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CNN LARRY KING LIVE
Actress Daryl Hannah Speaks About Her Arrest; Discussion About Minister Murder Case
Aired June 14, 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, exclusive, actress Daryl Hannah, her first and only TV interview on her arrest yesterday after spending 22 days protesting in a tree in Los Angeles.
And then, the minister's wife indicted for shooting him dead in cold blood pleads not guilty today. Police say she confessed after fleeing with their kids. Will she use an insanity defense? What about a motive? We'll ask her attorneys, next on LARRY KING LIVE.
We begin with Daryl Hannah, the actress who was arrested in Los Angeles. She had was evicted from an urban farm, where she had been living in a tree for three weeks, and after they arrested you, what did they do?
DARYL HANNAH: They cited and released me.
KING: So you just lived in the tree for three weeks?
HANNAH: Well, on and off. The tree was actually used as a sort of a community watch tower for the farm that we were there to protect.
KING: The obvious -- why?
HANNAH: The South-Central Farm is the largest urban farm in the nation, and it feeds over 350 families who are dependent upon the food that they grow at that farm.
KING: It's right in the middle of downtown?
HANNAH: It's right in the middle of South Central L.A., which is not a place that we associate with farms. You know, America was built on farms, and there is a farm right in the heartland of L.A.
KING: Someone wanted to do what?
HANNAH: Someone -- well, basically, someone wanted to bulldoze the farm, and turn it into possibly a warehouse for a Wal-Mart.
KING: Is that someone -- the someone who owns the property?
HANNAH: Someone who owned -- owns the property, although the sale of that property is in contention. It was sold to a developer in 2003, and the sale of that property is in contention for the legality of the sale.
KING: And that would be landowner Ralph Horowitz, right? HANNAH: Yes.
KING: And he got the court order last month to evict the 300...
HANNAH: That's right.
KING: Are they all gone now, the farmers?
HANNAH: All the farmers are evicted. He's got a private security force on the property now.
KING: Before we talk about what you do now and what this was about, what was the tree like?
HANNAH: The tree was a beautiful walnut tree.
KING: What did you do about, like, the bathroom?
HANNAH: Well, like I said, it was a community watch tower. So there was several of us that took turns spending time in the tree. And there were outhouses, or sort of those Andy Gump structures out on the property to be able to...
KING: Did you spend overnight in the tree?
HANNAH: Yes, I did.
KING: How did you sleep?
HANNAH: I slept OK. I was a little nervous about falling off the platform, but I slept well. I mean, it's not easy to sleep when there are trains going by and trucks, and all the helicopters and the noises and things in South Central L.A. But you know, I hadn't gotten that much sleep for the last 23 days.
KING: What were you proving, 23 days in the tree?
HANNAH: Well, here's the issue. It's not only the food that these farmers were dependent upon. It also serves as a safe haven for their children to run around and a community center. And this farm was purchased by eminent domain from the same developer in 1987. And then because it had been fallow land, there had been like old refrigerators, it had been basically turned into an unofficial dump site. You know, the police even said they used to find body parts and things there, so they bought it from him from eminent domain for $4.8 million in 1986. And then for the 17 years between then, it was owned by the city. And it was given to this community after the uprising in '92.
KING: So how did Horowitz get it?
HANNAH: He bought it back. He sued the city to buy it back in 2003.
KING: And won. HANNAH: And won. But Judge Cristo actually ruled that the sale of that land back to Horowitz was an illegal sale. And there's still a court case pending.
KING: So he cannot build on it tomorrow?
HANNAH: I don't know that. You'll have to check that with the lawyers.
KING: We take e-mail questions on our Web site. One came in for you today from Joshua in Harrington, Delaware: "Daryl Hannah, you're an actress. I'm sure you have plenty of money. Why not buy the 14 acres of land and keep it alive yourself? or have a charity auction of sorts to help pay for it?"
HANNAH: Well, in fact, the money was raised by the Annenberg Foundation, and the trust republic land was helping to negotiate for that sale, and the money as the mayor made a statement yesterday is there. But at this point the developer wasn't willing to accept the deal anymore. It was under contract for two months from I think April to May. And they weren't able to raise the money during that time. And we came in sort of at the 11th hour as a cry for help from the community.
KING: Do you feel that it helps? Do you feel that it worked?
HANNAH: I mean, we haven't given up. I think that there's a strong feeling amongst the community and amongst the wide range of supporters that the farm has at this point that we reached the sort of global stage that we are still standing strong and not giving up the call to stand and protect this 14 acres as a model for sustainable urban agriculture.
But what we did is really came in sort of like I said, at the 11th hour, to help raise awareness that this farm exists, and also to help raise the funds to be able to meet the developer's asking price.
KING: Did you have any trepidation?
HANNAH: Did I have any trepidation? You know, it's interesting. I thought would be a lot more nerve-wracking than it was. I mean, it was definitely a roller coaster ride, but in fact, when you're taking a principled stand, there's a sort of calm that comes over you, and that sort of overrides any kind of, you know, trepidation or fear.
KING: You've had some major hit movies. "Kill Bill," "Splash." You were Splash, right? You were the mermaid.
KING: Were you always active by the way?
HANNAH: I've always just tried to live by my beliefs. I've never really spoken out very much. After 9/11, I started speaking out a little bit more publicly about our energy alternatives, because I wanted people to know that there are alternatives that are available to us now that we don't have to be dependent on foreign oil. But otherwise, I've never been very comfortable in these kind of circumstances.
KING: "The L.A. Times" reports that the owner, Mr. Horowitz, claims he was the target of anti-Semitic remarks. Did you ever hear anything like that?
HANNAH: I heard those reports. I know for a fact that those remarks did not come from the farm or from the farmers. I believe that it was somebody, some random person put some remarks on a Web site, and that they linked their Web site to the farmers' Web site. And if you're not sophisticated about the Internet, you might think that they were related, but they weren't related to the farm.
KING: Where do you stand jailwise?
HANNAH: What do you mean?
KING: They arrested you, right?
KING: You're on bond?
HANNAH: No, it was a cite and release situation.
KING: So you don't have to appear in court?
HANNAH: I think that maybe there's a hearing in August.
KING: Putting it simply, why can't a man who owns his property, much as we may not like what he does, do what he wants with it?
HANNAH: Well, first of all, I mean, another aspect of this argument is that this farm is a model for community centers, for greening. The Annenberg Foundation wanted it to be the crown jewel in their plan for the greening of L.A. And it's a model for urban agriculture, sustainable food production, all kinds of things. And this sale to Mr. Horowitz, to a private person, is still under contention. Like I said, it's not settled this it was a legal sale to him. And so we feel that both on a sort of elevated level it stands for so many things that are positive, that come from that land, when there are, you know, vacant warehouses all over that area. Do we need another warehouse is a question that we should all consider?
KING: I'll ask Daryl Hannah when we come back, what happens if Mr. Horowitz wins the pending legal action.
Our guest is Daryl Hannah. You're watching LARRY KING LIVE. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: Actress Daryl Hannah was shouting her support, perched in a walnut tree, when police came to execute the eviction order. HANNAH: We are completely surrounded by officers, sheriffs. I can see one of them pointing a tear gas gun at us right now. And there's saws going on down below us.
COSTELLO: Dozens were arrested, Daryl Hannah among them.
HANNAH: I'm hoping that Mr. Horowitz will still come to his senses, and the city will step up to the plate and still save this farm.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HANNAH: The sheriff, helicopters circling every day. This morning it woke everybody up. There are so many people who've come down here and shown their support for the farmers.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Joining us on the phone is someone who pitched in for you, the great Willie Nelson, the legendary country artist.
Willie, are you there?
WILLIE NELSON, COUNTRY ARTIST: Yes, I'm here, Larry. Daryl, how are y'all doing?
HANNAH: Hi, Willie.
KING: Willie, what prompted you to come forward?
NELSON: Well, you know, the other day I went by the farm and I visited with Daryl and All the folks over there, and got to meet, I think, practically everybody over there, the farmers and their kids. And it's such a great idea. These folks are -- 350 farmers over there growing food for themselves and their families, and they're growing it right in the middle of a city. And I know some folks around the country who are trying to do the same thing. They're growing food on rooftops, in vacant lots, wherever they can find it. And so This is what I'm trying to get people to do. Farm Aid has been getting farmers busy growing wherever they can grow it. It really doesn't take a lot of acreage to grow a lot of fruit. So hopefully this situation out there, Daryl, can be worked out in an amiable way and everybody can get what' really needed out there. We need to save that farm.
KING: Willie, you think change can happen from acts like this?
NELSON: Oh, I think change comes from exactly acts like this. I think this is what we have to do. This is America. We've got to stand up and fight for what we believe in. We've always done that. That's what our young folks are fighting for around the world, is for our right to stand up for what we believe in. So yes, this is a great cause, and I'm really proud to be standing by Daryl on this one.
KING: Did you know Daryl before you went down there?
NELSON: Yes. Daryl's a great advocate of biodiesel, also. That's where I met her. We were doing some things out in San Diego, promoting biofuels and biodiesel. And so that just kind of falls right into the farmer again. It's the farmer growing fuel along with food. So this is a chance for the farmer to finally kind of get what he deserves in this business, to make enough money to get by. If he can grow fuel and organic food, then he can have a double income.
KING: Thanks, Willie.
HANNAH: Thank you, Willie.
NELSON: Thank you, darling. See you later.
KING: Willie Nelson, quite a guy, and great support for you. Another e-mail.
HANNAH: For the farmers too.
KING: Another e-mail for you on our Web site. This from Tammy in Austin, Texas. Wants to know if you've ever considered running for office, and if so at what level would you?
HANNAH: Oh, no. I would never consider it.
KING: Why is it so funny?
HANNAH: Oh, my gosh. My palms are sweating like crazy right now. I don't like talking in public forums. It makes me really nervous.
KING: Really? You're nervous tonight?
HANNAH: My heart's beating like a rabbit right now, yes.
KING: But you'll go forward and climb up a tree to make a statement.
HANNAH: Yes, it's different. That's just different. I feel compelled when I -- I mean, when I met these farmers and I saw this farm for the first time, I was so moved. And I was compelled. It wasn't really a choice. And it wasn't something I had to force myself to do. This kind of thing is a lot hard harder for me.
KING: Are there many urban farms?
HANNAH: There are. There are urban gardens. But this is the largest urban farm in the nation. And it is exquisite.
KING: This is a new term to me. HANNAH: It is. There are corn fields. There are five different colors of corn. There are organic produce. There's papayas. There's banana trees. It's amazing. In the middle of South Central.
KING: What happens to the farmers if they fail? The question I was going to ask as we went to break. What if the guy wins? What if he wins whatever -- what if all legal obstacles come down and it's his property, and he's gone ahead...
HANNAH: There's a couple of things. There's something that Julia Butterfly Hill likes to say, which is no matter how far you've gone down the wrong road, you can always turn around. And what I think we're going to do is still appeal to the developer and the mayor, the city councilwoman, Jan Perry, and Arnold Schwarzenegger...
KING: Have you got a group that might by it?
HANNAH: Yes, the Annenberg Foundation and Trust for Public Land.
KING: They will buy it?
HANNAH: Yes. And we're going to appeal to him to make his profit, to, you know, make the profit that he was hoping to make, and appeal to him on a human level to preserve this 14 acres, and stand up, and support and call to preserve it in perpetuity.
KING: I knew Walter Annenberg, and if he were alive, he'd double the price. Even though he's a very conservative gentleman, he was amazing on education. But he would help you. Keep in touch.
HANNAH: Thank you so much.
KING: And watch it up there. By the way, did any bugs bite you?
HANNAH: No, actually. It was -- it was like being in an enchanted garden. It was like an amazing oasis, Garden of Eden.
KING: There was no worst part?
HANNAH: The worst part was just seeing the destruction that happened after we were evicted.
KING: Daryl, thank you.
HANNAH: Thank you.
KING: Daryl Hannah.
When we come back, the extraordinary story of a woman who kills her husband, a pastor, runs away with the children, pleads not guilty today, and of course as everyone would ask, why?
We'll be right back.
KING: Welcome back to LARRY KING LIVE.
The minister murder story is back in the news. There was a pleading of not guilty today in a courtroom. Mary Winkler was back in court two days after being indicted on the murder-one case, in that case that first shocked America three months ago. Before we meet her attorneys and other guests, here's the background. Watch.
KING (voice-over): In March of this year, a young minister named Matthew Winkler was shot dead in the bedroom of his church parsonage in Selmer, Tennessee. Discovered by church members when he failed to show up for mid-week services, Winkler was shot in the back. But his wife, Mary, and three young daughters were missing. A day later, the four were found in Alabama. And Mary Winkler was arrested. She was accused of killing her husband, and today pled not guilty to a charge of first-degree murder.
A motive for the killing has not been released, but police in Alabama have reportedly said that Winkler confessed to planning her husband's death and shooting him. Her trial is set for late October.
The big unanswered question -- if Mary killed her husband, why?
KING: And we welcome to LARRY KING LIVE -- a lot of why's tonight -- Eddie Thompson, the Winkler Family spokesperson. He's here in Los Angeles. In Memphis, Tennessee, Steve Farese and Leslie Ballin. They are the defense attorneys for Mary Winkler. They have been referred to as the Memphis dream team, and on this program have been referred to as two of the best defense attorneys in America.
And at the courthouse in Selmer, Tennessee -- That's not Selma, Alabama -- Selmer, Tennessee, is George Brown, reporting for our affiliate WMC TV. Been following this from the get-go.
What happened today, George?
GEORGE BROWN, WMC TV REPORTER, SELMER, TENN.: Well, Mary Winkler walked into that courtroom and it took, Larry, about 10 minutes, maybe just a few minutes more than that. She had her head kind of hanging down low. She was very quiet. And as you said, the plea for her was not guilty. That courtroom, though, I can tell you, was packed. Still, the people that are showing up, it's people that live in Selmer, it's a lot of the church folk who live in Selmer, who've actually been visiting her in the jail. And the media coverage we've talked about before, pretty much still about the same size. A lot of people turning out and wanted to see what was happening.
As you said, that not-guilty plea has a lot of people talking and wondering how the dream team, if you will, is going to defend Mary.
KING: Did she say the not guilty or did the attorney say it for her?
BROWN: The attorney said it for her.
KING: All right, Steve Farese, everyone's wondering about this. You're not going to give away a defense.
STEVEN FARESE, ATTY. FOR MARY WINKLER: No, sir. We're not going to give away a defense, other than we will defend her based upon the truth, the facts, and the evidence.
KING: Leslie, do we know -- can we say for certain that she did the shooting?
LESLIE BALLIN, ATTY. FOR MARY WINKLER: She has given a statement. Now, you referenced her talking to the Alabama authorities as a confession. We've seen that statement. It's, in our opinion, not a confession. It's a statement. We are going to defend her. We understand what she was talking about when she gave that statement to the authorities. And in our opinion, it is not a confession.
Steve Farese, same question. Did she do the shooting?
FARESE: Well, I'm not sure...
KING: You can do the shooting and be not guilty, as you know.
FARESE: I'm not -- yes. I'm not sure that we will ever deny whether or not the gun was fired while in her possession. I'm not sure of that at all right now. But I am saying that we feel like we have a firm defense, that we're confident after looking at her statement. In fact, it was very obvious to us that the questioners in Alabama were concerned themselves. They knew something was going on. They just couldn't find out what was going on, and they were puzzled by her behavior, by where she was, and this act that seemed to be an aberration.
KING: Eddie Thompson, how did you come to be the spokesperson on this for the family?
EDDIE THOMPSON, WINKLER FAMILY FRIEND AND SPOKESMAN: Well, I've been a friend of the family, the Winkler family, for many years, a couple decades.
KING: You know Mary?
THOMPSON: Yes. And when this tragedy happened I was with the Winklers, when they found out about Mary. And we went down to Alabama together to pick up the girls, see Mary. So just been a friend for a long time.
KING: Are the daughters with the Winklers now?
THOMPSON: They are.
KING: Well, what has been the family's reaction to all this? THOMPSON: Well, I would suggest that there's a tremendous amount of pain that comes with an event like this. They're hurting. They're anxious about the girls, especially about the girls. Their focus is 100 percent taking care of those girls.
KING: Are they angry at Mary for shooting their son?
THOMPSON: It is...
KING: If she shot the son.
THOMPSON: It is really fascinating. I would not describe it as anger at all. They've forgiven Mary.
KING: They've forgiven her?
THOMPSON: Yes. They know there are consequences to what she did. And there are several consequences. One is Matthew is no longer living. Second, Mary is facing incarceration. And third, three little girls go to bed at night not in their normal home.
KING: Do they ask what everyone's asking, why? Why, if she did it, why did she do it?
KING: What do they think?
THOMPSON: They don't know. They love Mary, care for Mary, are anxious about a resolution of this.
However, I would suggest that they're focused right now on the girls and they're letting the state of Tennessee deal with the trial.
KING: What's the speculation, George Brown, of the friends?
BROWN: The friends and family and those who don't even know them, Larry, are talking about this case because one of the things we learned the other day was the affidavits that were used for the warrants when they went in and got the computers and e-mails and that sort of thing, and one of the warrants speculated that perhaps the reasoning behind this crime could be found on those computers or in some e-mail.
So now people are wondering if it was some kind of -- something perhaps that he was into, an Internet chat session or something like that.
But still a lot of people, even those who think she is guilty of this crime, are still supporting her. And in fact the attorneys told me the other day that they are getting calls even from around the country from specialists, experts, and even women who've been in bad relationships, volunteering, not charging, but volunteering their time to help in this defense.
KING: Leslie Ballin, is postpartum depression part of the story? You don't have to go into detail, I understand. Is that part of this?
BALLIN: Initially, we wanted that investigated, and we have consulted with a forensic psychologist. We have not gotten a full report back. I don't think that we're going to enter into that arena of postpartum depression involved in this question of why, motive. But this is something that we looked at. We are still awaiting a final report.
KING: Were a lot of bad events, Steve, happening to Mary in prior months?
FARESE: Well, there were events that were happening that I would consider not normal in a relationship, besides the ordinary strain that goes on in any relationship, in any family that has three young children. But yes, I think there were some extra stressors in her life.
KING: Is this case, Steve, winnable?
FARESE: Absolutely. My father always taught me there was never a case that couldn't be won or lost.
KING: Eddie, does the family hope she wins?
THOMPSON: You know, I don't know if they've really thought that deeply about it. I would tell you that they are so concerned about those girls. I know this sounds like a constant refrain. But they are really anxious. Those girls have been traumatized, and are in real need of help.
KING: Did they have any knowledge of the possibility of their son harming Mary?
KING: No knowledge?
KING: In other words, if it occurred, they didn't know about it?
And secondly, I don't think Mary would have released the children into the custody of the Winklers if they saw a history of that in that family. You know, that she was happy to release them to the Winkler family. I don't think a mother who is concerned about the care of their children would do that.
KING: Did they think about being in court today?
THOMPSON: No, they did not attend the trial today.
KING: Any reason or just...
THOMPSON: No. They were just busy. KING: We'll be right back. When we come back, we'll be joined by two prominent jurists not involved in this case, but nevertheless certainly interested in it. And we'll also be including your calls.
Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ma'am, you do understand that you've been charged in an indictment with one count of murder in the first degree? Mr. Farese further indicates that you wish to enter a plea of not guilty.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: We're back on LARRY KING LIVE. We will be including phone calls. Eddie Thompson, Steve Farese and Leslie Ballin and George Brown remain with us.
We have added to the panel here in Los Angeles Mark Geragos, the famous defense attorney who has had many prominent clients. And in Miami, Stacey Honowitz, the assistant Florida state attorney. Let's bring them into the discussion. Mark, I know you know of the reputations of Steve Farese and Leslie Ballin.
MARK GERAGOS, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I do, and I would agree when you said two of the best.
KING: Is this case winnable?
GERAGOS: I would agree with them. Any case is. They obviously have a great deal more information. But I...
KING: ... Doesn't it look -- just, doesn't it look open and shut?
GERAGOS: I think when somebody says, when a lawyer tells you that it's not a confession, it's a statement...
KING: What does that mean?
GERAGOS: ... That speaks volumes. Well, I think that somebody told or talked about the situation and if there's a situation, as you indicated, just because somebody may have pulled a trigger does not mean that they're guilty of murder or anything else.
So if somebody makes a statement about what it is that happened and if there is provocation or if there is a mental issue of some kind, that in and of itself can provide a defense.
KING: On the other hand, Stacey Honowitz, isn't this maybe tough to prosecute in that this is a very well-liked woman, a gentle-looking woman, in a community where she's highly regarded? STACEY HONOWITZ, ASSISTANT FLORIDA STATE ATTORNEY: Well, anytime you have a case or you have a defendant who is either a celebrity or well liked or gentile, like this person is, it does make it more difficult.
And that's the importance when you pick a jury, that you have to try to express to the jurors that just because you might hear this is the nicest person in the world, you might know that she's gentle and she's well liked by everybody, she has to be treated as someone who has been accused of a crime. So while it's more difficult, it's not impossible.
KING: What, George Brown, are the prosecutors saying?
BROWN: Not much. In fact, the prosecutor here, Ms. Rice, she leaves office in September. So she won't even see this case go to trial. So she is not commenting on this at all.
But I did speak with the attorneys the other day about possibly a change of venue, and they told me, and we'll see if they agree, they told me that they probably would keep it here because it is a very positive situation.
But I might add that when I speak to people who are just regular folks, when they hear an attorney say someone can pull a trigger but not be guilty, that does kind of make them say, well I don't understand that. So it could still be a challenge.
KING: Leslie Ballin, can the prosecutor ask for a change of venue?
BALLIN: No. It would be a request that the defense would make. And the test is whether or not a fair trial could be had in the community based on the law and the evidence presented in the courtroom. That is, has there been so much pretrial publicity that people have already made their minds up?
KING: With what you know so far, Steve, do you think you might ask for a change of venue or not?
FARESE: Well, it's really too early to tell. I'm sure Mark and Stacey would agree that you have to look into these things further, you have to take the pulse of the community, maybe do some preliminary polling to see because sometimes as attorneys, we don't always see those things clearly.
KING: Eddie, is the Winkler family very interested in all this? Will they attend the trial? Are they involved? I know they're involved with the children. But are they involved with what happens to Mary?
THOMPSON: No, they've made a decision early on to let the state of Tennessee deal with the case. Their sole focus is on the girls, making sure that they get assistance and counseling. And it's been very intense.
KING: Everybody's playing a motive guessing game, Mark.
KING: Is that the key here? Does it appear?
GERAGOS: Well, the motive generally is not even an element of the crime.
KING: Not even considered?
GERAGOS: No. Well, you can consider it. But the issue is going to come down to if there -- and I say if because I don't want to speculate.
But if there's going to be a concession that a trigger was pulled, then the question becomes what was the situation? When the lawyers talk about stressors or provocation or whether or not there's mental issues, those are different issues.
The situation, for instance, can be an issue. If there was some kind of a provocation. If there was some kind of a heated argument of some kind or a quarrel. That's a different issue. So you have to know and you have to wait. And it's really too early to speculate. And one of the things that I think plays a great part into whether there's a change of venue or not, usually, and the U.S. Supreme Court has talked about this, is when you have pretrial publicity that talks about confessions, that's one of the key facts that the courts look at.
So you hate to see it when people keep bandying about, she confessed, she confessed, she confessed. That to some degree is irresponsible and should not be out there poisoning the jury pool.
KING: Stacey, to you, what is -- when you hear the defense attorney say it's a statement, not a confession, what rings to you?
HONOWITZ: Well, I think most people would probably think that when you speak to the police and when you hear about a trigger being pulled that it automatically means it's a confession, that she sat with the police and said "I did it."
And in fact, that can be the case. But as Mark has talked about and the defense attorneys already mentioned, obviously, in giving that statement she gave some kind of reason or justification in her mind as to why she did it.
And just like everybody else has said, it's too early on. We don't know the facts of this case. I'm sure the lawyers probably know what a possible defense -- or what the defense is in this case. And it can boil down to anything: insanity, self-defense. And that's what the world is waiting to hear. And we might not ever -- I hope we don't ever see it until it's in the courtroom.
GERAGOS: Right, exactly. And where you'd find, is in whatever -- in the tape or the transcript of her statement. That's going to tell you or speak volumes. KING: Do you like Mary, Eddie?
KING: We will take a break. We'll include your phone calls. You are watching LARRY KING LIVE. Don't go away. I sound like I'm ordering you.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAN WINKLER, MATTHEW WINKLER'S FATHER: We want to express to the lord our deep appreciation for allowing us the privilege of serving as Matthew's parents. We were blessed with raising three wonderful sons. Now we turn our immediate to the remembrance of our son Matthew and the care of three precious children. We ask that all of you realize the challenge of the task before us and honor our privacy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: We're back on LARRY KING LIVE. By the way, for those of you who would like to help the Winkler family, there is a way to do it. Just go to the web site WinklerFamilyFund.com. Are they in great need?
KING: WinklerFamilyFund.com. They are the innocents of course in all of this. We'll include your calls now. Toledo, Ohio, hello.
CALLER: Hello. Hi, Larry.
CALLER: My question is where does the money come from for Mary Winkler to pay for the, quote, best attorneys, unquote?
FARESE: We're doing this pro bono.
KING: They're doing it for nothing. To India Bayou, Louisiana. Hello.
CALLER: Hi, yes, Indian Bayou.
KING: Indian. I'm sorry.
CALLER: That's okay. I was wondering if there's a history of mental illness in Mary's family. And also, how does the youngest child and could it be the baby blues, quote unquote?
THOMPSON: I don't know about any mental illness in the family at all. And obviously I'm not able to speak towards baby blues.
KING: But you know of no history?
KING: The defense has requested, Leslie, data from the Winkler family computer. What is that about?
BALLIN: We want to see what's on that computer as well. The prosecution has possession of it. We've been advised that they have done some forensic testing on the computer. We'd like to see for ourselves what's there.
KING: And are you entitled to it, Leslie?
BALLIN: Absolutely. The judge is going to have to be assured that the integrity of the computer will be maintained. We are in the process of formulating some way to ensure that to the court, and at some point in time we're expecting possession of that computer.
KING: Port Richie, Florida. Hello.
CALLER: Good evening, Larry.
CALLER: This question is for Mary's attorneys. Has she been able to speak with her daughters or maybe write to her daughters?
FARESE: She's written to her daughters, according to what she's told us, almost every day. And this week, either Monday or Tuesday, for the first time, got a response from her daughters. She's not been able to talk to her daughters. She's not been able to see her daughters.
KING: What was the response?
FARESE: I think that's very private, Larry. So I could only tell it to you genericly.
KING: Was it friendly?
FARESE: Oh, yes. They miss their mama, they love their mama, they want to see their mama.
KING: How old are the kids, Eddie?
THOMPSON: They're one, six and eight, and just three precious girls. They're very bright. And I tell you, Larry, they're having a difficult time. And I understand Mr. Farese and the other attorneys desiring for the children to see Mary. And I'm sure Mary would like to see the girls. At the same time we have to listen to the advisers, the counselors, who understand the trauma these girls are going through, so they can prepare them to see Mary. KING: George Brown, what kind of jail are they in? Is she in?
BROWN: She is in the Mcnairy County Jail, which is actually sitting right behind me. It's a fairly small facility compared to most in this area and around the country. She is in an area that, of course, is just female prisoners. And we have heard that she has adjusted well. I read an article where the sheriff said that she has actually laughed several times, is paying attention, has actually said that at least one of the people that is in there with her, has sort of taken her under her wing and I guess maybe perhaps sort of protecting her.
And it's a jail where it seems like a friendly atmosphere. They're letting people go in and visit her on Sundays. As I said, a lot of the church members have gone in and visited her, and I understand she's getting mail from various people. It seems a situation where she's making the best of the situation.
KING: We'll continue, and we'll be including more phone calls as well.
Anderson cooper is in L.A. for another day. And up there for another day. There he is on the roof. Another beautiful day in Los Angeles. Anderson, what's up at the top of the hour?
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, it certainly is a great day here, Larry. Coming up on 360, the president and his party play offense. Mr. Bush held a press conference today. Made it clear he's ready to ride the wave of good news he's enjoyed over the past week and paint the Democrats as lost on a rock. Will the strategy work in time for the November elections or has this president been on the road for too long? We'll look at that tonight.
Also, some call them the granny killers, if you can believe it, suspected of befriending and killing two homeless men in an attempt to collect their life insurance policies. Authorities now want to know if they might be responsible for even more murders. A very strange story, Larry. All that and more coming up at the top of the hour.
KING: Thanks, Anderson. Good having you here.
And, ah, the human condition. You're watching LARRY KING LIVE. Back with more phone calls on this mysterious case. Don't go away.
KING: We're back. Before we take the next call, Stacy, what do you make of the fact that apparently Mary now remembers the details leading up to the shooting?
HONOWITZ: Well, I mean, it doesn't surprise me. You know what, Larry, this is a big, high-profile murder case that, like you said before the break, is a big mystery. And nobody knows what was going on in her head other than her and now her lawyer, who she's been able to express this to. So to remember details now isn't prize surprising. I mean, sometimes it is such a traumatic experience at the time that it happened that people quite often do forget or can't remember things that led up to it. So it's not a big surprise in thinking about it, in talking about it, and maybe meeting with mental health people because of maybe a mental health defense that these things are starting to come back to her.
KING: Let's take a call. Memphis, Tennessee. Hello.
CALLER: Yes. This question is for Leslie Ballin.
CALLER: If Mary Winkler has pleaded not guilty, how can she do that if she's already confessed?
BALLIN: Well, this is a situation where she has not confessed. We have received a copy of the statement. It is just that, a statement. It talks some of the event itself. Beyond that I'm not at liberty to go into the contents of the statement other than to tell you it is not a confession.
KING: Alright, Steve, did the statement surprise you?
FARESE: Well, it did surprise me because we kept hearing confession, confession, confession. And we're human beings, too. So I was a bit concerned about it. After I saw it, I was surprised that I wasn't reading what I had been hearing. And it's something we can certainly live with at trial.
KING: Mark, help me with something. How -- can a prosecutor or a police say it's a confession and it's not a confession?
KING: You've heard it --
GERAGOS: I've heard it before. It's a story often told.
KING: Why would they say it?
GERAGOS: Because somebody who may not be readily familiar with what the law is may read a statement and believe that that is a confession, that they got all they want. There's a reason why when police take their evidence to a prosecutor that oft-times a prosecutor will either reject the case for filing or not file the charge that the police want because what they consider to be a confession may not be a confession, what they consider to be an airtight case may not be an airtight case.
That's why it's so pernicious to have these leaks where people say they confess. You've got a caller who says how can they plead not guilty if there's a confession? That's awful. Because that's somebody who's from Tennessee who's in the jury pool.
KING: Stacy, have you seen cases where the police say it's a confession and it comes to your desk and it's not?
HONOWITZ: Absolutely. They will come or they'll call, they'll present the case. They'll say this is a great case because we got a statement from him, not only did we get a statement, we got a confession. And actually when you review the case sometimes it turns out that it is in fact a statement, it's not a confession, and it's not what we're looking for, it doesn't become an airtight case. That's correct. Sometimes when the police call it a confession it's not a true confession.
KING: Milwaukee, hello.
CALLER: Yes, Larry. Thanks for taking the call.
CALLER: And please forgive me for answering this question, by the family in particular. But could one of the children have accidentally shot their father?
KING: George, has anyone speculated to that?
BROWN: No, actually, no one has speculated to that. The talk here has simply been that it was Mary Winkler. In fact, from what we have heard it's believed that the children were downstairs. At least that's what I've heard from some of the police officers here, that they were actually downstairs at the time the shooting occurred. So I would say not in this case.
KING: How harmful for her case, Mark, is the fact that she fled?
GERAGOS: I don't know that it's necessarily harmful. Depending on what the factual situation is, if somebody -- there's always going to be a jury instruction that says flight gives you a presumption of guilt.
However, if you have an explanation for it and she's with the kids, if she thought the kids were in danger, if she was trying to take the kids to safety, there's a multitude of reasons that there could be for her to leave. If she thought she was in danger. All of those things are reasonable explanations and can counterbalance this presumption that flight means guilt.
KING: You think this is plea bargainable?
GERAGOS: I don't know what the facts are. I wouldn't presume and I hate it when people speculate.
KING: Leslie, is it plea bargainable?
BALLIN: Within the last two weeks Steve and I attempted to discuss a settlement with Ms. Rice. Based on the response we got, we're going to trial October 30th. That's all I can tell you in that regard.
KING: We'll take a break and be back with more and get in some more phone calls as well. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The State of Tennessee versus Mary Carol Winkler. You're charged under Tennessee code annotated section 3913202 with first degree murder.
KING: Get in another call. Crystal, Minnesota. Hello.
CALLER: Hi. I was wondering why the children were not with a member of Mary's family, and if her family does see the girls.
THOMPSON: Yes, her family sees the girls. And Mary requested that the Winklers take custody of the girls.
KING: Tell me her family. Who's on her side?
THOMPSON: I know her father and I know she has some siblings, step siblings, but I don't know them very well. I know Mr. Clark I believe has visited with the girls several times.
KING: Does she have a mother?
THOMPSON: Her mother's passed away.
KING: Do you know Mary's father, Steve?
FARESE: Yes. Mary's father has reported to me, Mr. Clark Freeman, that he has seen the children numerous times. Mary also today in court had two of her sisters there also to support her. And Mr. Thompson is quite correct. The family of Mary has been allowed to see those children.
KING: Leslie, why are you doing this pro bono?
BALLIN: I've been practicing law for 29 years. The practice of criminal law has been good to me and my family. And I work with my father and my son. And it's payback to the system. And when Steve asked me to get involved and I met Mary, it was just easy to say yes.
KING: George Brown, do you expect if there is a trial that cameras will be allowed?
BROWN: It's a good question. So far they have been very willing to have a camera in here for the past couple of hearings. We don't expect that to be a problem. We've been told before as long as the media cooperates with law enforcement officials, they'll cooperate with us. In fact, we just put requests in for June 30th, which will be her bond hearing, where they'll present witnesses on her behalf to try to get her out of jail, and we fully expect to be here and be in that courtroom.
KING: Stacy, where do you think it's going to go?
HONOWITZ: Well, I mean, they said they're going to trial on the 30th. But the bottom line is, as everybody knows who's in this business, things happen in the 11th hour all the time. So I don't want to make any predictions here. Right now I guess they're on the road to discovery, trying to figure out how they're going to handle this case. The defense lawyers know. And we're just going dove to wait and see where it goes from here.
KING: Mark, what do you think?
GERAGOS: I don't know that a plea bargain is necessarily -- if they've already attempted to do it, if they've got a district attorney who's in her federal term, meaning she's on her way out, you have a new incoming prosecutor who may take a fresh look at it. You never know.
The 95 percent, I think, of all cases are resolved by way of plea bargains. So it's not out of the question. And it sounds to me like there may be some compelling reasons to do that.
KING: It would probably please the family, wouldn't it, Eddie?
THOMPSON: I think so. And I want to thank everyone who has supported the girls. There have been numerous -- we've received over 1,000 messages. Enormous contribution. We really appreciate you helping.
KING: And again, for those who would like to help the Winkler family, there's a way to do it. You go to the Web site WinklerFamilyFund, WinklerFamilyFund.com.
We thank all of our guests for being with us. Tomorrow night we'll look at -- well, we're calling it "God and the Gays." It should be a very interesting hour.
Speaking of things interesting, hope you enjoy this book. It's my latest. It's called "My Dad and Me," a collection of stories about fathers from people all over the United States, most of them pretty well known, including President George Bush and Allen Dershowitz and Donald Trump and Don Mattingly and Derek Jeter. All in here, and a great Father's Day gift and, of course, all the proceeds go to the Larry King Cardiac Foundation.
Right now, up on the roof, Anderson Cooper. "AC 360" as he continues his West Coast sojourn. What's up, Anderson?
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