Guilty! Mark Lunsford Reacts to Verdict

This is a partial transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," March 7, 2007, that has been edited for clarity.

BILL O’REILLY, HOST: Reaction to the verdict. Joining us from outside the courtroom in Miami, Jessica's father Mark Lunsford. And his attorney Mark Gelman. Mr. Lunsford, I just, from the heart what are you thinking right now?

MARK LUNSFORD, JESSICA LUNSFORD'S FATHER: Well I mean it's not over yet, Bill. I mean I'm happy and I'm excited. But it's not over yet. When we get the sentencing done, then it's over. Then we can be joyful.

O'REILLY: Did you see anything in the courtroom that disturbed you? Or were you happy with the proceedings?

LUNSFORD: I think the prosecution — I mean I'm not a lawyer. I've never been to a murder trial. But I think the prosecution was quite clear on what they were saying.

O'REILLY: You broke down at one time in the courtroom. I mean you have conducted yourself magnificently this whole — I can't imagine the pain you are going through. To be reminded of this day in and day out. If it were my daughter I don't know if I could have coped. You've done very well. But you did breakdown one time in the courtroom. What caused you to do that?

LUNSFORD: Well it was actually a couple times, maybe only one time you could see me cry. But when you think about the compelling evidence that was displayed you get glimpses of these things. Nobody intended for you to see these things but you do. And it's hurtful.

O'REILLY: So it was just the gruesome aspect of what happened to your little daughter?


O'REILLY: Mr. Gelman, are you satisfied that justice has been done? As I mentioned, the three people who were in the trailer with Couey, two of whom helped him escape from the police, knew he was a sexual predator, knew he was probably involved in this, have not been punished at all. Are you OK with that? Or how do you feel about that?

MARK GELMAN, MARK LUNSFORD'S ATTORNEY: Obviously we're disappointed that a case couldn't have been made against them. And Mark has said that all along. It defies logic to think that these individuals would not have known that Jessie was in that trailer. Particularly if she was in there for three days.

I've been there. I've seen that trailer. It is very small. And I imagine those walls are very thin.

O'REILLY: As you may be aware — go ahead.

GELMAN: I've got to believe that if Brad King had any evidence, a shred of evidence that they knew or had anything to do with it, they would have been prosecuted. And, unfortunately, the law in Florida with regard to harboring sexual offenders was not existent at the time this crime occurred. It has since changed and it's been amended. And now they would be chargeable with third degree felonies. They would each be sitting in jail right now.

O'REILLY: I think you are being charitable to Mr. King, but that's fine. But are you aware that Mr. Couey wrote me a letter. And in that letter implied heavily that the man in, Dietrich, in the trailer actually helped him in this terrible deed. Are you aware of that, sir?

GELMAN: Yes, Bill, I saw that letter. And it disgusted me. But you know there was evidence in the trial that came out as to whether or not Dietrich knew or didn't know. The crux of it was that Couey made an admission that he might have been there or that even if he was in there Couey didn't know whether or not he knew that Jessica was in the room.

Now I know that sounds hard to believe. But until one of these people in that trailer are willing to talk or give us any evidence, there's really nothing that the state can do. If we've got any evidence other than that admission by Couey, give it to us. If anybody out there knows anything that hasn't come forward, let us know. And we'll let Brad King know. And I guarantee you Brad King's office will go after those people.

O'REILLY: I hope you are right. Now, Mr. Lunsford, I hope you understand, and I think you do, that as awful as your daughter's death was this is now led to this country changing in 40 out of 50 states, actually 39 out of 50, changing the laws against child predators.

Jessica's favorite color was purple. You see the states there in purple. All have Jessica's law now. They did not before. So your fine work going around the country has led to a revolution in the criminal justice system here, sir. I congratulate you.

And you can address America right now.

LUNSFORD: Thank you, Bill. I would like to address America. You know, through the foundation and through private help I've been able to go to other states and testify on Jessie's law. I really need states to call me and tell me what they're calling Jessie's law before they pass it. As we know a great deal of states have passed a tough version. Some states are even on their way. Lieutenant Governor Dewhurst of Texas has put together a Jessie's law. California. You can contact me through my foundation. I want to testify. It's the

O'REILLY: OK. Gentlemen, thanks very much. We appreciate it and we're glad justice was done in Florida.

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