Nancy Grace was floored by the 2005 murder of her close friend Pamela Vitale. But as hard as it was to process the loss, what came next was equally challenging: Police initially identified Vitale’s husband, prominent criminal defense attorney Daniel Horowitz, as a suspect.
Grace knew in her gut that Horowitz didn’t murder his wife — and just 5 days after the crime, the real culprit, a 16-year-old neighbor, was arrested and eventually sentenced to life in prison.
All of this unfolds in the first episode of Oxygen’s new series “Injustice With Nancy Grace,” which examines little known cases involving wrongful accusations, botched investigations, suppressed evidence, unclear motives, or unjust sentences. In the premiere, she looks at the Vitale case and gives Horowitz a chance to share what was going through his mind through the tragedy and its aftermath.
Speaking to TheWrap, Grace recalled the last time she ever saw Vitale alive.
“I had seen Pam and Daniel about 36 hours before she was killed… I met up with Dan and we went to a restaurant. We were sitting there, and I looked up and saw Pam coming in, and he followed my eyes and he looked, and I’ll never forget — his eyes lit up. He jumped up and he ran and walked her in. He was so happy to see her,” Grace told TheWrap. “The next time I heard from him, he was in the back of a police car and Pam had been murdered.”
For Grace, watching her friends become victims of a violent crime hit too close to home — Grace herself became a crime victim at the age of 19 when her fiancé was murdered. She was studying Shakespearean literature at the time, and had dreams of becoming a professor, but that changed.
“I dropped out of school, I lost down to 89 pounds, I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t think. I ultimately managed to finagle my way back into school. I never thought I could be happy in a classroom again. My goal was not to teach Shakespearean literature any longer, but to become a felony prosecutor and save, hopefully, other victims from going through what I went through,” Grace said.
Grace says her goal for the series is to lend a voice to victims whose cases never got the attention they deserved.
“There’s a lot of high-profile cases that get all the spotlight and all the attention, and that’s really not fair. Lady justice is blind for a reason. She doesn’t look at the celebrity, or the education, or the wealth of a particular victim or defendant… They are cases that just stuck with me, where an injustice was done. I really believe that these victims have the right to be heard.”
“Looking back on it, I think I bonded so strongly with victim’s families because I am a victim. And putting a bandaid on each one of them, I think I was really putting a bandaid on myself,” she continued. “All I could think of was putting violent offenders behind bars. To this day, I feel like it’s my duty to keep going forward and trying to fight the good fight.”
“Injustice With Nancy Grace” is produced by The Intellectual Property Corporation in conjunction with KT Studios and TAP Inc., with Grace, Eli Holzman, Aaron Saidman, John Terenzio, Stephanie Lydecker and showrunner Steve Katz serving as executive producers.
“Injustice With Nancy Grace” premieres Saturday, July 13 at 6/5c on Oxygen. See the trailer below.