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A Discussion With Friends and Colleagues of Kidnapped Journalist Jill Carroll; Janice Clark Smith and Family Speak About the Murder of Her Father

Aired January 18, 2006 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, CNN HOST: Tonight, American journalist Jill Carroll, kidnapped in Iraq, reports her kidnappers will kill her unless the United States releases all female Iraqi prisoners in military custody by Friday. We'll talk with the kidnapped journalist's friends and colleagues including one kidnapped himself in Iraq who talked his way out of it.
And then, exclusive, she's just been released from prison after serving time for shooting her own father dead. Her family thought killing him was justified because he'd abused them physically, mentally and sexually for decades. And now, Janice Clark Smith in her first interview since her release with her mother and her sisters who testified to all those years of abuse. It's all next and exclusive on LARRY KING LIVE.

Let's begin with the continuing story of Jill Carroll, "The Washington Post" correspondent, the author of the memoir -- I'm sorry, Jill Carroll of the "Christian Science Monitor" who was kidnapped in Iraq, Baghdad. She's being held. They're saying they want all female prisoners released by Friday or they will kill her.

Michael Holmes CNN International Anchor and Correspondent what's the latest?

MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: Larry, thanks very much, greetings from Baghdad. Yes, we saw that video that was aired on Al-Jazeera all too short, no audio on it. It was, however, the first time and confirmation that Jill Carroll is alive, first time we've seen her since January 7.

As you said, 72 hours was the deadline. We're 29 hours into that now. The demand that all women prisoners held by the U.S. be released. According to the U.S. they hold only eight in relation to acts of insurgency or relation to the insurgency.

And, we're told by the Iraqi justice ministry six of them were due to be released in the days ahead anyway, unrelated to this. The group, Larry, Brigade of Revenge, never heard of them before but that's not unusual -- Larry.

KING: Our other panelists are Jackie Spinner, the friend of kidnapped journalist Jill Carroll, "The Washington Post" correspondent, author of the memoir "Don't Tell Them I Didn't Cry," a young journalist's story of joy, loss and survival in Iraq.

In New York is Michael Ware, the Baghdad Bureau Chief for "Time" magazine who knows Jill Carroll.

On the phone is Stephen Farrell, the Middle East Bureau Chief for "The Times of London." He was kidnapped himself near the Iraqi city of Fallujah in April of 2004, was set free after he managed to convince his captors that he was a genuine journalist. He also knows Jill Carroll.

Jackie, if there's only eight women and six are going to be released there's only two left isn't this solvable?

JACKIE SPINNER, "WASHINGTON POST": Except that the U.S. government's posture has always been in Iraq not to negotiate with the insurgents.

KING: So, they won't release the other two even if six were going to be released?

SPINNER: I am going to doubt that they're going to release and negotiate with the insurgents because all it does is encourage more insurgents to do this sort of thing.

KING: Michael Ware, why do they take captives? What's the point of it?

MICHAEL WARE, "TIME" BAGHDAD BUREAU CHIEF: Well, it definitely has an immediate political benefit. I mean it certainly has the attention of America focused once more on Iraq in an unfavorable light.

There's also question marks about the degree to which ransoms obtained through these kidnappings are feedings operations against U.S. forces, so there's a number of reasons -- Larry.

KING: But most of them contribute to a dislike of Iraq right?

WARE: Absolutely. I mean this portrays the mission as a whole very badly. It shows to the insurgent's mind that the U.S. military and its Iraqi government ally are certainly not in control. It also destabilizes the work of all foreigners, journalists and contractors, aid workers. I mean this is all about destabilizing the mission on any front that they can.

KING: Stephen Farrell on the phone, the Middle East Bureau Chief, "Times of London," who was kidnapped and set free after he managed to convince them that he was a journalist, Stephen don't you think they know that Jill Carroll is a journalist?

STEPHEN FARRELL, "TIMES OF LONDON" (by telephone): Of course they know. They know. They knew within seconds of taking her and Jill's a very smart young lady. She would have -- she would have been telling them that from minute one. They've got access to Google. They check you out very, very quickly. They knew who I was within -- within half a second of opening a car door and dragging us out.

KING: But they released you because you're a journalist. Why not release her?

FARRELL: I don't know. The simple fact -- from my experience all I can say is that to try and understand the dynamics of what's going in any given kidnap from outside the situation is impossible. There were 15 to 20 of them in the room interrogating us for ten hours and 15 of them and 15 different perspectives they were coming from, people acting from different motives.

I was in the room and I could barely fathom the dynamic of what was going on. The idea that anybody outside that room would be able to reach in and say this is what lay behind this one it's impossible.

KING: Jackie Spinner, hasn't her reporting been balanced and fair?

SPINNER: It has been and I think that it's interesting to note that the Sunni groups who came out today asking for her release noted that. They pointed out that her stories walk the line. They show Iraqis in states of crises which would be important for anyone who wanted to highlight what the occupation has done. And, you know, Jill's just one of those reporters who loves the Iraq story and loves Iraq and wanted to be there more than any other place in the world.

KING: What's she like Jackie?

SPINNER: She's a very warm person, very gregarious, embraces life, didn't let the violence stop her from finding moments of happiness in Iraq and she's just very committed to being a foreign correspondent and to the Iraq story.

KING: Michael Ware, what was it like to see her on that tape?

WARE: It's pretty soul destroying. It just rips your heart out. I mean to see someone you know in that kind of predicament you can read behind the expression to get some hint of the sheer torment that would be going on. It's tough to watch.

KING: What was it like for you Stephen?

FARRELL: Well, I left three or four days before this happened. I was in Baghdad with her. We were, you know, there was a New Year's Eve party. We were playing pool together and in fact the last -- she was one of the last people I saw before I left Baghdad and it was, you know, it was late at night. She was heading to her hotel. I was heading to mine.

She said, you know, kind of "Are you going my way?" I said, "Well, do you want me to walk you there?" She said, "No, I'm fine. I'm a big girl. I can look after myself." And I was sort of -- then I realized what it was. She was going back to her hotel.

All the staff, the Iraqi staff in the hotel were asleep and she was -- if we were going to the same hotel she wanted us both to go together so that we didn't wake them up twice. I saw what she was doing. She was always thinking of people in that way.

KING: Michael Holmes, Jackie's written a book about it. Do you live in fear of reporting in Baghdad?

HOLMES: I think that it's normal, Larry, to have a little bit of fear. You know, Michael Ware can talk about that a lot too. I've been here half a dozen times. In fact, this month is the second anniversary of when our convoy was ambushed just south of Baghdad. My cameraman sitting next to me was shot in the head, wounded. He survived. We lost two of our friends, my translator and one of our drivers.

It is not a safe place to be and it's constantly on your mind. You take the precautions that you're advised to take. Those precautions can vary but, yes, to be here is to in many ways take your life in your hands.

KING: As we go to break here are some comments from Jill's editor at the "Christian Science Monitor." We'll be right back.


DAVID COOK, "CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR": Well, I guess our appeal is that we respectfully say on behalf of the Monitor and also her journalistic colleagues in Iraq that she's an innocent journalist and that we'd ask that she be returned to her family unharmed. It would seem to be wrong to murder someone who devoted much of her young life to explaining the problems that Iraq faces.



KING: Jackie Spinner, you've written a book about it, how tough was it?

SPINNER: I think it's pretty tough. I don't think you're going to find a journalist who spent a considerable amount of time in Baghdad who would honestly tell you that there aren't moments and days and sometimes stretches if you're with the military where it's not just absolutely terrifying. And one of the reasons it's so terrifying is because we are all so afraid of exactly what happened to Jill and to Stephen.

KING: So, would you go back?

SPINNER: Absolutely.

KING: That seems nuts based on what you said first.

SPINNER: That's probably what my family would say too. But, you know, anyone who has spent time in Baghdad and in Iraq can't help but be compelled by the complexities of the story, to be drawn in by the resolve of the Iraqi people and their ability to get up and go about life even amidst this violence. I mean this is the biggest story in the world and as a journalist I want to be a part of it.

KING: Stephen Farrell, is there any advice you can give? You know it's possible that Jill Carroll is watching. This program is seen in Baghdad. It's very possible that her captors could be watching. What advice would you give someone taken?

FARRELL: It's extremely possible that her captors are watching. It's far less likely that she's watching. Jill Carroll is very experienced in Baghdad. I mean were it somebody who was new I might presume to say try this, try that, try the other.

But, you know, for somebody like Jill who's been there more than I have over the last two and a half years it would be futile. Like I said before, I can't express enough every one of these situations is different. People get taken just outside the hotel. They get taken just outside Fallujah. They're taken in Bashir. They're taken (INAUDIBLE). They get taken for money. They get taken for politics.

Nobody in the world could possibly have understood what was going on during my kidnap. I can't understand what is driving her kidnappers because I don't know them.

The only thing that worked for me, for us, I was with a colleague, was we just remained absolutely calm and under no circumstances tried to tell them any lies whatsoever. It was the absolute truth even when sometimes that didn't seem a good idea.

My colleague, when we were taken, was American and at first said "I'm Canadian. I'm Canadian." I just (INAUDIBLE) said "No, you're not. We're American." You know, if you get caught out in a lie you're finished.

KING: Michael Ware, is there anything you could say to the captors that would appeal to them just from a sense of fairness?

WARE: No, unfortunately I don't think that's really what is going to have an impact on them. I mean by and large we've seen that journalists have no immunity in this war, perhaps more so than most other conflicts we've seen in the modern age.

The insurgents see us as part of the problem and they don't need the media to get their message out. They now have access to the Internet. They have Arab satellite channels.

And given that U.S. military intelligence and even the larger insurgent groups, sources within them, indicate that it's one larger network from a conglomeration of insurgent groups that have been responsible for most of the high profile kidnappings in the past 12 months, these people are clearly in it for broader reasons, be it business or political motivation an appeal to their integrity simply is not going to work.

KING: OK, then Michael Holmes, to the family what is their best hope?

HOLMES: Well their best hope is that those who are trying to seek her release, I mean there's a delegation coming out from the states today. They should be here in a couple of days, the American Council on Islamic Relations, these groups, the local religious leaders and also those doing negotiations.

As Michael Ware points out, we don't know who has her. It's called the Brigade of Revenge, never heard of them before. If it's criminal, as a lot of these kidnappings are, it could be a case of money. If it's political, then it's going to be another situation.

You know, I just -- I feel for the family when any of us come out here our families worry. When I left on this trip my 7-year-old daughter when I said I was going away said "I hope it's not Iraq." I mean it's an awful thing for the family to be going through.

KING: On face value, Jackie, do you believe that it's simply release the female prisoners and we'll let her go?

SPINNER: No, I don't. I think this is far more complicated of a situation. As the others have indicated, we don't know exactly why they took Jill, why they're still continuing to hold her and what they really, really want.

KING: We'll stay posted on this and we'll have these guests back as situations warrant, probably do more on it tomorrow, Jackie Spinner, Michael Ware, Stephen Farrell and Michael Holmes.

When we come back, the extraordinary story of Janice Clark Smith, she killed her father after years of abuse. Her family is here with her. They all testified for her. That's next. Don't go away.


COOK: We certainly haven't given up of getting Jill back and we were heartened by the statements that came out today by the Sunni politicians and by the clerics and we hope that before the deadline expires she'll be freed. So, there were developments today that were -- which I mention in the statement from which we take hope but there's more that needs to be done and we're trying to do it.



KING: Janice Clark Smith, the 51-year-old grandmother of eight, was paroled from Graham Correctional Institution in South Carolina last Thursday, January 12th. She had served 17 months of a seven year sentence for the December, 2003 shooting death of her 73-year-old father George Manly Clark.

Janice pled guilty to voluntary manslaughter in August of 2004. her sentencing hearing included emotional testimony from more than two dozen members of her family and they told tales of decades of abuse by George Clark, including sexual molestation, beatings and emotional terrorizing.

No one spoke on behalf of the dead man. Janice's sister and mother appeared on a LARRY KING LIVE broadcast hosted by Nancy Grace that aired on CNN in December of 2004. Tapes of that broadcast were part of the submission Janice's attorneys gave to the parole board that ultimately freed her.

With us are Janice Clark Smith, who was paroled after serving 17 months; Martha Pott Clark, Janice's mother and the widow of the man Janice killed; Glenda Clark Evans, Janice's sister, who was she says too a victim of their father's abuse; Sherri Clark Thornburg, Janice's other sister and, like Glenda, testified about physical, sexual and emotional abuse at the hands of their father.

And Harry Dest, the attorney for Janice Clark Smith, he is the York County's chief public defender. This occurred in your county in South Carolina, which is just at the tip of the border near Rock Hill, North Carolina.

Tell me about the circumstances of the killing, Janice, how did you do it? What was happening at the time?

JANICE CLARK SMITH, FIRST INTERVIEW AFTER RELEASED FROM PRISON: My mom had been diagnosed with cancer, this rare cancer. The doctor hadn't heard of a case like that in like I think like 18 years or so. And, I was at the hospital trying to see her and daddy would -- you'd just have to know him. I don't know what to say momma.

KING: So, what happened? Does this take place at the hospital?


J. CLARK: It was just everywhere. You just have to know my daddy.

KING: I mean where did you do the killing?

J. CLARK: At momma's.

KING: At the house?

J. CLARK: Yes.

KING: You left momma at the hospital?

J. CLARK: No, momma was at -- this was after she had gotten out and at home.

KING: You took her home?

J. CLARK: If she wasn't home daddy would get in this drunken state again and they had to take her out to my niece's house.

KING: So, were you alone in the house with your father?

J. CLARK: Well, when I got there but I left my home and got -- I had this gun that I kept in my car for protection actually because I drove back and forth a long way to work every day and so, hold on a minute.

KING: I know this is hard for you and this may be difficult, so maybe your sister can tell us -- Sherri.

SHERRI CLARK THORNBURG, JANICE'S SISTER: At the time Janice killed my father was whenever my mother had been removed from her home because she was terminally ill. At that time, they had only told us that she had only ten to 12 weeks to live. Fortunately she's with us still here today because of a miracle drug.

But, we had to -- that was the second time we had removed her from the house because daddy had gotten so drunk and he would hide her medicine and he would be so aggravating.

And, just two weeks before Janice killed my father he had -- she tried to come and visit her at the house. I was staying, actually I was out of work, with my mother at that time.

KING: How did she kill him?

THORNBURG: She shot him three times in the chest.

KING: Where was he sitting, standing?

THORNBURG: He was standing in the hallway coming at her.

KING: Did you call the police right after it Janice?

J. CLARK: No, sir.


J. CLARK: I went down this road and I threw the gun. I thought I was throwing it into a pond and I threw it and I had these gloves on and I threw them down and I thought it was going into a ditch and then I went home and I went to -- upstairs I think to maybe get a cigarette or something because I was smoking back then.

KING: You weren't trying to hide the crime though right in throwing the gun away or were you? You didn't know what you were doing.

J. CLARK: I don't know. I just, it was -- it was...

KING: How did you learn of it Glenda?

GLENDA CLARK EVANS, JANICE'S SISTER: My son's girlfriend called and told me that there were police up at the house and that I better get down there and I said "Daddy's probably just done called someone, you know" because he would do that in his drunken state. He'd try to call the president and everybody. And I said -- and then she said -- she started crying. She said, "No, they're putting yellow tape." I said, "Somebody's done killed him."

KING: All right. What did you think, Martha when your own daughter killed her husband?

M. CLARK: I wasn't really surprised because...

KING: You weren't surprised?

M. CLARK: I wasn't surprised because we had all been through so much for so many years with him and I just wasn't really surprised.

KING: Weren't sad?

M. CLARK: I can't say that I was sad.

KING: Were you sad Glenda?

EVANS: No, I wasn't, not at all. I was glad as a matter of fact.

KING: Sherri.

THORNBURG: I was relieved.

KING: Were you surprised your sister did it?

THORNBURG: I was surprised Janice did it actually yes. I thought it was one of my brothers or somebody that had come to the house because my father was there by himself because, like I said, we had removed mom.

KING: Nobody in the family liked the father?


KING: Did you ever try to divorce him?


KING: Because?

M. CLARK: Because I just -- back at the time we were married we took our marriage vows seriously and I had always heard and always been told you make your bed and you lie in it and stuff like that.

KING: How did you live, Janice, with being molested? How did you exist mentally?

J. CLARK: I have -- I don't remember a whole lot about my childhood. I remember like certain things, you know, and like daddy, I don't know if I can say this momma.

KING: You can say anything.

J. CLARK: OK. Anyway, like I remember certain things like daddy would grab my foot and stick it between his legs and say "Here's a big old dick" and momma would try to -- but daddy would beat on her, you know.

KING: Harry, you defended her right?

That's correct.

KING: Why did she do any time?

HARRY DEST, JANICE CLARK SMITH'S ATTORNEY: Quite frankly if you look at the facts objectively...

KING: No one testified for him. was a premeditated killing and on the night in question Mr. Clark did not provoke a physical altercation, so by definition it would fit under the murder statute in South Carolina.

In South Carolina, murder carries a minimum mandatory sentence of 30 years up to life in prison, so our objective was to try to convince the prosecutor to reduce the charge down to voluntary manslaughter.

KING: Which he did?

DEST: Yes, he did. The prosecutor in this case, Phil Smith, is a very fine prosecutor. He's a very fair-minded prosecutor and he realized that all the years of abuse that simply charging this woman with murder would not be justice.

KING: Couldn't the judge then have given her probation?

DEST: Yes, under the structure of our plea agreement the judge could have given her a sentence up to 15 years or possibility of probation. So, what we did was we basically put evidence of all the years of abuse. Everyone at this table testified as to the horrific nature of the abuse in trying to convince the judge, a) to give her probation or, if not probation, a minimal sentence and that was our goal. Quite frankly...

KING: And he gave her a minimal sentence?

DEST: He gave her a sentence of seven years but he also made a finding that she was obviously a victim of domestic violence. Under our law in South Carolina that allows her to be eligible for parole after a quarter of her sentence.

KING: And she got out on the first shot at parole right?

DEST: Yes, that's correct.

KING: And when she was on this program, who was on this program with Nancy Grace?

DEST: All of us with the exception of Janice.

KING: Right and that was shown at the parole hearing?

DEST: Yes, it was. I had presented to the parole board the transcript of the original court proceeding, which of course detailed all of the abuse, letters of support from people in the community of York County and throughout South Carolina and, of course, your producers were kind enough to let us use the tape from the Larry King show that aired in December of 2004 and I think that was very instrumental in them making their decision to let her out.

KING: How long were they out before they let you know?

DEST: Pardon me?

KING: The Parole Board do they go out of the room and then come back in?

DEST: Yes, they do. You know that day. In fact, we were sitting there anxiously waiting to hear and I'll never forget that because all of us were just, you know, looking at each other and we couldn't hear what was going on behind the closed doors but when they finally came out and told her that she was released, it was probably one of the happiest moments.

KING: Did you go home right away, Janice?

CLARK SMITH: I didn't get to go home right away. The parole guy told me it would be like two weeks. But I got out quicker than -- I think I got out quicker than anybody. Because I've seen it take a long time. I've seen, like, if you're going out to state -- this one lady, it took her probably six, eight months to get out of prison.

KING: Bureaucracy. We'll take a break and be right back. Don't go away.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): Smith's brothers and sisters told the judge their childhood stories, painting the picture of the dad they knew: drunk and cruel.

DEST: Holding a shotgun to his mother's -- or to his children's head. Shotgun to his wife's head and daring his children to not cry.




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): There was hedging when it came to telling police and a judge how she killed her father, George Clark.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): She went over there. It was premeditated. She wrote about it, thought about it.


KING: Did you feel, Janice, like you'd committed a crime?

CLARK SMITH: I knew I did.

KING: Did you feel you deserved to go to prison?

CLARK SMITH: Yes. But I didn't know -- I didn't want to go for very long.

KING: What was it like inside prison for you?

CLARK SMITH: It was hard, awful.

KING: Were you treated well or poorly?

CLARK SMITH: The medical's terrible. We tried to get -- like I fell three times on some water in my unit where I lived. And you tell them and sometimes they write it up, sometimes they don't.

KING: When the family would talk, Sherri, did you think it would be Janice -- the family must have talked, someone's going to kill him. Did you think it would be Janice?

CLARK THORNBURG: No. Actually, if you want me to be honest with you, I was planning on doing it myself.

KING: You were planning on doing it?

CLARK THORNBURG: My sister and I were going to get together that Friday, actually, and figure out a way to get rid of him. We had had enough.

KING: He had no redeeming quality?


KING: Nobody testified for him?


KING: He has brothers, right?

CLARK THORNBURG: And a sister.

CLARK SMITH: Not even so-called friends.

CLARK EVANS: They knew how he was.

KING: When he would physically abuse you, did he apologize?



KING: Was it always involved with drinking?



CLARK EVANS: Most of the time, yes. But he was mostly abusive -- more abuse when he was drinking than sober.

CLARK SMTIH: He molested my oldest daughter in 1997, he was sober then.

CLARK EVANS: I seen him chase my brothers down the road in his pickup truck and them running from ditch to ditch, trying to run over them.

KING: Martha, how could you even forgive him? You couldn't forgive him, he was your husband, doing these thing to your daughters and your grandchildren. How did you live with that? Forget the vows. POTT CLARK: Some of it, I didn't know about until much later. But we just all decided we -- I know a lot of people have asked, why didn't I leave? But you've got to understand that back then -- there wasn't the help out there that there is today. And I had a house full of kids and nowhere to go.

KING: Trapped.

POTT CLARK: And I had a roof over my head. And so we just -- basically it. I decided, you know, best thing to do was to stay.

KING: Tough it out.

POTT CLARK: Protect my kids as best I could.

KING: How's your cancer?

POTT CLARK: It's doing very well right now. It's not healed but it's under control right now.

KING: They're treating it with a new drug. So you have no guilt, do you? Or do you?

CLARK SMITH: Yes, I do. I think about daddy every day.

KING: You do? You didn't love him?

CLARK EVANS: She wanted him to love her.

CLARK SMITH: I wanted him to love me. But he never would.

CLARK THORNBURG: Doesn't bother me a bit.

CLARK SMITH: I mean, not in the way -- you know, like a daddy. A daddy's supposed to protect you. My daddy didn't do that. He hurt you. And my image was, daddies are supposed to protect you, right? And, and it's...

KING: ... We'll take a break. When we come back, we'll find out how the family's doing now that she's out and include some of your phone calls too. Don't go away.




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was December 11, 50-year-old Janice Clark Smith says she went to her father's house on Pottery Road, fired three rounds into his chest, went home, had two cigarettes and went to bed. The next morning she told her husband, quote, "I shot daddy last night."

(END VIDEO CLIP) KING: Your father was convicted once, right? Of sexual assault on a minor child in 1987. And records show he got three years probation. Do you remember that?


CLARK EVANS: He didn't stay away from them, though.

CLARK THORNBURG: However, he was released on one-year probation.

KING: For sexually assaulting a minor child?

CLARK SMITH: My daughter.

KING: That was your daughter?

CLARK SMITH: Uh-huh. My daughter Shannon.

KING: Why did he get off so light?

CLARK SMITH: I don't know.

CLARK EVANS: Because he quit drinking for a year. He paid his fine. He did everything he was supposed to do.

CLARK SMITH: That's the way he does. He fools everybody.

CLARK EVANS: He played them.

CLARK EVANS: Hey played them.

KING: It's obvious to say none of you miss him.

CLARK EVANS: It's too peaceful.

KING: Before we take the next call, was it still hard to pull the trigger?

CLARK SMITH: Of course, I...

KING: ... did you do it three times because you wanted to make sure?

CLARK SMITH: Probably. I just -- when I shot him the first time, we were standing like the hall, kitchen, somewhere right in there. And he's -- I think he asked me, "You got a gun or something like that?"

And I was like, "Yes." And, you know, I started pulling the trigger like this and it wouldn't go off. And so finally it went off. And then daddy fell down on his back like this. And he raised up a little bit. And he said, "Well, you done it now." And I said, "Yes, daddy, I did." And then I shot him another time, and the third time I don't really, you know, remember that.

KING: Houston, Texas, hello.

CALLER: Hi, good day, Larry. I just want to know if you were giving advice to them over there, would they do that to them over there? Would that be your advice over there? Or would you not do that over there?

KING: What over there?

CALLER: You know, pull the trigger, and then say (inaudible) or rip one. Would you?

KING: Oh, I don't know what you're talking about (audio gap). Hello.

CALLER: Yes, hello. I'd like to give a comment first. First off, God bless every single one of you, including the lawyer.

CLARK EVANS: Thank you.

CALLER: And Janice, is that your name?

KING: Yes.

CALLER: What made you -- what was -- what made you snap at that particular time?

CLARK SMITH: I was watching my mom die. And he wouldn't -- he beat me in the head. He does -- the way he did it, ever since I was a little girl, all of us. He'd take his fist like this, and it would -- he'd hit you in the head because he didn't want no bruises to show. And I don't know what he was thinking -- I mean, why he did it that way. But that's what I thought, he was doing it that way so no bruises would show.

CLARK EVANS: He said that, he always said that.

CLARK THORNBURG: He told us he did that.

KING: Do you know if he was abused as a child?


CLARK SMITH: I don't know.

KING: Have you dealt a lot with this in your career, Harry?

DEST: Yes, I have, domestic abuse.

KING: Have you gotten from it any understanding of the abuser?

DEST: Generally, the abuser is someone who also was abused. I've had cases in the past where horrific abuse, and I found out that the defendant was abused sexually and physically when they were young.

As you know, Larry, many people who commit crimes are also victims of crimes, unfortunately. That doesn't justify their actions. But that's the reality of the situation.

KING: We'll be back with some more moments right after this.


KING: We're hearing stories about this guy that you can't -- are you religious people?

CLARK SMITH: Yes. Mom kept us in church ever since I can remember.

KING: Where do you think your father is now?

CLARK SMITH: I hope he's in heaven.

KING: You can't think he's in heaven.

CLARK SMITH: No, I said I hope he's in heaven.

KING: But you can't think he's in heaven.

CLARK SMITH: I don't know.

KING: If there's a heaven.

CLARK SMITH: My sister Sherri says he's in limbo somewhere.

CLARK THORNBURG: He religiously watched...

CLARK SMITH: ... He did.

CLARK THORNBURG: He read the Bible to you. He knew the Bible inside and out.

CLARK SMITH: Herbert W. Armstrong, I remember Herbert W. Armstrong. And who else was it, mama?

KING: Was there a funeral?

CLARK EVANS: Billy Graham.

CLARK SMITH: Bill Graham, loved Billy Graham.

CLARK EVANS: We didn't have a funeral.

KING: You've got Billy upset now.

CLARK SMITH: I'm serious.

CLARK EVANS: We didn't have a funeral. We had a grave-side service.

KING: At the -- we only have about a minute. At the parole, we understand you needed five votes and there was four and one person was hedging and the other four talked him into it. DEST: That's what I understand, yes. Again, all the evidence that we presented at the parole hearing, in addition to the CNN tape, we also presented evidence of a psychological exam from an expert that showed that Janice's recidivism or chance of recidivism was less than five percent. So I think that is what probably put him over the top, along with the "LARRY KING LIVE" tape.

CLARK SMITH: And I'm so glad they did because you just have no idea what it feels like to go back home to my mama and my family. I can't never be no happier than I am right now.

KING: And you can't have any regrets.

CLARK SMITH: No. Well, I do, but I don't, you know?

KING: I understand. But you don't need to have any regrets. You probably did the world a favor.

CLARK SMITH: That's what they told me.

KING: Thank you all very much. Good luck to you. Janice Clark Smith, her mother Martha Pott Clark, her sisters Glenda Clark Evans and Sherri Clark Thornburg, and the attorney, the public defender for York County, South Carolina, Harry Dest.

Tomorrow night, that extraordinary story of the young girl who was shot and apparently has been cured completely -- shot through the eye. She'll be with us. And we'll have an update on our missing -- the hostage being held in Baghdad and Iraq.

On Friday night, a tribute to the late Shelly Winters. Let's hop on over to West Virginia now. It's been a topical discussion for months now, and there he is, Anderson Cooper, on the move. We never know where he is. In fact, we could call this, "Where is Anderson Cooper now?" "ANDERSON COOPER 360" is next. Good stories, right?


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