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NEW DAY

No Deal Yet, But Progress Reported; Interview with Senator Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, and Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee; Another Dry Ice Explosion; Interview with Melinda Coleman

Aired October 15, 2013 - 08:00   ET

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


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: NEW DAY continues right now.

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ANNOUNCER: What you need to know --

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MINORITY LEADER: We've had an opportunity over the last couple of days to have some very constructive exchanges.

ANNOUNCER: What you just have to see.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's actually all paid for already. You just need to sign right here.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That was awesome. That's all I can say. And their dad would be proud of them.

ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo, Kate Bolduan and Michaela Pereira.

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KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, and welcome back to NEW DAY, everyone. It is Tuesday, October 15th, 8:00 in the East.

New this morning: Congress may -- emphasis on "may" -- be close to a deal that would open the government, reopen the government and increase the debt limit. We're going to look at some of the details that are emerging this morning and also talk with lawmakers about where things go from here. Most importantly, will the House go for the Senate's plan?

CUOMO: And one family's story has outraged the nation. They say their daughter was raped by a high school football player from a well- connected family. The case was dropped by police, they say. She was then kicked off the cheerleading team. Now, the family says they've been run out of town. The mother of the alleged victim joins us live with their story.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: And we've got a good mystery we're looking at. Why are so many acts of kindness coming out of one Dairy Queen in Montana? Is it karma or, we think, could it be the power of the good stuff? We'll take you there and examine.

BOLDUAN: Ice cream is most often the good stuff. That is for sure.

First, though, could it be? There's optimism on both sides of the Senate this morning that they are getting close to an agreement that would reopen the government and increase the debt limit, avoiding the threat of a possible default. But any deal still needs to go through the House and get approval there.

CNN's Jim Acosta is following all the developments this morning live at the White House.

Good morning, Jim.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Kate.

And President Obama appears to be quietly working the phones in search of a deal. GOP source confirms to CNN that the president did call Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell yesterday about this compromise agreement.

Meanwhile, the White House says the president is open to this compromise that's been worked out by Senate leaders, in part because it raises the nation's debt ceiling potentially for four months. That would give both sides, Democrats and Republicans, some breathing room to work through this budget nightmare.

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SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), MAJORITY LEADER: We know it's been a difficult time for everyone.

ACOSTA (voice-over): Lo and behold, two experienced Capitol Hill brawlers, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, may have found the path to budget piece in Washington.

REID: We are not there yet, but a tremendous progress, and everyone just needs to be patient.

ACOSTA: Both men shared the news on the Senate floor that they are close to a deal that would reopen the government and raise the nation's debt ceiling before a potential default in less than two days.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MINORITY LEADER: I think it's safe to say we have made substantial progress and we look forward to making more progress in the near future.

REPORTER: Is there a deal?

ACOSTA: But as Vice President Joe Biden indicated by staying mum on the subject, it's not over yet.

Here is how the deal would work: The government funded through mid- January. The debt ceiling extended to early February. In a nod to GOP opposition to Obamacare, changes to that law are also under consideration, including new income verification requirements for health care subsidies.

Those are tweaks to Obamacare the president may not support but he is all but pressuring the Republicans to take the Senate deal.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If Republicans aren't willing to set aside some of their partisan concerns in order to do what is right for the country, we stand a good chance of defaulting.

ACOSTA: A new ABC News/"The Washington Post" poll finds the public is furious with the GOP, with 74 percent saying they disapproval how Republicans have handled budget negotiations, versus 53 percent who feel the same about the president.

But some House Republicans are holding their ground, still demanding concessions.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I like to do something that he gets something. I get something.

ACOSTA: Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer compared the GOP tactics to acts of violence.

SEN. BARBARA BOXER (D), CALIFORNIA: When you start acting like you're committing domestic abuse, you've got a problem. "I love you, dear, but, you know, I'm shutting down your entire government."

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ACOSTA: Now, that kind of talk doesn't really set the table very well for a couple of very important meetings happening up on Capitol Hill. House Republicans in the next hour supposed to meet and talk about this potential compromise agreement. Same thing over on the Senate side, Senate Republicans are scheduled to meet around 11:00 am.

And keep in mind -- it's the House where the real trouble could lie. Several house Republicans have started grumbling about the framework of this compromise agreement. As you know, Chris, many of them have real doubts as to whether or not a debt default would wreak havoc, as some have said.

CUOMO: All right. Jim, no question. Lots of reasons for doubt.

But guess what? I want to show you a picture right now. Do you know what you see right there?

You see Senator Bob Corker, and Senator Heidi Heitkamp, standing next to each other. Corker is a Democrat. Heitkamp is a Republican. They're standing right next to each other.

SEN. HEIDI HEITKAMP (D), NORTH DAKOTA: (INAUDIBLE)

CUOMO: Is this a -- this is a picture. It's also a metaphor.

Senators, thank you for joining us this morning. I appreciate it.

Is this the right picture right now that I'm getting right now? Are the sides starting to come together, at least in the Senate?

HEITKAMP: Well, I certainly think so. When you look at it, 12 or 13 senators coming together at a table, people like Bob Corker working very hard behind the scenes within his caucus, working basically on the same kind of plan, I think it's going pretty well.

And I think it's kind of like -- not to criticize anyone, but the adults have taken over and people know we need to get this country back working again, need to get government back up. We need to pay our bills and then we need systemic long-term deficit and debt reform. And that's really a goal that's shared across the aisle. We're finally coming together, finding common ground.

CUOMO: Senator Heidi Heitkamp, Democrat from North Dakota, Senator Bob Corker, Republican from Tennessee. I know those negotiations should matter anymore, but when I mix them up like that, it only brings the hate on Twitter.

So, let me get it straight. And, Senator Corker, let me ask you this -- when you look at this deal, it is good. We're hearing optimism from your side. Senator Manchin said yesterday, I believe, we're about 70 percent, 80 percent to a deal. Today, Senator Pryor said he believes a deal in the Senate will get done today.

Where does the confidence come from, Senator Corker, that you in the Senate can get a deal done that will pass muster with your friends in the House, specifically from your party?

SEN. BOB CORKER (R), TENNESSEE: Look, I do think that people like Heidi and others have really helped to move this along, and the fact that McConnell and Reid have come to a framework -- there are still a few details, by the way, that are still being worked out. But I think that's a good thing.

On the other hand, we're meeting with our caucus today at 11:00. There will be a lot of conversations about a way forward. I know the House has a meeting today at 9:00.

So, there's still a lot in flux. But I agree with Heidi. I mean, the fact is, we've got to figure out a way to move ahead.

In fairness, on our side of the aisle, we've wasted two months focused on something that was never going to happen. I won't say that I did, but a number of folks did, and what we could have been doing all this time is focused on those mandatory changes that all of us know our country needs. And we've blown that opportunity, I hate to say it.

And so, now, we are where we are. Hopefully, what we will do is set up a framework that allows us to now move ahead and finally, hopefully, address that the major structural issues that our nation needs to deal with to get our fiscal house in order. But that could have been done this time. I think it's an absolute shame we've wasted two months on something that was never, ever going to happen. And we said it was never going to happen on the front end. Yet, we've had this process basically hijacked. CUOMO: But, Senator Heitkamp, I mean, while it's Corker's party, it's going to have to be your message. There are people on his side, in the Senate and in the House, who say, no, no, no, it's not over. It's always been about Obamacare. We're not going anywhere until you address that because we're not here to kick the can down the road like the rest of you. We're here to make change.

What is your message to them with this deal?

HEITKAMP: Well, I think the message is that you've got to get government working, you've got to pay your bills and do the systemic long-term debt and deficit reforms that we know are necessary.

On the health care law, we've said over and over and over again, there's parts of it that I don't like. Let's have that conversation. But when it's all or nothing, then we don't get anything done.

We've delayed a lot of important bills like housing reform. We've delayed the farm bill. We've wasted a lot of time not just on getting a big and broad budget deal but on all the other things we're supposed to be doing, things like the farm bill, which is critical to my state.

CUOMO: Look, I've been calling your group that's been developing in the Senate the third way -- left, right and reasonable. The 12 of you, Democrats and Republicans, seem to be saying what the country has wanted to hear all along.

The first question is, Senator Corker, why did it take so long for us to get to this point, this obvious and conversation you're now having right in the delight of this event?

CORKER: I jus think sometimes it takes a while for reality to set in. You know, look, I -- you know, we predicted we were going to be where we are today a long time ago. I don't know. This is -- to be candidly candid. It's an embarrassment to me that we have spent all this time on a rabbit trail, leading us to where we are.

So, look, I may not be the best person to be interviewed this morning. We've got a lot of work to do over the next three or four hours. There's a lot of tough sledding left.

I do want to say, I appreciate the comments you made about Heidi. She is one of the best people that has come to the United States Senate. She came here to solve problems.

We're working together on a housing bill that I think will transform our housing finance system in a way that I think will be great for our nation. I do want to thank her and all the folks who have helped to get us to a place where at least we're talking about a solution.

But, look, there's a lot of work that's going to be done over the next two or three days. I don't think it's time to spike the football in the end zone yet.

CUOMO: Well -- go ahead, Senator, please? HEITKAMP: I was just going to say, you know what, when you look at who is now involved, who is taking leadership, people like Bob Corker taking leadership, let me tell you, that's a reason for the country to be optimistic. I know he's a little crabby this morning because he has a big lift ahead of him in talking to his caucus, but he's a great leader and I think someone that speaks to people, the entire Senate, not just people in his caucus.

So, I think we've got the right people in the room, the right people in leadership and I think this deal is going to get done.

CUOMO: Well, look, that he the right note to hit. Certainly, that's what the American people want. You see it in the polls. Over 60 percent don't like your party, Senator Heitkamp. Over 75 percent say they don't like the way your party is rating.

So, you're going to have to deal --

HEITKAMP: But (INAUDIBLE) so high.

CUOMO: That's right. You didn't think you were doing that well, I'm sure.

Look, I appreciate you're taking the time out to be here, though, I have to warn you, if you two continue with this mutual admiration society, you may both get kicked out of your parties. So, consider that going forward.

And hopefully, you can get the work done, because as we know, it all comes down to WWBD. What will Boehner do when he gets this deal? If he can't sell it to his caucus, it's not going anywhere. So, hopefully, you get that done.

Senator Corker, Senator Heitkamp, thank you very much for joining us this morning.

Kate, over to you.

BOLDUAN: All right. Chris, thanks so much.

Breaking overnight. For the second time in a little more than 24 hours, dry ice bombs explode at Los Angeles International Airport. Authorities there say the devices detonated Sunday and Monday nights in restricted areas at lax. Four devices in all were found.

To talk about this and what is going on here, retired FBI agent Stephen Moore.

So great to see you.

Such a strange kind of -- set of events. I mean, you've got four incidents, four different devices, if you will, two of them explode over two days. Cannot be a coincidence, right?

STEPHEN MOORE, RETIRED FBI AGENT: No, no, of course not. What you've got here -- this isn't a prank, first of all. A prank is you do it once, you see that the FBI shows up and the airport is shut down and say this has gone way too far.

BOLDUAN: Yes.

MOORE: Doing it the next day with two or three more on the ramp is -- somebody is disgruntled. Somebody is making a statement. Somebody is upset with somebody.

BOLDUAN: So these device went off in restricted areas that did not have access to the gate area. What does that tell you?

MOORE: It tells me it's an employee.

BOLDUAN: It's got to be inside?

MOORE: Right, it's an inside job. And we discussed earlier, dry ice is something that you see a lot on the ramps at major airline terminals.

BOLDUAN: That had a lot of people scratching their heads. Why dry ice?

MOORE: Because you have to keep things cold if you're shipping flowers, if you're shipping type of biological material. Ice will just melt and soak the cabin. The CO2 that freezes is the dry ice and it just leaves vapor when it goes.

BOLDUAN: It's available? That might be the key part of it.

MOORE: All over the place on ramps, as are the 20-ounce bottles in the employees' soda machines.

BOLDUAN: So, now, we're hearing that at least in the infancy of this investigation, authorities are not seeing any nexus, any connection to terrorism. Where do you think the FBI and others need to be focusing their investigation right now to try to nip this in the bud?

MOORE: That's my old terrific task force out there. They'll be shifting it from the international side to the domestic terrorist side. Somebody who is trying to cause some fear possibly because of personal issues.

You're still going to go after it, because, really, under the California destructive device law, the guy might six months. Guy or gal might get six months. You start getting air commerce involved and the FBI gets involved, you're talking years.

BOLDUAN: Interesting. It sounds -- I'm getting the sense that you think this could wrap up soon?

MOORE: Very quickly.

BOLDUAN: All right. We'll watch it. Stephen Moore, great to see you. Thank you so much.

MOORE: Great to see you.

CUOMO: Lt of news this morning. Let's get over to Michaela.

PEREIRA: All right. Let's do that. Good morning to you both and good morning to you at home.

Let's look at the situation in the Philippines, death toll climbing after the powerful earthquake in the central area of that nation. At least 49 people have been killed, more than 150 others injured. It was a 7.1 magnitude earthquake destroyed a number of buildings, striking as Filipinos are celebrating a national religious holiday today.

Al Qaeda suspect Abu Anas al Libi is facing arraignment in New York today on terrorism charges. U.S. Army Delta Force has grabbed al Libi in Tripoli earlier this month, spent last week interrogating him on a ship in the Mediterranean. He was brought to New York over the weekend and reportedly received medical treatment. His wife says he is suffering from hepatitis C. Al-Libi allegedly planned the 1998 bombings of two U.S. embassies in Africa.

The NSA collecting millions of email and instant message contact lists, many belonging to Americans. That's the latest from a new report in "The Washington Post". It's based on top intelligence officials and documents from Edward Snowden. The program helps the NSA find people who might be connected to intelligence targets. The agency says it's not interested in personal information about ordinary Americans.

Well, it was worse than anyone thought. Sources close to former President George W. Bush say a minor health condition turned out to be a serious condition. His main artery was 95 percent blocked. The 67- year old had a stent put in to open the blockage in August, which was discovered during his annual physical exam. His doctors have not commented on these reports.

For one Bon Jovi fan, this was the ultimate. Look at this picture. Her dream came true. And look at the face. Oh, she's so happy. The superstar singer walked her down the aisle. Her name, the bride, the beautiful bride, Bronca Delick (ph), started an online petition, begging Bon Jovi -- Jon Bon Jovi -- to attend her wedding in Las Vegas last weekend.

Well, interestingly enough, he was already scheduled to be in town for a concert and amazingly, he showed up. I think we know why: he and his wife were married at that exact same chapel some 24 years ago. So likely, he had sort of a nostalgic feeling for that. But can you imagine? That's a problem when your groom is standing next to Jon Bon Jovi.

CUOMO: How many weddings have taken place at that Vegas chapel last 24 years?

PEREIRA: Right? Well, that's a very good point. That's a very good point. And how many rock stars --

CUOMO: It's really a question.

PEREIRA: Stayed married for 24 years.

(CROSSTALK)

PEREIRA: We will look into those numbers.

CUOMO: That's another good question.

PEREIRA: Thank you.

CUOMO: Not as good as my question (inaudible).

Let's get over to Indra Petersons.

BOLDUAN: Yes, please.

CUOMO: Please. Check of the weather, storm clouds gathering over my head, gathering behind you as well.

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes, right, (inaudible).

Well, that certainly is forward and we're talking about some severe storms that have been moving across the Plains. This is actually yesterday in Kansas right outside Dodge City. Unbelievable how gorgeous it looks, this wall cloud lowered. It's unbelievable how dangerous they are when they are so beautiful.

Unfortunately, this storm system still brought in strong winds as high as 70 miles an hour, even large hail, about a quarter inch in size. (Inaudible) powerful system still moving through the country today. The good piece of news here is that it has weakened. So with that we'll be talking about some light rain pretty much from Minnesota down through Texas.

Unfortunately, by Texas is where the rain gets heavier. The reason for that, of course, is we have tropical depression octave here. Look at all this moisture just literally fueling right into Texas. So you have this tropical moisture. You have that same system that just exited out of Kansas and it's a slow-moving cold front.

So you're combining the two there, and you're talking about very heavy amounts of rain that is possible as we go forward (inaudible) about 3- 5 inches in addition, keep in mind, please, that 8 inches, even 10 inches of rain over the weekend. So flooding concerns still high.

But one upside is? Yes, drought conditions still huge within the state. Of course that's good. They need the rain. But of course you get a lot of rain on dry soil and the flooding concerns are higher. So kind of that mixed bag there.

As far as that system, what it means to the rest of us? Well, a lot of cool air is continuing to move through the country. Right now you can see that cold pool of air, high in (inaudible) today 49, Denver only 44.

Check out tomorrow. You're going to see that cold pool of air just shift right off to the east following that cold front. We'll see temperatures really chilly into the Midwest and Ohio Valley tomorrow as well. Northeast still looks good.

BOLDUAN: All right. Thanks. Thank you so much, Indra.

CUOMO: Coming up on NEW DAY, a family in a small town says their daughter told the truth and now she is being punished by that entire town. A rape accusation lies at the center of all of it. We'll tell you the story.

BOLDUAN: Also ahead, British police swamped with tips in the Madeleine McCann case. The missing girl's family talking about this new ray of hope, six years without their daughter.

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MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN HOST: Welcome back to NEW DAY. A search for justice for a family that says they were forced to leave their small Missouri town. Melinda Coleman says her 14-year-old daughter was raped by a high school football star. But the case was dropped by police. Now their story is sparking outrage nationwide. We'll speak with Melinda in a moment.

But first, CNN's Ana Cabrera is live in Maryville, Missouri, with more, Ana?

ANA CABRERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Michaela, since this story broke, social media has really come alive. People are outraged, calling for justice for Daisy, the 14-year-old girl, who was allegedly raped. Even the group Anonymous has now taken up the family's cause.

Now the sheriff admits there was a sexual assault, but says his hands are tied.

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CABRERA (voice-over): The nightmare for the Coleman family began nearly two years ago.

DAISY COLEMAN, ALLEGED RAPE VICTIM: He drove us to his house and we snuck into his house through his basement window.

CABRERA (voice-over): Daisy Coleman was 14 years old, a freshman cheerleader at Maryville High School when she says she was raped by a 17-year-old senior, a football player from a prominent local family.

D. COLEMAN: He gave me a big glass of a clear liquid. And that's all I remember.

CABRERA (voice-over): Another teen reportedly videotaped Daisy's alleged assault on his cell phone. Witnesses told police Daisy was crying as she was carried out of the boy's bedroom.

CABRERA: You believe a sexual assault happened ?

SHERIFF DARREN WHITE, NODAWAY COUNTY, MO.: Absolutely. CABRERA (voice-over): Nodaway (ph) County Sheriff Darren White (ph) is certain Daisy is a victim. He says the suspects even confessed to what's happened.

WHITE: Which is why that we were within four hours of receiving the call able to have people in jail.

CABRERA (voice-over): Arrested and charged. But then Daisy's case was dropped.

WHITE: The only reason the prosecutor didn't move forward with this case is because he didn't have any victims. The victims chose not to be involved in this case. They chose to not cooperate.

MELINDA COLEMAN, VICTIM'S MOTHER: She told him everything and I also talked to the sheriff and Captain Glidden (ph) and told them everything I knew and that is also in the police report. So that's absolutely not true.

CABRERA (voice-over): But instead of the boys facing charges, Daisy and her siblings say they faced an onslaught of bullying and vicious name-calling at school and online.

D. COLEMAN: You hear it so often that you're all these different things, then you start to believe it. And I really did start to hate myself.

CABRERA (voice-over): It got so bad, the family says Daisy tried to commit suicide twice. The family felt forced to move. Then, as they were trying to sell their house, a mysterious fire broke out. The cause still unknown. The house, now abandoned.

The Colemans, desperate for answers and still hoping for justice that may never come.

CABRERA: We tried to contact the prosecutor in this case. But because of the holiday yesterday, we were unable to reach him. We'll follow up with him today.

We also reached out to the family of the accused, who declined to comment for our story.

Now, you might be wondering, what about reopening the case?

What about maybe filing new charges?

We asked about that. The sheriff says that is impossible. He said basically when the case was dropped, it was final and trying to go back now would be like pursuing double jeopardy.

Michaela?

PEREIRA: All right, Ana, thank you so much for that. We want to bring in Daisy Coleman's mother, Melinda Coleman. She joins us now.

Thank you so much for being here to talk to us. We know this is a terribly difficult time and a very difficult story for to you talk about.

First of all, we want to ask you about those events.

How did you know there was trouble? Tell us about waking up to find Daisy on the front porch.

M. COLEMAN: It was about 5 o'clock in the morning. It was 10 till 5:00. And I heard something in the yard that woke me up, some movement or scratching. I'm not even really sure. And I went outside and found Daisy in the yard. Her hair was wet and it had -- it was frozen.

(CROSSTALK)

PEREIRA: Because it was very cold that night?

M. COLEMAN: (Inaudible) she was wearing a pair of sweatpants and a T- shirt. Yes, it was --

PEREIRA: And you --

M. COLEMAN: -- about 22 degrees.

PEREIRA: You brought her inside and warmed her up. She was still incoherent at that point because she had been under -- she was under the influence.

Talk about the fact that you knew that something else was wrong?

How did you discover that she had been sexually assaulted ?

M. COLEMAN: It took us a while to figure that out because she was incoherent. She couldn't walk. She couldn't talk. She was semi- conscious. The other girl that was with Daisy also didn't know and seemed very confused.

So finally, I was going to put Daisy into a warm tub to warm her up. I wasn't sure if she had been sleepwalking or if she'd had a seizure. I wasn't sure what was going on. So I thought I would just put her in a warm tub. And when I started to undress her, I saw things on her body and I realized that maybe she had been sexually assaulted. And I asked her if she was hurting and she said yes and started crying.

PEREIRA: And that's when you called police. And even the sheriff himself will not dispute the fact that she was assaulted.

Now what's so strange to so many people and has sparked outrage is that there was outrage in the community, but not necessarily towards the assaulters, but towards the victims, towards your daughter. What happened?

M. COLEMAN: You know, I think people just didn't want to believe it. They had known these boys since they were in kindergarten and I think they didn't want to believe it and it was easier to blame the victim. Most of the people were good people, but there was a handful that were very aggressively threatening -- PEREIRA: We know that you and your --

M. COLEMAN: -- and very negative.

PEREIRA: -- had moved to this small town, Maryville, after having lost your husband in a car accident. You were trying to start over again. You and the kids were trying to start a new life.

How much do you think the idea that you were not from this small town, which sounds like it's a very close-knit community, did you feel that some of this played into the fact that people turned against you?

M. COLEMAN: I think it might have. Like I said, they had known those boys for a long time and they had only known us a couple of years. And I think in situations like this a lot of times the victims are blamed.

PEREIRA: One of the things that we do want to ask you is that as we talked with Ana Cabrera there, CNN spoke to the sheriff and he said that both he and his office and the office of the prosecutor were ready to prosecute and to look into this further and to prosecute these boys that assaulted your daughter and this other little girl, but they said you declined to cooperate with authorities.

M. COLEMAN: That's absolutely not true. And it still kind of just shocks me that they're lying about it.

The other mother and I have always -- you know, I don't know how he can say on one hand I was bugging him every day and it was like Groundhog Day, because I wouldn't leave him alone, and then on the other hand he's saying I didn't cooperate and wouldn't talk to him. It doesn't even make sense.

We were more than willing to talk to him and do everything possible. They dropped the charges and didn't even let us know. In fact, I hired an attorney to try to find out why they had dropped out the charges because they wouldn't talk to me.

PEREIRA: What did your attorney say?

M. COLEMAN: He wrote them a letter and tried to get them to talk to him. They wouldn't even answer him.

PEREIRA: Fast forward to now. We know that you've since left that town, gone back to the town, Albany, where you were originally from.

How is life for you and how is Daisy doing?

M. COLEMAN: It's getting better.