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CNN LARRY KING LIVE
Jill Carroll Freed Today; Mary Winkler Waives Preliminary Hearing on Charges of First Degree Murder
Aired March 30, 2006 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LARRY KING, CNN HOST: Tonight, the wife charged with the first degree murder of her minister husband is back in court today in Tennessee and being held without bond. Authorities say they know the motive but still aren't saying what it is. We'll talk with stunned family friends trying to make sense of all of this; but first...
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JILL CARROLL: They just came to me and said "OK, we're letting you go now."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: ...American journalist Jill Carroll abducted last January in a Baghdad ambush released today unharmed. We'll get the latest from Baghdad, plus reaction from Judea Pearl, his son journalist Daniel Pearl was abducted and murdered in Pakistan in 2002; and Micah Garen, a journalist who was abducted in Iraq two years ago and knows Jill Carroll.
It's all next on LARRY KING LIVE.
Also with us in our early segment is David Cook, the D.C. Bureau Chief of the Christian Science Monitor, and our own Nic Robertson, CNN Senior International Correspondent.
Micah Garen, in New York, documentary journalist, co-author of "American Hostage, a Memoir of a Journalist Kidnapped in Iraq and the Remarkable Battle to win his Release," you know Jill Carroll. What do you make of this?
MICAH GAREN, JOURNALIST: Well, it's fantastic news. I mean I woke up to it literally. The first thing I did was look at my e-mail and I saw an e-mail from her family and was just absolutely thrilled. I mean it's wonderful, wonderful news for her and her family.
KING: And, as you know the situation, you were held hostage, what do you make of it?
GAREN: Well, you know, it's one of those things that takes a long time to kind of piece together but I think it's very positive news that she was released. You know we don't really know the circumstances of it and it was a very long time. I was held for ten days and she was held for three months. So you know I think in the coming days and weeks we'll know a little bit more but I just think that, you know, for her this is a moment of euphoria and we should all just be very happy that she made it through.
KING: David Cook, what do you make of it, her whole -- first of all her attitude which she wasn't angry?
DAVID COOK, CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF: No at least not on camera, we're delighted of course. We had hoped that she would be released. It's been a very long time as Micah said. Micah and others have helped us in the journalism community.
We are cognizant of the fact that her translator was killed in the attack so obviously this is sort of tinged with that fact but we're deeply grateful for all the help we got getting her out.
KING: Judea Pearl, no one knows tragedy like you, the father of Daniel Pearl. Daniel was the "Wall Street Journal" reporter who was abducted and murdered in Pakistan in early 2002. He's president of the board of directors of the Daniel Pearl foundation. When you hear something like this what do you really...
JUDEA PEARL, SON JOURNALIST DANIEL PEARL ABDUCTED AND MURDERED IN PAKISTAN IN 2002: I'm elated. I just can't contain myself because I've been there. I've been there several times.
If you remember when Musharraf visited the White House in 2002 he promised that within one or two days Danny will go free and we prepared. We got -- we bought warm clothes to go to Germany to meet him. So, I've been there. I know. I've been on the cloud. I'm surprised that Jill Carroll can be so composed. I would walk up and down the streets with a big drum.
KING: You know her, Micah. How do you explain the composure, the obvious composure that she had?
GAREN: Well, you know, Jill is just a very level headed, intelligent, compassionate person and, you know, one of the things, I don't know the exact circumstances of this video that came out but what happened when I was released is literally I was taken and dropped off into a press conference. And so it's very confusing and you're not quite sure what type of questions to answer. You're not really sure if you want to answer questions.
So, I don't know if Jill is literally, this tape that we're seeing was her, you know few minutes after she was freed. In that case, you know, you're going to see different, you know her being much more elated and happier in the coming days because she'll be able to really understand and appreciate the freedom.
KING: David Cook, is something more formal planned by your paper, a more formal press conference? When is she coming home?
COOK: That's a question I'm going to try to avoid answering except to say it's soon. We'd like to bring her home in a way that lets her have some quiet time with her family and that will happen in the next couple of days.
And once she's had some time with her family then we'll have a press conference. The family plans to have a press conference with her where they can thank everyone publicly.
I wanted to thank Micah for his very perceptive comments about the video. We're still learning more about when this video was taken and I think there's probably a need for caution in interpreting the video until we know the conditions, so thanks to Micah for that.
GAREN: Yes and I'd just...
KING: Nic Robertson -- I'm sorry.
GAREN: Sorry, just to add one quick thing.
GAREN: When I was released one of the first answers to the question that I had was somebody asked me if I was going to stay in Iraq and my answer was absolutely I want to stay and finish my project.
And what I meant by that was, you know, it was a sign of -- to sort of all my friends in Iraq that the terrorists, you know, couldn't chase me out. And I think it was misinterpreted around the world and so I think we should take a good deal of caution when we hear Jill's words right now.
KING: Nic Robertson, you've been there a long time. What did this group have in mind? They killed a fellow person with her. They hold her. They say they're going to kill her if women aren't released. And suddenly they treat her very well apparently and she's released. What do you read into it?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, number one, we shouldn't be surprised to hear that she has been treated well. We've heard that from other people who have been taken prisoner before, have been held hostage.
But there's also been no doubt in their minds that if push came to shove then these same people that would feed you one minute would kill you the next and I think when analyzing what's happened to Jill right now, we know she was picked up in the west of Baghdad, taken immediately to that press conference.
And let's not forget that right outside the building where that press conference was held back in February two journalists were kidnapped and they're still missing.
So, I mean she may not have known those details but very likely as we're just hearing here she wouldn't really know that she was yet really in safety. She hadn't yet come into U.S. custody. She hadn't seen any U.S. officials as far as we know at that stage.
So, she for sure at that moment didn't really know that she was completely and entirely safe. I think it's wise to wait and give further weight and consideration to what she says next -- Larry.
KING: Nic, do you know anything about the group that took her?
ROBERTSON: Only that they made these demands, only that they were relatively unheard of. They hadn't been heard of before. That's not atypical in these situations. It seems when groups do this sort of thing they give themselves a new name. Is that so that they can better hide? Is that so that they can't be traced through that so nobody has any leads about who they are, where they might be? We just don't know but that seems to be the sort of MO that these groups operate with -- Larry.
KING: Judea, do you know why Daniel was killed?
PEARL: No, we don't know. Obviously he was killed to make a point, some sort of publicity point to humiliate America, to humiliate Musharraf. And in every one of those situations whenever the negotiation took place there the trick is always to give the abductors the impression, the illusion that whatever was to be gained has already been gained and from now on they're going to lose.
So, I'm worried about their perception whether they have -- they perceive the whole deal as a political gain because that would wet the appetite of the next group and we're going to see more and more such abduction and atrocity.
KING: In your case do you feel the United States and others did all they could?
PEARL: I don't know. I do not know the mechanisms. I believe and I hope that they've done everything they could because there was no contact at all with the abductors.
KING: David Cook, to your knowledge was the government, the United States government involved in Jill's release?
COOK: Not in the sense of affecting it today but they were very helpful to us all along the way trying to find her as your network reported. A number of times the U.S. officials went to various places in Iraq and kicked down doors trying to find Jill. But our understanding is that this was just a release today that there was no military action involved.
KING: We have one more segment coming. We're going to let Judea go. Thank you so much, always good to see you.
And we'll come right back with our other guests.
And then we'll look into that incredible situation in Tennessee. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CARROLL: They didn't tell me what was going on. They would come, bring me my food. I would eat. It was fine. I would go to the bathroom but I was not allowed to, you know... UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You feel that you are quite distant from Baghdad or (INAUDIBLE)?
CARROLL: I really don't know where I was. 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. I had to take a shower. I walk two feet, you know, next to the next door, take a shower (INAUDIBLE) and come back. That's all. So, I don't know where I was or what was going on.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CARROLL: 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. They never said they would hit me, never threatened me in any way and I was -- and I'm just happy to be free. I want to be with my family.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: We're back. Micah Garen, a U.S. spokeswoman in Baghdad says at least 42 non-Iraqis remain captives, among them at least 13 Americans. Do you expect more?
GAREN: Unfortunately I do. I mean the situation just seems to be getting worse and worse and, you know, we hear 50, maybe 100 Iraqis a week are kidnapped. Many of them don't make it out alive.
It's a very sad situation that keeps disintegrating and unfortunately though the worse it gets in some ways the more you need journalists on the ground to tell the story because it just becomes sort of a black hole that we just don't know anything about.
KING: Do you have a best guess, Micah, as to why she was released?
GAREN: You know, I do think that the pressure made an enormous difference. The Christian Science Monitor did an amazing job, particularly early on in the first crucial week of getting Iraqi voices to speak out for Jill and that just kept growing and growing. And I think that makes such a difference. I mean it made a huge difference in my case and, you know, I don't know the particulars but I do believe that helps.
KING: David Cook, was there ever a point in this where you thought she might have been killed?
COOK: There were some very long days and nights. The last video, Larry, as you know, was February 9th and we didn't hear from her between February 9th and this morning, so our hope was that she was alive but that was a long time for her family to go without any kind of proof that she was still around. KING: How did you learn about it this morning?
COOK: I was driving to work, Larry, and Jim Carroll, her dad, called me at 6:10 and said that she was fine that she had been released and that was a very happy moment. I called our editor Richard Bergenheim right away and we rejoiced.
KING: I'll bet. Nic Robertson, why do you think she was released?
ROBERTSON: I think Micah makes a very good point and we found this talking to people in Iraq. The Iraqi people supported Jill. They knew she was here to do a good thing. They knew she was here to report and highlight their plight to the world. She was a woman. People respect that here.
All these factors may have played into it. We're seeing a real increase in criminal type of kidnapping. You know what was going through the minds of these people? Was it all purely religious? Was it all purely insurgency? Was it purely some kind of money thing?
We just don't -- we really just don't know the details but I think all these factors, the fact that Iraqi people believe she was doing a good thing must have all played in it somehow -- Larry.
COOK: Larry, just can I pick up something on Nic. Nic just said we don't know whether it was money. Just to let you know that as far as the Monitor is concerned we paid no money. The family has assured us that it paid no money and the ambassador, the United States ambassador in Iraq today said that they paid no money. So, our impression is that no money was paid to make this happen.
KING: Micah, in the earlier shots of her she looked very frightened. What changed?
GAREN: Well, you know, in the first video she actually looked very composed. In the second video is where she was crying. And then I believe a third video came out where she looked composed again.
And, you know, it's an emotional roller coaster. There can be moments. You just don't know what happened on those particular days. Maybe somebody said something to her, you know. Maybe she had the hint that she might be killed or, you know, that they were extremely serious at that moment.
It's really very tough, particularly if you're alone like she was to maintain your composure and to keep your hope. And, you know, I had the great fortune of having my translator with me the whole time and so I can only imagine three months for her, you know. She looks incredibly composed to me in the majority of the times that we've seen her, including in this, you know, latest video of her, you know, being released.
KING: Yes. David, are you concerned for your other journalists there? COOK: Yes. Well it's a dangerous time for all journalists in Iraq. We were concerned about people's security before Jill was kidnapped. We're obviously even more focused on it now. We've made some changes in our security procedures as a result of all this but it's a very tough time for all journalists.
And I should say that we've gotten wonderful help from the CNN bureau in Baghdad, with Nic and others on his team and also from the "Washington Post." There's a great sense of fraternity among the journalism folks in Baghdad and we're so grateful to them.
KING: And, Nic, she lived a very Arabic lifestyle didn't she from the food she liked to the headdress which she's still wearing?
ROBERTSON: She did and I think that shows her understanding of the culture, her understanding of the people, her understanding of the situation they were in and all of this I think contributes probably to part of her survival, of being able to go through three months of being held in isolation. She was able to communicate at a certain level because she spoke Arabic. I think all of these things would have been helpful for her survival -- Larry.
KING: Thank you all very much. And we sure hope and look forward to her return to the United States.
When we come back the incredibly puzzling story of the events in Tennessee, don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CARROLL: Very good treatment, very good treatment. I was kept in a very, 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.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Welcome back.
Today in Selmer, Tennessee, 32-year-old minister's wife Mary Winkler waived her right to a preliminary hearing in the death of her husband Matthew. She is charged with first degree murder and was held without bond.
Matthew Winkler was found shot to death in their home last week. Mrs. Winkler, along with the couple's three young daughters, were later found in Alabama. They were found the following evening.
Joining us in Nashville is Eddie Thompson, a long time friend of the Winkler family, helped conduct Matthew Winkler's funeral service on Tuesday.
In Selmer is John Foote, also a friend of both Matthew and Mary, often did things together he and his wife and them as couples.
In Memphis is Leslie Ballin, the attorney for Mary Winkler.
In Selmer is George Brown, the reporter for CNN affiliate WMC-TV Channel 5 covering the story.
And, in New York, Dr. Robi Ludwig, the psychotherapist and author of a terrific new book "Till Death do us Part, Love, Marriage, and the Mind of a Killer Spouse."
Eddie, what was it like at that funeral?
EDDIE THOMPSON: Well it was a tragic event and it was on our hearts as we gathered together. I would suggest though that the funeral was uplifting. It was positive in nature. We had a chance to remember Matthew and all that he had done for all of us and, at the same time, console each other.
KING: And you know Mary very well too don't you?
THOMPSON: Yes, sir. I knew Matthew better but I knew Mary of course.
KING: What do you make of it Eddie?
THOMPSON: Larry, I don't know I guess the word I would use I'm puzzled. To me it's bizarre. It's a real shame. It's a true tragedy.
KING: John Foote, your friends of Matthew and Mary, right, you and your wife?
JOHN FOOTE, GOOD FRIEND OF MURDERED MINISTER AND ACCUSED WIFE: That's correct, Larry.
KING: Did you go to the funeral?
FOOTE: Yes, I did my wife and children and I.
KING: Would you agree with Eddie that it was -- would you agree with Eddie that it was uplifting in a way?
FOOTE: Absolutely. I mean I agree that it is a tragedy but the funeral was uplifting. It was a celebration of Matthew's life and what he had done in the ministry and what he had done for everybody whose lives that he's touched.
KING: All right, you know them both, socialized with them, what do you make of it?
FOOTE: Stunned, no idea that there was anything going on. We had spent a week before this happened we had been to dinner with them. The Sunday night before this happened we had been to a youth devotion with them. Monday evening I spent some time with Mary at the church while our children were going through a puppet practice where they did skits, getting ready for a youth convention. In just that last week the amount of time that we spent there was nothing -- I cannot tell you anything that I or anyone else that I know witnessed that would have told us that something like this could happen.
KING: Leslie Ballin, the attorney for Mary Winkler, the state has charged her. She's waived the right to a hearing and the state says it knows the motive but won't announce it why?
LESLIE BALLIN, ATTORNEY FOR MARY WINKLER: I'm waiting to hear. Today it was our decision to waive the preliminary hearing. From the defense's standpoint that was the proper thing to do.
After we waived the hearing, the state did give us a copy of her statement to the Tennessee authorities and I'm still looking for that answer even after reading that statement, motive I'm waiting to hear.
KING: Do you as the defense attorney have to be told?
BALLIN: Tennessee rules of discovery are what they are. We are entitled to our client's statement. We are entitled to expert reports and opinions. We're entitled to witness statements but we get those witness statements only after they testify.
So, as a defense lawyer, you ask for a short recess, depending on the length of the statement that the prosecution hands over to you and you prepare for cross-examination. That's pretty much the extent of the discovery rules in our state.
KING: George Brown have there been any leaks from the prosecution as to what might be the motive?
GEORGE BROWN, WMC-TV REPORTER: No leaks. In fact, a lot of people here in Selmer packed the courtroom today because they were hoping that if there was a hearing today that they were going to get some of the information perhaps from the prosecution but that did not happen today since that hearing was waived.
No leaks at all. I mean and, Larry, we talked about this the other night. People here do not want to speculate. They don't want to talk about what may have happened, what could have happened because really the main concern of most people is the children.
They don't want anything to get out there that definitely isn't true that the children then hear later and it just makes the situation worse for them. I can tell you the support here is still very strong.
That courtroom today was full of people, especially from her church, even heard one woman saying "Mary, we're praying for you." The definitely still support her in this town but no leaks as of yet from the prosecution.
KING: All right, Dr. Ludwig, he was very popular yet the support for her seems overwhelming.
DR. ROBI LUDWIG, PSY.D.: Yes. KING: What do you make of that?
LUDWIG: Well, I mean it sounds like they knew a side of her that they feel sorry for her, so I wonder what they know about her. I mean this is a woman I believe she lost her mother recently. She could be grieving and be in bereavement overload. I would want to rule out if there's any postpartum depression.
It sounds like they really feel that this is not an evil woman that whatever happened was a result of her being sick in some way. And I actually admire that they want to protect the children by not gossiping, if you will. I think that's a good move for the community.
KING: So you like the idea that there's very little speculation despite all the wondering?
LUDWIG: Well, I'm sure that they're doing it behind closed doors. How can you not? It's this huge mystery. You have this very charismatic preacher, this couple. This family seemed to have it all. How could you not question, gee what went wrong? Clearly something went wrong if she took a gun and shot him to death.
But I respect that they're trying to be, you know, proper and dignified about it and now they're thinking about the people who are alive and trying to move forward thinking about them which is wise and smart.
KING: We'll take a break and be right back with more. We'll also be including your phone calls. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUSTY DORNIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Immediately following Mary's arrest, Matthew's parents went to pick up the children in Alabama. They asked to meet the woman they still consider a daughter despite being told by police that she confessed to killing their son.
BILLY R. SMITH, FAMILY FRIEND: They hugged her. She hugged them. She was so remorseful, so sorrowful of what she had done and they assured her that she was forgiven.
DORNIN: An incredible act of forgiveness from a family of three generations of ministers.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: We're back on "LARRY KING LIVE," with our guests. Added now in this segment in Nashville, Tennessee, is Dr. Bruce Levy, the Tennessee state medical examiner. He did not do the autopsy himself, but he has reviewed the report. What are the general findings, Dr. Levy?
DR. BRUCE LEVY, MEDICAL EXAMINER, TENNESSEE: Well Mr. Winkler died as a result of a single shotgun wound to his back.
KING: Simple as that.
LEVY: It is as simple as that.
KING: Damage to internal organs? What, did he bleed to death in essence?
LEVY: That's basically what happens. A shotgun is full of many small metallic pellets. When they strike the body, it's like a billiard ball effect. They go in every direction and they strike pretty much all the internal organs and cause lots and lots of bleeding, both internally and externally.
KING: Would you say death was immediate?
LEVY: No. What you're dealing with is a period of time where the person actually needs to bleed to death and while we never know in any one person how long that's going to be, we do know it takes a certain finite amount time.
KING: Do you know the distance from which the shot was fired?
LEVY: Well, we can speculate about that. We know based on the appearance of the wound that we're dealing with a general range of somewhere from a couple to a few feet, but the only way to really know for sure is to test fire the weapon and match the pattern with the actual injury that we see.
KING: Do we know if he was standing or sitting?
LEVY: We don't and there's really no way to know from a gunshot wound what position the person was in at the time that they were shot. Every once in a rare while there may be evidence that will help you put a piece of that puzzle together, but in this case, like most of the cases, there's just no way to know.
KING: Any sign of a struggle?
LEVY: There were just no other findings at the autopsy.
KING: A toxicology report is pending?
LEVY: That's right. We do a routine toxicology screen on all of the cases that come through our office and we do not have those results yet.
KING: Thanks very much. Dr. Bruce Levy, the Tennessee state medical examiner, getting up to date on that aspect.
Eddie Thompson, did you ever see any signs of outward friction?
THOMPSON: None whatsoever. They seemed to be a very happy couple. Their children were well balanced. They're precious children. That's a real tragedy in this. There were no sign, at least that we could see. KING: John, did you ever see a sign?
FOOTE: Absolutely not. Nothing.
KING: Never saw them yell at each other, argumentative, no physical?
FOOTE: No, nothing. I mean, Matthew and Mary were both -- we saw a loving couple. That's what we saw. a man who loved his wife and a wife who loved her husband.
KING: Leslie Ballin, what has your client, I know there's privilege here, but can you tell us anything she's told you?
BALLIN: I can't tell you anything that she's told me. I can tell you they like my client. I can tell you that that is so unusual for me. I'm usually representing people who are -- can generally be described as undesirable.
I like Mary Carol and I think that her personality and I don't mean this in a bad way, she's just so plain and simple and huggable and nice and gentle and -- I think all that figures into why we are seeing in this community the unusual response, the almost willingness to still coddle Mary Carol even though she's facing she's most serious of charges.
KING: This has to be then mind boggling to you.
BALLIN: It's different. It's absolutely different. We're going work hard like we will in any case that we take on but this case has some dynamics to it that are just plain different.
KING: Are you thinking at all of an insanity defense?
BALLIN: We are thinking along the lines of investigating all defenses with the idea and view that we are going to present the defense that's based on fact and truth.
Whether or not that turns out to be a defense of insanity, diminished capacity, we're investigating that. We are expecting a forensic evaluation, a psychological evaluation to be done very, very soon. I don't have the expertise to tell you what was going on in Mary Carol's mind. We're looking for that. We're looking to the experts to help us answer those questions.
KING: Did she hire you directly, Leslie?
BALLIN: No, she hired my co-counsel Steve Farese and the way that happened is she has a cousin, a lawyer here in Memphis and that lawyer called my good friend Steve Farese and that, I think, occurred on Thursday.
Steve saw Mary Carol Saturday, he saw her Sunday. Monday morning on my way to the office, I was supposed to go to trial on another murder case here in Memphis and on my way to the office I got a call from Steve who asked me what I was doing and I told him I was planning to go into trial, however that something had just come up that looked like the case was going to be continued.
He asked me if I wanted to go to Selmer and I knew what that meant and I asked him the question and he said, do you want to do it with me pro bono? And Steve's the kind of friend who when he asks me to do something, I didn't hesitate.
KING: Steve was on this program the other night. George Brown, have any tips come in to you as a reporter outside of the prosecution? Have people called you saying I know something?
BROWN: You know, the basic thing we've heard from people is not necessarily that they know anything about this case or what led up to it -- but one woman was talking to me and she said, "You know, people don't realize that when you are the head of a church or you're the wife of someone who is the head of the church, the pressures that go along with that, you almost have to be the perfect family, have the perfect children, have the perfect life."
That being said, I spoke with another friend of this that spoke with her in the jail cell and said the woman she spoke with the other day is not the same person that she knew two weeks ago, has a different demeanor to her, had a different way of speaking.
But she said at the same time that Ms. Winkler actually asked for a picture of herself and her husband and then asked if this woman had the Christmas card that had been sent out that had her children's pictures on it. And she said it was sort of strange to her because it was a different person, yet there still were those emotions that she recognized from before.
KING: Dr. Ludwig, what do you read into that?
LUDWIG: I think that this woman is depressed and probably has been depressed for a very long time and felt a lot of shame about it. It's very hard when you are the preacher's wife, who do you turn to?
You know, if you have to be the pillar of the community and people are looking to you to be a role model, then who is your preacher? And is there this pressure to say, "Well, you know, I have God, which is great."
But you know, people need other people. So when I hear about this case, my sense is that she was like a tornado or a volcano that just erupted and probably was very unaware of her own emotional state and the danger zone that she was moving into. I don't think she was aware of it and therefore probably wasn't able to get help for herself.
KING: We'll take a break and come back and we'll throw some questions at Mary Fulginiti, the former federal prosecutor, now practicing attorney here in Los Angeles. Don't go away.
KING: Eddie Thompson, who was in Nashville has left us. President Clinton will be one of our guests tomorrow night. We now welcome Mary Fulginiti, the former federal prosecutor who was well acquainted, by the way, with the defense attorneys in this case, right?
MARY FULGINITI, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Yes, I know them both very well.
KING: Leslie Ballin and Steve.
FULGINITI: Steve Farese, they are what I call the dynamic duo of the South.
KING: Is she well represented?
FULGINITI: She is definitely well represented. Those two, if I were the prosecutor, all I could say is stay on your toes.
KING: The defense decision to waive preliminary?
FULGINITI: Yes, I had a conversation with Leslie earlier today about that, wondering what he was thinking and why they were waiving prelim at this point and why you guys were also asking that she remain in jail without bond? Those are two very atypical requests and tactics by defense counsel.
KING: And what do you think they are, the tactics?
FULGINITI: They're strategy. They do say that it is in the best interest of the family, which I'm sure they are, but if I know those two, there's a lot more things going in their minds.
KING: You were a prosecutor, the prosecutor says it knows the motive but won't reveal it.
KING: Have you had cases like that?
FULGINITI: Oh sure.
KING: Why won't you reveal it?
FULGINITI: Well they have not had her formally charged yet, and there's going to be a grand jury that will be empaneled and they don't want to taint that grand jury in any way. And this is a case that's already gotten national attention and whatever the motive may be, they also might be taking into account, obviously, the family. There are three small children here.
KING: Can someone plead guilty and the motive is never disclosed?
FULGINITI: No, that's absolutely right. Sometimes you don't even know the motive, unfortunately.
As a prosecutor you want to know the motive because you want to be able to tell the complete story, because it's more persuasive to a jury to be able to fill in all the pieces of the puzzle. But there are times when you just don't know it.
KING: Doesn't this appear like a mental health case?
FULGINITI: Well I can't really speculate because I think both sides have played it very close to the vest, but it definitely -- they're going to be challenging.
KING: Well we have no idea, CNN has no idea, but I'll throw it out.
FULGINITI: I think Leslie, if I had to guess is definitely going to be focusing on not only her state of mind at the time the act was committed if in fact she committed the act, but her present state of mind. Is she competent to actually sit through proceedings at the moment?
KING: Do we know there was a confession?
FULGINITI: What we do know is there is and what I have here is an affidavit of complaint and included in that affidavit, they state that she did confess to not only planning the killing, but actually shooting her husband and then fleeing thereafter.
KING: So it wasn't impromptu.
FULGINITI: Based on this, there was a statement made by her and if that is the case, a confession is obviously an extraordinarily strong piece of evidence for a prosecutor in that case.
KING: Doesn't this appear from a prosecution's standpoint open and shut?
FULGINITI: Well, you know, you'd like to say it is and in many cases and in most, it probably would be. But with Mr. Ballin and Mr. Farese, nothing will ever be open and shut and it really depends on the confession. You know, is it admissible? How reliable is it? Was it was tape recorded? Was it hand written by the defendant or was it merely a memorialization by the investigators? I mean, all of that will come into play.
KING: But she fled.
FULGINITI: Well that's another thing. I think if I was a prosecutor in this case, I'd be arguing that's consciousness of guilt. She took off with her three children to Alabama and there are also no signs of any forced entry here and there doesn't appear to be any signs of any physical altercation between the two.
KING: What do you make of this? Just as a..
FULGINITI: ... You know, it's sad. It's just terribly, terribly sad. And there's definitely -- I would hope at least something lurking behind the scenes that would explain it, even though nothing will ever justify a murder nor should it, but it's just terribly, terribly sad.
KING: Must be a lot of pressure to be the preacher's wife.
FULGINITI: You know, I guess. I grew up in a town where there was about 4,200 people at the time that I resided there. So in small towns and I can see if you are the preacher's wife, there is some pressure, but you know, is that enough? I mean, that just doesn't seem like.
KING: John Foote, did Mary ever show much pressure to you?
FOOTE: Not that I saw, Larry. She was -- she was always, you know, at church by Matthew's side, always just talking and laughing and having a good time. I never saw anything that showed anything that was stress-related.
KING: And Leslie Ballin, before Mary leaves us, that's quite a compliment coming from her to you.
BALLIN: Mary, thank you very much. I'll pay you later, but it's great talking to you, Mary and your observations as to what we're going do, we're looking into her mental health status and we're going to do what needs to be done.
This case -- it's tough. It's hard, but we're going do a job that I hope Mary Carol deserves and I like my client. I'm going to work hard. She just -- it's one thing, she is concerned about herself. She is more concerned about those kids right now. She is comforted in the thought that the kids are with the Winklers. We know, based on what Mary Carol has told us, that those kids are in good hands.
KING: That's great to hear. Thank you, Mary, we love your expertise.
FULGINITI: Good to see you.
KING: Mary's going to be a mother, when?
FULGINITI: Oh, in just a couple months.
KING: Girl, huh?
FULGINITI: It's a girl.
KING: Anderson Cooper, where are you now, Anderson?
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: I'm back in New York, Larry.
KING: Boy, your mileage must be incredible. Anderson Cooper in New York to host "A.C. 360" at the top of the hour, what's the lead?
COOPER: Yes, I was on the border last night. Today we have a couple leads, actually. We're starting off tonight with some 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. Fires are burning, fanned by the high winds. We'll have the latest. As a precaution, people have been told to leave a 21 square mile area around the fire. Meantime, tornado warnings have been issued in Missouri as the front travels eastward.
We're also going to look into Randy McCloy, he spoke. We'll tell you what he and said what we now know about what happened to him and the other miners deep underground in the Sago Mine, Larry?
KING: Thanks, Anderson, incredible story. Anderson on top of the scene for two hours immediately following this program at 10:00 Eastern and we'll be back with your phone calls. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BALLIN: Her condition is pretty fragile right now. We're concerned about it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is it your desire at this point to waive your right to preliminary hearing?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, sir.
STEVE FARESE, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: This is not a circus. This is a legal proceeding.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Remaining with us are John Foote in Selmer, Leslie Ballin in Memphis, George Brown on Selmer and Dr. Robi Ludwig in New York. Let's take a call. Memphis, hello?
CALLER: Yes, regarding the motive, I would like to know if the children will be examined for signs of physical abuse.
KING: Might they be, Leslie?
BALLIN: We have been advised by the Winklers' attorney that they are going to be evaluated -- well, not really -- they're going to be counseled. I assumed it was going to be grief counseling. I'm not aware of any allegations that the kids were actually abused.
But keep in mind, we are just getting into this case. I want to be very careful -- very preliminary and I do not want to say something and it not be true. We are not saying that these kids were in any way mistreated. I'm not saying that.
KING: New York City, hello?
CALLER: Yes, my question is for Dr. Ludwig.
CALLER: What do you think -- how would you rate, I guess, the possibility of the insanity defense and do you think that the recent Daniel Carver roast on Howard...
LUDWIG: ... You know, it's very hard to get an insanity defense. There is a possibility of diminished capacity, but of course, the lawyers would have a better sense of that than I would. But postpartum depression is a serious condition and it does need to be considered.
KING: John, what are the children like, John Foote?
FOOTE: They're just very happy, outgoing children, involved in sports, involved in the church. Just happy kids, just very happy kids.
KING: George Brown, does the national attention still remain high?
BROWN: It does. It is diminishing tonight. In fact CNN is the only person here right now, the only network here. Everyone else has left, which a lot of the people here, Larry, are very happy about because it was starting to get a little bit much for this town.
As I said, it's about 4,600 people, not very well known except for -- I told you, it's a furniture store from this area. A lot of the public are ready for this to go and there's also that sense of kind of the national media, outside people coming in. They don't really know this family. They don't know these people and sometimes kind of -- perhaps even thinking that people are being exploited in this situation and yet that gets back to why people aren't speculating.
I can tell you, someone asked me also what is going on with her in the jail, and I spoke with someone who met with her just recently and said that she said that she's doing very well in the jail, that she's being very well treated, that everyone has been very nice to her and someone else also there telling me today that she really seemed a little bit more aware today of her surroundings in the jail.
KING: We'll take a break and be back with more moments, get another call or two in. Don't go away.
KING: Attorney Leslie Ballin had to leave us and we still have John Foote, George Brown and Dr. Ludwig. A couple of minutes left.
Fort Hood, Texas, hello? Fort Hood, Texas, are you there? Hello? No Fort Hood, Texas. How about Pittsburgh, hello?
CALLER: Yes, I was wondering, was there any financial debt maybe because of gambling or drugs or was she going collect on any life insurance policies?
KING: John, do you know anything about that?
FOOTE: No, nothing, nothing about any of that.
KING: John, how good a pastor was he?
FOOTE: He was an excellent pastor. He was a man who really knew the word and really brought it in a powerful way. He was very enthusiastic about preaching the word and just -- he was -- he was very strong.
KING: And increased membership in the church, too. Port Richey, Florida, hello?
CALLER: Yes, hi, good evening, Larry. My question is to the reporter Mr. Brown. Is there any truth, Mr. Brown, to the story of the minister having a problem with the neighbor and threatening the neighbor's pets?
BROWN: You know, it's very interesting that you say that because someone approached me in the courtroom today. The back story on this is supposedly that the minister said to one of his neighbors that he was going shoot their dogs if they came onto his property again and that was reported.
But later we were told that perhaps the context of that story was that these dogs, I believe one was a pit bull and another large dog had possibly gone after the minister's children and someone said "Well, how would you react, what would you say?" And that that shouldn't be taken out of context. That shouldn't be used to characterize him as a person. And this gets back to yet again, why people don't want to speculate on this story, Larry.
KING: Dr. Ludwig are we ever...
FOOTE: I'd like to address that issue.
KING: ... sure, John, go ahead.
FOOTE: I'd like to directly address that issue. As the last time I spoke to Matthew about his neighbor, it was a Rottweiler that the neighbor had that they let run free.
And I think if you look at the video that was on T.V., you saw the Rottweiler running free. And at Christmas time in Matthew's home, he explained to me along with other members of the church the issues that he was dealing with with his neighbor of that dog, that Rottweiler coming into his yard, keeping his family, his wife and kids in their car.
And they were scared of the dog and chasing them back to the house and that's why he addressed that issue with his neighbor.
KING: Thanks, John. We're out of time and we thank you all very much for participating. Before we go, it was 25 years ago today that President Ronald Reagan was the target of an assassination attempt outside the Washington Hilton. The bullet lodged near his heart but he survived and on January 11th, 1990, I asked him about that harrowing day.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KING: What's it like? Really like? RONALD REAGAN, DECEASED PRESIDENT: Well, I'll tell you what it's like. What it was like was I didn't know I was shot. I heard a noise and we came out of the hotel and headed for the limousine and I heard some noise and I thought it was firecrackers.
And the next thing I knew one of the Secret Service agents behind me just seized me here by the waist and plunged me head first into the limo. I landed on the seat and the seat divider was down and then he dived in on top of me which is part of their procedure to make sure that I'm covered.
Well, as it turned out later, the shot that got me careened off the side of the limousine and hit me while I was diving into the car and it hit me back here under the arm and then hit a rib. And that's what caused an extreme pain and then it tumbled and it turned, instead of edge wise and went tumbling down to within an inch of my heart.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Also wounded that day a Secret Service agent, a Washington police officer, and White House Press Secretary James Brady, who was left permanently disabled.
Tomorrow night, Bill Clinton. Right now, let's turn it over to Anderson Cooper in New York to host "A.C. 360." Anderson?
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