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PAULA ZAHN NOW

United Nations Considers Response to North Korean Missile Launch; What Killed Ken Lay?; Convicted Murderer Escapes Jail Countless Times

Aired July 5, 2006 - 20:00   ET

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


JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: And Paula is off tonight.
We start on a CNN "Security Watch," as the world gropes for a way out of the new missile crisis. And North Korea isn't helping. As of this hour, they haven't explained, or even admitted to, what the United States is denouncing as a -- quote -- "clear provocation and brinkmanship."

The North Koreans fired seven missiles into the Sea of Japan in a period of about 14 hours. The final launch was early this morning, Eastern Time.

One of the seven missiles was a long-range Taepodong-2, which may be capable of hitting the U.S. mainland. It failed less than a minute into its flight.

President Bush says the missile tests will further isolate North Korea. And he's pressing the world's nations for united diplomatic action. And, at the United Nations, Security Council members are holding urgent talks -- the big question tonight, will Russia and China go along with cutting military or economic aid to the North Koreans?

As for the Bush administration's next move, from the president on down, the White House is focusing on diplomacy and trying to keep things calm.

Ed Henry has the latest from the White House for us tonight.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ED HENRY, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): President Bush is playing down the threat from North Korea and playing up the support he's getting from allies, just the opposite of how he handled Iraq.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I view this as an opportunity to remind the international community that -- that we must work together. It is much more effective to have more than one nation dealing with North Korea. It's -- it's more effective for them to hear from a group of nations, rather than one nation.

HENRY (voice-over): A White House accused of rushing to war in Iraq moved quickly to reassure Americans the U.S. is not on the brink of another military conflict. TONY SNOW, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: There are attempts to try to describe this almost in breathless World War III terms. This is not such a situation.

HENRY: An administration previously accused of not going the extra mile diplomatically is now all about doing just that.

CONDOLEEZZA RICE, SECRETARY OF STATE: We've had expressions from countries all over the world of concern about this provocation that the North Koreans have engaged in.

HENRY: Once accused of thumbing its nose at the United Nations, the White House embraced the Security Council, which met in emergency session to consider a resolution rebuking North Korea.

JOHN BOLTON, UNITED STATES AMBASSADOR TO UNITED NATIONS: No member defended what the North Koreans have done.

HENRY: The president is sending State Department official Christopher Hill to the region to urge North Korea to return to the six-party talks with the U.S., China, Japan, Russia, and South Korea.

CHRISTOPHER HILL, ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE: We're prepared to go ahead with it. And, meanwhile, North Korea seems to want to go in a different direction.

HENRY (on camera): Tony Snow asserted, the White House has succeeded, for now, in creating a diplomatic consensus that North Korea has to come back to the table for those six-party talks. But, so far, those talks have yielded very little.

Ed Henry, CNN, the White House.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ROBERTS: So far, the United Nations has taken no action, but has been discussing a Japanese proposal to condemn the missile tests and to ban any country from transferring money, material, and technology that could be used in North Korea's missile or nuclear programs. China and Russia are resisting that proposal, so it's not likely to go far.

If there is any reassuring news in the North Korean missile tests, it's that the long-range missile failed. But its 40-second flight was also a test of America's $100 billion missile defense system.

Here's senior Pentagon correspondent Jamie McIntyre.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN SENIOR PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When North Korea conducted its first and only other test of the long- range Taepodong back in 1998, it proudly released this video.

But this time, sources say, the booster failed to separate, and the missile fell into the sea. It's not clear what North Korea might have learned from the brief 40-second flight, but the Pentagon is intensely analyzing what went wrong.

DONALD RUMSFELD, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: I know a lot.

QUESTION: Can you share it with us?

RUMSFELD: I know everything that there is to know, and the details move around as more information is gained.

MCINTYRE: Because the Taepodong-2 might have been able to reach the U.S., nine ground-based interceptor missiles were activated at Fort Greely, Alaska, and two at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California.

But the U.S. Northern Command at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado said in a statement -- quote -- "Top officials from the command were able to determine quickly that the launch posed no threat to the United States or its territories."

Still, experts question whether the U.S. could have shot the missile down if it had to.

MAJ. GEN. DON SHEPPERD (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: You want to stay ahead of that military threat. You don't want to stay behind it. And right now we're certainly either behind or on a par with it. We have limited capability to do anything about a missile coming into this country.

MCINTYRE: North Korea did successfully test a half-dozen old- technology missiles, three short-range Scuds and three medium-range variants called Nodongs, according to Pentagon sources.

Those ballistic missiles were fired from a launch facility on the northeast coast, and were aimed northward away from Japan, in the general direction of Russia. All six fell harmlessly into the Sea of Japan.

The U.S. says it had no trouble tracking the launches using both satellites in space and ships off the Korean coast, including the USNS Observation Island, a high-tech monitoring ship with sophisticated radars. Also nearby were two U.S. Navy Aegis destroyers, equipped with standard missiles that could have, in theory, at least, shot down the short-range missiles, much the same way this warhead was shot down by an Aegis ship in a test over the Pacific last month.

(on camera): Launching a missile is no easy feat. Of the nine interceptor tests the U.S. has conducted so far, three have failed because of problems with the booster rocket, not the complex technology designed to hit a warhead in space.

Jamie McIntyre, CNN, the Pentagon.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ROBERTS: Joining me now, a former diplomat who has been to North Korea and met with Kim Jong Il. Wendy Sherman was an ambassador and adviser in the Clinton administration when she accompanied Secretary of State Madeleine Albright to North Korea in 2000.

Ambassador Sherman, where do you think this goes now? What do you think is going to happen at the U.N. Security Council?

WENDY SHERMAN, FORMER STATE DEPARTMENT ADVISER: Well, I think that your report probably has it about right, which is that there will be, I think, universal condemnation of this very provocative and dangerous act. There will be an urging North Korea return to the six- party talks, and cease any further missile tests, and cooperate with the international community.

But I doubt that there will be any very tough sanctions that all parties can agree to. I think countries will unilaterally, like Japan and perhaps the United States and Great Britain, maybe one or two others, put on some unilateral sanctions. But I think it will be very tough to get anything but a -- a general condemnation, which will have some effect, but probably not what Japan and the U.S. and Great Britain would prefer.

ROBERTS: So, a strong statement, but not much more.

What do you think the United States should do?

SHERMAN: I think it is quite appropriate to condemn this provocative and dangerous act. I think it's very appropriate for countries to put sanctions on North Korea.

But, at the end of the day, those sanctions really aren't going to make the difference here. What's going to make the difference here, as unattractive as it is, because no one likes this particular regime, is to negotiate with North Korea, to deal with Kim Jong Il, because they are the government. He is the government in power at the moment, and he is holding the cards of nuclear weapons and missiles and the potential for long-range missile capability. And we really can't get him -- let him get any further along than he's already gotten.

ROBERTS: Press Secretary Tony Snow said at the White House today -- quote -- "This is not a U.S.-North Korea issue, and we are not going to permit the leader of North Korea to transform it into that," resisting the idea of face-to-face talks.

Why should the United States reward Kim Jong Il for his bad behavior?

SHERMAN: We absolutely should not reward Kim Jong Il for his bad behavior. What we should do is protect the security of the United States of America and the security of the world, and that's going to require us to have a direct conversation with North Korea.

That can happen in the context of the six-party talks. I think it is quite useful to have other countries involved. But, at the end of the day, North Korea wants to protect the regime. That's what Kim Jong Il wants. The U.S. is the last remaining superpower. We are really the only country that can secure and ensure the survival of North Korea as it is today.

And, so, they're going to want to deal with us. And as we ask other countries to join us in condemnation -- very appropriate for this horrible action they have taken -- those countries like China are going to ask the United States to engage more vigorously in this negotiation, with some real diplomacy, with not only disincentives, but some incentives in the pocket of our negotiator.

ROBERTS: But, for the moment, the White House -- for the moment, at least, the White House insisting it's going to take place in the framework of the six-party talks and no face-to-face.

Ambassador Sherman, thanks for being with us. Appreciate it.

SHERMAN: Thank you.

ROBERTS: All the experts believe it's a very unlikely prospect, but you might be wondering by now what would happen if war were to break out with North Korea.

Brian Todd takes a look at that possibility.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): On a peninsula that's been heavily militarized and preparing for confrontation for more than 50 years, scenarios for war are detailed and frightening.

We discussed them with a former senior U.S. Army intelligence officer assigned to Korea, a former Delta Force commander who also has a CIA background, and a former strategic planner at the National War College who developed a war game on Korea.

They all make clear war is a very remote possibility. So is the prospect of a U.S. preemptive strike.

MAJOR JEFFREY BEATTY, FORMER DELTA FORCE COMMANDER: If you're going to do a preemptive strike, you have got to make sure you get everything, because, if you don't, they're going to launch what they have left, and they're going to probably launch a full-scale attack against the South.

TODD: Our experts say, if America struck first, the best-case scenario is casualties in the tens of thousands on both sides. If North Korea attacked first, they say, thousands of its special operations commandos would likely swarm into the south from the air and sea, linking up with sleeper agents who've already infiltrated through tunnels.

Then:

BRIGADIER GENERAL JAMES MARKS (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Step two would be they have to secure the demilitarized zone that separates north from south. And they would do that with light infantry, simply to hold the shoulders of the penetration, not go very deep, but to hold the door open, if you will.

TODD: Holding the door for North Korea's heavily armored million-man army to push toward Seoul and points south. At the same time, the North Koreans would launch missiles...

MARKS: They would be conventionally tipped. We have to assume they would be chemically tipped.

TODD: ... prompting U.S. forces to launch airstrikes on North Korean artillery positions, many of which can be hidden in deep underground bunkers. And, inevitably, experts say, U.S. and North Korean ground forces would engage, likely on very difficult terrain.

(on camera): Terrain in what has turned into a very urbanized region over the past 50 years. That means possibly hundreds of thousands of casualties, military and civilian. And that leaves out North Korea's nuclear capability, which our experts say is too crude to be used effectively, for the moment.

Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ROBERTS: We have a lot more to cover on this story for you, including a detailed look at what we know about Kim Jong Il.

But, first, more than 20 million of you logged on to CNN.com today.

Our nightly countdown of the top 10 -- top 10 stories on our Web site begins in Florida, where prosecutors have decided not to charge Rush Limbaugh for having a bottle of Viagra which was prescribed in his psychologist's name in his luggage. Limbaugh noted on his radio show today that authorities declined to file charges because no laws were broken.

And nine -- the latest insurgent attack in Iraq. A car bomb exploded near a Baghdad mosque. At least six people were killed; 19 were wounded.

Numbers eight and seven are next, plus, an international manhunt for a murderer with an uncanny ability to elude capture.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ROBERTS: "Outside the Law" -- the escape artist, a killer with an incredible gift for sneaking out, slipping out, even talking his way out of jail -- tonight, the hunt for a murderous con man on the run.

And "Vital Signs" -- stress and sudden death, Ken Lay's spectacular fall from the top of the business world to life behind bars. Can that kind of stress really trigger a fatal heart attack?

All that and more just ahead.

(END VIDEOTAPE) (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROBERTS: Still ahead: What killed Enron founder Ken Lay? And is there something that all of us can learn when it comes to dealing with stress?

Now, here's what's happening at this moment.

Greg Anderson, the personal trainer for San Francisco Giants slugger Barry Bonds, is on his way back to jail tonight. A judge ordered Anderson jailed for refusing to testify to a grand jury investigating Bonds for perjury in the BALCO steroids scandal. Anderson has already spent three months in prison.

A school bus crash shut down part of Interstate 95 in Maryland and injured dozens of children from a Philadelphia day camp. Most of the injuries are not life-threatening, but four children were medevaced from the scene.

And "People" magazine reports that Amber Frey, the former mistress of Scott Peterson, is married tonight. The groom is said to be in law enforcement. Frey testified against Peterson when he was convicted of murdering his pregnant wife, Laci, in a trial that gripped the nation two years ago.

It took the United States no time at all to get the basic facts of North Korea's missile test. Seven short-range missiles launched successfully. And one long-range missile failed less than a minute into flight.

But what we still don't know is why North Korea did this at all. Even intelligence officials who have watched the North for years don't agree.

Here's national security correspondent David Ensor.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DAVID ENSOR, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Not surprisingly on North Korean television, the announcer said nothing about the missile firings and nothing about the failure of the Taepodong-2 long-range missile within 40 seconds of launch.

JOSEPH CIRINCIONE, CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS: This backfired. This blew up in Kim Jong Il's face.

ENSOR: Said one U.S. official, "It sounds like they're thinking about how to play this."

BUSH: One thing we have learned is that the rocket didn't stay up very long, and tumbled into the sea.

ENSOR: U.S. officials and analysts say it clearly did not go as planned.

CIRINCIONE: We had six Scuds and one dud fired. All of them landed in the Sea of Japan, all of them thousands of miles away from America's shores.

ENSOR: U.S. intelligence and the Pentagon have been watching the Taepodong launchpad for weeks with spy satellites, aircraft, and surveillance ships. Officials say North Korea has more Taepodongs, though their reliability is now in question.

DAVID KAY, FORMER UNITED NATIONS WEAPONS INSPECTOR: I think the most interesting sidebar story is going to be what happens in Pyongyang. Who vouched for the reliability of this missile, and what are the consequences now that it failed?

HENRY: That will be hard for American intelligence to know. North Korea is an extraordinary difficult society to penetrate.

While South Korean intelligence likely has agents in the North, most of the assessment of Kim Jong Il's motives and intentions must be educated guesses, and nothing more.

On that basis, some analysts say the goal yesterday was less to test missiles, more to make a statement.

JIM WALSH, INTERNATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST, MIT: The fact that they shot off another, what, six other short-range missiles that have nothing to do with sort of verifying or collecting data shows that it really is about politics, less about security.

ENSOR: But other analysts and intelligence officers say, don't assume Kim Jong Il's missile launches were foolish, from his point of view.

(on camera): The North Korean scientists will learn from the failure of the Taepodong and from the other tests. And Kim has reminded the world how serious the risks of war with North Korea would be, and how limited the military options are.

David Ensor, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ROBERTS: The biggest piece of the puzzle that is North Korea may be its dictator, Kim Jong Il.

The world's frustrations with him were summed up by President Bush today, who told reporters -- quote -- "It's hard to understand his intentions."

The 64-year-old leader has watched as perhaps two million of his people have starved to death. Yet, his priorities seem to be squarely on North Korea's military and weapons and himself.

Let's go "Beyond the Headlines" now.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ROBERTS (voice-over): To the West, he is the tyrannical ruler of a rouge state. But, in North Korea, Kim Jong Il known as "Dear Leader," a man who, legend has it, was born in a mountain cabin under a bright star and a double rainbow.

But, as with many things in North Korea, the party line and reality are often harshly divided. Western analysts say there was no cabin, no star, and no rainbow. In fact, they believe, Kim Jong Il was born in the Soviet Union in 1941. His father was living there in exile while Japan occupied the Korean Peninsula.

Following World War II, Kim and his father returned to a Korea divided by geography and ideology. Kim Il-Sung ruled a closed communist northern state and, in the 1950s, waged a war of reunification with the democratic South.

The attempt failed, but Kim Il-Sung ruled another four decades, until his death in 1994, when the younger Kim took the reins of power. To many observers, Kim Jong Il is a buffoon, a playboy, a drunkard, but, in reality, he is a crafty and brutal strongman, who tolerates no opposition.

These pictures, taken by hidden cameras and smuggled across the border, show North Korea is a country of immense hardship, starvation, and death, a nation where loudspeakers blare constant propaganda, where life is cheap and the dead paid no heed, where homeless, hungry children steal to survive, and pickpockets thrive.

There are an estimated 200,000 political prisoners in North Korea, many held in dreaded concentration camps. The sign over this camp's entrance reads, "Give up your life for the sake of our dear leader, Kim Jong Il."

In North Korea, the ultimate offense is to make contact with the outside world. Public executions, mandatory viewing for both children and adults, are a way to drive the point home. The accused quickly become the condemned, an old-fashioned firing squad, no mercy for the mutinous.

Diplomats who have served in North Korea describe Kim Jong Il as vain and paranoid, a reckless megalomaniac willing to take enormous risks to achieve the international respect he believes he and his nation deserve, gambling that the double threat of nuclear weapons and long-range missiles will be the muscle he needs to win that respect.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ROBERTS: My next guest is a psychiatrist and former CIA analyst who has studied foreign leaders and helped prepare presidents for high-level talks with them. And he writes about Kim Jong Il in his book "Leaders and Their Followers in a Dangerous World."

Jerrold Post is currently the director of political psychology at George Washington University.

Mr. Post, what do you think Kim Jong Il is up to here? Is he saying to the United States: Quit paying so much attention to Iraq and Iran; pay attention to me?

JERROLD POST, AUTHOR, "LEADERS AND THEIR FOLLOWERS IN A DANGEROUS WORLD": I think that's very much one of his priorities.

After all, he is the co-fellow resident of the axis of evil with Iran. And one way of looking at this is that, as we have focused really quite intensively upon Iran, he has been left out in the cold. And I -- I see him saying with this act: Gentlemen, and ladies, you must not ignore me. After all, I'm the biggest and the baddest. I have the -- I have the nuclear weapon already, and -- and had that launch been successful, and I can threaten your mainland.

ROBERTS: Right.

You have studied him extensively. You have written about him as well. Is he crazy, or is he crazy like a fox?

SHERMAN: Crazy like a fox. He's -- he does have a serious personality problem, what we term malignant narcissism, with extreme self-absorption, to the point where he cannot empathize with others, including the suffering of his own people, a paranoid orientation, not crazy, but blames people when things go wrong.

ROBERTS: Mmm-hmm.

SHERMAN: A -- no conscience, really, and willing to use whatever aggression is necessary. But he is shrewd. He is measured. At times, when he could have gone over the border when we were otherwise preoccupied, he has not.

So, I see this as much more of a statement: Don't count me out. I am this powerful world leader you need to take into account.

ROBERTS: How should President Bush deal with him? Can you deal with a person like this?

SHERMAN: I think it's very important, in terms of coercive diplomacy, to be very clear, in terms of what the limits of acceptable behavior are, what positive behavior is, and the manner in which it will be rewarded, what negative behavior is and the manner in which it will be sanctioned.

What we mustn't do -- and we have not -- is to let him get away with acts. When he broke the agreed framework agreement, in fact, we, quite appropriately, stopped our shipments of -- of heavy oil and took -- took other steps.

So, there needs to be a clear relationship between how he is handling himself on the international stage and how we are dealing with him.

ROBERTS: Fascinating analysis.

Jerrold Post, thanks for your input. Appreciate it.

We are going to change our focus in just a minute and take you to an abandoned house in a dusty town. Did U.S. soldiers commit an atrocity inside its walls?

Later, a killer that no prison can seem to hold, how did he get all the way from Louisiana to Canada?

Before that, number eight on our CNN.com countdown -- day five of the New Jersey government shutdown has put the state's casinos out of commission. The inspectors who keep tabs on the money are among those state employees who have been furloughed. New Jersey's lawmakers missed a July 1 deadline to pass a state budget.

Number seven -- a 5-year-old girl who took a hands-on approach to fighting crime after she was awakened by a break-in. Police in Evans, Colorado, say Jacqueline Castillo (ph) threw a burglar out of her home without waking up her relatives -- numbers six and five on our countdown straight ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROBERTS: Tonight, Iraq's prime minister says his government is stepping into the investigation into the latest accusation of murder involving American forces.

A former Army private is charged with killing four Iraqis and raping one of them back in March. It's the fourth murder allegation against U.S. troops to come to light recently.

Tonight, Arwa Damon shows us the home in Mahmoudiya where this shocking crime happened.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ARWA DAMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This plain concrete house may have been the scene of a gruesome crime, a crime the U.S. government says was committed by U.S. soldiers. Almost four months later, despite the house being cleaned out, bloodstains and evidence of burning can still be seen in these Associated Press pictures.

The crime, the alleged rape of a young woman, identified as Abeer Qassim Hamza, believed to be barely in her 20s -- she, her little sister, and her parents murdered, their bodies burned in what authorities say was an attempted cover-up.

"We found them dead in the house," the girl's brother, Ahmed Qassim, says. "We also found the house blackened and smoke erupting from it."

Her uncle, Ahmed Taha, says: "The Americans are behind this incident. People in the area saw the Americans, but they are afraid."

The bodies were buried quickly back in mid-March, but the story of what happened here is only now being told, following the arrest in the United States of Steven D. Green, a former Army private 1st class, accused by the U.S. government of being one of those responsible for the rape and killings. And now the Iraqi government is investigating, and the Iraqi prime minister expressing outrage, blaming a system in which U.S. forces in Iraq are immune to rocky prosecution, accountable only to the U.S. government.

NURI AL-MALIKI, IRAQI PRIME MINISTER: We believe that the immunity given to international forces is what emboldened them to commit such crimes in cold blood. This requires that such immunity should be reconsidered. We affirm that we should participate in investigating crimes committed against the Iraqi people.

DAMON: The U.S. military says it will engage with the prime minister on the issue of immunity.

(on camera) But with emotions already running high in Iraq what is alleged to have happened in this house will likely make the job of U.S. troops here even more difficult. Arwa Damon, CNN, Baghdad.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ROBERTS: One more thing. The suspect, Steven D. Green remains in custody tonight and according to the Associated Press military officials say before the killings came to light Green was discharged because of an antisocial personality disorder.

Authorities keep seeing an escaped killer but why can't they seem to catch him? Coming up, a saga that stretches from all the way form a Louisiana prison to the wide open spaces of Canada.

Plus today's shocking news that Enron founder Ken Lay is dead. What killed him? The coroner says it's something that's a threat to millions of us.

First, here's number six in our cnn.com count down, a woman who was run over while sunbathing in Florida is in serious condition. A police officer accidentally drove over her yesterday while he was on patrol at Daytona Beach. He has been fined $115 for careless driving.

And five, Israel steps up the pressure on Palestinian militants, the Israeli army has started its push into northern Gaza and its forces are encountering small arms firing. Last week the army launched a campaign in southern Gaza in an effort to free a kidnapped soldier.

Number four when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROBERTS: In this half-hour he was on top of the business world, then he lost it all and was facing life in prison. Was stress a factor in Ken Lay's sudden death? Also a convicted killer who got away again and again. Why can't any prison seem to hold him?

And at the top of the hour on LARRY KING LIVE, how dangerous is North Korea and how should the United States manage the new missile crisis.

Here's what's happening at this moment. The suspects accused of plotting to blow up buildings in Miami and the Sears Tower in Chicago remain behind bars tonight. A judge refused to release them on bond saying they posed too great a risk. The suspects arrested last month have all pleaded not guilty. The price of oil is at a new record, closing just above $75 a barrel. News about North Korea, the Mid-East, and higher demand for gasoline pushed up prices. The Dow as a result lost 76 points.

And here's our nightly look at gas prices across the country. Our crude awakenings. The states with today's highest gas prices are in red, the lowest in green, and the average price today for unleaded regular, this hurts, $2.94 a gallon. And you can expect that upward trend to continue with today's oil price surge, $3 a gallon in sight on average.

U.S. marshals, the Canadian Mounties, and even the international law enforcement agency Interpol are all looking for one man tonight. His name is Richard McNair, and he's no ordinary killer. He was convicted of murder nearly 20 years ago but there doesn't seem to be a prison anywhere that can hold him. He has escaped three times, the latest barely two months ago, he slipped out of handcuffs, prison cells and sweet talked himself out of police who were looking specifically for him.

Now, Susan Roesgen digs into his fascinating story for tonight's "Outside the Law".

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SUSAN ROESGEN, CNN GULF COAST CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The story begins with a burglary at a grain elevator in Minot, North Dakota. It was at night and the burglar snuck through the storage facility. He was carrying a revolver but didn't plan to use it because no one was supposed to be there. Inside the company office he was stopped briefly by a metal gate, but he fiddled with the wiring, got the gate to go up, and headed for the office safe.

It was November of '87 and the burglar was Richard McNair a 28- year-old sergeant at the air force base nearby. Friendly, good looking, no one suspected that McNair was the one that had been burglarizing Minot businesses for weeks until that night at the grain elevator when McNair was startled to see the manager who'd come in to see a late shipment.

RICHARD KITZMAN, VICTIM: This is where he shot me.

ROESGEN: McNair's first shot was aimed to kill

KITZMAN: I think it took me down like this to my back. I ended up -- I don't know if I hit these drawers. I ended up just missing the drawers, I guess. Right in here.

ROESGEN: And then he came and stood over you?

KITZMAN: He stood right there in front of the window.

ROESGEN: McNair shot Richard Kitzman four more times and Kitzman who still works at the grain elevator today is alive only because he fooled McNair into thinking he was dead. With McNair still on the property Kitzman crawled to a phone and called police. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Forty-seven, 41, we have shots fire, a man's been shot at the Farmer's Union elevator on Country Road 19.

ROESGEN: But McNair wasn't finished because there was another potential witness. A truck driver was waiting for his shipment of grain outside the office and hadn't heard the shots. Minot sheriff Vern Erck says trucker, Jerry Thees (ph), never had a chance.

SHERIFF VERN ERCK, WARD COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT: He shot five more shots right at the truck driver, point blank and killed Mr. Thees.

One was a head shot and the poor guy didn't know what hit him.

ROESGEN: Sheriff Erck cracked the case. He had McNair come to the police station and that's when McNair pulled off his first escape.

(on camera): When the detectives brought him in they handcuffed one of his hands to a chair leaving his other hand free. While he casually chatted with the detectives, he reached for a tube of lip balm on the desk, smeared some of it on his wrist and slipped out.

(voice-over): McNair ran from police across town racing into this house and onto this roof. As the cops closed in he jumped on to a tree branch that broke and fell to the ground. The police had him again but not for long.

ERCK: We had him in custody and was awaiting trial. He would have been in this cell block. And he took the very top two cinder blocks out of his cell, kept chipping away on them.

ROESGEN: McNair didn't get away that time but he was successful four years later, in 1992, escaping from the state prison in Bismarck where he'd been sent for the murder. When he was caught he was transferred through a series of prisons and late last year wound up at the federal penitentiary in Pollock, Louisiana. That's where he pulled off his best escape yet. How did he get out of a maximum security prison? The answer is amazing.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ROBERTS: And we will have that amazing answer just as soon as we come back. And a little later what killed the man who was the founder of Enron?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROBERTS: Now more on fugitive killer Richard McNair. He's a convicted murderer who has escaped from custody three times. Once he got away from police by using lip balm to slip out of handcuffs. But as you'll see in a moment his latest escape may be his most ingenious. Once again, here's Susan Roesgen.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ROESGEN: This is Duncan, Oklahoma, population 23,000, Richard McNair's hometown.

(on camera): It's a small town, everybody seems to know everything about everybody else, but nobody could tell us much of anything about Richard McNair.

VICKI VRIONES, DUNCAN, OK: You've got to understand small town people live different than large people, we're close. We care about each other. And we just -- there's no point in making a big issue out of it because we don't want to hurt each other.

ROESGEN (voice-over): Since we couldn't find anyone on the street to talk about McNair we went to the library and looked him up in the high school yearbook. There he was, Rick McNair, graduating in 1977. Even back in high school Rick was in trouble.

A report from the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigations reveals that when he was still a student he was arrested for stealing a car. Investigators say McNair's family in Duncan is embarrassed and hurt by McNair's crimes. And when I tried to talk to his mother, she wouldn't open the door. She knows her son is on the run now after his most dramatic escape yet. In April McNair slipped out of the maximum security federal prison in Pollock, Louisiana.

McNair worked at the prison repairing mail bags similar to these. He used those mail bags to make an escape.

(on camera): Prison officials won't say exactly how he did it but somehow McNair made an enclosure inside a stack of mail bags, sort of like a beaver dam, crawled inside it, had more mail bags on top, shrink wrapped and then he was wheeled on a pallet right outside the prison walls.

(voice-over): And the chase was on. While law enforcement combed the woods around the prison, one small town police officer stopped a man who fit McNair's description.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What it is, we got an escapee.

RICHARD MCNAIR, ESCAPED CONVICT: Where from?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Prison.

MCNAIR: There's a prison here?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah.

ROESGEN: The officer's dashboard camera caught the encounter on tape.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What color eyes you got?

MCNAIR: Kind of turquoise blue?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Turquoise blue. You want to give me some more.

You know the bad thing about it? You're matching up to him.

ROESGEN: The similarities were obvious but McNair was so smooth he talked his way out of an arrest and two weeks later despite a massive manhunt he was a thousand miles away across the border in Canada. McNair was spotted in a stolen car, but got away before the Mounties could catch him. Inside the car were pictures McNair had taken of himself to make fake IDs. That was on April 28th, the last time law enforcement found a trace. Once again McNair has vanished.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am living Richard McNair's life right now. This case -getting him, putting him back in prison is what I'm about right now.

ROESGEN: U.S. marshal Glenn Bellguard (ph) has been chasing McNair every step of the way. He's gotten thousands of tips, and he thinks McNair is still in Canada, but where and when McNair might be caught is anybody's guess.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He eventually will make another mistake and we're going to be there waiting for him.

ROESGEN: A fugitive who's smart but maybe not smart enough to get away for good. Susan Roesgen, CNN, Alexandria, Louisiana.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ROBERTS: And there's this. Law enforcement officials say there's irony in McNair's repeated escapes. If he had never broken out of prison in the first place, he'd probably be eligible for parole by now.

LARRY KING LIVE is coming up in just a few minutes. Larry's here. And Larry, what do you have on tonight?

LARRY KING, CNN HOST: John, we're going to follow up last night's program which you played such an important part in, discussing the events in North Korea and surrounding areas.

And among the guests will be the former ambassador, the former secretary of state Madeleine Albright, Ambassador Wendy Sherman, Senator Sam Brownback, Congressman Curt Weldon and our compatriots John King and Ed Henry plus other assorted guests chiming in, and Richard Roth from the UN as well. Big day.

ROBERTS: And Larry, I wish I could be with you tonight but geography doesn't allow me. You've got another special show coming up tomorrow night, as well.

KING: Tomorrow night will be the president of the United States and the first lady from the Blue Room at the White House for the full hour.

ROBERTS: Sounds like a great show. Thanks Larry. We'll see you tonight at 9:00.

KING: Thank you, John. ROBERTS: In just a minute a story that will be all over tomorrow's front pages. What killed Enron founder Ken Lay, and are you at risk for the same thing? The answer to that is just ahead.

But first number four on our cnn.com count down. The crew of the shuttle Discovery spent day one in space using special video cameras to check for any signs of damage from yesterday's launch. So far nothing serious has been reported. Discovery is scheduled to dock with the International Space Station tomorrow.

Number three, a new twist in the case of a former FBI agent charged with murder. Prosecutors in New York say Linley Devechio (ph) allegedly fed late mobster Gregory Scarpa (ph) information that led to four killings.

Now Scarpa's ex girlfriend has agreed to be a key witness in the case. The former FBI agent has pleaded not guilty. Number two on our list is next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROBERTS: In tonight's "Vital Signs," everyone is wondering what killed Ken Lay just as he was about to go to prison for life. The founder of Enron went from a tight knit business to a villain in the biggest corporate fraud in American history. Well, today a coroner said Lay died of a heart attack, a result of massive coronary artery disease.

Just days ago Lay got word that prosecutors wanted him to pay back more than $43 million on top of the millions in property that has already been seized. Would that have been enough to push his 64-year- old diseased heart over the edge? Elizabeth Cohen has tonight's "Vital Signs".

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Convicted Enron founder Ken Lay has a fatal heart attack awaiting a possible life sentence. Former Serb leader Slobodan Milosevic has a heart attack and dies while on trial for war crimes. Vice President Dick Cheney suffers a heart attack during the Florida recount in 2000. Coincidence? No. Doctors say stress most definitely can bring on heart problems. Studies show it time and time again.

DR. THOMAS PICKERING, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY MEDICAL CENTER: Major life events such as being convicted of a crime contributed about the same degree of risk as having high blood pressure or being obese to the risk of having a heart attack.

COHEN: Once a celebrated businessman and part of the president's inner circle, just years later Lay was facing 25 to 40 years in prison and that must have been stressful and depressing.

PICKERING: I don't know whether he was depressed or not, but I think he would have good cause to be depressed, and the two of those acting together could certainly increase his risk of developing a heart attack.

COHEN: Why would something in the brain make the heart more likely to give out?

PICKERING: The heart rate goes up and blood pressure goes up.

COHEN: Also stress and depression adversely affect hormones which can help lead to plaque deposits that can block arteries and lead to heart attacks.

It can happen with chronic stress such as Lay was under for years but also sudden stress such as a phone call that a loved one has died.

PICKERING: It can be very quick. It can happen in minutes or a couple of hours.

COHEN: Studies have shown that people under work deadlines are six times more likely to suffer a heart attack during the next 24 hours. And that men who experience a conflict in the workplace have an 80 percent increased risk of heart attack in the next year. This was not Lay's first heart attack. At 64 he had a long history of heart disease.

But doctors say watch out for stress and depression even if you don't have a history of heart disease.

PICKERING: About half of the people who have their first heart attack had no previous history of any heart disease so it can come completely unannounced.

COHEN: His death is a lesson for the rest of us, emotions can be deadly. Elizabeth Cohen, CNN, Atlanta.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ROBERTS: One more thing. The coroner says Ken Lay was just one of hundreds of thousands of Americans who die from heart attacks every year and a government study finds that sudden cardiac arrest kills more firefighters on duty than fire itself.

At the top of the hour on LARRY KING LIVE, how big a threat is North Korea? Larry puts that question to a panel that includes former secretary of state Madeleine Albright.

Before that, number two on our cnn.com count down. Oscar winning actress Hillary Swank speaks out about why her eight-year marriage to actor Chad Lowe came to an end. Swank says the breakup was partially due to Lowe's struggle with drug addiction. It's one of those days when the top story on cnn.com is the top story around the world. That's coming up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROBERTS: The top story on our cnn.com countdown, international reaction to North Korea's test firing of a long range missile and six shorter range rockets. Most nations including the United States condemned the act, and we're getting late word tonight that North Korea may be preparing to launch another long range Taepodong-2 missile. Reuters is reporting that NBC News said unnamed U.S. officials say the missile is in its final assembly stage but has not yet reached the launch pad.

Also the Associated Press is now saying the major South Korean newspapers are reporting that North Korea has three or four missiles on launch pads which are ready to be test fired at any time. Those missiles are thought to be either short or medium range, though, and not the Taepodong-2.

North Korea also has barred people from sailing into some areas near its coast. That is another possible sign of preparations for a launch.

And meanwhile the process at the United Nations Security Council continues as Japan is pushing for a resolution condemning the launch and asking Korea to come back to the six party talks.

That's all for tonight. Tomorrow, the urgent push to make our schools safer by doing something about bullies. We'll hear from parents of children who have been beaten up and from one couple whose son committed suicide after he was repeatedly bullied.

What should schools do and what kind of laws are needed? Join us tomorrow at 8:00 Eastern.

Now for much more on the North Korean missile threat and the U.S. response, here's "LARRY KING LIVE."

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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