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Stories: Reporter

Aired July 3, 2011 - 19:30   ET



TOM FOREMAN, CNN ANCHOR(voice-over): The congresswoman is coming home. The accused gunman may eventually come to trial, but if you think he might get off by pleading insanity, think again.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You have to be virtually chewing the carpet in a courtroom to qualify for an insanity defense.

FOREMAN: The shuttle sailed into the past.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's our space wall.

FOREMAN: Wonders about its future.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's going off in an hour from now. Just gone off three hours ago, this whole street would be packed.

FOREMAN: A woman on Wall Street taking on the old boys, being bullish.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I made an issue out of it.

FOREMAN: Making millions in the process.

And a nail-biting ride to the place where it is always independence day. All on "Stories: Reporter."

(on camera): Welcome. I'm Tom Foreman. As Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords continues her remarkable recovery from being shot in the head, public attention is shifting once again to the man accused of shooting her. The courts say Jared Lee Loughner is mentally incompetent and cannot be put on trial until he is successfully treated. It is raising a specter that has long troubled Americans. The idea that the insanity defense can be easily used to get violent criminals off the hook, but is that true?

Jim Acosta picks up the story.


JIM ACOSTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): You are entering a world few will ever see in person, the inside of a mental institution that houses criminally insane patients. This is St. Elizabeth's Hospital in Washington, D.C. as captured in a remarkable movie shot last year by the patients themselves. One of them is Louis Eckerd, who raped, beat and strangled to death a U.S. senator's aide more than four decades ago.

LOUIS ECKERD: I came in in 1967. That's like 43 years, and this was my home. This is where I live. Believe me, lived and died.

ACOSTA: The movies two young filmmakers Joy Haines and Elie Walton got the hospital's permission to put cameras in the hands of a few select patients. This unprecedented access was granted to give the public a better understanding of what happens to a person who was found not guilty by reason of insanity.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's unfiltered because (INAUDIBLE) it's through their eyes.

ACOSTA (on camera): And what did you learn about them? What did you learn about mental illnesses?

ELIE WALTON, ST. ELIZABETH'S HOSPITAL, VOICE FROM WITHIN": For me, like, I learned the capacity for healing and the capacity for change, and they talk about that a lot that they really wanted to communicate how much over these past decades. They themselves have transformed.

JOY HAINES, ST. ELIZABETH'S HOSPITAL, VOICE FROM WITHIN": I think that's what's so great is that we do get to peek inside. So we don't have to imagine what it's like in there anymore. We actually know.

WALTON: And that humanizes them and we feel connected to them.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Believe that I can -

ACOSTA (voice-over): Not an easy trip.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All of my life. All of my life. All of my life.

ACOSTA: Five featured men involved in murder, sex crimes, assault. But even if the filmmakers present them as ageing patients who are not as dangerous as they once were, at George Washington University, legal expert Jonathan Turley knows the public is not nearly so understanding, especially in high profile cases like the shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. Her attacker Jared Lee Loughner was recently found mentally unfit to stand trial.

JONATHAN TURLEY, GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY LAW SCHOOL: The fact is that the insanity defense is almost never used in the United States. Most judges feel that justice should be done when someone has been killed they feel someone needs to be punished and so do jurors.

ACOSTA: Figuring out how we reached this point take as trip back in time. Since about 1700 B.C., legal scholars have been trying to define the insanity defense wrestling with ambiguous terms such as the "wild beast standard." By the 1920s, many courts agreed that sometimes people were seized by irresistible urges to be violent. Proving insanity was still hard but then 30 years ago legal experts say one shooting made it almost impossible.

The 1981 attack on President Ronald Reagan and his party by John Hinckley shocked the nation and so did the court's finding that Hinckley who had a fixation on actress Jodie Foster was not guilty by reason of insanity. The backlash was immediate. Congress tightened the federal rules for insanity defenses and 30 states did the same.

TURLEY: The great irony is that this was in some ways the poster boy for the insanity defense. He was insane.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get out of here!

TURLEY: People wanted revenge. They wanted to hold him accountable. People were angry. And they couldn't take out that anger on John Hinckley. So instead, they took it out on the criminal code.

ACOSTA: These days the insanity defense is considered such a long shot it is attempted in less than one percent of felony cases and succeeds only a tiny fraction of the time.

TURLEY: You have to be virtually chewing the carpet in the courtroom to qualify for the insanity defense. You have to be so insane you can't tell the difference of right and wrong. You have to be virtually in another world, and I have seen people in court where everyone in court would agree, this guy is a barking lunatic. But still does not qualify.

ACOSTA: Even the infamous serial killer, Jeffrey Dahmer, who had sex with his dead victims and cannibalize their corpses saw the jury turn down his claim of insanity amid the public rage over his string of murders.


ACOSTA: There is an odd contradiction in all this. For a person who is not mentally ill, prison is generally a better deal. After all, in a mental institution, only the doctors can determine when the patient is finally released. At St. Elizabeth's where Hinckley was sent some have waited most of their lives.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I said, I can't stay in this place, and my lawyer told me, you'll be here for 90 days observation. And 90 days turned out to be 23 years.

TURLEY: More likely, the person will spend more time in a mental institution than they will in a prison. Many of these people will get 20 to life and they will be out before 20 years. If you go a mental institution for murder, you'll likely spend the rest of your life there.

ACOSTA (on camera): Are we doing enough for the mentally ill in this country?

HAINES: I think one of the things that I took away from it is that this isn't somebody else's problem. It's our problem. And it becomes our problem if we don't take ownership of it.

ACOSTA (voice-over): All of the patients in the St. Elizabeth's facility believe some day, some way, they will be released.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm sure that I can get my life together and get out and be responsible, and be a citizen once again in the community.

ACOSTA: But many of them have said that for years.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's a place for us.

ACOSTA: It all suggests an absence of a not guilty verdict, at best, this is the road ahead for Jared Lee Loughner. One that is long, complex and very far from free.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Waiting there somewhere, somewhere.


FOREMAN: When we return, running out of space on the Florida coast.

(voice-over): And she started as a kid in jail. Now she's making money like Midas, with a woman's touch on Wall Street.


FOREMAN: If all goes as planned the space shuttle will blast off for the last time in just a few days, leaving behind a 30-year legacy of experimentation and exploration and something else. The most dedicated cheerleader the space program has ever known. One small Florida town for generations has relied on manned rocket launches to bring the nation to its door.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's not just seeing the space ship launch.

It starts with a low rumble.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And watching the vapor trail go into space.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Almost like someone beating a drum.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And also feeling it burn -


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And being close to it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And it gets real angry.







FOREMAN (voice-over): For almost half a century -

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's spectacular. It really is.

FOREMAN: Titusville has been saying good-bye. No place on earth has had a better view of Americans going into space - than this small town on strip of land just 15 miles across the Indian River from the launch pad.

LAURA LEE THOMPSON, OWNER, DIXIE CROSSROADS: Look at that. Don't they look like baby lobsters?

FOREMAN: And for thousands of residents, such as Laura Lee Thompson, a former shrimp boat captain, watching the liftoff has become a way of life.

THOMPSON: This is our space wall and this is where we got autographed pictures of the astronauts here.

FOREMAN: She opened the Dixie Crossroads Restaurant with a training boot from Apollo and other artifacts to draw launch crowds into her lobby.

THOMPSON: We have a population of 43,000, and there will be several hundred thousand people here. So our population like it triples or quadruples.

FOREMAN: But, of course, the town's role as the Yankee Stadium of man's space flight began much further back. In the 1960s when the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo missions ignited the world's imagination and when man landed on the moon.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's one small step for man. One giant leap for mankind.

FOREMAN: No place was prouder. So proud, that several monuments have been built here across the river honoring not just those who went into space but also those who put them there, like city manager Mark Ryan's parents.

MARK RYAN, CITY MANAGER, CITY OF TITUSVILLE: They're retired IBM-ers. My father worked on the instrument unit for the Apollo rockets and my mother was in the quality control records keeping component for IBM as well.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you take this boardwalk straight ahead, that's the launch pad.

FOREMAN: Bobby Socks has lived here more than 40 years. BOB SOCKS, TITUSVILLE RESIDENT: The accomplishment, the time frame. The ingenuity of our people to HAVE accomplish what they did in such a short period of time. I'm still amazed by it.

FOREMAN: When tragedy struck as it did in the terrible fire on Apollo 1 or the shuttle disasters years later, the people of Titusville mourned. Pastor Ray Johnson.

PASTOR RAY JOHNSON, PASTOR, FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH: We grieved. The whole city did. It was quite awful. Like some ember of the family had died. The "Challenger" hit us lard for three years. We had - the unemployment rate went up. People were laid off and it had a traumatic effect here. And for people like myself, I was an eyewitness to the "Challenger" I was standing on the river and watched it. There are times when I look out the river and I see that same like cloud configuration or the sky's as blue as it was that morning, I flash back.

FOREMAN: When danger threatened, as it did on "Apollo 13," they responded with prayers and the expertise that only a town filled with rocket scientists could bring. Marin Winkle.

MARTIN WINKLE, FORMER NASA EMPLOYEE: I was working third shift, we had 12-hour shifts back then, seven days a week, 12 hour a day. And I was home asleep and I got a phone call, saying they have a problem on "Apollo 13," on the lunar module, command module. And I explained what I thought we could do. I wished they never had to go to that extreme.

FOREMAN: But mostly for generations they have watched and welcomed everyone who came to watch with them.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Chocolate shake.

FOREMAN: David Hammond is a science teacher who still helps out with the family business.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's three deluxe burgers, two, no mayonnaise.

DAVID HAMED, MOONLIGHT DRIVE IN: It started in '64 by my grandparents, named "Moonlight" because the space program across the river was being started. We definitely feel a positive effect of the space shuttle launches. There's no doubt. I mean it said it's going off in an hour from now, or gone off three hours ago, this whole street would be packed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. Three burgers. Two, no mayonnaise, 63.

HAMED: I mean, bumper to bumper. Everyone's solid, getting ready to see it, excited. You'd see lawn chairs. You see people on top of buildings waiting for it to go off.

FOREMAN: Now, there will still be hundreds of NASA employees nearby, still unmanned rockets blasting off, but everyone knows without astronauts, the crowds won't be nearly as big. THOMPSON: Our community is going to lose the gift of hundreds of thousands of motel rooms that we really didn't have to work very hard to fill.

FOREMAN: The town's identity will slip a little farther into the past.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For me, it's probably be a lot of joy and a lot of sorrow at the same time.

FOREMAN: And when the tourists depart this time all that will be left is a suddenly shockingly empty sky.


FOREMAN: All is not lost. Many in Titusville believe given time, new government launches and even private space rockets will bring the crowds back.

Coming up, she started as kid in jail. Now she's making money like Midas, with a woman's touch on Wall Street.

Going to where the road meets the sky. But only on the fourth of July.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The long, hard slog out of as Aspen, 4,000 vertical feet, but riding down they got smiles on their faces, all the way down.

FOREMAN: "Stories: Reporter" continues.


FOREMAN: Amid the latest rumbles in the economy, concerns are arising about the stock market, about whether the old boys' network on Wall Street can keep investors calm and investing. Here's a hint - they might want to talk more to the girls. For reasons that are not entirely understood, women are better at picking stocks than men are. Much better. And one woman that Poppy Harlow met may be the best of all.


These are the original steps.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN MONEY.COM (voice-over): A small jail in rural Minnesota is an unconventional place to sow the seeds of a Wall Street sensation.

RENEE HAUGERUD, GALTERE LTD.: I think I probably learned about risk in the jail.

HARLOW: And yet it was the perfect place for Renee Haugerud.

HAUGERUD: The front of the house was the residence and the back was the jail. HARLOW: She spent her childhood here, the daughter of the local sheriff, delivering meals to prisoners who slept just steps from her bedroom.

HAUGERUD: I thought it was a normal existence. It really wasn't anything unusual for me.

HARLOW: Her father, also a farmer, gave her another opportunity when he took Rene flying over corn fields as a young girl.

HAUGERUD: He said now we're in Iowa. I said, "But Dad, we don't have any crops in Iowa, why are you checking the corn crops in Iowa?" And he said, "Well? There's this thing called the futures exchange." I was amazed. I said "You mean you can sell this guy's corn without owning it?" And he said, "Well, sort of."

HARLOW: After graduating from college with a degree in forestry, Rene stumbled upon agricultural giant, Cargill. Rene became a commodities expert, a solid trader and was convinced she was on her way to bigger things. But soon enough, she found herself playing in a boys' club.

HAUGERUD: It was being excluded from the ski trip when the trainee next to you was invited because he was a guy and you weren't. I made an issue out of it.

HARLOW (on camera): 13 years ago, Renee decided to venture out on her own and start a hedge fund right here in New York City. But what she never expected was just how hard it would be to raise money from investors, in part, because she was a woman.

HAUGERUD: What kind of volume are we seeing today?

HARLOW (voice-over): What she was hearing was a deep seated bias outlined in a 2010 study by Washington University in St. Louis which found Americans willing to invest three times as much money in a firm led by a man than one run by a woman. Renee fell more than $1 million in debt trying to keep her company afloat.

(on camera): Did you ever think maybe I should just give up, close shop?

HAUGERUD: I did. I got very, very close to it.

HARLOW (voice-over): Instead, Renee took the bias by the horns and reached out for help.

Renee approached her former employer, Cargill and convinced them to back her with a $60 million investment.

HAUGERUD: As soon as they did that, everyone who had been watching started knocking on my door.

HARLOW: And they still are. Her firm says over the past dozen years, despite the recession, they've averaged 13 percent in annual returns.

JANET HANSON, FORMER GOLDMAN SACHS EXECUTIVE: I think that she has massive chutzpah.

HARLOW: Former Goldman Sachs executive Janet Hanson runs a group dedicated to advancing women in business.

HANSON: What Renee is trying to prove is that women are great traders. And they are.

HARLOW: A study by hedge fund research found that between 2000 and 2009 hedge funds managed by women produced almost twice the returns of those run by men, and yet women run only three percent of the 9,000 hedge funds in the U.S.. That's one reason Renee and her husband recently donated $1.5 million to build a program at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga teaching finance from the female perspective.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't trade individual stocks.

HARLOW: In other words, how to trade like a woman.

BEATA KNIZAT, UTC MBA STUDENT: I don't think it's an equal playing field getting there. But it's not as much as we would like it to be.

HARLOW: Renee knows women in finance have a long way to go.

HAUGERUD: This is my art and I love it.

HARLOW: But then, from the farm fields of Minnesota, she's come a long way, too.


FOREMAN: In just a moment, going to where the road meets the sky. But only on the fourth of July.


FOREMAN: AAA is estimating that 39 million Americans will brave high gas prices to venture more than 50 miles from home this weekend, but way out west, for some people, this holiday has less to do with going out than with going up - to a place where the fourth of July is always in season.


FOREMAN (voice-over): Load up for a ride over this part of the Colorado Rockies and you are in for a rare and exhilarating treat. Rare because Independence Pass is passable for only a few months each summer. When snows melt enough to allow travel this way between the ski resort village of Aspen and the old mining town of Leadville. Exhilarating because, well, Sam Smith at the local historical society knows why.

SAM SMITH, ASPEN HISTORICAL SOCIETY: A lot of people say that it was a somewhat scary drive. It is tight mountain roads and if you're not careful you're looking at the mountains rather than looking out at the road ahead of you. The pass was built because folks were initially mining in Leadville. But as prospectors would want to do, they came up and over, found wherever they could, and July 4th, 1879 stuck gold here at independence, thus the name.

FOREMAN: Ever since July has brought a steady stream of visitors, who ride over the highest paved mountain pass on the continent. Straddling the continental divide, Independence Pass offers views of some of the grandest mountains in the lower 48 states.

SMITH: (INAUDIBLE) some of the highest peaks in Colorado. Big geological uplift and everything kind of drains out from it. The rain that falls in Leadville on other side of the pass brings down in Arkansas, comes out in New Orleans. (INAUDIBLE) on this side of the pass eventually that reaches the Colorado and waters L.A..

FOREMAN: But the way this area geographically divides America is not nearly so important as how it brings Americans together at this time of year to enjoy the rare days when they can hike normally inaccessible trails, climb remote rock faces, even cross-country ski in the summer sun.

SMITH: Folks I really envy are the guys cycling up. It is a long, hard slog out of Aspen, 4,000 vertical feet. But riding down this path got smiles on their faces all the way down.

FOREMAN: On independence day, on Independence Pass, showing a little independence of their own.


FOREMAN: And with that, we hope you have a wonderful holiday, too. I'm Tom Foreman. Thanks for watching.