This is a partial transcript from "On the Record," April 6, 2006, that has been edited for clarity.
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, HOST: New clues in the murder of a real estate scam artist. Andrew Kissel was found murdered in the basement of his posh Greenwich, Connecticut, home. Do police think it was a professional hit?
Joining us with the latest from Hartford, Connecticut, is Dave Altimari of The Hartford Courant. Dave, what is the latest in this investigation?
DAVE ALTIMARI, HARTFORD COURANT: Hi, Greta. How're you doing?
VAN SUSTEREN: Very well.
ALTIMARI: Well, it's taken a semi-bizarre twist in that one of the things they're looking at is whether or not Andrew Kissel may have hired someone to basically commit suicide by homicide.
VAN SUSTEREN: Why are the police now focusing on that as a possibility?
ALTIMARI: Two reasons. One, they have talked to someone who is an acquaintance of Mr. Kissel, who talked to him a few days before he was found murdered in his home. And my understanding is Mr. Kissel told this friend that he wanted to commit suicide but he couldn't bring himself to do it, and he was thinking about hiring someone to kill him.
The second reason is that even though that sounds rather bizarre, the crime scene — what they have found or not found at the crime scene in some ways does point to that possibility. For example, there were no defensive wounds on Mr. Kissel's body. He was stabbed five times in the back. His hands were tied with flex-cuffs, which are like plastic handcuffs that police use in riot situations. And a shirt was put over his head. But there were no defensive wounds on his hands, his face. There was no blood found anywhere in the house other than the immediate crime scene, which indicates there was no struggle anywhere else or that he was stabbed anywhere else.
There's no sign of forced entry to the home. There was a security gate, plus, obviously, you had to get through a locked door to get into the house. There's no signs of forced entry, so the belief is that he probably knew the person that came to kill him.
VAN SUSTEREN: If his hands were bound, maybe I don't know how they were bound, but I'm not sure I would expect from the description, that he would have defensive wounds on his hands. Do the police talk about that? If they're bound, I don't know how he could protect himself. Was it behind his back?
ALTIMARI: That's my understanding, yes. But there's no sign that he fought — if there were killer or killers, because there's a distinct possibility there was more than one. There's no sign that he fought with anybody before his hands were tied or before he was stabbed. There's no signs in the house that there was a struggle. There's no blood anywhere else in the house, other than the crime scene.
So it leaves a picture that, at the very least, it's likely he, you know, let the person or persons in, or at least knew who they were to the point that he was caught off guard when he was killed.
VAN SUSTEREN: And of course, this man was facing a plea in a very serious case. He had criminal charges pending.
VAN SUSTEREN: He had marital problems, and alcohol, drug problem. Are the toxicology reports back yet, Dave?
ALTIMARI: No, takes a good three or four weeks here in Connecticut to get those back. He actually was supposed to plead guilty in federal court in White Plains today, as a matter of fact.
VAN SUSTEREN: And how many years was he facing?
ALTIMARI: He was looking at 8 to 10 years for bank fraud and forgery, amongst other things. He was running a scam where he was basically forging documents to show that he had paid off mortgages on homes that he purchased in order to get...
VAN SUSTEREN: And he hadn't. And they hadn't been paid off. And he put the money in his pocket. Dave, thank you very much.
Joining us from Los Angeles is forensic pathologist Dr. Michael Baden.
DR. MICHAEL BADEN, FORENSIC PATHOLOGIST: Hi, Greta.
VAN SUSTEREN: Hello, Dr. Baden. One working theory is that he hired a hit man to kill himself. He had lots or problems, and perhaps he wanted some life insurance to go to his two children. He didn't have much else going for him financially. But looking at the body, what do you look for to see if this could possibly be what happened?
BADEN: Well, fortunately, Connecticut has a terrific state medical examiner system, with the chief medical examiner having the wonderful name of Dr. Wayne Carver (ph). And I think that they would have done a very professional examination of the body.
Bizarre things happen — to have somebody pay for his own death by being stabbed in the back many times, which is a slow and painful death, as opposed to being shot.
I think, as far as defense wounds go, most murders don't have defense wounds. It does sound that somebody came in who may have known Mr. Kissel, but the problem with that is that there were apparently a lot of people out there who knew him, who were angry at him. And I think that the medical examiner will already have been able to rush some of the toxicology through to see whether he had been drugged before all this happened, which might have been a reason that there wasn't much of a struggle.
VAN SUSTEREN: What would you actually look for right around the murder scene? Obviously, a murder weapon. Apparently, that's not there. At least, we don't know there is.
BADEN: Well, what they look for is how much blood is there. Did the perpetrator or perpetrators leave any shoeprints, any fingerprints, bloody prints there? Did the stab wounds come from a knife that was from the household, or was it brought in? Were the ties around the wrists and ankles from the household, or was that brought in, you know, indicating preparation for somebody who came in to intentionally kill him. I think the pattern of stabbing, the blood spatters, are going to be helpful here.
But I think that checking the alibis — the police know that a lot of people who didn't like him — so that checking the alibis of all of these people: Where were you? The old motive, means, opportunity, checking alibis is, I'm sure, underway right now as we speak.
And I think even the stomach contents at the autopsy is going to be helpful, as to how long did this happen after his last meal? What was his last meal? When was his last meal? All those things are going to be helpful to the police and the investigation.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right, Doctor Baden, thank you.
Let's bring in the legal panel. In San Francisco former assistant D.A. Jim Hammer; in New York, former Westchester County judge and D.A., Jeanine Pirro; here in Washington, criminal defense attorneys Bernie Grimm and Ted Williams.
Jeanine, you're in New York, but Connecticut's right over the line from you. For the viewers who don't know much about Greenwich, Connecticut, set the stage. What's it like?
JEANINE PIRRO, FORMER WESTCHESTER COUNTY D.A.: Greenwich is a very affluent area, Greta. And you know, there are a tremendous number of mansions on, you know, sprawling pieces of property. Most people are very private. Neighbors don't hang out together. And some people don't even know who their neighbors are.
Many of the properties are on two acres or four acres. So you're talking about a very affluent area, and it's certainly reflected by, you know, the photos of the home that we just saw. But that home in another place of the country might be worth far less than a place such as this in Greenwich.
But I've got to tell you, Greta, this is a fascinating case. And you hear certain things, and the fact that there was no forced entry, the fact that nothing was taken, you know, the fact that, you know, there were many people that he angered is certainly relevant.
But I think it's the way that he died that's very telling here, that he was stabbed in the back. And if someone is going to hire someone to kill them, wouldn't they just say, "Shoot me once in the back of the head so I don't I don't see it"? Why would you want to be stabbed five times?
VAN SUSTEREN: That would not be my first choice, I must admit.
PIRRO: Mine either. I can't imagine anyone. And the only thing that I can think, Greta, is that if he had some kind of sedative or, you know, some kind of depressant so that he wasn't quite as aware, that might militate — or might work in favor of his possibly hiring someone to kill him so that he could make double the insurance for his children.
VAN SUSTEREN: And I've got two shaking heads right here. I mean, actually, it does make sense. Bernie, if you are going to kill yourself to the get life insurance, you get the double indemnity with the accident. I mean, you throw yourself in front of the truck or something. I don't know. Drive into the bridge.
BERNIE GRIMM, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I mean, there's 5,000 ways to do it. I make a pack with Ted, I want you to kill me so my kids get double indemnity. And Ted says...
VAN SUSTEREN: But it's got to be an accident. Not a murder. I mean, is a murder going to get you that? Suicide is certainly not going to.
GRIMM: No, suicide the insurance company is not writing a check. But I say to Ted, "Listen, I'll be home Thursday night. Come in, tie my feet, tie my hands. And I'll watch TV and you just continue to stab me to death."
It's not like the movies where somebody comes down with a knife and the guy says, "Oh, my gosh, I'm dead." It is painful, it's torturous. You can die over the course of six hours.
On the other hand, somebody breaks in the house with a knife and this is a stranger on stranger, you will fight until the last breath. As Ted said, he said...
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, he hasn't said anything. He said to me...
GRIMM: He said yes.
VAN SUSTEREN: He had nodded his head. But he said nothing. I heard him. When did he say yes?
GRIMM: And thanks for coming tonight, Ted. He actually said...
VAN SUSTEREN: He's only nodded.
GRIMM: Ted said you can't drown yourself. Right, Ted?
VAN SUSTEREN: Did you say that, Ted?
TED WILLIAMS, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I don't remember, Bernie. I'm never going to agree with anything that Grimm is agreeing with tonight, but listen, it's a quantum leap to believe that this guy hired somebody to kill himself.
I think what perhaps could have happened, is that someone could have had a gun, came in, put the gun on the guy, then put the cuffs on him with his hands behind his back. And then...
VAN SUSTEREN: And then for fun, just say, "I'll stab you"?
WILLIAMS: No, and then stab him to death.
VAN SUSTEREN: I think that's bizarre.
VAN SUSTEREN: Jim?
WILLIAMS: Why would it be bizarre?
VAN SUSTEREN: Someone comes in with a gun and says, "Oh, I've decided, I brought a knife. I'll use this."
JIM HAMMER, FORMER ASSISTANT D.A.: I'll do it the hard way.
WILLIAMS: Well, there may be a reason for it. There may be some motive for it.
VAN SUSTEREN: Oh, no, I don't believe that. Jim, your thoughts?
HAMMER: I thought we had an instant verdict until Ted went crazy on us right there for a second.
But listen, I do not buy, at least readily, that this is a suicide pact and somebody paid somebody to stab him in the back. When I look at this thing, I'd really like to see the crime scene photos. This is a very brutal kind of murder, to stab somebody four times like that. It looks like torture to me. That's why the pattern of the injury would be very interesting to me.
When you get a kind of torture kind of killing, if that's what it is, that's somebody with a really strong motive, somebody who's got revenge, somebody who really wants to make him suffer. I'd look at the business associates and all of the rest of it, Greta.
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