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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

Jury Recommends Death for Joseph Smith; North Carolina Governor Denies Clemency for Kenneth Lee Body; Syringe of Death; War of Words; The Recovery Channel -- Your Tax Dollars are Paying for It; Church Chooses Not To Investigate 'Weeping' Madonna In California; Some Surgeons Frown on French Face Transplant; Windy Ride for Denver Window Washers Ends Without Mishap

Aired December 1, 2005 - 23:00   ET

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


(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
SUSAN SCHORPEN, CARLIE BRUCIA'S MOTHER: He may be condemned, but he's still breathing and my daughter isn't. If he was tonight, yes, I might get a good night sleep. He damned himself. He did this all to himself. His evidence was left and then he showed his true colors while he's been incarcerated. So I just -- he couldn't be dead fast enough for me. I want him dead. I want him dead now. My daughter's not breathing. She'll never breath again. I can never hold her again. I've got to wait for appeals before, you know, he dies. It matters to me.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: That was Carlie Brucia's mother just a few hours ago joining us.

Live now to talk about the jury's decision, Criminal Defense Attorney Jeff Weiner. And on the phone, Todd Ruger of the "Sarasota Herald Tribune," who was in the courtroom tonight. I appreciate both of you being with us.

Todd, let's start off with you. Joseph Smith, showing no emotion when the jury recommended death. How did the family react?

TODD RUGER, SARASOTA HERALD TRIBUNE: Well, the biggest reaction was from Carlie's mother, Sue Schorpen. She was on the edge of her chair as this was being read. It was a very tense day in court today. There was an outburst from a spectator earlier today. So very tense, silent and electric. She was on the edge of her chair and sobbing silently. Then, when the verdict was read, she got up and she could -- was having trouble walking. It was almost like an out-of-body experience and she was using the support of some people that she had attended the trial with to make it out of the courtroom.

COOPER: Jeff, how rare is it in Florida for a judge to overturn what a jury has recommended? Because at this point the judge hasn't weighed in.

JEFF WEINER, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: It's very, very unusual. And in this case, Anderson, the judge already said that it's very unlikely that he would overrule whatever the jury's recommendation is. COOPER: It automatically goes to an appeal though because it is a death penalty case. What are the chances of this being overturned on appeal?

WEINER: I think the chances are very, very slim. I think the chances are overwhelming the judge will recommend or actually sentence him to death. And after a series of appeals in state and probably federal court as well, I think the sentence will be carried out, barring the U.S. Supreme Court holding that the death penalty is unconstitutional.

COOPER: Todd, Joseph Smith wanted to make a statement today to the jury before they went to deliberate. He was denied that. Why?

RUGER: Well, during one of the breaks, he wrote up a quick note -- handwrote it, sat with his attorney and did it. But when they came back from the break, he wanted to introduce it to the jury. The judge said you can't do that unless you give the prosecution a chance to cross-examine him. He didn't take the stand during the testimony part of this trial and so the defense attorneys made the decision not to -- they didn't want to put Smith up for cross-examination.

COOPER: Jeff, the statement was entered into the record, though. Is that going to be an issue on the appeal?

WEINER: It'll definitely be an issue on the appeal. I think the defense lawyers were very creative in trying to get this done. The judge said well, listen, you can make your statement to me at the time of the actual sentencing, which will probably be within a month or so. I'll consider what you have to say. So, it'll be an issue on appeal. No question about it, but I think the trial judge will probably will probably be upheld.

COOPER: And Jeff, the jury ruled 10 to two for the death penalty. They don't need to be unanimous, correct?

WEINER: They don't. Florida is one of the few states that allows a judge to override a jury. It also is one of the few states that doesn't require unanimous verdicts.

COOPER: Todd, has Smith's mother reacted at all -- and we've heard from Carlie Brucia's mother. I know Smith's mother showed up today in court for the first time. Did she make any statements?

RUGER: She did not. She declined to talk to me. After the verdict, she went out of the courthouse, along with Adam Tebrugge, Smith's public defender, who said, let's just keep our heads up and keep walking. Nobody from the defense side said anything about this verdict today.

COOPER: It is -- it's a case that obviously we're going to continue covering as this appeal process goes through and when the jury finally does weigh in. Jeff, when do you think the judge is going to make a decision officially?

WEINER: I think the word is within a month or so he's going to have the sentencing. And I think that Smith will make all the arguments. His lawyer will make the arguments. He'll be heard. He'll talk about drug addiction, the fact that, you know, now he's no longer a threat. He should be sentenced to life in prison, where he won't be a threat, where he won't get drugs. Let him pay each day for his crime. But like I said, in Florida, trial judges are elected. And the likelihood of this judge overturning the jury's recommendation is very, very slim.

COOPER: Jeff Weiner, I appreciate your thoughts; and Todd Ruger, as well. Thank you for joining us.

This just in to CNN, the governor of North Carolina has denied clemency to a man named Kenneth Lee Boyd from becoming the 1,000th convicted killer to be put to death in this country since capital punishment was reinstated in 1977. Boyd's execution by lethal injection is set for three hours from now, at 2:00 a.m. eastern time tonight. Joining us now is Steve Sbraccia of Raleigh, North Carolina's WB station WLFL. What's the scene right now outside the prison?

STEVE SBRACCIA, WFL-TV REPORTER: Well, outside the prison, Anderson, there are some protestors -- about 200 in number. They're being kept on a sidewalk away from the central prison itself. Some of these people have come from all around the country because this being the 1,000th execution of the country, it was very symbolic for them. Actually, Mr. Boyd was going to be executed by default -- I should say the 1,000th execution is sort of a default position because in neighboring Virginia, there was a prisoner who was supposed to be executed. The governor there granted clemency because a key piece of evidence couldn't be found.

Some of the protestors that we talked to earlier today prior to a prayer service that was held at a church about a half mile away, said they came for the symbolism of it. They said quite simply that the 1,000th execution was very important. A number of them that we talked to had no idea about the facts in the case. They knew nothing about the case at all. Now, Mr. Boyd has admitted that he killed his wife and her father. He's never said that wasn't the case. He said he would not like to die. He said he would rather live in prison for the rest of his life. He's 57 years old.

But the people down here in North Carolina who support the death penalty, they have a whole different view of it. Some of them are very frustrated because they say the people who are opposing the death penalty, they didn't look at the facts of the case. They don't understand this man was an admitted murderer and this is a very, very conservative area. Folks believe in an eye for an eye and a life for a life. So, they're a little bit frustrated, all of a sudden being thrust into this position of having the world's eyes on North Carolina.

COOPER: Steve, the lethal injection is to be administered less than three hours from now, at 2:00 a.m. eastern time. We'll continue to follow it throughout this hour. Steve Sbraccia, of WB station WFL. We appreciate you joining us. Thanks. As we just said, Kenneth Lee Boyd is scheduled to be executed in under three hours be lethal injection. The question is, is this a more humane method than the others that we know of? Or is it less humane? What exactly is involved in this form of capital punishment? CNN's Christiane Amanpour traveled to Texas a while back to find out.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Huntsville, Texas, is a prosperous city of 35,000 people. It's a quite town in the plains of eastern Texas. Nonetheless, it has attracted worldwide attention because Huntsville is home to the Texas death chamber, which has executed more people in the past 20 years than any other in the United States.

This morning's work detail is grooming the grounds, preparing the prison for another inmate's death.

Napolian Beasley (ph) is that inmate. He committed a murder at age 17 and he's now on the brink of the ultimate punishment -- death by lethal injection.

(On camera): So we're entering now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the death chamber.

AMANPOUR: Oh, it's shocking to see to me for the first time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At 6:00 o'clock he'll be removed from his cell, be brought in here, get up on the gurney. Once he's on the gurney, five officers are each assigned a position around this gurney.

AMANPOUR: And those five people are what you call the tie-down people?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tie-Down Team. And they will strap his arms down, they'll strap his ankles down, and then they'll put the restraints across the rest of his body. The IV Team will come in, they'll insert two IVs -- one in his left arm, one in his right arm. The warden will then give a signal and the chemical will start flowing.

AMANPOUR: Does he talk to you when the IV's going in?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. That's -- I make it a point to talk to them real strong during that point of time. I mean, we've had fellows who'd laid here told lawyer jokes the whole time somebody was sticking needles in.

AMANPOUR: How long more do you think you'll do this for?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know. I don't look at it as a job. I look it as a ministry. And that's the reason I'm here. So, you know, whenever -- as long as the opportunity allows it, I'll be here.

AMANPOUR: You don't think at some point it will wear on your soul?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It has taken its toll. Yes, it has.

AMANPOUR: And for you? How do you look at it?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I look at it as a service to the people of Texas. I'm actually performing a service.

AMANPOUR: Do you know how cold that would sound to a lot of, lot of people?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. I think that it's not meant to sound cold, by any stretch of the imagination. I view my job as really being an extension of what the courts have ordered.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: CNN's Christiane Amanpour, taking you inside an execution chamber in Huntsville, Texas.

Insurgents have launched a new attack in Iraq. This one, in the war of words. We're going to show you a video released today by insurgents. You're going to see why it's drawing anger from the U.S. military.

Plus, some say a statute of the Virgin Mary is crying. This statue -- others have seen her image in office buildings, windows and even a fencepost. Are they just signs or are they just overactive imaginations at work? We'll explore that and you can judge for yourself when 360 continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: The war in Iraq has become more than just a battle of guns and bombs. It's also a war of words, using spin to win over the Iraqi people. Today, insurgents launched another propaganda attack. A compelling video that if believed, could undermine some of the efforts by U.S. forces. CNN International Correspondent Nic Robertson takes a look at the tape.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is video that has the U.S. military fighting mad. It supposedly shows insurgents roaming freely on Thursday in the city of Ramadi, western Iraq. Camera men filmed the event and sent different videotapes to two TV news agencies. It could be propaganda. And that's what angers coalition commanders. Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, they say, is an expert propagandist.

MAJ. GEN. RICK LYNCH, COALITION SPOKESMAN: Conducting this kidnappings, these beheadings, these explosions so that he gets international coverage to look like he has more capability than he truly has. He is lying to the Iraqi people.

ROBERTSON: And that's the point with the videotape from Ramadi. Is it real or staged? It's certainly designed to show that the insurgents can move about at will in the town. But the coalition says that's not the reality.

LYNCH: Over the course of the day, we've had one attack. It was an RPG attack and it was ineffective. It shows you disparity between the perception of security in Ramadi and what is happening on the ground.

ROBERTSON: On the streets of Ramadi, where CNN is not safely able to go alone, a man, identified as an insurgent, claims to control the streets and vows to crack down on U.S. troops. Leaflets distributed by the gunmen claim Zarqawi, the head of Al Qaida in Iraq, is taking over Ramadi. That he may be close to the city is not disputed by U.S. officers, but they claim is on the run.

LYNCH: No doubt that Zarqawi tried to gravitate him and his forces towards Ramadi. I know it to be true. Our operations are focused on taking him out in Ramadi.

ROBERTSON (on camera): Propaganda is becoming crucial in this battle for both sides. General Lynch says, quote, "We empower our commanders with the ability to inform the Iraqi public." But he insists everything we say is based on fact. Much to his annoyance, the insurgents too appear to have an effective PR machine. Nic Robertson, CNN, Baghdad.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Keeping them honest tonight in New Orleans. Have you heard what FEMA's doing with your tax dollars? They have their own TV network now where you'll only see and hear good things about FEMA and its efforts in New Orleans. They call it the "Recovery Channel." It doesn't look like anything like the recovery we've been reporting on.

Plus, is it a groundbreaking medical procedure or simply mad science? Face transplant surgery. It's got a lot of people up in arms. All sides, all the angles, next on 360.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: A lot of news ahead, but first, Erica Hill from "Headline News" joins us with some of the latest stories. Hi Erica.

ERICA HILL, CNN CORRESONDENT: Hi again, Anderson.

On December 1, 1955. Today, Rosa Parks refused to switch seats on a segregated bus. And 50 years later, her courage and her role in the Civil Rights movement was remembered in ceremonies across the country. Just weeks after her death at the age of 92.

Well, thousands have already stressed -- homeowners along the Gulf Coast now facing a new worry -- mortgage payment. That three- month suspension of payment granted by most banks after Katrina expired today. Yesterday federal bank regulators urged lenders to give homeowners in the hurricane ravaged region more time to begin resuming payment. In Hartford, Connecticut, cursing is going to cost you. Police assigned to Hartford Public and Boelkli (ph) high schools have fined about two dozen students, each $103 for cursing.

And a big congratulations to our own Lou Dobbs! Today, Mr. Dobbs got a Lifetime Achievement Emmy for his work in business . Not too shabby.

COOPER: Not too shabby. He is not officially, "the man."

HILL: Because he wasn't a man before? I mean --

COOPER: Well, no, you know he is, but he's now, "the man," because he's got this award.

HILL: Oh, okay. More emphasis on the -- I got you.

COOPER: Yes. And, you know, I won something once. I won "Jeopardy" once.

HILL: I mean, Anderson, the celebrity "Jeopardy" thing, it never gets old. I got to tell you.

COOPER: Oh, what are you saying, it's pathetic that I keep bringing it up?

HILL: Not at all. Actually, I'm in awe. Because I love "Jeopardy" and I'm convinced that I could win it, except I know once I try to hit the buzzer --

COOPER: It's all about the buzzer.

HILL: I would never -- I would never make it.

COOPER: It's all about the buzzer and all the timing. I'll fill you in on the secret when we go to commercial.

HILL: Alright, good. And by the way, you are "the man."

COOPER: Oh, thank you. You'll be back. Thank you.

Coming up next -- you know, here on 360, we made it our mission to hold accountable those who are responsible for the failures after Hurricane Katrina. We're still haunted, as we all are, by the images of people suffering when relief didn't come right away. And angered by recent reports that DNA testing still hasn't begun on many Katrina victims after three months.

But there's another network out there that's been covering the hurricane relief, without highlighting the failures or the outrage. On its programs, relief efforts appear to have gone splendidly. Folks are singing praises of the federal response. The network is called the "Recovery Channel." And guess what? Your tax dollars are paying for it. Tonight, "Keeping them Honest," CNN's Tom Foreman.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Far from the cleanup, the debris and the angry public meetings.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I need some answers.

FOREMAN: Seventy miles from Washington in the Maryland countryside, it's show time for FEMA.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In times of crisis, the best help is often just a source of reliable information.

FOREMAN: This is the "Recovery Channel," produced by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and airing around the clock via satellite and the internet.

DIANNA GEE, RECOVERY CHANNEL ANCHOR: It could be the best day and the worst day. The day you finally get to go back to your storm- damaged home.

FOREMAN: FEMA conceived the channel years ago to spread important information after disasters. Following Katrina, it was on in shelters, a plain display about rebuilding, financial aid, help and more. But now, with FEMA accusing the mainstream media of failing to provide enough of that info, the "Recovery Channel" has undergone a makeover.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stay with us. Together, we can build a bright future.

FOREMAN: And at the Annenberg School of Communication, Professor Joe Turow says it's turned into propaganda.

JOE TUROW, ANNENBERG SCHOOL OF COMMUNICATION: Most of the information was really not the specific kind of factual information one might think, but rather feature and fluff pieces that seemed designed to aggrandize FEMA, and actually the Bush administration, too.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just want to thank FEMA for all they've done for us.

FOREMAN: Certainly, the channel conveys no public frustration with FEMA. When the channel was airing this,

JAMILAH FRASER, RECOVERY CHANNEL ANCHOR: The massive effort to clean up Louisiana is still topping our coverage. And to speed up this process, our commander in chief steps in with some additional assistance.

FOREMAN: CNN was airing this:

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's wrong with you, Uncle Sam? You drunk? Huh? What you doing with our tax money? Come on, you need to go to rehab, brother.

FOREMAN: Consider this "Focus On Education" report. FRASER: But one New Orleans school refused to let the doors of education close on them. They just rolled in the wheels of knowledge.

FOREMAN: This segment, this week was about FEMA bringing trailers to a school where a tree destroyed several classrooms.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And all of us without FEMA would not be able to be standing here today.

FOREMAN: But this school is not in New Orleans. It's two hours north and there was no information about more than 100 devastated schools actually in the city, where by the way, almost 8,000 school employees have just been told they've officially lost their jobs.

FRASER: Good information for good decisions.

FOREMAN: Another concern. The FEMA logo appears often, but much of the language on the channel suggests it is independent of the very government agency that is running it.

FRASER: Today our lead story is FEMA's top priority: Housing. A two-week extension for those evacuees in hotels. That's what FEMA is saying today.

FOREMAN: Critics on Capitol Hill have repeatedly suggested the administration is misusing public funds for domestic propaganda. Senator Frank Lautenberg is one of them and he watched the channel at our request.

SEN. FRANK LAUTENBERG (D), NEW JERSEY: The way this is being done, it's a fakery. And it shouldn't -- it should be identified as a government product.

FOREMAN: When we contacted FEMA, a spokesperson defended the channel, but after reviewing the questions CNN raised, sent this statement: The agency, it says, is taking immediate measures to ensure that all programming is unmistakably labeled as an official FEMA resource. And it's eliminating any editorial content.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

FOREMAN: So that's the situation with FEMA right now. We have no idea how many people are watching this channel. It's on the DISH network, which puts it into about 12 million subscribers' homes. We have no idea how many are watching it. FEMA has no idea. No idea how many on the internet. And at this point, at least, they can't or won't tell us how much they're spending on this program; but as of this week, they were still trying to hire people to work on it here -- Anderson.

COOPER: So how does FEMA know whether its channel is effective or not if they don't know how many people are watching it?

FOREMAN: That's an excellent question. And I don't think they do know. They believe that by putting the information out there, they're doing something responsible. At the same time, I think there was a clear sense of -- I spoke to FEMA today, that this thing somehow got a little bit away from them. How ever they started off, with a simple a simple sort of screen that just had some information on it, it grew and it grew until it became this big production number where they're saying all sorts of great things about the president and all sorts or great things about FEMA, which they may have liked. But they certainly didn't like the idea of it being exposed to this kind of scrutiny. Nonetheless, Anderson, I think neither you nor I will be on their Christmas card list this year.

COOPER: That is probably true. If somebody at home wants to try to see this, where they can logon, maybe they can see it online?

FOREMAN: Yes, you can try to track it down by doing a couple of search words on this thing. If you just look for "Recovery Channel." Although, I have to tell you, a couple hours ago -- I had been watching it all day, and all of a sudden it just went to a black screen and they started just putting up the words Discovery -- or excuse me, "Recovery Channel," and stay tuned for programming. And the person I spoke to at FEMA today told me they are reworking this right now so that if they watch it, they should not be seeing almost immediately what we had in our report and what was on most of the day today.

COOPER: Okay, Tom, thanks. I appreciate the report. And I just want to point out to viewers, you know, there are a lot of good people at FEMA. I've met a lot of them in the field. We -- all of us who have been reporting -- I mean there are people working around the clock and this is not to diminish the efforts of people who are working very, very hard. But we do believe in truth. We do believe in accuracy. And the people -- especially in the disaster zone -- deserve real information, truthful information and factual information.

A note on the DNA testing, or the lack of it, for the unidentified bodies in Louisiana that we've been reporting on every night this week, we reported last night the state is going to announce tomorrow the name of the private company who are going to do the testing. This is the testing they've been talking about for months now. It is the testing that three months plus, they still haven't begun doing. We're going to be waiting for that announcement. It is still unclear when after the announcement the actual DNA testing will begin. We should also say we invited Governor Kathleen Blanco on the program to talk about the DNA testing again. She declined again. We'll try tomorrow. Hey, we're always here. We got two hours. She's welcome any time.

Coming up, a statute of the Virgin Mary, weeping real tears. That's what some faithful say. True believers flocking to a church in Sacramento. Ahead, we'll look into the phenomenon of religious sightings.

And controversy over radical surgical procedure -- a fascinating one at that. Was the world's first facial transplant too much too soon? And what will the woman look like?

From the U.S. and around the world, this is 360. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Welcome back to 360. A statue of the Virgin Mary, is it weeping real tears? That's coming up. But first here's what's happening at this moment.

A Florida jury tonight has recommended the death penalty for a man convicted of abducting and killing Carlie Brucia. A security camera caught Joseph Smith kidnapping the 11-year-old, her body was found less than a week later. The judge in the case has the final word on whether Smith will get the death penalty.

The FBI is asking for help in catching jewel thieves who made off with more than $5 million. It's called the Gate Cutters Jewelry Crew. They're responsible for 56 heists across the Eastern U.S. The latest robbery was just yesterday on New York's Long Island.

And a four-legged champ hangs up his horseshoes. Afleet Alex was retired today. The colt stumbled and collided during the Preakness, you may remember, but managed to win anyway. The injury from the race has lead to his early retirement.

You know maybe in a year that has tested the faith of so many around the world, it's not surprising that some of the faithful would find comfort in a miracle. In California CNN's Rusty Dornin followed a trail of tears to a statue in a church.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RUSTY DORNIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): At first glance the cool white alabaster of the Virgin Mary's face gives no hint of what's attracted the crowds at the Vietnamese Catholic Martyr's Church in Sacramento, California. But a closer look at her left side and down the front of her clock reveal the mysterious brownish-red trail. The faithful here claim its tears of blood.

(On camera): Parishners say the marks first appeared in early November, but were wiped clean by the parish priest. And on Sunday November 20, church volunteer Anthony Win saw it had returned.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We come in, we see the eyes, blood comes out.

DORNIN (on camera): That was right before church, you saw?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah.

DORNIN (voice over): Now they come to sing. Sometimes bearing gifts, more often, just to pray and gaze riveted on what they can't explain.

(On camera): Why did you come here today?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think curiosity -- and I just choked up. I have that faith and even if it isn't a true miracle. I've never seen a miracle. But it just gives me a re -- reinstates my faith and hope. DORNIN (voice over): Miracles do happen, according to the Catholic Church. Did it happen here? Or for instance, did rust from steel that might be reinforcing the statue leach out? Father James Murphy says that kind of explanation may be likely but the church isn't planning on checking.

(On camera): The Church is not going to investigate this?

FATHER JAMES MURPHY, SACRAMENTO ARCHDIOCESE: No.

DORNIN: Why?

MURPHY: Because the vast majority of them end up having eventually a natural explanation emerges and then interest wanes.

DORNIN: But wouldn't it be better to quickly decide that, rather than let people go on?

MURPHY: No, the Church what the Church thinks essentially is not tomorrow's news. And the position always has been, wait and see what happens.

DORNIN (voice over): But some Catholics question that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It happens so often as far as I know, that they don't even bother investigating it anymore. But I believe they should. It pays to see whether it's a hoax or not.

DORNIN: A case where patience is definitely a virtue.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I tend to believe it. But I'm hoping they can prove its really blood. I'm hoping and waiting.

DORNIN (on camera): Even the storm didn't keep away the faithful that wanted to see for themselves. And no, the rain did not wash away what some believe are tears, adding to the certainty for some here, that something extraordinary is happening.

Rusty Dornin, CNN, Sacramento, California.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Whether you believe or not, it's always fascinating when this happens. And religious sightings aren't a rare as you may think. But even with the passage of time, very few are actually authenticated by the Catholic Church.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER (voice over): Do you see the Virgin Mary on the side of this Florida office building? Or here on a fence post in Australia? Or here, a hospital window in Massachusetts? Thousands of people have looked at these images and said they see Mary.

Alleged sightings of the Virgin Mary have been happening for centuries. Only a handful of Mary apparitions have been authenticated by the Catholic Church. The first one dating back to 1531, in Guadalupe, Mexico.

In 1858, in Lourdes, a French village, the Madonna allegedly appeared before a teen-age girl, Bernadette. Today, 5 million believers make a pilgrimage each year, some hope to be cured of illness, others come simply to pray.

The 20th century saw a big increase in reports of apparitions. In 1917, in Fatima, Portugal, three children said they got a message from the Virgin and tens of thousands of spectators claimed they saw a light in the sky.

Of the apparitions which are not yet church approved Metagoria (ph), in Bosnia, is perhaps the most famous. Since the apparitions allegedly began in 1981, millions of people of all faiths have visited.

And, of course, there are more recent sightings, many of them closer to home. Passaic, New Jersey, some said the Virgin Mary was seen in a tree trunk. Rawls, Texas, residents said that's Mary in a smudge of melted chocolate on a porch. Campbell, Ohio, some said they saw the eyes of a Virgin Mary statue glowing.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Well, what some are calling a medical miracle, next -- if it works. A woman undergoes the first partial face transplant ever. We're going to try to understand how it works and what she'll look like when it is all done.

And the cat is out of the bag, literally, and home now. We'll tell you about how a mix up over a cat named Emily lead to a very long European vacation.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Well, this week something extraordinary happened in an operating room; something that has never happened before. Incredibly surgeons created one face from two people. Performing the first ever partial face transplant in history.

Now the procedure is radical, it's experimental, and as you can imagine it's very controversial. CNN's Senior Medical Correspondent Doctor Sanjay Gupta has more.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN SR. MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): "Face Off", the 1997 movie in which John Travolta and Nicholas Cage switched faces. But face transplants are no longer a figment of Hollywood's imagination.

Not after French researchers announced they performed a partial face transplant on a 38-year-old woman, who had been badly mauled by a dog six months ago. Doctors say they replaced her nose, lips and chin, taken from a brain-dead donor being taken off life support. One of the surgeons performing this face transplant was Doctor Jean Michelle Dubenard (ph), who also performed the first hand transplant back in 1998. The transplant went well, but the patient had to have the hand amputated because he didn't keep taking his medications.

Now, another French surgeon suggests Dubenard (ph) violated ethics rules by performing the face transplant in the first place. At issue, should the woman have had the transplant before normal reconstructive surgery was tried?

Transplant patients face many risks. They have to take strong drugs to prevent their bodies from rejecting the new transplant, drugs that suppress the immune system and can cause kidney problems, diabetes, even death. That has raised the question, should such a dangerous operation have been used to improve somebody's quality of life, rather than to save life.

But make no mistake, medicine can make a huge difference to quality of life. Three years ago, CNN told the story of Mark Tatum, who had a rare fungal infection in his sinuses, which forced doctors to remove infected eyes, nose, cheek bones, upper jaw and teeth.

For Tatum a face transplant was not an option back then. After living with a large whole in his face for two years doctors at the University of Louisville built a prosthetic face for him.

DR. ZAFRULLA KHAN, UNIV. OF LOUISVILL MED. CTR.: There's your eyes. Your eyebrows, and then you come down, there is your nose, and your cheeks. Isn't that great?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you. Thank you.

GUPTA: But there is no guarantee a face transplant will work.

So far we've only seen Hollywood do it. Even in this episode of the popular FX show, "Nip/Tuck", the new face also came from a brain dead woman. But the patient who received it ultimately died. With decades of experience the majority of transplants succeed, but many kinds of transplants, when tried for the first time do not. Raising the question in the medical community, should the French researchers have performed this face transplant now?

Doctor Sanjay Gupta, CNN, reporting.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Yeah, and that is a question that many of us want to know. Should the doctors have performed a facial transplant? And should they be performed in the future? My next two guests disagree on the answers. Art Caplan is with the University of Pennsylvania Center for Bioethics and Doctor Bruce Cunningham is an expert on plastic surgery.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) COOPER: Doctor Cunningham, I find this case remarkably fascinating. This woman had no nose, no lips, she couldn't talk, she couldn't eat. Were there any other options out there for her?

DR. BRUCE CUNNINGHAM, AMER. SOCIETY OF PLASTIC SURGEONS: You know, there are a series of long tedious staged operations that would help her out, but nothing that would be quite as immediate and potentially offer the highly specialized organs like the lips and the nostrils that this apparently could.

COOPER: Art, the implications are quite severe, if she's unhappy with it, or if people don't respond to it.

ART CAPLAN, CNTR. OF BIOETHICS, UNIV. OF PENNSYLVANIA: It's a disaster. I mean, one of the worst things could happen is if the face rejected in what is called acute rejection, and it basically began to come off. You're going to be in a situation where you're trying to manage this horrific situation.

I don't know that it is even possible to find another donor to try to do it over again. A person is going to be transformed from something that was horribly deformed and enormously difficult to live with, into a nightmare. And so having a strategy there, which I'm not sure the French team has either, is absolutely crucial.

COOPER: But Doctor Cunningham, how exactly does this work? The recipient, I understand, doesn't really end up looking like the donor. They still sort of look like themselves, is that correct?

CUNNINGHAM: Well, it's the bone structure of the face that really gives shape to the organ that's transplanted, the face that is transplanted rather than the facial features conveying the meaning of who the person is. It's the bone that shapes those lips and makes it look like the recipient's lips rather than like the donors lips.

But I would take issue with Doctor Caplan. This is a patient who is already in a big world of hurt. This is a patient who is missing part of her face. If this fails, you know, he's making it into a much more emotionally charged problem as if she doesn't already have an emotionally charged problem. She's already got a huge problem. If it fails and the team is effective and they don't risk her life to save it, she's probably not going to be that much worse off than she is, sitting there right now.

COOPER: Art, what about that?

CAPLAN: I would disagree with that. I think that if this thing really were to acutely reject and her face started to be kicked off her body, however, horrible the face was before that, however, miserable her life was, she could be in a position where she was going to die. The trade off that you usually have in transplant is, you face the risks of the drugs, and the rejection and the problems, because you know if you don't have a heart, if you don't have a liver, you can't go on.

Here, admittedly we're talking about someone with a horrible quality of life, terrible deformity, but the alternative could be death if this thing doesn't work out. And that's a different risk benefit ratio.

COOPER: It's so fascinating, though, because when the face is so linked to identity and who you are and -- it -- I mean, sort of there is a mystery to it that I don't even know one can calculate, sort of rationally. Art, do you think this is going to have an impact on organ donations?

CAPLAN: I wouldn't do anything with face transplants until we had a national discussion to say, look, if you sign an organ donor card, it doesn't mean that that includes your face. I've been talking all day to people who have said to me, "Would they take my face because I've check off my driver's license. Is it possible I could be a donor in this -- I never intended that. I don't want to do that."

It changes the equation because of the cultural, symbolic, psychological, emotional power of the face. So you put your finger on it, Anderson. There is a problem here about people wondering is this going to happen to me? Is that part of the deal, if I want to help other people by being a organ donor?

COOPER: As you said, this woman is already in a world of hurt and let's hope this works out for her, and the team of doctors who are working on her.

Doctor Bruce Cunningham, it was good to talk to you. And Art Caplan, it was good talking to you as well.

CAPLAN: Thank you.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Art Caplan is with the University of Pennsylvania and Doctor Bruce Cunningham is president of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

Erica Hill from Headline News joins us on the latest stories we're following.

Hi, Erica.

ERICA HILL, NEWS ANCHOR, CNN HEADLINE NEWS: Not nearly the same credentials as those guys.

(LAUGHTER)

Anderson, we start tonight in New Orleans where government engineers confirmed the levees protecting the city were flawed before Hurricane Katrina. Not necessarily welcome news. Through sonar tests they discovered steel reinforcements at the site of the breach went barely half as deep as they were supposed to. Now, even so, computer models do show that even if they were properly built, those levees still would have failed after Katrina hit.

President Bush has been summoned to report to court -- for jury duty that is. His home county in Texas wants him to serve as perspective juror this coming Monday. The White House, however, told the court the president has other commitments. He has a speech in North Carolina that day. But he is looking to reschedule.

At Sotheby's auction house in London, a working manuscript of Ludwig Von Beethoven's "Gross Fuge" (ph), sold for $1.72 million to an anonymous buyer. The 80-page manuscript was only recently discovered in a Pennsylvania seminary. It is possible the most substantial manuscript of a Beethoven work to come up for sale in more than a century.

And, take a look at this. You are looking at one of the largest images ever taken by the Hubble Space Telescope. It's the most detailed view so far of the crab nebula. But the six-light-year wide expanding remnant of a star's super nova explosion.

That's a mouthful.

The explosion, by the way, happened nearly 1,000 years ago. I mean, Anderson, it seems like just yesterday.

COOPER: I know, I was trying to make heads or tails of it. I think I need a bigger image. There you go. Wow, the Crab Nebula, who knew?

HILL: You know? See, this is why HD 360 is great, because we bring you all those things you just didn't know.

COOPER: That's true. All right.

HILL: Unless you're a "Jeopardy" champ.

COOPER: Thank you. Thanks, Erica.

A developing story, the governor of North Carolina has denied clemency to convicted killer Kenneth Lee Boyd. He's set to die in just a couple of hours. He'd be the 1,000ths execution in this country since the death penalty was reinstated nearly 30 years ago. We're joined live by Ken Smith of WRAL TV in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Ken, what's the scene outside, right now?

KEN SMITH, REPORTER, WRAL-TV: Anderson, the Department of Corrections here in Raleigh, North Carolina, put some extra security officers on duty because of the national and international attention this execution is getting.

Behind me, take a look, you see about 100 demonstrators are holding a candlelight vigil outside Central Prison. They're actually handing out pamphlets with a list of 1,000 names of people executed in this country since 1977, since the death penalty was reinstated.

Kenneth Lee Boyd was sentenced to death back in 1988 for killing his estranged wife and her father, Anderson.

COOPER: Ken, it is sort of a surprise that this man was the 1,000th; it wasn't supposed to be this way. He was actually supposed to be the next one executed, there was clemency in another state.

SMITH: You're absolutely right. There was an inmate in Virginia, who was scheduled to be put to death earlier this week. But the governor of Virginia granted that inmate clemency. So then the focus turned to North Carolina and the execution of Kenneth Lee Boyd. And he will be put to death at 2 a.m. tomorrow morning.

COOPER: That is just a little over two hours from now. Ken Smith of WRAL-TV. Appreciate it, from Raleigh, North Carolina. Thanks very much.

From Raleigh to Denver now, a very different story there. This is a story of a pair of real swingers. This is the dramatic video, we'll tell you how the story ended. And you'll hear from the people who were involved in the rescue, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: So, there are lines of work in which you trust in luck and to stout ropes and pulleys, and rigid metal scaffolding and safety belts. And even then, sometimes, things go wrong. We'll tell you that this report from CNN's Sean Callebs ends OK, but man, does it ever begin badly.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SEAN CALLEBS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): The high drama started with the high winds. Two window washers were working on a high floor when gusting winds in Downtown Denver suddenly sent their scaffolding slipping down and swaying out of control.

APRIL HERNANEZ, WITNESS: For about like five, 10 minutes they were just like holding on for their life. And then what I saw was that they were going with their fingers, doing, nine, one, one. So at that time I hurried up and got to my phone and I called the police.

CALLEBS: With glass from the broken windows raining down on the busy street 911 emergency calls began to pour in.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE, 911 CALLER: We've got some window washers that are breaking windows, the thing is turning on them and flipping all kinds of ways. Get somebody over here quick.

911 OPERATOR: OK. (INAUDIBLE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE, 911 CALLER: Oh, god. Oh, god. Oh, lord.

CALLEBS: Firefighters got there within minutes.

(On camera): When crews initially arrived on the scene the scaffolding had stabilized against the side of the building, but they the time they reached the 12th floor their luck had run out. They said it appeared that the window washers were riding a wild amusement park ride and their immediate concern was the possibility the scaffolding could come crashing down. (Voice over): Police closed the street. By this time firefighter Carlos Garcia, a nine-year veteran, was inside the building and able to make eye-contact with the window washers.

CARLOS GARCIA, DENVER FIRE DEPARTMENT: They were sitting there, you know, holding on to both sides, as low as they possibly could be. Their eyes were filled with terror and they wanted off.

CALLEBS: As firefighters wondered how to corral the out of control rig, a corner of the scaffolding suddenly came crashing through a window. Garcia instinctively grabbed it and held on to the metal structure long enough for crews to secure it.

GARCIA: If we wouldn't have grabbed it at that time it would have just bounced off and might have went further down.

CALLEBS: The terrified window washers were ushered away without having a chance to say anything to the rescuers. The two don't want to be identified and are said to be fine now.

Garcia says the firefighters are relieved as well. After a once in a lifetime rescue operation that couldn't have turned out better. Sean Callebs, CNN, Denver.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Unbelievable. Not the only mid-air thriller I'll tell you about tonight. There's also the one about the flying feline. And as you'll see next on 360, flying was the least of her accomplishments.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: So do you remember that old song, "The Cat Came Back"? Well, today in Milwaukee, after a journey halfway around the world, the came back. Here's how.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Agatha Christie would call this a case of curiosity almost killed the cat. It began two months ago, here in Wisconsin, and ended there today. The story of what happened to Emily -- that's Emily, right there -- and a kind of well, French connection.

In other words, how in the world did this cat get from Wisconsin to France and back again on her own?

The theory is this curious kitty got caught in a shipping container at a paper warehouse near the family's home. That container went air cargo to Belgium; then was trucked to a paper factory in Nonce, in northern France.

But then, zutalore (ph), the friendly French found the forlorn feline and Emily's tag and tracked down her vet. And then her family in Appleton, Wisconsin. Continental Airlines got a call on the cat and couldn't help, but help. Sparing no expense to ship Emily home as a VIC, very important cat. She flew business, don't you know, where seats go for $6,000 a pop.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She was offered champagne, but I hear she declined.

COOPER: She even got a personal escort.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She was fine. She was fine until the landing. Then she got a little bit nervous. Otherwise she was very good. She is like a professional traveler now.

COOPER: For cameras cataloging Emily's cruise it was all so much catnip, provoking a cranky cat paw.

In Milwaukee, the cat family reunion took place under the glare of the television lights.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She's a little mellower, that's for sure.

COOPER: But let's just say she milked the attention for all it was worth.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm just interested in the flight, you know? Was first class pretty cool?

COOPER: Emily, the new media star, had no comment.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Meow! Larry King is next.

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