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PAULA ZAHN NOW
Timetable For Withdrawal From Iraq?; Andrea Yates Trial Begins Anew
Aired June 26, 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: Hi, everyone. Glad to have you with us tonight.
Here is what is happening at this moment.
A port in Ventura County, California, not far from L.A., closed by a possible terrorist threat has now been reopened. A dock worker discovered a written threat warning of explosives in the cargo hold of a banana boat in the Port of Hueneme. Port officials say nothing suspicious was found.
What a mess in the D.C. area, fire and water in the headlines -- heavy rains flooded downtown Washington, D.C. and mudslides blocked the beltway. Floods stalled traffic and closed down the Justice Department, the IRS, and the Commerce Department. Floods also hit Maryland, Delaware and Pennsylvania.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the country, wildfires burned 8,000 acres near Zion National Park in Utah. Crews and helicopters continue to battle wildfires near Sedona, Arizona. Wildfires closed also off the remote -- remote north rim of the Grand Canyon, stranding hundreds of tourists.
Well, tonight, we now know the military has a plan to start bringing U.S. troops home from Iraq. It is all very tentative at this hour and depends on Iraqi police and soldiers getting a handle on the continuing violence. But, as we speak, the news that a withdrawal plan exists is not sparking celebrations, nor signs of relief. No, it is creating a political firestorm.
And here is why. For the past few weeks, Republicans have been hammering Democrats for advocating a timetable for troop withdrawal. Now we find out the military has exactly such a plan and has had it for a long time.
Here is our senior Pentagon correspondent, Jamie McIntyre.
JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN SENIOR PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The Pentagon insists there is no new plan for withdrawing American troops from Iraq, just the same old plan, to gradually cut U.S. force levels by not replacing some troops as they rotate out later this year. And that plan comes with the same old caveats.
DONALD RUMSFELD, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: As the Iraqi forces continue to take over bases in provinces and areas of responsibility and move into the lead, we expect that General Casey will come back and make a recommendation, after he has had those discussions, which he has not yet had.
MCINTYRE: CNN reported last week that what Casey has in mind to start is simply not replacing two brigades when they rotate out of Iraq later this year. That would cut U.S. troop levels by between 6,000 and 10,000 troops, with further reductions to come both this year and next, again, as conditions allow.
Over the weekend, "The New York Times" reported essentially the same thing, but added that a total of eight brigades, roughly 28,000 troops, might be cut by the end of 2007.
Casey steadfastly refuses to share his private thinking, believing that, like any announcement of a timetable, would tie his hands.
GEN. GEORGE CASEY, COMMANDER, MULTI-NATIONAL FORCES, IRAQ: I feel it would limit my flexibility. I think it would give the enemy a -- a fixed timetable.
MCINTYRE: Casey says he hasn't yet talked troop cuts with the new Iraqi government, one reason he's reluctant to say anything publicly.
But, already, Casey is working with Iraqis on what's been dubbed an unofficial road map to begin turning over to local control some of the 18 provinces in the relatively calm areas of Iraq, beginning with two in the north and two in the south.
(on camera): Iraqi officials have been much more open and optimistic about their hopes for U.S. troop withdrawals. Iraq's national security adviser said last week he expects most U.S. troops will be out of Iraq by the end of 2007, with Iraq fully in control of its own country by the end of 2008. No one at the Pentagon will say if they believe that's simply wishful thinking.
Jamie McIntyre, CNN, the Pentagon.
ZAHN: And not only are some Democrats angry about discovering that the Pentagon had a troop withdrawal plan all along; they are also questioning the timing involved.
If all goes well, the troops will start coming home in September. That is just weeks before the midterm elections. And Democrats don't see that as a coincidence.
With more on the growing political storm over troop cuts, here's White House correspondent Suzanne Malveaux, a member of the best team in TV.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): At the White House, a violent overnight storm took out this 100-year-old American elm tree. But it's the political storm brewing over Iraq that has Washington all a'bluster.
Democrats charge that a plan under consideration by the U.S. commander in Iraq, General George Casey, to possibly pull out as many as 10,000 U.S. troops as early as the fall is politically motivated.
SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), MINORITY LEADER: We don't need a September or October surprise, with the president and Republicans proclaiming victory and announcing troop redeployment just in time for the midterm elections.
MALVEAUX: The president categorically refuted the charge.
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: In terms of our troop presence there, that decision will be made by General Casey, as well as the sovereign government of Iraq, based upon conditions on the ground.
MALVEAUX: But Democrats are fuming over not one, but two bills that were shot down by Republicans last week which called for a timetable for U.S. troop withdrawal. Republicans painted the Democrats' proposal as a move to cut and run.
Both sides, nervous about the midterm election, are trying to gain the upper hand in the Iraq debate, with Democrats now arguing their proposals are in line with the Pentagon's, and that it's Republican lawmakers who are out of step.
REID: It's clear that congressional Republicans stand alone in opposition to troop redeployments, apart from the American people.
MALVEAUX: But a look at the substance of both Democratic plans show the bill offered by Senators Jack Reed and Carl Levin, which calls for phased redeployment of troops by the end of 2006, is similar to General Casey's reported plan, which aims at pulling out two combat brigades by the end of the year.
But the White House says the Democratic plan was not sound.
TONY SNOW, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: What Senator Levin did not mention is conditions on the ground. What Senator Levin wanted to do was to get out.
MALVEAUX: The other Democratic proposal by Senators John Kerry and Russ Feingold is substantially different than the Pentagon's. It called for pulling out all U.S. troops by the summer of 2007. The Pentagon reportedly wants to phase out tens of thousand of troops by the end of next year, but it does not have a hard deadline for complete withdrawal.
STUART ROTHENBERG, "THE ROTHENBERG POLITICAL REPORT": The kind of withdrawals that we are talking about are really minimal. And the president probably can argue, reasonably, that circumstances on the ground are driving the decisions.
MALVEAUX (on camera): But political analysts say what may be just as important as withdrawing troops is what does happen on the ground in Iraq, whether or not there are more bombings, kidnappings or beheadings, that withdrawing some 10,000 troops this year may not be enough to improve the administration's standing.
Suzanne Malveaux, CNN, the White House.
ZAHN: And, as Suzanne just reported, Democratic Senator Carl Levin of Michigan offered a bill for phased redeployment of troops by the end of this year.
And I spoke with him a short time ago about the revelations that the Pentagon already has a plan on the drawing board.
ZAHN: If General Casey is able to implement this plan and bring tens of thousands of troops home by the end of the year, aren't you getting exactly what you wanted?
SEN. CARL LEVIN (D), MICHIGAN: We are.
As a matter of fact, what our resolution, the so-called Levin- Reed resolution, called for was the beginning of a phased redeployment by the end of this year. And that's precisely what the plan that we read about calls for.
ZAHN: But I'm not clear on the criticism the Democrats have of this, because even Tony Snow said today he's not sure whether this will happen or not by the end of the year. It has to be based on the conditions on the ground.
LEVIN: We know what the conditions are on the ground. They are in a very close to a civil war circumstance. There's a great amount of violence.
We also know what General Casey has said, both last year and this year, that he expects to be -- to have significant reductions on the ground taking place in our forces this year. General Casey has said that. What are they going to do now, just sort of create a new nickname for General Casey, call him cut-and-run old George Casey? Is that what the Republicans are going to do?
Look, it's -- it is just sort of the worst-kept secret around this town. There will be reductions this year, and they're going to be announced and probably happen in advance of the elections, because that's what the American people -- the American people want reductions. They want them sensibly. They don't want them precipitously. They don't want a fixed end date for the reductions. But they want to gradually see these forces return. They want to see that change of course. ZAHN: But the Republicans would say they really are not having it both ways here, that they have said all along that you can't bring these troops home until the Iraqis can stand on their own. And, if that is not the case, where you can start this phased pullout of these troops, then General Casey shouldn't do it at the end of the...
LEVIN: Well, if you -- if you just tell the Iraqis, until you can do this on your own, we're not going to begin a redeployment of forces, they are going to need us for an unlimited period of time.
We have been there now longer than the Korean War lasted. This is three years-plus. We don't have to prove our credibility in Iraq any longer. We have lost 2,500-plus troops, 17,000 wounded. They need to take responsibility for this. And this over-reliance on American troops, when there are political decisions the Iraqis must be making to share power and to share resources, which is the only way they're going to end this insurgency, we have got to prod them to take this responsibility.
They either want a nation or they want a civil war. And we have given more than enough, more than our share. Should we now just precipitously leave tomorrow? No. But should we give them notice that, by the end of this year, we are going to begin phased redeployments? Yes. And I believe that's exactly what General Casey is telling them.
ZAHN: Senator Carl Levin, thanks for your time tonight.
ZAHN: Appreciate it.
LEVIN: Sure, Paula.
ZAHN: And we are going to move on now -- about 16 million of you logging on to CNN.com today.
Our nightly countdown of the top 10 stories on the Web site begins with the news from the Census Bureau -- get this -- that the U.S. population is expected to hit 300 million by the fall of this year. That makes the U.S. the third largest country, after China and India.
Number nine -- the kidnapping of an Israeli soldier. Palestinian militants have offered to give up information about him if Israel agrees to free all female prisoners and children held in Israeli jails. The soldier was abducted yesterday during a Palestinian raid at an Israeli army post near Gaza.
Numbers eight and seven are next.
Plus, a CNN investigation uncovers new details in a killing that has eight U.S. servicemen facing murder charges.
ZAHN: "Beyond the Headlines" -- the alleged victim was 54 and disabled. Was he trying to kill U.S. troops, or was he shot dead for not revealing the names of Iraqi insurgents? Dramatic new details from the military investigation of a death in Hamandiyah.
Plus, the "Eye Opener" -- flashing lights and police uniforms, it doesn't mean help is on the way. Who can you trust, when fake cops are real criminals?
All that and more when we come back.
ZAHN: She's on trial again -- not me, the woman in green that you're looking at here. It has been five years since Andrea Yates drowned her children. Will a new jury call it insanity or murder?
Here's what's happening at this moment. The Senate begins debate on a proposed constitutional amendment to prohibit desecration of the American flag. All 50 states have asked Congress to approve an amendment to ban flag burning.
The University of Colorado chancellor says the school should fire professor Ward Churchill, who compares some World Trade Center victims to Nazis. Professor Churchill has 10 days to appeal that recommendation.
And the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee is demanding criminal prosecution of "The New York Times." New York Republican Congressman Peter King says the newspaper compromised America's anti-terrorism policies when it reported on a government program to track international money transfers.
Now, tonight, for the first -- or, actually, third time in a week, American forces are facing charges for killing Iraqis. The military says two Pennsylvania National Guardsmen have just been charged with voluntary manslaughter for allegedly shooting an unarmed Iraqi man near Ramadi back in February.
Now, last week, four other soldiers were accused of killing three men near Samarra last month.
And the other case involves seven Marines and one Navy medic. All are accused of taking part in the killing of an unarmed Iraqi man in the town of Hamandiyah in April. And, then, last Wednesday, of course, they were charged with murder.
Well, tonight, we have new information about what the prosecution says happened.
Ted Rowlands is covering this case at Camp Pendleton and takes us "Beyond the Headlines" tonight.
TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Iraqis who recently buried 54-year-old Hashim Ibrahim Awad claimed that the handicapped civilian was kidnapped and murdered by U.S. forces, because he refused to become an informant. And now the U.S. Marine Corps believes it has enough evidence to charge seven Marines and a Navy corpsman with kidnapping, conspiracy and murder.
A military charging document viewed by CNN says four of the eight accused bear most of the responsibility. According to the document, the four kidnapped Awad, bound his feet and hands, and stole a shovel and AK-47 rifle to help cover up the murder.
This man, who lived near Awad, says he's the one who had his shovel and gun stolen.
FAHRAN AHMED HUSSEIN, NEIGHBOR OF HASHIM IBRAHIM AWAD (through translator): They usually search the house, and they ask us if we have a weapon. The U.S. forces allow us to have one rifle. But, that night, they even took my only rifle and my shovel.
ROWLANDS: The documents states, the four Marines took Awad to a nearby intersection where there was a hole and that one of the Marines -- quote -- "disturbed dirt in the hole."
Then, according to the military charging documents, the four Marines left Awad bound, but alive, by the hole, and returned to their group.
(on camera): Then, according to the report, a sergeant, Lawrence Hutchins, who wasn't one of the original four, got on his radio and reported that the Iraqi civilian was seen digging with a shovel, and that he had shot at Marines.
(voice-over): After that radio call, according to the document, five Marines opened fire on the Iraqi civilian.
Hutchins, Corporal Trent Thomas, who was one of the four who allegedly kidnapped Awad, Lance Corporal Tyler Jackson, and Private 1st Class John Jodka, according to the government, they all fired at Awad. Then, the document says, Lance Corporal Robert Pennington cleaned the fingerprints off the AK-47 and placed the gun and shovel in Awad's hands.
This is after, according to the document, a Navy medic fired the stolen AK-47 into the air, while another Marine collected the shells and put them near Awad.
JANE SIEGAL, ATTORNEY FOR PFC JOHN JODKA III: The government's they're is not consistent with PFC Jodka's ardent belief in his innocence and what he says happened.
ROWLANDS: Jane Siegal is one of Private 1st Class John Jodka's lawyers. She says, even though her client and Lance Corporal Tyler Jackson didn't directly take part in the kidnapping, they face the same charges as the others.
SIEGAL: Under the government's theory, he was aware of the plan to kidnap this stranger and kill him. And, so, therefore, he could be found guilty of premeditated murder as well, even though he wasn't there.
ROWLANDS (on camera): Technically, the maximum penalty for premeditated murder is the death sentence. All of the lawyers that we have talked to have said that their clients tell a much different story than what was laid out in the charging document. They all say their clients are innocent.
Ted Rowlands, CNN, at Camp Pendleton, in Oceanside, California.
ZAHN: And if there is anyone who understands what those seven Marines and one sailor are going through right now, it is my next guest. He is the author of "Warlord: No Better Friend, No Worse Enemy." Former Marine Lieutenant Ilario Pantano was charged, then cleared of killing two Iraqi civilians back in 2004. And he joins me now.
Thank you so much for being with us.
ILARIO PANTANO, FORMER U.S. MARINE: Good evening, Paula.
ZAHN: So, we have heard the numbers. Just in the past week alone, some 13 servicemen charge in these -- these various plots and allegations.
PANTANO: I don't think those numbers -- I don't think those numbers tell the whole story, though.
I think that there are bigger numbers, which are, this has been going on for three years, this liberation. And, in the totality of it, what we see -- and there may, in fact, be some criminal elements or some criminal activities that have occurred.
But in the totality of a three-year liberation, with a million troops going rotating through, we have numbers that are smaller than what happens in some weekends in an American neighborhood. So, I think, relatively, we have a professional level of conduct of our American servicemen that we should be proud of.
ZAHN: So, you are not one of those who is willing to say tonight that the -- the stress of repeated redeployments is affecting these soldiers. Or is it that we are more willing to second-guess some of the decisions that are made in the fog of war?
PANTANO: I think that we're absolutely more willing.
I think we even saw this when an air marshal discharged his weapon, you know, in an airline recently. And, immediately, within hours, there were decisions, was his shoot appropriate or not. I think we live in a society where -- where second-guessing is appropriate.
I think the fog of war is a very difficult thing for civilians to understand, the chaos of the battlefield, the decision that, as you come around a corner or enter a room, if you should shoot or not. And, literally, thousands of those decisions are made every day by a soldier.
If you take that, again, and figure that you have 130,000 soldiers in the zone, there are millions of decisions happening a day to shoot or not shoot. That's a billion over the course of this liberation. That's a lot of decisions, with a fairly small number of errors.
ZAHN: You were sitting in the same place a lot of these servicemen who are facing charges are in tonight. And there was a point where you didn't think you might be a free man.
ZAHN: So, what is your concern for these servicemen...
PANTANO: Well, I...
ZAHN: ... that, somehow, that the court of public opinion might alter the outcome of all this?
PANTANO: As I wrote in "Warlord," there was a time when I envisioned myself talking to my children in an orange jumpsuit through some kind of safety glass. And that was something that was very -- very startling for me, as somebody who had enlisted and served my country twice.
I think that, you know, these servicemen, as they're facing their charges now, they need to appreciate the fact that our system is adversarial. Investigators and prosecutors are going to look, ultimately, to make a case. The charge sheets are going to be as aggressive as they can possibly be in order to scare the defense into a plea.
Alternatively, their defense attorneys are going to do their best to exonerate them. And we are going to see the battle start to play out publicly and then in the courtroom.
ZAHN: Give us a sense what they're going through right now, as they await these -- these trials, and what their families are going through, because this certainly took an enormous family -- toll on your family, your children...
PANTANO: It did indeed.
ZAHN: ... and your wife.
PANTANO: It did indeed.
Well, I -- I think that going from the battlefield, where you're used to having guns pointed at you, to coming home and seeing a charge sheet that says the United States of America vs. Ilario Pantano, in this case, was very troubling for me. As I mentioned, I had served in two wars already. And I think that many of these servicemen are going to be feeling the same things.
Having said that, if there was criminal conduct here, the investigation ultimately will bear that out. And -- and the military justice system works. I have the scars to prove it. I felt it was draconian, initially, when charges were presented. But in the process of a five-day open court hearing, I was fully exonerated. I believe that justice is going to work itself out for these members as well.
ZAHN: Ilario Pantano, thank you for your time tonight.
PANTANO: Thank you so much, Paula.
ZAHN: Appreciate your dropping by.
On to a problem all of us should have -- coming up, three of the richest people in the world talk about giving away their billions. So, who's going to get the money?
And, a little bit later on, crooks playing cops, it's not a new TV show. It is a frightening reality. And it is a growing problem tonight.
On to number eight on our CNN.com countdown -- the Supreme Court jumps into the global warming debate. Today, the justices agreed to take a case brought by 12 states to require the EPA to regulate carbon dioxide released from vehicles.
Number seven -- the search for suspects in a shooting yesterday at a Las Vegas casino. One man was killed and a woman injured. Police have been circulating a security videotape showing a man firing a handgun -- number six and five right after this.
ZAHN: All right. So, we have a real important question for you to consider tonight.
Can $37 billion help win the battle against the 20 most deadly diseases and make the world a better place? Well, Warren Buffett, the man you see on the screen right there, the second richest man in the world, is giving most of his billions to the richest man in the world, Bill Gates, for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
The foundation plans to use the money to fight disease overseas and improve schools right here in the U.S.
Here's Allan Chernoff.
ALLAN CHERNOFF, CNN SENIOR CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's a problem all of us wish we had, what to do with $37 billion burning a hole in your pocket. For 75-year-old Warren Buffett, one of the savviest investors of all time, there were a few choices. Leave it for his three kids? Buffett says he never considered the option.
(on camera): What did they do wrong? Did they break curfew?
CHERNOFF: Tell us a little bit, please, about your philosophy about handing down billions to children.
WARREN BUFFETT, CHAIRMAN, BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY: I do not believe in inheriting your position in society based on what womb you come from.
CHERNOFF: Option two, spend it now; $37 billion could buy $185,000 Lamborghini sports cars or feed 350 million people in the developing world for a full year, according to the U.N. World Food Program, or pay the Pentagon's budget for a month.
(on camera): Option three, find a foundation you believe can do the most good in the world with your money. Warren Buffett believes he's found it with the Gates Foundation.
(voice-over): Microsoft founder Bill Gates and Warren Buffett have been friends and occasional bridge partners for 15 years. Gates recently announced plans to leave Microsoft to devote himself full- time to the foundation he runs with his wife, Melinda. With assets of $31 billion, he is the world's largest.
Buffett says, next month, he will begin making annual contributions of Berkshire Hathaway stock that, at today's value, would double the size of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
BUFFETT: I have got some people where I'm saying, you can give it away better than I can. So, I'm turning it over to you. And -- and -- and you would do a better job of giving it away than I would.
CHERNOFF: The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation finances education for the needy, improves access to computers at U.S. libraries, and fights deadly diseases like tuberculosis and malaria.
BILL GATES, FOUNDER, MICROSOFT: The diseases that are in the -- the developing countries and not in the rich countries, and that list is overwhelmingly infectious diseases.
CHERNOFF: The foundation provides not only medicines to people suffering in impoverished nations, but also basic necessities of life.
The three Buffett kids, they are getting a few billion from dad for their own foundations, which are devoted to educational and environmental causes. But, ironically, Warren Buffett, the great investor, who has always avoided technology stocks, is now entrusting the bulk of his wealth to the nation's greatest technology business man.
Allan Chernoff, CNN, New York.
(END VIDEOTAPE) ZAHN: It seems like a pretty dynamic and smart partnership to me. We would all love to be in that position, wouldn't we?
Well, on to some pretty frightening examples of when seeing is not believing. Coming up next -- criminals impersonating cops, and, in some cases, trying to get away with murder. What can you do to keep safe?
Also ahead: a court case that shocked the country. Will a new jury believe Andrea Yates was insane or a cold-blooded murderer when she drowned all of her children?
And, a little bit later on, a medical miracle in the making -- she can't use her arms or legs, but can you believe it? She's had a baby.
Before that number six on our CNN.com countdown. The U.S. and Japan announce that advanced Patriot Interceptor missiles will be deployed to American bases in Japan for the very first time. The decision comes amid concerns about North Korea's plans to test launch a long-range missile.
Number five, this morning a jury in Florida recommended the death penalty for Justin Barber, who was convicted of shooting his wife at a beach. Prosecutors say he killed her to collect on a life insurance policy worth more than $2 million. Number four when we come back.
ZAHN: It has been almost five years since Andrea Yates drowned her five children. Coming up in this hour, what has changed and will a new jury still call it murder?
Also, the story of one woman's amazing courage. She's paralyzed but somehow she's managed to have a baby.
Coming up at the top of the hour on "LARRY KING LIVE," the family of a notorious Mafia hit man, who claimed he killed hundreds and helped get rid of Jimmy Hoffa.
Here's what's happening at this moment. In Missouri a federal judge has just halted all executions in that state. The judge ruled that the department of corrections must make some major changes in the way executions are carried out. The judge wants to make sure that condemned prisoners do not suffer undue pain during lethal injection.
Almost 50,000 hourly workers at General Motors and Delfi Autoparts have decided to take buyouts or early retirement. The high numbers surprised General Motors management, but will speed cost cutting plans.
And our "Crude Awakenings," a daily look at gas prices all over the country. The states with today's highest prices are in red. The lowest in green. The average today for unleaded regular, $2.86. And our graph shows the trend over the last month or so. If the police knock on your door, you let them in, right? If you see the flashing rights in your rear view mirror you pull over. Simple facts of life. But, maybe not so simple after all, in a world where an increasing number of criminals are disguising themselves as police. An investigating by "The Chicago Sun Times" this year turned out 1,000 cases in the last three years alone and just in that city. Now, just take a look at this chilling report from Ted Rowlands. It's tonight's "Eye Opener."
TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Heather Sutherland says when she pulled over on a dark street in Leesville, Louisiana, she believed that the man that told her to get out of her car was a cop.
HEATHER SUTHERLAND, FAKE COP VICTIM: He grabbed my arms behind my back. I said can I see a badge. He said you don't need to see a badge. That's when I knew he wasn't a cop and something bad was fixing to happen to me.
ROWLANDS: The police impostor was this man, Chad Elliott. Heather says Elliott forced her into this Ford Bronco and drove her to a wooded area.
SUTHERLAND: He was telling me he could cut me into a million pieces and no one would find my body.
ROWLANDS: After trying to escape, Heather says she decided to cooperate to save her life.
SUTHERLAND: He performed oral sex on me and made me perform oral sex on him while he held a knife to my throat.
ROWLANDS: Heather says she was raped then eventually let go. With Heather's help, Chad Elliott was arrested the next day and is now serving a 90-year prison sentence.
WENDY COHEN, MOTHER OF FAKE COP VICTIM: I kiss her picture. Like that.
ROWLANDS: Every morning Wendy Cohen says she walks into her daughter Lacy's old room to sit on her bed. Lacy was murdered three years ago by a suspected fake cop in Fort Collins, Colorado.
DETECTIVE GINGER MOHS, FORT COLLINS POLICE: She probably turned in here, responded immediately to red and blue flashing lights and pulled her car over here and rolled her window down and greeted the person as a police officer, as a legitimate police officer.
ROWLANDS: According to police the night she was killed, she was returning from visiting a friend when she was pulled over right across the street from her house.
COHEN: She would, of course, have stopped. She was very respectful that way. Probably thought she did something wrong or was speeding or didn't know why.
ROWLANDS: Investigators say the man pretending to be a cop was actually Jason Claussen, someone Fort Collins police new very well, a former police cadet that they had actually helped train.
MOHS: He was interested in policing and rode with me several times on patrol.
ROWLANDS: This is some of the evidence collected, including police lights, that investigators say Claussen had wired into his car. A few weeks before Lacy was murdered, sheriff deputies had caught Claussen with the lights and a fake badge and gun in a hotel parking lot.
SHERIFF JIM ALDERDEN, LARIMER COUNTY, COLORADO: We took his concealed weapons permit away from him. But, there wasn't anything we could do to take the red and blue lights away from him, which is probably what led to the abduction of Lacy.
COHEN: She had mace and cell phone and brand new car and she had all these things that were supposed to keep her safe. She was across the street from her house.
ROWLANDS: With the help of Lacy's mother the laws have change indeed Colorado, making it a felony now to have red and blue lights. Claussen is serving a life sentence for Lacy's murder.
Fake cops have also targeted men. Last year bank manager James Gotlieb was pulled over on Long Island by this man, Reginald Gaus (ph), who was driving a black SUV with blue flashing lights. Gaus wanted keys to the bank. When Gotlieb didn't cooperate, police say he was shot and killed. Gaus is now serving a life sentence for murder.
Fake cops have also targeted people in their homes. A case pending in Jacksonville, Florida involves the murder of 23-year-old Sarah Whitlock, a nursing student. Police say she was killed by a man wearing a fake uniform, who claimed to be a police recruit. The suspect, 17-year-old Timothy Simmons has pled not-guilty to first degree murder.
(on camera): Looking like a law enforcement officer is relatively easy. You can come to a place like this and buy an actual police uniform. This is a fake gun. It is plastic, but it looks like the real thing. These are real hand cuffs, which are for sale. And take a look at this. This is a fake police badge. But, it is very difficult to tell the difference between this and the real thing.
(voice-over): If you're not sure you're dealing with a real cop, the best thing to do, according to law enforcement, is to call 911.
ALDERDEN: That will get them at the dispatch center and they can tell the dispatcher, I was stopped by this unmarked unit at this location, can you verify that?
ROWLANDS: Heather Sutherland says even before she was attacked, she usually had her guard up but never thought to be suspicious of someone in uniform.
SUTHERLAND: It can happen to anybody at anytime. Even if it's happened once. I mean, there's some sickos out there.
ROWLANDS: Ted Rowlands, CNN, Fort Collins, Colorado.
ZAHN: For those of you that follow the calender closely, you may find it hard to believe, but it has been almost five years since Andrea Yates drowned her children. Coming up, will a new jury see things any differently at all? Will her insanity defense have a chance this time?
And a little bit later on, an amazing woman. Her remarkable story of being paralyzed, yet having a baby.
Now No. 4 on the CNN.com countdown. Strong criticism from President Bush about newspaper reports on a secret Treasury Department program to follow the money trail of terror. Mr. Bush said the newspaper reports on the program, quote, "make it harder to win this war on terror." We'll have No. 3 right after this.
ZAHN: In a Houston courtroom today, they began reliving a crime that shocked the whole nation. Opening statements began today in Andrea Yates second murder trial. You might remember that Yates drowned her five small children in a bathtub on June 20, 2001. No one has ever disputed that.
But in her first trial, she pleaded innocent by reason of insanity. But the jury found her guilty and she was sentenced to life in prison. Last year, she was granted a new trial because of some testimony from one prosecution witness turned out to be inaccurate. So as her second trial gets going, the question is whether this jury will accept the insanity defense.
Joining me now, Court TV correspondent Beth Karas who has been covering the case. Always good to see you, Beth. All right, so we know the first time around the jury simply did not buy the insanity defense. They didn't buy the fact that perhaps a previous mental illness condition was made worse by postpartum depression. So what can the defense possibly present that a new jury might read differently?
BETH KARAS, COURT TV CORRESPONDENT: Well, they do have additional witnesses who will talk about her mental history in the last four years when she's been incarcerated if the judge allows it, because she has had psychotic breaks.
This is a condition that continues even though she is medicated and isn't in a position to flush her meds down the toilet or refuse to do it, the way she was pre-arrest. They also have some healthcare workers who had contact with her in the weeks and days just before she killed her children, who didn't testify before. So they have a little more evidence. But I think they're just hoping that this is a different jury and that this jury might be convinced that she didn't know what she did was wrong.
ZAHN: But the fact is this jury is still going to have to watch the crime scene video, which is gruesome. Graphically showing five dead young babies. So how is the defense going to spin that, given some of this new stuff you're talking about that you're going to try to sprinkle in?
KARAS: They can't spin it. George Parnham, the lead defense attorney got up today in his opening and he said, "These next few days are going to be terrible. They're horrific what she did."
It's horrific. They're not denying what she did. They're just going to have to swallow it and move forward next week with their case. The prosecution's case is very short. Then they'll start the insanity defense, putting on a parade of psychiatric witnesses. And they are hoping that the attitude in the community has changed also because, indeed, this jury during selection last week was much more open to discussing mental illness and the insanity defense that many people were excused from the jury panel because they felt that Andrea Yates indeed was insane.
ZAHN: But do you think this jury will be any more accepting or open to the idea of postpartum depression, which is still today something that is hotly debated?
KARAS: You know, it is an interesting question. But this jury is going to learn so much about her mental history that it goes far beyond postpartum depression. Delusion, psychoses, the first signs really when she was in high school. It didn't start in 1999 with her two suicide attempts. It really does predate that. So postpartum depression is just a part of it. She had a lot more going on there.
ZAHN: Beth Karas, thanks for the update. We'll be checking in with you throughout the trial, appreciate it.
Coming up, a woman who went to amazing lengths to have a baby, even though she's paralyzed from the chest down. Her story is ahead.
But now let's take a very quick biz break.
ZAHN: "LARRY KING LIVE" is coming up in just a few minutes, but guess what? "LARRY KING LIVE" will not be there because John Roberts is filling in and John's joining us here on the set for a little preview. How are you doing?
JOHN ROBERTS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, I'm good, Paula. How are you?
ROBERTS: Really interesting hour we've got coming up. 1986, a fellow by the name of Richard Kuklinski, who lived in New Jersey, went to jail. He has since confessed to killing between 100 and 200 people when he was a contract killer for the mafia.
ZAHN: Can I understand -- is it between 100 and 200? Is it 100 or 200?
ROBERTS: Well, he claims as many as 200. But you know, it's how many you can pin on him. He actually had five pinned on him when he went to jail, but it's sort of like how much is too much? He's admitted to killing as many as 200 people in a variety of terrible ways. And tonight we're going to look further into Richard Kuklinski, who died in March of this year. And it's interesting that his death was four months before he was supposed to testify against Sammy the Bull Gravano in the case of the death of Peter Calabro, who was a New York City cop who was killed back in the 1980s. It was believed to be a mafia hit. We're going to be talking for the first time with three members of his family, his wife Barbara and his daughters Merrick and Christen as well. A really, really fascinating topic.
And we're also going to be looking at a publication of a new book called "The Ice Man: Confessions of a Mafia Contract Killer" by Philip Carlo, it's coming out in book stores next week. Throws some new light on some of the murders that he was responsible for, including perhaps Jimmy Hoffa. And he says he knows where the body went.
ZAHN: Well, he should have shown everybody where it was, right?
ROBERTS: Well, he claims it's in a Japanese automobile now. So it may be difficult to find.
ZAHN: Oh really? Yet another person -- we saw what happened to Detroit over the last couple of weeks in that search. Well, have a good show, we look forward to seeing it.
ROBERTS: All right, you bet.
ZAHN: Our instant mafia expert here, John Roberts. The guy understands Washington, now he gets the mafia.
ROBERTS: I've seen an episode or two of "The Sopranos."
ZAHN: Yes, haven't we all? Thanks, John.
You're about to meet a woman who has an absolutely amazing spirit. Not only did she come back from an accident that left her almost completely paralyzed, now, she's done what everybody thinks is absolutely miraculous. She's had a baby. How are they both doing? We'll find out.
First, No. 3 on the CNN.com countdown. We mentioned a little bit earlier on, storms on the East Coast take a big toll on Washington D.C. Flooding forced several government agencies to close, mud slides and downed trees also made travel nearly impossible. Numbers two and one on our list up next.
ZAHN: In tonight's "Vital Signs," you are about to meet a remarkable woman who has done something absolutely amazing. Having a baby is, as many of you out there, and I've had one, is difficult enough. But she did it more than a decade after an accident that had paralyzed her. John Zarrella has her story in tonight's "Vital Signs."
JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Michelle Carston is disabled, a quadriplegic. Thirteen years ago, at the age of 23, this attractive brunette dove into shallow water while vacationing in Mexico.
MICHELLE CARSTON: It broke my neck at the cervical fifth level, and instantly paralyzed me.
ZARRELLA: The accident left her with no movement below her chest, but did not paralyze her spirit. Today, she even bowls with a special device called the I-can Bowler (ph).
M. CARSTON: My high score is 181.
ZARRELLA: About five years ago, Michelle met Peter at a karaoke bar near Orlando.
PETER CARSTON: We just clicked from the moment we met.
M. CARSTON: I didn't sing. That's why I landed him.
ZARRELLA: They married on a sunny March afternoon three years later.
P. CARSTON: With this ring...
MICHELLE M. CARSTON: I thee wed.
ZARRELLA: Marriage alone was not enough to fulfill her and Peter's lives. They wanted a child.
M. CARSTON: In conversation, we always said, you know, when we have a child. And it was just never an if.
ZARRELLA: But many wondered, after the accident, could she become pregnant? Michelle never doubted it would happen.
M. CARSTON: There's nothing wrong with my body. That's what people forget.
ZARRELLA: After only three months trying to conceive, Michelle was expecting. What Michelle and her doctors could not foresee is what would happen to her.
The story of her pregnancy is the subject of a one-hour Discovery Health documentary.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: After 15 hours of waiting, suddenly everything is happening really fast. ZARRELLA: Experts say women with spinal cord injuries can generally conceive and bear children at nearly the same success rate as the general population.
(on camera): But doctors at the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis say Michelle Carston is rare. We are looking at the, quote, "needle in the haystack," they say. Worldwide, women make up only 20 percent of spinal cord injuries, and the number who are of child-bearing age is infinitely smaller than that.
(voice-over): Because there is such limited knowledge about paralyzed women giving birth, Michelle did not know what would happen to her body, or her unborn child's health.
Eight months ago, she gave birth to Pierce Michael Carston. Pierce is fine, Michelle and Peter say, but Michelle is not. Nearly since the onset of her pregnancy, Michelle has been fighting a strange, debilitating case of high blood pressure.
M. CARSTON: It is a horrible feeling. And there are no doctors still that know what's going on, or can tell me what to do to better this.
ZARRELLA: Just sitting up straight can cause her to black out. On one afternoon we spent with her, Michelle couldn't get out of bed.
The Carstons have hired helpers, but much of the burden of care for Pierce falls on husband Peter.
P. CARSTON: I would be lying if I said it wasn't tough. It's tough. You have just got to hang in there. And you know, just get through it. That's what I do every day. Getting through it.
ZARRELLA: Despite the hardships...
M. CARSTON: I know you're sleepy. Oh, he's so sleepy.
ZARRELLA: ... Michelle relishes every moment spent with Pierce. The blood pressure problem is hugely frustrating, but she fights through it.
M. CARSTON: Even when they're feeding the baby, I have them bring him right in front of me, so that I can feel like I'm an active part of this.
ZARRELLA: For Michelle, parenting is a matter of the heart and not the arms and legs.
John Zarrella, CNN, Winter Garden, Florida.
ZAHN: Wow. What an amazing story. You can see more of Michelle's story on "Paralyzed and Pregnant" on Discovery Health this Sunday. When does a minor league baseball game become newsworthy? How about when its manager throws a major league tantrum? That's next. Check this out.
Before that, number two in our countdown. The oldest member of the Backstreet Boys, Kevin Richardson, is leaving the group. Say it ain't so.
And number one, speculation that job stress may have prompted the suicide of the chancellor of the University of California at Santa Cruz. Denice Denton jumped from an apartment building in San Francisco over the weekend.
We'll be right back.
ZAHN: Talk about unsportsman-like conduct. Check this out when an umpire tossed the manager of the Asheville Tourists out of the game for disputing a call last night. The guy threw the mother of all tantrums. None of it helped; the umps didn't change the call. And the team lost anyway.
There you have it. A lesson in life.
That's it for all of us tonight. Thanks so much for joining us. Good night.
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