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Sago Mine Survivor Speaks Out; Jill Carroll Released; Murdered Preacher's Wife Appears in Court

Aired March 30, 2006 - 22:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, everyone.
We begin with breaking news: tornado watches and warnings up across Kansas and Missouri, and where at least one tornado has hit already in and around Hutchinson, Kansas. As you can see, fires are burning, fanned by those high winds.

Now, people have been told to get out, evacuate a 21-square-mile area around the fire. Meantime, tornado warnings have been issued in Missouri, as the front travels east. We will continue to follow the story over the next two hours.

We begin. Our top story, however, is drama of an entirely different kind. Randy McCloy, the sole survivor of the Sago Mine tragedy, spoke today. And, on NBC's "Today Show," he talked for first time about what it was like for all the miners after the explosion.


RANDAL MCCLOY, SAGO MINE DISASTER SURVIVOR: We all knew there was nothing you could do. We all knew that. We knew we would -- you know, we was going to end up taking the bullet on that one.


COOPER: Well, that is not all he said.

Tonight, all the angles on Randy's story -- what he went through, what he saw, what he endured for more than 40 hours underground, as the air turned to poison, and, one by one, his 12 buddies died. Doctors say he was just minutes away from death himself. Now he's recovering faster than anyone expected. He went home today, after all. Any way you slice this, it is amazing.

See for yourself. Here is CNN's Chris Huntington.



CHRIS HUNTINGTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Frail and pale, and holding his wife Anna's hand, Randal McCloy Jr. walked on his own today into a room full of applause for a brief public appearance, before heading home.

RANDAL MCCLOY, SAGO MINE DISASTER SURVIVOR: I would just like to thank everybody for their thoughts and prayers. I believe that's it.

HUNTINGTON: Miracle is the word everybody uses to describe Randy and his remarkable recovery. Anna uses it. The doctors use it. And now, thanks to West Virginia Governor Joe Manchin, it's the new name of Randy and Anna's street in their little town of Simpson. Their miracle of returning home has come true, ahead of schedule.

ANNA MCCLOY, WIFE OF RANDAL MCCLOY: I believed the whole time that it was going to happen, but not this soon. So, I'm getting exactly what I wanted, you know, and what we wanted.

HUNTINGTON: Throughout this nearly three-month ordeal, Anna has been steadfast that her husband would survive. Even on that horrific and confused night in early January, Anna held firmly to that conviction. She was right.

But while Randy is the only one of the 13 trapped miners to have come out of Sago alive, his miracle is also a burden.


R. MCCLOY: That, right there, probably upset me the most, because I just felt, like, I'm the only one.


HUNTINGTON: McCloy gave his first interview to NBC's "Today Show," saying he thinks constantly about the families of his fellow miners.


R. MCCLOY: I feel bad for them, and I wish the best for them. I hope they can grieve and get it over with, and then try to live their life, find a way to do that.


HUNTINGTON: McCloy recalled that, after the mine explosion, in the pitch dark, with their methane detectors sounding the alarm, they knew they were in real danger.


R. MCCLOY: Yes. But you can really not tell yourself enough to be prepared, because you're blindsided, because you can't see. You're running like a -- like a goose in a damn mine, and you don't even know where you're going. We all knew there was nothing you could do. We all knew that. We knew we would -- you know, we was always going to end up taking the bullet on that one.


HUNTINGTON: McCloy managed to dodge that bullet, but just barely. And only now do his doctors concede that, when they first saw him, they did not think he would make it. DR. JULIAN BAILES, CHAIRMAN, WEST VIRGINIA UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF MEDICINE DEPARTMENT OF NEUROSURGERY: Honestly, no. I mean, we -- we were very, very tenuous with him. He was really on death's doorstep when he got here, multi-organ failure, shock, dehydrated. But we got the organs saved and got them functioning. And, then, the second week, he began to open his eyes and awaken.

HUNTINGTON: I asked Anna when she believed Randy had turned the corner.

A. MCCLOY: It's when Randy had first said his first word. I knew. I knew then. It was a familiar word. And I knew then that Randy was going to be perfectly fine.

HUNTINGTON (on camera): Can you tell us what he said to you?

A. MCCLOY: I don't think it's appropriate.


HUNTINGTON: What was he reacting to?

A. MCCLOY: He was mad, aggravated. And, you know, it's just something that he would normally say if he was mad and aggravated. So, when I heard this familiar word, I knew that Randy was doing perfectly fine. His personality and character were still there.

HUNTINGTON (voice-over): Randy has spent the past month-and-a- half undergoing physical and mental therapy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you remember what month it is?

R. MCCLOY: August? No.


R. MCCLOY: March, yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's March. And what year, two thousand and?

R. MCCLOY: Four.

HUNTINGTON: But McCloy knows he has a long way to go.

R. MCCLOY: And it's kind of like saying, how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.

HUNTINGTON: But, once again, Randal McCloy seems to be well ahead of his doctors. He's already back on the job he never wanted to give up. being a father and a husband.

A. MCCLOY: ... one day standing by Randy's bed, and he looked at me, and he says, "Anna?"

And I said, "Yes?" And he said, "Will you -- will you marry me?"

And I said, "Randy." It kind of scared me. I'm like, "Randy, we're already married."

He says: "No, I know that. I just want to remarry you." He said, "This is my second chance at life, and I want to do it all over again and make it better."


COOPER: Amazing story. That was CNN's Chris Huntington reporting.

Now, you heard the word miracle in the piece. You hear it a lot in connection with this story, even from doctors. We talked about Randy McCloy and miracles tonight with 360 M.D. Sanjay Gupta.


COOPER: Sanjay, it was just amazing to see Randy McCloy out there actually talking. How do you think he's doing?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: You know, I think doctors are always hesitant to use the word miracle, although you heard that term a couple of times from the doctors who have been caring for him. He is doing remarkably well.

I mean, Anderson, if you think about it, he sort of had a stroke of his entire brain. That's what the carbon monoxide poisoning did to his brain. And, just after three months, he's had such a remarkable recovery.

You saw him walking into that news conference of his own power today, actually able to talk to people, you know, obviously understanding speech, being able to execute speech as well. He's still a little weak on that right side, Anderson, which is relevant, because that's probably the left side of his brain, which is responsible for speech. So, it -- it may take some time for him to get back. But he's on a great trajectory.

COOPER: Yes. I mean, he said one of his arms wasn't as powerful as he would like it to be. That's related to the brain?


You know what's interesting? So, the left side of your brain controls the right side of your body. And I was watching him very closely. And you may -- you may have noticed this as well,. That news conference, he really didn't move his right arm very much. He was -- also seemed to be favoring the right leg.

So, the left side of brain also responsible for speech. And he didn't say a lot there today. It was obvious that he could understand. But I -- I got the sense, you know, from a neurosurgical standpoint, that he would still need quite a bit of rehab, probably for that left side of his brain.

But, again, the fact that he has had this much recovery this quickly bodes very well for him.

COOPER: Why do you think it was that he was able to survive, when the others weren't?

GUPTA: Well, a couple of things. One is that he was young.

And I think with age comes resilience. And I think that certainly played some benefit for him. But he -- he also had this collapsed lung, which is also significant, I believe, because he just may not have been breathing in as much carbon monoxide, as a result of that. And, so, he didn't have the intoxication of carbon monoxide that some of the other miners did. That may have played a role.

The other thing, Anderson, as well, somebody said to me that he may have actually suffered in the explosion, that explosion that occurred initially, and he may have been injured, and, thus, the other miners were actually giving him some of their oxygen as well.

It is hard to know. He may talk about it at some point. But these are some speculations. But I think his age and his collapsed lung certainly had a -- a large role.

COOPER: Well, it is certainly a great day for him and for his family, and for all of us who have been following this story.

Sanjay, thanks.

GUPTA: Thank you.


COOPER: Well, federal and state investigators want to speak with Randy, of course, hoping he can shed some light on what caused the explosion at Sago.

Let's not forget, all these months later, we still don't know what really happened underground. Now, the mining company, they blame lightning, essentially saying, hey, it wasn't their fault. Official investigators say, however, that conclusion is premature.

Now, we heard a lot of talk after Sago about making mines safer. We haven't forget that talk and plan on holding people accountable to make sure that someone takes action. Has it made mining any safer? Have there been improvements?

We asked CNN's Tom Foreman to investigate in tonight's "Keeping Them Honest" report.


TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Ask the Federal Mine Safety and Health Administration, MSHA, what has changed since Sago, and it will say plenty. Ask the miners union, and it will say something else.

CECIL ROBERTS, PRESIDENT, UNITED MINE WORKERS OF AMERICA: We have said to coal miners in this country, well, if you get trapped, you are just going to die.

HUNTINGTON: First, consider MSHA's position. Since Sago, MSHA has issued emergency requirements for twice as much oxygen in every mine for anyone who might be trapped, a two-hour supply, more emergency training. Explosions must now be reported within 15 minutes, so rescues can start more quickly. And rope lifelines must be installed to be followed to safety, even through heavy smoke.

In addition, MSHA is researching better technology for communicating with, locating, and rescuing trapped miners. Mining companies, which have made huge strides in safety in recent decades, are all for it.

KRAIG NAASZ, PRESIDENT & CEO, NATIONAL MINING ASSOCIATION: There is technology, but the challenge that we have is adapting the technology that exists to unique conditions in underground coal mines, so that they're reliable.

HUNTINGTON: But critics, including union leaders, say many safety needs could be met right now with no more study.

They say extensive oxygen supplies should be placed within all underground mines. After all, MSHA's own records slow, in hundreds of mines, even a two-hour supply is not nearly enough for survival.

The union wants improved communication systems installed immediately. It wants rescue teams on duty at every mine all the time, not hours away, like they were at Sago. Most of all, the union says it wants the coal companies to not wait for more research, more government guidance, more accidents.

(on camera): And, since Sago, nothing has been done that changes your mind about that?

ROBERTS: At this point in time, no.

FOREMAN: So, for now, the legacy of Sago remains unclear.

Tom Foreman, CNN, Washington.


COOPER: Well, from a survivor in the mine to a survivor in Iraq -- Jill Carroll alive and free.


JILL CARROLL, FORMER HOSTAGE: All I can say right now is that I'm just happy to be free. I was treated very well. It's important people know that, that I was not harmed.

(END VIDEO CLIP) COOPER: Of course, her translator wasn't so lucky, shot in the head and killed -- Jill Carroll released today.

Tonight, in her own words, she describes life as a hostage.

Also ahead tonight, another American kidnapped in Iraq -- he was handcuffed, a gun at his head. How did he make it out alive? A stunning story of survival.

And the pastor's wife accused of murder, she was in court today -- why her lawyers are so worried about her. We will hear from them.

Across America and around the world, you're watching 360.



JILL CARROLL: I was kept in a very good, small, safe place, a safe room, nice furniture. They gave me clothing, plenty of food. I was allowed to take showers, go to the bathroom when I wanted.

Very good -- never hit me, never even threatened to hit me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You feel -- feel that you are in (INAUDIBLE)

JILL CARROLL: Well, I felt -- I felt I was not free. You know, I -- it was -- and it was difficult, because I -- I -- I don't -- I didn't know what would happen to me.


COOPER: Well, that is Jill Carroll, the American journalist held hostage in Iraq for 82 days. This morning, she was suddenly set free.

CNN senior international correspondent Nic Robertson has more on the end of her very long ordeal.


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Less than two hours after she was released, Jill Carroll was already appearing on Baghdad TV, receiving gifts, including a Koran, from the Iraqi politician who helped get her to safety. She had lost none of her reporter's instinct for telling the story.

JILL CARROLL, FREED HOSTAGE: I was treated very well. It's important people know that, that I was not harmed. They never said they would hit me, never threatened me in any way. And I was just I'm just happy to be free, and I want to be with my family.

ROBERTSON: Despite the good treatment, she learned little of where she was being held, cut off from the outside world, except, once, being allowed to watch TV.

JILL CARROLL: I really don't know where I was. The -- the room had a window, but the glass was -- you know, you can't see. And it's curtains. And you couldn't hear any sound.

So, I would sit in the room. If I had to take a shower, I walk two feet, you know, next -- to next door, take a shower, go to the bathroom, come back.

ROBERTSON: Her freedom had come a little after noon in Baghdad. Back home in the U.S., her family learned of her release in real time, first in a phone call directly from Jill, then on TV.

JIM CARROLL, FATHER OF JILL CARROLL: We got the call this morning. I got the call a little before 6:00. Jill called me directly. And it was quite a wakeup call, to say the least. And she was -- she is doing well. I was glad to see her on TV this morning. She's apparently in good health and mentally strong. And we're all very pleased about that.

ROBERTSON: It was all a shock to her family, and even to Jill herself.

JILL CARROLL: They just came to me and said, OK, we're letting you go now. That's all.

QUESTION: Have you -- you in your knowledge that there was negotiation to make you free?

JILL CARROLL: I don't know. I don't know what was going on.


JILL CARROLL: They didn't tell me what was going on.

ROBERTSON: She walked from where her captors let her go into a small office belonging to a Sunni political party, clutching a letter, written in Arabic, asking for help. And that's what she revealed her freedom.

JIM CARROLL: It was a fantastic conversation, obviously. We're feeling ecstatic. It's been a long haul, and we're done with it now. And we want to make sure all of us thank the people who helped and also make sure all of you in the media, particularly, don't forget the other American hostages and other hostages of all nationalities still being held in Iraq. (END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: And Nic joins us now from Baghdad.

Nic, I guess a lot of people would be surprised to hear Jill Carroll sort of saying how well-treated she was. I mean, we had seen video before of her where she was weeping. Did that surprise you?

ROBERTSON: I -- I think, when we look at the situation here, we know Jill was released right after midday. It was 2:30 before she was handed over to U.S. officials.

This interview was done at this party -- this Sunni political party's headquarters. She hadn't been given over to U.S. officials then. She didn't know probably how safe she was. It was just outside this party headquarters in February that another two journalists, Iraqi journalists, were kidnapped and are still being held.

Now, Jill probably didn't know that. But she knows enough about Baghdad to know that that is still not a safe neighborhood, and also know that she's not really back in -- in really safe hands. So, she probably had questions in her mind very likely at that time -- Anderson.

COOPER: It -- it's a bizarre situation, that she would be handed over to this Iraqi Sunni politician.

So, I -- that's a good point that you raise. So, she wasn't being interviewed by an American reporter or anything. This is basically some -- they whipped out a video camera and started peppering her with questions, is that right, this politician?

ROBERTSON: You know, from her perspective, that's probably pretty much how it felt.

It was -- maybe she didn't even know which TV channel it was or where it was going to end up. I mean, it ended up on Baghdad television, which is a station run by this political party, the Iraqi Islamic Party. They're a moderate Sunni party. And they appear to have acted in -- in good faith and good conscience here.

But -- but how much of that did she really know at that stage, Anderson? And -- and we don't know.

COOPER: It will be interesting to see what she says in -- in subsequent interviews.

Nic Robertson, thanks.

My next two guests are friends of Jill Carroll. They are also fellow journalists. Jackie Spinner is a "Washington Post" reporter. And Orly Halperin is a correspondent with "The Jerusalem Post." She had also been taken hostage in Iraq a couple years back.

I spoke to them earlier.


COOPER: Jackie, this is certainly the best possible news, as a friend, you could have heard. What was your first impression when you actually saw Jill today as a free woman?

JACKIE SPINNER, FRIEND OF JILL CARROLL: Well, I couldn't believe it.

You know, there -- I was in a state of disbelief, until I got more and more confirmation that it was actually happening. I mean, it was a huge surprise to wake up to, very, very early this morning.

And I'm just overwhelmed and overjoyed for her family and for all of her friends. This is the best possible outcome we could have hoped for.

COOPER: Jackie, I mean, at various parts in her -- in her captivity, I mean, she seemed distraught. We saw her crying. Were -- were you surprised to hear her talk about being treated so well by her kidnappers?

SPINNER: Well, you know, I -- I'm going to wait to hear more from her about exactly, you know, what the conditions were in which she was saying that.

I mean, there has been some other video released today in which I -- I question exactly why she's saying what she's saying. But, you know, she's free. That's the most important thing. She's going to be coming home to her family.

COOPER: Orly, you, yourself, have been taken hostage in Iraq, albeit briefly, back in 2003. I mean, what was that like? What -- especially in those first moments? It has just got to be the worst possible feeling.

ORLY HALPERIN, FRIEND OF JILL CARROLL: The first moments were awful.

You just don't know who, why, and how it will end. And my thoughts were just how to -- to make this come -- an outcome that could be positive. But you're -- you have a -- a sense of -- of lack of control out of your -- of your destiny. So, that's very scary.

And, in her case, it's -- I mean, for -- in my case, it was just a few hours. In her case, it's practically three months.

COOPER: Jackie, when you saw the video of -- of Jill today, I mean, how does she look to you? It was sort of a startling video. I mean, it's a sort of surreal video. It's made by these Sunni Iraqi politicians, who, you know, were -- were giving her gifts. They gave her a plaque.

So, I mean, who knows what was going on, you know, what their agenda is. But -- but, just seeing her, how did she look, physically, to you?

SPINNER: She looked great.

I mean, that was -- I remember the very first instance when I -- when -- instant when I saw that, and I thought, that's our Jill. I mean, she's so composed. And, after a while, when they kept asking the same question, you could detect the irritation in her voice.

Like any good journalist, she was tired of being on the stage, and she just wanted the interview to end.

No offense to you, of course.


SPINNER: That's not what I'm saying. But...


SPINNER: But, of course, you know, she was -- she just looked so remarkably composed. That's what I took away from it.

COOPER: Orly, were you surprised to hear that she had been released?


I was surprised, because it was a very long time. And the people that take hostage -- especially in the last period, the people that take hostage Americans, they don't normally let them go.

And -- and we saw that with one of the Christian Peacemaker Team people. There were four of them, and the American was killed. And, after that, I was -- I was pessimistic. I had hope for her, because she was a female and because she was known for -- for being very, very up -- helpful towards the Iraqis and telling the world what -- what was happening to them.

COOPER: I also have to think, the fact that she's...

HALPERIN: But, still, I...

COOPER: The...


COOPER: The fact that she spoke Arabic, as did you -- as do you -- makes a big difference.

HALPERIN: Absolutely.

That's the other thing. I mean, she's a woman. And she speaks Arabic. So, she could talk to -- to the people that were her captors. And she could create sympathy for herself, and she could communicate with them and tell them who she is, although I'm sure, from the media, that they knew who she is.

COOPER: Well, I mean, I think it's...

HALPERIN: So, I'm sure that was a help to her.

COOPER: It's just about every journalist's worst fear of any of us who -- who have been there. And -- and it is such a happy outcome for -- for Jill's friends and her family.

And we appreciate both of you being on with us tonight. Thanks very much, Jackie and Orly.

SPINNER: Thanks for having me.


COOPER: Well, the U.S. Embassy, keep in mind, in Baghdad, says that on average -- on average -- an average day, 10 to 20 people are kidnapped in Iraq every day. Thousands have disappeared since the war began, and many of them will never come home.

You're about to meet one man who did come home, however. And how he did it is simply amazing. For starters, he had to beat fatigue.


ROY HALLUMS, FORMER HOSTAGE: You sort of become numb after a while. You worry about your life every second of every day, and it just, you know, starts to wear you out.


COOPER: Every second of every day for a year. Former hostage Roy Hallums relives the worst days of his life, a year, nearly a year in captivity.

Plus, the preacher's wife, now a widow, was in court today accused of first-degree murder, shooting her pastor husband in the back. Intriguing new details are beginning to emerge. We will get them when 360 continues.


COOPER: The preacher's widow and alleged killer in court today -- it is what she didn't say that made news.

And captive in Iraq -- how a man used fantasy to survive the nightmare -- next on 360.


COOPER: Well, and as we know, about 10, 15 people, Iraqis, taken hostage every day in Iraq.

Well, we're surely going to hear more of Jill Carroll's story in the coming days, as she says she was treated very well. If that's true, she is very lucky. Another American hostage, Roy Hallums, was not. Hallums was kidnapped earlier in the war, held for nearly a year.

He shared his story with CNN's Randi Kaye.


RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For Roy Hallums, it may remain a mystery forever. He may never learn all the secrets, who kidnapped him, held him for 10 months, and why. This is how most of us learned about Hallums' role in the horrible story.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ROY HALLUMS, FORMER HOSTAGE: My name is Roy Hallums. I'm an American national. Please, help me in this situation.


KAYE: It was two years ago, three weeks before Thanksgiving. Hallums, at his computer, working as a contractor in Iraq, was snatched and grabbed. Four masked gunmen burst in, heavily armed. Any resistance, they said, they would kill him.

(on camera): Were you scared?

HALLUMS: Oh, yes, certainly, because, I mean, I had seen the -- the videos before of other people who had been kidnapped and what had happened to them. And I thought, you know, am I going to live the rest of the day, or is this it?

KAYE (voice-over): They blindfolded Hallums, drove him to a dark, filthy, underground cell. We now know it was in one of the most dangerous areas of Baghdad, known as the Triangle of Death.

And, for three months, it was as if Roy Hallums had simply vanished. For those who love him, it was unimaginably painful. Where was he? What had happened? But there was nothing. His captors remained silent, until this last January.


HALLUMS: I'm, please, asking for help, because I -- my life is in danger, because it has been proved that I work for American forces.


HALLUMS: They said that they wanted me to be emotional and look upset in the video. And, so, they said, to make me look that way and to help me, they were going to beat me before the video.

KAYE (on camera): And did they?

HALLUMS: And they did, you know? So, yes, it -- you know, it wasn't a good experience to -- to do that, you know?

KAYE (voice-over): Now Roy Hallums is home in Memphis, Tennessee. He invited us here to share the secrets of months as a hostage and the amazing story of his rescue, the fear, the isolation, the abuse, beatings and torture Hallums can't barely bring himself to talk about today. Hallums passed the time underground by planning travel adventures in his mind.

HALLUMS: It would take me one day or two days to plan a trip.


HALLUMS: And, then, I would start another one, because, when you stop, then you start having all these negative thoughts. KAYE: He slept on a concrete slab, always blindfolded and bound with this plastic handcuff. Hallums spent much of his time laying down in the four-foot-deep hole. They give him small amounts of cheese and goat meat. Whatever hope he had came from the fact they hadn't killed him yet.

(on camera): What did you go through, not knowing what they might do to you or what might happen to you?

HALLUMS: The first month was the most difficult, because everything, every movement, you don't know what might happen. And you're still thinking that, well, you know, they could do away with me any time.

You sort of become numb after a while. You know, you worry about your life every second of every day. And it just, you know, starts to wear you out.

KAYE (voice-over): The hostage-takers only watched cartoons on their satellite TV. He heard no news, no word of his family, no way to know they were working so hard to find him, that they had set up a Web site and had made public pleas on both Al-Jazeera network and CNN.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When he -- when he mentioned that, you know, about his life, them ending his life, I don't know. We're -- we are just all devastated.

Please, President Bush, he needs your help.

KAYE: Hallums kept track of the days in his head. He knew weeks had turned into months. He listened as his captors poured fresh concrete over his hole to seal it. Hallums thought for sure he would die here.

HALLUMS: After six months, I was starting to question, you know, how long is this going to go on? You know, are they going to keep me a year or -- or two years? There -- there was no way to know. I just know, OK, I have been here six months. There's no end in sight.

KAYE: Then, by pure luck, coalition forces interviewing an Iraqi prisoner were told where Hallums was being held. He will never forget the pounding at the door. Freedom was not far away.

HALLUMS: Because I thought, well, maybe somebody's here to rescue me, but, you know, it's been 311 days. That would be too good to be true. That can't possibly be what it is. But they kept pounding on the door. And, finally, the door fell down. And a soldier comes in. He's got his fatigues on and everything. And he says, are you Roy? And I said, yes. And he said, come on, we're getting out of here.

KAYE (on camera): You hug him?


(LAUGHTER) HALLUMS: Definitely. Definitely.

KAYE (voice-over): By the time he was rescued, September of last year, Hallums had lost 38 pounds. He has gained much of the weight back, but, more importantly, he has gained his freedom, still today, never too far away, this patch given to Hallums by the soldier, then a stranger, today a friend who pulled him out of the darkness, the hole that had become his private hell.

Randi Kaye, CNN, Memphis.


COOPER: And it's just unbelievable to think of being in a hole for 311 days. And there have been others who have been there for longer.

Well, coming up, the preacher's wife accused of murder. She appeared in court today. We'll have that story in a moment.

But first, Erica Hill from HEADLINE NEWS joins us with some of the other stories we're following -- Erica.


Tragedy in the Middle East today. A ferry with 150 people aboard capsized off the coast of Bahrain. At least 51 people died, 63 passengers have been rescued. There's no firm word on their nationalities, although authorities say Westerners and Asians were on board, as well as Bahrainis.

And some heart-breaking words today for the families who lost loved ones in the September 11 terrorist attacks.


FDNY DISPATCHER: Fire Department 408. Where's the fire?

HANLEY: Yes, hi. I'm on the 106th floor of the World Trade Center. We just had an explosion up here.

FDNY: OK. One-O-Sixth floor. What building are you in, sir? One or Two?

HANLEY: That's One World Trade.

FDNY: All right.

NYPD: One?

FDNY: Yes.

HANLEY: Yes, there's smoke and we have about 100 people up here.

FDNY: Sit tight. Do not leave, OK? There is a fire or an explosion or something in the building. All right? I want you to stay where you are.



HILL: That was the voice of Christopher Hanley. His family was one of those who learned this week that the city had tapes of 911 calls, including his. They were made public after a court order.

In Kansas today, severe weather. At least one tornado has torn through the town of Hutchinson, blowing down power lines and starting several fires. Twenty-one square miles were evacuated, but people have since been allowed to return home.

So far, 5,000 acres have burned, 5,000 houses are damaged. There are no known injuries. Authorities are keeping an eye on the situation overnight, though, in case those winds return.

And supermodel Naomi Campbell arrested in New York today after allegedly striking her housekeeper with a cell phone. Campbell pleaded not guilty to the charges. Police say the victim was treated at the hospital for head wounds which they needed four staples to close.

Ouch -- Anderson.

COOPER: I don't even know what to say about that, Erica.

HILL: I don't either.


HILL: But don't ever upset me. There's a cell phone with your name on it. I'm kidding.

COOPER: All right. Thanks very much, Erica.

It is the court hearing that could have solved some of the mysteries surrounding the murder of a popular minister. His wife charged with the crime, shooting him in the back. We're going to tell you what she said and did not say today.

Also, a Gulf region homeowner fighting a big insurance company over damage caused by Hurricane Katrina. He says he's been bullied. Is he right?

We're keeping them honest ahead on 360.


COOPER: In Selmer, Tennessee, this was the day many were hoping for an answer, or at least a clue to the question that has haunted the town for a week: what could possibly make Mary Winkler, the wife of a popular local minister, the seemingly happy mother of three, apparently kill her husband? The answer or clues could have been revealed in the hearing scheduled for today, but they were not. CNN's Susan Candiotti explains why.


SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Her own lawyers call Mary Carol Winkler an emotional wreck. The minister's wife who police say confessed to shooting her husband in the back tried to avoid the eyes staring at her in a packed courtroom.

As Winkler kept her head down, a defense lawyer took her by the hand to help her sit down. Moments before the hearing began, Winkler's father stepped up, leaned over her and whispered something in her ear. Then it was time for her to speak, briefly.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is it your desire at this point to waive your right to a preliminary hearing?


CANDIOTTI: Winkler's lawyers waived a right to ask for bail. Unlikely anyway since Winkler skipped the state in a hurry with her children after allegedly taking her husband's life.

The defense move prevented prosecutors from reading her alleged confession into the record.

STEVE FARESE, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: We feel it does no one any good to hear bad things said about the mother of children. We don't feel that it does anyone any good to hear gruesome things about their late father.

CANDIOTTI: But her lawyer's concern about keeping disturbing details under wraps for now is not the prosecutor's main worry.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Aren't you concerned about the victim's family, though, and their feelings?

ELIZABETH RICE, PROSECUTOR: I'm concerned about a successful prosecution of the case.

CANDIOTTI: Why Winkler might have pulled the trigger is still a mystery. Police and prosecutors won't say. And after getting their first look at Winkler's alleged confession to police, the defense will only tell CNN it confirms the couple had problems.

LESLIE BALLIN, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: She is sad. She is bewildered. She is lost.

CANDIOTTI: The couple's conservative church community says it's baffled. To most people, the young minister and his quiet wife were picture-perfect.

BILLY SMITH, FAMILY FRIEND: I don't know of a couple who from the very start of their relationship loved each other more. And after 10 years of marriage, loved each other more, more excited about their life, more excited about their future. CANDIOTTI: The Winklers' three young children remain in the care of their paternal grandparents, a family rooted in three generations of ministers. Winkler's in-laws met with her in jail.

SMITH: And they loved her, they hugged her, she hugged them. She was so remorseful and so sorrowful of what she had done. And they assured her that she was forgiven.

CANDIOTTI: Winkler is not under a suicide watch, but her lawyers say they are worried about her and psychologists will evaluate her. The defense says when more is known the premeditated murder charges might be reduced.

BALLIN: Is this a planned killing? Just because there is a gunshot wound to the back doesn't mean first-degree murder.

CANDIOTTI (on camera): For now, Winkler's lawyers say even they cannot get a clear picture of what happened between the seemingly loving couple. When they try to get details from Winkler, in their words, they can't get her to focus.

Susan Candiotti, CNN, Selmer, Tennessee.


COOPER: We'll have much more ahead on the Winkler murder case. We'll hear more from Mary Winkler's attorneys. Now that they've seen their client's alleged confession or a version of it, what they can tell us about their decision to waive her right to a hearing?

We'll also talk with a friend of the Winkler family ahead on 360.


COOPER: Well, we've been closely following the story of Mary Winkler, the Tennessee woman accused of killing her husband, a preacher. It is a story with so many unknowns. Those who thought they knew the Winklers are now trying to make sense of the unimaginable.

Joining me from Selmer, Tennessee, is Billy Smith, a longtime friend of the family.

Dr. Smith, thanks for being with us.

You know, I think what has surprised a lot of people who have been following this story is that Matthew's parents have forgiven Mary. You know his parents well. Does that surprise you?

SMITH: It does not surprise me. It seems to be an unbelievable story because of the immediacy of the offer of forgiveness and sincere and genuine that it is.

The way the -- the way the meeting happened after the custody hearing on Friday afternoon in Alabama, they (VIDEO GAP) to visit with Mary one-on-one, one family member at a time. And each one of them assured her, especially Dan and Diane, the parents of Matthew, they assured her that they had always loved her as their daughter, not as a daughter-in-law. She would always be their daughter, and that they loved her and that they forgave her.

COOPER: How is that -- I mean, is that -- is that a forgiveness which comes based on faith, or is it based on some other knowledge of what went on in the relationship? I mean, where does that -- that forgiveness come from?

SMITH: Well, the Winkler family, Anderson, is -- before this happened -- one of the most outstanding families that anyone could know. And all of us who have known them and have loved them and have followed them for several years are not surprised at all, because their character is based upon their great faith in god, their faith in the bible, their faith in the church. And this is a message that for several generations ministers in the Winkler family have preached.

And we've had the opportunity to see that they not only teach it and preach it, but they practice it. And under the most difficult circumstances.

COOPER: Yes. I mean, and the circumstances are only likely to get in some ways more difficult. I mean, as details come out, as this case moves through the judicial system, is there concern in the larger community that forgiveness -- I mean, will that change? Will that -- that will be tested, no doubt.

SMITH: I do not believe that it will change. I believe that they believe in the integrity of their son, as we all do who know and love him.

We do not know what is going to be revealed, but we believe in his character. That is, the character that was shaped and formed by his parents, by his grandparents. And his faith was just as real as theirs. His character was just as real as theirs.

And I would like to say that Mary's is, too. One reason why that this is so shocking and so surprising is because it's so out of character for her. And as she expressed to them her love and her remorse and her great sorrow, they were very eager to assure her they would love her and would love to be able to take her home.

COOPER: You know -- you have known this family for a long time. You know Matthew's father Dan, I believe, for some 25 years.

SMITH: That is correct.

COOPER: You were actually instructing Matthew in bible study. What kind of a student was he? What was it that made him want to enter bible study and want to become a pastor?

SMITH: Well, I believe that that was something that he saw, heroic figures in his life. His grandfather is nationally known. His father is also nationally known.

And -- but they were not -- it was not for that reason. It was because of the kind of men that they are, the kind of character that they possess.

He had a chance to see every day what it is not only to be a real man and a leader, but also to be a Christian man, a Christian servant. And I believe that he grew up in those footsteps with the admiration and the desire to follow in those steps.

As a student, he was someone that enjoyed life every day, enjoyed life to the fullest. He was enthusiastic, he was energetic, he was full of zest, he was a very strong athlete. And he loved people. He was a hugger.

And when he met Mary and fell in love with Mary, as we have said before, I do not know another couple that I've been impressed with more who were so in love and so devoted to each other, not just in the beginning, but after 10 years of marriage. And so devoted to their girls, so devoted to the raising of those girls.

They had plans for where those girls would be going to school for college, just where they went to college. And we were looking forward and are looking forward to having them as students some day, too.

COOPER: Well, Dr. Smith, I appreciate you joining us. You represent the family well and your community well, as well. Appreciate you talking to me. Thank you.

SMITH: Thank you.

COOPER: Coming up ahead on 360, we have not seen Mary Winkler's alleged confession. Her attorneys have got -- well, they haven't heard it, but they've seen some transcripts of it. We're going to hear from them next.

A break first.

You're watching 360.


COOPER: Well, the murder of Matthew Winkler, a popular minister in Selmer, Tennessee, has shaken the town, shattered the image of a picture-perfect family. We still don't know what Mary Winkler allegedly confessed to police. Her lawyers, Leslie Ballin and Steve Farese, have seen a transcript of the alleged confession.

I talked to them earlier.


COOPER: Steve, when last we talked, I believe you had not had a chance to hear or read a transcript of the alleged confession. I believe you have now.

What do you make of it?

FARESE: Well, we've read a document that's been provided to us. We have not heard what we believe to be an audio account yet. It's a good question, and I know I sound like a politician trying to dodge the question.

And what do I make of it? Well, I see an explanation. That's what I see.

Is that what you see, Leslie?

BALLIN: I see this as a statement and not a confession. You know, a confession has with it certain connotations, an admission of guilt. A statement does not have that same connotation to me. A statement is a factual rendition of something that's happened in the past. A confession is an admission of guilt.

COOPER: Steve, you said that your client had trouble focusing and appears confused. How -- I mean, what is her state of mind right now?

FARESE: Well, I wish I had that expertise. I can only tell you my opinion that she is slow to answer, slow to react, and at times has that deer -- deer in the headlight look.

COOPER: Has she had a psychological interview at this point? I mean, or an assessment?

FARESE: Not yet, although it's my understanding that that will happen very, very soon.

COOPER: There have been a lot of reports, and, I don't know, it sounds to me like a lot of it speculation about the subject of postpartum depression. Is that something you two have raised?

BALLIN: No, we're not raising anything. What we're doing is investigating our case and doing what we should as defense counsel, and that is asking that a psychologist do a forensic evaluation. If that evaluation turns certain mental illnesses, certain mental deficiencies that are pertinent to the case, then you bet we're going to talk about it.

COOPER: Steve, do you feel you know all you need about their relationship?

FARESE: Absolutely not. I think today was my fourth visit with her and Leslie's second.

BALLIN: My second.

FARESE: Leslie's second visit with her. We have another planned visit Sunday with her, which we'll spend a few more hours. And it will probably take us at least through the end of next week to have what we hope is the full story on her background and the full story leading up to these tragic events.

COOPER: Obviously, she's got to be concerned about her kids. I mean, what -- has she asked about them? Has she been able to speak to them?

FARESE: Yes. And she's asked our opinion and advice on how to handle that situation, and we have to go through the cost benefit analysis, what's in the best interest of the children coming to the jail to see their mother, or should we try to arrange telephone conversations. And right now we've opted for the latter.

COOPER: Telephone conversations. Do you -- I mean, are the kids aware of what has happened?

FARESE: We don't know the answer to that. It's our understanding the paternal grandparents have really tried to shield them throughout this process.


COOPER: The attorneys for -- for Mary Winkler.

I want to thank our international viewers for watching.

Ahead on 360, homecoming for an American hostage in Iraq. Jill Carroll's sudden and mysterious release after months in captivity. We'll have the latest.

Also ahead tonight, insurance denied. Why Katrina homeowners say they are being scammed by insurance companies. Tonight we are keeping them honest.

And later, your kitchen under the microscope. Once you find out what health inspectors uncovered in some homes, you might now want to eat in your kitchen again. Or at least you might want clean up a bit.

All that and more when 360 continues.


COOPER: Well, the headline of her life. An American journalist kidnapped in Iraq. After months in captivity she is set free today and sharing her story of survival.


ANNOUNCER: Released.

JILL CARROLL, FREED HOSTAGE: I'm just happy to be free and want to be with my family.

ANNOUNCER: The American journalist held hostage in Iraq, where was she kept, how was she treated, and why was she let go? We're covering all the angles.


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