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PAULA ZAHN NOW

16-Year-Old Texas Boy Brutally Assaulted; Sky-High Gas Prices Fuel Growing Political Battle

Aired April 27, 2006 - 20:00   ET

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


PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, everyone. Glad to have you with us tonight. Here's what is happening at this moment.
The president does a flip-flop on forcing the auto industry to get better gas mileage. Tonight, he's officially asking the Congress to raise the overall miles-per-gallon standards for cars and light trucks. Now, he has opposed that before. We will have more on how gas prices are changing politics and why the president's change of opinion just ahead.

Analysts, meanwhile, are now listening to the complete version of Osama bin Laden's latest tape. It was posted on the Internet four days after excerpts appeared. Bin Laden says those behind the cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed should be turned over to al Qaeda for punishment.

Just over an hour ago, Senator Arlen Specter threatened to cut off funding for the president's controversial warrantless wiretap program. Specter and others are frustrated at the White House's refusal to give them any details.

At this hour tonight, a 16-year-old boy is fighting for his life in a Texas hospital. Police say he's the victim of a horrifying beating and sexual assault, not by grownups, but at the hands of two other teenagers. This story is drawing nationwide attention, and not because of the senseless violence. The victim happens to be Latino. Both of his alleged assailants are white.

And, just this week, the Anti-Defamation League warned that, all over the country, Hispanics are being targeted by extremists, because of the anger and passion being raised by the debate over illegal immigration.

Ed Lavandera has been on this story all day long. His report came in just moments ago.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): During a late- night party Saturday, a fight erupted inside this suburban Houston home. Investigators say David Tuck and Keith Turner unleashed a brutal assault on a 16-year-old boy after he tried to kiss a younger girl. Prosecutors say, both suspects dragged the victim into the backyard, kicked him in the head with steel-toed boots, and then sodomized him with a two-inch-thick PVC pipe. MIKE TRENT, PROSECUTOR: They also poured bleach on him. And the victim is in pretty bad shape right now, critical condition, and it's unclear at all whether he is going to survive.

LAVANDERA: Authorities say no one at the party called an ambulance until 10 hours after the attack. The 16-year-old was left fighting for his life all night.

Neighbors who saw the boy taken away by paramedics were shocked.

NANCY BENAVIDES, NEIGHBORHOOD RESIDENT: He was severely beaten. It was just -- oh, my goodness. I couldn't believe it. His face was severely swollen, lips, everything. He just looked -- and blood everywhere.

LAVANDERA: Tuck and Turner have been charged with aggravated sexual assault.

But, if the victim dies, authorities say the charges will be upgraded to capital murder. David Tuck made a brief court appearance. But his attorney said he was invoking his Fifth Amendment right to not incriminate himself. Keith Turner has not been to court yet. And it's still not clear if he has an attorney.

But plenty of people are talking in the town of Spring, the Houston suburb where the attack happened. They are especially stunned by the details the attack might have been racially motivated. Investigators say the suspects yelled racial epithets as they beat the Hispanic victim. Many in this neighborhood say the two suspects were troubled and angry. Classmates and neighbors of David Tuck say he had a history of using racial slurs.

DAVID COOK, NEIGHBORHOOD RESIDENT: When we were at his house, there was all sorts of stuff, like he would have swastikas painted on the fence of his backyard. It was just really white-trashy sort of stuff. He would be all sort of "Heil Hitler" crap.

LAVANDERA: Timothy Borque doesn't think Keith Turner is racist. He says the 18-year-old often hung out with minority students. But he does Turner acted like a wanna-be gangster.

TIMOTHY BORQUE, RESIDENT OF SPRING, TEXAS: He's an (EXPLETIVE DELETED) He's just a wanna-be, a little bitty kind of short white dude, who thinks he's all that.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LAVANDERA: The last report we had is that the 16-year-old victim remains in the hospital, in critical condition. We're told that he suffered major injuries to internal organs. And prosecutors and investigators say here that it's not likely that he will survive, but that he's been given a 50/50 chance right now -- Paula.

ZAHN: Ed, given the fact that a state like Texas has such a large Hispanic population, how nervous are they about this ADL report warning against increased violence targeted as -- at Hispanics because of this debate over illegal immigration?

LAVANDERA: You know, it will be interesting to see how the greater portion of the state reacts to this.

It's not exactly clear. We haven't heard from the suspects in this case, what exactly what their motivation was. Of course, we have just heard from the prosecutors and investigators today.

But, as you know, there has been a long history here in the state of Texas of tension between the Hispanic community and the Anglo community here, going back decades.

And, of course, whenever you have issues of immigration and what's coming up Monday, the Day Without an Immigration, and these types of rallies, all of that gets inflamed repeated -- repeatedly, when -- when news like this pop up. So, it will be interesting to see how this news plays into all of that.

ZAHN: Ed Lavandera, thanks so much for the update.

With me now is the prosecutor in the case, Mike Trent.

Thanks so much for joining us tonight, sir.

TRENT: Thank you.

ZAHN: We just heard in Ed Lavandera's report, there seems to be some indication that perhaps this beating was racially motivated, in part. Do you think the victim was targeted because he was Hispanic?

TRENT: Well, when you say targeted, I don't think they sought him out because of him being a Hispanic, but I do think that the severity of the beating, I think that race may have played a part in that, and the severity of the assault on him.

ZAHN: So, if race played a part in that, why aren't you going to charge the suspects with a hate crime?

TRENT: Well, the way the law works in Texas, if you prove something is a hate crime, it increases the degree of the felony by one degree.

But the problem here is that it's already a first-degree felony. Aggravated sexual assault is punishable by anywhere five years to life in prison. It's not going to do any good to allege a hate crime. What I will say is that the jury is going to get all the relevant evidence of any motivations like that, so that they cake make a proper decision on punishment.

ZAHN: How troubled are you about what you have heard about these two suspects and some of the things they might have done in the past?

TRENT: Well, certainly, looking at their backgrounds, we have information that is bothersome about what may motivate them, and we're going to look into whether they're -- what their affiliations are with extremist groups. And it's a very disturbing case. It's extremely brutal.

ZAHN: Do you have any idea what the suspect said to the victim prior to attacking him?

TRENT: I don't know the specific words they used, but I do know that, during the beating, there was at least some references calling him a Mexican, as well as perhaps other things that I can't say on live TV.

ZAHN: I can appreciate that, sir.

Mike Trent, thank you very much for updating us on what you are working on at this hour. We appreciate it.

TRENT: You're welcome.

ZAHN: And we are going to move along now to our countdown of the top 10 stories on CNN.com -- more than 19 million of you logging on today.

Coming in at number 10, the rebuilding at New York's World Trade Center is finally under way tonight, nearly five years after the 9/11 attacks. The process has been delayed because of feuding between politicians and developers. It has gotten very ugly here.

Number nine -- gunfire at the Cleveland International Airport today. Authorities say a man attacked two police officers, shooting one in the chest with the officer's weapon, before a third officer fatally shot the gunman. Police confronted the man after receiving reports of a disturbance at the United Airlines ticket counter.

Numbers eight and seven just ahead, along with the sudden scramble going on tonight in Washington over energy prices.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN (voice-over): Sky-high gas prices, fuel for a growing political fight. The president's investigating. Congress is criticizing, but is any of it helping you?

And the "Eye Opener" -- cyber-stalk. Strange men calling this woman for sex, even knocking on her door at night, all because of this Internet ad. The only thing is, she never placed it. And someone could be making you a victim right now -- all that and much more when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: Coast to coast tonight, people are driving up to gas pumps in disbelief, driving away from their latest fill-up in shock. And those near record prices are generating near record profits for big oil.

ExxonMobil today reported a first-quarter profit of $8.4 billion. It's the fifth highest profit for any public company in any three- month period in history. The record, by the way, is nearly $11 billion ExxonMobil set the last year.

Now, as we mentioned earlier, during a visit to the Gulf Coast today, the president switched a position. President Bush stopped at a gas station to say he is now asking Congress for the power to force the auto industry to build cars that are more fuel efficient and get better gas mileage.

So, what else are the folks in Washington doing about the outrageous price rise of gas? Well, actually, they're doing a lot, although some of it you might think is downright silly.

Here's a look from congressional correspondent Dana Bash, a member of the best political team in TV.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DANA BASH, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): From this committee room with the Federal Reserve chairman...

REP. JIM SAXTON (R), NEW JERSEY: How does oil price increase affect your outlook on the economy?

BASH: ... to this one on the other side of the Capitol...

REP. BOB GOODLATTE (R), VIRGINIA: Have either of you found any evidence of manipulation in the trading of gasoline or oil contracts?

BASH: ... to the Senate floor...

SEN. RON WYDEN (D), OREGON: Gasoline and gasoline prices is the issue that the American people want addressed.

BASH: ... members of Congress in a dizzying frenzy to show voters, this election year, they feel their pain at the pump.

After Democrats coordinated photo-ops in front of price signs, today, House Republicans showed up for their own gas station press conference in a hydrogen minivan.

House Speaker Dennis Hastert parked his SUV in back.

REP. DENNIS HASTERT (R-IL), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: We're 65 percent dependent on foreign oil, places like Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran, Nigeria and Venezuela. Whenever they decide to turn the spigot or raise the prices, our consumers suffer.

BASH: Then, aides arranged for him to leave in a hydrogen-fueled car.

Senate Republicans walked to a park where their microphones were set up. The leader's SUV, needed for security, rode next to him.

SEN. BILL FRIST (R-TN), MAJORITY LEADER: ... will get consumers relief at the pump.

BASH: Democrats want to suspend the gas tax, saying it would save consumers $100 million a day. Now Senate Republicans are proposing ideas like repealing oil company tax breaks, giving new ones for hybrid cars, and this:

SEN. PETE DOMENICI (R), NEW MEXICO: We're going to ease their burden, the burden of those families who are so -- hit so hard by giving them a $100 rebate.

BASH: But they linked that to drilling in the Alaska Wildlife Refuge, which most Democrats oppose.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), MINORITY LEADER: The Republicans offer an agenda that favors big oil and the wealthy few. It's time for a new direction.

BASH: Even Republicans are going after big oil, demanding access to 15 oil companies' tax returns to trace huge profits.

SEN. CHARLES GRASSLEY (R), IOWA: My suspicion is that an old principle of any business, that you mark up a certain percentage, is being abused.

BASH: It may look and sound like lawmakers could actually pass some of these proposals, but, remember, it's an election year.

SEN. RICK SANTORUM (R), PENNSYLVANIA: Folks on the other side of the aisle have simply said no to more energy independence, no to more energy production.

SEN. CHARLES SCHUMER (D), NEW YORK: When the Republican Congress had a chance to do something about this problem, they said no. They said no in terms of proposals to stop gouging by the big oil companies. They have said no when it comes to real energy conservation.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BASH: Despite all of the sound and fury here today, the Federal Reserve chairman was here, and he told lawmakers that the reality for consumers is that there is nothing really that can be done to affect gasoline prices in the short run -- Paula.

ZAHN: Well, that's not too encouraging to folks...

BASH: No.

ZAHN: ... who are very dependent on cars to get to and from work, is it, Dana?

BASH: Not at all. But it certainly is a little bit of a reality check to the lawmakers here, who are talking quite a bit about the fact that they say they can try to do something.

ZAHN: Dana Bash, thanks so much.

Florida's attorney general is so steamed up about gas prices, he has opened an investigation into whether the big oil companies are breaking laws against monopolies.

Attorney General Charlie Crist joins me tonight from Miami.

Thanks so much for being with us, sir.

CHARLIE CRIST, FLORIDA ATTORNEY GENERAL: It's great to be with you. Thank you.

ZAHN: Do you have any evidence that would suggest these big oil companies are breaking the law?

CRIST: Well, we might. And that's why we're conducting an investigation. We opened up our investigation last week with our antitrust division.

Several of the concerns that we have, Paula, are, number one, that we -- we're concerned about a monopolization that has occurred in this industry. When the Sherman and Clayton antitrust acts were passed back at the turn of the century, the entire purpose of that was to make sure that consumers got a fair deal.

What -- what appears to have happened, when you look at the -- even the names of the major oil companies in our country today, ChevronTexaco, not two companies, but one, ConocoPhillips, not two companies, but one.

And when you look at that, ExxonMobil is another example. There has been an enormous consolidation of the choice that Americans and certainly Floridians, as far as I'm concerned, would have, in terms of who they can select to buy their gas from. When you have less choice, you have lower -- don't have lower prices.

(CROSSTALK)

ZAHN: But -- but, Mr. Crist, are you ignoring the fact in all of this that seven of 10 biggest oil companies are run by foreign and owned by foreign governments, and that, in fact, that global markets set the price of crude oils, not -- not oil companies?

CRIST: No question about it. The global markets certainly have an impact. We're cognizant of that here in Florida.

But I think it's also important to take into account that these oil companies have a significant impact on what's happening. You know, you read reports in "Forbes" magazines that talks about there's 5 percent more supply than there had been in the past. Yet, the prices are skyrocketing. That defies the commonsense rules of supply and demand and competition, which is the American way, that we understand it.

And we get reports that only about 20 percent of the oil that we use in America comes from foreign supplies. So, you know, I guess you can have statistics that will show -- or support any argument that you want to make. But the bottom line is this. The people in America deserve to have more competition. They deserve to have more choice. And these antitrust laws that were put into place at the turn of the century in our country were put in place so that the consumer would have more choice.

(CROSSTALK)

ZAHN: But, finally, sir, do you admit tonight, too, that the instability of some of the countries where this oil comes have also -- has also contributed to the price rise?

CRIST: It's probably had an effect.

But you said it yourself earlier, Paula. You look at the gross profits that are being reaped by these companies right now, record profits that are -- that are taking place, and -- you know, look, I'm a free-market guy. I'm all for profits, but not profiteering on the backs of, in my case, Floridians, or Americans, for that matter.

We have got to a better job at having more choices for the consumer, therefore, lower prices, and a better deal for people all over this country.

ZAHN: Well...

CRIST: That's why I applaud what the president has done by getting all hands on deck on this issue.

ZAHN: Well, you can imagine, all of us consumers are going to be watching these investigations very closely.

Attorney General Charlie Crist, thanks for your time tonight.

CRIST: Thank you.

ZAHN: Now, something can go terribly wrong with your body that actually causes your muscles to turn into bones. What is it like living with this rare and mysterious disorder and feeling like your body is turning to stone?

Also, a woman whose life was turned upside-down by a prank. Someone put her personal information on a Web site that made actually strangers think she was soliciting sex. And, believe it or not, this is a pretty easy thing to pull off.

Before that, number eight on CNN.com countdown -- authorities sweep more than 1,000 sex offenders off the nation's streets and into jails. We are going to show you how they did that coming up.

Number seven, Randy McCloy, sole survivor of the Sago Mine disaster, offers the most detailed account yet of exactly what happened at the January 2 explosion. He wrote letters to the families of the 11 men who were killed that day. McCloy said that four of the air packs intended to give each miner oxygen didn't work -- numbers six and five straight out of the break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) ZAHN: In "Vital Signs" tonight, there's a race against time and a rare mysterious disorder that seems to make a body slowly turn into stone. It's actually a condition that leaves a person absolutely rigid, unable to move and eventually unable to breathe.

Thanks to an incredible new discovery, we finally know the cause. But that's not the same as a cure.

Senior medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta found one young victim who is anxiously waiting as we speak, waiting in a race against time.

Here's tonight's "Vital Signs."

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Stephanie Snow is visiting the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine. It's a place she eventually hopes to make her home.

STEPHANIE SNOW, LIVING WITH FIBRODYSPLASIA OSSIFICANS PROGRESSIVA: My career goal is to be a veterinarian at the University of Penn some day.

GUPTA: The visit encourages her to dream of the future. But the campus holds another hope for Stephanie, a very personal one. It's where a team of scientists are racing to find the key to unlocking Stephanie's body and literally setting her free.

S. SNOW: FOP stands for fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva. But we like to call it FOP for short. It's a lot easier.

(LAUGHTER)

GUPTA: She jokes about it today, but FOP is an age-old medical mystery. Muscles, tendons and ligaments throughout her body slowly turn to bone.

When Stephanie was born, only her big toes bore the telltale signs of all children born with FOP.

JENNIFER SNOW, MOTHER OF STEPHANIE SNOW: They were both shortened and just they were cute, but funny, and always kind of questioned it, and wondered why they were that way. And nobody really had an answer for us.

GUPTA: But, soon, the signs began to multiply.

J. SNOW: And it wasn't until she was a year-and-a-half old when she had a very unusual lump grow on the back of her neck that we began this whole journey with FOP.

GUPTA: The disease is one of the rarest conditions known to mankind. Only one in two million people have it. About 90 percent of the time, the lumps are first mistaken for cancerous tumors. But, in fact, each lump represents the painful episodic progression of the disease.

Dr. Fred Kaplan, an orthopedic surgeon and founder of the FOP research program at the University of Pennsylvania, describes the formation of bone as explosive in nature.

FRED KAPLAN, ORTHOPEDIC SURGEON: It happens within hours. Very often, a child will go to sleep feeling fine, and the next morning, a mother will -- the child will wake up and the mother will notice that there's painful swellings that look like tumors that are on the neck or back or limbs of this child that weren't there the night before.

GUPTA: Over the next few weeks, those swellings replace the skeletal muscles and connective tissue and lock them in place.

KAPLAN: And they attach to each other and ramify, like pieces of coral do, to the normal skeleton. The bone itself looks perfectly normal, except it should not be there.

GUPTA: Any attempt to surgically remove the extra bone only ignites even more painful bone growth.

Despite the fact that her shoulders, neck and part of her knees have already fused, at age 15, Stephanie leads a full life. She is a freshman at public school. She raises rabbits and lambs with the 4-H Club, and, until recently, was a cheerleader for her community league.

S. SNOW: It was regular cheerleading, but with no stunting. Like, I had less mobility, but it didn't affect it that much. And I had the loudest voice on the team.

GUPTA: But, you see, every day is step toward the eventuality of FOP. By their mid 20s, most people with the condition have formed a full second skeleton, becoming forever immobile.

S. SNOW: I just don't think about it, until it comes. So, I just kind of just put that aside and just do whatever I'm doing.

GUPTA: After 15 years of research, Dr. Kaplan's team has finally made a discovery, giving Stephanie the hope of evading the otherwise inevitable. They have pinpointed the cause of the disease. It's a single genetic mutation in just one of six billion nucleotides that make up the human genome.

The next step, creating a drug that will switch off the genetic signal that is causing the bone formation.

KAPLAN: My dream is to be able to go in and to -- to be able to remove this extra bone, under the cover of these medications, and liberate those frozen joints, and set the -- set these children free.

GUPTA: And that hope could be less than a decade away. For Stephanie, it means an even greater chance of fulfilling her dream as a veterinarian.

S. SNOW: Hopefully, they will have a cure by then. But it just all depends. And, I mean, it will work out eventually, somehow. But they will be some bumps in the road, but they are always able to fix it.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: So, what a story.

GUPTA: Yes.

ZAHN: When a cure is finally found, will it be early enough for Stephanie?

GUPTA: It's hard to say, Paula.

ZAHN: Or has she missed the curve?

GUPTA: She may have missed it for -- in terms of actually keeping the disease from forming or progressing.

What happens, Paula, is that you can actually stop new bone from growing, so surgeons can go in there and take out a lot of these lumps that you see, and not have new bone actually grow over that. That's the hope. It's hard to say, and it's a decade away.

ZAHN: And you said, in 90 percent of the cases, this disease is misdiagnosed as cancer. So, what else can go wrong in the misdiagnosis?

GUPTA: Unbelievable, really. I mean, it's a one-in-a-million chance of actually getting something like this.

So, if a doctor sees something like this, this is not going to be what they're thinking of. So, what they're doing is, they're doing biopsies. And that's causing even more bone growth, because any time you touch it, the bone just starts growing even more. I heard some case reports, even, Paula, because they saw all these tumorous sort of looking growths on somebody's legs, they just amputated, thinking it was cancer, and, in fact, it was this -- this bone growth.

ZAHN: Well, I tell you one thing. Stephanie has a great attitude, doesn't she?

GUPTA: She does. And I wish her well.

ZAHN: We could all learn from her. And we do from here as well.

Doctor, great thanks.

GUPTA: Thank you.

ZAHN: We're going to move on to a story now that I think you need to see, because, believe it or not, it could actually happen to you. Imagine, out of nowhere, finding people at your door who think you asked them for sex. We are going to meet a woman whose life was turned upside-down because some jerk put her personal information on a pornographic Web site.

First, number six in our CNN.com countdown -- it's our lead story, that vicious attack in Texas, two white teenagers accused of beating and sexually assaulting an 18 -- or excuse me -- 16-year-old Latino boy. Just this week, the Anti-Defamation warned that Hispanics are being targeted by extremists because of some of the anger raised by the debate over illegal immigration.

Number five -- rap star Snoop Dogg and his crew arrested at London's Heathrow Airport. How did they end up in jail, and why? We will tell you what happened, all the details, plus number four on our list, when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: Welcome back. Here's what's happening at this moment. The U.S. is considering alternatives tonight in its campaign to curtail Iran's nuclear program. Iran's neighbor Pakistan now tells the U.S. it will not support the use of force against Iran because it wants friendly relations.

Tonight the White House and homeland security aren't buying the idea of dismantling FEMA. But a bipartisan Senate report on the bungled response to Katrina says it is such a mess, it's beyond repair and ought to be scrapped completely.

Oscar winning actor and director George Clooney in Washington for a Save Darfur rally. He is calling for intervention in the fighting in Sudan which he described as quote, "the first genocide of the 21st century." Clooney just returned from Sudan on a fact-finding trip with his father Nick.

Well it is hard to believe, but tonight the mean streets where danger lurks may be as close as the computer in your bedroom. Someone may be hiding in the shadows of the Internet tonight stalking you. Tonight, one woman's story, how a cyberstalker made her life complete hell. Someone posted all her personal information on the Web and that led to men knocking on her door thinking she was looking for sex. Deborah Feyerick has tonight's "Eye Opener."

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Last September, out of nowhere, Claire Miller began getting obscene phone calls and sexually-explicit e-mails. She shrugged it off, but then strange men started ringing her doorbell.

CLAIRE MILLER, TARGET OF INTERNET STALKING: There were some scarier one that showed up very late at night.

FEYERICK (on camera): What are they telling you?

MILLER: That I'd set up a date with them online.

FEYERICK (voice-over): Only, on a hardcore adult Web site. Someone had posted a personal ad pretending to be Claire Miller. It revealed where she lived and how to reach her and said she was into swingers, group sex and erotic e-mails. The phony ad invited men to stop by Miller's Manhattan apartment, promising "I can make you very happy and satisfied in my den of love pad."

(on camera): Do you have any idea who might be doing this?

MILLER: No, I really don't.

FEYERICK: Have you thought possibly an ex-boyfriend?

MILLER: Very unlikely.

FEYERICK: A stranger?

MILLER: Most likely.

FEYERICK (voice-over): Miller, a publishing executive, is being cyberstalked. She has no idea who it is and why they're doing it and says she has never posted her personal details on any Web site. She agreed to speak with me only on condition she disguised herself so the stalker won't know what she really looks like.

MILLER: The thought that someone would spend countless hours online trolling for complete strangers to harass me is very strange.

FEYERICK: Strange, and yet it's happening more and more. These days, finding personal details online can be as easy as typing in a name.

(on camera): This might be frightening to look yourself up and see that somebody has put you on something like this.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, yes, I would be frightened.

FEYERICK (voice-over): After being victimized, Jane Hitchcock (ph) created the group Working to Half Online Abuse or WHOA for short.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I call it Internet road rage, where for whatever reason, just like off line road rage where somebody just snaps and starts chasing down the information superhighway.

FEYERICK: No one keeps official statistics on cyberstalking, but Hitchcock (ph) says she gets about 50 calls a week. One of those calls came from Claire Miller, confused why this was happening.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Maybe she spurned somebody and somebody took something she said the wrong way. It could be any number of things, but somebody obviously got very, very angry with her for some reason, and they took it personally. And so they wanted to get back at her in the nastiest way possible.

FEYERICK (on camera): how difficult is it to get your identity back once it is posted on an adult Web site or someplace else like that?

KEVIN BARROWS, RENAISSANCE ASSOCIATES: Well to get it back, it's virtually impossible.

FEYERICK (voice-over): Former FBI agent Kevin Barrows investigates compute crimes.

(on camera): What is it about the Internet that makes people think they can do this and get away with it?

BARROWS: It's very easy. You don't have to have personal contact, you don't have to call someone on a phone and confront them that way. You don't have to sit in front of someone's house and watch them. All you do is type a few keys and hit send.

FEYERICK (voice-over): Which raises the question, who is doing it?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: These are normal every day people, they professionals. They are usually white collar, don't have criminal records. But for whatever reason, they just lose all sense of being a good person when they go online. It's like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

FEYERICK (on camera): Do they see themselves as cyber stalkers?

BARROWS: I don't believe so. In my experience, I think that they see themselves as getting back, getting revenge.

FEYERICK: And getting revenge may mean destroying somebody's reputation.

BARROWS: That's right.

FEYERICK (voice-over): Cyberstalking is now a crime in 45 states. And while stalkers may think what they're doing is harmless, even a prank, there's always a risk it can escalate into something more dangerous, even if they try to hide or change their Internet address, most stalkers can be traced.

But takes a long of time and effort and few are ever prosecuted. As for Claire Miller, she still doesn't know who is harassing her, though thinks it may be someone connected to an old high school friend.

(on camera): If you could say anything to this person, what would you say to them?

MILLER: Stop, stop now.

FEYERICK (voice-over): Miller says she's not frightened. But she has changed her phone number, taken her name off the door and disconnected her apartment buzzer just in case. Deborah Feyerick, CNN New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: Well as you just heard, cyber stalkers are often very difficult to catch. But recently in Canada, one convicted cyber stalker got hit with a year in jail.

While all of us were sleeping last week, federal marshals were putting in some very serious overtime. Tonight thanks to a secret crackdown, all of us are safer. Coming up, how many run-away criminals did the feds pick up? And when one of America's best-known rappers landed in London, why did he also land in jail? We'll have the details for you.

But first No. 4 on our CNN.com countdown. A California jury, this is a weird one, is deciding whether a sales woman who was spanked in front of her coworkers as part of what her employer called a team- building exercise, should get at least $1.2 million in damages. No. 3 right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: Tonight, thousands of dangerous fugitives from justice are in custody. More than 1,000 sex offenders under arrest. A total of more than 9,000 fugitives facing warrants for homicide, kidnapping, burglary and other violent crimes caught. The U.S. Marshals Service says that it's all thanks to special sweeps by teams of law officers all over the country. Justice correspondent Kelli Arena has just filed this report for tonight's "Outside the Law."

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KELLI ARENA, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): While most of us were sleeping, law enforcement officers were on the night shift, hunting fugitives.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Police, with a warrant. We're coming in.

ARENA: They swept across 27 states, mostly west of the Mississippi.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 245, assault with a deadly weapon. Warrant that was issued in May of 2005.

ARENA: In the space of a week, more than 9,000 fugitives wanted for violent crimes were taken into custody. More than 10 percent of them, violent sexual offenders.

JOHN CLARK, MARSHALS SERVICE DIRECTOR: We go on pre-dawn raids. You take down wanted felons off the streets, so mothers can walk their kids to the bus stop later that day.

ARENA: One of those individuals was William Wisham (ph). Authorities say he failed to register as a sex offender when he moved into a California motel. Justice Department officials say he was found with letters to children, child porn, methamphetamines and candy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He may have been engaged with actually other children in the motel and was providing them with small amounts of money to allow him to take photographs of them, providing them with candy.

ARENA: So far, Wisham (ph) is charged with possession of a controlled substance. He pleaded not guilty. Marshals say there are more than one million fugitives on the loose, wanted suspects, prisoners who have escaped, even parole violators. Sex offenders pose a special challenge because experts say at least 60 percent are repeat offenders.

Donna Wright Hughes is a victim's advocate.

DONNA RICE HUGHES, ENOUGH IS ENOUGH PRESIDENT: They shouldn't be getting out. We see sexual offenders reoffending over and over and over again. So we need to take a look at our criminal justice system.

ARENA: Many local police departments don't have the money or the resources to look for fugitives in general, let alone sex offenders who don't register. During these special sweeps, the Marshals Service picks up the tab for police overtime, and the number of people rounded up increases dramatically, from about 1,000 caught in a typical week to around 10,000.

CLARK: We have brought on more state and local, federal partners to engage in this particular operation. In fact, we had over 800 state and local partners who got involved in this operation.

ARENA: Another phase of Operation FALCON II is planned for later this year. This time, the fugitive hunters will focus on the eastern United States.

Kelli Arena, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: And if you were wondering where the name of the operation came from -- FALCON -- it stands for Federal and Local Cops Organized Nationally. Not one of the more than 2,000 plus cops were seriously injured in these raids.

Another big star is in trouble with the law tonight. Coming up, why did Snoop Dogg pay a visit to a London jail when he landed at Heathrow Airport? Stay tuned.

But first, let's check in with Erica Hill.

(BUSINESS BREAK)

ZAHN: "LARRY KING LIVE" is coming up in just a few minutes. Hi, Lar. How are you doing tonight?

LARRY KING, HOST, "LARRY KING LIVE": How are you, Paula. Interesting show tonight. Every week on the Discovery Channel, they do a program called "I Shouldn't Be Alive." People who have gone through harrowing experiences and managed to survive. And we're going to meet quite a few of them tonight, and find out their fascinating stories. "I Shouldn't Be Alive," that's the topic on "LARRY KING LIVE," on 9:00 Eastern, immediately following the lovely Ms. Zahn.

ZAHN: Boy, I got a really tough question for you. Do you think we shouldn't be alive after all our combined years in this business? We're survivors here.

KING: You got a point. You survive in this business, it's more than sinking a ship.

ZAHN: You got that right. Have a good show. We'll be watching tonight.

Well, things got downright ugly when one of the legends of rap landed in London today. Coming up, why did Snoop Dogg pay an unscheduled visit to a London jail and will he get to his South Africa concert in time?

But first, number three in our cnn.com countdown. Angelina Jolie graces the cover of "People's 100 Most Beautiful People" issue on the newsstands on Friday. It happens to be her fourth time on the list, first one on the cover.

Number two in our list when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: Well tonight, it doesn't look that way, because controversy surrounds again, around an American world famous for his music and somewhat infamous for his image.

Gangsta rap star Snoop Dogg and his sizable entourage are in big trouble, accused of an explosive and violent confrontation with airport police in London, an incident so inflammatory, they are now all banned from flying British Airways. Paula Newton has been looking into it and has the very latest right now from London.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PAULA NEWTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For a rap artist, mellowing with age isn't really a good career move. And that may now be the only consolation for infamous rap legend Snoop Dogg.

According to British police, it all started when Snoop, a man who never travels light, tried to get his entire entourage, including his 6'4, 350-pound bruising bodyguards, into the first class lounge at London's Heathrow Airport.

When they weren't allowed in, police say the group then moved on to a duty-free shop where they started yelling at staff and throwing bottles. When police arrived, they say things got really ugly. Allegedly the group started brawling with officers when they were told they would not be allowed to board their flight to South Africa.

(on camera): Scotland Yard says six officers were treated for minor injuries, one with a fractured hand. And they add that six American men were taken into custody for questioning.

(voice-over): While Snoop and his group may have been released, they are to appear in court in mid-May to find out if they'll be charged. But in the meantime, Snoop Dogg already missed a key appearance in South Africa. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Once again, please note that Snoop Dogg will not be performing tonight.

NEWTON: The letdown was crushing for some fans.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We grew up on this man's music, as I told you. And this is so disappointing, because this man, when we heard he's coming to SA, it was like, Jesus was coming to Africa. You know what I'm saying? no, for real.

NEWTON: But for all his career, the infamy has been part of Snoop's image. In 1993, he was implicated but acquitted in a murder case and he always admitted to using and abusing drugs and alcohol.

Still, in a recent interview with CNN, Snoop said he felt he was a good role model.

SNOOP DOGG, RAPPER: Everything that I do is positive so that's what makes me a role model. I'm a father, I'm a homey, I'm a friend, I'm a lover, I'm a teacher, I'm everything.

NEWTON: Even so, it's true this kind of controversy is good for Snoop Dogg's business, the gangsta rap business. It's what fans expect from him.

MAX CLIFFORD, PUBLICIST: I think that he's in one of those unfortunate positions, because his career is dogged, forgive the expression with controversy. He seems to thrive on controversy. And to someone like that, almost all publicity is good publicity.

NEWTON: So while Snoop has always made a give from rapping to the beat, beating the rap may do just as much for his career. Paula Newton, CNN, London.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: Not sure how you can spin this controversy to a positive front on the P.R. front. Let's see, a spokesman for Snoop Dogg's lawyers in London say he's free on bail. He hasn't been charged with a crime and that he's still looking forward to his concert tour in South Africa.

On beautiful spring nights like tonight, the sweetest sound from millions of Americans is the crack of a bat. And the man you are about to meet couldn't agree more. So after calling the shots as a company vice president, he's now making the calls behind home plate. Jennifer Westhoven has tonight's "Life After Work."

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JENNIFER WESTHOVEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Imagine waking up one day and finding out you're not the vice president of a wholesale baking company anymore. Instead, you're out calling balls and strikes on a baseball diamond and thinking this is exactly where I want to be.

HAROLD ROSENTHAL, BASEBALL UMPIRE: After I retired, I think within four weeks, I was attending my first class.

WESTHOVEN: That was back in 1998. And now every spring, Harold Rosenthal stands behind home plate, calling high school baseball games.

ROSENTHAL: Well now I umpire pretty much six days a week from the middle of March until the end of July.

WESTHOVEN: His love for America's favorite past time runs deep.

ROSENTHAL: I always loved baseball. As a kid I was a big fan. When I came out here 35 years ago, I got involved in the local baseball programs, coaching recreational baseball: Little League, Babe Ruth and I just loved being on a baseball field.

WESTHOVEN: And at 63, he says he's got plenty of years and enthusiasm for the game.

ROSENTHAL: I did a game the first or second year I was umpiring, the other umpire was 82-years-old. I said to him after walking off the field, "If you can tell me that I'd still be umpiring baseball when I'm 82, on my 83rd birthday, you can take me and I have no complaints."

WESTHOVEN: Jennifer Westhoven, CNN.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: And at the top of the hour, "LARRY KING LIVE," people from the Discovery Channel series "I Shouldn't Be Alive," real people who defied death and live to tell unforgettable stories of survival. The pictures tell it all.

Before that, No. 2, on our CNN countdown. Allegations that actor Alec Baldwin's violent behavior forced his costar in a New York play to exit stage left. In an e-mail published by the "New York Post," actress Jan Maxwell described Baldwin putting his fist through a wall and throwing things.

No. 1 story is coming up. It's about gas. But are CNN.com visitors most interested in prices, profits, or a plan to put some money back in your pocket?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: Looks like a game table out there in Las Vegas there. Now onto the top story of CNN.com. We covered it a little bit earlier. Senate Republicans proposal to offset the pain at the pump with $100 gas rebate checks. But that plan is linked to a bill that would allow drilling in the Alaskan Wildlife Refuge, which most Democrats oppose.

And some of you might have heard of the film called "Mean Girls." Well there seems to be a growing problem in this country with girls beating up each other. Girls in high school, junior high school, and we've got some warning signs and when that might develop in a school in your hometown. That's it for all of us here. Thanks so much for joining us tonight. Have a good night.

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

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