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Texas Man Claims Accident in Daughter`s Shotgun Death
Aired July 27, 2012 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
RITA COSBY, GUEST HOST: And breaking news tonight out of Texas. A father of three flees his home along with his children, ages 17, 14 and 11, convinced the family is in danger. Daddy puts the family inside his minivan, arms himself with a semiautomatic shotgun, then takes off for the safety of a nearby convenience store.
But when Daddy opens fire after he sees suspicious movements in the dark, he doesn`t shoot the mystery people on foot, he ends up shooting his 14-year-old daughter. In a shocking twist, cops say there`s no evidence to back up the father`s story. But the big question tonight, was the shooting an accident or was it murder?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He intended to kill someone.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She would sing in the middle of lunch. She would get up and she would sing if she wanted to.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He walked into the sheriff`s office and reported accidentally shooting his 14-year-old daughter, Judith, to death.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The person that is dead right now is his daughter.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Immediately, investigators became suspicious because of the hours that passed before Collins spoke up. Collins called 911.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because he says people with flashlights were chasing him in a field near the family-owned store, Collins Hitching Post.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Had a couple of cars enter the property (INAUDIBLE) don`t know what`s going on.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sheriff Jeffrey Lions (ph) says the cell phone call dropped.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I knew. I saw the news, and I knew.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I (ph) was (ph) there making everyone happy.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE) happy, was too happy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSBY: And good evening, everybody. I`m Rita Cosby, in for Nancy Grace. Thank you so much for being with us tonight.
A 14-year-old Texas girl, Judith Collins, found shot to death. Her father claims it was an accident after opening fire, trying to protect the family from being chased. So why is he charged with murder tonight?
Well, for the very latest, let`s go to Texas and Christine McCarthy. She`s a reporter with CNN affiliate KXXV. Christine, take through this timeline from the very beginning, please.
CHRISTINE MCCARTHY, KXXV CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): Well, thanks for having me, Rita. And yes, let`s start from the beginning. It was around somewhere between 3:00 in the morning and 4:30 AM, and Edwin Collins says that he was -- someone was after him. We don`t quite know who that is or if Edwin Collins even knows who that is.
But he does say that someone was trying to get at him, and he decided to leave the family house. That`s in rural Hill County, very wooded, thick terrain area. And he took off with his kids, packed them up in that minivan, his three children, 11 years old, 14 and 17, and took off. And he didn`t exactly leave the property.
This is a well-known family with a lot of land there, and they actually didn`t leave, didn`t report anything to the sheriff`s office, but instead made their way a little bit down the road to another part of the property near their family-owned grocery store, convenience store, Collins Hitching Post.
And that`s where it really all got started, and that`s where the sheriffs believe that that shooting did, in fact, happen. And sheriffs are -- the sheriff is just absolutely baffled and doesn`t quite know whether this was an accident. But of course, there is just too much suspicion not to charge him with murder.
COSBY: And let`s go to John Phillips, host with 790 KABC. John, walk us through what the cops stumble upon, first of all, what we know the facts are?
JOHN PHILLIPS, 780 KABC: Well, the cops didn`t find out about this until he went and talked to them in the morning.
COSBY: Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait!
PHILLIPS: So this is not something...
COSBY: John, back -- John, I got to get -- I got to get -- they didn`t find out about it? He shot his daughter, and they didn`t find out about it until a few hours later or the next day? What is that?
PHILLIPS: Right. Well, let`s not forget this is rural Texas. This didn`t happen right in downtown Los Angeles, so...
COSBY: Yes, it doesn`t matter!
PHILLIPS: ... somebody didn`t hear it...
COSBY: You still -- you should -- it doesn`t matter where you`re shooting! If you`re shooting your daughter, you call 911 and you get help right away! I don`t care what part of...
PHILLIPS: That`s right, and that...
COSBY: ... America, that`s logical, John!
PHILLIPS: No, that`s absolutely true, Rita. And that didn`t happen in this particular case. After the daughter was shot -- and the reporter just talked about the family, the father and all the kids going down to the convenience store to try to hide from what he thought were these intruders.
He then takes the kids into this wooded forest, Rita, and trying to protect them. And unfortunately, he ended up shooting his daughter. But the police, the authorities, the medics, nobody found out about this until daybreak, until the following morning.
COSBY: Now, John, walk us through what he sort of claims happened. He says he`s being chased with his kids in tow in this vehicle. They what? Then they go to not the cop shop (ph), right, they go to a convenience store?
PHILLIPS: Correct, the family-owned convenience store. His father was actually working there that night. He was working...
COSBY: So the story is open, John...
PHILLIPS: ... the overnight shift.
COSBY: John, the store is open, correct? It`s a 24-hour...
COSBY: ... store. It`s not closed, right?
PHILLIPS: A 24-hour convenience store, right. And his father...
COSBY: And he doesn`t go inside the store?
PHILLIPS: ... was manning -- did not make it inside the store. He and the kids were behind the store, and he heard what he thought was a gunshot. After he heard the gunshot, he tried to protect the kids, he says, by taking the kids and moving them away from the convenience store. Originally, they moved behind some cement -- a cement wall, cement blocks. And then he didn`t feel it was safe there.
And he saw two flashlights, so he thought there were two different people that were following them. He took the kids away from the flashlights, into the wooded area. And he told the kids to keep a distance from him. He didn`t want the kids right up on him. So that way, he could take the gun and shoot and kill these intruders.
He heard a scream, a dramatic, blood-curdling scream, and fired, and unfortunately, his daughter ended up dead.
COSBY: So his daughter is dead. At that point, according to his story, which as I`m hearing this, it sounds like he`s nuts -- but according to his story, was does he do at that point? Is he giving her CPR? Is he calling 911 frantically?
PHILLIPS: No. At that point...
COSBY: Wait, wait, wait! No?
PHILLIPS: ... he and the kids stay in the...
COSBY: He`s not doing that? What is he doing?
PHILLIPS: No medical attention at all, Rita, nothing.
PHILLIPS: And -- right. And the way he describes it, you`d think it`s some sort of Keystone Kops, Barney Fife sort of circus accident. But he didn`t go -- didn`t call 911 at that particular point in time. He then stays in the forest until the sun comes up the next morning, and heads off to the convenience store where his father is still working.
COSBY: Christine McCarthy, let`s just go sort of -- his story -- how far is he claiming -- and again, his story just sounds so outrageous on the face of it. But how far is he claiming, based on his story, that he is from his daughter at this point when he shoots her and kills her?
MCCARTHY: Oh, he admits that he`s 10 feet away, but in this pitch- dark area, this thick terrain. You know, it`s between 3:00 and 4:30 in the morning. He thinks that he`s gotten the kids back 100 feet behind him.
And he hears this scream. He`s alerted to that. He turns and shoots. And he admits that he kills her at that moment, but he says it was all an accident. He thought it was one of those people who was after him -- one person, multiple people, we don`t know.
We don`t even know -- we don`t have any indication as to whether anyone was even threatening his life. The sheriff`s office, you know, has no indication that anyone was even after him. There`s no names that Collins can give, no more information other than for some odd reason, people were after him and that`s who he thought he was shooting.
And as you heard, the sheriff said he intended to kill someone. Whether it was supposed to be his daughter or not, that they`re just not sure of right now, a few days later.
COSBY: Did he turn in the direction of his daughter? You`re talking about, Christine, that he hears this scream. He knows it`s his daughter screaming, and when he turns towards the daughter to shoot in the direction of his daughter, he`s 10 feet away, it`s pitch black? I mean, does he know he`s -- knowing that he`s shooting in the direction of his daughter screaming?
MCCARTHY: Sure, and that`s what the sheriff did acknowledge, that there was probably a turn, from what he did say, but you know, it being that quick and it being that time of night, he just says it was an accident.
COSBY: Let`s go to Sheryl McCollum, crime analyst, director of Cold Case Investigative Research -- a lot of very suspicious angles here, don`t you think, Sheryl?
SHERYL MCCOLLUM, CRIME ANALYST: Without a doubt. I`m real concerned that he also said he fired some warning shots. He`s got a semiautomatic 12-gauge. You`re limited to three shots. Why would you waste any if you truly believed your children were in danger?
And normally, parents say, Don`t stay close to me, not 100 feet back. And then you`re safe in a van where you could drive away, and then he gets out and run into the woods, instead of going to where his father is, in a store that has a land line if 911`s not working. And he never drops to his knees and helps his baby. Yes, there`s a few problems here, Rita. No question.
COSBY: There are some huge ones. Ken Padowitz, former prosecutor -- enormous holes here. And his story -- you know, even if you believe that he accidentally shot his daughter, again, he`s firing in the direction of her, where he`s hearing the screaming. This is his own admission. He`s firing. It`s pitch black. He`s not running over to save her. He`s not running over to call 911. He`s not doing any of these things, frantically dragging her body, getting it to the nearest ambulance. The store is not that far away. There`s a lot of holes here, Ken!
KEN PADOWITZ, FORMER PROSECUTOR: Rita, this father`s story has more holes than the Titanic. I mean, it just doesn`t make sense. That`s clearly why the police made an arrest here.
But the problem for the police and the problem for prosecutors is how are they going to be able to prove that this, in fact, was an intentional homicide, an intentional murder? And the key to this case is the only other witnesses that are alive, his two other children.
So the police are going to have to focus on these two children to get at what the truth is here because without further evidence, they`re not going to have enough to go on to convince a jury beyond a reasonable doubt that there is, in fact, a violation of the law and that he`s guilty of murder.
COSBY: John Phillips, what are the kids saying? Are the kids verifying what his story in any form?
PHILLIPS: The kids are backing up what the father`s saying. They`re saying...
COSBY: No, John. Are they backing up -- are they backing up everything? Are they backing up what dad said was happening -- Dad said we had to go because of this? Or are they saying, We heard shots, we saw people chasing us? What part of it are they backing up?
PHILLIPS: Well, they haven`t spoken to the news media yet, but based on the reports that we`ve seen, from what they`ve told police, they have, in fact, backed up the father`s timeline as to what happened.
COSBY: And are they backing up -- do you know, John, are they backing up, OK, at this point, we left the house, at this point, we did this, or are they backing up, again, any part of his story, There were guys following after us, we heard gunshots, we heard this? Did they hear anyone else shooting other than Daddy?
PHILLIPS: Well, as I said, they haven`t done any interviews yet with anyone in the news media, but based on the reports, from what they`ve told the police officers, they`re matching up the father`s story, and there appears to be no discrepancies between what the kids are saying and what the father said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Forty-year-old Edwin O`Dell (ph) Collins, Jr.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He intended to kill someone. Unfortunately, the person that is dead right now is his daughter.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Shooting his 14-year-old daughter Judith to death.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: At first I didn`t believe it. It was really shocking.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSBY: And I`m Rita Cosby, in for Nancy Grace. A 40-year-old Texas father shoots and kills his daughter. He says it`s accidental, that it`s in the dark, that he`s being chased, and his kids are with him at the time. But now he`s charged with murder.
Let`s go to Christine McCarthy, reporter from the CNN affiliate. Christine, what do we know about what the kids are saying in relation to what the father claims to authorities? You know, he has this wild story. It sounds like a scene out of Steven Seagal movie. He`s being chased. He`s hiding behind concrete blocks. He doesn`t go in and call for help in the store, doesn`t do all these different things. And yet the kids are there. He`s got two kids, correct? How old are they again?
MCCARTHY: Right. They`re 11 years old and 12 years old, a boy and a girl. And they`re generally corroborating his story, but -- you know, they do have the same wild story that Edwin Collins has. But there are some slight variations. We don`t know exactly what those are, but the sheriff does tell me that there are some variations in their story, and that`s certainly something that they`re looking into as they try to piece together his timeline and the events that supposedly happened that night.
COSBY: Absolutely. Let`s go to Leslie Austin, psychotherapist. I would imagine, also, the kids, no matter what age -- I mean, the good news is they are older. They`re not, you know, toddlers, at least to being able to describe as witnesses. On the other hand, this is still their dad and the dad is telling them this story. It`s a little hard to piece together, isn`t it?
LESLIE AUSTIN, PSYCHOTHERAPIST: Well, we don`t know if he was telling them or they actually followed along with him...
COSBY: ... that`s my question, too! Are they following, you know, Oh, gosh, we were suddenly -- you know, yes, indeed, we were -- these men - - mythical people were chasing us and that`s what Dad said.
AUSTIN: Look, it`s a possibility -- I`m not saying this is true. It`s possible if there was some mental illness there and he believed people were after them, they would buy his story because he`s their dad and he says, People are after us. Let`s get into the woods.
They`re not going to make critical judgments whether it`s real or not, if their dad is afraid. It could be that he made a whole series of terrible, bad choices that ended up in an accidental shooting and was in shock and may not be mentally stable.
I want to know exactly why did he think people were after him, based on what? That`s a key question that`s unanswered at this point.
COSBY: And Leslie, I absolutely agree on whether there`s proof of anybody else in the area, anything bizarre in the area, you know, anything to, you know, validate this kind of crazy story.
John Phillips, for one thing, what about any calls to authorities? We know that he doesn`t rush to call authorities, apparently, right away, but does he make any 911 calls at all?
PHILLIPS: Yes, he did, actually. When he was outside the convenience store, he called 911 to report the intruders, to report the people that were following him, who...
COSBY: And this was...
PHILLIPS: ... he believed were...
COSBY: And John, give everybody sort of...
PHILLIPS: ... out to get him...
COSBY: ... a sense of the timeline. When he makes that call, according to his story, again, at what point, John, is he making the call? Is it while he`s hiding behind the concrete, and then before he runs into the woods? Is his daughter dead yet or not?
PHILLIPS: That`s correct, it was before the daughter was shot. It was the 4:00 o`clock hour, 4:00 AM. So we`re talking late night, very early morning.
He calls 911 to tell them that there are people that are following him. The 911 call is cut off after 9 seconds. And after the call gets cut off, the 911 operator instructs local authorities to stop by the house to see if there`s any funny business going on. They swing by, they don`t see anything out of the ordinary going on.
He doesn`t call 911 again. The next time he talks to the police is when he shows up to the police station the following morning around 7:00 o`clock, at the 7:00 o`clock hour, to tell them that his daughter was dead.
COSBY: Unbelievable, that he just doesn`t make all these calls and isn`t frantically doing it. We do understand that there is a call that did come in, a 911 call, around the time he claims. We`re going to play it for you. It`s a little broken up. They`re not sure, again, even if this is him, but it`s within the timeframe. And just kind of listen to the voice and the sense of the message.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, we`re down here at Hitching Post. We`ve got a bunch of cars driving all over the -- had a couple of cars enter the property and (EXPLETIVE DELETED). We don`t know what`s going on. Do you think you could...
(END AUDIO CLIP)
COSBY: Sheryl McCollum, when you hear that, what do you make sense of that?
MCCOLLUM: He doesn`t identify himself. He said, We`re out here. And he never once asks for any help, Rita!
COSBY: Yes, and he seems...
COSBY: It`s sort of bizarre. It`s, like, Wait, I`m being followed, I`m being this, not, Hey, please come...
MCCOLLUM: But it`s not bizarre.
COSBY: And by the way, the other thing, Sheryl, if you look at his story, you`re calling back again! You don`t just call once and then it drop off...
COSBY: ... if this is his call!
MCCOLLUM: But his father is in that store with a landline. He has a van that`s working. He has a loaded weapon. What danger is he possibly in?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don`t know what`s going on. Do you think you could...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The cell phone call dropped. Investigators became suspicious.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The 911 call was actually made at 4:30 AM.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because of the hours that passed before Collins spoke up.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He didn`t arrive here until 7:45.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Judith was dead.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSBY: And I`m Rita Cosby, in for Nancy Grace. Let`s go back to John Phillips. John, you know, when you hear this wild story -- what I just cannot get over -- even if -- you know, say you -- you know, crazy things happen. Crazy -- you know, somebody`s chasing him. You`re in the middle of nowhere, whatever.
He, what, waits until daylight, according to his story, to go get help? And at that point, he goes to a convenience store and doesn`t even get help, right?
PHILLIPS: Right. At that point, he still doesn`t call 911. He`s got his father there, presumably maybe a first aid kit, a landline. He can call the paramedics. He doesn`t do anything. He seems to be more interested in being Yosemite Sam out there than caring for the welfare of his daughter, who he knows is gravely injured, if not dead, at that point.
COSBY: Now, John, he gets out of this whole sort of -- you know, again, I sort of describe it as scene out of, like, a Rambo or whatever movie -- he`s hiding, he`s chasing, he`s doing this whole thing, hiding behind the concrete wall. Then he accidentally shoots his daughter, according to him, goes through this. He waits until daylight because the bad guys are out there. Then he goes to, in his, even, mind, safety of a convenience store. His father`s working there. There`s a hard line, correct, John? There`s a phone in there?
PHILLIPS: Correct. Yes, there`s a hard line in the convenience store. It`s a 24-hour-operating convenience store. So presumably, there`s lights. Presumably, his father has a weapon himself there. At least, you would assume you`d have something there if you`re working an all-night convenience store in a rural part of the country...
COSBY: And John, what does he say to his...
PHILLIPS: ... yet doesn`t ask for help...
COSBY: ... father? That`s what...
PHILLIPS: ... doesn`t call anyone...
COSBY: What does he says to his father? Because I think that`s extremely significant. He walks in. He doesn`t say, Oh, my gosh, I just shot my daughter accidentally, can you get an ambulance, please? What does he say, John?
PHILLIPS: He asks his father if the cops showed up when he called 911...
COSBY: Wa-wa-wait! He -- he says, Did the cops show up? In other words, it sounds to me like someone who`s trying to verify a 911 call he made, as opposed to, Let me get help for my daughter.
PHILLIPS: That`s right. He was fishing for information from his father. Instead of providing information, vital information, he`s trying to pick his father`s brain to try to find out when the cops were there, what the cops might have seen, that sort of thing. It`s really bizarre.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, we`re down here at the Hitching Post.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Collins claims he tried to keep his kids safe.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We got a bunch of cars driving all over the -- had a couple of cars...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was really shocking.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But when Judith screamed in the dark field, he turned and accidentally shot her in the back.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I tried to call her phone and I called people. I texted people.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why Collins didn`t tell his nearby mother or father Judith was hurt.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) we don`t know what`s going on.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That`s when I knew. We was thinking about going to "American Idol" and...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And he even didn`t ask to use their store phone to call authorities.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She was having for everyone to photo for her. And of course I said yes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSBY: And I`m Rita Cosby in for Nancy Grace.
A gun toting daddy admits that he shot and killed his daughter, but he said is by accident. But he charged with murder and boy is his story bizarre.
Let`s go back to Christine McCarthy, she`s with the CNN affiliate KXXV. Take us again, real quickly, from the beginning because this just sounds like a scene out of a movie.
CHRISTINE MCCARTHY, REPORTER, CNN AFFILIATE, KXXV (via telephone): It sure does, Rita. It started around maybe three to 4:30 in the morning, Tuesday morning. This guy, 40-year-old Edwin Collins of Hill County, he says that someone is after him, we don`t know who, we don`t know why. He packs up his three kids, 11-years-old, 14-years-old and 17-years-old. Get them the minivan. He takes them from the house at the nearby family owned convenience, Collins` kitchen post.
And rather than go inside, he gets out. He takes cover behind a concrete block when he hears a loud bang. We don`t know it that was a shot. He was even saying that was a shot. That`s when he fires some shot in the distance to scare away whoever it is. He tells his kids to get back, 100 feet, 100 yards, and then he says he`s going to kill whoever it is. Well, it turns out, his daughter screams, he turns and shoots the gun at her from 10 feet away, hits her in the back and kills her. And then of course, it takes him a while, he waits until daylight in the thickly wooded area, with his kids, the surviving two kids, hangs out there until daylight, then goes to the family store, where he sees his dad, might even seen his mom, the sheriff says. Doesn`t speak a word to them about Judith`s death. And then he makes a trip. At 7:45, maybe 7:30 in the morning, makes a 12-mile trip all the way to the sheriff`s office. This is rural hill county, so we`re talking the Whitney area, 12 miles away from the sheriff`s office in Hillsboro.
COSBY: John Phillips, host of 790 KABC.
John, walk us through, he did also some weird things, he goes to his house first, right? First of all, he goes to this convenience store, his dad`s inside, he doesn`t even call 911, he just asks was there someone else who called 911, sounds like he`s kind of covering his tracks, if indeed this was a 911 call.
Can we play that again for all of us too. This is his bizarre call. It did come in around the same time. They can`t verify. It`s necessarily him. But if you listen to it, it sounds like it`s him and he sounds kind calm and it doesn`t sound like he`s asking for help.
Here`s that call.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE CALLER: Hey, we`re down here at Hitching Post. We have got a bunch of cars driving all over the - had a couple of cars enter the property and we don`t know what`s going on. Do you think you could --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSBY: You know, not saying for help, not saying please help me, there`s some crazy things. This is before he says he shot his daughter. And then John, after all this, he goes in the convenience store, asks did someone make a 911 call, there were cops looking. Then what, he goes home? What is he doing at home? I understand he made change his vehicles or did something?
JOHN PHILLIPS, HOST, KABC: Well, after that, he ends up going to the police station and he talks to the authorities and he admits to the authority what happened. Then, one of the other kids takes the cops and leads the cops to where the body is the cops stumble on the body and finds his dead child, that daughter.
COSBY: Let`s go to Michelle Dupre, medical examiner and forensic pathologist.
It`s just baffling the behavior of this father, let`s talk from a forensic standpoint. What can be proven, indeed, he says, look, I shot my daughter. He says it was in the darkness, didn`t know where he was shooting. He hear some scream but it`s 10 feet away.
What can we prove from a forensic, if indeed he was ten feet away, if indeed the other kids in relation to him, distances at the time of the shooting.
DOCTOR MICHELLE DUPRE, M.D., MEDICAL EXAMINER, FORENSIC PATHOLOGIST (via telephone): Rita, we can determine if he is approximately 10 feet away. We can take the shotgun that he used and the ammunition and test fire and see if it does have the same kind of pattern and that would give us some idea about how far away he was.
COSBY: What about blood spattering too? On his clothes, kids clothes or maybe in the vehicle?
DUPRE: Yes. We could certainly look for clues like that. We could also look to see if there are maybe other clues that somebody was following him. Looking for footprints or tire imprisonments or something of that nature.
COSBY: Yes. I mean, to me that`s the first thing. Just even to verify, even though, the story just sounds so crazy on the surface, if indeed there is anything to verify that there was somebody else in there, if there was a loud bang, you would assume it`s a rural area, you would assume, yes, you would be able to see it. There are so many questions here.
Let`s go to the lawyers real quick. Let`s go to Jason Oshins, defense attorney, also Hugo Rodriguez, defense attorney and former FBI agent.
Hugo, what do you think?
HUGO RODRIGUEZ, DEFENSE ATTORNEY, FORMER FBI AGENT: I hate to say it, but we don`t convict people on stupid decisions.
COSBY: Wait, wait, wait.
RODRIGUEZ: We convict people for first-degree murder, we convict people for manslaughter, negligent homicide, we don`t convict people for mistakes.
COSBY: Hugo, the one thing I will give him a really great grade on, he`s a great storyteller. He needs to be a screenwriter in Hollywood. This is just so unbelievable so far.
RODRIGUEZ: Rita, I don`t like it, but two months ago we were saying the same thing about -- two months ago --
COSBY: Are you on mars? Where do you come from Hugo?
RODRIGUEZ: I`m telling you that two months ago we were saying the same thing about George Zimmerman. And now, we have some evidence --
COSBY: George Zimmerman, obviously there`s a lot of question in that story. I didn`t hear, I`m being chased. I`m hiding behind a concrete wall, I`m going after --
COSBY: And in this case, let`s talk on this case, Hugo. Let`s talk about his actions, and even if you believe his story.
RODRIGUEZ: His story is children supported.
COSBY: Hugo, wait a second. He shot his daughter, OK the two kids, we don`t know what they are claiming. We know that they are agreeing. But there are also very (INAUDIBLE) in the story. W don`t know if they`re just saying daddy said and I remember daddy saying that or they`re agreeing with this.
RODRIGUEZ: Rita --
COSBY: Wait a second Hugo. Wait a second. What he does, he doesn`t go into the convenience store, he doesn`t call 911, when he goes in, he says, hey, did somebody call? He doesn`t say, please, my daughter`s dying, help me?
RODRIGUEZ: None of that matters, Rita.
COSBY: It sure does.
RODRIGUEZ: Rita, he will go to jail based on what his other two children say, or he will stay out of jail based on what his other two children say. They were eyewitnesses. They were the only other people there. What their testimony maybe and it may change by the time this case goes to trial. Will implicate him or will explicate him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Collins call 911 because he says people with flashlights were chasing him in a field.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don`t know what`s going on.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He intended to kill someone.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Some reported accidentally shooting his 14-year- old daughter, Judith, to death.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She was a good person and it`s kind of hard to know that all of this has happened.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSBY: And I`m Rita Cosby in for Nancy Grace.
A father says that he`s being chased, he takes his kids, his three kids on a crazy ride, then he`s hiding behind a convenience store. And then, at some point he does make a call to 911.
I want to play this for you because it`s bizarre - we are not sure it`s him. But it s the same time that he claims he made this call. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`re down here at hitching post. We have got a bunch of cars driving all over -- we had a couple of cars enter the property and we don`t know what`s going on.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSBY: Now soon after this, he go into the woods. He says in sort of a fog of darkness, he ends up shooting his 14-year-old daughter to death. He doesn`t go get help, he doesn`t do anything, leaves her there. And then when daylight comes, he goes to a convenience store and then doesn`t call for help.
Let`s go back to the attorneys, Ken Padowitz, former prosecutor. When you here this, there are a lot of huge issues even if you believe this sort of wild story of sort of the fog of darkness thing happened, right Ken?
KEN PADOWITZ, FORMER PROSECUTOR: This little girl, this little dead little girl screams for justice. I mean, you cannot have a father who shoots his daughter in the back and leaves her dead or dying on the ground and doesn`t go get help? I mean what kind of despicable person does this?
There`s a major problem with this story. It`s not out of a movie, this is out of a horror movie, I mean the horror that your own father shoots and kills you and doesn`t go get help. So there`s major problems here and the police have to be looking very closely at the evidence in this case. And clearly these two children of his that are alive had the key, they have the key as to whether or not there can be a prosecution of this case, whether or not this case can be brought before a jury. And whether or justice can be have for this little girl who is now dead.
COSBY: Now, Jason Oshins, defense attorney. He is charged with murder. If you sort of listen to his story, you would say, negligence, recklessness, all these other things. But he`s charged with murder. What do you make of that?
I make of it and I`ll tell you what I think, Jason. I think authorities did search warrants, I think they found something else that we don`t know that pinpoints maybe there was some premeditation or something. What do you think?
JASON OSHINS, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: First thing they charged him with murder because he admitted to doing it, right? And so --
COSBY: But he says it`s a total accident. Total accident.
OSHINS: There`s no leap on charging someone who admits to committing a crime or committing the murder as you say. But really, Rita, you listen to that phone call, we played it back a couple of times. He identifies where he is, he says we`re at the hitching post.
COSBY: Yes. But you know what he`s not saying there?
OSHINS: What he is not saying there?
COSBY: He is not saying hey, come and help me. Come to this.
OSHINS: Maybe he`s whispering, Rita, because he thinks those people that were now just this missing, who are after him, maybe they really are. Maybe it is an accident, maybe he is protecting his two children.
COSBY: Jason, let`s say we buy this crazy story, OK?
COSBY: And look, people do tell crazy things. He kills his daughter, Jason. He admits to killing the daughter and he`s not calling for help. And he walk into the convenience store? You explain that. That`s normal, Jason?
OSHINS: Let me tell you. You don`t think normally when you`re under stress or in a crisis, and if he thinks he`s being chased.
COSBY: His daughter is dying, Jason, and he leaves her.
OSHINS: She was probably dead and he knew that right away and he`s protecting those two other children, that`s as plausible as anything else that we have heard today.
COSBY: Absolutely implausible. And everybody now to tonight`s CNN heroes.
WANDA BUTTS, COMMUNITY CRUSADER: Josh went to spend the night with friends, I had no clue they were coming to Bird Lake. Right about here is where Josh was, where the raft capsized and he went down. It`s very hard for me to believe that just like that my son had drowned and he was gone.
My father, he instilled in us the fear of water, and so in turn didn`t take my son around water. Children don`t have to drown.
My name is Wanda Butts. I save lives by providing swimming lessons and water safety skills. African-American children are three times more likely to drown than white children. That`s why we started the Josh project to educate families about the importance of being water safe.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Take the ring and throw it right at the victim.
BUTTS: Many parents, they don`t know how to swim.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He was afraid of the water, he is the first in my family to learn how to swim.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And he has come a long way from not liking water in his face to getting dunked under.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You like the water? All right!
BUTTS: I`m so happy to see that so many of them have learned how to say. Good job, that`s one life we save.
It takes me back to Josh and how the tragedy was turned into triumph and it makes me happy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Collins claims he tried to keep his kids safe.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A bunch of cars entered the property and I don`t know but when Judith screamed in the dark field, he turned and accidentally shot her in the back.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A good person. And it`s kind of hard to know that all of this is happened.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSBY: And I`m Rita Cosby in for Nancy Grace. Be sure to follow us on facebook and also on twitter.
Let`s go to the callers. Let`s go to Christian from Ohio who is on the line.
Christian, what`s your question?
CHRISTIAN, CALLER, OHIO: Thank you for talking my call, Rita.
CHRISTIAN: My question is, what will the father be charged with?
COSBY: Well, right now, he is charged with murder. I mean, maybe it could go down depending on what they find. But it seems to look like they have something pinpointing, as I was saying, Christian, to indicate to them there may be some sort of premeditation or something. They searched his house. They probably searched a number of other things, so all of this could have led to it.
Let`s also go to Christine McCarthy again, reporter of the CNN affiliate KXXV.
Christian, you know, hitting on the charges, one thing that`s interesting, there were perfect phone calls, cops were saying in the area at the time that the daughter was killed. We don`t know if these calls came from him, came from neighbor another child, maybe the daughter before it happened. We don`t know. But something else happened unusual with his phone, right, Christine?
MCCARTHY: That`s right, Rita. We do know that some calls, multiple calls came from that area. We have the 911 calls, confirm that appears to be Edwin Collin. We don`t know where the other calls came from but what we do know is that investigators are combing the fields right now, searching for evidence that they believe is still in there because they recovered his cell phone, Collins` cell phone left behind with the battery removed when they found it. And they also found his daughter`s cell phone lying next to her body, also her cell phone mind there, battery removed as well.
So they are certainly looking into, you know, what calls were made, who made them and one other thing they are still looking for is that 17- year-old son`s cell phone which also hasn`t been recovered by they think might be in the field, whether that will lead them down any roads, we are not quite sure.
COSBY: And daddy shoots his daughter in the dark, but now he is charged with murder. Cops do not believe his child story.
Let go to John Phillips, he is host of 790 KABC. When you hear his story, it does sound very crazy on the surface. Obviously, cops feel the same way. They charged him with murder. Is there anything in his background, mental illness, any history of him, maybe he is going to say I snapped, I had some psychotic episode? What do we know from history in his family or any divorce filings?
PHILLIPS: Well, that`s the first thing I thought too, Rita. This guy is either cuckoo for cocoa puffs or had his nose in a gin bolt overnight.
COSBY: Or fruit loops, I give him fruit loops, John.
PHILLIPS: Those apply, too. But there is no evidence he has ever been institutionalized or diagnosed with any sort of mental illness. The police don`t believe he was on drugs or drunk. They took tests and are still awaiting those results. So we don`t know exactly --
COSBY: They did take some blood tests, so they will be able to tell in toxicology, was there some sort of medication, illegal drugs, something in his system.
PHILLIPS: That`s right. If he set sail with Captain Morgan, we will find out about t.
COSBY: And nothing at this point to show any sort of mental history, nothing claimed in some divorce, divorces often get ugly, would you think that there would be something in here, my husband was crazy, nothing you see anything like that?
PHILLIPS: There`s no paper trail that we are aware of at this point, there`s no allegations even at this point that this guy was out of his mind.
COSBY: Christine McCarthy, what is happening with these kids, these poor kids now, you know, even in his story is to be believed, you look at these poor kids that lost their sister, those two young boys, what`s happening with them? Where are they?
MCCARTHY: Well, right now, they are living with their mother, who lives in Waco. This -- they have been divorced since 2002 and they are living with their mom and in the meantime, CPS is talking to them. They have a crime victim coordination unit taking care of them. You know, asking them questions, making sure that their well being is taken care of.
But in the meantime, a bond company came out and bonded Collins, you know, out on $500,000 bond. So their biological mother wanted to make sure that they were safe and did, in fact, go ahead and seek a protective order and that was granted by the court in the past day or two. So he can`t go anywhere near the mother or that -- the 17-year-old or 11-year-old surviving kids. And now with the funeral being planned tomorrow for this 14-year-old Judith Collins. We don`t know if he will be able to go or if he will have to arrange something.
COSBY: What a very sad and tragic story.
And tonight, everybody, let`s stop to remember army specialist Dennis Williams, 24 years old, from Federal Way, Washington. He was killed in Afghanistan. He was awarded the bronze star, the purple heart, and the army service ribbon.
He loved restoring old cars, hunting and fishing and dreams of being in law enforcement. He always lit up a room with his smile answered leaves behind his parent, Dan and Cindy, his brother, David, his widow, Maria and children Alana and Grant.
Dennis Williams, a true American hero.
And I want to thank all of you for very sweet words about the passing of my hero, my father, lieutenant Richard Cosby. My father was a prisoner of war in world war II who was saved by American troops. And in his honor, we are raising money for the USO, helping severely wounded U.S. troops and their families. To find out how you can help the troops, go to quiethero.org. Quiet hero.org. Click on the words quiet hero there and also the USO box. You can do one of those. Be sure to say, if you help make your memory and memory of Linda Cosby and Richard Cosby, forgive my father.
And we also want to wish good luck tonight to one of our stars here on Nancy Grace, Natisha. She is leaving the show. But she won`t be too far away. She is staying in the HLN family.
I`m Rita Cosby in for Nancy Grace.