CNN LARRY KING LIVE
Panel Discusses D.C. Area Sniper
Aired October 18, 2002 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, no sniper shootings since Monday. A witness in the case arrested, but will the sniper strike again and where do we go from here?
Joining us for the latest on the investigation, John Miller, ABC News anchor and one of America's top crime reporters, covering the story for WTOP radio and Washington and "US," Mitchell Miller. In Boston, criminologist Jack Levin. Also with us, crime fighting legend and former FBI profiler Robert Ressler. And then, how do you know when to believe a witness? We'll ask eyewitness expert Kathy Pezdek. She's testified in numerous trials. And with us from Washington, Court TV host and former prosecutor, Nancy Grace. In Phoenix, psychiatry professor Dr. Michael Welner, who has interviewed spree killers. And with me in Los Angeles, Robert Graysmith, author of two books on the notorious Zodiac killer, who claimed responsibility for 37 murders.
They're all next on LARRY KING LIVE.
Good evening. We have that late-breaking story about investigators finding a white box truck -- seizing a white box truck at a Virginia car rental agency and a shell casing found inside. Nothing more until 9:00 tomorrow morning. Mitchell Miller, anything you can add to that?
MITCHELL MILLER, WTOP: Certainly, a tantalizing piece of information that we've just found out about as CNN has been reporting this evening. This could be something that investigators are going to be highly interested in. We may know more by the morning when we find out whether ballistics actually show any kind of match at all related to the previous shootings. So certainly something new now that investigators have to go on, and this is very encouraging going into the weekend.
On the other hand, I have to caution that perhaps this is something that, you know, is one of those many, many things that investigators look after in the course of investigation and it could possibly turn out to be nothing, but we'll just have to wait and see.
KING: Shell casings are found on trucks, I guess. Let's meet the panel. They are in Rockville, Maryland, John Miller, the co- anchor of ABC News "20/20," covering this story for ABC News. The best-selling author as well of "The Cell." His new book examines the 9/11 plot. It's now out in hard cover. There you see its cover. In Boston, Jack Levin, professor of sociology and criminology at Northeastern University, director of the Brodnick (ph) Center on Conflict and Violence, author of numerous books, including "Mass Murders: America's Growing Menace." And Robert Ressler, the former FBI criminal profiler 16 years now, director of Forensic Behavioral Services, a company that provides training and lectures on civil and criminal trials worldwide. And the already introduced Mitch Miller covering the story for WTOP radio and for CNN.
John, do you see any ties? Your book, "The Cell," is about the 9/11 plot. Anything here that might tell you this is terrorism?
JOHN MILLER, ABC NEWS: Well, there's an awful lot. But I have to say that with an added caution also. You know, there is a witness, a cooperating witness, a member of al Qaeda named Trebelsy (ph) who was interviewed by the FBI in Brussels just within the last few days who says he witnessed sniper training in al Qaeda camps, he witnessed shooters being trained to shoot from the back of trucks. He witnessed a plot to take long-range sniper shots at U.S. senators on golf courses, and that these things were to occur, some of them, in the United States.
So you have to take that seriously. On the other hand, investigators here, and many I've spoken to feel if this was terrorism, there would be some claim of responsibility. Otherwise, while you're terrorizing people, you're not getting your message across, and terrorism is basically a very deadly form of theater.
KING: Jack Levin, we've talked a lot about what this killer might be like and inside his mind and everything. What about the person who would give false evidence that they've charged late this afternoon with some sort of crime? What about -- what kind of person would do something like that?
JACK LEVIN, CRIMINOLOGIST: Well, you know, Larry, we know that eyewitness observation is notoriously unreliable anyway, especially when you have to make a split-second decision about what you've seen and you're semi-hysterical. And then on top of that, there's the tendency to fabricate.
You know, we know that the killer, or at least we suspect that the killer is motivated in part by the publicity that he gets. Well, you know, the same thing could be said for an eyewitness who fabricates his testimony or his observations. He becomes a big shot. He makes the media. He's a hero. He helps solve the case, and maybe even thinks he's going to get some of that half million dollars.
KING: Robert Ressler, does the shell casing story intrigue you?
ROBERT RESSLER, FORMER FBI CRIMINAL PROFILER: It does from the standpoint of any evidence that's available, of course is very important evidence. The Tarot card, the shell casings, the ballistics evidence. Every little piece is drawing together a little bit tighter noose around our killer or killers.
KING: Mitchell, is there any thoughts on nothing since Monday the long -- this has been the longest period of time without a shooting, right? M. MILLER: That's right. We've been here since Monday when everybody's been on edge and wondering what is going to be the next day. Many thought it might be Wednesday, since we've been talking about that 48-hour period.
So now, here we are Friday. We're moving into the weekend. The sniper has not fired on the weekend, to our knowledge. So it's -- remains to be seen now, is he or the killers going to wait for several days now that we have a much larger dragnet ready to jump in anytime a shot is fired, or is he going to surprise? And there's been some speculation about this as well, because after all, the only thing about the person here that's predictable is their unpredictability.
So there has been some thought that, perhaps, just to get attention, the sniper might act over the weekend, but, of course, only that person really knows himself.
KING: John Miller, is there a chance here of law enforcement fatigue setting in?
J. MILLER: Well, they're very smart about this kind of thing. Unlike the people in our business who work, you know, around the clock for days and days, they realize that they're in it for the long haul. So you'll see after the first few days, it's the bosses who start to send guys home. It's the commanders who start to make a schedule where people are getting sleep, where they are seeing their families, because they don't want that to happen. They know they could be working this for months.
KING: Jack Levin, there is, of course, the possibility that this person has stopped and will not do it again and we may never find out, or would you bet against that?
LEVIN: Larry, I think it's more likely that this killer has taken a holiday. You know, I think he's laying low. He knows that he had made a number of different mistakes. The last thing he wants is to get caught. For a while, he felt so superior that he cut corners, took chances, made this a little bit more fun, a little bit more challenging. I think he was getting bored for a while. And so he left some clues. He killed in proximity to a state trooper. He killed in a crowd, and he got closer to the victim.
But, you know, I think he also realizes and, unfortunately, I think he's rational enough to realize this, that he could get caught if he's not careful. And I think he's laying low, and I think when he comes back, he'll come back when we least expect it. And he may not come back for a while.
KING: Robert Ressler, you're legendary as a profiler with the FBI. People have talked about you for years, and you're known all over the country, and indeed around the world. What do you know more now than you did two weeks ago to help you profile this person?
RESSLER: Well, Larry, two weeks ago, when it first started, it had all the makings of a classic spree killing. Thinking back to Andrew Cunanan, who started out in St. Paul-Minneapolis, moved across to Chicago, and on to New Jersey, finally down to Miami Beach, where he killed Gianni Versace. A spree murderer tends to go on the move.
What we had here is this initial burst of killings, and then, of course, it started moving down the corridor, down 95, we got down to Spotsylvania, Virginia, up to the -- up to Manassas, and started moving around. It was clear that this individual and, in my opinion, these individuals, were going to stay in the major metropolitan Washington area, which tells me that they're residents. These people are long-term residents. They know the area. They know all the areas.
And they -- they start playing games, dropping Tarot cards, keeping their ballistics clearly linked. And you know, I'm beginning to think very seriously, that even if there were two, they may be in two vehicles. One may be a diversionary vehicle to pull away in one direction while the other guy breaks down. It -- there's a lot of clues here that are mounting and building that we didn't know two weeks ago.
KING: But in your opinion, it's definitely a "they."
RESSLER: I believe it's "they." I really do. It's a little too complex for one individual, and one individual tends to be more mentally unbalanced. When you have a pair, they tend to be a little more mentally intact, although still seriously distorted people.
I think the shootings, you know, although a lot of people talk in terms of expert sniper, that sort of thing, I think your expert last night kind of dispelled that notion. But I think this individual is a good shot, but he's got a kill zone. He sets up -- he's doing a ambush by opportunity. He sets up, he has a kill zone. He -- you know, somebody walks into his bullet, more or less, somebody walks into his sight rather than sighting anybody he wants to.
KING: We'll get a break. We'll include phone calls for our panel. More coming later, including the return of Dr. Michael Welner, and Robert Graysmith will be with us, all ahead on LARRY KING LIVE. Your calls next. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHIEF CHARLES MOOSE, MONTGOMERY COUNTY POLICE: We still need people to come forward, and when we talk about the witness that has been proven to be not credible, we do that with great hesitation, because we don't want other people to feel like this is about an effort by the police to credit or discredit them. We need witnesses. We want our witnesses to come forward. We worked very hard to keep any information that they provide us confidential.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Let's include some of your phone calls to this outstanding panel. Port Richie, Florida, hello.
CALLER: Yeah, hi, good evening, Larry. This is to anyone on the panel. Why do you think that Chief Moose did not want the information given out on the Tarot card? KING: All right, Jack Levin, what's your read on that?
LEVIN: You know, I think he felt that if the information hit the media that the killer would know longer communicate. I think that was part of what the killer had in mind by leaving the message in the first place.
But, you know, I think, myself, and, of course, there is a lot of information that we don't know, but -- and I think the police overall are doing a very good job here. Yet, I think they have to give the public information.
LEVIN: And you know, there are people who are fascinated with the occult and with Tarot cards, and that's one clue that a person can look for in suspects.
KING: Robert Ressler, why do you think he didn't? Why did he get mad?
RESSLER: I think he had an idea of possibly establishing a communication with the killer or killers. The additional information about don't make this available to the media, to me, that tells me the guy wants it to be made to the media. This is kind of a subterfuge. But I think if Chief Moose thought that he could establish some sort of written or telephone communication with this individual, he could bring him in. And it's a good idea, but with this type of personality, I don't think they're going to respond to that type of appeal. They're just too...
KING: John Miller...
RESSLER: ... much -- their ego is too involved in this thing.
KING: John Miller, if you came upon that Tarot card story, would you have broken it?
J. MILLER: I think I would have, but, I think what happened here was, the people who did come on that story called the police and said we have this story. And what they were told, my understanding, here by the Montgomery County Police was that the police said, we don't know anything about it. I'm also given to understand that that's true, that the people they reached here were not aware of it. So nobody reached out to the media, as far as I know, and asked the station that got that, the television station, to hold it back. It's when they ask you to hold it back that you're in the dilemma, and that didn't happen in this case.
KING: Mitchell Miller, what do you make of releasing it?
M. MILLER: Well, if you are asked by law enforcement to withhold information because somebody's life may be in danger, that's one thing, and that might be reason to not go with something. Certainly, the media are cognizant of the fact that people's lives are in danger and that investigations can be jeopardized. However, as John Miller pointed out, if the information checks out and you've got it from law enforcement sources and the police are themselves not commenting on it in terms of don't run it, well, then, most likely, the news organization is going to go ahead and run the information.
KING: Lebanon, Missouri, hello.
CALLER: Hi. I was just wondering about the double standard with the media and the police about releasing too much, but yet, they let the public know about the planes, and all of a sudden, the sniper had stopped after he learned about those planes. And I'd like to know if you have any thought on that.
KING: John Miller, is this sort of kind of a delicate balance? Is it a double standard?
J. MILLER: Well, what's interesting, Larry, is that there was a big secret meeting in this building behind me where the investigators were told by the federal people they'd be getting those planes, and not to breathe a word of it. And, of course, by the next day, the Pentagon was issuing a press release about it. So a lot of the investigators, cops and detectives around here were saying, why were we told this was top secret if the Pentagon was going to be talking about it?
However, the double standard cuts both ways. If the fact that they released the story of the airplanes frightened the killer into stopping from killing further, well, then, that's a good thing. They can always catch them through investigative techniques. Anything that stops him from shooting again, if he's afraid of surveillance planes, is a positive here.
KING: Good idea. Long Island, New York, hello.
CALLER: Hi. I was wondering if anyone thought the witness that was just proved incredible has anything to do with the sniping, if he was a plant as part of it?
KING: You make any...
CALLER: ... to try to throw them off in their leads?
KING: Robert Ressler, what do you make of that whole story? That witness who wasn't a witness.
RESSLER: I really don't. Yeah, I really don't think that there's any connection there. Witnesses -- this happens. In every major case, you get -- even people will come in and confess to murders that they didn't do. And as far as legitimate witnesses, I mean, I've worked on bank robberies in the FBI, where six or eight FBIans would converge on a bank after a robbery, take statements and you'd find six or eight different opinions and different description of guns and bank robbers. Witnesses just aren't real reliable under -- especially under stress.
KING: We'll take a break and be back with more. This is LARRY KING LIVE. Don't go away. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LT. AMY LUBAS, FAIRFAX CO. POLICE: While we would rather this did not happen, it did not cripple the investigation because all of our officers are well trained during the course of stopping vehicles and things like that to look for any suspicious activity. And they were not, did not have blinders on and weren't just looking for this one particular vehicle.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: We're back. Owosso, Michigan, hello.
CALLER: Yes. I would like to ask Mr. Ressler if it's possible that if there's two shooters, they don't even have a motive, that they are just having like a contest between each other, who can get the most kills. And if that was that, what -- then what type of people are we dealing with? Thank you.
RESSLER: If you have a duel, and as I said I think a few nights ago, there's a history of pairs of people who have been involved in serial homicide and multiple homicide of the mass type, as well. You're not dealing with people without a motive. They have a motive, but that motive is very personal. When you have two very dysfunctional people that draw together, sometimes they -- I know one case of serial killers that met in prison and they planned their killings while in prison, and when they were both released about the same time, they embarked on a series of homicides.
So you're dealing with people that are not conventional in any way, shape or form. They're hostile. They have a -- they're not in competition with each other. I think only one is the shooter. But they've embarked upon really a death wish here, that is -- it's a trail that's leading to nothing but doom and disaster for themselves, and they know that. But they haven't backed off yet, and they probably won't.
KING: To late tuners in, by the way, investigators of the Washington area sniper shooting have seized a white box truck at a Virginia car rental agency. A shell casing was found inside. The caliber of the casing was not disclosed. There will be no further information until 9:00 a.m. Eastern time Saturday morning.
We asked Mitch Miller about this. John, what do you make of this story?
J. MILLER: Well, I think that could be an extremely important clue. You've got a truck that's consistent with the vehicle that numerous witnesses saw in the first shootings leaving from more than one of the locations of those shootings. So it certainly resonates that it has some meaning. Then you have a shell casing in the back, which may mean that somebody used that truck for shooting. On the other hand, I think that the skittishness on the part of the investigators, even with such an attractive clue is, this occurs in the same day, even, that they arrested the man who two days ago they thought was their star witness. So, yes, it could have been placed there. Yes, it could be a prank, or, yes, it could lead to the rental agreement that may have the killer's name on it.
KING: Jack Levin, is the killer or killers, for want of a better term, enjoying this?
LEVIN: Oh, Larry, I think that this is a lot of fun for the killers. You know, this is kind of the adult version of the Columbine high school shootings, but much more sophisticated. And I think, like some of those mass murders at school, I think these killers have a pact with one another to express their loyalty, their common bond together.
In addition, you know, they feel this rush. They get high on it the way that drug addicts get high on drugs. And just like drug addicts, they need larger and larger doses of sadism and brutality in order to remain high. So they up the ante.
I think that this is a game for them. It's a game that they play in order to achieve a sense of power, dominance, control. They feel important. They feel superior. And, at the same time, they get even with humankind.
KING: Robert Ressler, isn't -- I know it's your job, but isn't it difficult to think with the mind of someone's who's demented, that you have to get into his shoes, right? It's your job, get into his shoes.
RESSLER: That's true, Larry. In fact, in the behavioral science unit back at the dungeons of the FBI Academy where we used to work, we went out of our way to try to understand violent offenders, serial offenders, mass murderers to the extent of interviewing them in prison, doing in-depth research on them, and we try to school ourselves on how to think the way these people would think, and that way getting ahead of them before they get onto a next victim. Sometimes I mean, it gets a little bit spooky because you find yourself thinking in very abhorrent ways that it's almost frightening sometimes.
KING: Mitch Miller, before this finding and this shell casing, which we'll know more about tomorrow morning, had optimism waned?
M. MILLER: I think it clearly had. I mean, you have this individual who was just charged today, as we've been talking about, this Falls Church man, 37-year-old Matthew Dowdy (ph), who has been charged with a misdemeanor count, by the way, of possibly providing false information to police.
And once it was found that he was allegedly telling a totally incorrect story, all of a sudden, as we've talked about, this star witness, this key piece of information about the person who actually could have seen the shooting, all of it went out the window, and I think it really took a lot of air out of the investigation, at least from a public standpoint.
So with this shell casing being found, at least for the moment, that might get a little momentum going again. But as John Miller pointed out, we don't want to get too far ahead of ourselves, just looking at what could be something very insignificant, or on the other hand, once again, could be very, very important.
KING: Thank you all very much, and we'll be calling on your good graces and information again, maybe as early as Monday night.
A new panel will join us. We'll discuss other aspects, get into things psychiatric as well right after this.
KING: Now, another distinguished panel joins us. In Phoenix is Dr. Michael Welner, M.D., forensic psychiatrist, associate professor of psychiatry at NYU. He's developer of the depravity scale, a forensic instrument that standardized use of the word "evil" in criminal courts. We'll ask about that.
Robert Graysmith is here in Los Angeles, author of "Zodiac Unmasked." He claims to know who the notorious Zodiac killer really was, names him in his new book, a former political cartoonist with the "San Francisco Chronicle." Also in Los Angeles is Dr. Kathy Pezdek, professor of psychiatry at Claremont Graduate University, an expert on eyewitness memory, frequently called upon to testify at trials on reliability of eyewitness accounts. And in Washington, D.C., the ever-present Nancy Grace, always good to see her, anchor of Court TV and former prosecutor.
Dr. Welner, what do we mean by depravity scale, and how would it be applied here?
DR. MICHAEL WELNER, FORENSIC PSYCHIATRIST: In high-profile and sensational crimes, there's so much emotion attached to a case that by the time it gets to trial, we often wrestle with questions of whether the crime was heinous, atrocious, cruel. That can make the difference between life or death at sentencing.
Now, this is a crime where obviously a number of people have been killed, but there are certain cases through overdramatization where the facts can get out of whack, and when a case gets presented before the jury, the case is decided on emotion rather than on evidence, and what the depravity scale and standard are attempting to do are to find a way where we can have a consistent way of using these words that essentially mean "evil" in court cases so we can have fairness, which is already an issue when it comes to capital sentencing.
KING: Got it. Robert Graysmith, quickly, what was the Zodiac murder?
ROBERT GRAYSMITH, AUTHOR, "ZODIAC UNMASKED": Zodiac was a hooded, extremely physically powerful man with a genius IQ, who terrorized the Bay Area with ciphers threats to the police and unsolvable crimes that he predicted. KING: He killed how many people?
GRAYSMITH: He claimed 37. Police officially say five. I've uncovered some others. It could have gone as high as 50, because he said he'd make them look like accidents.
GRAYSMITH: It's unsolved in the sense that the very earliest detectives in the case zeroed in on a man who was turned in by his family, who knew all the victims, who stalked some of them, who was at some of the crime scenes, who matched physically and had a lot of the (UNINTELLIGIBLE). It was the letters that we could never quite connect, because if they'd been able to match his hand printing to these letters, they would have arrested him.
KING: Who do you think this has been?
GRAYSMITH: I think it's probably him, but I think he might have had some help.
KING: Is he still living?
GRAYSMITH: He died. They found -- Zodiac always claimed he lived in a basement. They found bombs, like Zodiac said he was making. They found all kinds of weapons, my book, clippings. Everything you'd expect to find in Zodiac's place.
KING: Is this killer or killers smart?
GRAYSMITH: I think he's been damn lucky. I think they're going to grab him. Unlike Zodiac, who just went on and on and on. And you know, he sent -- he threatened to shoot children with the sniper's rifle. I think that's the one parallel to this case. The reaction to that was planes following, school buses, people taking time off to be guards.
KING: Dr. Pezdek, you're an expert on eyewitness testimony.
KATHY PEZDEK, PROFESSOR OF PSYCHOLOGY: Yes.
KING: Have you run into eyewitnesses like this one who lie?
KING: They do. Why?
PEZDEK: I'm not sure why witnesses lie. The ones who are lying are usually easily detected because they have a motivation for lying. The witnesses I worry about more are the ones who really think they saw what they're reporting to have seen, but they didn't. They're making a mistake. They're making a common flaw in memory.
KING: Is there a lot of that?
PEZDEK: Yes, I think there is, particularly in situations like this where the witnesses see the person very briefly, it's an unfamiliar person, it's dark. It's at some distance, and there's a lot of heightened arousal and anxiety about the situation. The witnesses so far never saw the person very clearly to begin with, so they just are not remembering what happened.
KING: Nancy, when you're prosecuting a case and you're dealing with witnesses, how sure are you? How much do you deal with the fact that you don't face a thing like Dr. Pezdek just described?
NANCY GRACE, COURT TV: Well, I agree with her in the sense that very often, you can sniff out a lying witness pretty quickly. Certain things they say may not fit with the very intricate details of the story, and you get a gut-level feel for them, too.
I also agree with her, the biggest problem is when you've got a witness that is sure they saw what they think they saw. They can really hurt you at trial. But I can tell you this much -- in this particular case, none of these eyewitnesses are coming forward with specific detail. That's why we don't have a composite yet. They're all getting a look at him at a distance. We're hearing a very accurate portrayal of that. It's going to take a lot more to get a good composite on this.
But today, the truck discovery and that casing could break the case wide open, Larry.
KING: It could, but we won't know that until tomorrow morning at 9:00.
Dr. Welner, I'll ask this as a simple neophyte -- is -- assuming this is not an act of terrorism, is this person crazy?
WELNER: Well, Larry, I believe this is one person who's involved. And what we've come to appreciate from spree killers are there are certain qualities in multiple killings that are associated with people who are psychotic and certain that are associated with people who are organized and alienated and hateful about society.
Now, typically, people who go on killing sprees where there are many people wounded and less dead, so they are less accurate shooters, tend to be people who have a more severe form of psychiatric illness. On the other hand, people who pick victims indiscriminately also tend to have a more severe form of psychiatric illness.
In the final analysis, the more sick a person is, the more likely he is to leave clues that result in his being captured. So it is possible that this person actually does believe that he is God. I'm not saying that I believe that, but I think we have to keep an open mind until we resolve that. But -- but otherwise is completely functional and intact, is aware that what he is doing is wrong, would never meet criteria for legal insanity. Of course, it is also possible that he is alienated, hateful, and acting against society.
KING: So there's nothing obvious here, Robert?
GRAYSMITH: No, but, you know, it's common for the actual killer to sometime insinuate himself into the crime to help police. He will lead a search party. He will...
KING: Go to the scene?
GRAYSMITH: He'll go. He'll want to be part of this. In fact, when we were working on the Zodiac case, I know the police officer, David Tosky (ph), the inspector, who we've talked about it for 30 years, I said to him one day, 2,500 suspects, anybody ever say, I want to help you catch the Zodiac? And there was one, and he turned out to be the prime suspect.
KING: What do you make of this whole thing? Do you read this as psychotic, doctor?
PEZDEK: I don't really know enough about the profile of a psychotic. I quite honestly just study normal memory processes, and there are enough unpredictable events that happen with normal memory processes to entertain me for a while.
KING: And what happens to the memory? Let's say you're at the scene, the car goes by and somebody shoots. What is the process that three people could say it was a white car, yellow car, blue car? He was tall, he was short, he was fat, he was white, he was black, he was brown?
PEZDEK: Well, I think a major factor that comes into play here is the fact that our expectations affect our perceptions. In other words, if I'm expecting to see a Middle Eastern man who is committing these crimes, and I look up and I see a dark-skinned man, I didn't see his hair. I didn't see what his eyes look like. I didn't get a good look at him. I just looked through the window and saw he had dark hair, dark skin, and I'm expecting a Middle Eastern man, I'm going to remember him as having the characteristics that I have learned to be associated with a Middle Eastern man.
So what I expect to happen is directing or warping my memory from what I actually see.
KING: Pre-thinking it?
KING: Is it more difficult, Nancy, to prosecute spree killers?
GRACE: Well, I've actually prosecuted spree killers myself, and I find them much more easy to prosecute, because you've got a comparison to make in front of a jury. You've got shell casings, in this case, for instance, that all match each other, that have come from the same gun, bullets coming from the same gun.
KING: Is there anything more difficult about it, or is it generally easier?
GRACE: Well, in this case, it's going to be difficult, unless they find the particular gun, because here so far, no DNA, no clear eyewitness. All you've got is excellent ballistics. But in order for them to mean anything, you have got to have the gun to match it up to a person.
One more thing about eyewitnesses. We're all taking a lot of potshots at eyewitnesses, suggesting they don't see what they see. But let me tell you, I've had plenty of eyewitnesses in thousands of cases that in a moment when their lives were threatened, they saw and they saw darn well, and juries believed them.
KING: We even had some eyewitnesses who identified someone raping them that we learned through DNA turned out not to be a rapist. Boy, that's a mixed eyewitness.
GRACE: You're right. You're right. But I've got to tell you, Larry, while that may make a headline, and what you said is absolutely true, that is the rare case. I found eyewitnesses to be believable in most cases, plus you can back them up with corroboration.
KING: We'll take a break and come back, include phone calls for this panel on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE. Don't go away.
KING: By the way, it should be of some interest that Robert Graysmith is also the author of "Auto Focus: The Story of Bob Crane." What a mystery of that was. And that movie based on his book opened tonight.
Bob Crane, tragically killed in Arizona some years back, the star of "Hogan's Heroes."
Fort Lauderdale, Florida -- hello.
CALLER: Hello. I'd like to know if they believe that he will move to another area. And if so, if the 11 shot and nine killed would be a 9/11 message?
KING: Dr. Welner, what do you think?
WELNER: You know, when it comes to messages, there's no way of knowing until someone's actually captured and has an opportunity to tell.
The best example of that is that young fellow who was driving all over the country leaving bombs in mailboxes. Nobody was going to figure out a smiley face until he told it to us.
As far as why he stopped, here's why he stopped. One of three reasons -- either it is because he's avoiding capture because he almost was captured. Either he's plotting something more carefully or he's simply cooling off.
Spree killers kill while they're agitated and you cannot sustain it indefinitely. And others cool off and then the urge to go out and destroy is much less intense.
KING: As a layman, Robert, you buy that? GRAYSMITH: I sure do. You know what's intriguing is the use of geographical profiling in this case. In the original Zodiac case, he particularly chose boundary lines in uncorporated areas so he'd have police departments competing with each other, not sharing information. In this case, and the reason he's going to be caught, is because they're sharing and cooperating and working together.
KING: Do you think eventually witnesses who will be on the spot -- he's going to have to do something again, isn't he, Doctor?
PEZDEK: I don't know if he will or not.
KING: If he doesn't you're not going to get him unless you get some, as Nancy pointed out, some forensic evidence.
PEZDEK: It does not appear there's enough evidence now to convict anybody. So unless there's another incident and more evidence of some type, whether it's eyewitness evidence or something else, doesn't look very promising.
In terms of the eyewitness evidence, though, it's going to have to be someone at a closer range who does see the person well. And has the opportunity to make an identification after a shorter period of time. So that's what we would hope would happen. Under those conditions, eye were witnesses can be quite reliable. I agree with Nancy.
KING: Is it tragic to say it, Nancy, but we're going to get a better catch if he kills again?
GRACE: Well, yes, that's just the cold, hard fact. Right now, you don't have enough to actually catch the guy unless one of these eyewitnesses can make an identification out of a lineup.
But as far as him stopping, I think this is his nature. I don't think can he stop. He could cool off for a period of time. As far as moving locations? No. This is his turf. This is what he's familiar with. This is where he'll strike again if he does. But, probably with a different vehicle.
KING: Jasper, Georgia -- hello.
CALLER: Good evening. My question is for Nancy Grace. And I was wondering if it would be possible to charge the witness with aiding and abetting.
GRACE: No. Not aiding and abetting. But in some cases, depending on the form of the police statement, the police report -- it can be perjury and obstruction. Both of these -- both of those in this case will be misdemeanor charges. No aiding and abetting.
KING: Toronto, Ontario, Canada -- hello.
CALLER: Hi, Larry. I heard one of your experts say earlier that really the victims are people who walk into the range of the sniper. I'm wondering, why does your panel think that the sniper has so far targeted only ordinary people, and hasn't upped his own ante to someone famous?
KING: Dr. Welner, why not a political, a broadcaster, a personality somebody big, a story?
WELNER: That's how things ended up for Andrew Cunanan and we don't know how this will turn out. I think...
KING: Good example.
WELNER: Well I'd like to point out that we don't know how this is going to end. This is a person who's got to live the rest of his life and someone who, in my professional opinion, is a failure on so many different domains that, you know what, we have every likelihood of expecting that he's going to be a failure as an escaped felon too. That perhaps he will trip up and he will break the law in such a way that he will be caught.
This is what happened to the New York Zodiac killer who got away, was sending letters. They never caught him. He got arrested in a couple of times, couple of arrests down the road, they did catch him and they matched ballistics.
Forensics is so sophisticated, much more sophisticated now than ever, that I don't think we should be necessarily so pessimistic. I would point this out -- quickly, that there is a book that many people who are sensational crime fantasizers, author Andrew McDonald, Timothy McVeigh, the Turner Diaries. There's a book called "Hunter" and it culminates and progresses from ordinary citizens being killed to political figures. So I don't think we know how this is going to...
KING: "Hunter," it's a novel? A novel called "Hunter."
WELNER: It's a novel called "Hunter." It is an anthem. It is a textbook of destruction that for people who are preoccupied with it -- they buy this book, they read it and, coincidentally, it's based in Washington.
KING: Robert, what do you make about gunning down someone well known?
GRAYSMITH: Well, it's interesting because, you know, the things about this case that sort of puzzle me is the serial killer seems very artificial. He's a spree killer, a mass killer or serial killer.
Serial killers really fantasize. They have a particular individual in mind, usually. They like to stretch this out and like to predict who they're going to kill. I don't know that he's going to pick anybody but ordinary people.
KING: What do you think, Doctor Pezdek, just off the top? I know your expertise is in the area of witnesses, but do you think this mind might go the way of I want to kill someone well known?
PEZDEK: I honestly don't have a background on that particular topic.
KING: As a layman.
PEZDEK: I don't know. I would think, it seems like a clever person who is trying to fool people and do things unpredictably but keep everyone on edge. So I would look for unpredictablilty.
KING: Nancy, would you call him or them clever?
GRACE: Yes, I would call them very clever. They've managed to get away with 11 shots, nine dead victims.
But as far as picking ordinary people as his victims as opposed to someone well known or famous, I don't think the identity of his victims really even matter to him. They're expendable, they're in the right place for him at the right time. Whoever walks in or out of that Home Depot, Exxon station or Michael's craft store will be his victim. So he doesn't care about their ordinariness or their star quality.
KING: Back with more moments with Dr. Michael Welner, Robert Graysmith, Dr. Kathy Pezdek and Nancy Grace right after this.
KING: Maybe we're to ask Dr. Pezdek before we take another call. Let's say you're on the streets and you're kind of observant, what would make you a good witness? What are things you should look for?
PEZDEK: Well, there are ideal circumstances for eyewitnesses, and under those conditions, they are reliable. Ideal circumstances would be we would hope for very good lighting, we would hope the witness was close to the person they were observing. We would hope that they would be of the same race or ethnicity as the person they are observing. People are more accurate identifying people of their own race.
KING: They are?
PEZDEK: Yes, yes. So if I'm looking at someone who's white, I'm going to be able to pick them out of a lineup better than if I'm looking at someone who is not white. So that would be something we would hope for. We would hope that witnesses don't talk to each other. Witnesses can affect each other's memories and distort each other's memories by conversations back and forth. We would hope that an identification could be made a short period of time afterwards, and these are the kinds of things...
KING: It ain't easy.
PEZDEK: It's not easy.
KING: Redding, Pennsylvania, hello.
CALLER: Hi, Larry. My question for the panel is this -- if the sniper is caught while he's getting away and there's a chase situation, do you think they'll have to kill him or he'll kill himself and, ultimately, end up dead? KING: Dr. Welner?
WELNER: Yes, I think he'll end up dead, and I think he'll kill himself. And just to go to quickly address the last point, Andrew Cunanan did not embark on a killing spree deciding he was going to kill Gianni Versace. He went around the country. He ran out of room, and he decided for his last crime to kill someone famous. He thought about Sylvester Stallone. He discovered Gianni Versace. So the key point is, the person's needs evolve over time, and we can't predict that. That's something that maybe he doesn't even know.
So, hopefully, he'll stop, he'll cool off, he'll be caught by evidence. Nobody will be killed. But he will kill himself if cornered. That's my expectation based on previous cases.
KING: Houston, hello.
CALLER: Yes, I was thinking, and I was going to ask if anybody agrees with me, if there is two people involved, they might turn on each other and it might be easier to solve the crime.
KING: Might that happen, Nancy, or is that wishful thinking?
GRACE: Well, yes, I think it is wishful thinking. However, when you've got more than one person involved on a plot, it's always much easier to prove. It's easier to get one person to crack, take a lesser plea and rat out the other. So that would make it much, much easier. I just don't see this guy stopping because, Larry, we're speculating, and when you don't know a horse, you look at his track record, and his track record is, he has been very consistent in his shooting and the regularity.
KING: Might he do something drastic like go into a building, take out a whole bunch of people, Michael? Robert, I'm sorry.
GRAYSMITH: That's possible, but, you know, motivation changes. I think that's the key to this case is motivation. Why. And when Zodiac was killing people, he did it because he had a fantasy of young couples on out on a Saturday night by a body of water. It eventually became a battle with the police and a quest for publicity. The actual writing of the letters was...
KING: The thing we don't know yet is why.
GRAYSMITH: That's right. And doesn't make a lot of sense, does it?
KING: Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, hello.
CALLER: Hi, Larry. Pleasure to speak to you.
KING: Hi, thank you.
CALLER: My question is directed, I guess, perhaps more to Dr. Welner. This fellow, the sniper, one, maybe two, killed five people within 24 hours. Now, if it was a killing spree, I've heard that discussed, I've heard he wants to commit suicide -- why has he stopped now and is much more selective of his targets and his times?
WELNER: I don't think it's so much an issue of wanting to kill himself as it is a readiness to die. It's almost...
KING: No, his question was, he killed a lot of people in a short period of time and now it's spread out. Why?
WELNER: Because he's trying to get away. And because if he wants to continue to kill, he's going to have to spread it out, or he's going to be caught. There isn't the same luxury because there's so much community vigilance.
GRACE: This guy is not going to kill himself, Larry. Remember the Tarot card? He thinks he's God. He's not going to kill himself.
KING: You disagree with the doctor, then?
GRACE: I do. I do not think he will willingly take his life.
KING: Even if he's cornered?
GRACE: Well, if he's cornered, there may be a chance that he would, just simply because he doesn't want police to have the joy of bringing him in. I don't see him sitting alone in his den tonight getting disgusted with what he's doing and killing himself. He thinks he's God.
KING: Dr. Welner, is that a good point?
WELNER: Well, we're just going to disagree, and Nancy's a terrific experienced prosecutor, and I think that he's not going to kill himself at a time when he's not at risk of being captured. But I do believe that if he's cornered, if he doesn't engage police in a shootout, he may take his own life rather than face going into custody.
KING: Gut feeling, Robert, he's going to be caught?
GRAYSMITH: That's a fascinating point, because at one point, a paranoid schizophrenic or a sexual sadist, as a lot of the serial killers are, their last act against humanity is, I'm such a wonderful person, I'm so terrific, by killing myself I take away my light to the world. That actually has been considered. Dr. Murray Miner (ph) wrote about that.
KING: Your gut feeling, he's going to get caught?
GRAYSMITH: Oh, God, yes.
KING: Definitely. Kathy Pezdek? Gut feeling?
PEZDEK: Yes. KING: Dr. Welner?
WELNER: I believe in the community, and so I believe he'll be caught because I think people are looking out for him, and it's great to see people cooperate with law enforcement to protect themselves.
KING: Nancy, they're going to get him?
GRACE: I believe in ballistics and I think that that will be his undoing. He will be caught.
KING: Thank you all very much. We'll come back in a minute and tell you about what's coming up over the weekend on LARRY KING WEEKEND. Don't go away.
KING: Tomorrow night on LARRY KING WEEKEND, we'll repeat our interview with Madonna. And on Sunday night, Teri Garr, and then we're back live on Monday night. Aaron Brown will now host "NEWSNIGHT."
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