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CNN LARRY KING LIVE
Polygamy Bombshell: Police Informant in Compound; Cesar Laurean in Custody in Mexico
Aired April 10, 2008 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, a shocking twist from Texas -- there was a spy inside the polygamy sect.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
QUESTION: Did you have an informant inside the compound?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have a person that I have been communicating with and I'm not going to go any father than that.
QUESTION: How many years have you been communicating with that person?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Four years.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Four years? What ugly secrets did the authorities learn? Why didn't they raid the place earlier?
Plus, Glenn Beck says America is killing itself.
And has Randi Rhodes killed her career with this venomous tirade?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RANDI RHODES, FORMER AIR AMERICA RADIO HOST: Hillary is big (EXPLETIVE DELETED), OK?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: All next on LARRY KING LIVE.
We have an outstanding panel to kick things off. We'll meet them in a moment.
The sheriff, by the way, who raided that secret polygamist compound in Texas revealed today that he's had informant for the past four years. The raid was the result, by the way, of a call from a pregnant 16-year-old identified as Sarah. Four hundred and sixty-one children have been removed from the compound.
We begin tonight with breaking news. Our national correspondent, Gary Tuchman, is in Colorado City, Arizona.
What's up -- Gary? GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Larry, it's believed that Dale Barlow, the suspect in this case, is in this town right now just a few blocks away from me.
And here's what's interesting. Authorities in Texas believe he is the man they want to arrest. They believe he was in Texas assaulting and beating this woman Sarah, who's 16 -- a young woman, a girl -- who hasn't been found yet.
But here's what's confusing about it. Dale Barlow right now is on probation for a crime last year. His probation officers here in Arizona say they don't believe he's left Arizona for the past eight months. As a matter of fact, they say they saw him in his hose in this town just two days ago. They talked to him on the phone today. So they don't think he's been in Texas. So, therefore, how could have committed a crime in Texas?
They say they would arrest him here in Arizona if Texas authorities asked them to arrest him. But Arizona officials say Texas authorities haven't asked them yet.
So, why, Larry, has that happened? Why haven't they been asked to arrest him?
Some investigative sources here in Arizona tell us they believe that because Barlow is such a common name in the sect, that maybe, just maybe -- they don't doubt the allegations, but maybe they have the wrong Barlow in mind to arrest.
KING: Curiouser and curiouser. Thanks, Gary.
You're always on the scene.
Our panel. In Eldorado is David Mattingly, our CNN correspondent.
In Austin, Texas is Sheryl Cates, CEO of the National Domestic Violence Hotline and of the Texas Council on Family Violence.
Our old friend Don Clark, the former head of the FBI in Houston, is in Houston.
And Carolyn Jessop in Palm Springs, California, grew up in a polygamist family in the FLDS sect. At age 18, she was forced into a polygamous marriage with a 50-year-old man. She fled, taking her eight children with her. She tells that dramatic story in the new book "Escape."
Now, David, how could someone be an informant for four years and not reveal anything?
DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Believe me, that was the first question we started hammering these Texas officials with today when they told us that. They said that this informer -- they're being very careful about what they're saying about him. They want to protect him or her, whoever it might be. All they're saying is this informer is a former FLDS -- a former member of this breakaway sect. They're not saying that this person actually lived at the compound. They're not saying where this person lived. They're not saying when or if they were here.
What they are telling us is that this informer gave them good information over the last four years that proved to be true. So they had some confidence when they went to this informer as they were making their move on this compound. They went to this informer. The informer told them information that led them to the temple and led them to those beds inside the temple, where they gathered evidence and determined that adult men were having sex with their underage brides there in the temple in those beds.
So that was the importance of that informer. Now, what we're finding out, also, is that they were not able to move in this entire four years and make any case on child abuse because no one came forward. No one was accusing anyone. There was no cry for help until just over a week ago, when that young girl made that phone call and said that she had been physically and sexually assaulted by her husband.
KING: Don Clark, I know as former head of the FBI in Houston, the FBI uses informers all the time.
Does this story read right to you?
DON CLARK, FORMER FBI CHIEF, HOUSTON: Well, it seems OK, to me, Larry. And I can understand when people say that, well, he was there for four years and he didn't come forward with any information. But it takes a long time to develop information.
Larry, you will recall Joe Pistone, that we had in New York for a number of years in an undercover position serving the same purpose. And the thing is, is that they have to develop some evidence that can be brought out.
I am sure over the course of time that there has been some evidence that's been sent out to law enforcement. But, again, it takes more than just that informant's information. It takes some proof to be able to come forward with charges. And I suspect that they may not have been to that point until recently.
KING: Sheryl Cates, what do you know about young Sarah, the woman who called that hotline?
SHERYL CATES, ASSISTING WOMEN DISPLACED FROM COMPOUND: Well, what we know, Larry, is that she's very courageous, obviously. It took a lot of courage and bravery to have her come forward when she was in a very desperate situation, a tragic situation and was looking for hope. And so we're just excited that she was able to make that call and that she was in a place where she knew she had to get help and had the number.
KING: Carolyn, why don't many of these women run away? CAROLYN JESSUP, ESCAPED FROM POLYGAMY: Larry, they don't have a way to run away. This girl that made this call had no way out of that compound. And even if she could have physically got out of the compound, she probably didn't even know what direction to run, where there would be a city or -- and the other thing is they don't understand people from the world that they don't, you know, from normal society. And they're scared of them. They don't know how to ask for help.
KING: We'll take a break and be back with more on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE.
Still to come, major political talk later.
And coming up, was there a sex temple in the compound? If so, what kind of worship was taking place in it?
Don't go away.
KING: David Mattingly, who has to leave us, what do we know about these sex temples?
MATTINGLY: Well, Larry, it was all a very dramatic time when authorities were moving on that temple. And when they got here and were doing the raid, they found about 60 or 70 men here at the compound. Most of those men chose to stand between -- in front of the temple to try and block the entrance for investigators when they were going in. But they eventually stepped aside. They did not want their temple desecrated, but they weren't going to unlock the door, either.
So the investigators brought out a battering ram. They burst open the doors. They went in there and started looking around. And they found on the upper floor some beds. And their informer that we were talking about earlier informed them that these beds were used for adult men -- after these marriages, these adult men were having sex with their young brides. These brides underage, often underage, ages 16, possibly as young as 13 or 14.
All they have to do, the elders here, we're told, is that they have to determine that the girl is of child-bearing age and then she is pretty much up for grabs. They can decide to marry her off to any number of the elders. And these men can be middle-age -- older than myself, in fact -- having these marriages and having sex with these young girls.
KING: Thanks, David, as always.
Terrific reporting. David Mattingly.
Sheryl, why do you think we haven't heard from Sarah, the girl who started all of this?
CATES: Well, obviously, Larry, I think she's very scared. I think that when she made this first call for help, she didn't think that this was going to happen this way. I think she was desperate to get out. She -- in her affidavit she actually says that she's afraid, she doesn't know about the world out there, she doesn't know what she's going to do. But please come get her, please help her.
And I think she didn't realize what would take place as a part of that process, that it also would mean that -- that a raid would occur, that then she would need to almost go into hiding, in some ways, to protect either herself, her babies and possibly what she considers her family. And so I think she just wasn't prepared, possibly, for what the potential was.
When we were there today, I know that even the shelter advocates of NewBridge Family Center didn't recognize that this might be the alternative or what might happen as a result of this. Obviously, they had no idea that this four years of investigation had been happening. And this played, obviously, right into that.
Don Clark, is this a federal case?
CLARK: Well, it could be a federal case, Larry, because it could depend on whether or not these people were traveling back and forth across state lines. And now, with the Internet and so many other things, that gives that nexus to a federal investigation. It's very possible that it could.
But, Larry, what you have also got to consider here is that there are two things in law enforcement and an investigation that really causes law enforcement to really take back and take second thoughts. And that's investigating a situation where there are kids and one where religion is involved. And in this situation, you have both.
So because -- and because you do have both, it is likely that the tentacles have reached across state lines and they may very well have a federal case.
But right now, the local authorities seem to be doing pretty well. But I can assure you that they've probably been talking to profilers and they're talking to -- probably been talking to other people in federal agencies as backup and some type of assistance in this investigation.
KING: And the decision, if it goes federal, is that up to the attorney general or to Director Mueller?
CLARK: No. I think the U.S. attorney in that district will work with the local FBI agencies down there.
KING: Just in that district?
CLARK: Yes. And I think they will be able to make the decision as to -- and working with the locals -- as to where they can get the best results from.
KING: Got you. CLARK: It's not a competitive matter, just where can they get the best results.
KING: Carolyn, I want you to watch this. Today, a CNN crew spoke with a resident of the Eldorado compound.
Here's what he told us. And I want you to comment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Any comment at all, I mean, inside?
Or can you tell us what's going on in there, how you guys are feeling?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We always believed America to be a free land.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I've never had my family ripped from -- ripped from me. What's (INAUDIBLE) nothing there.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We just didn't have any problems.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Who's all left in there?
Are a lot of people still left in there or -- I mean...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No families. Just men.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just men are left inside the compound?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The authorities said...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How many men do you think are left inside there?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm not sure.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Twenty? Thirty?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're not sure.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm going to ask you guys to please stay off our property.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sure.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our property ends right back there.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Carolyn, why are they so secretive?
JESSUP: It's been the nature of this community, this religious community for as long as I can remember. Our lives were always based around secrecy. When I was a little girl, everything was a secret. And sometimes those secrets even were among families. I mean things would be happening in one family and it was a secret for the rest of the community.
And part of that is because if it's not secretive, this level of crime would not be tolerated. The only way that they can protect it is with secrecy. And it's just a long-term practice.
KING: Isn't it tough, Sheryl, to rehabilitate these people who have been so damaged?
CATES: Well, I think often one of the things that we look for is just how to best work with these plural families in terms of their situation, making sure that we have the appropriate training, Larry, to deal with what Carol was even spoken about earlier, about just the secrecy, not being involved in the outside world, not seeing themselves in a normal family situation or having -- being integrated with others. They've often been isolated.
So it's a very difficult situation and one that obviously in Texas, we're working to coordinate how best to serve these families and women and children, specifically, and get them back on their feet or -- you know, many of them cannot read, we found out today. They have a very low education. And so just communicating, helping to educate them and helping them to find solid ground, if you will, is very difficult.
KING: Don, underage children being molested, that seems -- you know, it's obviously a crime, isn't it?
CLARK: It definitely is a crime, Larry. And I think that I hear them say that they've gone into this place that they've gone into this place, they've served some search warrants. I think they have a good opportunity here to get DNA samples from all of the investigation that's taking place. And I think once they can have time to put a case together, then they'll find certain parties in there who will have partook in some of these different types of activities.
And, yes, it's a crime. And I think they'll be able to prosecute it with the evidence they'll get from DNA and some of the people who will eventually come forward, no matter how afraid they are now. There will be some that will be talking and they'll be credible.
KING: And, Carolyn, how are you doing now?
JESSUP: How am I doing?
JESSUP: I'm doing -- I'm doing much better. It's been difficult knowing that I have stepchildren -- or I believe I have stepchildren that have been taken into custody. I mean I just can't imagine the level of fear and trauma and, you know, just confusion that they're probably going through right now.
KING: Yes. JESSUP: And, you know, it's difficult. I wish I could see them. But I also understand that authorities cannot compromise the integrity of this case.
KING: You're a courageous young lady. And thank you for being with us. Thank all of our guests for being with us.
What a story.
Glenn Beck has some harsh words for an unusual target. What's got him fired up tonight, next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GLENN BECK, HEADLINE NEWS ANCHOR: Political correctness is out of control and nobody is confronting the real offenders because it's election time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: We're back.
And we welcome back to LARRY KING LIVE Glenn Beck, host of "GLENN BECK" on Headline News and "The New York Times" best-selling author of "An Inconvenient Book."
Before we get to politics, what do you make of this -- and I know being a devout Mormon, what do you make of this polygamy story?
BECK: I think it's -- I think what they're saying, if these things are true, it's an abomination not only unto the eyes of man, but also in the eyes of God. I'm not -- I'm certainly not a spokesperson for my church.
But I will tell you, the only reason why these people are out in the middle of nowhere is because they've been excommunicated by my faith. They are not Mormons. And I don't care if you worship, you know, hubcaps and you lock yourself in an auto body store, if you break the law and you're hurting kids, see you.
All right, you're on a very popular commentary on CNN.com right now titled "America Needs A 12-Step Program."
Is this your current anger? I just want to get it straight.
BECK: You know, you know me, Larry. I'm not...
KING: You're angry.
BECK: Do you think I'm an angry man? KING: No you're not angry.
BECK: No, I'm not -- no, I'm not angry. I mean I'm frustrated sometimes.
KING: How would you describe yourself?
All right, frustrated. OK.
BECK: Frustrated, at times.
You know what? I am a work in progress. I'm a recovering alcoholic myself, been sober now for many years. But I'm a guy who is just trying to figure it out. I'm trying to protect my family. I'm trying to -- I love my country. I think most of us do. And we watch TV -- and I don't care if you're Democrat Republican, you're watching TV and you're like really?
This is what our government wants to do? This is what the politicians think is a good idea?
And I think that we have this problem, but we have been so duped into believing that we're powerless against any of these problems. So I developed a 12-step program based on...
KING: Like what?
Give me an example.
BECK: Well, the first one to admit is that we're not powerless. I mean we the people -- it's not like James Madison was writing it and somebody came up to him and went, James, you should reduce the font, you'll never get it all on one page. We the people -- it was made bigger for a reason, so dummies like me would go oh, wait a minute, they thought the people was the answer.
KING: Yes, but they didn't mean all the people. They didn't mean black people. They didn't mean women.
BECK: No, they didn't. And thank goodness that we're not living 225 years ago.
KING: So you might have helped James?
BECK: Pardon me?
KING: You might have helped James out by saying include some others.
BECK: No. I -- you know what, if you actually -- if you go back and you read the founding documents and you go back and you read the arguments back and forth, that's why in the Declaration of Independence it used to say life, liberty and property. But many of our founding fathers, including Madison and, I believe instrumental in this one was Franklin -- that said you can't put property, because there are too many people that are slave-owners that will then say that document protects my property and slaves are property.
BECK: They knew it was a process that they had to get out of as soon as they could.
KING: Do you know why...
BECK: They knew, also, that it would tear the country apart if it wasn't eventually solved, and pretty quickly.
KING: But it was -- Franklin was an abolitionist.
BECK: Oh, yes. He was one the...
BECK: In fact, it's really sad, the people who were slave-owners tried to make him look like he was insane at the end of his life because he stood up hard.
All right, give me some examples of the 12 steps, because we've got to have...
BECK: Well, we...
KING: No, we're going to have you back once for an hour and just let you go.
BECK: Sure. Love it. Love that. I don't know if you want to let me completely go. But we the people -- that's the first one -- admit we're not powerless. Believe in a power greater than us. And I don't care if you think that's God, a hub cap or just the American spirit. But there is a power greater than the individual.
And one of the problems that we have here in America right now is that we're so self-absorbed. I mean I have a theory -- I put it on the air the other day -- that I think we're worshipping false Gods right now. We're worshipping fame and money. And that's one of America's biggest problems.
So whatever your God is, whether it's the American spirit or God, put that in its rightful place and move on.
The third is take our power back. You know, 81 percent of the American people now say that we're on the wrong track. We agree. We agree. People are trying to divide us in two little groups -- 81 percent. I think Bush has like a 20 percent approval rating and Congress has a 13 percent approval rating. Let's celebrate the fact that we agree that the weasels on both sides stink.
So let's move in that direction. Let's stop lending our power to these parties and say you know what, you -- for instance...
BECK: I'm a conservative. I voted...
KING: So do you...
KING: Do you vote against the out party in every case, vote against your congressmen, vote against the president, vote against the president's party?
BECK: No, no, no.
KING: Change everything.
BECK: Instead of voting for parties, vote for principles and policies. I was going to tell you that I'm a conservative, but I voted for Joe Lieberman. Joe Lieberman is a guy who I disagree with on a lot of things. But there are two things I agree with. He is a man of decent values. He's a good and honest man. He'll tell you one thing to your face and then the door will close and he'll say something to the other people exactly the same. That's one.
BECK: Two, he's a guy who believes in the dangers of Islamic extremism. So when I voted in Connecticut, I prioritized. OK, I don't agree with him on these programs, but I do agree with him on this. So I don't care what party he's from. I don't care if he's not part of any party. I'm going to vote for him there.
And the more people we had in Congress that would just say I don't care what the party says, this is right and this is wrong, so I'm only going to vote with the party on this one and not on this one.
KING: Glenn Beck, we've got a story coming up, so I've got to break.
BECK: Yes, sir.
KING: Will you come back with us next week?
BECK: I am on vacation next week, but the week after I'd love to.
KING: The week after?
BECK: Yes, sir.
KING: The week after, I'll be in New York.
BECK: Let's do lunch.
KING: We'll be together.
BECK: We'll do dinner. We'll kibbutz. KING: We'll do lunch and we'll kibbutz.
KING: Thanks, Glenn.
BECK: Thank you.
KING: Glenn Beck.
More breaking news tonight in a big case. Mexican authorities and FBI special agents have fugitive United States Marine Corps Corporal Cesar Armando Laurean in custody in Mexico three months after he disappeared from North Carolina. Laurean is the main suspect in the murder of pregnant fellow Marine, Lance Corporal Maria Lauterbach.
There will be a news conference tomorrow with all the details. And we'll have them for you within the hour as we get them.
The talk show host who doesn't hold back -- no, not Glenn Beck -- Randi Rhodes. She's here and she's mouthing off right after the break.
KING: Welcome back.
In case you joined us late and missed it, we've had breaking news in a big case.
Mexican authorities and FBI special agents have fugitive U.S. Marine Corps Corporal Cesar Armando Laurean in custody in Mexico three months after he disappeared from North Carolina. There you see his picture.
Laurean is the main suspect in the murder of pregnant fellow Marine Lance Corporal Maria Lauterbach.
There will be a news conference tomorrow with all the details.
CNN will have details as they become available.
And Susan Candiotti, very familiar with this case, joins us on the phone from Bartel (ph), Florida.
What do you know -- Susan?
SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, this is just huge news, Larry, to find out that after three months, finally authorities have been able to track down Cesar Laurean in Mexico. You might recall that it was CNN who first confirmed that he had skipped the United States and was in Mexico. We reported almost three months ago that he had spoken with some relatives of his there, and they confirmed that he had been there. Now, this is big news, of course, to all the authorities who have been looking so hard for him, and most especially for the family of Maria Lauterbach. You will recall that Cesar Laurean told his wife back on January 11 that he says that the victim in this case, Maria Lauterbach, had slit her own throat and that he then panicked and buried her below a fire pit in his backyard.
In fact, authorities never believed that story. An autopsy was conducted, and they said that Maria Lauterbach, eight months pregnant and a corporal in the Marine Corps, had died of blunt force trauma to her head. And they also found a slit to her neck that they believe might have occurred after she was already dead.
They've been looking for Laurean ever since he took off running, and now they have captured him.
KING: Susan, we won't know anything until tomorrow, will we, about details of when he comes back into the states, when he is brought back to North Carolina?
CANDIOTTI: Well, it will probably happen very quickly, because there is a good relationship with the Mexicans. You'll recall that the prosecutor in Onslow County had said that he would not consider the death penalty.
He would give that up, and that is why they are able to extradite him back to the United States, because he said he would not seek the death penalty in this case. So, because of that, the Mexican authorities should theoretically move rather quickly about this -- in this matter, to get Laurean back to North Carolina.
KING: Mexico doesn't have capital punishment, and if you do capital punishment, they will not extradite, right?
CANDIOTTI: That's correct. That's how it works.
KING: Do you know, Susan, or we won't know until tomorrow, how he was caught?
CANDIOTTI: You know, Larry, as soon as I get off the phone with you, I will be making more phone calls. And if we find out anything else before you're off the air, be assured I'll call you back and let you know more details.
KING: Couple other quick things, was there a manhunt for him?
CANDIOTTI: There had been. But keep in mind that U.S. authorities don't have jurisdiction in Mexico to look for him. However, they have been working closely with Mexican authorities to try to track down where he would have been hiding.
However, we have learned very recently that he, Laurean, had been making some contacts to try to come back to the United States. Obviously, that did not occur. But authorities happened to cut off his resources so that he would not be able to get on much longer in Mexico. Keeping in mind, it's not known if he was working down there, if someone was hiding him, or if he was hiding on his own.
KING: And we assume that Marine officials are on the way there, or are already there, preparing to bring him back.
CANDIOTTI: Well, that would be the FBI and the U.S. Marshall Service that would be escorting him back to the United States.
KING: Not the Marines.
CANDIOTTI: That's correct.
KING: Susan, go to work. I know you have to gather a lot of information. If you get more, we'll stay on top of this story. CNN will have details as they become available. Take a break and come back with Randi Rhodes right after this.
KING: One of the more popular radio hosts in America is Randi Rhodes, formerly with Air America radio. She and Air America have parted ways in the aftermath of controversial comments she made about Hillary Clinton and Geraldine Ferraro.
They suspended her earlier this month, and now they released this statement declaring that Randi has chosen to terminate her employment. It also says the companies wishing her well.
Did you quit?
RHODES: You know, Larry, my view is that the contract terminated, because of their unwavering position was if I didn't amend my contract to take away a right that I had, that they would never give me back my microphone. This thing was really about them wanting to change my contract, and I --
KING: From what to what?
RHODES: They didn't have the right to fire me. And we got new owners, because it's Thursday, so we had knew owners at Air America for a change. And they took a look at the contract after they bought the thing, and they said, we can't fire you? And I said, well, if I die, or if I become 100 percent disabled, whatever. They knew what the terms were. And they said, we want to amend it.
I said, I don't. They said they did. And they decided to do market research by taking a stand-up comedy routine that I did on a Saturday night in San Francisco in a club that was at least two weeks old, and they took a little bit of it, and they, you know, said to the press, look, Randi, you know, uses the F-word, and the W-word, or whatever, and, you know --
KING: And it was a comedy routine, correct?
RHODES: Stand-up comedy, Larry. KING: Let's look at the comments that got you into hot water with some of the people, basically describing Hillary and Geraldine as F-word. This is in San Francisco.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RHODES: What a whore Geraldine Ferraro is. I want to see her have to stand beside her husband at one of those mandatory I'm a whore press conferences. Mr. Ferraro should have to stand next to his wife. Hillary is a big (EXPLETIVE DELETED) whore too, OK. You know why she's a big (EXPLETIVE DELETED) whore? Because her deal is always, read the fine print, (EXPLETIVE DELETED).
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RHODES: Even I can't understand it.
KING: I don't. In retrospect, was this purely a comedy routine, or, in retrospect, do you think you owe apologies?
RHODES: It's absolutely 100 percent pure stand-up, Larry. It was a Saturday night in San Francisco in a club. It was me on a stage with a microphone doing stand-up. It was an evening with Randi Rhodes. It was brought to them by sponsors and Green 960, which is a Clear Channel station. After the event, I got nothing but thank you letters. That night, I signed 500 autograph autographs, and --
KING: Randi, I have to cut you because we have a breaking news story. One quick thing, you'll be back on the radio next week?
RHODES: Yes, back with the radio elite, and thank you to Clear Channel and all the affiliates that rallied around me.
KING: We'll bring you back next week, Randi. We have a big story that is continuing to break, and we'll get right to it right after this.
KING: OK, we have an arrest and apprehension in Mexico of the suspect in that tragic death of the Marine in North Carolina, some three months ago. Joining us now, both by phone, Ed Lavandera. He's in San Angelo, Texas, covering one big story.
And on the phone is Tim Susanin, formerly with the Navy Judge Advocate General's Office.
Tim, it is the Judge Advocate General's office that would prosecute this?
TIM SUSANIN, FORMER NAVY JAG: In some instances it could, Larry. I think where you and I left off with this a couple of months ago was a report that the district attorney in North Carolina wanted to take the case and I think the Marine Corps seemed to be happy to back off and let him try it. So, my guess is, we're going to see the North Carolina district attorney try this. KING: Have you tried murder cases?
SUSANIN: Yes, I have.
KING: Is it different militarily?
SUSANIN: Not at all. The military statutes are very similar to what you would see in the civilian world. And the issue we're going to see come to the floor here is whether or not this can go forward as a death penalty case.
As you might recall, there were reports a couple of months ago when this guy fled that the Mexican authorities would only return him if the D.A. in North Carolina agreed to not press this as a capital case. So, that will be the issue of interest as we go forward.
KING: Wouldn't you doubt that it would since our agreement with Mexico, we tell them we won't do capital punishment?
SUSANIN: I think that was the deal to get him back. That's right.
KING: All right, Ed Lavendera, what do we know?
ED LAVENDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We're able to get a few more details. We were told this happened within just a little over two hours ago, and we're told that right now, Cesar Laurean is en route to a jail in the town of Monilia (ph), Mexico. I'm not exactly sure where it is. I haven't had a chance to check out a map.
We know that Laurean had family in the Guadalajara area of Mexico, which is northwest of Mexico City. So, we anticipate that is probably pretty close to where he might have been. We're told that after he goes to this small town -- he's jailed there, and from there, he will go to another jail in Mexico City. All expected to take place within the next 48 hours.
We anticipate that U.S. authorities are anxious to begin the extradition process, since he's been on the run for three months now.
KING: Ed, how long will that take?
LAVENDERA: Oh, you know, it's hard to say. I -- I haven't had any indication, haven't seen one of the processes go through in awhile, or watched it closely enough to be able tell you with any accuracy, to be honest.
KING: Tim, what would your guess be?
SUSANIN: I think it will move quickly. There will be a little bit of a detail when they get him counseled there in Mexico. They'll want to make sure he understands the proceeding. I think it will be pretty swift.
KING: With us now on the phone is Jennifer Hlad of the "Jacksonville Daily News." Is that Jacksonville, North Carolina, Jennifer?
JENNIFER HLAD, "JACKSONVILLE DAILY NEWS": Yes, sir.
KING: How big is this story remaining?
HLAD: This story has remained huge. Tomorrow is actually the three-month anniversary of the day that Cesar Laurean disappeared, and we have been working on that story, of course. I mean, obviously, interest around here has remained huge, as well as across the country. People are just wanting to get him back here so that some, you know -- everybody is obviously missing Maria, and just want to see somebody held accountable, I guess.
KING: Since the story broke, Jennifer, have you been interviewed or met people who know the suspect?
HLAD: Well, I have not personally spoken to anyone who knows him. There's been a lot of talk, just sort of rumor kind of talk, about, you know, what happened, what the real story was. Certainly, the Marine Corps is very large here, so people have all been talking about it. Now, one of our other reporters has spoken to some of the people who knew him and knew Maria, and I think everybody is just kind of ready to move forward with this, and see him brought back here to stand trial.
KING: In retrospect, he still is a suspect, so, we'll refer to him as the suspect. What was the motive, generally, the thinking -- the motive was what?
HLAD: Well, it's not clear exactly what the motive was. We've heard a lot of rumors. We haven't gotten anything actually confirmed about what kind of relationship they had. It certainly seems as though, based on people that we've talked to who knew them, that they had some kind of romantic relationship before this rape accusation came forward. So, it is not exactly clear if, you know, he was mad about the rape accusation, and that's how this whole -- obviously, still a suspect -- but how this crime happened.
Obviously, it was a lot of months after that. So it's not clear, because she went to his house the night. It doesn't appear that he kidnapped her. So, there's still so many unanswered questions. I believe that law enforcement know a lot more than they are letting on. They are trying to save that for the courtroom.
KING: Is Cesar Laurean's wife still living in town?
HLAD: As far as we know, she still is living in town. She's been kept very, I guess, under wraps. Nobody's been able to see her or talk to her. We've all been trying to find her. As far as anyone knows, she is still living in town, yes.
KING: Tim Susanin, does this look like open and shut?
SUSANIN: Well, I -- I think the reason that it might be is the wife, who you refer to, seemed to be a cooperating witness. If I recall correctly, she's the one that came forward and let the authorities know that he had taken off, and that there was a body buried in the backyard. So, to the extent that she knows what went on in that house that night, it very well might be open and shut.
You know, usually on these cases, Larry, even in the trial itself, the defendant is usually playing for a life sentence as opposed to a death sentence. Because of the terms of the extradition, we know there's not going to be a death sentence in the mix here, so, it seems like he's really just going for broke trying to get himself off, and he's got an uphill climb here with his -- I think the theory was that she came in and committed suicide.
So, I don't think it looks good for him at trial.
KING: Ed, now, do we have our news crews heading to Mexico?
LAVENDERA: I -- I haven't had a chance to get that far. I know, obviously, some of the colleagues in Mexico City are chasing this, as well, and I think it's just a matter of time before the focus changes from Mexico to here, in getting him back here and finding out more details as to what the search was like down in Mexico during the last three months.
It was three months ago when we actually, one of our colleagues in Mexico found Cesar Laurean's cousin working in a store just outside of town there, and it was this cousin that confirmed to us that he had seen him a few days before we had gotten there. And that was the first clear indication that in the days after the murder that Cesar Laurean was able to get out of North Carolina. Not only get out of North Carolina, but make it across by bus, we're told, through Texas down into Mexico and get south of the border.
KING: I'm going to ask our panel to stay on the phone. We're talking with Tim Susanin, formerly of the Navy Judge Advocate General's office, Ed Lavandera of CNN, and Jennifer Hlad of the "Jacksonville Daily News." Dog the Bounty Hunter will be joining us after the break. I think he was involved in this. Don't go away.
KING: We've been on top of this story from the get-go. And joining us now is Dog, the famed bounty hunter.
Were you involved in the hunt for Mr. Laurean?
DUANE CHAPMAN, BOUNTY HUNTER: Hi, sir. Yes, sir, at the beginning I was. I'm at Harry Carey's in downtown Chicago. We just heard they caught. The people at Harry Carey's tell me to tell you hi, by the way.
KING: Say hello.
CHAPMAN: I will sir, but yes. I had done some work with Fox News and we did some stuff with CNN and we thought he was in the Guadalajara area. That's where Andrew Lester was, remember the rapist that we captured. He's in basically the same jail that Lester was in. So, of course, what they are going to do is wait to see if Mexico will let America have him back. They must have done a very good job hunting this guy down. I know that, you know, we had some leads that he was in Guadalajara, he was at his house, had relative that owned a liquor store down there.
And I was expecting him to be caught at any time. It's really good that the Mexican government went after him.
KING: You had some problems with Mexico. Is that all straightened out now?
CHAPMAN: Yes, Mexico dropped the charges against I and the family for capturing Andrew Lester about two months ago. They dropped all the charges, so, yes.
KING: If we agree not to perform capital punishment, if convicted, do you think this will be an easy transition to get him back?
CHAPMAN: Well, yes, if we do agree not to, you know, give him the death penalty. But listen, if he entered the country illegally, then America can get him back without anything. That's how we got Lester. See, Larry, Lester was the same thing, 86 counts of rape, was doing a life sentence.
He didn't enter Mexico legally. So, if he entered the country, this guy, Cesar Laurean, entered the country illegally, which we all know he did, on the run, then Mexico may give him right over to the FBI, and the FBI bring him right back to the United States.
KING: Tim Susanin, the former Judge Advocate's Office, do you buy that? Does that ring right to you?
SUSANIN: You know, I had no heard that. In fact, I know there were reports, a couple of months ago that the D.A. there in North Carolina was willing to waive the right to charge this as a capital case. I don't know. We'll see over the next few days.
KING: Michelle Sigona is with "America's Most Wanted." She joins us on the phone. Michelle, were you following this case?
MICHELLE SIGONA, "AMERICA'S MOST WANTED": Good evening, yes. We have been following the case. "America's Most Wants" has actually just added him to our Dirty Dozen List, John Walsh's dirty dozen list last weekend, and aired the story again, and received leads out of Mexico. Same thing, Larry, back in January, we received a lot of tips out of Mexico. And then we had the confirmed siting of U.S. Marshals in Mexico.
KING: How would you guess, Dog, he was caught?
CHAPMAN: Well, I know that she -- hi, Michelle. Hi, everybody. I know a good job everybody, it was -- I know he was caught by -- the United States notified the Mexican government. The -- I believe it was Carolina put out a grand jury indictment for murder one. They notified the Mexican government. Got all of their ducks in a row. They got their extradition ready and they asked the Mexican government to hunt for this guy.
And this was just a few weeks ago. So, the Mexican government hunted for the guy, and I'm sure, as we hear now, have captured him, put him in jail. So, I think that they can, the district attorney can, Larry, drop the death penalty.
But you know, see, it's a little different where it's just one man makes a decision with a district attorney. I think in the Carolinas, it has a Grand Jury. I think a panel of 12 citizens indicted him for the murder, and then they come back.
But yes, they can drop it. Like I said, I've been through this, as you know, with Lester, and if Laurean did not enter the country legally, then he entered illegally, and Mexico can boot him right back to America.
KING: Ed Lavendera, do you expect to go to Mexico? You're in Texas. Is Ed still with us? I guess we may have lost Ed. By the way, Tim, does the Judge Advocate General's office also provide defense attorneys?
SUSANIN: It sure does, Larry. A military service member like Laurean will be able to hire his own lawyer. He will be able to have assigned to him a military lawyer that might have represented him before.
In other words, he can ask for a particular J.A.G. or military lawyer of his own choosing, in addition to the assigned military lawyer. So, under the J.A.G. system, he could end up with a team of three lawyers going forward.
KING: Jennifer, is anyone from your newspaper going to Mexico?
HLAD: I'm not sure yet. We haven't discussed that possibility yet. It is possible that we'll send someone down there. I do know, of course, that a lot of other news organizations are going to be sending someone to Mexico, as well. So, we're going to try to stay on top of this as we can.
KING: Michelle, I know there will be a press conference tomorrow, and they'll announce some details. So, you don't have any idea yet how he was caught, do you?
SIGONA: No, we definitely don't have any idea as of yet. This is breaking news, as you know. But again, we do know that the United States was definitely tracking his moves in Mexico, and it was only a matter of time before they found him, got him in hand cuffs, and hopefully get him back here quickly.
KING: And Dog, as you said this was a great job, right?
CHAPMAN: Yes, sir. This was a fantastic job by both countries, Larry. By the United States, you know, got right on it. As soon as the arrest warrant came out for him, the United States worked with Mexico. The Mexico government said, you know, we'll go pick him up. They looked for this guy. they searched for him. Like I said, he had family there that owned a liquor store.
You know, Mark Furman was down there, Larry, about four weeks ago, had actually knocked on this guy's door. You're got to be very careful between Mexico and America. This time they did it exactly right. What happened equals this guy's capture. Another thing, this guy is military, so that's another thing -- I don't know too much if he could be charged with AWOL and brought back across --
KING: Hey, we're out of time. Thank you all very much. Dog, great talking with you.
Tim Susanin, thanks for you cooperation.
Michelle Sigona, good talking to you. Jennifer Hlad of the "Jacksonville Daily News," thanks as well.
CNN will continue coverage of this with Campbell Brown and "AC 360" at the top of the hour.
Tomorrow night, Drew Peterson will be with us. This is a major exclusive. He's the former Chicago police officer, a suspect in the disappearance of his wife. A major, major criminal story in the Midwest and nationally.
Right now we turn things over to Campbell Brown and "AC 360" -- Campbell?
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