Lisa McPherson Coverage

Mirror of defunct LMT site


November 20, 1998

This Dallas broadcast includes interviews with Lisa's family and friends as the church is slapped with criminal charges. Although the station gets the name of the Fort Harrison wrong, it is an otherwise fine report.


Dell Liebreich



Description of video is in italics.

November 20, 1998
"Scientology - Church Charged"
Note: The name "Fort Hamilton Hotel" is actually the "Fort Harrison Hotel"
in Clearwater, Florida
footage of Kellie Davis (Lisa McPherson's friend)
Kellie Davis: I couldn't believe it. She told me that Lisa died from uh, spinal meningitis, and I knew right then that, that wasn't the case.
Picture of Lisa McPherson
News Anchor Chip Moody: Three years after the mysterious death of a former Dallas resident, a controversial church is slapped with criminal charges.
Caption - Scientology - Church Charged
News Anchor Gloria Campos: Good evening everyone, and thank you for joining us .The Church of Scientology is facing felony charges for its alleged role in the death of Lisa Mc Pherson. As Channel 8's Byron Harris reports, the case is the first criminal action against a religious organization that has long been the target of investigators.
Kellie Davis: My first instinct is that she was murdered, That was my very first instinct.
Pictures of Lisa McPherson
Footage of the Morton Plant Hospital
Footage of Dell Liebreich holding a picture of Lisa McPherson
Byron Harris (Voiceover): Lisa McPherson according to those who knew her was an attractive, friendly woman who grew up in Dallas in the 60's and 70's. When she died at age 36 in route to this hospital in Florida, she was severely dehydrated, bruised and mentally disturbed. Her mother died a few months later. Her aunt in a civil lawsuit blamed the church of Scientology for Lisa's demise.
Dell Liebreich (Lisa McPherson's Aunt): You know, we felt like, they killed Lisa. Her mother said that. You know that they starved her to death and, tortured her. And uh, we just wanted to find out and have them punished. And you know, and so that other people can find out about Scientology. What they are capable of doing and what they do, to people.
Footage of Dell Liebreich and News Anchor Byron Harris looking at pictures of Lisa McPherson
Footage of the Fort Harrison Hotel
Picture of Lisa McPherson
Footage of news Reporter Byron Harris and Kellie Davis
Footage of the Fort Harrison Hotel
Picture of Lisa McPherson
Footage of Kellie Davis and news reporter Byron Harris
Byron Harris (Voiceover): The Church of Scientology is fighting the civil lawsuit vigorously and says the criminal actions it now faces in Lisa McPherson's death stem come from a fifteen year campaign to undermine Scientology by officials in Florida. The church has been under scrutiny by the government ever since it began as a science and declared itself a religion. The church controls this Hotel, the Fort Hamilton in downtown Clearwater, Florida. Lisa McPherson her family says, was kept her for 17 days before she died against her will. One of the last outsiders to talk to her was high school pal Kellie Davis. Lisa called her on the phone from the Fort Hamilton about three weeks before she died.
Kellie Davis: She said that she was getting out and coming home, and I asked her, I told her, I said "you mean your getting out of Scientology?"  and she said "let's not talk about it over the phone," she said," I'll tell you all about it when I get home." But she said "but I'm getting out and coming home to stay." And she said that I'll definitely be there before Christmas.
Picture of Lisa McPherson
Byron Harris: The next time that Kellie Davis saw Lisa McPherson was at her funeral in Dallas. The church is now charged with two felonies in the case of Lisa McPherson. Abuse and neglect of an adult and practicing medicine without a license cense. The outcome of the case may have a bearing on the way the church practices religion in the future. Byron Harris , Channel 8 News
News Anchor Gloria Campos: And the charges stemming from  McPherson's death were filed last week in Florida.

Transcript courtesy Feisty

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