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PAULA ZAHN NOW
Second Autopsy Performed in Boot Camp Death; Sleep-Eating?; Starved For Treatment
Aired March 14, 2006 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, everybody. Thanks so much for being with us.
Tonight -- a sudden new development in a case involving stark questions and even starker images.
ZAHN (voice-over): "Beyond the Headlines" -- what happened to this young boy? Dramatic video of guards beating a teenager just hours before he died -- now a startling new finding.
GINA JONES, MOTHER OF MARTIN ANDERSON: Now the truth is out. I want the guards and the nurse to be arrested.
ZAHN: Can a new investigation tell us what really happened?
The "Eye Opener" -- starved for treatment. She was in the hospital to fight her anorexia.
ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: How can you tell someone who weighs 84 pounds, you don't need to be in the hospital anymore?
ZAHN: So, why did her insurance company say her time was up? And could it happen to you? CNN investigates.
And "Mysteries of the Mind" -- asleep and eating. Imagine going to bed, then waking up to discover that you have been eating all night long.
JUDIE EVANS, SAYS AMBIEN MADE HER SLEEP-EAT: I had gotten out of bed, and I was cooking. I was cooking eggs and bacon.
ZAHN: What makes some people stuff themselves while they're still sleeping?
ZAHN: We have some major news tonight on a story we have been following for several months. Back in early January, a Florida boy collapsed at a military-style boot camp for troubled teens. Even before he died, his family was asking why was his face cut; why was it swollen?
When an autopsy blamed his death on a rare medical condition, we started asking questions, too. Exactly what killed 14-year-old Martin Anderson? CNN went to court to force the release of videotapes from the camp's security cameras. And we had even more questions when we saw the pictures that show camp officers repeatedly hitting the boy.
Well, now there's a second autopsy and a very troubling contradiction. It says the boy did not die of natural causes.
So, the question tonight is, what killed him?
John Zarrella takes us "Beyond the Headlines."
JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN MIAMI BUREAU CHIEF (voice-over): It took nearly two months and two autopsies, but Martin Anderson's family and their supporters believe they are now closer to the truth.
The second autopsy performed yesterday by a medical examiner, at the request of a Florida special prosecutor, lasted more than 12 hours. Anderson died after being restrained and struck by workers at the Bay County Sheriff's Boot Camp in Northern Florida.
A first autopsy, done by the Bay County medical examiner shortly after the boy's death in January, determined that his death was the result of complications from a blood condition called sickle-cell trait. Preliminary results from the new autopsy indicated that was not the case, and that Martin Anderson did not die of natural causes.
Michael Baden, a forensic expert representing the family, observed yesterday's postmortem.
DR. MICHAEL BADEN, FORMER CHIEF MEDICAL EXAMINER: It's a mistake that can -- that can be made just without bias. But, in -- in -- in my opinion, it was clearly a mistake.
ZARRELLA: In a statement, the special prosecutor's office investigating the teenager's death wrote -- quote -- "The preliminary findings indicate the boy did not die from sickle-cell trait, nor did he die from natural causes" -- end quote.
Baden went further.
BADEN: My opinion is, he died because of what you see in the videotape.
ZARRELLA: Videotape from a fixed camera at a juvenile boot camp in Panama City captured these images. Anderson's parents charge, they prove that their son died as a result of being brutalized by camp workers on January 5. The teenager, sent there by a judge, in part, for taking his grandmother's car for a joyride, died later that day.
GINA JONES, MOTHER OF MARTIN ANDERSON: Now the truth is out. And I want justice. I want the guards and the nurse to be arrested. It's time now.
ZARRELLA: The tape shows Anderson over 40 minutes during an orientation drill on his first day at the camp. He's forced to the ground by various takedown methods, knees to the thigh, pressure points to the ear, punches to his arms. And, a little later, another camp staffer hits him from behind, lurching his body forward. Some experts on juvenile justice call it excessive force.
GUSTAVO A. BARREIRO, FLORIDA STATE REPRESENTATIVE: That was not about control. This kid -- this kid was not fighting anybody. This kid was not about to go anywhere. This kid, you could tell very clearly that he was not in control of his -- his own body.
ZARRELLA: Afterwards, the boot camp staff prepared a report obtained by "The Miami Herald" detailing the techniques they used on Anderson, ammonia capsules under his nose, knee strikes, a straight- arm bar takedown, bending his wrists, pouring water over his head.
To explain the use of force, one staff member writes -- quote -- "I ordered offender to stop resisting and relax his arms. Offender refused to comply with those instructions" -- end quote.
At one point, during a running exercise, Anderson told them he couldn't breathe well enough to continue. The report says he resisted repeated attempts to get him to complete the run, pulling away, tensing his body, struggling, balling his fists.
A nurse stands by and, according to the report, on at least one occasion, determines his vital signs were normal.
(on camera): Florida's governor, Jeb Bush, assigned the case to a special prosecutor here in Tampa, who, in turn, ordered the second autopsy as part of his investigation. No charges have yet been filed against anyone. Final results of the autopsy and what caused Martin Anderson's death are still weeks away.
(voice-over): The boot camp where Anderson spent his last day alive has been closed. The sheriff's office that ran it says, the closure has nothing to do with Anderson's case, but the eight people involved in the incident were not offered new jobs.
John Zarrella, CNN, Tampa.
ZAHN: Martin Anderson's parents, Gina Jones and Robert Anderson, join me now from Florida, along with their attorney, Benjamin Crump.
Thank you all for being with us.
So, Gina, do you feel vindicated by the results of the second autopsy? Although they're not completely final yet, we have just heard some of the details.
JONES: Yes, I do.
I'm a little relieved now, that the truth is coming out. He did not pass away from sickle-cell trait. He passed away from the abuse and the torture that the guards did. He passed away because the nurse refused to help my baby, when he was crying out he couldn't breathe, crying out for help.
ZAHN: How painful has this been for you, as you have tried to -- to prove this case, that you're sharing with us tonight? There were a lot of naysayers out there.
JONES: Very painful, ma'am. It was painful for me to see my baby go back down in the ground today for the second time within two months.
ZAHN: Because you just had a service in his honor, didn't you?
BENJAMIN CRUMP, ATTORNEY FOR GINA JONES AND ROBERT ANDERSON: Well, actually, Paula, we had to exhume his body. The family gave permission to the state to exhume him, so we could have the second autopsy, so we can get to the truth and remove this ridiculous assertion that he died from the sickle-cell trait, despite what we saw in the video camera.
And less than an hour-and-a-half ago, they had to watch their son be reburied again. So, it's extremely painful.
ZAHN: Gina, we heard Dr. Baden, who also represents your family, say that it's possible a simple mistake was made during the first autopsy. Are you willing to buy that?
JONES: Ma'am, I'm going to cut you off with that, OK? It was not no mistake. It is a cover-up. My baby was supposed to have been examined at Pensacola. Why is he going to beat here to Bay County? He did not make no mistake. He knew what he was doing...
ZAHN: So, you...
JONES: ... from the start.
ZAHN: There's no doubt in your mind that the doctor who conducted...
JONES: No, no, no.
ZAHN: ... that first autopsy...
JONES: I do not believe that he made a mistake.
ZAHN: And, Robert, what do you have to say about that?
ROBERT ANDERSON, FATHER OF MARTIN ANDERSON: I think it was a -- a cover-up from -- from the beginning, too...
ANDERSON: ... because if he called himself being a medical examiner, he should have told the truth, instead of hiding behind a lie. ZAHN: Gina, we heard earlier on in that piece that you would hope that a guard, a nurse, might be arrested in this case. How confident are you that...
JONES: No, ma'am.
ZAHN: ... that that might happen?
JONES: I want -- what did she say?
ZAHN: Do you think that might happen? Are you -- are you confident that will happen?
ZAHN: I'm hoping it will happen, for all the guards to be arrested, plus the nurse. They killed my baby in the boot camp. They don't need to walk around and try to kill another one.
ZAHN: Benjamin, quick final answer, where you think this goes from here.
CRUMP: Well, certainly, nobody is above the law, Paula.
And just because you have a uniform and a badge, and you kill somebody, it doesn't mean that you're not arrested. We're in America. And what they did to this child was uncivilized. The way they abused him, you wouldn't treat a dog like that. He -- they say he has been uncooperative.
He was unconscious. He's falling in and out of consciousness, and, yet, they're steady slamming him to the ground and kicking and kneeing him. If that's not manslaughter, we don't know what is.
ZAHN: Well, this case will continue to be investigated. We appreciate all three of you joining us tonight. Thank you very much for your time.
JONES: Thank you.
ZAHN: Our pleasure.
As of today, one of the biggest capital-punishment cases in U.S. history is under way in California. How many people could pay with their lives?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COHEN: I'm Elizabeth Cohen. Your child has anorexia. She will hardly eat anything. And then you hit a roadblock. Who can help when insurance runs out?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAHN: And some people say the nation's most popular sleeping pill causes them to sleepwalk. Why does one woman say that's just the beginning?
Right now, more than 19 million of you went on to our Web site today. Here's our countdown of the 10 most popular stories on CNN.com.
At number 10, a millionaire who had his wife killed by a hit man 19 years ago was spared the death penalty today. The Atlanta jury that convicted James Sullivan of murder decided he should get life in prison.
Number nine, the American Family Association, a conservative Christian group, has launched a one-year boycott of Ford Motor products. It says the automaker has gone back on its promise to drop ads in gay publications -- numbers eight and seven coming up next.
ZAHN: Oh, I got to tell you, there's an awful lot of trouble in "South Park." Who has just quit? Has the show that has offended just about everyone finally gone too far?
Less than a week ago, we reported on people driving while asleep, after taking the popular sleeping pill Ambien. Well, now we're learning that it could also wake up your appetite, way up. You have heard of sleepwalking. Well, some people who take Ambien say they don't just walk, but they eat and eat and eat.
Senior medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta has tonight's "Mysteries of the Mind."
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It happens under the cover of darkness, during sleep, the mysterious urge to eat. For years, doctors wondered how sleeping and eating could happen at the same time. Now two unpublished studies suggest that a possible cause may be the popular sleep drug Ambien.
DR. CARLOS H. SCHENCK, DIRECTOR, MINNESOTA REGIONAL SLEEP DISORDERS CENTER: Ever since Ambien came on the market, there were sporadic reports of sleepwalking being induced by the Ambien. And then there are some reports coming out about eating with the sleepwalking, induced by the Ambien.
GUPTA: Six years ago, Judie Evans began taking Ambien for insomnia. Soon after, curious side effects set in. She said that, night after night, she would leave her bed and trudge, like a zombie, to the kitchen.
JUDIE EVANS, SAYS AMBIEN MADE HER SLEEP-EAT: I had gotten out of bed, and I was cooking. I don't even like eggs. And I was cooking eggs and bacon.
GUPTA: Each night brought another trip to the kitchen to make a sandwich, cook an elaborate meal, and, one time, turning the oven up to 500 degrees. Suspecting something was wrong, her son stayed awake. He was startled by what he saw.
EVANS: He told me what I had done, and I said: "No way. I did not do that."
SCHENCK: In all cases, there is complete amnesia the next day. There is no recall whatsoever of what that person engaged in.
GUPTA: And Ambien may account for more than just sleep-eating. There have even been cases of sleep-driving, says Dr. Carlos Schenck, who led the studies linking Ambien with abnormal sleep behaviors.
Dr. Schenck says that, in sleepwalking, sleep-eating, and sleep- driving, Ambien may confuse the brain. It can perform complex behaviors while the mind is partially asleep.
SCHENCK: But you're acting like a zombie, and you're rolling the dice. And, whenever you roll the dice, it is very dangerous.
GUPTA: In a statement, Ambien's manufacturer, Sanofi-Aventis, says it could not comment on specific cases, adding that, "It is difficult to determine, with certainty, whether a particular instance of sleepwalking is drug-induced, spontaneous in origin, or the result of an underlying disorder."
Now, there is no large study to gauge the risk. And even Dr. Schenck says, the vast majority of Ambien users should not worry, and to follow the warning labels provided with prescriptions.
SCHENCK: For people who are carefully diagnosed with insomnia, or trouble falling asleep, Ambien is an excellent medication. And, for most people, it is very safe and well-tolerated.
GUPTA: The manufacturer says, if you find yourself sleepwalking after taking Ambien, see your doctor.
ZAHN: And we're going to see our doctor right now.
ZAHN: So, Sanjay, some 26 million prescriptions were written for Ambien just last year. How many people do we think have taken the pill and sleep-eat, like we have just seen in this piece?
GUPTA: Yes. I mean, it's -- it's hard to know for sure, Paula.
Doctors who have studied this say it could be up to thousands of people. But the studies that exist are very, very small, only about 30 or so patients. And those are sort of anecdotal reports, people sort of telling these stories about what happened to them. So, there's no real large study right now to say for sure.
But it is a little bit easier to figure out who might be most at risk for this sort of thing. First of all, it appears to be women, more so than men. It also appears to occur in the higher doses of the Ambien. So, five milligrams might be a dose, but the -- in the 10- to 20-milligram range appears to be more of an issue. Also, people who have some other underlying medical problems, such as anxiety or depression, and people who are taking other medications for things like high cholesterol, high blood pressure, those seem to be the people most at risk.
But, again, the numbers are very, very small here. Judie's case is -- is pretty extreme, for sure, Paula.
ZAHN: The numbers may be small, but it's pretty scary to think that she had the oven turned on at 500 degrees and had no recollection of it the next day.
GUPTA: Yes. I mean...
ZAHN: Really bizarre.
GUPTA: Yes. And it's -- it's interesting as well.
Paula, they -- they find this sort of connection in the brain between sleeping and eating, both primitive behaviors and necessary behaviors for survival. But something seems to go awry a little bit, perhaps, with Ambien, and, perhaps, with other medications as well, we should add.
ZAHN: Sanjay Gupta, thanks so much.
GUPTA: Thank you.
ZAHN: Appreciate the help tonight.
ZAHN: There is a new mystery in New Orleans that has everyone in the city talking about. Coming up, who has killed a woman's husband while she was watching?
Before that, though, let's check in with Erica Hill at Headline News to update the hour's top stories.
ERICA HILL, HEADLINE NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Paula.
ZAHN: In groovy green tonight.
HILL: Groovy green, that's right.
ZAHN: We got the memo early.
HILL: Indeed, we did.
ZAHN: In advance of all the festivities Friday.
HILL: There you go. Got to be prepared. We start off with the Zacarias Moussaoui trial. We're hearing now the federal judge says that prosecutors did make serious errors with witnesses, but the judge now saying she won't dismiss the death penalty as a possibility. Moussaoui is an admitted 9/11 al Qaeda member and also a 9/11 conspirator.
Heavy rains washed out an earthen dam and sent a wave of mud and water across parts of Kauai, Hawaii's northern-most island. At least seven people are missing tonight.
And the owners of the Sago Mine say they have evidence a lightning strike set off a methane explosion in a sealed section of the mine. That had been suspected, though a government investigation is still open. The blast last January killed a dozen miners. Now, the mine will resume production tomorrow -- Paula.
ZAHN: (AUDIO GAP) Hill, thanks so much. Appreciate it.
We have a fascinating story of a woman who was battling anorexia. Her doctor said she needed more treatment. Well, her insurance company said she had been in the hospital long enough. So, what happened when they discharged her?
And do you know where you're most likely to find one of the most violent and racist gangs in the country? Will a new trial stop them?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SUSAN ROESGEN, CNN GULF COAST CORRESPONDENT: I'm Susan Roesgen in New Orleans -- coming up, a Mardi Gras murder and a young woman trying to make sense of it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAHN: First, though, on to number eight on the CNN.com countdown.
First lady Laura Bush says the U.S. is ready for a woman in the White House. She has often said that she would like to see Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice run for president. But Secretary Rice says she has no plans to run.
Number seven -- firefighters in Texas are bracing for more wildfires tomorrow, where winds are expected to pick up once again. Eleven people have been killed. Nearly 700,000 acres have been burned -- numbers six and five straight ahead.
ZAHN: Now we are going to introduce you to a pair of families who love their daughters very much and fought very hard to save their lives. But both families ran into a dilemma that made them absolutely furious. And it is the same dilemma that millions of people face every day. They not only battle their children's anorexia; they also run up against their insurance companies. If the benefits run out, should a patient's life end, too? Medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen has tonight's "Eye Opener."
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: One last time, reach up and over to the left. Exhale.
COHEN (voice-over): When most people exercise, it's a sign of health. For Megan Cunningham, it's the opposite, because she exercises compulsively. Megan weighs 84 pounds, but she thinks that's too much. A few months ago, she went 12 days without eating. Megan is frightened to take even one bite of dinner. Her parents don't know what to do. Neither does she.
(on camera): Are you afraid of dying?
MEGAN CUNNINGHAM, ANOREXIA SUFFERER: yes.
COHEN: What do you think will kill you?
M. CUNNINGHAM: I don't ultimately know. I think, in times of severe desperation, I would almost even consider killing myself, just to escape.
COHEN (voice-over): Megan is 20, and she's had anorexia nervosa since she was 12, when, at five feet tall, she dropped to 54 pounds.
M. CUNNINGHAM: I would just pray every night. I would say, you know, "God, if you just get me through this night, I will eat something tomorrow. I promise. But don't let me die yet."
COHEN (on camera): And did you eat something the next day?
M. CUNNINGHAM: No.
COHEN (voice-over): Very little has changed.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That doesn't sound like it's going to help you eat them.
COHEN: Her dietitian's challenge, keep sunflower seeds on the table at every meal and try to eat one, just one.
M. CUNNINGHAM: My fear is that, if I eat that fat, if I have those many more calories, I'm going to feel it on my body. I'm going to gain weight really fast and just bloat up.
COHEN (on camera): But even just one sunflower seed?
M. CUNNINGHAM: It terrifies me.
COHEN (voice-over): Anorexia kills more women than any other psychiatric disorder. According to the National Eating Disorders Association, one out of five anorectics will die from medical complications or suicide.
Megan's parents are scared. They want her in the hospital, where she would get constant therapy and monitoring.
(on camera): Do you see progress when she's in the hospital?
TAMMY CUNNINGHAM, MOTHER OF MEGAN CUNNINGHAM: Oh, definitely. When you get there, You know, you can see there's two or three pounds on her, and you realize maybe things are going to get better. And, then, so much sooner than you expect, they're releasing her, and they're bringing her home. And you don't know what to do.
COHEN (voice-over): Megan recently had to leave the hospital, after a 24-day stay. She had exhausted the 60 days a year covered by her health insurance. She now has to wait four months until she can get back into the hospital.
(on camera): What's going to happen to you between now and July?
M. CUNNINGHAM: If I falter, I'm done. If I fall, and I can't pick myself back up, I don't have any place to turn.
DR. DOUG BUNNELL, CLINICAL DIRECTOR, THE RENFREW CENTER OF SOUTHERN CONNECTICUT: It's a gut-wrenching discussion to have with a family, to tell them that their daughter can't stay in treatment anymore because their insurance company has denied treatment, or they have run out of benefits.
COHEN (voice-over): Typically, insurance companies cover, at least in part, 30 to 60 days a year of hospital care. Eating disorder experts, like Dr. Doug Bunnell, say, that's almost never enough.
Even with insurance coverage, Megan's parents said they paid tens of thousands of dollars in co-payments for her two months in the hospital. Now that her benefits have run out, they would have to pay at least $30,000 or more per month out of pocket.
T. CUNNINGHAM: This past Christmas, my husband said: "I can't do this anymore. Cash in the rest of our mutual funds. I want her in a hospital now. I am so scared she will die before she ever gets the treatment that she needs."
COHEN (on camera): Have you spent your life savings on Megan's care?
T. CUNNINGHAM: Oh, definitely.
COHEN (voice-over): Megan's insurance now pays for her to see a therapist once a week, a psychiatrist once a month, and her family doctor every other month. Her insurance company declined to speak on camera and referred us to an industry group, America's Health Insurance Plans.
(on camera): How can you tell someone who weighs 84 pounds, "You don't need to be in the hospital anymore"?
SUSAN PISANO, VICE PRESIDENT OF COMMUNICATIONS, AMERICA'S HEALTH INSURANCE PLANS: Well, I guess I would ask the question a different way. Is there evidence that being in the hospital longer will be the thing that will work? I don't know of anything that says those patients would be helped if they had a 60- or 90- or a 120-day stay in the hospital.
COHEN: But how do you get that evidence, when insurance companies won't pay for anything longer, and people can't afford anything longer?
PISANO: You get the evidence through well-designed studies.
COHEN (voice-over): The fact is, there never has been a well- designed study to establish the best level of care. But the Cunninghams say, they don't need a study to tell them what does and doesn't work.
T. CUNNINGHAM: She can't ever get a long enough stay to get over it. She knows she will have a relapse.
COHEN: The insurance industry points out that families like the Cunninghams could ask their employers to purchase policies with unlimited coverage for anorexia. Tammy Cunningham says, the policy she has is all her company offers.
Brian and Mary Smith thought their daughter, Janell, had the best coverage money could buy.
BRIAN SMITH, FATHER OF JANELL SMITH: You can see it. When you open the first sheet on the inside, it refers to inpatient, and it says "unlimited coverage."
COHEN: Like Megan, Janell battled anorexia for years. In 2003, when she went into this treatment facility, she was 5'3'' and weighed 68 pounds.
MARY SMITH, MOTHER OF JANELL SMITH: She was afraid, because she said, "Mom, I almost died."
This was not just a -- you know, a place to -- to try to learn how to eat again. This was a place that was going to -- to save her life.
COHEN: Janell was slowly getting better. She was gaining weight and confidence. She wrote her parents from the hospital.
B. SMITH: "Please know that I see in my mind a green pasture, where the disorder does not rule. I am willing to do what it takes, dad."
COHEN: Five weeks into her stay, her father got a call from Janell's insurance company. They were discharging her into outpatient care. The insurance company said it was medically safe for her to leave the hospital.
B. SMITH: I vehemently protested. Basically, I just said, don't do this. She's not ready. Even being out of the hospital for a day or two worried me. COHEN: Her own doctor protested, too. He wrote it was "premature to transition" her out of the hospital, that it put her at "greater risk for regression and relapse."
B. SMITH: I didn't expect it to ever end the way it ended.
COHEN: Six days after she left the hospital, Janell took her own life. Her father found her in her apartment. Janell died from an overdose of pills and alcohol.
B. SMITH: The day she got out of the hospital, the disorder took over right away. I think it does say that she wasn't ready to be let out.
COHEN: In a statement to CNN, Janell's insurance company, Magellan, said, "we recognize that conditions such as Janell's can be complex to treat and often require comprehensive long-term therapy. What we can tell you unequivocally is that Magellan authorized all the care that was requested by Janell's treating providers and that additional services could have been authorized if they had been requested by providers."
Despite his concerns, Janell's doctor indeed did not appeal the insurance company's decision to discharge her from the hospital. Janell passed away three years ago. Her parents are convinced that if she had stayed in the hospital, she'd be with them today. They sued the insurance company. Their case was dismissed and it is now under appeal.
M. SMITH: I don't think they realized how sick she was. I think they just discharged her for monetary reasons.
COHEN: Megan Cunningham knows there's no easy road to recovery. But she's convinced that with better coverage, she would have a better chance.
(on camera): Do you see a way out of this?
M. CUNNINGHAM: It's foggy. I know there's something else out there for me. I just -- I want to be happy. I want to know what that feels like more than anything.
ZAHN: I hope she feels that.
So, Elizabeth, do we have any better understanding of what causes these eating disorders?
COHEN: Paula, in many ways, anorexia is still a big mystery. And doctors used to think of it as really a control issue, that this was the one thing in their lives that these young women can control, just their weight, and so they'd concentrate on controlling their weight while sort of the rest of their lives maybe were spinning around them. But lately, doctors have taken sort of a different look. They see it now also as a brain disease. They say it is almost like an addiction, that these anorexics get some kind of a reward, some kind of a high -- that's how Megan described it -- out of not eating and out of being so thin.
So they think really it is probably a combination of the two: behavioral and brain. But it is very difficult to treat this. It's not like drugs where you can just say stop taking drugs. Food always will have to be in their lives.
ZAHN: Elizabeth Cohen, thank you so much for bringing us that report.
We move on now. New Orleans detectives face a very baffling mystery tonight. Who ran over and killed a woman's husband during Mardi Gras? Did the victim know his killer?
DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Dan Simon. It's regarded by some as the deadliest gang in U.S. history. Opening statements got underway in the trial involving members of the Aryan Brotherhood. That story coming up on PAULA ZAHN NOW.
ZAHN: Also coming up, a behind the scenes revolt at "South Park." What's going on? Was it something they said?
Now number six on our cnn.com countdown. A parole hearing for Robert Kennedy's killer, Sirhan Sirhan, begins tomorrow in California. The decision to free him could ultimately rest with Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger who is married to Robert Kennedy's niece, Maria Shriver.
Number five, a 10-hour siege by Israeli troops in a Palestinian prison on the West Bank. When it finally ended, four people were killed, 35 wounded. Israeli forces surrounded the prison after international monitors from the U.S. and Britain left.
Number four, straight ahead.
ZAHN: Several prosecutors call it one of the deadliest criminal gangs in America. And its power, unfortunately, is growing. The Aryan Brotherhood operates behind bars. It's a secret society that has taken over some of the toughest prisons in America, and its influence has spread far beyond those prison walls.
The group's weapon of choice? Murder. Today in California, prosecutors put gang leaders on trial trying to stop the Aryan Brotherhood. Dan Simon has tonight's "Outside the Law."
SIMON (voice-over): It was a disturbing portrait of American's prison system as a federal prosecutor described just how much our most secure institutions had been overtaken by gang violence and criminal enterprise.
The Aryan Brotherhood, a white racist organization, first emerged more than 40 years ago in California's infamous San Quentin Prison, and over the decades has spread across the country.
Four of its alleged top dogs are on trial for instituting their reign of terror. Fifteen other alleged members go to court starting later this year. UCLA law professor Laurie Levenson says the Brotherhood put together an incredible infrastructure despite being locked up.
LAURIE LEVENSON, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: They speak to each other, they coordinate on the outside, they coordinate to other prisons, they're able to deal drugs, they're able to put out hits on other players.
SIMON: The prosecutor's opening statement sounded like a horror novel, detailing more than a dozen murders behind bars allegedly carried out or approved by members of the Aryan Brotherhood.
GREGORY JESSNER, FORMER ASST. U.S. ATTORNEY: More than half of them involved stabbing with a prison-made knife of some sort, you know, fashioned out of metal, found in the prison.
SIMON: Former assistant U.S. attorney Gregory Jessner led the investigation that netted some 40 arrests. Nearly half of them have pled guilty. Among the four defendants is Barry Byron Mills, nicknamed "the Barron." According to prosecutors, the Brotherhood sought Mills' approval for countless murders and that almost nothing was done without his OK.
Sitting next to him in court his co-defendant, Tyler Davis Bingham, "the Hulk," as he was called. Behind them, two lower level defendants. All four, their ankles chained to the floor. The Feds say they hoped to rid the gang of its powerful influence. But that might be too optimistic according to Levenson.
LEVENSON: Because you have the feeling that even if they take out these particular defendants, there are more Aryan Brotherhood's leadership ready to take their place.
SIMON: Authorities say getting into the Brotherhood is like applying for a country club membership. There are significant perks: drugs, protection and money. And the organization has no qualms about killing, say prosecutors, even in the full view of guards and inmates. Their motto, "blood in, blood out," meaning you have to kill someone to get in and die to get out.
The Aryan Brotherhood, according to some crime experts, is considered to be the most deadly organization in the criminal history of the U.S. and they've accomplished this with what prosecutors say is less than 100 members. Even mob boss John Gotti, according to prosecutors, went to the Brotherhood when he wanted an inmate killed who disrespected him.
Despite the gangs rule for snitches -- death -- the prosecution says it's assembled an array of former members willing to testify against their leaders.
SIMON: And according to the defense, those former members are nothing but liars, people who will say anything to get a better deal for themselves. Many of them have gone into the Witness Protection Program. The defense also denies the brotherhood's influence. They say there's no way they could exert that kind of control over the nation's roughly 200,000 prisoners. Paula, we're told this case can go on for as long as nine months. Back to you.
ZAHN: And you'll be covering it throughout the duration. Thanks, Dan Simon.
A hit and run in New Orleans doesn't look anything like an accident. Is murder making a comeback there? Is the calm after the storm finally over?
SIBILA VARGAS, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT: I'm Sibila Vargas in Hollywood. For years, the cartoon characters of Comedy Central's "South Park" have poked fun at race, sexuality, politics and religion. But what has one cast member packing his bags, saying enough is enough? We'll tell you when "PAULA ZAHN NOW" continues.
ZAHN: No. 4 in our CNN.com countdown. In Maryland, a runaway barge shuts down two bridges and creates major traffic headaches on a very busy highway leading in and out of the nation's capital. No. 3 when we come back.
ZAHN: All right, our next story could be straight out of a mystery movie. Someone's chasing you, trying to kill you, but in this fascinating real life story, what started out a romantic evening for a young couple just before Mardi Gras in New Orleans ended as a deadly chase involving a mysterious black pickup truck. The story now from Gulf Coast correspondent Susan Roesgen.
SUSAN ROESGEN, CNN GULF COAST CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was the weekend before Mardi Gras, with people smiling and laughing and begging for beads. But just hours after the parades, a young husband would be dead.
MELISSA BEAUGH, VICTIM'S WIFE: We were in Destin at a friend's wedding in May.
ROESGEN: Melissa and Toby Beaugh were newlyweds. They loved each other, loved life, loved Mardi Gras. Walking home after the parades, they were startled by a black pickup truck that cut them off at a corner on Magazine Street.
BEAUGH: I think we kind of just gave some quizzical looks at the driver. I think right now, you know, it seems like our big joke was how many times did you have to honk the horn today because all the drivers are so crazy right now?
ROESGEN: In the first few months after the hurricane, it seemed that crime had washed away with the flood. But as the population has returned, the NOPD homicide unit is back at work.
GREG HAMILTON, DETECTIVE: Yes, this here, some cases that I was working, which is, now they're wet, got wet during the storm.
ROESGEN: Detective Greg Hamilton's office these days is the back seat of his car. One of his first cases since the hurricane would be Toby Beaugh's murder.
Although Melissa and Toby had been startled by the fast-moving truck, they kept walking. A few blocks from home, they didn't know the truck was circling back toward them, turning first right, then left, then left again, the truck headed back toward Magazine Street toward Melissa and Toby. The truck stopped at the intersection and Toby stopped in front of it.
BEAUGH: He was about right here, and he had opened up facing the truck.
ROESGEN: Did Toby say something to the driver? Melissa says she can't remember. What she sees over and over is what happened next. The truck driver stepped on the gas and the impact threw Toby Beaugh across the street.
BEAUGH: His body had kind of tucked and he was just tumbling underneath the car. And so every, you know, few seconds I saw his face, because he was just tumbling.
ROESGEN: The truck sped away and that's where the trail ends. A witness told police the truck was possibly a Toyota Tacoma, no one saw the license plate. And Detective Hamilton thinks only one person could have identified the driver.
HAMILTON: The windows on this vehicle is tinted, dark-tinted windows. So therefore, I believe anyone who would have seen the driver would only have been the victim as he faced the vehicle.
ROESGEN: At the hospital, the family gave the doctors permission to take Toby's eyes and skin. Today, Melissa wears his watch and his wedding ring. The couple's first anniversary would have been this coming Easter.
BEAUGH: I guess our vows are eternal -- I know our vows are eternal. So you know, so Easter Sunday will be -- will be a very special day for us. You know, a hard day but a very special day.
ROESGEN: Susan Roesgen, CNN, New Orleans.
ZAHN: And New Orleans police are still investigating. The detective on the case hopes that surveillance tape from a camera mounted on a business on Magazine Street might have captured the killing.
We're going to switch gears now. Coming up, why does "South Park's" chef need a new voice? Here's a hint, it's not because he has laryngitis. But before that, let's turn to Erica Hill, who has our "Headline News Business Break." Erica?
ZAHN: We beat the big day on Friday with our green dress here tonight. "LARRY KING LIVE" gets underway at the top of the hour. Hi, Lar -- this is ridiculous, we're all in green tonight. Friday is St. Patrick's Day, right?
LARRY KING, CNN HOST: I thought it was today.
ZAHN: Yes, well, OK, so we're getting the ball rolling early here this year.
KING: OK, we're early.
ZAHN: You can't say we aren't pro-active here.
KING: You're not kidding. Good show tonight. We're looking at the extraordinary case of Captain Jeffrey MacDonald, the army doctor who was convicted many years ago of killing his wife and two children. That case has gone back and forth. He's been in federal prison ever since.
First he was out, then he was in. We visited him a couple times. And now there's new DNA evidence that may point to his innocence or maybe not. His wife is with us, his former brother-in-law is with us, and lots of others, including Barry Schechter (ph). It's all ahead at the top of the hour.
ZAHN: And we all get to make our own judgments at the end of that hour. Look forward to it, thanks Larry, have a good show.
KING: Thanks, honey, bye.
ZAHN: Has "South Park" gored one two many sacred cows? Well, a lot of you want to know. The angry departure of a man who's the voice of one of the cast members is the No. 3 story on our CNN.com countdown. Who left, and why? Full story is coming up.
ZAHN: So if you haven't been offended by "South Park," you probably haven't watched it. The Comedy Central series takes delight in lampooning patriotism, the pope, Mother Teresa. Absolutely no one and nothing is off limits. So, of course, there's no shortage of people who think "South Park" is absolutely outrageous. But the latest happens to be one of the stars of the show. Here's Sibila Vargas.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Having sex with boys is part of the Catholic priest's way of life.
SIBILA VARGAS, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Organized religion has been a frequent target of "South Park" satire.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We pray to Moses here, elder.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you love Moses so much, why don't you marry him?
VARGAS: Now one of "South Park"'s own says the show has gone too far. R&B singer and actor Isaac Hayes, the voice of the soulful cook, unexpectedly announced he wanted out of his contract. Call it Chef's surprise.
JAMES HIBBERD, TV WEEK: The reason he's given is what he's described as an increasing sense of religious intolerance coming from the show.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Scientology is just a big fat global scam.
VARGAS: In a statement, Hayes, who is a Scientologist, said, there is a place in the world for satire, but there is a time when satire ends and intolerance and bigotry towards religious beliefs of others begins."
But Matt Stone and Trey Parker, the co-creators of "South Park" say that Hayes is only grousing because in an episode that aired in November, they ridiculed Scientology.
Stone said in a statement, "Isaac never had a problem with the show making fun of Christians, Muslims, Mormons and Jews. He got a sudden case of religious sensitivity when it was his religion featured on the show."
In fact, in a recent interview on "Showbiz Tonight" Hayes expressed no concern over the Scientology episode although he said he hadn't watched it.
ISAAC HAYES, VOICE OF "CHEF": I didn't see it, but I was told about it. But they lampoon everybody. If you believe them, you got a problem.
VARGAS: Stone says they'll grant Hayes' request to get out of his contract, but his departure seems unlike to change the show's biting tone. For years he and Parker have insisted they'll take no prisoners.
TREY PARKER, CO-CREATOR, "SOUTH PARK": As soon as we start singling out groups that are not OK to make fun of, then we have to stop altogether.
VARGAS: Their Scientology sendup airs again on Comedy Central Wednesday night. Sibila Vargas, CNN, Hollywood.
(END VIDEOTAPE) ZAHN: Meanwhile, a Comedy Central spokesman says producers haven't decided whether Chef would be dropped from the show or continued with another actor supplying his voice. Tough out there in the television world.
At the top of the hour, "LARRY KING LIVE" exclusive. What's the new evidence in the case of a man jailed 27 years ago for killing his family. Hear from Jeffrey MacDonald's current wife. Now to number two on our countdown. In Iraq, police in Baghdad have found at least 87 bodies since Monday morning. All of the victims men, 29 of the bodies were found in a single grave.
We'll have number one when we come back.
ZAHN: Number one in our CNN.com countdown, Peter Tomarken, former host of the game show "Press Your Luck" was killed when his plane crashed in Santa Monica Bay, California. He happened to be volunteer with the group that provided free air transport to needy patients. He was on his way to pick up a passenger when he died.
That wraps it up for all of us here tonight. We hope you join us same time, same place tomorrow night because we have an absolutely fascinating story for you about a young man who suffers from an eating disorder that most people associated with women. What can help him? Who can help him? We'll have all of that for you tomorrow.
Again, thanks for joining us tonight. Appreciate your dropping by. We'll be back tomorrow night. Until then, have a great night. "LARRY KING LIVE" starts right now.
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