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CNN Today

Two Remaining Texas Fugitives Surrender to Police

Aired January 24, 2001 - 2:35 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: Well, it's over. The nationwide manhunt for two remaining Texas prison escapees ended just before dawn today. Patrick Murphy and Donald Newbury surrendered peacefully after all- night negotiations with authorities. They will be arraigned in Colorado Springs at 4:00 p.m. Eastern. We plan to cover part of that live. We understand that federal charges against them, fugitive warrants, will be dropped in exchange for state charges of capital murder in Texas. We will follow that process.

These men had been on the run for 42 days, escaping with five others last month. Four of the fugitives were captured in a nearby town on Monday. Authorities say another committed suicide.

For what's going to happen next, let's check in with CNN's Jeff Flock. He's in Colorado Springs today. What's the process now, Jeff?

JEFF FLOCK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Lou, it's not 100 percent sure. In fact the court appearance that you mentioned, which will take place now in about an hour and a half here in Colorado Springs, we're not sure if that's going to be an arraignment or in fact just an appearance.

The four men that were captured earlier, two of them have an arraignment scheduled for tomorrow and two for the following day. So, we're not sure if we're going to get an arraignment here. It would, though, as you report, be presumably on the state changes, both flight as well as in connection with the killing of Officer Hawkins in Irving, Texas on Christmas Eve. The federal changes being dropped, as you report.

Let's give you the latest pictures we have of these two men and as we reported throughout this morning, it came to end at about 3:45 local time here, Mountain time. The two, after getting, asking, and being granted time at an interview with a local broadcaster, an interview that was broadcast live here in this town as well as in some stations in Dallas, not, though, nationally by CNN. After that, they came out really almost immediately thereafter.

The interviews began at about 3:43 local time, we're told, and by about 3:45 or so -- I should say the interviews began about 3:29 and after that was over at about 3:45, by that point they were out and in police custody here in Colorado Springs.

Now, some people have wondered why they were able to elude capture for so long, all of them, but let's take a look specifically at these two men. The before and after shot that we now got -- we now know what they look like now and of course what they looked like before.

Let's start with Mr. Newbury. He is the man who is in prison on aggravated robbery charges, serving a 99-year term. You get some sense of what he looked like before and after. And then let's go to Mr. Murphy. He is the man who was imprisoned on aggravated rape charges and, ironically, he was due for patrol or at least to be up for parole within about a year. So, some people, of course, questioning the wisdom of this escape on his part at the very least. At any rate, you see some sense there of how they have changed over time.

How did it all come to an end? Well, again, a tip. The two men just where we stand her and perhaps if we come back live you can see these buildings, these rooms behind me, the rooms of the Holiday Inn here, just about a half a block up the street or so from where they found that van. So, they didn't get far at all. The man who speaks for the owners of this Holiday Inn came out not too awfully long ago and gave us a sense for what transpired once they got here. Let's listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BILL LILES, VICE PRESIDENT, MERISTAR: Donald Newbury and Patrick Murphy Jr. checked into the Holiday Inn Garden of the Gods under assumed names at approximately 8:00 p.m. on Monday, January 22nd. They paid for the rooms in cash and as a standard practice, the front deck agent requested and photocopied a photo identification.

Tuesday afternoon, police officers inquired if the fugitives had been seen at the property. A front desk agent later recalled that a guest who had checked in that may have tampered with but didn't know -- think further about it until they were questioned. A hotel employee called the police to inform them that the front desk agent felt men the men who had checked in may have been the fugitives.

The police arrived at approximately 7:30 p.m.. After reviewing the photocopied ID and the desk folio, the checked into the room next to the fugitives. By 9:30 p.m., the police had confirmed the identity of the fugitives and began guest evacuation. Negotiations with the fugitives began shortly thereafter that eventually led to their surrender early this morning.

There were no injuries to the guests, staff or police and the hotel has resumed normal operations. We will decline any requests for interviews with our employees because we want to protect them from further potential recriminations.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FLOCK: Again, a sort of a bizarre end to all of this with the broadcast interview. We'll hear more about that throughout the day and the wisdom of the negotiators in granting that. We will stay on that and let you know about that appearance as well. That is the latest from here, Lou. Back to you.

WATERS: All right, Jeff Flock on the case in Colorado today -- Natalie.

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: So good police work: all these fugitives taken in peacefully. And good work on the part of citizens, who gave the police their tips that led them to these men. Thousands of tips came in. And some of those tips there in Colorado were accurate and led police to the men who escaped. There is a half- million dollar reward waiting to be collected. So who gets the money? And how is all that decided? Officer David Tull of the Irving, Texas Police Department joins us now.

How does this process work, officer Tull?

OFFICER DAVID TULL, IRVING POLICE DEPARTMENT: Well, Natalie, it's not going to be a simple today type situation. There's -- again, we have got multiple entities that have given this money, just -- like I said, there is so many of them involved. But basically each one of those entities or groups that have put money in have either what you would call an executive or a fund manager of some type.

We will work with them, as far as the police department, to narrow down those. And there have been thousands of tips received on this. We will narrow that down, the scope and possibilities, relay that to them. And then they will make a determination, bottom line, who is going to get the money and how. Quite a few of these -- or all these funds have -- some of them have similar specifications or stipulations to them. Some of them are -- one of them I know is for capture. Some are for arrests, convictions, so on.

So they will all be looked at. And there will be a determinant -- you know, a fair and equitable determination made on the distribution of those funds.

ALLEN: Give us an idea of where this reward money comes from.

TULL: Well, there's -- again, there's quite a few of them. I can go ahead and list them out. You know, a half-a-million dollars is a very large amount of money. We have got $15,000 came from Schepps Dairy. We had $7,000 from the state of Texas, $10,000 from a group called the North Texas Loss Prevention Association. Crime Stoppers put $35,000 dollars in.

The city of Irving added $133,000 itself. There is $100,000 from a company called BondJumper.com in correlation with some of their associates and individuals that wanted to go in with that. The FBI Dallas office put in $140,000 out of their general operating budget. And then...

ALLEN: So it comes from government money as well as business money.

TULL: Correct. ALLEN: From all over the place. What about "America's Most Wanted"? Will they likely get a piece of the pie here, since their show is apparently the show that the folks in the trailer park were watching?

TULL: Actually, I'm not sure how that will pan out. My understanding is that -- back to the trailer park edition -- there was -- they had apparently seen it on "America's Most Wanted." They have done an excellent job keeping this in the forefront. I think that the people also reaffirmed it through their Web site, is my understanding as well. And then they -- the people actually called the local law enforcement to get the ball rolling.

So all those factors will be taken into consideration. And again, it's -- they have got to look through it thoroughly. This is a lot of money. We want to make sure -- and it's out there for somebody to have. So the object is not to see how we can keep from giving it. It's to figure out the fair and equitable way to do it.

ALLEN: All right, well, we thank you for explaining that to us, David Tull, from Irving, Texas.

WATERS: Now let's rewind to Monday when four of those escapees were captured at a convenience store and at a motor home park in nearby Woodland Park, Colorado. A fifth fugitive killed himself at that motor home park. And we have on the line Panzy Giles, who was in a Bible study class with that fifth man who did kill himself.

Ms. Giles, Larry Harper was in a Bible class with you.

PANZY GILES, WOODLAND PARK RESIDENT: Yes.

WATERS: For how long was that? And how did that come about?

GILES: Well, from the day that they came into the park, Wade Holder, the owner had asked them -- he said, "By the way, if you guys are Christians" -- they had said there was five Christian men traveling together. And they didn't say anything about seven. And he said, "Well, since you are all Christians, maybe you would like to join our Bible study on Thursday night that we have here at the park." And he said, "Well, we would be glad to come."

And I think they came in on one day, a day or two. Anyway, it wasn't long. And Wade Holder came over to me as soon as they went on up. And he said, "You will never guess what is happening." He said: "Five Christian men have come in here in a motor home. They are traveling cross-country. And they are going to come to our Bible study."

WATERS: Anything -- any red flags go up?

GILES: No red flags, none.

WATERS: So you were in the group with this Larry Harper. Did you hear from him? Did he actively participate? GILES: Oh, he was not forward in wanting to put his self forward in front of everybody. But he wasn't timid. He participated. He made comments. He was very knowledgeable of the word of God.

WATERS: Really?

GILES: And the background and the history of Israel and the Jewish nation and all their customs. And I will tell you, you would have thought he had got -- was a Bible scholar.

WATERS: And what was your attitude about the man? Did you -- was he likable?

GILES: Well, extremely likable, very pleasant, very educated. And, really, the first time I saw him, I just thought he was so educated. I didn't know how he was going to fit in with all of us.

(LAUGHTER)

GILES: But he was just wonderful. And a lot of that formal thing dropped off of him the more he was with us.

WATERS: And how long was he with you?

GILES: He was with us three weeks. And he come down and visit with the owner every day. And sometimes they would just get into Bible discussions. And..

WATERS: Well, you say you meet on Thursdays. Did he meet with you last Thursday?

GILES: Yes.

WATERS: He committed suicide on Monday.

GILES: Last Thursday he was with us. And he made a special thank you to all of our people.

WATERS: A special thank you?

GILES: He said, "I want to tell all of you how much I appreciate you bringing me into your fellowship and for taking me at face value the way you have." He said that the highlight of his whole week is Thursday night when he gets to be among us. And he wanted to us know that he truly thanked us for that.

WATERS: And when you heard that he had committed suicide and was one of the "Texas Seven," your reaction to that?

GILES: Well, you know it had to be a shock. But I am 59 years old. I've lived a long time. And there's not too much that knocks me off my feet. But I was hurt by it. And I was so sorry. And yet I had to thank God that God brought them into this place, because he was reaching for something. I mean, I know he was a front for them, you know, in this area. But he dropped a lot of his formalism and became a real person around us. And he was reaching us, especially Sunday. We took him to church Sunday. He wanted to go with us. And we took him to church Sunday. And he heard a message on forgiveness. And he had just bought a brand new Bible. He picked it up Saturday, didn't have a mark on it anywhere. And all he marked in his Bible Sunday was on the scriptures on forgiveness, and bitterness in our hearts, and holding grudges, and blaming people for our positions and stuff, the preacher just tore that -- just went into that in great detail.

And I have heard that he has been abused when he was a child. And then he raped these three women. And this is an act of violence and anger. And so this message was right on target. And he drank in every word. He was so -- he didn't take his eyes off the preacher. And he drank in every word. And he marked those scriptures down. And they said when they broke in -- I didn't know that until this morning -- they said when they broke into the motor home, his Bible was laying open to a specific place. The only specific place there that was scripture on forgiveness.

WATERS: Well, it's quite a postscript to an amazing story. And Panzy Giles, we appreciate you taking time to talk with us a little bit about it -- Panzy Giles from Woodland Park, Colorado, where the final chapter was written for Larry Harper and for the freedom of the six other men who now will soon be on their way back to Texas, we understand, after arraignments, some of which begin this afternoon, to face capital murder charges in Texas -- Irving, Texas -- in the killing of that Irving, Texas police officer, Mr. Hawkins.

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