This is a partial transcript from "On the Record," December 21, 2004, that has been edited for clarity.
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GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, HOST: The gruesome baby snatch murder in Missouri has brought back horrific memories for our next guest. In 1995, Deborah Evans (search) was murdered, along with two of her children. Her unborn baby was cut out of her womb. Today that child is 9 years old and living with his grandfather, Sam Evans, who joins us tonight from Bridgeport, Illinois.
SAM EVANS, VICTIM’S RELATIVE: Welcome. How are you today?
VAN SUSTEREN: I’m very well. Sir, this Bobbie Jo Stinnett (search) murder case, does that bring back horrible memories for your family?
EVANS: Yes, it has. I remember I was driving in the car when I heard it on the news. I had to pull off the side of the road. It just broke my heart to think someone else was going through the same situation.
VAN SUSTEREN: How do you get through something like that? Because now you’re raising a grandson, who is, of course, this child of your murdered daughter. But how do you get through this?
EVANS: Well, I don’t think about how, I just do it, I guess. It’s — the sad thing is that every time I look at Eli, of course, I think of his mother and his sister and brother who were murdered. But at the same time, I’m assured — I’m glad that I have Eli. I mean, he survived, and so did Jordan, and so I have them both. And that kind of gets me through from day to day.
VAN SUSTEREN: And Jordan was the 17-month-old child who did survive this murder rampage, right?
EVANS: Yes. He was 22 months old at the time. Yes.
VAN SUSTEREN: In terms of — let’s go back for a second and talk about this. There are three people who have been convicted, right?
EVANS: Yes. Three people were convicted. Two were given the death penalty, and one had life without parole. And of course, our governor in the state of Illinois commuted everyone on death row (search) to life sentences.
VAN SUSTEREN: Can you — the one who got life without parole is the biological father of your grandson, right?
EVANS: Yes, that’s true, of both the boys.
VAN SUSTEREN: Can you explain to me why the biological father didn’t get the death sentence, or at least it wasn’t — none of them have been executed, but why did the other two get death and he did not?
EVANS: Well, I’ve asked that question ever since the jury came in and did not give him death. Of course, in the state of Illinois, as many states, the death penalty is like a mini-trial after the conviction. And after he was found guilty, and the jury came back and it was not a unanimous decision. And in the state of Illinois, it must be a unanimous decision by every member of the jury. And from what I understand, there was someone who just didn’t feel like they could go along with putting someone to death at the time.
VAN SUSTEREN: What was the motive for this murder? I mean, why did these three do this?
EVANS: Well, you know, I’ve heard a lot of why’s. If you’ve gone through this, Greta, it’s a question that’s never answered but it’s always asked. And of course, the people that murdered my family, they said that they wanted a fair-skinned baby, and they figured that because my daughter was white and her biological father was black that this would be a fair- skinned baby. So they have said that that’s why they did it. But to satisfy myself and my family, that’s really not a why. I don’t think that question was ever really answered.
VAN SUSTEREN: But it’s even — I mean, it’s even — the whole situation is even crueler because beyond murdering your daughter and trying to steal her baby, they murdered two other children.
EVANS: Oh, how well I know. They murdered Samantha — she was only 10 at the time — because she walked in and saw what was going on. And little Joshua, at the time, he was only 7, and he hid in the closet. They didn’t even realize he was there. And bless his heart, he went running out after them. And we’re not sure if she was trying to get to them or if he was going out for help, but they found him. He ran right into the back of the three that had just killed his mother. And they took him. They kidnapped him. They literally tortured him. And then within, oh — within 12 hours or so, they had also murdered him, as well.
EVANS: What do you tell Eli? I mean, he’s now of the age where — I mean, I assume he might know something about this.
EVANS: Yes, he does. Actually, the first person that told him anything, Greta, was his older brother, Jordan. And actually — right after the murders, Jordan was — oh, within six, eight months, Jordan — I would find him many mornings and many nights in by the crib, just kind of rubbing his little brother’s back and reassuring him that they were safe now that they were with Grandpa. And he would tell him over and over what took place and what he saw.
And even now, they talk about it. Sometimes I’ll start to walk into the bedroom, and they will be talking. And Eli will be asking questions and Jordan will be answering him. And they’ll be talking about what happened and if they were there today, what they would have done or what they could have done.
But he’s — they’re both very much aware of what’s happened. And it’s not like we talk about it every day, but as the boys want to talk about it, we talk about it.
VAN SUSTEREN: And it sounds like the boy’s got a great grandfather, Mr. Evans. I appreciate you joining us.
EVANS: Well, yes, it is. But you know, they’re family. And I’ve had people tell me in the last nine years that their grandparents would have never raised them, but in my family, it wasn’t even an issue. It was just as a matter of a fact.
VAN SUSTEREN: You know, we got to go. We got to go.
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