Bob Bianchi had the pleasure of bring on with guests Gene Rossi, Linda Baden, and Elura Nanos discussing the top murder cases in the USA. Fascinating trial analysis by lawyers who are experts in the area of trial law.
#TrueCrime #McStay #ClaudiaHoerig #RyanDuke #murder #LawCrimeNetwork
Bianchi on the day’s top murder cases on Law & Crime Network
Robert Bianchi: Welcome back to Law and Crime Network, my name is Bob Bianchi. I’m going to be taking it from twelve to three. Guys, we have so much on our plate today. So, I’ve got two extra special guests, one’s a normal guest, but the thing that’s extra special about today, he hashtag 4041 my boy from Virginia, Gene Rossi is literally in the studio. Hey Gene.
Gene Rossi: He’s alive, he’s alive, it’s so good to be here.
Robert Bianchi: It’s great to be here Gene. You know I have mad respect for your skills three years at the DOJ, three years, No, thirty-three decades at the DOJ, a Gene Rossi war room. And me and you just love coptisine about trial on screen and off screen, so it’s great to have you here. And of course, still joining us from the Jesse Weber time is Elura Nanos, my good friend. Elura, how are you?
Elura Nanos: Hi Bob, it’s so great to see you today.
Robert Bianchi: Elura and myself have appeared on so many different legal shows together, she’s an extraordinarily talented lawyer. I was looking you up Elura you cannot escape my investigatory capacities. I love it, I was trying to find it, I wrote it down where you describe yourself as like a TV personality, a lawyer, a good cook. You’re also an accomplished flutist but what was more impressive to me as I found out something that I never knew before, you don’t like crawling plants and you don’t like raisins. So Elura, I actually thought you were going to be on set today so I specifically went out and purchased some raisins for you but I’m going to have to give them to Rossi instead.
Elura Nanos: Bob, I can’t take it raisins are like the sad story of grapes that could have been wine, and I just can’t do it.
Robert Bianchi: Oh my god Elura, that is so good, we have so many laughs over the years doing our media stuff, you always make me smile, for reasons just like that. But, hey guys we’ve got some serious stuff here too and that’s why you know we’ve learned for those of us who have handled a lot of high-profile cases, of murder cases, that you must have a sense of humor in order to get through it. But the Claudia Hoerig case is one that we cover on Law and Crime Network, where it was really fascinating where she was accused of murdering her boyfriend, or her husband, I forget which at the time. And it was kind of disputed, she went to Brazil and she fled, and she wound up getting extradited back to the United States. And she’s really a character, she’s filed lawsuits. You see a picture of her there from the jail cell. Saying that she’s been discriminated upon, all sorts of issues and problems, and she was making all sorts of commotions inside and outside of the courtroom. But she took the stand and when she did, we knew, we knew, it was going to be something else because she is a piece of work herself. And Gene Rossi, I know me, and you have you covered this, when she took the stand, we don’t think she helped herself at all either. In the manner in which she talked about what happened, where she says it was just really me versus him. I was trying to commit a suicide and said some bad stuff and a bad thing happened. As opposed to a premeditated murder. Guys, I told you back at the time that I felt that her going to a gun shop and getting grips with laser scoping on them was going to be the death knell if you will, no pun intended, of her defense. And let’s listen to her on the witness stand and we’ll talk to Gene and Elura on the other end.
Prosecutor: When Carl was home, and you guys were in the house, did he have specific requirements for what you wear?
Claudia Hoerig: Yes, basically I could only wear a skirt, a short skirt with heals, he liked that long heal. I couldn’t wear other shoes unless it was high heels, open toes, and just a very small top. During the day, but other times, later at night I had to walk around just in heals, no clothes. Naked.
Prosecutor: And why did you put up with all of this?
Claudia Hoerig: I wanted to be married, I wanted to make him happy. I wanted, I was used to high demand. I came from that kind of background, you know, people were hurting me my whole life. And I was kind of used to it, the kind of demand, he wasn’t, the demand he wanted was different. But the demand I was used to meeting people demands so, he was a very demanding man and I thought that over time he was going to mellow out. He was always, people get set in their ways and he was all the time, he was going to let go of those weird things that he did, I thought he was going to change.
Robert Bianchi: All right, so there’s Claudia Hoerig. You know, Elura, ladies first. Since I burdened you with the psychiatric issue with the raisins, it would only be appropriate to have you comment on this. I don’t know how much you follow of this case, but Claudia Hoerig’ s took the stand, and we talked before, I think probably the most dramatic one Law and Crime has covered was the Jason Van Dyke case, when he took the stand. And we all know as trial lawyers first of all, as a prosecutor, I am salivating to get the defendant on the witness stand. I’m doing everything I can, up to and including prayer. Please get on the witness stand so I can have my crack at you. And of course, as a defense lawyer, you know, most lawyers don’t want their clients on the stand unless they absolutely have to. It’s a risky proposition and as the defense lawyer for this woman I can imagine you were even more concerned. How did you think she did?
Elura Nanos: Well, not well. And I think that you know, in these kind of cases where you have a woman who is telling the story of essentially being abused in some way over the years and I know she wasn’t saying that she was physically abused but she is telling the story of sleeping with the enemy type, you know. Like a psychological abuse and control kind of situation. But I think if you’re going to go with that and you’re going to try to you know have some kind of defense like she was emotionally disturbed or had battered wife syndrome, or something along those lines, she’s going to have to do a better job telling that story and be more sympathetic and making it sound worse. Not just, I’ve been through a lot over the years I hoped he would change but he didn’t. That’s just not it’s just not bad enough, it’s not sympathetic enough.
Robert Bianchi: Right, Gene, her whole demeanor in court you know, juries watching everything before she took the stand and then when she did take the stand her combativeness I don’t I don’t think played well for that kind of the defense.
Gene Rossi: Absolutely, and her defense is basically he was very demanding, he put a lot of stress on me, but I want I want to comment about what but Elura said, she hit the nail on the head. When a defendant takes the stand in all the cases I’ve had, you’re right, I pray, I salivate, the emotion that they show to the jury about what they did especially if it’s a violent case, you have to show the jury that you are remorseful. And that you went through pain. Watching her demeanor on the stand, I got the feeling that she was prepped and there wasn’t a lot of connection that she made with the jury.
Robert Bianchi: Yeah.
Gene Rossi: Or watching it on television.
Robert Bianchi: Yeah and clearly in the analysis, the jury didn’t buy it. Guys, I am so happy to have both Gene and Elura with me, to walk me through these cases. We’ve got a lot on the plate. We only do it like this on the Law and Crime Network, it is the only network out there that does this kind of coverage. It has these kind of experts. We’re going to break, we’ll be right back
Robert Bianchi: Okay, Welcome back as advertised we were telling you that Claudia Hoerig, well just off cameras I was talking to Gene and Elura about the idea that when you’re preparing your cross examine to a defendant, you’re intuitively trying to figure out who is this person and how do you go about cross examination? A good cross examiner doesn’t just go on one speed all the time, you got to use your common sense and your people skills. Now, one thing that I noted that if I were the prosecutor and praying that she took the witness stand and then they said she’s going to take the witness stand, I know she’s a hot flash. She’s full of passion, she’s, I would want her to get angry. I want her to get agitated. I am going to without being disrespectful to the jury, try to push her buttons as it were, so long as the jury doesn’t feel that I’m being unfair. Let’s take a look at Claudia Hoerig on her cross examination.
Prosecutor: Before you shot Carl Hoerig, you were upset that he had an engagement party for you in [?] correct?
Claudia Hoerig: I thought that was very weird, it was a sign that something was wrong.
Prosecutor: Yes or no? I’m not asking for an explanation, all I want to know is yes or no? Before you shot him you were upset that he had an engagement party for you at [?]?
Claudia Hoerig: No, it has no connection with that.
Prosecutor: You were not upset with him about that?
Claudia Hoerig: No.
Prosecutor: Okay, before you shot him, you were upset that he would marry you after fifty days of dating?
Claudia Hoerig: No.
Claudia Hoerig: I wasn’t mad about that.
Prosecutor: You weren’t mad about that? Before you shot him, were you upset that he trapped you or tricked you into marrying him?
Claudia Hoerig: No, I didn’t-
Prosecutor: Yes or no!
Claudia Hoerig: No.
Prosecutor: Well, did Karl Hoerig come to this court room to testify?
Claudia Hoerig: No.
Prosecutor: Okay, thanks you. If Karl Hoerig came into this court room, would he dispute, admit, or deny anything you’ve said to this detective or in this court yesterday?
Claudia Hoerig: No.
Robert Bianchi: Gene, what I like about this cross examination is the prosecutor knows where he’s going with it and he’s using a technique, and people may think that this is easy to do, it’s not, it’s a skill learned, and you have to be creative. And that is, he’s basically saying before any questions, before you shot and before you shot, and he’s bringing through in his case, every motive evidence that he’s got. He really doesn’t care about what her answers are, he’s bringing his case through his questioning.
Gene Rossi: That’s number one, number two, when you do a cross of a defendant your adrenalin is pumped, your heart is beating hard and you’ve got to kind of control yourself and he’s doing a good job. And he’s using before you shot, as sort of his focal, his crutch. And you’re absolutely right, he does not care what the answer is and she’s kind of now realizing he doesn’t care and it’s kind of annoying her. It did get a little high octane here towards the end. But you get the feeling that with her eyes and her demeanor and I’m always big on demeanor. The jury can see into the meaner of someone who is calculated. That’s what I get from the television.
Robert Bianchi: Right, absolutely and so it’s not just being able to ask questions, knowing how to present those questions, let’s listen to a little more.
Prosecutor: A few days before you purchased that 357-hand gun, you transferred nine thousand nine hundred dollars to Brazil.
Lawyer in Courtroom: Objection that’s not in evidence.
Prosecutor: Is that the right number? Oh, the same day? A few days later, before you bought the 357 on March 10th, it may have been March 7th, 8th,9th, I don’t know. You transferred nine thousand nine hundred dollars to Brazil? Is that correct?
Claudia Hoerig: I bought the gun-
Prosecutor: Yes or No!
Claudia Hoerig: No, that’s not correct.
Prosecutor: Did you transfer nine thousand nine hundred dollars to Brazil before you killed Carl Hoerig?
Claudia Hoerig: Yes.
Prosecutor: On March 10th, that Saturday, two days before you shot Carl Hoerig, you went to Slug Masters and bought a 357-hand gun, correct?
Claudia Hoerig: On Friday. Friday.
Prosecutor: Well, March 10th?
Claudia Hoerig: Was it a Friday?
Prosecutor: Well, I’m not going to get into an argument of whether it was Friday or Saturday, March 10th according to my calendar a Saturday. If you want to call it a Friday, that’s fine, but on March 10th, which was two days before you shot Carl, you bought a 357?
Claudia Hoerig: I’m not sure it was the 10th or the 9th, but yes, I did buy it before I shot him of course.
Prosecutor: May I approach the witness and refresh her memory with the purchase that she made? Thank you.
Robert Bianchi: So, Elura, I like this guys style. Listen to what Gene is saying now, he’s giving you something really substantive here this gun. And that was really the central theme here is that she goes down, she gets this gun, actually tries to get a second gun. Supposedly to commit a suicide, which makes no sense and then asked for special hand grips with a lasered scope, which wouldn’t make sense for somebody who committed suicide. So, we know those facts are not good for the defense but what I like is the manner in which the prosecutor is presenting it and let’s also talk about the idea that you know sometimes witnesses can control you. And this guy’s not having any of it. He keeps saying, no, that’s not what I’m asking you, answer my question. Believe me, I’ve seen witnesses actually start asking the lawyer questions. He’s really good.
Elura Nanos: Yeah you know, I think you’re absolutely right and I think that with this witness, in this case with this evidence, it’s working very well. The one thing though that I would say is I think one of the reasons why it’s playing so well, the fact that he does have that control, and that he’s being so aggressive is because of her demeanor. Is because she doesn’t seem particularly remorseful, she seems like something of a strong kind of character. I think if she were different, if she were a totally different type of personality, I think this lawyer’s demeanor here would be really bad because it is clear that he’s controlling things. If she were more of a sympathetic witness, we wouldn’t want him to be controlling it.
Robert Bianchi: Yeah and Gene Rossi to that point, but that’s what the skill of the trial lawyer is. And to Elura point I’ll add one thing, it depends on the kind of case you have. You don’t act that way maybe in a fraud case or a white-collar case, opposed to a murder case you can get away with more with a violent crime.
Gene Rossi: I did one of the worst cross examinations in history in 1991 in Cleveland Ohio jury trial it was a tax case and I was treating it like a quadruple murder case. And I learned that your demeanor and your proportionality in asking the questions, approaching the witness is crucial. He did a good job he did a really good job,
Robert Bianchi: Right, he’s got there, so I think that he’s good to be aggressive that way because he’s got the right kind of case, ideal murder case, he’s got the right kind of defendant, somebody who’s been sorley prior to even taking the stand and the jury has seen that. So, guys listen, we got a lot on our plate like I said here at the Law and Crime Network. We got multiple trials that we’re covering. We have two of the best guests I could think of. And I’m so happy that Gene Rossi is actually here. And by the way Gene, you will be hosting from three to five today. Which is great, Linda Kenney Baden, you guys, you can’t get away from your screens, you’ve got to watch that too. We’ll be right back. Okay, Gene and Elura, we got to get back to this case there was a the very interesting scenario, she had, the defendant have fled to Brazil, and it took quite a while to get her extradited back to the United States so she could face trial. She wanted to be tried in Brazil if anywhere, because she didn’t believe she could get justice in the American court system. Nevertheless, our boys and girls at the US side of the equation got a hold of her and then Anthony Sano, a retired FBI special agent talks about the encounter with her on the plane. And it’s interesting because , sometimes, sometimes, with that special kind of defendant that Je ne Sais Quoi, they just can’t stop talking. Please take a look.
Prosecutor: Did you have any specific instructions as to what you were to do as part of the escort to bring her back to the United States?
Anthony Sano: Yes, we were asked, this is delivered to me by the Deputy US Marshal Bill Bolden, that your office, the prosecutor’s office asked that we not interrogate her and therefore not Mirandize her.
Prosecutor: And what happened in your own words on that flight back, if anything was said by her and tell the jury how that occurred?
Bill Bolden: She then stated that she was standing in the hallway and when he exited the bedroom, she put the gun to her head and threatened to shoot herself. She said, Carl responded by telling her to go ahead and kill herself, but to go to the basement, so she did not get blood on his carpet, and on the walls, and the paintings in the hallway.
Robert Bianchi: Claudia Hoerig case, Elura, just give our audience a brief understanding of Maranda and the first witness who indicated they didn’t read Maranda because they weren’t going to ask questions. Just let our audience know the basics of Maranda.
Elura Nanos: So, a lot of people have a misconception that if a person is not properly read the Maranda rights that the entire case goes away. And that is not the case at all, the Maranda warnings are there, the ruling on Maranda is that a criminal defendant needs to be advised of there right and if they’re not advised of there right, statements that were made are not going to be able to be brought in against them, or at least confessions perhaps, cannot be brought in against them. However, we have in this case the situation where she’s just talking, and the talking is not in response to questions being asked by the officers.
Robert Bianchi: Yeah but Gene, let’s go to tactics here. Maranda is essentially saying if you are in custody and your asked questions, but there have been a pleather of cases where you don’t have to ask a specific question. If you’re a listening data, look we’ve been around the block, we all know that cops want people to start talking and I have extradited people, and brought people from faraway places to face the music on murder cases. One, why did they not have a prosecutor’s detective there or somebody that was familiar with the case? Two, if they couldn’t do that, why didn’t these agents become familiar with the case because you don’t want her to, as we would say in the business, pucker up when she gets off the plane and not to talk. Talking is key, key, key. And it usually happens in the beginning, this was foolish to me.
Gene Rossi: Well, I love the FBI, I’ve worked a lot with Marshall’s. I don’t know why they did not give her Maranda rights. She’s in custody, even if she’s going to talk, they would have interrogation follow up questions, they should have been briefed on the facts of the case so that if she does talk, they would be able to have questions about specific facts of the case, they lost an opportunity.
Robert Bianchi: And she, you know, honestly, they’re lucky they got in what they’re getting it because the court could have ruled, you know what, you didn’t ask a question, but you were soliciting that data and you didn’t stop.
Gene Rossi: Absolutely there’s a famous case called Brewer verses Williams where a defendant was in custody and the agents or the law enforcement kind of elicited without questioning certain information from the defendant, and it was ruled inadmissible. So, you always air on giving Maranda instructions.
Robert Bianchi: Yeah, listen haven’t been a person that was making these calls, as the head prosecutor I would clearly have had a game plan in place to have her rights read, nice and easy, you know nice and easy you got a long plane ride to help build a repour, get her talking and so that it becomes inadmissible on the other end of that. Know the case, these are things that can actually help you as a prosecutor it’s a strange to me. Got to go to a break. We’ll be right back. Welcome back to Law and Crime Network, we’re doing Claudia Hoerig right now. And the defense is saying this is not murder, this is something less than murder, and the prosecution is saying, no it’s murder. And they go back and forth, and then Claudia Hoerig takes the witness stand, and the prosecutor’s aggressively cross examining her, but in the end of the day it only results in twelve people making a decision and what’s going to happen to Claudia Hoerig. Well, we found out. Let’s go to the verdict, the most exciting and nail-biting part of the case.
Judge: This panel find the defendant Claudia C. Hoerig guilty of aggravated, as she stands in the first count of the inditement, dated this date, signed by all twelve jurors. As to the specification, we the jury in this case is duly paneled and sworn on were affirmed to find the defendant Claudia’s Hoerig, did at the time of committing aggravated murder of a firearm on or about a person under her control, purchased the firearm indicating that she possessed it or use it to facilitate the offense. Again, dated this date and signed by all twelve jurors. This followed today and properly reads the verdict of your jury. Anything further from the state?
Prosecutor: No, your honor.
Judge: Anything further from the defendant?
Defendant: No, your honor.
Judge: Okay, ladies and gentlemen of the jury.
Robert Bianchi: Okay, there you go, wasn’t really something that was unexpected. The family aggravating factors we talk about that a lot on the Law and Crime Network, those are sometimes what we call special circumstances, not just the murder but there’s additional things that the law says makes it even more elevated as far as a crime is concerned. She went down for the highest count a clear and complete victory for the prosecution of the case. But you know what guys, you know when you deal with murder cases long enough you realize that it’s what I call collateral consequences that ripple through the lives, certainly of the victims and the victims’ families, but also the defendant and the defendant’s families. It’s never a happy place, even though you’re satisfied with the result you got when you bring justice to the victim’s family in a case like this. Let’s listen to the brother of the victim because you know in the end analysis, my experience has been the families are very happy that they secured justice but it’s never going to bring the person back. And some of these a victim impact statements can be really compelling.
Paul Hoerig: I’m Paul Hoerig, Karl’s younger brother. Words cannot express the pain and anguish my family has endured since Karl’s murder. Claudia’s decision to needlessly take my brother’s life with no regard for the effects it would have on others is unimaginable. The loss of my brother is beyond words. The fact that Claudia so arrogantly fled to a foreign country after killing my brother has been both heartbreaking and frustrating. Knowing Claudia was going on with a normal life, starting a business, and getting remarried, as if nothing had happened. It’s difficult for me to comprehend. She lived free and in the open for over nine years, while my family and I struggled to have her detained. This nightmare was followed by almost two years of her filing numerous appeals to stay in Brazil. Her selfish and deceptive actions of playing games with US citizenship to maintain her freedom in Brazil, reveals her true character. It has been exceptionally brutal and emotionally draining for my family to have spent ten years and ten months fighting to have her extradited from Brazil. There has been countless days writing, calling, emailing, to gain support. Missing work, attending meetings, just to bring her back to the United States. It literally took the efforts of a team, family, friends, the prosecutor, and law enforcement, politicians, the state and justice departments, who have spent countless time and effort for over ten years and ten months to finally have her extradited back to Trumball county. Nothing this court can do will bring back my brother. But I ask this court to consider the premeditated senseless brutal murder of my brother. Karl selflessly served this country and was a caring father, son, brother, and friend. I ask you to consider Claudia’s behavior, fleeing to a foreign country, fighting extradition, a lack of remorse, committing perjury, making false claims, and attempting to smear numerous people, including Karl, myself, and members of my family. The United States officials entered into an agreement with Brazil which limited the sentence Claudia can serve in prison. This agreement was necessary to secure her extradition, I believe we should honor this agreement therefore I fully support the prosecutor’s recommendation of twenty-five years to life, plus three years for the gun specification. Karl was a man of honor and he would have wanted us to honor this agreement. With that said, when the time comes, I along with other family members will be there to meet with the parole board to demand Claudia’s treated like all other inmates. I will be there to tell Karl’s story. Under the conditions, Claudia accepted full responsibility and is a model inmate I will support parole at thirty years. I wish to express my sincerest gratitude for allowing me this opportunity to speak on behalf of my family.
Robert Bianchi: Welcome back as the brother of the victim there giving some very powerful victim impact testimony. You know, Gene, I remember back in the day when I started trying homicide cases, believe it or not, we were not required to even contact the victim’s family. The victim’s family didn’t have the right to be able to alaeque before the court. And wow, thirty years later, how far we have come is the power that victims have on the victim crime bills that have been passed in many of the states. And in truth, the power that has on the judge’s sentencing when they see the raw emotion of the continued effects.
Gene Rossi: Well when I was in the US attorney’s office, we had a victim witness unit, even if we had a guilty plea, we would have to tell the victim so they could comment on whether that plea should be accepted. But at sentencing, I always wanted a victim to say something and Paul Hoerig, that was one of the best victim statements, he was a prosecutor, she fled, no remorse, perjury, Karl served his country, that was beautiful.
Robert Bianchi: Yeah, Elura, what are your thought on that?
Elura Nanos: I thought, I agree, it was a fantastic victim impact statement, and the thing about it that I thought was most compelling is that you can hear that that the brother is not out there for vengeance. Because he’s saying, if she’s a good inmate, I will support her release at thirty years. And to me that that is so powerful, because you know, he didn’t have to say that and that’s shows that he has this sort of fair-minded view on all this. Which I think makes the entire statement just that much more credible.
Robert Bianchi: Yeah, Elura, you know it’s funny, in all the years I’ve done this it’s been amazing how some families respond to it in one way, and other families respond to it in another way. I agree with you completely. I hear you have to go, I will keep your raisins right here for the next time that we encounter one another. Thank you so much Elura. We still have a lot more Law and Crime, my boy gene Rossi, we’ll be right back.