us out of Salt Lake. For those of you just joining us, a prominent doctor and lawyer — has he gotten away with the murder of his wife? Jim, what did they find when they arrived at the home?

KIRKWOOD: Well, apparently, there`s a bunch of different stories from him. But they found her. She still had some undergarments on. He claimed she was in the tub, claimed she was leaning over. The problem with this guy is these stories. They`re so different to different people.

GRACE: Like what? What`s the discrepancies?

KIRKWOOD: One, that she was in the tub, under water except for her feet. Another, that she was leaning over the tub with only her head in the water. Another one is she was partially clothed, which is weird if you`re in a tub. I`ve never done that, but maybe someone does. This kind of thing, Nancy. It`s very strange.

GRACE: And you know, another discrepancy, I want to go out to Burris and Giudice. First to you, Burris. The neighbor said he told her or that she understood the wife, Michele, was fully clothed. No, no, no, no. The child, the little girl, who the doctor says he leaves in the car — why would he leave the child in the car, number one? He comes in and finds his wife. The little girl says Mommy`s fully clothed. The neighbor says Daddy told her she only had an undergarment, a camisole or a bra, on. That`s a big discrepancy. What do you do with all these discrepancies at trial, Burris?

BURRIS: Well, obviously, having all these inconsistency statements will hurt him drastically, so you try to figure out if they can find where there`s some corroborating evidence on some of these individual statements. It may be that the totality of what was going on at the time had him pretty flustered. Maybe they`re not statements that are premeditated, they`re a function of trying to understand and figure out what`s going on at the time. So I wouldn`t necessarily — they`re necessarily consistent with guilt. It may be the circumstance were happening so fast that he couldn`t remember everything, every little detail.

GRACE: You know, Ray Giudice, the statements are drastically inconsistent. And you know, Ray, I can understand a witness adding to a story as they recall, but changing the story is a different matter, Giudice.

GIUDICE: Listen, as John points out, this is a frantic emergency situation. As circumstances got calm, he was able to more fully and accurately remember what happened.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED 911 DISPATCHER: Pleasant Grove Police Department.

MARTIN MACNEILL, HUSBAND: I need — I need an ambulance.

UNIDENTIFIED 911 DISPATCHER: OK. What`s the problem, sir?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We need medical.

UNIDENTIFIED 911 DISPATCHER: Sir, what`s wrong?

MACNEILL: My wife`s fallen in the bathtub.

UNIDENTIFIED 911 DISPATCHER: Who`s in the bathtub? Who`s in the bathtub?

MACNEILL: My wife.

UNIDENTIFIED 911 DISPATCHER: OK. Is she conscious?

MACNEILL: She`s not. I`m a physician.

UNIDENTIFIED 911 DISPATCHER: Yes, sir.

MACNEILL: I need help.

UNIDENTIFIED 911 DISPATCHER: Sir, I needed you to calm — sir, I can`t understand you, OK? Can you calm down just a little bit?

MACNEILL: I need help.

UNIDENTIFIED 911 DISPATCHER: OK, what — your wife is unconscious?

MACNEILL: She is unconscious. She`s under water.

UNIDENTIFIED 911 DISPATCHER: OK. Did you get her out of the water?

MACNEILL: I can`t. (INAUDIBLE). I let the water out. She`s (INAUDIBLE).

UNIDENTIFIED 911 DISPATCHER: She`s under the water?

MACNEILL: She`s out of the water. Now when will you give me that ambulance?

UNIDENTIFIED 911 DISPATCHER: OK. Is she breathing at all?

MACNEILL: She`s not!

UNIDENTIFIED 911 DISPATCHER: OK, sir. The ambulance has been paged. They`re on their way, OK? Do not hang up.

MACNEILL: (INAUDIBLE)

UNIDENTIFIED 911 DISPATCHER: What? Sir? Why would an adult female be –

MACNEILL: Hello!

UNIDENTIFIED 911 DISPATCHER: Sir, this is 911. Can I help you?

MACNEILL: I need help!

UNIDENTIFIED 911 DISPATCHER: OK. Sir, they`re on their way. Is your wife breathing?

MACNEILL: She is not! I am a physician. I`ve got CPR in progress!

UNIDENTIFIED 911 DISPATCHER: You`re doing CPR.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED 911 DISPATCHER: Sir, how old is your wife?

MACNEILL: My wife is 50 years old. She just had surgery a couple of days, a week ago.

UNIDENTIFIED 911 DISPATCHER: What kind of surgery did she have?

MACNEILL: Got a facelift.

UNIDENTIFIED 911 DISPATCHER: She had a facelift?

MACNEILL: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED 911 DISPATCHER: OK. Do you know how to do CPR?

MACNEILL: I`m doing it!

UNIDENTIFIED 911 DISPATCHER: OK. Do not hang –

(END OF VIDEO CLIP)

NANCY GRACE, HOST: We are taking your calls. To Carol in New York. Hi, Carol.

CAROL, CALLER FROM NEW YORK: Hi, Nancy. Welcome back.

GRACE: Thank you.

CAROL: I would like to know — with all these inconsistent statements, it seems obvious but are they going to be able to get a murder charge without any physical evidence?

GRACE: Well, you know, let`s talk about the physical evidence, Carol.

I want to go out to special guest Dr. Joshua Perper, the chief medical examiner out of Broward County, author of a second book, “When Doctors Kill.” Dr. Perper joining us out of Miami.

Dr. Perper, thank you for being with us. I need to understand something more fully. Apparently water came out of not only her lungs, but her stomach when the EMTs got there. What does that say to you?

DR. JOSHUA PERPER, MEDICAL EXAMINER, AUTHOR OF “WHEN DOCTORS KILL”: Well, that obviously she was — she ingested the water when she was under the water, because when people are asphyxiated or drowned, they try to breathe and then in their attempts, water enter both in the airway and in the stomach.

And that`s one of the signs in the syndrome or the process of drowning. So this would be consistent with ingesting water from the — from the tub. But this is –

(CROSSTALK)

GRACE: OK. I`m trying to take this in. She not only swallowed water, but she inhaled water.

Doctor, another confusing — maybe it`s not so confusing — scenario that he gave many times was that she was half in and half out of the tub. For instance, she was trying to get — her head was in the water but her legs and feet were out of the water.

I don`t understand. The water must have been that deep for her to get her whole head under there to breathe it in, to ingest it in as well. And why would all that have still been in her if he had performed CPR? Doctor?

PERPER: Yes. Well, the CPR would be performed, most of the water which came out — would come out, but on the second attempt, so-called second attempt, there would not be any more water to be expelled from the stomach because whatever could have been expelled was expelled assuming that over several minutes, he tried to resuscitate her. So –

GRACE: So the fact that all this water –

PERPER: — most likely, there was no such –

GRACE: The fact, Doctor, that all this water, Dr. Perper, was expelled when the EMTs got there tells me that he did not perform CPR on her, even a novice that performs CPR on a drowning victim –

PERPER: Exactly.

GRACE: — water pours out of your nose and mouth. It just pours out when you start pumping.

PERPER: Absolutely.

GRACE: So why was so much water still in her stomach and lungs?

PERPER: Well, because you cannot take all the water out of the stomach and the lungs. There`s still something left there. And nobody really tested for drugs in the stomach and they don`t know what is the concentration of the drugs in the blood. And one of those medications –

GRACE: No, they do. They do, Doctor. They do. They just simply have not released it. We do know that they found four different drugs in her blood stream but we don`t know what they are. But we do know the four drugs that were prescribed to her. Lortab, Ambien, Oxycodone and Valium.

Another issue, Dr. Perper, if she — let`s go with his story that her whole body was in. That`s the story he told when he had 911 on the phone, that she was submerged, actually submerged while he`s talking on the phone.

PERPER: Right.

GRACE: So let`s go with that. If she fell into the tub, why weren`t there any bruises on her body? She had clothes on. Surely she wasn`t ready to get into the — into the tub fully clothed. So where were the bruises? There were no bruises on her body.

PERPER: Well, unless he placed in the water. That`s a possibility which could be excluded but it`s really just speculation. But there are a lot of details which have to be investigated and those are not yet clear.

When did she receive the medication? What was the time before she died when the husband saw her last time? What time did he found her? What were the levels in the blood? All those, we don`t know yet.

GRACE: OK. I want to go back to special guest Sara Lenz, reporter with “Deseret Morning News,” who broke this story.

Sara, what can you tell me about not only the discrepancies in his story that he gave of the day of her death, but also about his background, what you uncovered?

SARA LENZ, REPORTER DESERET MORNING NEWS, BROKE STORY ON MARTIN MACNEILL: Well, as far as his background, just that he wasn`t — that as far as his medical license, it`s being questioned. His law license is being questioned. They found — the daughters at least have found that he had multiple affairs, even when one of them was as young as 2, and then as far as what actually happened that day, different people have different stories and it doesn`t seem to collaborate with what he was saying as well.

GRACE: Sara, what can you tell me about this hoax he tried to pull with his — with the house? The house was in the wife`s name, and apparently shortly after her death, he gets the girlfriend to dress up, I think, as the dead wife, pretends she`s alive. He pretends to be the lawyer. It`s just some crazy scenario. What happened?

LENZ: Well, basically they put — she put a $1 million lien on the house so that he was afraid that perhaps his daughter might try to get the house because she was trying to get the daughter — to adopt the daughters as well, so somebody acted — a federal agent acted as an intended buyer. They came back, took the lien off the house and basically that`s when they were arrested for that, and then the identity theft.

GRACE: And how did that work, Jean Casarez? Who was dressing up and pretending to be who? This is right after the woman`s dead. Her body is practically still warm.

JEAN CASAREZ, LEGAL CORRESPONDENT, “IN SESSION”: Yes, a couple of things happened. First of all, as an attorney, he stepped in purporting that his wife was still alive but put the house in his name instead of her name — a transfer of title. And then number two, the girlfriend/nanny took on the identity of one of the young daughters that he had sent back to the Ukraine and then they went forward in false names in regard to numerous business dealings with the estate.

GRACE: OK. To Detective Lieutenant Steve Rogers joining us out of New York.

Detective, I know that this might not be scientific evidence, but that evidence is very strong, circumstantial evidence.

DET. LT. STEVE ROGERS, NUTLEY, NEW JERSEY, POLICE DEPARTMENT: Nancy, every piece of information that you articulated tonight is going to be used by the police to put him up against a corner. Don`t be surprised if there`s a deal and a confession.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED 911 DISPATCHER: OK. What — is your wife unconscious?

MACNEILL: She is unconscious. She`s under water.

UNIDENTIFIED 911 DISPATCHER: OK. Did you — did you get her out of the water?

MACNEILL: I can`t. (INAUDIBLE). I let the water out. She`s (INAUDIBLE).

UNIDENTIFIED 911 DISPATCHER: She`s under the water?

MACNEILL: She`s out of the water! Now when will you give me the ambulance?

(END OF VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Loving God of wonder –

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: The couple, wed in Alabama — was married for only 11 days. When Tina died –

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It never happens to you or your family.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: — while scuba diving off the Great Barrier Reef.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It happens to someone else.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Gabe Watson telling authorities his bride drowned.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Gabe Watson is now back in Alabama.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: It was a catastrophic accident.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: To face capital murder charges.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Take a look at this picture.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: In the honeymoon drowning death of his newlywed bride.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Shows Tina slumped on the seabed.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Her autopsy reveals no medical cause of death.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Husband Gabe had already surfaced.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No signs that anything was wrong.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Then something went terribly wrong.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Only two people knew what happened in the depths of the reef. And one of them is dead.

(END OF VIDEO CLIP)

GRACE: We are taking your calls. I want to go out to Ellie Jostad, our chief editorial producer.

Ellie, we covered this when it first happened but now the United States, specifically the state of Alabama, has managed to wrangle this guy back to the U.S. Give me the facts about the bride`s death.

ELLIE JOSTAD, NANCY GRACE CHIEF EDITORIAL PRODUCER: OK. This is in Australia on the Great Barrier Reef. They are on a dream honeymoon. Gabe and Tina Watson are on a dive at the reef. They are underwater when witnesses say they saw Gabe Watson give his wife a bear hug.

Investigators believe at that point he turned off her air, let her sink to the bottom. Now, he claimed that his wife was panicking, he wasn`t able to bring her up to the surface, so he says he went up to the surface by himself to get help.

GRACE: OK. I`m looking at a photo right now with her lying on the ocean floor.

Give it to me in full, Liz.

Where she`s holding her arms out, asking for help. She`s not panicking.

With me right now, Michael Gast. He`s the founder and trainer of the National Academy of Police Diving.

You know, Michael, compared to you, I`m a novice diver. It`s always been one of my great dreams to dive the Great Barrier Reef but this much I do know. You do not go up to another diver face-to-face and give them a bear hug. No. Because you will tamper with all of their equipment.

MICHAEL GAST, FOUNDER/TRAINER, NATL. ACADEMY OF POLICE DIVING: That`s true. You would normally come from the rear or from the side. You wouldn`t come from the front and hug them.

GRACE: So Michael Gast, with him reaching around behind her, you know, a diver down at the foot of the — at the bottom of the ocean, you can`t reach behind you and adjust anything.

All you`ve got to — you`ve got your — you`ve got your vest, you`ve got your mouthpiece, that`s all that you can really control from up front. What could he have done behind her?

GAST: He could have just turned off the air valve, had it turn off so the air stops coming to her. Then when it starts flowing again and she`s unconscious, you can turn it back on.

GRACE: OK. Now, if someone reaches behind you and turns off your air, there`s really nothing you can do about it, is there?

GAST: Well, sometimes if your gear isn`t too restrictive and you`re knowledgeable in your diving skills, you can sometimes reach it but most sport divers aren`t able to do that.

GRACE: Or possibly take off the tank, if you can control your breathing, to take off the tank, turn it back on, but you would have to be an expert to be able to do that.

GAST: That`s correct. You`d have to have diving skills far above advanced open water.

GRACE: With me right now, Nicole Partin, investigative reporter joining us via Skype.

Nicole, I want to go back to the time of her marriage in Alabama. What happened?

NICOLE PARTIN, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER: Good evening, Nancy.

Yes, here we have a young, young lady who apparently has her whole life ahead of her, 26 years old. They marry. Eleven days later they go on this whirlwind beautiful honeymoon to Australia where they planned this amazing diving adventure and unfortunately that`s when things go terribly, terribly wrong.

GRACE: Now I misheard what you said. What did you say about 11 days?

PARTIN: Eleven days. Her death occurred 11 days after her marriage to Gabe Watson.

GRACE: OK. In this one photo, to me, says it all.

Liz, let me see the photo of him swimming to the surface and her lying there, her hands reaching out for help. That`s probably the last thing she could do. She`s absolutely not breathing at this point of this photo.

Where did we get the photo, Ellie Jostad?

JOSTAD: Nancy, this was taken by another diver and inadvertently the person who took the picture was not trying to take a picture. It wasn`t until — of her on the ocean floor. It wasn`t until they got back, looked through their photos that they realized in the background, you could see Tina Watson lying there either dead or dying on the ocean floor.

GRACE: OK. Ellie, while I`ve got you, in Australia, he did a few months behind bars.

JOSTAD: Right.

GRACE: Which was an outrage to the U.S. Now somebody is trying to do something about it, the attorney general in Alabama is, as a matter of fact.

JOSTAD: Right.

GRACE: He`s bringing — he has brought today, got this guy back in the U.S. to try him for murder, correct?

JOSTAD: That`s right, Nancy. What happened is the Australian government initially pursued murder charges against Gabe Watson. However, they did allow him to plead guilty to criminally negligent manslaughter, so he only served about 18 months there.

Alabama wasn`t satisfied with that. That`s why he was brought back to face those capital murder charges here.

GRACE: OK. Ellie, how did they get him back? That`s my question. Didn`t they have to waive seeking the death penalty?

JOSTAD: They did. They did. There was some negotiation after Gabe Watson was released from jail. He`s actually just being held on an immigration hold there in Australia.

The Aussies would not extradite him or deport him back here until they got assurance from the U.S. that he wouldn`t face the death penalty.

GRACE: Unleash the lawyers. John Burris, San Francisco. Raymond Giudice, Atlanta.

So I — everybody, you`re seeing exclusive video from NBC`s “Today” show. It`s Gabe Watson en route to Alabama from L.A. after he is now indicted with murder. He refuses to answer reporter questions about his bride`s death.

OK. I guess your first complaint is going to be no jurisdiction, either that or double jeopardy.

Go ahead, hit me, Burris.

JOHN BURRIS, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, I certainly have concerns about the double jeopardy question. I really do. Given that he was charged with murder there and that issue apparently was ultimately resolved with him deciding to take a plea. I don`t understand why he then gets to be charged with murder in the U.S. for the same offense that –

(CROSSTALK)

GRACE: OK. So to boil down what you just said, you`re going to start with double jeopardy.

What about you, Giudice?

RAY GIUDICE, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Yes, I don`t think the jurisdiction is a problem. It`s a death of American citizen. I think that can be prosecuted here. But I completely agree with John. I think the appellate courts are going to have to take a look at this.

I`m sure Alabama is going to prosecute first and litigate through the appellate court second. That`s the style there. But I think it`s a significant legal issue.

GRACE: To Wendy Walsh, psychologist, expert on MomLogic.com. Weigh in, Wendy.

WENDY WALSH, PSYCHOLOGIST, EXPERT ON MOMLOGIC.COM: Well, you know, I`d like to know what happened prior to this wedding and this honeymoon and how much premeditation and planning might have gone into this.

I mean did they meet all of a sudden and he sort of got her to go there? I`d really like to know about the relationship but, you know, Nancy, plenty of people have what I call an ANP. An apparently normal personality but underneath there`s some major evil like the doctor you talked about in the first half of the show.

GRACE: I`m going to Nicole Partin. What do we know about their courtship?

PARTIN: Nancy, it appears to be very, very normal. She comes home one day and tells her parents she`s met this fun guy at the university that she attended with him. They both graduate from the university. They plan an engagement. They marry. They plan this amazing honeymoon.

Everything appeared to be top notch. Exactly what you would expect for a young 26-year-old daughter. And she — the only thing that we can apparently find that was a little bit out of the ordinary, her father said that she called him and said, Gabe has asked me to up my life insurance policy and to leave him as the complete and sole beneficiary of that. That one thing was a red flag.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A rescue diver.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: His wife`s diving buddy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He let her go all the way down to the bottom.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: And she drowned on the honeymoon.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He could have just held on to her, inflated his buoyancy compensation vest and they could have come to the surface together.

(END OF VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: There were about 16 different versions of events that Gabe gave the police. Some of them were that Tina panicked or that they decided to swim against the current.

That she got into difficulties down there. That Gabe got into difficulties. That he couldn`t bring her to the surface. That he then took his time getting to the surface. It`s appears that he almost got confused in those final moments as to what he wanted his apparent story to be.

(END OF VIDEO CLIP)

GRACE: We are taking your calls. Out to Alison in Alabama, hi, Alison.

ALISON, CALLER FROM ALABAMA: Hi, Nancy.

GRACE: Hi, dear. What is your question?

ALISON: I would like to know, is there any way investigators would be able to check if her air valve was turned off and back on again? Is there a gauge on the equipment that could tell that?

GRACE: To Michael Gast, the founder and trainer of the National Academy of Police Diving. I don`t think so. Or is there?

GAST: Well, I think if the diving with dive computers I can probably extrapolate it from the information in the computer but that will take a little more work than normal.

GRACE: OK. I want to go back to you, Nicole Partin. Explain to me how Australia let this guy do a couple of months behind bars for this.

PARTIN: Well, Nancy, we are hearing that in 2008 Gabe pleaded guilty in Australia for criminally negligent manslaughter and in his statement he says something to the effect of, I didn`t do all that I could to rescue her. He does not admit to guilt as far as the murder is concerned but he admits negligence. That he could have done more to save her. Therefore, on this manslaughter charge, he serves only 18 months in Australia.

GRACE: Well, congratulations to the state of Alabama. Let`s see what happens. But even with a guilty verdict, her family will still walk out of the courtroom with a broken heart.

Let`s stop and remember Marine Sergeant James Graham III, 25, Coweta, Oklahoma, killed Iraq. An Eagle Scout, awarded the Purple Heart. Loved baseball, football, time with family. Dreamed of being a Tulsa police officer. Motto, never let your fears stand in the way of your dreams.

Leaves behind grieving parents Randy and Katrina, widow, Melissa, sons JR and Thomas.

James Graham III, American hero.

Thanks to our guests but especially to you for being with us. I`ll see you tomorrow night 8:00 sharp Eastern. And until then, good night, friend.

END

Source: http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/1012/07/ng.01.html

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