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LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES

Interview With Richard Mecum

Aired May 28, 2003 - 19:10   ET

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

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: One of the men you just saw in Martin Savidge's report, Richard Mecum, a U.S. marshal in Georgia, he joins us now. He helped direct the manhunt for Lee. He joins us from Atlanta.
Thank you very much for being with us, Mr. Mecum, appreciate it.

How difficult was this capture? Sort of the stereotype of serial killer suspects is that they're very smart and very crafty. This guy was going around using his name.

RICHARD MECUM, U.S. MARSHAL: He was and he used his name or seemed to be using his name pretty much throughout the entire investigation. When we first started this, we were put on notice by the Louisiana law enforcement, primarily the U.S. marshal service in Louisiana gave us some information that he was going to be in Atlanta, that their tracking devices brought him to Atlanta.

When we began checking it we, too, found that he was in Atlanta, but we did not know specifically where.

COOPER: I know you can't really talk specifically about the methods that the marshal service uses to track fugitives, don't want to give anything away, but generally speaking, how were you able to track his movements and what kind of movements did he make over the last several weeks?

MECUM: Well, the marshal service, of course, has been hunting fugitives for many years and we've come up with various methods and they've become more technologically advanced to the point to where we can trace people in a variety of ways.

And electronically, we did track him and found him here in Atlanta and found him to be in a specific area and began closing in on the area at that time. We did lose him when he talked to his girlfriend on Monday and she told him, in effect, that he was a primary suspect and at that, he hung up the telephone and no longer used it.

COOPER: And you arrived at the hotel that he had been staying at, I've heard, some 30 minutes on so after he left?

MECUM: It was somewhere around there. We were right in right behind him and tried to find him, but he had gone by that time.

COOPER: That's got to be so frustrating. How were you able to finally pinpoint his location?

MECUM: Well, we just basically, old techniques as far as law enforcement's concerned. Talked to people and burned up a lot of shoe leather.

The difficulty that we had was that we found he is extremely just very congenial as far as people are concerned, not only men, but women, and he was inviting women into his apartment there and we began to get concerned because we weren't quite sure what would set him off. What makes him so violent that makes someone that's this friendly become violent.

And we were concerned now for the community, as we had a known predator within the community. And we had to take some action.

So on Tuesday morning or Tuesday afternoon at 1 p.m., we went in with the GBI and the Atlanta Police Department, put out a notice asking the community to get involved and begin letting us know if they see anything.

COOPER: And we know the rest. There was a big response and you were able get your man. And Richard Mecum, appreciate you joining us tonight. Thank you very much.

MECUM: Thank you, Anderson.

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