We're Going to the Zoo...

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The show hits the road Friday. We will be at the Columbus Zoo (search) in Ohio, all day with Jack Hanna (search) and then will do the show live out of Columbus Friday. I am not sure when we will air the segments we will tape at the zoo — much will depend on how much tape we shoot and whether we can get it to NYC in time for the show tonight. Of course even if we did have enough time to "feed" the tape to NYC, if there is bigger news (breaking news), we would hold the zoo segment until another day. One thing particularly great about shooting video of animals is that it does not get dated so we can hold it if necessary.

In case you missed last night’s show (shame on you!!!), we played the statement of Jennifer Wilbanks (search), the "runaway bride." It was read by her pastor and here it is:


Statement of Jennifer C. Wilbanks as delivered by Dr. Tom Smiley Senior Pastor,
Lakewood Baptist Church Gainesville, GA
May 5, 2005
At this time, I cannot explain fully what happened to me last week. I had a host of compelling issues which seemed out of control — issues for which I was unable to address or confine. Please, may I assure you that my running away had nothing to do with "cold feet," nor was it ever about leaving John. Those who know me, know how excited I’ve been, and how excited I was about the spectacular wedding we planned, and how I could not wait to be Mrs. John Mason. In my mind, it was never about the timing, however unfortunate. I was simply running from myself and from certain fears controlling my life. Each day I am understanding more about who I am and the issues that influenced me to respond inappropriately. Therefore, I have started professional treatment, voluntarily. I am truly sorry for the troubles I caused, and I offer my deep and sincere apology. I ask for John’s forgiveness and that of his family. I also ask for forgiveness of my family, our friends, our respective churches, our communities and any others I may have offended unintentionally. I am deeply grateful and appreciative to everyone who responded on my behalf. I thank you for every expression of support and effort. Your sacrifices of time and personal inconvenience touched me deeply, and I hope your spirit of care is not lessened. I understand that many people wanted to hear from me personally today, and I wanted to be there. However, I look forward to days ahead when I am strong enough to speak for myself. As John said on countless occasions recently, may we follow teaching of Scripture, in being kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving, just as God in Christ forgives us. Thank you.

E-mail No. 1:

Greta; When are parents going to teach their children that when they screw up like Jennifer Wilbanks did, to face the public and offer an apology, not through other sources, i.e. attorney, family friend, etc. The apology through these other sources doesn’t express the emotion if it were to come from them personally. When do you let your kids grow up?
Minnesota Viking

ANSWER: I was "with you" until I saw the "Minnesota Viking" signature… I own a share in the Packers...long time rivals. On a serious note, you are right, it would have been better for her to step out and read it herself rather than have another do it for her.

E-mail No. 2: [Yesterday on the blog I said I would be in Ohio today and asked people to guess why]

Hi Greta,
There are two reasons that you may be going to Ohio for Friday’s show.

1) Highway shooter on trial. Jury out, verdict Friday.

2) Gang rape of a mentally challenged high school student. Investigation underway.

Am I correct? What do I win? :-)
TJ Nugent

ANSWER: Nope... see above.

E-mail No. 3:

Hi Greta, I have several guesses about your Ohio trip planned for tomorrow, since I used to live there. Does it have anything to do with the Charles McCoy trial? He is charged with several highway shootings in and around the Columbus area.

ANSWER: Nope... see above.

E-mail No. 4:

Greta, What does John Mason do for a living? I listen to your show every night and have never heard what he does. I think he is a fool if he marries that crazy lady.
J Ratliff
San Antonio, Texas

E-mail No. 5:

Greta, Everyone seems to have an opinion about the "Runaway Bride." Some of the remarks are pretty harsh. It is almost as though they would prefer she had been found dead! My cousin told me a friend of hers worked in the same hospital with Jennifer. Apparently this girl was very much loved and respected. She was considered very reliable. I think it is a shame this happened, but it seems as though it is something totally out of character for her. There indeed may be a physical reason for this change in her behavior.
Love your show.
Betty D.

E-mail No. 6

Hi Greta,
After listening to all of the experts explaining Jennifer’s actions, I have come to the conclusion none of them have a clue. Having been raised a Baptist most of my life and, having been a Baptist Sunday School teacher for several years, I believe the truth, and therefore the problem, lies in the fact that Jennifer and John were living together out of wedlock. No Baptist church can, or will, approve of such an arrangement. Especially for a youth leader and Sunday School teacher. Hence the pressure by the church for a marriage and Jennifer was not ready for that. What is difficult to believe is that John was allowed to teach Sunday School after living with Jennifer for such a long period of time. I really would like for someone to tell us the real truth and not come up with a bunch of gobbledygook that is merely misleading.
John Hawkins
Niceville, Florida

E-mail No. 7:

She didn’t lead us on a goose chase. Within hours of her being found in NM, she came clean. We understandably got all worked up when she disappeared but she didn’t keep us searching for some nonexistent assailant. I still say 500 hrs. community service for false information and she should be permitted to do that on the track. Praise Jesus : )
Blair Frank
Boca Raton, Florida

E-mail No. 8:

If Jennifer was completely "unaware" of the hoopla surrounding her disappearance, why did she make up the "abduction" story in the first place? Greta - I love your show, but this hard question needs to be asked.
Jeff Beck
Las Vegas, Nevada

E-mail No. 9:

Greta I am quite sure I heard that the demons Jennifer was fighting was a condition know as Aspergers. It is a high level of Autisim. If this is true, her behavior makes sense. One of the major symptoms is immature/arrested development in social relationships (especially larger groups). I wish I had caught the name of the speaker this p.m. Whatever, treating her as a criminal for what may be a condition she was born with, is not seeking justice, rather retribution.

E-mail No. 10:

She spent the night in a hotel room in Las Vegas. There are TVs in hotel rooms. Even if she didn’t watch the news, the networks showed her photo and told of her disappearance during their "newsbreaks" during regular programming. Today’s "apology", read by her pastor rather than by Jennifer, was ineffective. If I were the D.A., I would have said "Game over... she’s going to be charged."
Diane Mason
Edmond, Oklahoma

E-mail No. 11: [From Laura Ingle at the Jackson trial in California]

Michael Jackson’s defense team is throwing the Hail Mary pass to get the entire case thrown out before it puts on its case. Jackson appears to be ready for anything dressed in what looks like a “Cinco de Mayo” outfit. He’s wearing a bright pink, blue, and white vest and matching armband that looks like they were made out of a sarape.

A defense motion for a mistrial was denied first thing this morning by the judge, now he’s hearing from Jackson’s defense lawyer Robert Sanger list all the reasons why his client should be acquitted. Sanger went over 4 points in his request. Failure of people’s evidence to prove guilt, scenario being highly improbable, effect of the “1108” evidence (alleged prior bad acts) and false statements from the prosecution’s witnesses.

Sanger said, many of the witnesses self destructed on the stand. He listed a few of them, and then there was a groan from reporters when the accuser’s mom’s name came up. He called her a liar with a motive for money, and said her son also fibbed on the stand. One example he gave: the teenage accuser had told jurors Michael Jackson had told him if he didn’t masturbate, he might be forced to rape women. Grand jury testimony revealed that the first time he told that story; he said his grandmother told him that. Re: accuser’s mom and her testimony that she was scripted in the rebuttal video was lie. He called her bizarre at best, and that “you’d have to be an IDIOT to believe...” That even the outtakes were scripted as she claimed. In his final pitch he asked the judge not to let this case go any further. DA Tom Sneddon who sat patiently through Sanger’s request is arguing his side. He started by saying; the defense seems to have selective memory when it comes to portions of the law...

Outside the courthouse today it is pouring rain! This morning at the public lottery fans huddled with umbrellas to get a seat on this critical day for the defense. Fans chatted wildly about their views of Sneddon — and how fun it was going to be to watch Mesereau and company show Sneddon up.

Brett Barnes and Wade Robeson are in the house; they will be the first witnesses for the defense. And, there is word there may be a problem with one of the jurors. Juror No. 11 reportedly has a sister who works with one of the witnesses who testified earlier at trial. The witness was the ‘91 accuser/former youth pastor. He works at an auto shop parts store here in Santa Maria with the juror’s sister. The issue so far, has not been brought up in court.

E-mail No. 12: [From Jim Hammer at the Jackson trial - May 5]

Greta has often told me how dangerous it is for a defense attorney to put on a defense, rather than sitting back and just attacking the DA’s case. Thursday was a textbook example of this.

Meserau called two of the boys, prosecutors have alleged that Jackson molested in the past. Both testified that Jackson never touched them, but when the defense asked the first young man if he felt there was any reason to be concerned with Jackson sleeping with a young boy, he opened the door to one of the stronger cross examinations I have seen. Book by book, Asst. DA Zonen showed the witness some of Jackson’s erotic materials. When he finally showed him a book showing men engaged in sex acts with other men, even Jackson’s own witness said he would feel uncomfortable with letting a young boy sleep with such a man.

Hearing that both of these young men spent last night sleeping at Neverland, only added to the sense that they were still under Jackson’s sway. At a minimum, it cast doubt on their claims of Jackson’s innocence. But the most damaging part of the day was seeing a pattern emerge of Jackson traveling the world, always in the company of a young 11-13 year old boy, always in bed with him at night. The creep factor went up again today and no matter how the DA might have stumbled at the end of their conspiracy case, the defense unwittingly brought the case right back to where it started... Michael Jackson sleeping with little boys, seeming obsessed with them, and most all of these boys looking the same. Stay tuned...
Jim Hammer
Santa Maria courthouse

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