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CNN LARRY KING LIVE

Interviews, Analyses on Safe Recovery of Elizabeth Smart

Aired March 12, 2003 - 21:00   ET

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

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ED SMART, ELIZABETH SMART'S FATHER: I'm sure she was just thrilled to be back. I just -- such happiness and such love and I just held he r-- held her the whole way home.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LARRY KING, CNN HOST: Tonight, Elizabeth Smart is alive and back with the family that never gave up hope. She was found today near Salt Lake City nine months after she was abducted from her bedroom.

Joining us, John Walsh of "America's Most Wanted." He's been on top of the Elizabeth Smart story from day one.

Plus, the Smart family in Salt Lake City.

And John Ferguson, an eyewitness to the dramatic recovery of Elizabeth this afternoon.

And Angela Ricci, the widow of Richard Ricci, the handyman who at one time was a possible suspect in the case.

Also with us, Nancy Grace, the former prosecutor now with Court TV; high profile defense attorney Mark Geragos; Mark Klaas, his daughter Polly was abducted from their home and murdered in '93. What mixed emotions he must have tonight.

They're all next on LARRY KING LIVE.

One quick note. Tomorrow night, Bishop David Hamlin, who is the Smart family bishop, will be with us, as will Patricia Hearst.

We begin with John Walsh, the host of "America's Most Wanted." He's at our studios in New York. And on the phone is John Ferguson, an eyewitness in to Elizabeth Smart's recovery earlier today in Sandy, Utah.

What did you see, John Ferguson and where did you see it?

JOHN FERGUSON, WITNESSED ELIZABETH'S DISCOVERY: Around 1:15 this afternoon, as I was leaving my place of work, I was heading northbound on State Street noticed that there was a group of people actually heading northbound on the side of the road walking as the police pulled them over and I was able to see that there was four or five police cars and about five to seven police officers and actually what turned out to be Elizabeth Smart with two other people, one male, one female and they actually had the male on the ground with his legs crossed in what appeared to have handcuffs.

He did have a beard. It actually looked like they were more Muslim or Israeli type people because of the clothing they had on. It looked like a veil that they were wearing and very grungey, baggy clothing.

KING: Did you ask anybody what was going on?

FERGUSON: I did not. I was in my car heading northbound. I actually thought it was something other than the Smart case because it just looked a little too calm.

The police were interviewing what look to be a younger girl and speaking to her and speaking to the other two and it didn't look like there was anything out of the ordinary happening other than maybe a stop. But with seven police officers I knew that something big had to have been going on.

KING: No resistance, though?

FERGUSON: No, no resistance. I would have felt that if, you know, depending on the situation and poor Elizabeth, you know, being in that situation probably didn't see a way out for herself, but it did seem very calm. There was no resistance by the other people and there was no process of her trying to flee from them as they were walking down the street.

KING: And John Ferguson, finally, when did you find out who it was? .

FERGUSON: About half an hour later, I was listening to the "Sean Hannity Show," KSL cut in and they decided -- they said that it was Elizabeth Smart and I was ecstatic and thanked God that she was found.

KING: Thank you, John Ferguson. Thanks for sharing that with us.

John Walsh, you were on this thing from the get go. I understand you spoke to Ed Smart just a few minutes ago.

JOHN WALSH, "AMERICA'S MOST WANTED": Yes, I did. It was one of the best conversations I've had in years. He was so ecstatic. He was so happy. He thanked me a million times. We had had him on "The John Walsh Show," the talk show, twice with his entire family. We had profiled Elizabeth Smart repeatedly on "America's Most Wanted."

And, as a matter of fact, Larry, on December 20, last year, on this show, was when we first mentioned the name Emmanuel -- that Mary Katherine, the sister that was in the room that night that Elizabeth was taken, after all this time, Mary Katherine went to her dad and said, Dad, I think I have a recollection of a man, a man that worked in our house a couple of times named Emmanuel. And we had a composite back then, and for the first time I showed it on the LARRY KING show on December 20.

And then we started to show the guy's picture, Brian Mitchell, on"America's Most Wanted" and March 1 we showed Brian Mitchell's picture; Ed Smart was on and said, This guy worked at our house and Mitchell's ex-stepchildren, a woman that divorced him nine years ago and his four ex-stepchildren went on "America's Most Wanted" and said, This is a weirdo. This is a guy that's capable of kidnapping Elizabeth Smart, and I guess one of the women who called in today, I was told by the Sandy police, saw his picture on "America's Most Wanted."

So this conversation I had with Ed Smart -- because we don't get that many stranger abducted kids back alive. This is just incredible and wonderful.

KING: Now John, what part -- I know they're giving the police a lot of credit. But wasn't this in part, luck? Somebody spotted somebody on a street?

WALSH: Well, I think -- I would like to say it's a miracle. It is a miracle. I would say it's luck, but you know something, Larry? The American public has been incredible. I know the Smarts have joined the bandwagon. We talked a lot about the AMBER alert. We've gotten back almost 25 missing children because of the AMBER alert. "America's Most Wanted," we've brought 741 people. That's because the American public cares. They keep their eyes open. I don't say it was luck. I say it was two wonderful women who saw this guy's picture somewhere and said something was wrong and made that call. God bless them.

KING: Do we know -- of course, so much is speculation. We don't know what circumstances she lived under in the last nine months, do we?

WALSH: Well, we do. We know a lot about....

KING: What do we know?

WALSH: We know a lot about Brian Mitchell because when we first profiled the composite, Larry, we got lots of calls and then the Salt Lake City police told us who he was. We narrowed it down that it wasn't a guy named Emmanuel. It was Brian Mitchell, that he was a drifter, that he was a psycho, that he said he hated Mormons, that his wife, his present wife, Wanda, that they preached on the streets, that they lived at homeless shelters. They were spotted in San Diego.

So we knew that he was a nut case, a homeless person, probably deranged, hated Mormons. So we know a lot more about them than people think.

KING: How do you think he had the ability to keep her prisoner for nine months?

WALSH: Well, these people are great at brainwashing little people, Larry. I've been hunting these type of creeps for 16 years on "America's Most Wanted." I know an awful lot about them. They brainwash these little people by saying, You know, if you tell anybody that you're with us, we'll kill you or we'll go back and kill your family.

God knows what he told her. God knows what -- how he terrified this little girl. But this is not unusual. There was a guy, a young man, Stephen Stayner, that was kidnapped and kept by a pedophile for six years. He was brainwashed and terrorized and threatened, but he was gotten back alive. So that's probably what this guy did to little Elizabeth Smart.

KING: What did Ed Smart tell you?

WALSH: Ed Smart was ecstatic. He thanked me a million times. He and I had a lot of phone conversations. He hadn't left Salt Lake City for months and he came to do "The John Walsh Show" in New York and he brought his five kids.

And over the last several months we were talking and he was talking about, you know, the depths of despair -- that they wondered if Richard Ricci had taken the secret of Elizabeth to the grave, that maybe Ricci had been the one who kidnapped her because he had been the handyman in the house. He had some dark moments, but he was always praying he'd find her alive. And he was the one that approached me and said, John, I asked you can we keep this story alive -- that Mary Katherine, after all these months has said, What about this guy? I think this guy, Emmanuel, who worked at our house was the guy in the room that night.

Ed Smart was just said -- he said, Thank you and he said, You know what, John? We got her back alive. We need to work with her and hug her and kiss her. He says, But you know, what we also got to do? We got to get that AMBER alert passed nationwide. And that's -- and we talked about that and he said, I've got to go. I've got to leave right now and give Elizabeth another hug.

KING: Help me with something. Emmanuel, vis-a-vis Brian David Mitchell. How -- what -- where did the name Emmanuel come from?

WALSH: That's what he used when he was a handyman in Salt Lake City. That was an alias that he used..

KING: I got you.

WALSH: And that's what he told Ed Smart his name was while he was working in the house a couple times.

KING: We'll take a break and be back with more of John Walsh. Lots more still to come, including Angela Ricci, the widow of the late Mr. Ricci who got a bad rap.

Don't go away.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

E. SMART: All of the children out there deserve to come home to their parents the way -- the way Elizabeth has come back to us. And I just hope and pray that Congress will quickly pass the AMBER alert, so that those children will have a better chance. (END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: John Walsh will remain with us throughout the entire program and he'll be sort of co-hosting, ask answering questions as well.

Joining us now from Salt Lake is Tom Smart, the uncle of Elizabeth Smart. Tom, thank you very much for sharing these moments with us. I know your wife is with you, but she's not miked, right?

TOM SMART, ELIZABETH'S UNCLE: No. I've got the last word.

KING: What was it like when you first saw Elizabeth this.

T. SMART: I haven't seen Elizabeth. I've just talked to Edward.

KING: When do you plan to see her?

T. SMART: You know, it's not important when I see her, when I do, I imagine a few days, it's just important that they have their time alone and, you know, get matriculated back into their family.

KING: So you don't plan to going there tonight?

T. SMART: Not really. Not unless Ed calls me and says come on up. But it's more important that they're together and that I'm with my family tonight.

KING: John, do you have a question for Tom?

T. SMART: John, can I say one thing first?

KING: Sure.

T. SMART: God bless John and thank you so much. If it wasn't John Walsh and "America's Most Wanted" and Larry King show played a big part. Thank you very much.

WALSH: Tom, I thank you because I've got to say one thing. You were the first person in the Smart family I talked to. I'll never forget that phone call.

We had profiled Elizabeth on "America's Most Wanted" and you called up my cell phone and said I need to talk to you. Ed needs to talk to you. We're a loving, caring family. Give me a hundred ideas of what we should be doing.

And I've got to say one thing, this is just a credit to the Smart family. All of the people in Salt Lake City that you never gave up. You're such wonderful, loving people. And I'll tell you, my prayers -- if I could do a cartwheel on television right now for you, I would do it.

T. SMART: I believe it. KING: Tom, how did you learn of the events today? When were you first clued in?

T. SMART: Well, Edward called me and said that he was going down to the Sandy Police Department and, you know, we knew that it was significant. We didn't know whether it was Emmanuel or what, but that's how we got clued in.

KING: And who was the first person to tell you that it was her?

T. SMART: Well, we called around ask got sources. My little daughter Amanda actually called me and said, Dad, I heard that they have her and she's at the Sandy Police Department. But, you know, I didn't know until Edward called me and he was just broken in tears and he just said thank you. I love you. It's a miracle.

KING: I know of your great faith, Tom, but didn't you have doubts?

T. SMART: You know doubts are an important part of faith, I think. You know we just did the very best we could and we -- you know, from the very beginning, this has been such a miraculous thing. The community support, the neighborhood, the prayers of a nation and searching.

I've always felt that there was a higher purpose behind this. We've always prayed that this person whoever had her would take care of her. That it was -- we thought it was the only chance that she was alive is that to appeal to this person to -- to...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do the right thing.

T. SMART: ... do the right thing and let her come home and thank God for those -- go ahead.

KING: Go ahead.

John Walsh, did you ever really imagine an ending like this? Truthfully?

WALSH: No, truthfully, I had my very dark times. And I talked to Ed privately about it.

When Richard Ricci died in prison, and I know his widow is going to be on here, Richard Ricci had a long rap sheet. He had spent 10 years in prison for shooting a police officer in the back of the head. He was the handyman that had been in the house on several occasions. He was the prime suspect.

And a dark moment came, I think, for Ed and I both when -- when Richard Ricci died in prison of an aneurysm. We were afraid that he may have taken the secret of what happened to Elizabeth Smart to the grave because he was a logical suspect. He had access to the house. He'd worked in the house. He knew Elizabeth. He had a history of burglarizing homes. He'd been in prison for ten years for trying to kill a cop. There were times that I actually -- Ed and I had really tough private discussions. I side to him one time, I said, you know, it's not like the movies, Ed. Sometimes you don't get any resolution, sometimes the cavalry doesn't come in and find the perpetrator, get your daughter back. If she's dead you may never find her body.

But, you know what? The whole Smart family never gave up hope and never kept looking. And about every two or three weeks Ed would call me up and say what could we do, what could we do to keep her name in the media? And we never gave up. They kept coming on "The John Walsh Show". They had the courage to do it. We kept doing it on "America's Most Wanted".

And March 1, Ed Smart went out with our tip tracker himself, and this creep, Brian Mitchell's four stepchildren, and he came on the show and they went around to look for this guy, Brian Mitchell.

This is a family with a lot of courage, but we had some dark moments.

KING: Tom Smart, did you ever think it was Ricci?

T. SMART: You know, we -- you know, he certainly made a good suspect.

But, you know, our prayers and thoughts go with Angela Ricci and she -- you know, we've only searched for truth. The only thing we've looked for is truth and Elizabeth. And whatever road it's taken us to, that's what we've done and I think that she knows that from our family.

KING: But you had your doubts. Sometimes you had to have them, right, Tom?

T. SMART: Hey, of course. Like I said part of faith is doubting and, we, you know, we searched. So we've always believed that there could be a miracle here and we've never given up hope or never given up our faith.

And, you know, if she wasn't alive, our faith would still be intact. And our prayers go to the other missing families that are out there and pray that the AMBER Alert is passed.

KING: What do you think of the lady who spotted them?

T. SMART: I just want to hug her and pray to her and thank you.

And also, Brian Mitchell's sister who called up to -- who called the Salt Lake police who then was connected to "America's Most Wanted" who helped (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

The press were a very, very big part of this and I know you and John know that more than anybody. But that was very, very huge and that's why we tried to keep her name out there and tried to find out what was real.

KING: Sometimes the press, Tom, can be an interference. In this case, it helped, right?

T. SMART: We've tried to stay very focused. There's been terrible things. Our family, we're not gay, we're not this or that. We've not been sidetracked to get into the bad part of the press. I have -- I've been in the press for 25 years. We thank God for the good press and the people who have integrity in the press.

KING: Tom, thank you so much. Tom Walsh -- Tom Smart, his wife is there with him. We'll be back with more of John Walsh.

And still to come tonight is Angela Ricci, the widow of the late Richard Ricci who is obviously out of the picture now. But at least she has a much clearer mind, I would guess, about things.

And then our panel will assemble. John will remain through that, too. Don't go away.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHIP BURRESS, FBI SPECIAL AGENT: What a great day for the state of Utah, right? Darn right. Up there in that interview room you've got a boat load of officers. You can't wipe the smiles off their face. They are so excited to have her back.

I can't tell you how many times in the FBI we've conducted investigations with our state and local partners where this has not been the outcome. We are so happy today that the outcome is that she's alive, she's back and she's ready and she looks good and we're ready to move on with the investigation.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: He'll be part of our panel later, but joining John Walsh and I now is, Marc Klaas. He's in Atlanta. Found of Klaas Kid Foundation, advocate for child protection. His 12-year-old daughter Polly was abducted from her home and murdered in '93. He was not as fortunate as are the Smarts today.

KING: What did you make the first thing, you heard, Marc when you heard about it.

MARC KLAAS, DAUGHTER POLLY ABDUCTED: I didn't believe it. I thought it was a mistake ask the circumstances started to come out and none of it made any sense to me, quite frankly, still doesn't make a lot of sense. But what a wonderful piece of news in a world that's not getting much good news anymore.

KING: John Walsh, you have a question for Mark Klaas or a comment?

WALSH: Well, Marc, you know, we both have been involved in abductions of our own children and the murder of our own children. We don't get so many -- very many happy endings. It's just incredible, but you know, it proves to me again that the public can make such an incredible difference. If they keep their eyes open, they can make an incredible difference. But we've still got work to do, don't we, Marc, especially with the amber alerts.

KLAAS: You know, John, we absolutely do. I think this has to do more with the public than it has to do with prayer. I kind of take a little bit of offense when people say that prayer brought Elizabeth back and it sort of (UNINTELLIGIBLE) our own children. That somehow they didn't deserve to come back or that we didn't pray hard enough. But there's an organization out of Friendswood, Texas that needs a little bit of attention here. It's called the Laura Recovery Center. And they were in Salt Lake City on the second day after Elizabeth was kidnapped, and they're the ones that put all of the searches together in the early days and that trained the searchers. And I think this show would be remiss or this case would be remiss if they weren't acknowledged for their wonderful contributions as well.

KING: Why are the police getting so much credit and the FBI when it was the observer the street that who spotted them and they've been in Utah all this time?

WALSH: I've got to say, we don't know for sure that they've been in Utah all of this time. We do know they went to San Diego. I feel the same way as Smart does. The Salt Lake City police took it serious from the beginning. They did a really good job. The FBI got involved, multitask forces, they kept after us at "America's Most Wanted."

As a matter of fact, when we first profiled Emmanuel we got a call from the Salt Lake City Police and said we've got a tip that this guy's name is Brian Mitchell, keep doing this. I've got to say law enforcement did a good job this time. But again, it was a wonderful citizen that really broke this case. It was two ladies that had the guts to make that call.

KLAAS: You know, Larry. One of the things that the Smarts did an incredible job with was keeping this out in the public, in the public forum and quite frankly, the two of you, John Walsh and Larry King are two of the great missing persons advocates of this world. And by joining your forces and giving people an opportunity to tell their stories and to show the pictures and to talk anecdotally about their missing people, keeps the public invested.

I think we've come to think of Elizabeth Smart as our child just as we think now of Laci Peterson as our daughter. And by getting out into the public ask keeping the pressure on these cases, law enforcement has to continue to working. So you have the is symbiotic relationship between media, between law enforcement and between the public and certainly between the families that are what brought this case to a resolution. It wasn't luck, it was -- it was a lot of dogged determination by an awful lot of people and what a wonderful outcome for Elizabeth.

KING: Very well said.

John, they're not going to let Elizabeth talk until there are trials and everything, right? She's going to have to be a witness?

WALSH: No this is a very tough time Larry. These happy reunions, sometimes aren't as happy. I mean are the Smarts are ecstatic, but this little girl has been through tough psychological things that have happened to her. Police going to have to talk to her. I hope they don't talk to her too long. We have to give this family the privacy. I like what Tom Smart said. He said I'm just glad she's home. It will be a tough period of adjustment here and I don't think anybody will hear from Elizabeth Smart until the trial. But it is a happy ending, but there's also going to be some tough times ahead.

KING: Do you think any of the Stockholm syndrome could have been involved here, too, Marc?

You know where part of the time when you're captured -- we'll ask Patricia Hearst tomorrow night, where you side with your capture.

KLAAS: Yes. No, absolutely. And she'll be the one to talk about that. And I'm sure she'll give you great insights into it, because hers was a very similar kind of situation. We don't know the nature of this kidnapping, what the reason this guy took her for was, but in the Hearst situation it was about leveraging power and it was about money. But you can name the children that come back on one hand. You've got Stephenie Stayner, Patricia Hearst, you've got Elizabeth Smart, you've got Terra Bert (ph), you've Missy Sanchez in Vallejo and basicly that's it. The rest of them we just don't see again. And it's just so sad and unfortunate.

KING: Thanks, Marc. Mark, you stay with us. We'll come back to you when our panel joins us after the next segment. John Walsh remains through the entire program.

When we come back, Angela Ricci, the widow of Richard Ricci, former Smart family handyman who some considered a suspect and now the police were saying he was obvious, was not involved in this at all.

As we go to break, here's another eyewitness to the account. Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANITA DICKERSON, EYEWITNESS, CALLED POLICE: I didn't want to confront him so I just more or less looked and then turned and walked away.

QUESTION: How did you know it was him?

DICKERSON: From the pictures I had seen on the television.

QUESTION: Looked just like him?

DICKERSON: Yes, I did. Looks just like him.

QUESTION: How did you guys feel? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Scared. Nervous.

QUESTION: What was Elizabeth's reaction when she saw you guys.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We didn't know it was her.

DICERKSON: We didn't know it was her.

QUESTION: What did do, you now know it was her. What did you do?

DICERKSON: She was just walking. You know, with the other two people. She wasn't really -- I thought it was an older laid we a scarf and sunglasses.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: Welcome back to LARRY KING LIVE.

Angela Ricci will be joining us in a little while. We're having technical difficulty at the studio in Salt Lake City. As soon as that's cleared up, we'll bring her in. But let's meet our panel.

Remaining with us in New York is John Walsh, the host of "America's Most Wanted" and the host of his daytime show, "The John Walsh Show."

Still with us in Atlanta is Marc Klaas, founder of the Klaas Kids Foundation and advocate for child protection and crime victims' rights.

In Detroit tonight is Nancy Grace, anchor for "Trial Heat" on a Court TV and a former prosecutor.

And in Los Angeles is Mark Geragos, the famed defense attorney.

Nancy, do you feel a little funny about all the racks we took at Mr. Ricci on this show?

NANCY GRACE, FORMER PROSECUTOR: No. I don't.

I'm happy for Mrs. Ricci that her husband has apparently been cleared. I'm very happy for her. But if you take a look at the evidence -- and that is what trained trial lawyers are paid to do. That's what we are trained to d. The police were pretty much dead on.

The perp was not a stranger. It is someone that knew the victim, intimately knew the detailing and the layout of that house. It was a white male and someone with a motive to take the girl.

KING: But on this program, Mr. Ricci got racked around and it wasn't him.

GRACE: And as a matter of fact, he fit every single one of those criteria.

KING: But it wasn't him.

GRACE: Yes, I know it wasn't him, but I don't think police...

MARK GERAGOS, FMR. DEFENSE ATTORNEY: That's the awful part about this punditry stuff.

(CROSSTALK)

GERAGOS: They might have been right on on the profile, but, you know, wrong person.

GRACE: I agree.

GERAGOS: You know, that's an awful -- that's an awful thing. Poor Angela, glad for the Smarts....

GRACE: Very glad.

GERAGOS: But it's an awful thing to...

KING: Before Mr. Walsh and Mr. Klaas have questions, Nancy, what did you think when you first heard about it today?

GRACE: When I first heard about it I prayed. I was so thankful. It was almost as if I couldn't believe it because, as Mark Klaas, pointed out earlier, the children that I have known that came back alive can be counted on one hand. I mean, this is -- it's proof that miracles do come true.

KING: Mark, what did you think when you first heard?

GERAGOS: One of your producers called me and I was the same way I think that Marc Klaas was. Did not believe it. I started to ask some questions about it. The answers I got didn't quite compute, but I think that these things are -- these kinds of endings are extremely rare.

GRACE: Larry, he's right.

GERAGOS: You can't ever put these things into a box, so to speak, and say they're going to unfold the way you expect them.

GRACE: Yes, who would have ever thought a religious nut that dresses like Christ and walks up and down the streets and asks for money is the one that took Elizabeth Smart? You could never have figured that into the equation.

KING: You're right.

John Walsh -- this can -- we can only surmise -- again, all you can do on programs like this when you're running 24 hours a day and breaking news brakes is surmise. What was he keeping her for?

WALSH: Well, I think it's a power trip, number one. I think he's got psychological problems, as Nancy just referred to. He dresses like Christ. He walks around the street and bums money. He says he hates Mormons. And, you know, the Smarts are very successful people.

He had access to the house. It was probably a power trip, something that he could manipulate. This is -- this little girl could be, you know, his toy, his possession, whatever it is. Plus his ex- wife, that we talked to, and his four stepchildren that went on "America's Most Wanted," said we suspected years ago that he was a pedophile. Now that hasn't been proven yet. But there were a lot of reasons why this guy would keep it.

And I want to say something to Mark Geragos. Let's get this straight. He was never charged, Mark. He was a logical suspect, but never charged.

GERAGOS: He died in custody.

(CROSSTALK)

GERAGOS: They put him in custody because he cooperated, John. Remember that.

(CROSSTALK)

WALSH: I won't interrupt with you. You and I are friends, we get along well.

Richard Ricci was in jail for stealing things from the Smart house. And in custody because he cooperated. That's why he was in jail. He was a parole violator.

KING: All right. Now let him respond, John.

GERAGOS: John, let me just respond to you.

The reason he was in custody for doing these things is because he cooperated and admitted to those things. If he had done what he normally -- most people would have done in that situation and not said a word, they never would have put him into custody.

The fact of the matter is is that he was tried and convicted in the media before anybody had any evidence. So - and he died in custody, ultimately, because he opened his mouth.

KING: Marc Klaas, wouldn't you agree the media tried him?

KLAAS: You know, I'll tell you, we got some very bad information from a mechanic. He's basically the one who implicated him and put all of these pieces together that made everybody go after Richard Ricci. I've always believed Angela that Ricci was home in bed with her that night. I heard her say that on your show. She is so totally credible. So I think that some body has to go back to this mechanic (UNINTELLIGIBLE) and find out what this business is all about.

GERAGOS: And that's exactly right. We said at the time, Marc, that it just didn't make any sense and anybody who saw Angela in the kind of compelling way in which she testified to that. And do you remember the people who were mocking her at the time and taking potshots at her? It's an awful thing to have to go through to be falsely accused and Richard Ricci was not the only one who was falsely accused. There were a lot of people who were saying that Angela Ricci was make this up, that just because she loved this guy, that she was lying and doing this, that or the other. They took a lot of shots at her.

KING: Nancy, there is a lot to be said, though, of public awareness, those people spotting them on the street. That was something.

GRACE: Yes, and what's so amazing is that many crimes are solved just like this.

KING: Yes.

GRACE: And with all of the profile and the scientific studies that go on about how to identify a perpetrator, I still say there is no way police could have ever dreamed up that a religious freak would have had this in his mind and I think it goes back to the original theory that the perpetrator had a motive. Maybe not money, maybe not ransom, maybe not even sex, but a religious zealotry that we cannot understand.

KING: Might it have something to do with Mormonism, John Walsh? Is that a guess? That he was anti-Mormon?

WALSH: This is what his stepchildren say. This is what his ex- wife of nine years ago said -- that he hates Mormons. And, as we all know, the Smarts are devout, devout Mormons with great faith and this could have been his little power trip.

I mean, these are successful people. He's a panhandler, -- you know, a bum on the street and, you know, working periodically as a handyman. This could have been his way at getting back at the Mormon culture, at the Mormon religion, at the Smarts and this was his little power trip.

KING: We'll take a break and be back with more. Tomorrow night, Patricia Hearst will be with us, as well as Bishop David Hanlin, the Smart family Bishop in the Mormon Church. And Angela Ricci should be joining us soon as we clear up that snafoo in Salt Lake.

Don't go away.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

QUESTION: (OFF MIKE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because I watch "America's Most Wanted."

QUESTION: Do you want the reward?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't care. I want to meet them. I'm just happy that she was found alive.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

E. SMART: I'm so very grateful, so very grateful that we have her back. I'm sure that they are going see justice and I just pray and hope that they haven't had other kids out there like this because we didn't know. We didn't know if it was -- you know, Richard Ricci. We didn't know if it was Emmanuel and we were just doing what we could and it took everyone's help to try and find out.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Richard Ricci died in prison on August 30. Joining us now, a return visit with his wife, Angela Ricci. He was the former Smart family handyman whom police had killed a potential suspect. How do you feel tonight, Angela?

ANGELA RICCI, RICHARD RICCI'S WIDOW: Boy, it's nice have a smile on my face. I'm extremely grateful that Elizabeth is home, safe and well. And I'm grateful that Rick is vindicated.

KING: Do you think the authorities owe you an apology of any kind?

RICCI: It would be nice. That would be nice. I'd like to thank Marc Klaas and Mark Geragos for their comments. I -- it's been a crazy road.

KING: Were you ever aware of Brian Mitchell? Did you know him?

RICCI: No. I had no idea of who he was. They had showed me the sketch months back. But I had never seen him and to my knowledge Rick didn't know him. Rick wasn't a street person. So...

KING: Did you ever, despite Rick's background, which wasn't the best, did you ever have a moment's thought that Rick might have been involved?

RICCI: Not even for a second. Not even for a second. I believed in him always and I always will.

KING: John Walsh, do you have a question for Angela?

RICCI: Well, I feel the same way that Mark and Marc Klaas do that there's vindication here. I mean, it's -- I think your comments are wonderful, that you're happy Elizabeth is back alive and in spite of your husband's past, he's been vindicated. The wrong person didn't get, you know, tried for something he didn't do. So life goes on. Life goes on.

KING: Go ahead, Mark Geragos. GERAGOS: I was just going to say, you know, it's kind of interesting, Angela, if you take any kind of solace in Richard's death, I guess, is that if it forced the authorities in some way to focus in other areas and ultimately I guess they came to you and they showed you pictures and things like. So ultimately I guess there is a silver lining to that in that it refocused the investigation in other directions.

RICCI: That's what I had hoped when he did die. That's what I had hoped would take place, that they would look elsewhere and search elsewhere.

KING: Nancy Grace, anything you want to say to Angela?

GRACE: Yes, I do. Hi, Angela. I remember when we met in New York and I'm very happy for you tonight. What a burden to be lifted off of you after all this time.

I'm really interested in when police first showed you the picture of as he called himself, Emmanuel?

RICCI: You know, it seems like, and I can't say for sure, Nancy, but it was maybe probably in, like, November?

GRACE: Yes. And the reason I was asking, Angela, is because this is a guy apparently that goes up and down a street publicly dressed in long, flowing robes. I'm just wondering what took the police so long to find the guy. Apparently the whole community knew about him.

RICCI: I don't know.

WALSH: I can answer that, Larry.

KING: Yes, what is it, John?

WALSH: The real hero here, as you heard Ed Smart say earlier, it was Mary Katherine. Mary Katherine had been questioned by police for months and months. This is a 9-year-old girl who said I just cannot really recall who was in the room that night. He had a baseball cap over his face. I really can't be sure. I don't know whether it was Richard Ricci or who it was.

And then it was this fall that Mary Katherine came forward, a 9- year-old girl and said to her dad, you know what, Dad? It's starting to come back to me and maybe it was this guy, Emmanuel in my room that night.

That composite was put together by the Salt Lake city police this fall. They didn't drop the ball. It was Mary Katherine who finally thought about it and thought about it and said what if it was this guy, Dad? What if it was Emmanuel?

She was the guide that started the ball rolling and thank God for her because that's how, you know, his picture got out there and we put it on your show, and again, I say it on December 20 and it kept this case alive.

KING: I remember that night well.

Marc Klaas, anything you want to say to Angela Ricci?

KLAAS: Well, yes. First of all, Angela, you know, you too were seeking truth in this. And you stood up for your husband when a lot of fingers were pointed at him. And I think that that's really showing some courage.

What's this business with the Jeep disappearing for a week? I mean did Rick, did your husband go and get that Jeep and go some place for a week? Or is there anything to that? Or do you know anything about it?

RICCI: No. He was at work. They have his time cards. We used my car, my mother's car. I never saw the Jeep. The people at his work never saw the Jeep. I have -- he didn't have the Jeep. And I've said that all along. He never took that Jeep.

KLAAS: This story gets deeper and more mysterious all of the time, quite frankly.

RICCI: Yes.

KLAAS: There's probably more questions now than there were yesterday at this time.

RICCI: Right.

KING: Angela, I thank you very much for joining us and I'm glad you can sleep in better peace tonight.

RICCI: Thank you, Larry.

KING: That was Angela Ricci, the widow of Richard Ricci.

Our panel will come back and maybe we'll even get a call or two in on this rather historic day in American law enforcement. Elizabeth Smart is home.

As we go to break, here was a recent edition of "America's Most Wanted" in which John Walsh is profiling a possible suspect. Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP -- "AMERICA'S MOST WANTED")

WALSH (voice-over): Here's what we know. Brian Mitchell is likely still traveling with his wife Wanda. This blurry photo from last summer is the most recent picture of the couple. Wanda is known to carry baby dolls that she treats like real children. Note that Mitchell's appearance changes dramatically, depending on the length of his hair and beard. The couple could be preaching in white robes or laying low in plain clothes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAVID SMART, ELIZABETH'S UNCLE: ... an incredible miracle that has been brought to our family. Words cannot express how grateful we are for the prayers around the world.

Do miracles still exist? And the answer is, yes and we have Elizabeth back.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: That was David Smart earlier tonight at a press conference in Salt Lake.

Let's take a call for our panel.

Maysville, Kentucky. Hello?

CALLER: Yes. I was wondering, since Elizabeth was 15, was there at any time that she could have been able to have reached her parents by phone or any other way?

KING: That's what puzzles everybody, John.

WALSH: Well, here's two people watching and what really bothers me is we knew this guy was a psycho. and as you saw just earlier, the composite, those composites and those ideas that he had gone from a clean shave upon guy to this bearded nut case came from his stepchildren and from his ex-wife. But I'm sure that he and his present wife, Wanda, who you saw in those pictures dressed as a cleric, I'm sure they watched her 24 hours a day, terrorized her and never let her out of their sight. She probably never had a chance to tell anybody.

GRACE: Well, there was another thing, too. Another thing was they were leading somewhat of a nomadic lifestyle. And come on the wife kept baby dolls and pretended they were real. Who knows what she was feeding the mind of Elizabeth Smart. The child was probably terrified.

WALSH: I'm sure they told her that they would either kill her or kill her family or just brain washed her and I'm sure she was terrified. She's a loving, loving wonderful gentle little girl.

KING: For what purpose, would you guess, Mark Geragos?

To obtain what?

GERAGOS: You mean, why would they kidnap -- why would they -- these are obviously, people who have...

KING: Deranged.

GERAGOS: There so severe psychological issues. No other way to put it, these are not people who are were walking in our universe. KING: Bransford, Connecticut, hello.

CALLER: Hello,

KING: Hi. Go ahead.

CALLER: Yes, I'm wondering if there's a way that the media can cover these types of stories without convicting people like the Ricci's on air?

I mean these people come across as having been guilty and I think it's happened to many other people.

KING: This came with 24 hour news, CNN, the others. We are all this (UNINTELLIGIBLE). We are all in conjecture.

GERAGOS: Exactly right. You've seen this. It's taken off since 1998 and the competition between other networks that have now developed. And this idea that you've got to be on the air and you've got to be saying stuff and you've got to focus an instantaneous suspect. You have to convict that instantaneous suspect. It's awful.

GRACE: Wait a minute. Wait a minute! That's not what happened.

GERAGOS: Nancy, I have reserved any kind of comments tonight because you have been all along in this story, one of the worst perpetrators of convicting people. And you've done it on this show in this specific case. I don't even remember the name of the guy before Ricci that they had focused on and you had convicted him as well.

GRACE: No, that's not correct.

GERAGOS: When you say, wait a minute, let's take a look at the transcripts of what you were saying.

GRACE: The person before this was Michael Edmunds. It never made sense to either you or me as a perpetrator. So check that transcript.

GERAGOS: I will.

GRACE: As far as Ricci -- as far as Ricci, I agreed with you that Angela Ricci was very credible. However, I'm not going on a guilt trip and I'm not letting you take the police with me on a guilt trip because Ricci was a convicted criminal in the home and had problems with his alibi since that night...

(CROSSTALK)

GRACE: and considering him as a suspect is not unthinkable.

KING: The danger was not, Nancy, that he was a suspect. It's that sometimes, don't you think we tend to go overboard and make him the culprit?

GRACE: Well, I know this. Police had reason to suspect him and reason not to charge him and I think they were appropriate.

GERAGOS: Nobody's saying that it was inappropriate to suspect. What the caller was complaining about and what I complained about was will you convict. I think the people presume an assumption of innocents.

GRACE: Well, we're not a jury. We don't have the power to convict.

KING: Mark Klaas...

GERAGOS: But we do have the power to influence them.

KING: Mark, Klaas. Go ahead. Then, John Walsh.

KLAAS: Just to shift the subject a little bit. We have to pull lessons out of these stories. Now, earlier last year when all of the children were disappearing a family in St. Louis brought a homeless man into their home. He murdered a little girl. The Smarts have this bizarre habit of bringing criminals and homeless guys into their home. As a result of that they lost their daughter for nine months. So, I think the lesson here is don't bring a homeless guy home. If you want to show (UNINTELLIGIBLE) toward a homeless, give them $40 and send them to a hotel, but don't take them home.

KING: The question -- don't you worry, John Walsh, when the media can sometimes go overboard and if not, kind of convict on the air?

WALSH: I do it every Saturday night. I try to say alleged or wanted. I think you have to cross the "t"'s and dot the line. but I think we're missing one point here. Let's not debate whether the media's fair to people or if they're not fair. Let's talk about the real call to action here. A little girl was found by a private citizen today. That lady with the blond hair, I wish I could hug her today that watches "America's Most Wanted" every Saturday night. Let's not miss one thing.

The amber alert has found 20 missing kids this year, but has not passed Congress. Let's talk about something positive. Let's talk about the fact that it passed the U.S. Senate, but we still need to use the media and I'm talking about the media not to falsely accuse people, I'm talking about the power of the media getting missing kids back. OK. I don't know why James Cencant Brenner (ph) and the House of Representatives of the United States Congress hasn't passed the amber alert and in every 50 states. We would be getting kids back alive within minutes after they're kidnapped. That's what the media should be doing.

GERAGOS: Because Congress is too busy telling President Bush to go to war in Iraq. To protect oil interest...

KING: Now, wait a minute. Hold it, Mark.

GERAGOS: ... for the vice president. Other than that they've got nothing better to do. KING: Well, you got to go out with something, don't you?

On this happy occasion.

GERAGOS: Look, John's absolutely right. The greatest thing about this was the media was used here to do something fantastic. So.

KING: Thank you all very much. We'll be calling on you again. John Walsh, the host of "America's Most Wanted" and his own daytime show, terrific show, by the way, the "John Walsh Show." That's the show on which the whole Smart family appeared as they appeared on this program. And we think you, John, for mentioning that you broke a lot on this show as well.

Marc Klaas, Nancy Grace and Mark Geragos. I'll come back and tell you about tomorrow night right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: Speaking of abductions Patricia Hearst joins us tomorrow night and so, too, Bishop David Hamlin (ph), the Smart family bishop.

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com




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