Return to Transcripts main page
ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Dems Face Off; Dead Before Arrival; Killers In Our Midst; Mind of a Stalker
Aired April 26, 2007 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
SANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In the end, no faux pass. No unretrievable errors. The eight Democrats running for president cleared their first debate pretty much unscathed.
COOPER: Candy joins me now, along with Paul Begala, CNN Political Contributor and former Clinton Adviser and Terry Holt, who served as campaign spokesman for Bush/Cheney '04.
Candy, did anybody hurt their chances tonight?
CROWLEY: Not that I can see. I mean, I think everybody comes out of this debate pretty much as they went in.
Look, I thought Hillary Clinton was strong, I thought Barack Obama was fine. I don't think anybody took any major hits. I can't imagine that this debate is going to move the needle one way or the other for anybody.
COOPER: Terry, some have criticized Hillary Clinton on her positions on Iraq. Was she able to defend herself on Iraq tonight?
TERRY HOLT, GOP STRATEGIST: Well, I think that she came out looking very much like the centrist of this crowd. You know, the Democratic primary is often dominated by the most liberal factions within the party.
In this case, to at least a South Carolina audience with a local affiliate and the national audience that she saw, I think she looked like she was very much in control of herself, that she had authority and discipline. And I think if anybody came out of this stronger, it's Hillary Clinton for tonight anyway.
COOPER: Paul, you worked for President Clinton. You've watched Hillary Clinton for a long time. How did she do tonight compared to the Hillary Clinton you have seen in past years?
PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Well, you know -- well, in past months especially, she'd been really wrapped around the axle on Iraq. Just really had a hard time explaining to a very antiwar Democratic primary electorate why she, in fact, voted for that war and why she won't plainly renounce that vote. But I thought she was a lot more comfortable with it -- with the Iraq issue tonight and also going on the offense. She went on the offense. It was -- she was asked a hypothetical, if America was attacked, and she went right into commander in chief mode and I think a pretty plausible way, talking about how she would counterattack and when.
But another interesting moment is that Barack Obama, who was against the war from the beginning, he picked a little tiny mini fight with Dennis Kucinich. Now, why would he do that? He's a million points ahead of him and he's got a zillion more dollars. I think Barack, too, is looking toward the general election. The fight was about -- Obama tonight said -- all options would be on the table with Iran -- all of them. And that includes, of course, all the options and weapons a president has. And Kucinich called him on that. Thought it sounded a little too war mongry. And Barack turned and slapped him down. I thought that was a smart move by Obama because it shows he's also looking at that general election, not simply the primary.
COOPER: Candy, were you surprised -- I mean, Brian Williams gave them all an opportunity to comment on Giuliani's statement that Democrats basically are weak on defense and would be making America more vulnerable. They didn't really seem to take it as an opportunity to go after Giuliani.
CROWLEY: They didn't run with it, which is interesting because they all ran with it in the press releases immediately after it happened. I don't know whether they were worn out with the subject or not. But I was surprised by that because right after Giuliani made his remarks about, you know, if a Democrat's elected, they'll wave the white flag in Iraq. And they all scale back the patriotism and the Patriot Act. You know, they all came out and jumped all over him, but given the chance tonight, they were pretty mellow.
I do think that most of them came into the debate, the top-tier candidates came into this debate tonight, not wanting to have a dustup, at least at the top of the tier.
COOPER: And Terry, do you think that's true, that they gave a pass to Giuliani because they didn't want a dustup?
HOLT: Well, Giuliani is so far down the road that tonight they were looking at each other and trying to really measure up and size one another up in this really opening act of the debate.
Giuliani serves as a useful foil for this field in the day-to-day press to and fro, but ultimately what Giuliani says a couple of days ago doesn't have a whole lot of impact in that room tonight where they're really using each other as ways to kind of distinguish themselves.
COOPER: Paul, was there any moment that surprised you, any person that surprised you in something they said or how they acted?
BEGALA: A couple of things. I mean, when Joe Biden asked if he could control his big mouth and not be so verbose and accident prone, he had a one-word answer, "yes". Then he was silent.
But then there was a moment which was not as funny. It was -- but it was really interesting. Bill Richardson was asked if the fact -- he had made a comment in the past. He said the reason he was a little late among Democratic presidential candidates in calling for the firing of the Alberto Gonzales, the attorney general, was because Gonzales is Mexican-American, as is Richardson. And Richardson said yes, that's true. I think I did give him a little extra time, a little benefit of the doubt because I kind of know where he comes from and he's a decent guy.
That moment of candor, I thought, was really breathtaking. I hope the rest of the politicians learn something from it. There's nothing wrong with sort of admitting, well, maybe I did go a little easy on him for this reason or that. I thought that was quite charming and very winning for Bill Richardson.
COOPER: We're going to leave it there.
Terry Holt, Paul Begala, Candy Crowley, thanks.
One programming note, CNN is going to be carrying presidential debates, of course, in New Hampshire, the first real battleground. They'll take place on June 3rd for the Democrats, and for the Republicans, June 5th. CNN, of course, home of the best political team on TV.
Four of the candidates arrived in Orangeburg after voting to set a timetable for pulling combat forces out of Iraq. We'll have more on that now.
The bill which passed in the House last night made it through the Senate today by a 51 to 46 margin, but will not make it past a presidential veto.
Republican Senator Trent Lott calling it dead before arrival.
Details tonight from CNN's Joe Johns.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Go back, go back, go back, go back, go back.
JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): With the troops in Iraq dug in and no end in sight to the war, Senate Democrats made the final push on their $124 billion Iraq spending bill with strings attached, and a goal of withdrawing troops by March 2008.
It's a flat out slap in the face to President Bush, who is fully committed to vetoing the bill. On top of that, the Democratic Congressional leadership said they would deliver the measure to the White House on May 1st.
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: In the battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed. JOHNS: That's the four-year anniversary of the president's mission-accomplished moment on an aircraft carrier, though they called the date a coincidence. The White House lashed out about that.
DANA PERINO, DEPUTY WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: It is very troubling that Democrats would be so cynical to use our troops in that way, to use troops for a political P.R. stunt and to withhold money from the troops and their families.
JOHNS: So how much of this is cheap political theater and how much is real drama? One question that matters here is whether money for the troops will run out before the top elected officials in the government finish posturing over time tables.
(on camera): In a March memo, the non-partisan Congressional Research Service said the Army could, if it had to, move some cash around and put some programs on hold to finance operations through most of July before it starts running out of money.
(voice-over): So if you believe that, then this back and forth between the White House and the Congress looks a little more intense than it really is because there's still enough time for the president to veto the bill and for the Congress to go back to work and send him something he'll sign.
Plainly, that's what the Democrats are banking on. They assert themselves now on Iraq and still get the money to the troops by the time they need it.
SEN. HARRY RIED (D), MINORITY LEADER: We hope that he does not veto this. If he does, we -- it will take us a while to put it together because you have to start all over again.
JOHNS: And why do the Democrats have to do it this way? Because they say that's why the voters opposed to the war gave them control of the capitol.
Congressman Henry Waxman of California is the chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, who has been raking the administration over the coals lately with hearing after hearing.
REP. HENRY WAXMAN (D), CALIFORNIA: Even if the president vetoes it, I think it was an important position for us to take. It kept faith with the people who sent us into Congress in the majority, and I think it's an issue we're going to have to continue to pursue. No more blank checks for the president.
JOHNS: What everyone seems to agree on is that Washington can only do so much. The man in charge of the U.S. effort in Iraq pretty much summed it up that way today.
GEN. DAVID PETRAEUS, COMMANDER, MULTINATIONAL FORCE-IRAQ: Military action is necessary, but not sufficient. We can provide the Iraqis an opportunity, but they will have to exploit it.
JOHNS: Still, Congressional Democrats may have to live with whatever they send to the president next time.
Joe Johns, CNN, Washington.
COOPER: Well, today's spending bill comes on top of the more than $450 billion that has already been spent or earmarked for Iraq. Here's the raw data on how that stacks up to other spending.
In his 2008 budget, President Bush proposed $386 billion for Medicare; $209 billion for Medicaid; $84 billion for the Department of Veterans Affair which pays for health care for vets; and nearly $35 billion for the Department of Homeland Security.
Coming up next, a 360 special report. They seemed odd, but no one took full notice until they killed others. The dangerous people -- maybe in your family, at your work, or at school, in your neighborhood. We're covering all the angles.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER (voice-over): Phone calls, threatening e-mails and text messages. Stalking on college campuses and beyond.
RACHEL SOLOV, SAN DIEGO COUNTY DEPUTY D.A.: It changes everything about your life. You alter your routine. You start looking in your rearview mirror more often. You look around corners.
COOPER: How do you know when unwanted attention becomes a real danger?
Plus, terror at work.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A day at the office should not result in death.
COOPER: That's exactly what happened. A woman goes on a shooting rampage. An ex-employee who left on mental disability. Why weren't others told? When "Killers in our Midst" continues.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN, SEUNG-HUI CHO'S FORMER SUITEMATE: He started talking to her online first. He found where she lived, starting talking to her on A.I.M. Then he went over there. He was using the name Question Mark. Said, hey, I'm Question Mark. And that really freaked the girl out.
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): So he was stalking her?
JOHN: Yes. He found out everything about her first.
TUCHMAN: Like he told this girl all the things he learned everything about her?
JOHN: I don't know if he told her that, but he thought they were playing some kind of game or something.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: That was one of the Seung-Hui Cho's former roommates, of course, talking to Gary Tuchman in the last week after Cho shot to death 32 people on the Virginia Tech campus.
One of the most disturbing facts in the story is that so many people realized Cho was troubled and tried to intervene long before he erupted in violence.
For the rest of the hour, we're going to focus on mental illness and crime and how we can all do a better job of identifying the killers in our midst.
We start on another college campus with another stalker. With that story, CNN's David Mattingly.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is there a danger? Is there a shooter running around? Or was this a very targeted thing?
DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Early on a Monday morning, shots rang out in a campus building, leaving two people dead.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a male and a female. Their connection has not been confirmed with each other yet.
MATTINGLY: This killing did not happen at Virginia Tech, but some say the similarities are cause for alarm.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And was the victim stalked? That's the rumor we're hearing from students.
MATTINGLY: 26-year-old Rebecca Griego (ph) worked at the University of Washington when her ex-boyfriend, turned stalker, shot and killed her at her on-campus office, then killed himself.
It happened exactly two weeks before another accused stalker at Virginia Tech opened fire on classrooms, and both killers exhibited behavior that experts say is frequently overlooked.
CONNIE KIRKLAND, GEORGE MASON UNIVERSITY: Very few stalking victims report the crime to police. I think the -- the highest number I've seen is 17 percent.
SARAH, STALKING VICTIM: We dated probably for about six months before I realized anything was really unusual about the relationship.
MATTINGLY: Sarah has been stalked by a former boyfriend since she was in high school. Going away to college didn't make it stop. A Justice Department report from six years ago revealed 13 percent of female students had been recently followed, watched, telephoned, written or e-mailed by men in ways that seemed obsessive and made them fear for their safety.
SARAH: Being on my toes all the time, I would be very careful of the places I went, the people who saw me, that sort of thing. I would very, very cautiously direct who I initiated contact with.
MATTINGLY: Experts say women on college campuses can be more vulnerable. Their movements and locations are predictable. All of it determined by class schedules. The explosive popularity of social networking Web sites also makes personal information easy to get.
(on camera): And that goes for both women and men. But if you look at overall statistics, women are much more likely to become victims. And stalkers are much more likely to be men.
(voice-over): Seung-Hui Cho was reported to Virginia Tech campus police by two young women for stalking them in 2005. His roommates at the time say Cho collected personal information on the women.
Police examined phone and computer records to see if Cho may have had contact with the first murder victim, a woman who lived in a nearby dorm.
KIRKLAND: About 10 percent of all stalkers either attempt a sexual assault or commit a sexual assault on their stalking victim. Unfortunately, about 2 percent of stalking victims end as murder victims.
MATTINGLY: In the case of Rebecca Griego (ph), she was attempting to escape a violent relationship. She had even moved and obtained a protection order from the courts. None of this helped her, as her killer knew when and where to find her on campus.
SARAH: You really have to admit that you are afraid and that something is wrong with that. And if you are being stalked or if you do have that fear, that you definitely need to tell someone about it.
MATTINGLY: And in spite of a protective order in her home state, Sarah says she still gets calls from her stalker. The legal protection does not extend to her out-of-state college.
David Mattingly, CNN, Blacksburg, Virginia.
COOPER: It is a scary thing. Some of the numbers we just heard in David's report are, frankly, mind boggling. If we know that 2 percent of stalking victims are killed by their stalker, why aren't more protections in place?
Joining me now is CNN Senior Legal Analyst Jeffrey Toobin; Pete Earley, former reporter of the "Washington Post" and author of "Crazy: A Father's Search Through America's Mental Health Madness;" and Dr. Gail Saltz, a psychiatrist and author of "Anatomy of a Secret Life."
All of you, appreciate you being with us.
Gail, is there a diagnosis for stalkers? Mentally speaking, what exactly is wrong with them?
GAIL SALTZ, PSYCHIATRIST: Well, there's a range. But generally speaking, there's some sort of personality disorder involved. They tend to be obsessive. They're often severely narcissistic, which means that they have very low self-esteem, and they attach themselves to the victim in hopes that this person can sort of elevate them in their mind. They're often paranoid. They may have borderline personality disorder. And sometimes, as we saw with Cho, they're actually psychotic and they have a delusional system, a psychotic idea about their victim.
COOPER: And Gail, I mean, how do you deal with someone who may be stalking you or someone you suspect may be deeply, deeply disturbed?
SALTZ: Well, the young woman on the tape said something very important, which is a lot of women don't listen to their gut. They try to deny it and don't acknowledge that they're being stalked. So that's the first important thing to do.
The next thing is to say as early as possible in the process to the person, respectfully, but clearly, with no mixed message, "I want you to stop, cease and desist."
The next thing is that you must document absolutely everything that goes on because that's necessary for the police to be able to take action.
And then you absolutely have to report it. And if someone is not taking you seriously, then unfortunately, it really is up to you to push until that person does.
COOPER: Jeff, is the legal system set up to protect people from stalkers?
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: You know, several years ago I wrote a piece for "The New Yorker" about stalking and I interviewed Park Dietz, who is the famous forensic psychiatrist, and I said what should you do if you're being stalked? He said you should move. I said, you should move? He said absolutely. The legal system cannot protect you. Most of what stalkers do is legal. They stand in public areas. You can't really stop it. You have to move.
And it sounds so unfair. You're the victim. He said, but you want to save your life? That's what you do.
And it -- you know, it rings in my ears even now. So yes, there are certain things you can do, but the legal system is limited in what it can do because, you know, you can't make standing on public property illegal. Yes, you can set distances someone can stay away, but if someone is really psychotic, they're not going to respect those distances.
COOPER: And Pete, as you and I have been talking about over the last two weeks or so, the mental health system often lets down the people who need it the most. Your own son was diagnosed as bipolar. You knew he needed help, but were told to come back only once he tried to hurt somebody or hurt you.
PETE EARLEY, AUTHOR: That's absolutely right. But I want to point out that bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and major depression are considered sicknesses, and that is a different category than someone who has a severe personality disorder. I'll have to let the psychiatrist answer that.
But Cho right now is the face of mental illness, and that really is unfair to millions of Americans. Mike Wallace has a mental illness. Patty Duke has a mental illness. Representative Patrick Kennedy has a mental illness. And when we throw all these people in this Cho mix, it's a dangerous thing.
You know, my son has an illness. And he did not seek that out, and there was nothing that he did that caused him to get that illness, and that's a little different than a Hannibal (UNINTELLIGIBLE) serial killer or a stalker, I think.
COOPER: Absolutely, and I'm glad you raised that point because we don't want people to confuse it. You know, there are many different forms of mental illness and, unfortunately, many different forms.
But just in terms, Pete, of getting help, what you went through is just a nightmare.
EARLEY: Absolutely. It's so frustrating. We have set the law here in Virginia at imminent danger, which means that you cannot interfere, you cannot step in, you cannot help someone unless they hurt someone or hurt themselves. And that's exactly what I was told.
My son had been hospitalized twice. He had a history of bipolar disorder. He took medication that worked, that helped him think clearly. He became psychotic. I rushed him to an emergency room, and the doctor said, I'm sorry, I can't do anything unless he hurts you or hurts someone else. Bring him back when he does that.
Forty-eight hours later he broke into a house to take a bubble bath. Even that wasn't enough. The police said if you want your son to go to the hospital instead of jail, you need to go tell them he threatened to kill you. And that's what I did. I went in and I lied in order to get him help. It had to cross that imminent danger threshold.
COOPER: We're going to talk more with Pete and then Jeff and Dr. Gail Saltz a little bit later on in this hour.
And just to reiterate, Pete makes a very good point. We're focusing on many different forms of mental illness, many forms of disturbances and basically why in many of these different, separate kind of cases people aren't getting the help they need and the problem isn't getting recognized early enough.
Still to come, a killer at work. How America's deadliest workplace shooting carried out by a woman who could have gotten help. It could have been prevented.
Plus, he attempted suicide, pulled a gun on his friends and even attacked his father. And despite all the warning signs, he was allowed to go free. The deadly mistake, when 360 continues.
COOPER: Because of a loophole in the law, a deeply troubled Virginia Tech student was able to buy a gun. We know what Seung-Hui Cho did with it. And we know there have been other people who, despite being found mentally ill, were free to commit staggering acts of violence. It's clear the system needs to be changed. We'll deal with that in a moment.
But first, CNN's Dan Simon reports on a killer at work.
DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Retracing a killer's foot steps.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: According to witnesses at the scene, she was armed with a 9-mm pistol and reloaded it at least once during her rampage.
SIMON: Indeed the shooter was a she -- 44-year-old Jennifer San Marco. What happened that January night last year is believed to be the deadliest workplace shooting carried out by a woman in the U.S.
It was just before 9:00 p.m., the start of a shift change at this 24/7 postal facility. She shot and killed three people in the parking lot, three more inside, then shot herself. Earlier that night she killed a former neighbor at her old condo development.
(on camera): It's unclear what, if anything, could have been done to prevent the shooting here. After all, San Marco's co-workers took proactive action to prevent this very kind of violence. When they noticed she was acting strangely, they alerted their supervisors who then called the authorities. Just a week later, San Marco was banished from the building.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She was never a threat to anybody. It was more that there was concern about her personal safety, more of a concern for being a threat to herself.
SIMON (voice-over): San Marco underwent psychological treatment, though it's not clear how much. But three years had passed and not a peep out of her, at least not here.
She moved to a small town in New Mexico and became known for her bizarre antics, like at this convenience store. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She'll come in, she'll buy a sandwich or something. She'll throw it on the side and pray to the sandwich and then take off.
SIMON: Still, no clues that she'd become violent, but the rage was brewing. And San Marco went to a New Mexico pawn shop and bought a 9-mm gun similar to this one.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Clearly, without a gun, she wouldn't have been able to commit the carnage that she did.
SIMON: California gun shops are required to run extensive background checks on gun buyers. San Marco's history of mental illness would have prevented her from buying a gun here, but that information never appeared in the federal database checked in New Mexico. And gun control advocates say New Mexico has some of the weakest gun laws in the country.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: With the firearm, she was able to get in and commit these homicides in rapid fashion before law enforcement even had a chance to react.
SIMON: The postal facility remains open, but now with a powerful reminder of that awful night -- a memorial bearing the names of those killed by a former coworker.
Dan Simon, CNN, Goleta, California.
COOPER: A terrible tragedy.
Up next, a killer at home.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER (voice-over): His family tried desperately to get him help. They were fearful.
JOE BRUCE, MENTALLY ILL SON KILLED WIFE: I told the doctor and the case worker, in all likelihood, he is going to hurt or kill someone. And it will probably be her, and I pointed to my wife.
COOPER: A chilling prediction, and no one stopped him. Did the system fail?
Plus, she was depressed, but no one took notice until she drowned her children in the bathtub. Her attorney says don't call her evil.
GEORGE PARNHAM, ANDREA YATES' ATTORNEY: It is suggested that she was depraved or to use the adjective evil, is not to understand mental illness.
COOPER: Why were the warning signs missed? When "Killers in our Midst" continues.
COOPER (on camera): We're talking about some forms of mental illness and murder, and how the two can cross paths in all aspects of life.
For many of the killers, the victims are often found in their own homes. They're their fathers or mothers, their sons and their daughters. And the cries for help are often ignored until it's too late.
With one family's story, here's CNN's Randi Kaye.
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: She was his mother. He was a paranoid schizophrenic.
JOE BRUCE, MENTALLY ILL SON KILLED WIFE: I could see two bloody feet sticking out of the bathtub. He had murdered her with a hatchet.
KAYE: Joe Bruce says more than a decade before his son killed his mother, Amy, there were warning signs. William Bruce attempted suicide with antifreeze, hid a butcher knife under his mattress.
BRUCE: He began talking about the CIA planting devices under his skin.
KAYE: In March 2005, after William pulled a gun on friends, his parents pushed to have him committed. The hospital released him after two weeks.
In Maine, unless he poses an imminent danger to himself or others, he's free to go.
BRUCE: I told the doctor he is going to hurt or kill someone. And it will probably be her, and I pointed to my wife.
KAYE: January 2006, he attacked his father.
(on camera): The next month, a full year after his diagnosis, William was involuntarily committed here, Riverview Psychiatric Center. Because he was over 18, he was legally allowed to make his own decisions about treatment, regardless of his mental state.
After three months he requested a discharge, and by law, Riverview had to grant it, finding he posed no immediate danger to himself or others.
Two months later he killed his mother.
DR. E. FULLER TORREY, TREATMENT ADVOCACY CENTER: The pressure is to discharge patients, to get them out of the hospital. And the reason is to save state money.
KAYE: Riverview's David Profit (ph) wouldn't discuss William's case. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Whenever we have not been able to maintain a person engaged in treatment, that is a failure.
KAYE: Joe was so worried shortly before Amy died, he warned her about William.
BRUCE: She staggered into the bathroom and tried to stop the bleeding with towels. And at some point Willy came back in and finished her off.
KAYE: After his arrest, William called home.
BRUCE: And he said, Dad, I didn't do it. And I said, Willy, I said, your mother and I have forgiven you.
KAYE: Have you truly forgiven him?
BRUCE: None of us have blamed Willy for what took place.
KAYE: Who do you blame?
BRUCE: I blame the people that -- the people that let him out of the hospital.
KAYE (voice-over): William was found not criminally responsible for his mother's murder. Today he's back at Riverview Psychiatric Center indefinitely.
Randi Kaye, CNN, Caratunk, Maine.
COOPER: The agony for that family. Joe Bruce is considering bringing a lawsuit against Riverview, but he tells Randi, he just wants the law to be changed.
With me now again is our panel of CNN Senior Legal Analyst Jeffrey Toobin; Pete Earley, a former reporter at "The Washington Post" and author of "Crazy: A Father's Search through America's Mental Health Madness;" and Dr. Gail Saltz, a psychiatrist and author of "Anatomy of a Secret Life."
Pete, we just heard that incredible story -- horrific story about a man killing his mom, despite many warnings. What's your advice for people dealing with mental illness in their own families, trying to get help for their siblings or their children as you were?
EARLEY: It is so, so frustrating. Right now I know of a family in Miami, daughter is 28, psychotic, living on the street. She's been gang raped twice, beaten with baseball bats. Her parents cannot intervene because she is not considered an imminent danger to herself or others.
What should you do?
COOPER: How can that be? How can she not be considered an imminent danger to herself?
EARLEY: Because she's the victim. She isn't attacking anyone else. And that is what is so silly about this very, very high threshold.
Of course, we have to protect people's rights. But when you have a history of a mental illness, when there are warning signs, then people need to step up to the plate and try to prevent something from happening, and it's not -- look, we're not talking about stripping people of their civil rights, we're talking about changing the imminent danger, just removing the name imminent, or changing it to likely to cause harm. Using some common sense here to protect someone who may be just thinking differently but also help someone, get them into services, if they're clearly psychotic.
COOPER: Dr. Saltz, from a medical standpoint, what do you think needs to change? I mean, are doctors' hands tied behind their back because of some of these -- the word imminent?
SALTZ: Unfortunately, that is often the case. There are often patients that come in that of course a doctor would want to hold. They're psychotic. And they know at some level that there's some risk, but unless they get the statements -- and, of course, patients are often guarded. So even if they're thinking it, they don't tell the doctor. And without a statement of their being a risk to themselves currently or to someone else currently, there isn't much the doctor can do.
They can really only hold someone for 48 hours. And then they need a judge basically to judge whether this person is competent and has the capacity or -- and whether they're a threat or not. And that's why someone may come in for a period of time, but ultimately does get released.
COOPER: Jeff, legally, what needs to change?
TOOBIN: Well, you know, I'm not sure it's all about the law here. I mean, I think a lot of it is economics because these mental institutions have tremendous incentives to get these people out the door. There's no money to keep people inside. Pete mentioned it earlier. And that's a tremendous -- so it's not just that the medical people are, you know, parsing the law carefully and finding people not dangerous. Their institutions have great incentives to give people a few pills and get rid of them. That, I think, has as much to do with this than the actual words of any law.
COOPER: Yes, Pete, I remember last week you were saying -- you had the price difference between treating somebody with a mental illness and not. What was that?
EARLEY: Well, in Virginia, if you have somebody in a psychiatric bed, it costs about $500 a night. A jail is $89. And what he's brought up is exactly right. Basically, we have given up on the mental health system, and we're using jails and prisons now where people aren't getting any treatment and then they're released. And by that, I mean there are 300,000 people right now who have bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and major mental depression in our jails and prisons; 500,000 on probation -- 700,000 go through the criminal justice system every year. They don't get help. They're held for a few days, they're kicked back out and they get progressively worse because we don't provide services.
TOOBIN: And once you're in a jail cell, you're in the criminal justice system. And there's no real crime that most of these people are committing. You know, it's not a crime to be psychotic. They didn't really do anything, so they're going to be out on the street soon. So it's only a couple of days that they're going to be held in any jail cell. And, of course, they haven't gotten serious treatment there.
SALTZ: You know what, Anderson, though? I think it is important to know that actually it is a very short-sided system. It costs $130,000 to keep someone in juvenile detention for a year. If even a portion of that money were used on the front end to look at -- and this counts for the child case as well. Many kids have some sort of mental illness or psychiatric situation that's going on that ultimately can lead to violent behavior. And there isn't enough intervention and prevention going on upfront that might keep some of these kids from going into crime and committing the violent acts.
COOPER: That's a good point.
Dr. Saltz, appreciate it. Pete Earley, as well. And Jeff Toobin. Thanks very much, guys.
Still to come, how a man with a long, dark criminal history, in need of medical help, was able to walk a neighborhood street. It could have been anywhere in America, and commit murder.
Plus, another killer at home. The illness that drove a mother to do the unthinkable, when 360 continues.
COOPER: We continue our look now at "The Killers in our Midst."
We got hold of a statistic tonight that seems beyond belief. There are, according to the Center for Missing and Exploited Children, more than half a million convicted sex offenders in America -- half a million. And those are the ones that we know about. Convicted sex offenders are supposed to be tracked, of course, but sometimes they fall through the cracks. And when that happens, there are no words to describe what the price can be.
John Zarrella reports.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Madame clerk, you may publish the recommendation.
JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): John Evander Couey is going to die.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In the Circuit Court of the 11th Judicial Circuit of the State of Florida in and for Miami Dade County, change of venue from the 5th Circuit Citrus County, State of Florida versus John Evander Couey, a majority of the jury, by a vote of 10 to two, advise and recommend to the court that it impose the death penalty upon John Evander Couey for the murder of Jessica Marie Lunsford.
ZARRELLA: But it could have been different.
In Citrus County, where Jessica lived and died, police in the sexual predators unit say they wish Jessica would only have screamed.
LT. DAVID DECARLO, CITRUS COUNTY POLICE: If she would have yelled, she would have screamed and awoke her grandparents or bring some attention to herself, maybe this wouldn't have happened, this tragic event wouldn't have happened. So it's important to teach the kids that it's OK to say no to adults.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Couey, is that correct?
ZARRELLA: But why was John Couey there to begin with? How did a registered sex offender get to simply walk into a little girl's room, kidnap her and, as Couey confessed, hold her for days within sight of her own home before killing her?
JOHN EVANDER COUEY, KILLED JESSICA LUNSFORD: It was like three days or something she stayed in a closet and I wasn't feeding her. You know, I wouldn't let her starve, I gave her water and stuff like that.
ZARRELLA: The path that led John Couey to Jessica Lunsford's bedroom two years ago was rocky from its beginning.
Run-ins with the law began as a teenager. First, probation for breaking into a home. Then jail time, parole again, then back to jail for moving and failing to tell authorities.
(on camera): In 1991, Couey made the leap from petty criminal to sex offender. Caught fondling a 5-year-old, he was convicted of attempted molestation.
It was here, 14 years before he killed Jessica Lunsford, that John Evander Couey, in a taped confession, asked for help.
COUEY: I feel bad about it, really I do. I don't want to go to prison. I just want to get help for myself. I feel that's what I need, I want help for myself.
ZARRELLA: He never got the help. Instead, thrown back in jail for two more years.
Trudy Novicki, a former prosecutor, runs Kristie House, which helps families and children deal with sexual abuse and how to avoid it. TRUDY NOVICKI, KRISTI HOUSE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR: The best piece of advice I can give to young children is to say no and to scream and holler, to scream and holler and run away.
ZARRELLA: Novicki says throwing guys like Couey in and out of jail is asking for trouble.
NOVICKI: They come out worse. The worst thing you can do for a sexual offender is put them in there with a bunch of other sexual offenders and let them vegetate. How do you think they're going to come out?
ZARRELLA: We now see him as a monster.
But before his horrible act, think about it. In your neighborhood or walking down the street, he would look ordinary, blend in. You'd never know.
Before we know what they can do, we rarely notice killers like Couey. In fact, Novicki says, by their nature, they are weak, not aggressive.
NOVICKI: Maybe with a 5-year-old child, they're going to feel very comfortable, but as soon as that child starts making a commotion, as soon as people start noticing what's going on, they're going to leave.
ZARRELLA: And that's what John Couey always did. He ran.
After Jessica disappeared, police went out and checked on all the offenders and predators in the county who, by law, only had to be accounted for every three months. Couey wasn't where he was supposed to be living.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't think we did anything wrong in the investigation. I think we just -- we had to work with what the law was at that particular time during the investigation. And we weren't doing anything wrong. I mean, he was supposed to be at a particular address. We went -- when she came up missing, we did a grid search. We went to that address that he had last registered at. We found that he was not there. He had not changed his driver's license. And that's when we got the warrant for his arrest.
ZARRELLA: Today, police in Citrus County go to schools and teach children how to fend off an attacker.
And they keep better track of where predators and offenders are living than perhaps anywhere.
But two years ago no one knew Couey had moved into his sister's home across from the Lunsford's. And by now, Jessica was dead and Couey on the run again.
Over the course of a couple of decades, there were countless times John Couey's path to Jessica's bedroom might have been altered.
John Zarrella, CNN, Miami.
COOPER: Couey was a danger in his own neighborhood.
Andrea Yates was a danger in her own home. Coming up, we go inside her case and the illness that led her to do the unthinkable, when 360 continues.
COOPER: Well most mental illnesses, of course, do not result in crimes, but mental illness and crime can touch all aspects of our lives.
The story you're about to hear hits awfully close to home, one that made headlines for years. It is about a mother who lived with insanity, who didn't get help, and that eventually drove her to kill.
Once again, CNN's David Mattingly reports.
MATTINGLY: It was a crime almost too horrible to imagine. On June 20, 2001, Andrea Yates filled a bathtub in her Houston home, and one by one, she held her five children under water until they drowned. The oldest was 7; the youngest, just 6 months. Then she calmly called the police to report her crimes.
JOHN CANNON, HOUSTON POLICE DEPARTMENT: The woman, who was still breathing rather heavily at that time said that I just killed my children.
MATTINGLY: It took her less than an hour to kill her children. But was Andrea Yates' crime an act of pure evil or was she criminally insane?
GEORGE PARNHAM, ANDREA YATES' ATTORNEY: When it is suggested that she was depraved or to use the adjective evil is not to understand mental illness and the level of her mental illness, her severe mental illness.
MATTINGLY: Attorney George Parnham defended Andrea Yates through two trials. He says his client suffered, isolated in a world of delusion for years, and those delusions became worse each time she had a child.
PARNHAM: Andrea experienced four hospitalizations, two suicide attempts, on and off of heavy antipsychotic medications throughout the course of at least two years.
MATTINGLY (on camera): Andrea Yates said she knew it was wrong to kill her children, but she was convinced she was a bad mother and possessed by Satan. And because of that, her children were doomed to spend eternity in hell. She came to believe that the only way to save them was to kill them. (voice-over): And in spite of that, the jury rejected her insanity plea and sentenced Andrea Yates to life in prison. That's not surprising. According to the Justice Department, in 2005, two- thirds of the country's murder victims under the age of 5 were killed by a parent or close family member. But a study done in the 1990s showed the insanity defense is only used in about 1 percent of cases and is successful only 26 percent of the time.
George Parnham appealed Andrea Yates' conviction and was granted a new trial when it was discovered that one of the state's expert witnesses, Forensic Psychiatrist Park Dietz, lied on the stand.
And in July of 2006, Andrea Yates was found not guilty by reason of insanity.
PARNHAM: I think that the first jury understood she was mentally ill also, but I also believe that the second jury, we were able to explain the insanity definition as seen through the eyes of a person who is psychotic.
MATTINGLY: Andrea Yates is currently being treated at a north Texas state hospital.
David Mattingly, CNN.
COOPER: We'll have a check of the headlines after the break.
COOPER: Erica Hill joins us now with the 360 bulletin -- Erica.
ERICA HILL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, at least 31 people were killed in insurgent attacks across Baghdad and northern Iraq today. All of the fatalities came in bombings. But that death does not include this killing. A gunman murdered the sister-in-law and niece of Chemical Ali. He was one of Saddam Hussein's aides who now faces genocide charges.
Near South Bend, Indiana, eight people killed in a chain reaction crash on Interstate 80. Four cars and three trucks were involved in the accident. Police say a truck driver never slowed down and slammed into stopped traffic. Two of the cars were crushed beyond recognition. Five of the victims were in the same car.
New Hampshire will become the fourth state to allow same sex civil unions, following in the footsteps of New Jersey, Connecticut and Vermont. New Hampshire lawmakers approved the bill today. The governor says he will sign it into law. It would take effect January 1st of 2008.
And former Hollywood Lobbyist Jack Valenti has died from complications of a stroke. Valenti spent nearly four decades as the president of Motion Picture Association of America. He also started the current movie rating system and was a White House aide during President Lyndon Johnson's administration. Jack Valenti was 85 -- Anderson.
COOPER: That's very sad news. He was really a lovely man.
Don't miss the day's headlines with the 360 daily podcast. You don't need an iPod. You can watch it on your computer at CNN.com/AC360podcast or you can go to iTunes.
Tomorrow, on "AMERICAN MORNING," they don't want to stay, but can't afford to move. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I didn't think it would be quite this hard. I'm actually just on the edge of starting to panic.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Inside the housing market's busted bubble. Tomorrow, on "AMERICAN MORNING," starting at 6:00 a.m., Eastern.
Thanks for watching tonight.
"LARRY KING" is next with more on the first Democratic presidential debate.
TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.voxant.com