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Cowboy Diplomacy No More?; Al Qaeda Web Sites Post Video of Killed U.S. Soldiers

Aired July 10, 2006 - 22:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking news tonight -- a chilling new message from al Qaeda in Iraq, as more U.S. soldiers are charged with rape and murder.

ANNOUNCER: A woman raped, a family murdered, a crime covered up, those are the charges -- now new evidence that the woman American soldiers allegedly stalked, violated, and murdered may have been just 14 years old.


ANNOUNCER: Remember that? Now get this.

BUSH: When you're rallying world opinion and trying to, you know, come up with the right language at the United Nations to send a clear signal, it takes a while.

ANNOUNCER: With Iran, North Korea, and more, has the president lost his mojo? Has the country?

And a sex offender confesses to killing a 9-year-old girl.


JOHN EVANDER COUEY, DEFENDANT: I went out there one night and dug a hole, and put her in it, buried her.

UNIDENTIFIED DETECTIVE: Was she dead already?

COUEY: No. She was still alive. I buried her alive.


ANNOUNCER: You will hear the confession. The jury won't.


ANNOUNCER: Across the country and around the world, this is ANDERSON COOPER 360.

Tonight, reporting from the CNN studios in New York, here's Anderson Cooper.

COOPER: Hey, thanks for joining us. We begin tonight with breaking news: an ugly new message from al Qaeda in Iraq, a tape showing the desecration of killed American soldiers and a justification for it, tying it to the alleged rape and murders in Mahmoudiya, for which five more U.S. soldiers were charged over the weekend -- all the angles tonight on the charges, capital charges now facing a total of six members of the Army's 101st Airborne Division -- also, new evidence tonight on the alleged rape victim.

If it's true, she wasn't a woman, as some in the government had claimed. She was actually a 14-year-old girl.

And a stinging new report on the investigation into the alleged massacre their Haditha, evidence overlooked, danger signs ignored, and more.

First, the charges and the video message from al Qaeda -- we want to mention we are not showing you the video itself, because we're not in the business of showing terrorist propaganda.

But CNN's Nic Robertson has been looking into what the tape says. He joins us now from Baghdad.

What -- Nic, what's most notable about it?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The first thing, Anderson, the message at the beginning it says it's from the Mujahedeen al-Shura Council, al Qaeda affiliated, it says. It brings you the bodies of the two Americans who were kidnapped.

The video then goes into a message, Osama bin Laden's last message, saying that there needs to be more attacks on Americans, that it brings good feelings to Muslims when this happens. Then, we begin to see the very gruesome video. There is a message, then, coming from Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who's now been killed. A small picture of him appears on the side of the screen -- his message, that the killings and attacks of Americans should continue.

But perhaps the most important part is in the banner that runs underneath it. And it says, these killings are to avenge the -- the denigration or desecration of our sister by soldiers of the same brigade, clearly linking the deaths and -- and the -- and the dismemberment of these two soldiers to the rape of a young Iraqi woman or girl back in -- back in March earlier this year -- Anderson.

COOPER: There's no way to know, though, whether -- I mean, they're alleging these murders were -- were in direct relation to that. It's very possible this group is just, you know, taking this video and -- and sort of giving a reason for it, linking it to -- to the -- the alleged rape and murder.

ROBERTSON: Absolutely.

I mean, this has all the hallmarks of insurgent propaganda. It has all the hallmarks of opportunism. If they did kill these soldiers as an act of revenge, as they claim, why didn't they state it at the time? When you compare how this video was shot, it's incredibly shaky. It's very unprofessional.

Was this really shot by al Qaeda in Iraq? Compare it to the video of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, very professionally shot. That was al Qaeda in Iraq. Did al Qaeda in Iraq buy this video off just a handful of small and lesser insurgent groups? None of it's clear.

But it does have all the hallmarks of opportunism -- Anderson.

COOPER: Nic, what do you make of the fact that bin Laden is so prominent in this video, as opposed to the -- the guy who supposedly is the new leader of al Qaeda in Iraq? Where's he?

ROBERTSON: You know, this is from bin Laden's latest message. He's involving himself more and more in Iraq.

He's said recently that -- in his last message, that the Shias here should be attacked, a new departure for -- for Osama bin Laden. He's getting involved, and that's being picked up by the insurgents here. Zarqawi gets a lesser role. They haven't used the new leader of al Qaeda in Iraq. Maybe they don't want to disclose who he is.

But what we have seen play out here in Iraq today, the U.S. military announcing the names of those soldiers and the charges of -- against the soldiers who have been involved in this alleged rape and murder, clearly looking for more transparency, as they investigate the alleged rape and murder.


ROBERTSON (voice-over): In Baghdad, the very public naming of U.S. soldiers accused of murder and rape.


ROBERTSON: Private First Class Bryan Howard of Huffman, Texas, Sergeant Paul Cortez of Barstow, California, Specialist James Barker, and Private First Class Jesse Spielman of Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, all from the 502nd Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division, headquartered in Fort Campbell, Kentucky, and all accused of conspiring with former Private 1st Class Steven Green in the rape and murder of a young Iraqi woman and the murder of her family, potentially the most damaging crime for American interests in Iraq since U.S. soldiers humiliated Iraqi prisoners in Abu Ghraib jail three years ago.

CALDWELL: Conspiracy to commit rape and premeditated murder, conspiracy to obstruct justice, violation of a lawful general order, premeditated murder, rape, arson, house break-in, indecent acts, and obstruction of justice, all of which carry a maximum penalty of death, if found -- if found guilty in a court of law of all those offenses.

ROBERTSON: A fifth soldier, Anthony Yribe of Bellevue, Idaho, was charged with dereliction of duty for failure to report what happened. None of the five soldiers named in Baghdad has yet entered a plea. In the U.S., Steven Green, who was honorably discharged from the 502nd for a personality disorder, has pleaded not guilty -- the U.S. military clearly trying to be very public and clear about what happened at this house near Mahmoudiya, half-an-hour's drive south of Baghdad.

Iraq's prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, has already called for an independent Iraqi investigation into what happened, and a review of the agreement that gives U.S. troops immunity from prosecution under Iraqi law.

And new details about the alleged rape victim, Abeer al-Janabi, could escalate the tension level even further between the Iraqi government and the U.S. military. In court papers, the FBI lists al- Janabi as 25 years old. In Iraq, the U.S. military puts her age as 20. Now Reuters News Agency has published pictures of al-Janabi's identity papers, showing she would have been 14 at the time of her rape and murder.

And the mayor of Mahmoudiya confirms her birthday as August 19, 1991, which means she would have been a girl, not a young woman, potentially adding to the case against the soldiers.

While some newspapers have condemned the rape and killing, but put the information on inside pages, on the streets of Baghdad, it is not the number-one topic of conversation.


ROBERTSON: That there hasn't been massive public outrage says a lot about insurgent propaganda. Over the last two years, they have been trying to drive up anger against U.S. troops by saying that soldiers regularly rape Iraqi women.

So, to many people here, perhaps the alleged rape of Abeer al- Janabi seems to be no surprise -- Anderson.

COOPER: Wow. That's a troubling, troubling way to -- to see it.

Nic Robertson, thanks.

New developments as well tonight in the killing of two dozen Iraqi civilians last November in Haditha, allegedly by U.S. Marines. A report from the number-two commander in Iraq points to multiple failures on the part of Marine Corps leadership in how the incident was reported and handled in the early stages.

It also finds fault with how information on the incident was reported up the chain of command -- a separate criminal investigation is under way, and sources close to it tell CNN that murder charges could be forthcoming.

Sadly, there's a lot to talk about tonight on the military justice front.

We spoke earlier with Gary Solis, a law professor at Georgetown and himself a retired Marine.


COOPER: Professor, it seems like we're hearing a lot more of these cases all of a sudden. Do you think it -- it's that they're happening more, or -- or just because there's greater vigilance now, or just they're actually being reported more?


Any time you have this kind of criminality, be it in the civilian world or the military world, you're going to have an increased awareness, and that leads to increased reporting. And I think that may be the case now.

COOPER: Do you think that the military is taking it seriously? I guess the number-two commander in Iraq issued an order in April that -- that any incident that -- that results in the death of -- of an Iraqi civilian or -- or injury or property damage has to be investigated.

SOLIS: Oh, yes. I think there's no question that it's being taken very seriously.

We have to remember that most of our troops over there are doing a heck of a job, performing not only honorably, but, in many cases, heroically. But, that having been said, I think the key is leadership, and I think that division commanders have got to let their subordinate commanders know that they have got to bear down; they have got to be present; they have got to know their men and women; they have got to pay attention to what's going on.

And, if they don't, not only are the perpetrators of any crime going to be punished, but those battalion and regimental commanders are going to take a hit on their fitness report.

COOPER: Over the weekend, four more soldiers charged with rape and murder in -- in the Mahmoudiya case. And I guess the four, along with this other guy, the -- the private 1st class, Steven Green, could actually face the death penalty. Do you think that's likely?

SOLIS: No, I don't think it's likely.

The military's been moving away from the death penalty in the last half-century. As -- as you probably know, the -- the last time a military person has been executed was in 1961. So...

COOPER: That -- that was for a guy who, I guess, raped someone in Austria.

SOLIS: That's correct, a young child.

So, it's certainly possible, because the maximum punishment provided for by the Uniform Code of Military Justice for premeditated murder or for forcible rape is death. But I would be somewhat surprised if it's referred to trial as a capital case.

COOPER: In an op-ed today in "The New York Times," Bob Herbert says -- and I quote -- "that the Army had to lower its standards because most young Americans want no part of George W. Bush's war in Iraq. Recruiters desperate to meet their quotas are sifting for warm bodies among those who are less talented, less disciplined, and, in some cases, repellent" -- pretty harsh words.

Do -- do you agree?

SOLIS: Well, to an extent, I do. I think recruiting is one of the toughest jobs off the battlefield that there is in the military.

But this is a -- perhaps an insoluble problem. We have to have manpower. And when you don't have that manpower -- and people aren't going to sign up voluntarily in the same numbers in wartime as they would in peacetime -- you have to go out and get who you can.

But lowering standards always brings its own problems. I think it's the seeds of -- of later problems. We saw that in Vietnam, when we lowered standards for enlistment of individuals. We were paying for that for years after the war ended. And I'm hoping that we don't have to do it anymore here or any longer here than we already have.

COOPER: You know, what's so interesting, too, and terrible, really, about this case, I mean, one of the many things, is that, in this -- sort of this information age of 24-hour reporting and news cycles and international news agencies, an individual soldier or an individual Marine, you know, the lowest level, can radically alter and affect U.S. policy.

SOLIS: Absolutely right. The strategic corporal, as a former commandant said, can be seen world over committing criminality.

The CNN factor, I teach it in class. I tell them, don't forget, there's going to be a CNN camera looking over your shoulder at everything you do. And what you do can affect not only this battle, but it can affect the way America is viewed and the way America's armed forces are viewed.

COOPER: Appreciate your perspective. Thanks for being with us again.

SOLIS: Thank you.


COOPER: At least five separate incidents involving the deaths of Iraqis are under investigation, and in just the last three weeks, 17 American service members have been charged with murder. That's more than during the first three years of the war. Here's the "Raw Data."

Between March 2003 and March 2006, 16 U.S. troops were charged with murdering Iraqis. Six were convicted or pled guilty. None received the death penalty -- the most severe sentence received, life in prison. And that was later reduced to 25 years in prison. Turning now to North Korea and the very different way the Bush administration is handling the latest threat -- it's got both Democrats and Republicans asking, where's the cowboy swagger? Remember all that? Well, we will investigate.

Plus, a massive explosion and a building collapse in New York -- the question tonight: Was this a suicide attempt, part of a messy divorce? We will hear from someone who claims to have some startling evidence.

And jury selection begins for a sex offender accused of killing a 9-year-old girl. Hear the taped confession jurors will never get to hear. He talks about burying her alive -- when 360 continues.


COOPER: The goose-stepping North Koreans -- those are some images from North Korea.

Today, diplomacy with that country got another chance. Japan is holding off a vote on its resolution that calls for sanctions on Pyongyang in response to its missile tests. That way, China can get more time to try to negotiate with Kim Jong Il's government.

Supporting the decision today, the United States -- certainly a change from what happened three years ago, when several U.N. members wanted more time for diplomacy with Iraq, but the U.S. wouldn't allow it. What some see as a shift in strategy is the subject of "TIME" magazine's latest cover story. It says, we have reached the end of cowboy diplomacy. That's what they call it.

The White House, of course, doesn't quite see it that way.

CNN's Ed Henry reports.


ED HENRY, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Is the president's swagger gone? Ask at the White House, and it never existed.

TONY SNOW, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: There is no change. The idea that the president -- was the president a cowboy when he put together the six-party talks? Was he a cowboy when he helped -- when he was supporting, quietly,the efforts of the E.U.-3? The answer is that this is a president who has always seen diplomacy as the first and most important step to take in trying to prevent people from behaving badly.

HENRY: But there's no denying the president is displaying a new, more cautious tone toward Pyongyang.

BUSH: The problem with diplomacy, it takes a while to get something done. If you're acting alone, you can move quickly. When you're rallying world opinion and trying to, you know, come up with the right language at the United Nations to send a clear signal, it takes a while.

HENRY: A far cry from January 2002, when the president declared North Korea, Iraq, and Iran were part of an axis of evil, and patience was the last thing on his mind.

BUSH: We will be deliberate. Yet, time is not on our side. I will not wait on events while dangers gather. I will not stand by as peril draws closer and closer.

HENRY: Tony Snow insisted, there's a misperception among the president's critics. He said there is a way to be tough without waging war.

SNOW: Preemption is not merely a military doctrine. It's also a diplomatic doctrine. And, in this case, we are engaging in preemption at the diplomatic level.

HENRY: But Democrats charge, that's just spin from a president they say rushed into war in Iraq and has no choice but to trim his sails, because his standing at home and abroad has been so badly eroded.

HOWARD DEAN (D), DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: Where was the president five or six years ago, when North Korea was violating their obligations? He was divided, because he wouldn't listen to the people who understood what was going on, like Colin Powell. He was in the grip of these neoconservatives, who have this bizarre world view of -- of how things are going to work out.

HENRY: But the White House is now also taking heavy fire from the right, with Bill Kristol charging in "The Weekly Standard" that the president's foreign policy has become Clintonian, fighting words from a conservative magazine.

HENRY (on camera): The criticism only raises the stakes for the president at next weekend's G8 Summit, where North Korea will be at the top of the agenda.

Ed Henry, CNN, the White House.


COOPER: So, is the policy shift real or perceived? We're going to get some inside perspective from a man who knows White House policy well, former presidential adviser David Gergen.

Plus, an explosion destroys a building in New York. It went up in flames -- a dramatic morning here. Tonight, you will see how one e-mail may reveal what really happened. We will talk with the person who got the e-mail, which seems to indicate the explosion was no accident -- that when 360 continues.



BUSH: I want justice. And there's an old poster out West, as I recall, that said, "Wanted: Dead or Alive."


COOPER: Well, an example of the president's swagger right after 9/11. It appears to be missing now in the current tensions with North Korea. "TIME" magazine calls it the end of cowboy diplomacy.

We will see what former presidential adviser David Gergen calls it. He joins me now from Boston.

Do you think that's fair?


I do believe, Anderson, that when Tony Snow says, from the White House podium, that the administration has believed in four- -- six- power talks in North Korea for a long time, that's absolutely right. And he's right to make that defense.

But there's no question that there has been a tone -- a real change in tone from the earlier days. Gone is the talk of axis of evil. Gone is the talk that we can't wait; we have to act. Gone is the talk, we will act alone if we have to.

It -- it's all been replaced by talk of diplomacy, patience, working with others. That's the diplospeak that conservatives, neoconservatives, once deplored. And now Bill Kristol and Nick Eberstadt of the American Enterprise Institute are deploring it again and saying, George Bush has adopted the diplospeak, and -- and he has abandoned his own approach.

But -- so, I don't think there's any question about a change in tone. Whether there's also been a change in policy is a harder question. They have always favored the six-power talks in North Korea. But, Anderson, there's a real sense in Washington now that there was an opportunity to -- to move back in January 2003 against North Korea, when they threw out the inspectors and withdrew from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

But they were so preoccupied with Iraq, they decided not to act at the right moment against North Korea. And, you know, so, ironically, what the critics are saying is, the critics from the left are saying, hey, you guys took your eyes off Afghanistan, when you went into Iraq. And now critics from the right are saying, hey, you guys took your eyes off North Korea when you went into Iraq.

So, they're getting pretty hit -- hit pretty hard on this about preempting themselves, in effect.


I mean, they say that their -- their doctrine is a doctrine of preemption, and that can be military or that can be diplomatic. I mean, do you think it -- do you think this president really does have a foreign policy doctrine, or does it seem like it's sort of different things for -- for -- for different occasions? GERGEN: Well, he has talked about a Bush doctrine in the past.

But when he's talked about it, he's said it's defined by actions, not by words, and so that he's not following his own doctrine right now. And I -- I think it's very hard to predict, you know, where his policies are going to go over the next couple of years.

You remember, it was -- it's not just this question of, how -- do we take action unilaterally and preemptively, but it's also a question of what he -- his -- the theme of his inaugural address coming into his second term, which was all about spreading democracy.


GERGEN: You don't hear much about that anymore either.

COOPER: Well, you...


COOPER: You -- you also mentioned Bill Kristol. I mean, Bill Kristol and -- and Nick Eberstadt -- Kristol called his -- Bush's foreign policy Clintonian.


COOPER: And he...

GERGEN: That's the ultimate insult among conservatives.

COOPER: Right.


GERGEN: Yes. And you think back to the -- the first election, when, you know, he was mocking the Clinton administration for nation- building. You know, man, what a difference, you know, six years makes.

GERGEN: Well, that's right.

Now, you know, every president, you know, grows or learns or matures, whatever we want to call it. But this one has run smack into reality, and the reality has been much tougher than he thought.

I don't think there's any doubt that -- that there's a belief inside the administration, which they will not express publicly, that this Iraqi exercise has tied them up in knots in ways that has really limited their options on North Korea, on spreading democracy, and other things, that it's been so much tougher, so gruesome, so depressing, as your -- as the opening part of your program was tonight, which is just really, really a -- a downer, to see what's going on in Iraq and to see all these -- these -- these kids charged with these crimes.

And that has really tied his hands. You -- you also don't hear any more talk about an American empire, do you?


GERGEN: We used to hear about that a few years ago. All that is gone. And it's -- it's -- you know, frankly, those are -- it's all been buried in -- in the sands of Iraq.

COOPER: Sobering times.

David, appreciate it.

GERGEN: Sobering times, indeed.


COOPER: David Gergen, thank you.

A building exploded and collapsed in New York City this morning -- tonight, the investigation. Was it a suicide attempt? We're going to have that story in a moment.

But, first, Linda Stouffer has some of the other stories we're following tonight -- Linda.


The man behind the Beslan school massacre is dead. Chechen warlord Shamil Basayev was killed Today when a dynamite-laden truck in his convoy exploded. The blast appears to have been accidental. Basayev was Russia's most wanted terrorist and claimed responsibility for the attack on a school in Beslan nearly two years ago. Three hundred and thirty-one people were killed, half of them children.

In Washington, the raid on Congressman William Jefferson's office is ruled constitutional. Today, a federal judge sided with the Justice Department, saying lawmakers are not shielded from the execution of valid search warrants. House lawmakers complained when Jefferson's office was searched nearly two months ago, saying FBI agents violated the separation of powers between the legislative and executive branches. Jefferson plans to appeal.

Up in space -- a tricky space walk. Today, two astronauts from the space shuttle Discovery took a six-and-a-half-hour walk to repair a broken piece of the International Space Station. Well, some minor complications hampered the effort, though, in the end, the astronauts needed only 12 minutes more than planned to get the job done.

And in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, grim news concerning Kentucky derby winner Barbaro -- doctors say the colt is facing major problems for the first time since surgery to repair the leg that he just shattered in the Preakness. Barbaro underwent several more hours of surgery Saturday, and he was also treated for infection. Well, today, doctors replaced the cast on his leg, and it was the sixth time they had to do that -- Anderson.

COOPER: Well, sad news, that. Linda, thanks.

A doctor, an alleged suicide attempt, and an ugly divorce all may play a very important part in this devastating building collapse and explosion in New York. Tonight, an e-mail which could offer which could offer a motive. We'll explain ahead.

Also an alleged child killer who confessed to cops, but as his trial begins today the jury will not hear that confession. Find out the details why when 360 continues.


COOPER: Flames and rubble are all that's left after a townhouse valued at some $10 million exploded in a ball of fire. Here in New York this was the story today. It happened just across Central Park from us on the tony East Side.

Fifteen people were injured, including the owner of the building. He's a doctor going through a bitter divorce, who in an e-mail hints at a death wish and a dark message for his wife.

In a moment we'll talk to the man who received the e-mail, but first the latest on the investigation from CNN's Allan Chernoff.


ALLAN CHERNOFF, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Firefighters found Dr. Nicholas Bartha in the basement rubble of his multimillion- dollar home.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I could hear him saying, "Could you help me? Could you help me?"

CHERNOFF: Dr. Bartha's former divorce attorney, Ira Garr, told CNN his client had been despondent about his divorce and the battle with his wife over their Manhattan townhouse. Live on CNN, New York's fire commissioner raised the possibility Bartha was trying to kill himself.

NICHOLAS SCOPPETTA, FIRE COMMISSIONER: There was a communication from inside the building to someone outside the building, some number of blocks away, that leads us to believe there is a potential to conclude. Now...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What sort of communication? What sort of communication?

SCOPPETTA: An e-mail to someone nearby.

CHERNOFF: Dr. Bartha had sent a rambling e-mail to his wife and others at 6:30 in the morning, about two hours before the blast. Garr, who received the letter, told CNN Bartha wrote to his wife, "You will be transformed from gold digger to ash and rubbish digger. You always wanted me to sell the house. I always told you I will leave the house only if I am dead." The e-mail concluded, "My further staying alive does not make any sense."

A New York appellate court last year had determined Cordula Bartha was entitled to a share of the townhouse, valued at more than $5 million.

(on camera) Whatever did cause this explosion, fire department officials say it was not merely someone opening an oven and lighting a match. They say an explosion of this magnitude would have required a tremendous amount of gas. Indeed, right now the demolition crew is searching for a broken gas pipe.

(voice-over) While there is evidence pointing to Dr. Bartha's intent to kill himself, fire officials have yet to find proof that Dr. Bartha actually blew up the home.

Indeed, the Con Edison utility reader meter on the block told CNN complaints about a gas leak last month led the utility to turn off the building's gas for repairs, and again last week there had been complaints about another gas leak.

Cordula Bartha's attorneys released a statement saying she was shocked. "Ms. Bartha and her family are deeply saddened and terribly upset by today's occurrence. Ms. Bartha and her family wish the best to Dr. Bartha in his recovery."


CHERNOFF: Looking at the rubble, it is simply incredible that Dr. Bartha was even able to survive. Tonight he's at New York Presbyterian Hospital suffering from second and third degree burns. Four pedestrians also were injured walking in the wrong place at the wrong time -- Anderson.

COOPER: So terrible, Allan. Thanks.

Dr. Nicholas Bartha sent that rambling e-mail to my next guest, Ira Garr. He was a lawyer for Dr. Bartha. I spoke to him earlier.


COOPER: Ira, I want to read part of the e-mail that Nicholas sent to his wife, an e-mail which you received early this morning.

It says, "When you read this, your life will change forever. You deserve it. You will be transformed from gold digger to ash and rubbish digger. You always wanted me to sell the house. I always told you I'll leave the house only if I'm dead."

What did you think when you saw that?

IRA GARR, DIVORCE LAWYER: I have to tell you, quite frankly, when I came into the office I found an e-mail from Dr. Bartha, whom I hadn't seen in over a year. I didn't read it that carefully, and until it was pointed out to me approximately a half hour ago I didn't know that was contained in the e-mail.

COOPER: You were no longer his attorney. Why do you think he sent it to you?

GARR: It could be that my name is still on a list of people to whom he e-mails or perhaps he wanted me to have it. It's hard to say.

COOPER: When you heard about this explosion, what was your reaction? Did you think he was capable of doing something like this?

GARR: No. It was sort of a confluence of events. I saw the e- mail, which listed his name in the beginning of it and his date of birth and his place of birth, and it almost looked like a self-written obituary.

At the end of the e-mail there was a comment that "my life isn't worth living," addressed to the wife. And I didn't think too much of it, and I figured I would look at it somewhat later.

About a half hour later one of the attorneys who works for me came in and had received a phone call from Mrs. Bartha's attorney, who said that the house had been blown up. So I was shocked.

And I immediately called the police, because I had noticed on the web site that there was some proclamation from the White House that this wasn't a terrorist attack, and I thought people might be frightened. So I thought it best to call the police, and they were in the office within about 15 minutes.

COOPER: What can you tell us about the relationship between Nicholas and his wife? I mean, was it -- it must have been an incredibly bitter divorce.

GARR: You know, oddly enough, it wasn't that bitter of a divorce. They hadn't been speaking for years before the divorce was filed by Mrs. Bartha. And the trial was actually done very peacefully, very professionally. The opposing counsel was totally professional. The judge is a wonderful judge.

I think, unfortunately, Dr. Bartha didn't want the divorce and didn't want to give up anything on account of the house, which he believed belonged to him.

COOPER: And why -- what was the symbolism of the house? Why was it so important? Was it purely financial?

GARR: No, I don't think it was financial. I think it was far more emotional. Dr. Bartha came to this country in the mid-1960s as an immigrant from Romania. He was an emergency room physician. He'd worked for 40 years. And I think the house represented to him the American dream: "This is what I spent 40 years working for. This is where I want to live. This is where I want to die."

COOPER: So terrible, too, that I mean, a doctor who spent his life, you know, helping others would, allegedly, in trying to kill himself, injure so many other people.

GARR: That's the most frightful part of this. While I understood, while I represented Dr. Bartha, that he had complaints about the legal system or felt he might have been dealt with unjustly, this is a man who dedicated his life to people. He worked in an emergency room. He was not highly compensated. He loved his work. It's unimaginable that he would do something that would injure or potentially injure other people.

COOPER: It is -- it is a terrible thing. Ira Garr, appreciate you joining us. Thank you.

GARR: Thank you.


COOPER: Well, from one mystery we go to what prosecutors hope is an open and shut case: the man who confessed to killing Jessica Lunsford. He said he buried the girl alive. That's what he told the police. But that is not what the jury will hear. In fact, they won't hear his confession at all.

In the next hour also, a city in terror. Phoenix, stalked by a serial killer and another mad man who may be linked to at least a dozen other shootings, when 360 continues.


COOPER: You're looking at pictures, of course, of Jessica Lunsford. In Florida jury selection began today in a murder case that has shocked the nation. A convicted sex offender is accused of killing 9-year-old Jessica last year.

Now, the defendant was a neighbor of the victim and, in a taped confession, allegedly said that he buried Jessica alive. It is a chilling admission and one that the jurors will never get to hear.

CNN's John Zarrella explains why.


JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Hate is not a strong enough emotion for Mark Lunsford.

MARK LUNSFORD, FATHER OF JESSICA LUNSFORD: It's worse than that. But how do you describe that? What words do you use?

ZARRELLA: Lunsford's 9-year-old daughter Jessica was murdered. Her body was found buried outside a mobile home in Inverness, Florida about 100 yards from where she lived. This man, a convicted sex offender, John Evander Couey, confessed to the killing. It seemed like an airtight case.

JOHN COUEY, MURDER SUSPECT: Went out there one night and dug a hole and put her in it. Buried her. Plastic bag (UNINTELLIGIBLE), plastic bag, plastic baggies.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Was she dead already?

COUEY: No. She was still alive. I buried her alive. ZARRELLA: Police found Jessica's body buried outside the mobile home where Couey was living. She was clutching a stuffed dolphin. Couey admitted to letting her bring it when he kidnapped her.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where's her dolphin?

COUEY: In there buried with her.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In the bag with her?

COUEY: Yes, sir, I let her keep it. She wanted to take it with her.

ZARRELLA: Couey's words are chilling. But they will not be heard in court by the jury. Just a week ago, as Couey sat for a pretrial hearing in a Citrus County courtroom, the judge threw out the confession. Couey had asked for an attorney but did not get one.

JUDGE RIC HOWARD, CITRUS COUNTY, FLORIDA, CIRCUIT COURT: This is a material and a profound violation of one of the most bedrock principles of criminal law.

ZARRELLA: Detectives from Citrus County had gone to interview Couey in Augusta, Georgia, where he was picked up. On tape he is heard asking repeatedly to have an attorney present.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: John, would you take a lie detector test for us?

COUEY: I guess. I want a lawyer.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: John, I'm just asking. I'm just asking. I'm not saying now, I'm just saying would you?

COUEY: I said I would. I just want to talk to a lawyer. I want a lawyer here present. I want to talk to a lawyer. People are trying to accuse me of something I didn't do. I didn't do it. I ain't you know."

ZARRELLA: Jessica's father believes even without the confession Couey will be convicted.

LUNSFORD: I don't care. I'm confident in the system. I'm confident in the prosecuting attorneys.

ZARRELLA: Citrus County sheriff, whose detectives conducted the Couey interview, insists there is still more than enough evidence to convict Couey.

SHERIFF JEFF DAWSY, CITRUS COUNTY, FLORIDA: Yes, we would have liked to have the confession go in. But as I've told you guys privately and publicly, that was not what I would say the rock part of this case. It is the evidence we've collected.

ZARRELLA: So what evidence do prosecutors have? Law enforcement sources tell us, quote, "There is more than enough blood and DNA evidence to convict him," end quote.

Reports from crime scene investigators describe the search of Couey's bedroom in the trailer. They found blood on the bed sheets and mattress; palm prints, possibly Jessica's, on the glass door of the entertainment center; an empty VHS movie sleeve, "Curly Top", a kid's movie starring Shirley Temple; a pair of Couey's jeans with possible blood on them.

Investigators also removed an entire west wall of the bedroom closet, looking for prints and evidence. Couey had said in his confession that he kept Jessica in the closet.


COUEY: Yes, it was like, you know, it was like three days or something like that she stayed in the closet and I was feeding her. You know, I wouldn't let her starve, gave her water and stuff like that.

ZARRELLA: The judge's action may actually help the state if Couey is convicted, says a former federal prosecutor.

KENDALL COFFEY, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY: He's not just ensuring a fair trial for John Couey. He is eliminating huge potential delays through years and years of appellate processes.

ZARRELLA: if Couey is convicted, prosecutors have said they will seek the death penalty.

John Zarrella, CNN, Miami.


COOPER: As you just heard, Kendall Coffey there saying the prosecution has -- maybe has a better case against Couey without the confession. We wanted to know what our own expert, CNN's senior legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin, thinks about that. I spoke to him earlier.


COOPER: Thirty-five -- thirty-five hundred jury notices went out for this trial. How tough is it going to be to find a jury -- A, people who haven't heard about this case but also who are willing to sort of decide on its merits?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: You know, having covered a lot of these high-profile cases, I'm always amazed at how we in the news media get that question wrong. You know, we tend to think, because we have followed these cases closely everybody has.

And it doesn't have to be someone who's never heard of the case. It just has to be someone who says, "Yes, I've heard of it but I have an open mind. I'm willing to be fair."

I don't think it will be a big problem, especially since they'd already changed venue here once. COOPER: But the judge has decided to sequester the jury?

TOOBIN: Yes. And I think that makes sense, that'll get a lot of -- that will get the immediate publicity of the trial out of the jury's attention. And this won't be a trial that goes on for months and months. So it seems like a reasonable choice.

COOPER: The -- the prosecution did get a blow, though, last week. The judge threw out the confession, or the alleged confession. Were you surprised by that?

TOOBIN: Not really. I have to say, it took a lot of guts on the part of Judge Howard, because this is...

COOPER: A hugely unpopular decision.

TOOBIN: A very unpopular decision. You know, here you have a guy confessing and you're not going to tell the jury.

But I read the transcript of the interview, and it seemed pretty clear to me. He asked for a lawyer. And you know, anybody who's ever seen a cop show knows the Miranda rule and these...

COOPER: How tough -- I mean, how much of a hurdle now do they have?

TOOBIN: You know, I think fortunately for the cops, fortunately for society and, certainly, fortunately for Judge Howard, there's still plenty of etched against him. There is the bloody mattress. There is another statement he says to the police under different circumstances to the corrections officer where he says, "I didn't mean to kill her." This is still a very...

COOPER: And that's admissible?

TOOBIN: He did rule that's admissible.

COOPER: But what's not -- but what's not admissible, though, is past crimes. I mean, he's a convicted and registered sex offender.

TOOBIN: Right. This is something that people have a very hard time understanding, is like why would you not -- isn't that terribly relevant?

COOPER: Especially -- I mean, it's not just some other kind of crime. You know, sex offenders are known to repeat.

TOOBIN: Right. But the way the legal system is set up is you're only on trial for one thing at a time. And unless there is a particular signature to a crime, you know, something beyond just committing the crime, some way you commit the crime, the way you crack a safe, the way you use a code in a drug deal, that -- that is generally not admissible unless you take the witness stand.

COOPER: So killing a child, say, or raping a child, that's not enough if you've done it before, it has to be done in a certain kind of way?

TOOBIN: Killing or raping has to be done in a certain kind of way.


TOOBIN: I mean, that -- it's hard for a lot of people to understand. And one reason that the system has decided not to -- not to allow it to be admissible is it's almost too powerful evidence. If a jury hears that, it's like end of story.

COOPER: Interesting. Well, they won't be hearing it this time.

TOOBIN: They won't be hearing -- but they're going to hear enough that I wouldn't count on Mr. Couey getting out anytime soon or ever.

COOPER: Jeff, thanks.


COOPER: In a moment the "Shot of the Day", but first Linda Stouffer from Headline News has some of the business stories we're following -- Linda.

STOUFFER: Hi, Anderson.

A mixed day for U.S. stocks. Today the Dow closed almost 13 points higher after gaining as much as 84 points earlier in the day. The S&P 500 added nearly two points. But the NASDAQ, dragged down by weakness in the technology sector, lost more than 13 points.

Analysts say lingering confusion about interest rates and economic growth is making investors cautious, despite a relatively solid forecast for second quarter earnings.

Well, the pain at the pump, it's getting worse. Gasoline prices climbed nearly 11 cents over the past two weeks to an average of $3 a gallon for self-serve regular. That's according to the latest Lundberg Survey. The increase coincided with a rise in crude oil prices. And it's the first time nationwide that the average price of gas has hit $3 since Hurricane Katrina sent prices soaring last September.

And a landmark location in Boston is getting a new owner. A New Jersey-based real estate developer has agreed to buy the flagship Filene's store site. Vornado Realty Trust will pay Federated Department Stores about $100 million for the property and will likely convert it into retail and office space.

That's it for now -- Anderson.

COOPER: All right. Stay tuned. Right now time for "The Shot". You know, we don't usually do celebrity birthdays in "The Shot", but then I guess Tai Shan isn't the usual celebrity. The National Zoo's world famous baby panda turned 1 yesterday, bringing joy to newscasts along the country.

Actually, a fruitsicle was given. It was made of bamboo leaves and other panda friendly food. He seemed to like the present. There was also a pool filled with ice water.

Thousands of people turned out to celebrate with Tai Shan. He apparently took it all in stride. He's pretty used to the spotlight. There's actually a web cam that's been recording his life from the moment he was born when he weighed just four ounces. He was about the size of a stick of butter. Hence his nickname, Butterstick. Today he weighs a healthy 56 pounds, and he's more of a butterball really.

STOUFFER: And the fruitsicle will help.

COOPER: Thanks.

STOUFFER: Happy birthday.

COOPER: Well, last night Comedy Central premiered the lost episodes of Dave Chappelle's show by editing bits of him recorded before he quit. But we have the fresh and new Dave Chappelle coming up. He talks about the pros and cons of walking away from a $50 million paycheck. I also talk to him about why he then left to go to Africa.


DAVE CHAPPELLE, COMEDIAN: I needed a context where I could reflect. And I felt like things around me were so chaotic, like I was just overwhelmed. And I didn't tell anybody I was going, which is one of the reasons was so surprised it became a media storm, because I still don't know who tipped the press off.

COOPER: Really?

CHAPPELLE: Yes. Who tipped the press off?

COOPER: You didn't even tell your wife.

CHAPPELLE: I didn't tell my wife. So who told the media? And I'm paranoid. Dave, you're paranoid. Call the press.


COOPER: Dave dropped by on Friday night. We're going to have the highlights plus some new material. He stuck around. We talked at length about comedy and life and the price of declaring your own independence. That's coming up in the next hour on 360.

Also ahead, a city on edge. Police in Phoenix searching for a random serial shooter. That's not all. Another mad man is wanted by authorities. We'll tell you about the searches going on all at once.

And a mother charged with kidnapping her own baby to spare him court-ordered medical treatment. Tonight the baby is fine, but she is in big trouble. We'll explain ahead on 360. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: It might not be terrorism, but tonight you can bet a lot of people in a major American city are living in fear.

ANNOUNCER: City of fear. Terrorized, two psychopaths. A serial killer and a predator who opens fire at random.

War crimes. Allegations of murdering Iraqi civilians. Tonight, more Americans are accused and the penalty could be death.

And candid comedian. Dave Chappelle in an exclusive interview. He finally reveals why he walked away from $50 million.

Across the country and around the world, this is ANDERSON COOPER 360. Tonight, reporting from the CNN studios in New York, here's Anderson Cooper.

COOPER: Thanks for joining us. We begin the hour in Phoenix, Arizona, a place with all the usual big city problems, including violent crime. Tonight, however, Phoenix may be different, because one, maybe two, maybe more sick and twisted gunman could be on the hunt for victims.

Reporting for us tonight, here's CNN's Kareen Wynter.


KAREEN WYNTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The latest wave of shootings began in May, always coming in the quiet of the night in early morning. Police believe the 13 random shootings are the work of the same criminal.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's terrorism, at its finest.

WYNTER: Preying on Phoenix.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All of a sudden, I heard a loud blast, and it was like echoed coming down a tunnel, and I realized I got hit with something.

WYNTER: This man was on his evening stroll.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I believe the fear is his coming back out to finish the job.

WYNTER: But he didn't, and that only adds to the mystery. Thirteen people shot, but no one killed. Why?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The targets, again, is so random that we haven't been able to get any of our victims to actually give a great detailed description of this individual.

WYNTER: This is Louise Fernandez' (ph) home turf, Central Phoenix.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: For me it's more of an urgency and then maybe anger that this is actually going on.


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