Hunt for a Killer

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If you saw our two-hour breaking news show on Friday night, you would have seen a guest named Henry Hudson (search). Henry is currently a federal judge, formerly a state court judge, formerly the director of the U.S. Marshals Service (search), formerly a deputy sheriff, formerly a United States attorney, formerly an assistant U.S. attorney, etc. In other words, he has done it all! His resume is like no one else's resume! (He also put himself through night law school years ago!)

How did we know to book him? Well, here is a bit of trivia: In 1978 when I was at Georgetown Law School (search) I was in a prosecution program in the U.S. Attorney's Office in Virginia and Henry was then an assistant United States attorney. I did research for him. Over the years we have stayed in contact and I have watched him assume virtually every single occupation in law enforcement. You can't get a better expert than someone who has held every job.

By the way, in preparation for the show on Friday and in light of the murders of Judge Lefkow's relatives, I decided to read about the U.S. Marshals Service, whose job includes — but not limited to — protecting federal judges. It turns out that it is our oldest law enforcement agency and has a fascinating history. If you are curious like I am, check out this Web site:

Friday night was pretty hectic for us, but very important. We wanted to make sure we did our role in getting out information about Brian Nichols so that if anyone saw him, he or she would call the police. Catching him was the only guarantee there would be no more murders by him. In these matters, it is key to get the information out —hence we asked our staff to stay an extra hour to work. Our staff was more than willing to keep the show live to help get the word out. Likewise, we turned our live coverage over to Rita Cosby so that she could continue to get the word out. While national media is very important in these instances, local media really shines to make sure people in the area are looking and are vigilant.

There is, even in emergencies, a lighter side. On Friday I announced twice that the reward was $60,000, once $65,000 and finally, the last time, $65. I was waiting for the e-mail from the viewer (or viewers) who caught that blunder. Either you all missed it or are charitable to me. Of course I was not happy with my own mistakes. I really wanted to help find this guy and not make stupid mistakes in the process of our two-hour show. FOX had us go live to keep the news getting out to anyone watching TV. Nichols was an obvious danger and we all wanted people to help find him. It is often a tip that leads to an arrest — and the tip in this instance DID lead to his arrest.

I could tell that the viewers wanted to help, too. During the first hour we announced the police were looking for a green 1997 Honda. In our second hour we announced it had been found — but just prior to that announcement I was about to show you e-mails from viewers. Several viewers sent me e-mail pics of a 1997 Honda to help viewers — hoping that a pic of a 1997 Honda might make it easier to catch Nichols. To those who e-mail us pics, many thanks. We were so busy scrambling to do the two-hour breaking news that we did not have the time to do it during the show. If the car had not been found when it was, we would have put your e-mail pics up on the screen. We appreciate the help.

Now to put you to work on the blog: your e-mails:

E-mail No. 1

I am appalled at the very thought of you Greta Van Struessel actually calling the tipline for the Atlanta court house killer WITHOUT HAVING A TIP, and wondering why the line was busy. Leave it open for people who actually have information that could lead to the capture of this man.

Answer: During our two-hour breaking news coverage on Friday night, we got many, many, many complaint via our show e-mail account that the line was busy. The more e-mails that came in, the more concerned we grew. We got worried since time is of the essence during a manhunt. Suppose someone spotted him at a convenience store buying cigarettes and can't get through to the police? Then he leaves... and there is missed opportunity to catch someone who is on a killing spree. So we checked to see if the tip line numbers were truly busy. Why? So that if indeed it is true that it is busy, we can get them to fix it. Do you want this matter un-repaired? I don't. I want them to have many, many lines so that each tip gets examined. Frankly, I hope that other police forces will read this and decide to get a procedure in place so that if their community has a similar crime spree — I hope not — they can instantly jump into action with multiple phone lines.

E-mail No. 2 — On Wednesday of last week I taped an interview with Brian Kolfage, Jr. He received injuries in Iraq that has resulted in his two legs being amputated and his right arm. We are airing the interview very soon. Brian, by the way, is an amazing guy. I am sure you will be impressed with him as I was. I received a nice e-mail from his proud father:

Thanks for taking interest in Brian's story. We are really fortunate to have such a great and courageous son. Our family is very lucky to have Brian, we know that we will be able to see him smile and laugh. I feel for the families that gave the ultimate sacrifice of their sons and daughters.
Brian Kolfage Sr.

E-mail No. 3

Brian's story is incredible to say the very least. I admit I'm naive when it comes to the government and how they spend our money. Why isn't our government (our taxes) paying for all of Brian's care from start to finish? We certainly pay for all the illegal immigrants medical expenses and lawyers for the war criminals. We should be taking care of our own first! Why should his family have to incur such outrages expenses when he was defending us and our nation? How does the government expect young people to volunteer to protect us if we don't take care of them when the need arises.
Houston, TX

E-mail No. 4

Dear Greta,
I thought it was just me, but it's not: A lot of people are saying the same thing I am. The coverage on Jessica Lunsford (search) is gone, nothing is being said. We need some media attention on this little girl and get her back home. People all over the USA is praying for her and we need to know she has not been forgotten about. The more she is on TV the better job the police and every one well do. That is what makes your show and you so great because you let the world know what is going on.
Please continue to put Jessica Lunsford on your show.
I enjoy your show Greta and all the hard work you put into your job.
Chickasha, OK

Answer: I sure wish I knew what to do to help find Jessica. We did many, many, many segments on the disappearance.

E-mail No. 5

The Lefkow murders would never have been solved had Bart Ross not left a suicide note. This slaughter would have become another unsolved crime and joined the thousands of cold case files!
Santa Monica, CA

Answer: I agree.

E-mail No. 6

I cannot find an update anywhere on the Internet on Jessica Lunsford.
There certainly has been other news, but we were captured by this story and still think about it. Pass on any news or links, please!
Way to go Geraldo, huh? He just always seems to be in the right place at the right (or wrong in come cases) at the right time. I am looking forward to this weeks shows, hoping you have an interview with the woman who he held hostage and then let go. She is amazing to be so calm.
Take care,
Donna Toth

Answer: Yes, Geraldo was first on the story and he is always willing to take risks to bring you the story.

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