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PRIMETIME JUSTICE WITH ASHLEIGH BANFIELD
Florida State Is Latest School To Lose A Student To College Party Culture; A Beloved Mom And Teacher Found Slaughtered On Her Kitchen Floor; Disturbing New Details; Investigation Underway; Profanity-Packed Rant; Outrageous Theft; Caught on Camera; One More Thing. Aired 8-9p ET
Aired November 7, 2017 - 20:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[20:00:01] (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, PRIMETIME JUSTICE SHOW HOST: Add another victim to the growing list of pictures.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is scary to know that you know this can happen.
BANFIELD: A fraternity pledge at Florida state dead after a night of partying.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There are indicators that alcohol may have been a factor in this case.
BANFIELD: Now, FSU is going to scorch earth.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m imposing an indefinite interim suspension on all fraternities and sororities at FSU.
BANFIELD: Banning Greek life until they change their tune.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There will need to be new normal for Greek life at the university.
BANFIELD: And FSU is not the first.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And it will be tolerated at LSU, period.
BANFIELD: But will this stop college kids from getting dead drunk?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The secrecy of the fraternities and the brotherhood is extremely hard to break.
BANFIELD: Or will the party just move down the street? He was the one who called 911.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We just came home. We just came home.
BANFIELD: And the one who reported his future mother-in-law dead in a pool of blood.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We found her in the kitchen, she is not moving.
BANFIELD: Now, police say the man who served as pallbearer is the man who literally stabbed her in the back.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She has blood all around her. I didn`t look. I grabbed the child and left.
BANFIELD: How Jeffrey Scullin`s story has morphed behind bars.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bond is going to be set at $1,000,000.
BANFIELD: And how these calls to 911 may have been a cover.
A gruesome discovery.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It doesn`t appear that the body was there very long.
BANFIELD: A promising art student face-down in a creek.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A young lady just living her life, doing the right thing.
BANFIELD: Why would someone strangle an honor student on the dean`s list?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`re checking every possible lead, every possible avenue to develop suspects.
BANFIELD: She took her phone in for repair and had her sexy pictures stolen.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The person just abused the power that he was given.
BANFIELD: Police say a tech helped himself to her private pictures.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He obviously went in there and took advantage of the situation.
BANFIELD: But she had a secret weapon that led right to his handcuffed wrists.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He had a record of those messages being sent.
BANFIELD: Tonight, what you need to catch a cellular scumbag.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Inaudible).
BANFIELD: A hockey coach`s pregame pep talk.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want to see you sticking your hands up these guys` asses.
BANFIELD: To 16-year-old boys.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Inaudible).
BANFIELD: Sexually charged and laced with profanity.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Inaudible).
BANFIELD: Is this any way to rev up kids?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: God damn it, I have no idea where I`m headed with this.
BANFIELD: And help us call out this sticky finger Uber thief. Sporting just a bra, she helped herself to hit the entire tip jar. Joke`s on her,
she`s now on national TV.
BANFIELD: Hello, everyone. I`m Ashleigh Banfield. This is Primetime Justice. It is no longer news that college kids die from drinking. It
seems to be happening more and more. Bright futures cut off because of one big night at the frat house. Ripping shots, keg stands, shot gunning beer,
I know you`ve heard the terms. But these are the faces of the students whose death has sparked a dark debate. When you can`t keep the kids from
killing themselves, do you pull the plug on the party?
Florida State is latest school to lose a student to college party culture. And it is not the only one. But it is one of three schools this year to say
enough is enough and shut down frats and sororities.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A young man`s life was cut short last night. And we mourn the loss and the possible impact he may -- he may have had on our
region and the world.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BANFIELD: Max Gruver`s BAC level was more than six times the legal limit.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hazing is dangerous, irresponsible, and unacceptable.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Some of them described that he looked dead. And they waited over 40 minutes before they called for help.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They killed him. They fed him with lethal doses of alcohol and they killed him.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Andrew Coffey, a 20-year-old fraternity pledge died after attending a party. There are no words to describe the pain that
Andrew`s family, his friends, and certainly, the FSU family are experiencing right now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BANFIELD: We still don`t know whether Andrew Coffey had drugs or alcohol in his system when he was found on Friday morning, but we do know he had
been at a frat party, and we do know he had been a pledge. And that was enough for FSU to say Greek life is taking lives.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[22:04:51] JOHN THRASHER, FLORIDA STATE UNIVERSITY PRESIDENT: For this suspension to end, there will need to be a new normal for Greek life at the
university. There must be a new culture for our students and they must participate in creating that culture.
I want to send a message. I clearly do. I want to send a message that we`ve got a serious problem, and we need to deal with it. And they`re part of the
solution. And the sooner they come to the table and we can all talk and find those solutions, the sooner this will be lifted.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BANFIELD: To be crystal clear, studies show that alcohol consumption on college campuses is highest in fraternities and sororities. And the
students with -- the students who are at schools with a strong Greek system drink more than students at schools that have none. And we also know that
excessive drinking is the reason that over 4,300 under age kids die every year.
So the question tonight is, is it too deadly to go Greek or will college kids fall victim to dangerous drinking habits, frat life or not? Andrew
Lohse joins me know. He is the author of Confessions of an Ivy League Frat Boy: A Memoir. A full disclosure, Andrew, I went to Queen`s University in
Kingston, Ontario. I hate to say that I was a graduate in the `80s. But they had banned Greek life prior to that. And they have not had Greek life
since. And we partied like rock stars. We found different associations. So, baby with the bath water?
ANDREW LOHSE, CONFESSIONS OF AN IVY LEAGUE FRAT BOY: A MEMOIR AUTHOR: Well, I think that we just look at it as a partying issue. I mean, there`s
something particular about fraternities and there is something unique about the Greek system that causes a unique harm, well not necessarily giving a
unique benefit to college campuses. So I think we can`t just look at this as an issue of you know whether there is alcohol or not, or whether there
is excessive consumption of alcohol. We have to always look at it in the context of this male group thing, this behavior that will naturally happen
when he takes 50 to 75, 18- to 22-year-old young men and give them a mansion and unlimited budget for alcohol.
BANFIELD: But you just kind of hit something that intriguing to me, men. You said you put those 50 to 75 men together. And I got to be honest, I`ve
been covering all these crises with fraternities for years and years, but I don`t do that with sororities. And if you ban Greek life, aren`t you wiping
out 50 percent that are part of the problem necessarily?
LOHSE: Well, I think that that issue will vary from campus to campus. I mean, obviously, like I talk about in my book, Confessions of an Ivy League
Frat Boy, fraternities are a real problem spot. You know, sororities are not producing the deaths and producing you know the hospital visits in the
ER time, the fraternities are in general. But I mean, I think that we have to look at the system from a comprehensive point of view. The two things
are completely connected.
BANFIELD: I mean, I just think of all the charities and the good work and all the benefits that a lot of these Greek institutions provide for a lot
of these kids. They are kind of scared and lonely when they go to college. And then, they have a family life there because of it. And that all gets
wiped out because of some would say a few bad apples.
LOHSE: Well, I think that if you`re talking about philanthropy, the actual philanthropy in a dollar base (ph) that the Greek system naturally produces
is utterly negligible. And the harm that comes along with that negligible benefit is great. I mean, I don`t think that if you`re a freshman and
you`re on college campus for the first time, and you want to join up with the Red Cross, you`re going to be in a situation where you`re hazed, and
your hands are zip-tied together, and you have to take 10 shots of Jagermeister and some of those are in staircase (ph).
BANFIELD: Yeah. I will tell you this. That`s my original point of my university, banning Greek life. And I went through my system, none were
soft. I mean, I had absolute classes, phenomenal education. We produced some remarkable students out of Queen`s University. And we all found our
collections elsewhere. We clubbed up in our disciplines. The arts and sciences group against the commerce students or against the engineering
students. And there was no hazing, that -- that involved pounding shots, pounding alcohol, and you know running behind the car late at night, that
sort of thing.
But in the end, I still keep coming back to baby with the bath water. Isn`t there a better solution? Isn`t there -- isn`t there another way, can we
get to the culture of just drinking before to go wipe out the houses because I feel like they`re just going to go down the street.
LOHSE: Well, you know, I think the question of drinking is obviously up to the individual. But the kind of drinking that happens in fraternities that
I talked about in my book, and we see in this case, this kind of drinking is specific to the fraternity culture, specific to the psychological
mechanisms that drive it. And until we look at -- until we look at it from that point of view, I don`t think that we can just blame this on alcohol or
say that it`s partying, it`s much more complicated than that.
BANFIELD: By the way, you`re a lot younger than I am. So I kind of need you as reference point. I used to think we drank a lot you know in college,
and yet, I never ever remember hearing about alcohol gauntlets, not like I hear about now. I don`t recall hearing about kids dying. Certainly, not at
the pace I`m hearing about now. I come from a country with 35 million people. So that`s a little bit different, too. Is it worse now? Are kids
dying at greater rate now on college campus from drinking, is the college drinking culture worse than it was in the `70s, `80s, `90s?
LOHSE: Well, you know, I -- I wasn`t alive in the `80s, but I can say.
BANFIELD: . don`t say that live on television with me beside you.
[22:10:01] LOHSE: From what I saw, you know, in my fraternity time, I mean, drinking was extreme and it is only getting worse. And you see that
on a national basis. Every week, every month, there is a new story. You know, everybody is trying to answer the question of why. But I mean, I
think the bottom-line is that the fraternity culture as it exists today you know promotes extreme reckless negligence.
BANFIELD: I know somebody who is going to wholeheartedly and full (inaudible) disagree with you and not just because I`m a journalist who has
to, because this is really where he stands. It is David Stollman. He is an expert on frat life. He is also the president of Campus Speak, an
organization that provides learning experiences to help students succeed in college and beyond. That`s sort of you your mission statement. It`s what
you put in the website.
But, David, I think there is -- I think Andrew makes a great set of points. Look, we have statistics that back up the fact that these fraternities
collect kids together and promote you know alcohol use. And it bears out the binge drinking numbers. You can`t really argue with that, but you do.
DAVID STOLLMAN, CAMPUS SPEAK PRESIDENT: Andrew said one thing and only one thing that was accurate, that it is a complicated issue. And he may be
bringing up lots of points to sell books, and I`m sure that`s working out for him just fine. But what he`s saying is absolutely inaccurate and
irresponsible. Fraternities and sororities provide great outlets for growth, amazing experiences, and helps shape not their college campuses,
but communities at large as well as students in many positive ways. It does not excuse -- in any way excuse, the behavior that whether this part of
state case turns out to be hazing or the other ones that clearly were and horrible, horrible activities that took place. It doesn`t.
But we`re talking about very few cases that contrast hundreds of thousands of students` experience. And the question -- this complicated question
about alcohol is whether it`s causal or correlated. Are students collecting together in places, students that are looking to drink and collecting
together in places and drinking irresponsibly, or as he says, are fraternities creating cultures, which is absolutely not the case.
BANFIELD: But I want you to be a little bit more specific because Andrew is on camera with you right now, the TV screen is all three of us. And I
want you to point out exactly what you said was untrue -- that he said was untrue.
STOLLMAN: He said that we provide no value, that fraternities and sororities provide a value that is deficient compared to the risk. And
that`s absolutely untrue, that the philanthropic endeavors, whether we`re talking about the hours that are given to good cause or the millions upon
millions of dollars to places like St. Jude`s and others that are kept open and thriving because of the dollars raised by the students` efforts. Some
of the best student leaders I encounter across the North America as I speak on campuses are fraternity and sorority leaders that are trying and in many
ways that made great strides fixing and making hazing less likely and less dangerous, that has been.
Of course, the last 20 years, I have seen it. There are strides moving forward. The issue of alcohol and overconsumption, and even encouraged
overconsumption, let alone the hazing aspect of forced consumption are very complicated issues. There are really smart people that have been working on
this for a long time.
BANFIELD: Andrew, what do you say about this?
STOLLMAN: The real impact comes in when students are leading this. Students are making a difference.
BANFIELD: Jump in Andrew.
STOLLMAN: These are fraternity and sorority students.
LOHSE: You know, I can`t speak to the last time that David was in a fraternity base. But for me, it wasn`t that long ago. And the question of
whether you would want fraternities in your community you know depends how much negligence you are willing to tolerate, how much recklessness. And if
David is willing to tolerate these deaths in order you know on a regular basis.
LOHSE: . in order to produce a very small amount of philanthropy. You know, if students come to college, and they want to you know join
STOLLMAN: Andrew, you can take.
STOLLMAN: You can take the oath that you decide not to live up to at SAE. You decided and made a clear choice not to live up to the concept of the
true gentleman your fraternity teaches.
BANFIELD: Let me jump in for a second. Because, you know, listen, I`m a parent and my kids are nowhere near college yet. But when they get there,
I`m going to be terrified about the culture they`re going into. And I will probably ask them to avoid Greek life because I`m afraid of it. That`s just
as a journalist covering these stories too often.
But I will say this, David. The Harvard School of Public Health put some stats together that sort of -- and you might position here, and that is 86
percent of fraternity residents, those are kids who live in the house are binge drinkers, 80 percent of sorority residents are binge drinkers. And if
you want to say well, they`re living in a house that`s different. I will give you the stats of the frat and sorority members who aren`t living in
the house, still from Harvard School of Public Health, 45 percent of the men not affiliated with the fraternity are -- I beg your pardon. I`m now
comparing those who are not in the.
[20:15:12] BANFIELD: Let me finish, let me finish. Sorry. We`ve got some stats on the screen I want to be clear about. These numbers on the screen
compared to those who were living in the house, those who are not affiliated, 45 percent of them, they were binge drinkers, and 36 percent of
the women not affiliated.
But when you go to those who aren`t living in the house at all, but they`re still members of the frat, it`s still unbelievable, 71 percent of frat
members who aren`t living in the house are binge drinkers. And for girls, it is 58 percent. So those stats are painful to look at and they kind of
tell you, it`s a little dangerous, parents, if you`re sending your kids to college and they want to pledge. How do you fight those statistics?
STOLLMAN: It`s not about fighting statistics. And I think you`ll see the trend lines over a long period of time are getting better. It`s not -- I`m
not arguing that fraternity and sorority membership isn`t correlated to higher risk drinking. The statistics are there. The question really is
fraternities and sororities are leading in the education. And if we`re doing it right like we are in so many places, there is no safer place and
no better place for your student to go and be part of an experience unlike any other.
BANFIELD: No, I`m still not getting your answer. I`m sorry, maybe it`s just me. I`m not here.
STOLLMAN: Brothers and sisters that are there to take care and challenge them.
BANFIELD: David, I`m not hearing your answer to those statistics. They -- listen, it`s from Harvard.
STOLLMAN: There is no answer to those statistics. There is no answer to those statistics. I`m not - I`m not trying to argue.
BANFIELD: You`re kind of skirting the issue and pivoting.
STOLLMAN: Binge drinking is a problem -- binge drinking is a problem on college campuses.
BANFIELD: In those -- in those fraternities and sororities particularly heinous. So what`s wrong with a president like at FSU saying for God`s
sake, I`m desperate, these numbers don`t lie, and maybe to the point of -- charity is great, but I don`t want to spend someone kid`s life. I`ll give
money, but I`m not going to give a kid`s life. Does that make sense to you?
STOLLMAN: Pausing -- the only issue I have with the pause at Florida State is that the students I have talked to are unclear as to what they need to
do to get together and create this new culture. I think it`s -- the student leaders I have talked to, they are desperate and they want a new culture as
well. They want the fraternity and the sorority communities to start living up to its values closer than it has been and to be better.
And so, the only issue is what does this pause mean, how do we use this as an opportunity to make improvements, not whether we should or pause...
STOLLMAN: I think the question of banning Greek life is a whole other story.
BANFIELD: Let me -- let me ask you.
STOLLMAN: The question of pausing activities to evaluate how to improve makes complete sense.
BANFIELD: OK. So let me ask about -- about the new culture. And I will go back to you know my experience. They banned Greek life, but the culture
kind of continued. You know, we still drank, nobody died, though. And nobody forced me to do 80 shots to be a member of my school, you know. But
the culture, people change. You`re closer to kids than I am. Is it embedded, is it in your DNA now, the horse is out of that barn, or can they
pause and fix the inherent problem with young people drinking too much as opposed to Greek life as a good outlet for it.
LOHSE: Yeah, you know, I don`t think there is a pause. I would want to pick on one interesting statistic that there is interesting argument that
David brought up, saying that somehow the trend line have been streaking, it`s going to the right direction. If it is at 86 percent right now, I
mean, where did that trend line start? Did it start at 100 percent, was it at 99 percent?
But we also have to disassociate the issue of just binge drinking from the kind of drinking that goes on to fraternity where you are under coerced you
know environment. You know, you`re not going to go out and drink those 15 shots of vodka, whatever it is. That would be perhaps the end of your life
on your own. That`s not your idea of a Friday night.
Maybe you want to drink on a Friday night. That`s up to you as far as I`m concerned. But kind of drinking that happens in a fraternity is the kind of
drinking that is coerced, it is dangerous. It`s unique to a fraternity and it`s not going to happen if you`re -- you know, like I said volunteering at
the Red Cross. And if you`re interested in philanthropy, by all means.
LOHSE: You know, those options are available to you.
BANFIELD: I think that.
LOHSE: Fraternity is not where those things are going to happen.
BANFIELD: I think you made good point. I think, David, you made good points as well. But I think there`s one critical point here. And that is
something`s got to change. Something is going to change because like these shootings -- last night, I said I`m sick to death of covering them. And I
say it every single time I cover them. I`m also sick to death of covering these young men, so far, it has been mostly men, almost all, in my recent
recollection, dying from parties, just parties.
They`re kids. They`re kids who don`t really know better. And it`s up to us to provide the framework where they can thrive. So I hope to have you both
on in better circumstances. But until now, we`re going to watch and see what happens with these -- with these three-time trends so far. Thank you
so much, David. Thank you so much, Andrew. I appreciate it.
STOLLMAN: Thank you.
LOHSE: Thank you.
BANFIELD: Four days before Melinda Pleskovic was killed in her own home, her future son-in-law who live in that home called 911 to report a break-
[20:20:01] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What is your name?
JEFF SCULLIN: My name is Jeff Scullin.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What`s your emergency?
SCULLIN: Somebody just tried to walk into my house.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. What do they look like?
SCULLIN: They really didn`t really myself, blue hoody.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A blue hoody.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BANFIELD: So now, that caller, Jeff Scullin -- well, he is in jail. And he is charged with his future mother-in-law`s murder. And police say that call
that you just heard, that was all made-up.
Also, a brazen and beautiful thief smiles for the camera as she just reaches in and takes what she thinks is rightfully hers, his tip jar. Well,
guess what, we`re here to put you on TV, so that everyone knows what you did and who you are.
[20:25:13] BANFIELD: We had a hunch. There was just something fishy about the 911 call that came from a house in Strongsville, Ohio. Before a
beloved mom, a teacher was found slaughtered on her kitchen floor, shot and stabbed to death. And now, police say our hunch was right, that this
woman`s soon-to-be son-in-law not only killed her, but that he made up the entire when he called the cops to report an intruder, just four days before
Police arrested Jeffrey Scullin and they didn`t say a whole lot more. But tonight, now we know what they say happened, the day he allegedly killed
Mel Pleskovic. That he calmly met her husband and his future wife, Mel`s daughter, at Applebee`s for dinner, all within minutes of that cold blooded
murder on Blazing Star Drive. So I want you to see if you think what the police think, that this whole call he made to 911 before the killing is
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What`s your name?
SCULLIN: My name is Jeff Scullin.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What`s your emergency?
SCULLIN: Someone just tried to walk into my house.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. What did they look like?
SCULLIN: They didn`t really see myself, blue hoody.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A blue hoody. OK. Could you tell whether male or female?
SCULLIN: Probably male.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. Which door did he try to get in, the front or the back?
SCULLIN: The back door.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BANFIELD: Melissa Neeley is an anchor and reporter for 700WLW radio. So, Melissa, this is the only call the police are saying was a fake. But a call
came from Mel herself prior to this death, a call came from Mel`s daughter as well. What are they saying about those calls?
MELISSA NEELEY, 700WLW REPORTER: Well, so far, they aren`t pinning those on Jeffrey Scullin or anything. They haven`t released any information
pinpointing the incident on him. However, considering that they have said this one is fake and we know that there have been a number of incidents at
that home, suspicious incidents, her car keys went missing and then somebody was breaking into their car, stealing a laptop, and all of these
things were happening and they -- the police weren`t able to find out who did it.
BANFIELD: So, Melissa.
BANFIELD: So, Melissa, are they -- are they suggesting at all at this point that all these crazy things that were happening in the two years
leading up to this murder, they were all a set-up for the murder or are they going absolutely nowhere near that?
NEELEY: They haven`t completely said yet. But I think, as far as we know, because of this one incident and because they haven`t been able to find
anyone else and because he`s also been now indicted in this murder, that we can maybe see and when they come out in court that this evidence will show
that he had indeed set-up some of these events that are going on around their home.
BANFIELD: OK. So there`s a couple other things I want to go over with you that are new to this story, that are just sort of weird and fascinating.
Evidence. They said they found a bloody knife in the pickup truck that was parked at the home, where he`s living. He`s living with his you know future
wife and in-laws. And they found a bloody knife in the pickup truck that Jeffrey sometimes drove. And that knife had Melinda`s blood on it. And it
also had Jeffrey`s DNA on it.
They also say -- well, according to report from WOIO that Jeffrey said he acted in self-defense, which is super interesting considering he went to
Applebee`s for dinner you know with the dead woman`s husband and daughter right afterwards. And then, they said that when they got on the scene, the
police said the door -- the back door was open 8 to 10 inches. And if you remember, Melissa, all those 911 calls that came from Mel, from Mel`s
daughter, from Jeffrey himself prior to the murder, everything was happening in the backyard. All the weird creepy people were spotted in the
backyard. Are we to make anything of the fact that the back door was open in this story?
NEELEY: That`s right. You`re absolutely right. They have released the fact that the back door was open when the police arrived on the scene the
night of the murder. And we also know that from other calls that they had been told that there have been people at the backdoor, that one time --
even this call that they said was fake, he was saying somebody was at backdoor. So they all have.
BANFIELD: It`s all weird.
NEELEY: . which is very weird.
[20:30:00] And, Ashleigh, you also pointed out something that he said in one of his calls during the night of the murder -- he sounded strange on
the phone. I remember you noted the last time we talked about this case. So, I find that very interesting too, that you were able to hear that in
ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, PRIMETIME JUSTICE SHOW HOST: Well, yes, when he said, no, no, we`ve never been bothered before.
NEELEY (via telephone): Yes.
BANFIELD: Hold on one second, Melissa. Joseph Scott Morgan is a certified death investigator, also a professor of forensics at Jacksonville State
University. So, listen, Joseph, if Jeffrey is only person in this case, then it`s super curious to hear the calls from both Mel, the victim, when
she called in advance of her death to report a problem, and her daughter.
I want to play both of those calls in a row. And listen to what they`re reporting they`re seeing. They`re not reporting one guy out there who is
maybe, you know, setting up a cover for a murder. They`re reporting two. So, listen to this.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We just had two people, two big giant adults trying to pull on our back door.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They`re gone.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did you see which way they went?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No. We grabbed the flashlight and came out and by the time we got out here, they`re all gone, but we live in a common area so --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK, and you said it was your back door?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. Two big white guys. That is all we could tell. One with a hoodie.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Only one of them had a hoodie?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. One was by the door pulling on it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK, and what is your name?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Melinda.
BANFIELD: Also known as Mel, also known as dead. So, Mel`s daughter called to say this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is this Strongville Police Department non-emergency number?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, it is. How can I help you?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There was some creepy people walking in our backyard and hiding behind our tree. We asked them to leave and they kind of hinted
that they`re going to come back to our house later. It`s just really suspicious because our cars have been broken into before.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How many people were back there?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: An adult, two teenagers and a little dog, but they were like hiding and being all weird.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BANFIELD: Two teenagers, two big white guys. Joe, this is my question. The police in a court document got a search warrant for clothing from Jeffrey,
from Mel`s husband, from Mel`s son, and her daughter. But they didn`t take the son and the daughter`s clothing. They only took Jeffrey and the
And then they also got warrant for the husband`s phone, Mel`s phone, Jeff`s phone, to our knowledge not the daughter`s phone. I`m trying to put this
all together. And while her husband has not been charged in this crime, there are two people constantly reported in these calls, and there is one
guy who is behind bars. What does that say to you?
JOSEPH SCOTT MORGAN, CERTIFIED DEATH INVESTIGATOR: Well, it says that they`re taking a normal tack to this and that they`re looking at intimates
as we refer to them. Those individuals there are in immediate sphere of the victim. Let`s keep in mind this is a rather large group of people living in
a very dynamic environment, confined in house together.
Lord only knows what dynamics of the family are. So they`re going to look very long and hard, at least, I would, if I were the investigator in this
particular case. Let`s also think that this guy just could be simply an opportunist. Maybe there is an odd group of people in that neighborhood.
He saw an opening to get rid of a person that he didn`t like in his life and it`s just very, very convenient for him to blame other people
potentially or at least to set it up that way. I think a lot is going to come out.
BANFIELD: Real quickly, I want to bring in Caroline Polisi, a defense attorney, in this one. So, what is he doing behind bars right now? Is he
concocting some kind of a -- I mean, is he going to go with the cover? Is he going to admit maybe that these calls prior were setup? What do you
think that husband is doing right now?
CAROLINE POLISI, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I think the guy is shaking in his boots because if they can show -- if police investigators can show that this was
a setup, that is dynamite evidence of premeditation, and that is going kick his sentence way, way up more so than if he tries to argue that --
BANFIELD: If it`s a setup, who is the second guy?
POLISI: It could have been any number of people. I mean, we make arguments as criminal defense attorneys all the time about I think this is fabulous
evidence that there was, you know, potentially something else going on here. We definitely haven`t heard all of the pieces of this puzzle.
BANFIELD: Yes, so, you`re going to have to come back --
POLISI: I will.
BANFIELD: -- on this one because I am thoroughly confused. Who is the second person? Everyone is calling and reporting weirdos in their back yard
and only one guy is arrested.
All right. Hold that thought for a moment. A beautiful art student found choked to death in a Philadelphia creek. And now police are searching for
the suspect. Who would do this to her? And this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And then we`re gonna beat them three-none! I wanna see you sticking your hands up these guys asses and working them like they`re
(bleep) puppets. I want you --
BANFIELD: Yes, that`s an out of control locker room rant,
[20:35:00] more appropriate maybe for professional hockey players although I`m not sure, but those guys, those are 14-year-old boys. No lie.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BANFIELD: Honor student, dean`s list, an excellent artist. That is how you describe a young woman who is going places. And that`s just Kierra Johnson
[20:40:00] People said she was kind and gentle and talented too. The kind of person I say we`re all going to work for someday. But we`re not going to
be working for Kierra, because Kierra is never going to get a job. In fact, Kierra has no future at all. And that is because a jogger found her face
down in a creek on Friday morning. In a neighborhood where nobody ends up like that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ERIC JETT, COUSIN OF KIERRA JOHNSON: She had a bright personality, was always outgoing. She had her own sense of style, her own sense of flair.
Always stood for the right cause. If you have any sense of decency, please turn yourself in and face the consequences like a human being.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BANFIELD: Here is what`s odd about this crime. I can`t call this a murder, because police aren`t calling it a murder. And I can`t tell you anything or
anyone that police may have seen on surveillance footage because they won`t talk about it.
But there is a pretty good reason why. And Captain John Ryan who is with Philadelphia Police Department joins me now live to maybe sort through
this. So, I understand, captain, when you`re in an investigation, you got to keep a lot of stuff close to the vest. Is that why you`re not telling us
what you`re seeing so far in this investigation even though you need the public`s help to get answers?
JOHN RYAN, CAPTAIN, PHILADELPHIA POLICE DEPARTMENT: That`s correct, ma`am.
BANFIELD: So is it -- you have to help work through this because sometimes I know how you work and then I sometimes don`t. But generally speaking,
there are going to be be witnesses out there that you need a firsthand account from, and you don`t need them hearing that account from me on
television doing an interview with you, is that correct?
RYAN: We`ve been tracking down witnesses, it`s a question of finding out her last movements and who she was last with.
BANFIELD: What did you find?
RYAN: Investigation is taking us in that direction, we have to track down her last moments, who she was last with, who she was last seen with, who
she last stayed with. She was last seen on Thursday by family members.
They couldn`t contact her on Thursday evening, reported her missing. By Friday morning, a jogger had found an unidentified woman face down in the
creek, which is a wooded area in Philadelphia.
BANFIELD: Captain, those are the basics. I`ve laid out those basics already and clearly if you`re looking for public`s help, you know, I would think
that you would be able to give us more like more photos of her, maybe some of the last places she was seen, so that anybody who is watching you and me
right now might tweak their memory.
Like, you know, I did see somebody looked like her at that place. What can you tell me about her last steps, who she was seen with last, and where she
RYAN: We can`t speak to the details of the investigation at this point.
RYAN: What we typically do, when we start reaching dead ends and we`re not gaining traction or we`re not making progress, we reach out to the public
to try to push the case further. But they are making progress. They have been making progress daily since Saturday.
BANFIELD: But don`t have any suspects do you at this point?
RYAN: None that I can speak about at this point, no ma`am.
BANFIELD: OK. The other issue is that, we understand that, you know, she`s a big phone user. Her parents, her family said that she was just always on
her phone. In fact, that`s the reason that they were sort of alerted so quickly, that she wasn`t where she was supposed to be.
RYAN: One of the issues here with this investigation is the phone records, we`re waiting on the phone records from Verizon at this point. Basically
getting in line with the rest of the country with compliance center.
BANFIELD: And that`s what you`re -- I mean, you`re basically looking to see where her phone would have taken her in those final steps, correct?
BANFIELD: Once you get that, are you able to sort of triangulate surveillance video that may be around those particular areas?
RYAN: Lot of different things can be done once we have the phone data, cellular data and tower that hits off them (ph).
BANFIELD: Is there anything that you can tell all the people who are watching this right now who look at Kierra Johnson and say say I want to
help, but I don`t even know where to start, I don`t even know if I`m in the area where I can help. Is there anything that you can say right now that
can get the help out there with all the thousands of eyeballs that are watching you?
RYAN: When we`re ready to put it out there, we will ma`am.
BANFIELD: But not at this point, it`s curious, I get it. You run a sticky wicket in your job and you got to protect the investigation at the same
time as find the perp. Because my fear obviously, and I think viewers, fear that someone is out there.
Someone is out there who would grab a person like this, so promising, and just snuff out her life. That`s not usually a person who only does it once.
So, Captain Ryan, I hope you can join us another time when we might be able to get more information about this. Will you do that?
RYAN: Yes, ma`am.
BANFIELD: All right. Thanks so much. Appreciate it. I`m going to wrap that there because there is something I want to tell you about. When it comes to
your phone, it`s like sacred, right? A phone is sacred and you think all the time that, you know, the things that are on it are kind of personal.
You have things that are on your phone that are personal and you go in to get it fixed.
[20:45:00] I`m going to help you to figure out how not to leak those pictures on your phone to the guy who is fixing it. And then I am going to
show you this locker room rant that is worthy of a professional sports team but it was delivered to a bunch of kids. Have a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have no idea where I`m heading with this but I want to see you beat them three none! (bleep) their coaches, (bleep) their wives,
(bleep) their friends. I don`t care about them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BANFIELD: Next time, before you hand over your cell phone to that technician or that store manager, you know, to repair it or check your
data, I want you to think about what`s on your device, some text messages you might not want a stranger to see.
[20:50:00] How about your photos? Some of the real sexy ones? Because once you hand over that phone to the tech and say that tech needs to leave your
presence for a few moments, who knows what he or she might find and what he or she might do with it.
That is exactly what happened to a woman in Oklahoma City. The manager at T-mobile store working on her phone not only got it fixed but he helped
himself to 10 photos her that he found on that phone and those photos were nude photos. So he texted them to his own phone and then he deleted the
thread so that she wouldn`t notice.
But guess what? She was wearing an Apple watch, and when you`re wearing an Apple watch, you receive a notice about the texts on that Apple watch. I
guess he didn`t notice it or maybe he didn`t know that what happens on an Apple watch, those texts will show up.
So basically she was wise to what he was up to, that`s how she found out that he was stealing her personal property, her personal property, you
know, and she went to the police who arrested him. His name is Jesus Cardenas. That`s him. Smile or maybe not, you`re in trouble.
They found the photos of her naked on his phone and he`s now charged with nonconsensual dissemination of private sexual images. Caroline Polisi, it
makes me shudder, to think how many times we hand it, we`re so trusting. Help me. Fix this. Do whatever it takes. I`m in hurry.
POLISI: I know.
BANFIELD: And now we --
POLISI: Makes your skin crawl.
BANFIELD: Makes your skin crawl. We know that you can protect yourself if you got the Apple watch. But what can you do after than other than going to
POLISI: This victim did everything right in terms of going to the cops in first instance. But there could definitely be a civil suit in the wake of
any criminal charges. T-mobile owes each and every client or customer a duty of care. They have policies and procedures in place to guard against
its employees committing crimes while on the premises.
BANFIELD: So she can make a little money out of lawsuit against T-Mobile --
POLISI: And who knows how many other victims are out there.
BANFIELD: Especially If you`re young.
BANFIELD: Underage photos as well.
POLISI: He clearly done it before and he would have done it again if he hadn`t been caught.
BANFIELD: I got another peach for you.
BANFIELD: It`s from New York. It`s an Uber driver who was ripped off by a passenger. It wasn`t just any passenger. It was a beautiful girl who was
just wearing a bra. Pretty much smiled to the camera as she swiped everything out of his tip jar. I want you to watch this. Unbelievable
video. Striking brunette in the middle, riding along.
Oh, look what`s there. She notices. She talks to her friends a little briefly, glances in the direction of the tip jar, nothing unusual there,
right in front of her, keeps glancing downward towards the money as the ride continues.
And then finally as the driver slows to a stop, she is ready to make her move, she eyes the cash one more time and watch her left hand, looks like
she is about to make a grab, but she waits until they`re about to get out of the car, nervous, and then swipes everything that was in there.
By the time the driver actually noticed she was gone, so was his cash. Aside from the bad karma she just brought herself, this passenger has now
been banned from Uber. Her account has been deactivated. And the only reason she is not facing charges is because the driver reportedly didn`t
contact police right away.
So, you know what? We`re just going to let everybody know who you are in that little bra with all that cash and your stupid grin. Smile. You are
horrible, just horrible. TV justice. "Primetime Justice."
Any athlete will tell you that the locker room pep talk is a pregame ritual. It can be intense. Lots of yelling, maybe some trash talk about the
other team. But a full-blown profanity-packed rant delivered by an adult assistant coach to his 13 and 14-year-old players, probably not what
parents of the Littleton Youth Hockey Association were expecting. And well, they got it, because it was all caught on camera.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And then we`re gonna beat them three-none. I wanna see you sticking your hands up these guys asses and working them like they`re
(bleep) puppets. I want you controlling these mother (bleep) like they ain`t been controlled in their life.
Because you know what I would do out there? I`m going to watch the warm up. It`s going to be a good warm up. A lot of (bleep) jam! And then you`re
going to beat them three-none.
I have no idea where I`m heading with this but I want to see yo beat them three-none! (bleep) three none, (bleep) their coaches, (bleep) their wives,
(bleep) their friends.
I don`t care about them. We are gonna beat them up so bad they`re gonna be wishing that they never came. Let`s go.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BANFIELD: They`re going to be wishing they never came -- you`re going to be wishing you never gave that speech. Assistant coach is now out of a job.
According to CNN affiliate KDVR, the director of the league sent a letter to all the parents, apologizing for that outburst and promising better
training for all future coaches. Reminder, pep talk, yes.
[20:55:00] To 13 and 14-year-olds, you don`t say (INAUDIBLE) their wives. It just doesn`t fit, you know.
So you know that old saying, crime doesn`t pay? Guess what? It really, really doesn`t. That`s one more thing when we come back.
BANFIELD: One more thing before we go, robbing banks does not pay like it used to. According to the FBI, the average take in a bank robber is just
about $3,500. And that number is way down since 2006, about $7,000 less than back then. So, basically, huge risk, little reward, guaranteed hard
time, if three grand or so is worthy to you.
Thanks for watching, everybody. It`s been great to have you here. My thanks to Caroline Polisi for being here as well.
[21:00:00] We will be back again tomorrow night at 8:00 p.m. for "Primetime Justice." In the meantime, "The Hunt with John Walsh" begins right now.