Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Nancy Grace Sued By Melinda Duckett's Kin

Transcript of Nancy Grace interviewing the mother, father, and great-grandma of missing child Trenton Duckett.

I didn't see the show. I don't watch cable news channels and haven't for, whew, nearly a year. But I do remember seeing Miss Grace on tv in the past, and she has the cross-examination style of an aggressive attorney. Everyone knows it. Her guests surely don't go in blind.

(As you read it, you'll see the progression of the questions is very like a cross-examination of someone on the stand.)

Given that she has a reputation for being, ahem, a bulldog on her programs, anyone agreeing to come on her show must have a clue that things won't be a barrage of plesantries.

Right off the bat confession: I don't believe she's responsible for Melinda Duckett's tragic suicide. I think the lawsuit is an exercise in lawyerly greed and a family feeling a bit too much strain...and maybe wanting bucks, too. I never underestimate the human desire for filthy lucre, or even clean lucre. I am cynical enough about lots of similar lawsuits to factor in greed all around.

I think Duckett was just a woman stressed to the max and, well, probably ready to do something extreme even prior to coming on the show. Prior behavior that backs this up includes these events as documented in this article from the ORLANDO SENTINEL:

~"She would eventually tell a psychologist that an older cousin molested her when she was 4. Melinda threw temper tantrums and during her first year of high school started cutting herself with razor blades to 'fit in with the skater crowd,' one psychologist's evaluation noted."

~"So outraged by Massero washing her son on his first Halloween, Melinda slapped the woman and bit her arm so hard it bled, an Okeechobee Sheriff's Office report stated.

'She said that something overcame her,' the report said. 'She said that she hated people and she did not know why.'"

~"Josh said Melinda later told him that she had oral sex with the investigating officer that night in front of the baby.

Furious, Josh told Bushnell's police chief, Joyce Wells, a family friend. He called Melinda in front of Wells and put their conversation on speaker phone.

Hearing Melinda say she 'was going to end it all,' Wells placed Melinda into custody for psychiatric observation. DCF removed Trenton from Melinda and placed him with Josh."

~"One psychologist in July 2005 invalidated Melinda's personality-profile-test results because of 'an attempt by Ms. Duckett to appear better than she may be,' the DCF case file said. But it added that nothing would stop Melinda 'from being a capable and loving parent to her son.'"

~"The boy eventually was removed from both parents and placed in foster care for four days after police learned about the couple's domestic violence."

~"Ultimately, though, the couple's pettiness pervaded their decisions, creating serious concerns among DCF workers months before Trenton disappeared.

One caseworker said she 'would not be surprised if he ended up getting hurt someday because of their [his parents'] constant verbal fighting,' according to a January DCF case log of telephone calls."

~"In the weeks before Trenton's disappearance, Melinda filed for divorce and got a temporary restraining order against Josh. But it was based on a false, threatening e-mail that investigators later proved Melinda wrote. It was part of the evidence that led police to label her the prime suspect in her son's reported abduction."

Too bad the family that is eager (mayhaps) to profit financially NOW didn't take better care and watch over her THEN, when Melinda obviously needed a vigilant and loving family around her. Even their lawyer declares that the woman was terribly distraught. Well, where the hell were they? What actions did they take to make sure the highly distraught woman didn't do something tragic, as she did? (Okay, that might not be fair, but it is what comes to my mind. The whole lot of em are irritating me--tactless interviewers, money-seeking relatives, money-grubbing lawyers, and whoever took the boy and made this whole situation happen. THAT's who the parents should save their legal actions for.)

I find the lawsuit a tad ghoulish. Period.

(I'd feel differently if the family swore they would give every penny to some charity that helps kids and the lawyers were doing it totally pro-bono.)

I would add this: Authorities, who said last week they believe the boy is alive, have named Melinda Duckett as the prime suspect in his disappearance.

It wasn't just a host of DCF folks, mental health personnel, the legal authorities, and Nancy Grace herself who noted some oddity in Melinda's reactions or behavior. The psychologist on the CNN program under the spotlight is quoted in the transcript, stating the following:

{DR LILLIAN} GLASS: This doesn`t make any sense to me. And the fact that she`s skirting around the issue and can`t get to the point concerns me a lot. Her reaction is not the typical reaction of a mother who has a missing child, whose child was taken from the bed when she says I don`t cry my eyes out. Most people would be emotional about it and the fact that she`s been skirting the issue through this entire interview concerns me.

(And for a history of this woman's messed up life and behavior, including an earlier diagnosis of depression and violence read THIS. She was a very unstable person.)

Well, I read the transcript and what's interesting is how Melinda and her husband differ in two major areas. 1. He says the boy was a very light sleeper, easily roused. She says he was a heavy sleeper. They can't both be right there. 2. He says he took a polygraph when asked by authorities and has cooperated with all levels of law enforcement. She is oddly evasive in answering questions about whether she submitted to a polygraph and says she only cooperates with the FBI.

I will add that Josh Duckett has his own credibility issues, which you'll note in the article I referenced before from the ORLANDO SENTINEL.

Melinda Duckett also says in the CNN interview that one of her friends with her that night (one of two guys present) has "disappeared." Nancy corrects that with the police saying they know exactly where both men are.

What really left me scratching my head waas her refusing to name a store after claiming to have driven around shopping for a long time. Well, that was weird. How hard is it to say, "Yeah, I dropped by WalMart for shampoo and diapers," or "I got some batteries at Home Depot."

Here, tell me if this doesn't seem odd:

GRACE: Melinda, where had you been with him that day?

MELINDA DUCKETT: All we had basically been out is driving around. There is something about a convenience store. I don`t know where that came into play because whenever I go out somewhere, you know, I always have gas. I`m not shorthanded with anything. And I`m always prepared for it all.

GRACE: So where had you been that day?

MELINDA DUCKETT: We had been all through Lake county and up into Orange.

GRACE: Doing what?

MELINDA DUCKETT: Basically just shopping, going around driving.

GRACE: Shopping where?

MELINDA DUCKETT: Well we didn`t go anywhere specific.

GRACE: Well I mean if you went shopping you had to go into a store. What store did you go into on Sunday?

MELINDA DUCKETT: We went throughout the county.

GRACE: Any store? I`m thinking of video cameras Melinda. I mean maybe they have a picture of someone watching you, following you back out to your car. I mean what store did you go to, Wal-Mart, JCPenney`s, what?

MELINDA DUCKETT: I`m not going to get in any specifics.


MELINDA DUCKETT: Because I`m not dealing with media very well.

You know, after reading it, I can understand why Nancy Grace got bulldoggy. I probably would have, too, though in a gentler way (hey, it is the kid's mom, after all). I'm not a lawyer, though. I'm not someone used to seeing parents be the actual abusers or killers of their kids, the way criminal justice folks are.

What it comes down to: The woman "reads" somewhat suspicious on the transcript. :::shrug:::

Doesn't mean she did anything remotely wrong. Well, other than the amateur porn stuff, which, hey, I think is seriously skanky, and more, abusive if the husband's verification that a porn image of an act of fellatio is, indeed, Melinda doing said act while the child had a high-chair view of the disgusting goings-on. I cannot tell you how much THAT grosses me out and makes her way less sympathetic, if true...IF true. But some is true (if not the horror I just described):

Nude photographs of Melinda Duckett, including one image where she is straddling a child's crib and another explicit video where the sound of a crying baby can be heard in the background surfaced in the missing boy investigation and caused concerns for detectives, the report said.

If you read the transcript, tell me: Can you see there why a blazing, "hang the criminals" kind of lawyer-interviewer would dig into someone who comes across as vague or evasive in this serious type of case where a boy's life may hang in the balance?

I suspect the folks calling for Nancy's head just can't stand Nancy Grace. Period. It's not about the suicide, it's about not liking Nancy's hardcore, anti-crime, "lock em up and throw away the key" stance.

Well, I'm not liking the "Something bad happened, so let's find someone to blame and make moolah" stance.

I wish Melinda Duckett was alive to defend herself, help the authorities, and have suppers with her family.

And I pray the boy is found, soon, and that he's alive and well and be able to heal from the incident and the loss of his mom.

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