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Alex King Speaks Out

Aired July 21, 2010 - 21:00   ET



LARRY KING, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Tonight, two little boys, Alex and Derek king, 11 and 12, brutally murder their own father.

ALEX KING, CONVICTED OF FATHER'S MURDER: Derek took the hits, but I was the one that gave him the idea.

KING: Their trial, a sensation. The entire country wondered why. What led to his hideous end at the hands of his own sons?

DEREK KING, CONVICTED OF FATHER'S MURDER: Hit him somewhere around ten times.

KING: One of the brothers is here nine years later to talk about a single act of violence and its impact and how he is making the most of a second chance at life as a free man. It's next on LARRY KING LIVE.


KING (on-camera): We welcome Alex King to Larry King Live. He pled guilty, along with his brother Derek, to the third degree murder of their father back in 2001. He served seven years in prison. His unofficial adoptive mother is Kathyrn Medico, and she is with us too. Catherine met Alex while writing a book about this case. We invited Derek King to join us. He chose not to appear. We will talk to Alex and Catherine in a minute.

First, let's go back in time, nine years ago to the night that changed everything. Watch.


KING (voice-over): In November of 2001, 40-year-old Terry King was murdered. His head smashed with a baseball bat, and his house set on fire. His two sons, 12-year-old Alex and 13-year-old Derek, eventually, confessed to the brutal crime.

DEREK KING: I hit him once and then I heard him moan, and then I was afraid that he might wake up and see us, so I just kept on hitting him.


DEREK KING: Hit him somewhere around ten times.

ALEX KING: Derek took the hits, but I was the one that gave him the idea.

KING: But later, they changed their story and blamed this man, Rick Chavis, their father's friend, with the killing. The boys also said that Chavis, a convicted child molester, had been sexually abusing Alex.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you at some point believe that you were in love with Ricky Chavis?

ALEX KING: Yes, sir.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you write some notes and letters about how you felt about Ricky Chavis?

ALEX KING: Yes, sir.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What does it say?

ALEX KING: Alex W. King loves Ricky Marvin Chavis so, so much always and forever.

KING: In a bizarre and sensational trial that captivated the nation, Alex and Derek were tried and convicted as adults for second degree murder and faced 22 years to life in prison.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We, the jury, find as follows as to count one of the indictment guilty of second degree murder --

KING: But the judge threw out the verdict, ordered a mediation, where the two boys pled guilty to a lesser charge of third degree murder. Alex received seven years in juvenile detention. Derek was sentenced to eight. Rick Chavis was acquitted of murder and child molestation and is serving 35 years for evidence tampering and accessory to murder. Alex was released in 2008, his brother one year later.


KING (on-camera): And we welcome to LARRY KING LIVE Alex King and his -- what are you, Catherine, his adoptive mother's what?

KATHRYN MEDICO, ALEX'S UNOFFICIAL ADOPTIVE MOTHER: I'm unofficially his adopted mother. He calls me mom.

KING: But you came in touch with him through writing a book about this case?

MEDICO: That is right. Yes.

KING: You've been out how long now, Alex?

ALEX KING: A little over two years.

KING: What's it like outside?

ALEX KING: It's -- well, at first, I could say it was a bit confusing. I spent a lot of time trying to figure things out, but I'd say it's really nice. With a family like I have. With Kathy and her daughters and everything.

KING: Where were you held?

ALEX KING: A few different facilities. I was in the Pensacola County. I was in a program in Okeechobee, OJOCC. And ultimately, I ended up in Brevard Correctional Institution.

KING: Both juvenile institutions?

ALEX KING: Well, Brevard was a youthful offenders camp or actual prison for people 25 years old and younger.

KING: Do you often think back to that day?

ALEX KING: No, not so much anymore. I've come -- I've made peace with that. Actually, back in 2000 -- well, a little before 2005 actually, could say being in the program became monotonous over time and I did something really dumb. I tried to escape from the facility. Climbed up in the roof and ended up in a classroom. That -- from there, I went -- county to await those charges. And while in there, I received a letter from Kathy.

And she -- she just offered support and love. I had received another letter from my family members that was saying they were through with me. And seeing the contrast just kind of opened my eyes to a lot of things. Kathy had already been in touch with Jayne Weintraub.

KING: Who will be on with us later, the lawyer. Why did you -- you covered this case. You wrote a book about this case. Why get so involved as to take one of the boys involved into your home?

MEDICO: Well, it certainly wasn't my intention. It was just part of a journey. When I met Alex, I just -- it just -- it sort of awakened something -- maybe the mother in me. And what I saw was a child who had been abandoned all of his life. You know, he had been passed from relative to stranger, through the foster care system, ended up in an orphanage, and now, he was ultimately even more alone because he was in prison 15 hours from any relative and it just sort of broke my heart.

KING: Where's Derek?

MEDICO: Derek was in a different facility, and I was not allowed to contact him. It was a high security facility. And so, now, he is out, and he is in Jacksonville. He's enrolled in college and doing very well.

KING: Are the two of you close?

ALEX KING: We're brothers. We have our differences, but ultimately, yes, we are close.

KING: You've been known each other very well, right? Wasn't he in foster care a lot?

ALEX KING: He was. Actually, we both were. I'd ended up going back to stay with my father. And we weren't in touch for a while. But since we've been back in touch, you know.

KING: I know you don't want to discuss how you killed your father. That's -- I understand that completely. But it's fair to ask why you killed him.

ALEX KING: You know, those times were really confusing for me. I don't even really -- I don't even think about it anymore. I'm more focused on now, in the future.

KING: But this man, Chavis, is doing time in prison. He caused this, did he not?

ALEX KING: I can say that had he not been around, my father would -- I would believe my father still be alive.

KING: They were friends, were they not?

ALEX KING: They were, they were, from what I recall.

MEDICO: If I could address that as well.

KING: Yes.

MEDICO: I ultimately ended up interviewing this man in county jail for a number of months.

KING: Chavis?

MEDICO: Yes. And I really felt like what we had there was a pedophile who had been convicted and served time, and he actually just went after this child.

KING: Alex.

MEDICO: Alex, yes. What he tried to do -- he searched out a victim in which there was a father who was doing the best that he could. He was struggling to make ends meet and pull his family together.

KING: No mother, right?

MEDICO: No mother, long since gone. He volunteered to help. So, once he had ingratiated himself to Terry King, then accessing Alex was child's play.

KING: But why would he want Alex to kill Terry King? What was the point of that?

MEDICO: I think the possibility that Terry had found out about what was going on is very real. And I don't know -- and Alex doesn't even remember specific instructions or anything of that nature. But this man is so manipulative and so persuasive that a child would never even see it coming.

KING: Have you blocked it out?

ALEX KING: I would say that I've made peace with it.

KING: We'll take a break. We'll be right back with Alex King and Kathryn Medico. Don't go away.



DEREK KING: We like, started playing and stuff with toys, and I said, don't worry about him, I'll deal with him. So, when he went to sleep, I got -- I made sure he was asleep. I got the bat, and I hit him over the head.


KING: Alex, do you remember, how old were you when this pedophile started bothering you?

ALEX KING: Um, I don't believe -- well, it was before then. I think I was about 9 or 10.

KING: Did you think about going to your father or telling your father about it or telling friends or telling somebody?

ALEX KING: Well, friends, I never had any. My father -- we didn't communicate very much. Um, he was always stressed a lot from work and everything. And I guess, we never really had open lines like that.

KING: Why were they tried as adults?

MEDICO: Because that's the way Florida does things. Actually, more and more states are doing that as well.

KING: Trying them as adults.

MEDICO: Trying children as adults. There's a child right now named Jordan Brown in Pennsylvania. He committed a crime, supposedly, allegedly, at the age of 11. Although, there's some question as to the possibility of another person being involved. But they're -- it's under appeal now. They're about to try him as an adult. And if he is convicted, he will be put away for 22 to life without the possibility of parole. And that's just what we're doing in this country.

And sort of Alex is the poster boy of saying, why are we doing that? It's not necessary. Let's have developmentally appropriate punishment and rehabilitate these children who are so malleable.

KING: Alex, what feelings do you have for Chavis now? ALEX KING: For him now?

KING: Yes. What do you think about when you think about him?

ALEX KING: Typically, I don't think about him. Um, it was -- moment in the past.

KING: You put it away?

ALEX KING: Pretty much.

KING: You interviewed him?


KING: What was he like to talk to?

MEDICO: He was incredibly manipulative. Very image focused. I never felt like I was getting an answer that was a true one. I felt like I was getting the answer that painted him the best light possible. And I could easily see how a child could be manipulated.

KING: Explain something. He was acquitted of murder, right?


KING: What is he -- I mean, he served time as a pedophile, right?


KING: What is he in jail for?

MEDICO: Well, he's in jail for accessory after the fact.

KING: How is he an accessory?

MEDICO: He took the boy's clothing and washed it and did certain things to hide the boys. He hid them in his basement of his trailer. He actually had built underneath his trailer a special room which was equipped with carpet and a bong, so they could smoke pot and magazines. And he would hide children down there.

KING: You testified against him, right?


KING: He was charged and later acquitted of sexual abuse. Let's watch what you said at that time.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In that note, did you say at the end of it, before I met Rick, I was straight, but now I'm gay?

ALEX KING: Yes, sir. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At the time you wrote this note, did you think you were gay?

ALEX KING: Yes, sir.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why did you think you were gay?

ALEX KING: Because Rick told me that.


KING: You ever hear from him at all?



KING: Where is he serving time? Rayford?

MEDICO: He is not in Rayford. He is in a correctional institute not very far from Tallahassee.

KING: He's the real culprit here, right?

MEDICO: Well, you can argue it both ways.

KING: Well, he victimized these kids.

MEDICO: My belief certainly is that he drove a wedge between these children. That their relationship with their father was not bad enough to have something like this occur. And if he weren't involved, I think Terry King would be alive today.

KING: What are you doing now, Alex?

ALEX KING: I'm actually working at the oil spill, the cleanup.

KING: You're working at the oil spill?

ALEX KING: Well, we're doing the oil spill cleanup on the beach.


ALEX KING: Yes, sir.

KING: Do they pay you?

ALEX KING: They do.

KING: Well, we met someone that BP is paying. No, I'm only kidding. Do you go to school, too?

ALEX KING: I took the summer off to work out at the beach. I'm just right now just trying to get a car, transportation, and let's see -- and then start back to school.

KING: You're 21 now, huh?


MEDICO: He's kind of modest because he says that he goes to school, but he's actually on the dean's list, and last semester, he was on the president's list.

KING: What school?

MEDICO: In Jacksonville. It's a community college in Jacksonville.

KING: What do you want to do with your life?

ALEX KING: I'm into mathematics and computer science. I intend to get into information analysis, hopefully.

KING: You're going to be a nerd?

ALEX KING: Pretty much.

MEDICO: He already is.

KING: Bill Gates your hero? Microsoft and --

ALEX KING: Close enough.

KING: You use all those products? You know what you're doing?

ALEX KING: For the most part, I do.

KING: How can -- there's no psych -- how can Alex or his brother ever be normal?

MEDICO: Love has a transformational power. It is just being embraced with compassion and non-judgment and every day is one closer step to healing. And in giving a child an opportunity to give back. When Alex first came to live with us, I realized that community service was going to be so important because giving of yourself is how you heal. So, I took him to Barcelona to a conference of humanitarians and introduced him to Dr. Deepak Chopra.

KING: Who will be with us later. We'll pick that up. Rosie O'Donnell played role in this case. That's next.


KING: When you look at those tapes, what do you think? You look at yourself?

ALEX KING: Wow. That's a long time ago. It's totally different person. Different life.

KING: that's not you?

ALEX KING: It doesn't seem like it a lot of times. KING: Wow. What was it like to -- you have a family, right?


KING: What was it like to bring him home?

MEDICO: It was great joy because -- you understand, we had a relationship for seven years. I would go and visit Alex. We wrote letters. Literally, hundreds and hundreds of letters were exchanged. And so, the day he finally came home was an amazing and joyful day. Alex had told us that he wanted to wear white when he actually exited the prison.

KING: Because?

ALEX KING: It signified purity and transcendence from the darkness.

MEDICO: He felt as though he had served his time with integrity, he was moving forward, he was leaving everything else behind, and the white -- he actually ended up wearing white for about a month. But it was great. It was -- what we did -- I got some counseling ahead of time so that I might be prepared to meet his needs, and what I found was that he needed his time to adjust in his own way. So, he would sit on the couch and just sort of watch us running around, living our lives. And it was a while before he joined in.

KING: Yes. Do you ever hear from your mother?

ALEX KING: When I went to Pensacola to live with my grandparents, I -- she was living there as well. So --

KING: That was your mother's parents?


KING: Yes.

ALEX KING: And so, we've been in touch for a couple of months now. And it's going --

KING: Does she have any guilt?


KING: She deserted you, right?

ALEX KING: It would seem -- it would seem that way but, you know, things like this take time.

KING: What are your feelings for her?

ALEX KING: She's great.

KING: She is? Do you know the mother?

MEDICO: I do, I do.

KING: Does she have guilt?

MEDICO: I think she does. I think she wishes that she had an opportunity to do things a little differently. She had four absolutely wonderful children.

KING: Two others?

MEDICO: There were, and they were adopted. There were two twins who were adopted.

KING: You know them?

ALEX KING: Um, it's been years since I saw them.

KING: Boy, this is a complex story.

MEDICO: Very multidimensional.

KING: Is this the happy ending or is this the beginning?

MEDICO: Maybe both. The good news is that we can take children who've been involved in a situation like this, and we can apply compassion to them, give them appropriate sentences, and they can emerge intact. We don't have to completely give up on them. I mean, we spend $55 a day per inmate in Florida. Instead of continuing to pay for him for the rest of his life, why not have him come out, heal, and move forward and pay taxes?

KING: Why not? We'll take a break. And others will join us. We're with Alex King and Kathryn Medico. Alex's attorney is next.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We, the jury, find as follows as to count one of the indictment guilty of second degree murder, a lesser included offense, without a weapon.


KING: Jayne Weintraub now joins us. She is a criminal defense attorney. She was hired by Rosie O'Donnell to represent Alex and help him get a new trial after his conviction. Jayne, how did Rosie get involved in all of this, and how did she involve you?

JAYNE WEINTRAUB, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, Rosie O'Donnell was watching the case in Florida, and I guess, from wherever she was. And she asked somebody that she saw -- she was going on the "Today" show and she asked somebody from Florida if they knew a female lawyer that was really tough and could get things done. She got my number, and she called me up. As a matter of fact, I wasn't even working at the time. My mom had just passed away. And I told Rosie, I said, you know, Rosie, I'm not working right now, and I just can't really do this.

And she said, you know what, your mother would want you to go back to work. Go back to work. It had been six weeks. She called me again. I went up to Pensacola. And I saw this little boy, the pictures that you've been showing. And I saw him in a jail cell, throwing a Spalding ball at the wall in the jail cell. And how could you not just want to help this kid? I mean, he was a baby. He was a little boy. Yes, he did something awful, but we don't just throw children away. And I think --

KING: At that time, Jayne, he was convicted and was facing what?

WEINTRAUB: He was facing 22 to life, and he was going to get 22 years. There was no doubt in my mind. And he was going to be sentenced and put in an adult prison and that is the problem here.

KING: What changed the judge?

WEINTRAUB: When I came up with a colleague (INAUDIBLE), we filed a motion for a new trial, a motion to set aside the verdict actually, and one of the reasons was that Chavis had been tried just the week before for this murder. So, the prosecutor went into courtroom one and told the jury that Chavis committed this crime and took the bat and hit (ph) Terry King. And then the prosecutor sealed that verdict.

Nobody knew what it was except he and the judge. And then they went back into another courtroom for Alex and Derek a week later, and they told that jury that Derek and Alex had committed this crime. I mean, it was unfathomable that a prosecutor could do that. There were two different theories. You can't convict two people of one act like that on two different --

KING: It's crazy. So, he was found not guilty in that crime. The judge then threw it out and ordered a new trial or just changed the sentence?

WEINTRAUB: Well, no, what he did was he said that he was going to order a new trial. And he ordered us to mediation which was also a very unique circumstance and a very great idea by Judge Bell. So, we all went into mediation and had to come up with a reasonable compromise because the prosecutor was in a position where he knew the gig was up. He was going to be back to square one. He didn't want to be at square one. Although, in the court of public opinion, the boys had already been convicted, they were going to get another chance with different lawyers. And that was going to make --

KING: Let's all discuss this. Alex too. Jayne, what do we do with a 10-year-old or 11-year-old who commits a horrendous crime? What do we do as a society?

WEINTRAUB: Well, we can't give up on them. I mean, look at him now. He is a 21-year-old young man. I am so proud and grateful to have been part of this, giving him his life back. He's been punished. It's not as if the kid wasn't punished.

You know, Larry, the United States Supreme Court has ruled that we can't put children to death under the age of 18, even for murder, because their brains aren't fully formed. They're not ready. He's not mature. He didn't have the experience. He was under the influence of Ricky Chavis, who was hiding him for ten days.

This was a kid who was being home schooled, but nobody was home. This is a kid who had no structure, with a pedophile teaching him to smoke pot and do all sorts of things. And the reality is Alex didn't know what was right and what was wrong. He had nobody telling him what to do. This is a kid who never was tucked in or had milk or cookies.

He had no love and no structure. What we need to do? We need to give them love and structure. We need to raise these children. We need to get high school mentoring programs going. We need to get our church and our synagogues involved. We need to get the community to understand that elected officials aren't going to get elected by tough on crime, put the child away as an adult. Because they're so young, they're going to get out by the time they're 40. Then what?

KING: Alex, do you ever fear you could be violent again?

A. KING: Um, actually that would come back to a vow that I took with -- when I was in Barcelona with my mother, a vow of nonviolence, a movement started by Deepak Chopra.

KING: He'll be with us in a little while. You have vowed nonviolence?

A. KING: Yes, I have.

KING: What would you add, Kathryn, as to what to do when we -- by the way, what was public opinion at the time in Florida?

MEDICO: It was really widely divided.

KING: They do polls?

MEDICO: They do polls. A lot of people were saying these children should -- you know, they're monsters and they need to go away forever. But there was a compassionate few who said, you know what, there are alternatives that we need to investigate. There were a lot of people with a big heart, that really said, you know what, let's take a look at this and see if there's a way that we don't have to give up on these children.

KING: Jayne, mediation --

WEINTRAUB: Kathy Medico, you are the one with a big heart.

KING: Jane, we hear about mediation in contract dispute, divorce settlements. Rarely in a criminal case does a mediator step in. Did it work?

WEINTRAUB: It was incredibly -- it did work because we were able to work through it. We came up with a theory for a third degree murder, which really didn't exist, but it was palatable to get through a statement of facts and get through the plea.

Larry, I do want to say one other thing. Even at that point, Judge Bell and Rimer -- David Rimer, the prosecutor -- had also objected to me getting them into the Department of Juvenile Justice. They still wanted the boys to be serving time in an adult prison, even for seven years. So they didn't really understand either --

KING: Wow.

WEINTRAUB: -- but because the sentence was only seven years, which was our objective and our goal, we knew as lawyers that we could get ahold of the Secretary Bankhead, which we did, and work through our system in Florida to get these boys into the places they needed to be. Alex actually wound up going to school for the very first time. And he did great because of his own determination and his own perseverance.

KING: Alex, do you know Rosie O'Donnell?

A. KING: Not personally.

KING: You've never met her?

A. KING: Unfortunately, no.

KING: She helped you. She got the lawyer --

MEDICO: We did. We tried. She invited us to come to her home in Miami and we tried to make that happen, but he has some restrictions on his probation and we were not able to make it happen at that time.

KING: He's on probation now?

MEDICO: He is.

KING: For how long?

A. KING: Another two and a half years.

KING: You report to a probation officer?

A. KING: I do.

KING: How often?

A. KING: Once a month.

KING: You go with him?

MEDICO: I don't have to go anymore. I went for the first couple of years.

KING: We'll be back with more of this incredible story right after this.


KING: By the way, the reason Alex is on probation and Derek is not -- both served their full time -- is that Alex has the extra time because he tried to escape. Could have got a lot more time.

The boys originally confessed to the crime, then said it was actually Rick Chavis who did it. Let's listen to part of what Alex said during the trial.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you love your father?

A. KING: Yes, sir.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Were you -- were you in the room when he was killed that night?

A. KING: No, sir.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did Derek kill your father?

A. KING: No, sir.


KING: Jayne, you think the original confession was coerced?

WEINTRAUB: I think that they were too young to understand the process and couldn't waive their Miranda rights. That's what I think. I think that no motions, no evaluations were done on these children. There was no issue of competency that had been raised with the court.

Look at that little boy. He was 12 years old and he looks 10. This is not somebody who was mature enough to make a decision and understand. Don't forget, here he was with Ricky Chavis, this pedophile who -- if he had been put away, Larry, this never would have happened to begin with. Because he wouldn't have been taking these boys on -- well, if Terry were gone, you could live with me.

He led them down this path, because they were so vulnerable that they went down that path. I'm not blaming the victim. But I am saying that there were reasons why this happened. And aren't we lucky that Rosie O'Donnell cared enough and felt so sorry for this little kid that she wanted lawyers to try and help him? And that a woman like Kathy Medico, who is a guardian angel, would come into Alex's life and give him a family and nurture him?

I mean, look at this young man. He's doing great. Dean's list. And working full time now.

KING: Yeah. Who's Derek with?

MEDICO: Derek is living in the apartment in Jacksonville, where he is going to school?

KING: He lives by himself?


KING: What is he going to do?

MEDICO: I'm not sure that he has decided yet. He's taking some classes. Some of them he likes and some he doesn't. French is definitely not up his alley.

KING: Do you think you two will ever be brother brothers? Real brothers?

A. KING: You never know what the future holds. I would hope so.

KING: Do you want that?

A. KING: It would be nice to connect with my family, all of them again.

KING: You've connected with your mother?

A. KING: I have. It's going well so far.

KING: You think they'll ever be brother brothers?

MEDICO: I do. I think as they move through their 20s, they'll find more in common. They'll both perhaps marry. They certainly both like girls.

KING: You do, huh?

A. KING: Yes.

KING: You're not going to have a problem in that department.

A. KING: No.

KING: Jayne, why doesn't -- did you ask Rosie why doesn't she go visit Alex? This is such a wonderful thing she did.

WEINTRAUB: You know, Larry, Rosie didn't even want anybody to know at the beginning that she was behind hiring the lawyers. And she -- we stayed in touch with her. As a matter of fact, as soon as the motion was granted and the verdict was set aside, I went right outside into the cameras and I walked across, I called Rosie on her cell phone. I said, we did it. You saved this kid's life. You gave this boy life. You're like in a labor room.

And Rosie said to me on that phone, that was a person to person call from your mother. And I have to tell you, Larry, that she changed my life as well because I went back to work full fledge ahead. And haven't stopped.

KING: Wow.

WEINTRAUB: She's a wonderful woman, Rosie. KING: We have mentioned Deepak Chopra. He will join us after this.



DEEPAK CHOPRA, THE CHOPRA FOUNDATION: Alex King is standing right next to me. He's 19 years old. And when he was 12, you can't even imagine the trouble he was in. He is now on a global campaign at schools and colleges to have young people take the vow.


KING: Deepak Chopra, our good friend, founder of the Chopra Foundation, physician, best-selling author. The book, new one, is "Peace Is The Way." He joins us from New York. You cut off your hair?

CHOPRA: I was a monk, Larry, for three weeks in the monastery in Thailand.

KING: Why?

CHOPRA: Why? I just wanted to take a break and go deep inside, and see where my priorities are now for the rest of my life. So it was a moment of letting go of everything and the hair shaving is just symbolic of that.

KING: Are you going to stay that way?

CHOPRA: I think it's more convenient, yes.

KING: Before I ask, I want to ask Alex, do you miss -- think about your dad?

A. KING: I miss my dad in my successes. I know that he would be proud of me. Presently, I know he's at peace. So --

KING: You think about any individual moments you had with him?

A. KING: Sometimes.

KING: Not a lot though.

A. KING: Not a lot.

KING: Deepak, how did you come to meet Alex?

CHOPRA: We were having a conference in Barcelona on peace, Larry. And we were told about our friend Alex here and his mother, who's just an angel, as you know. And we got him a scholarship to come to the conference. A colleague of mine offered the scholarship. And he came there. And we were having a ceremony where 500 of us took a personal oath of nonviolence. Alex joined us. And Alex and I have kept in touch periodically. He started recruiting other people to join him in taking that oath of nonviolence.

KING: What do you make -- I'm sorry, go ahead.

CHOPRA: You know, Kathryn is the perfect example of nonjudgmental, unconditional love, which is redemptive. And, you know, as a physician, for the last 25 years, as you know, Larry, I've explored the mind/body connection. Rage like that in a brain that has not fully developed always has a cause. We know that emotional development in a child takes place in the first three or four years of life, just like we learned language in the first three or four years of life. We don't remember when we learned language. We don't remember when we learned emotional skills.

And if a child doesn't receive love, if a child is abused in any way, the brain has a different physiology. There's a part of your brain called the limbic brain, which is connected to your emotional state, to your hormones. Now we know that rage and even this kind of violence has biological basis.

KING: You're not saying, though, that you forgive any action?

CHOPRA: We don't forgive any action. But we try and find out the causes, the root cause of violence. And the root cause of violence in children is always some form of abuse or children who have been the victims of violence.

KING: Jayne, do you think -- hold on a second. Jayne, do you think the public, majority, accepts that statement?

WEINTRAUB: I don't think they understand that statement really, truly. I think that they just want punishment and they want to warehouse our children. And that's why our elected officials think that's a platform to get where they want to go. And it's a terrible, wrong position I think. And that's why I fight so hard to do what I do. And I am grateful for people like Deepak and for Kathy Medico, who demonstrate every day how people really should live their lives.

KING: you think it's changing, Kathryn, public attitude?

MEDICO: I am optimistic. I do think that we are embracing the transformational power of love as -- you know, globally. So I'm hopeful that people will sustain less judgment and they will embrace the possibility for these children.

KING: Does it puzzle you, Alex, just puzzle you, as to -- I mean, you know the reasons. You know this other guy and he did terrible things. But does it ever puzzle you as to why did I do this?

A. KING: Well, I have to say that that was a very confusing time for me. I don't think much on it now. I don't remember very much. But I don't -- as I say, I don't think about it. There is really no cause for confusion now.

KING: Do you think, Deepak, that most people think, well, my kid wouldn't do that?

CHOPRA: Well, if their kid has been loved, nurtured and has been really taken care of, they won't do that. But, you know, we're seeing an epidemic of violence in our children. Every now and then, you have programs on your show where we've seen, you know, acts -- heinous acts committed by children. We never look at the root cause. The root cause is our own society.

You know, at the end, we have to look at the root cause. We have to heal our children by healing ourselves. The children -- children at that age don't have a fully developed brain. And they mirror the neurons of the people around them. And this is now getting some very good scientific attention, that young children, their neurons will mirror the neurons of people in their environment.

If the people are abusive, if the people are angry, if the people are hostile, if the people are violent, then you'll get a child that has imbibed that unconsciously. And there's a physiology associated with it. As I said, your limbic system -- your hypothalamus is connected to your hormonal system. You can go into what is called free floating rage.

In fact, there is some evidence, Larry, that even in the womb, if a baby is in the womb and the mother is hearing violent sounds like police shots or gunshots or ambulance alarms, her adrenaline levels go up, which causes the baby to have a heart rate that speeds up.

KING: Amazing, yeah.

CHOPRA: And then later when the baby is born, he has something or she has something called free floating rage, which means rage without any cause.

KING: Kathryn, did you have any -- any, even minute, fear of Alex?

MEDICO: Well, no, because --

KING: Because you knew what he had done.

MEDICO: First of all, Alex never committed any violence. Let's be clear of that.

KING: He didn't?

MEDICO: No, he didn't. He's not accused of having done a violent act. He's accused of having said something. Right? And so I got to know him over the course of seven years and I never knew him to be violent in any way.

KING: It was Derek that did the act?

MEDICO: Derek was accused of committing the act, being the perpetrator.

KING: So Alex was not the perpetrator? MEDICO: No.

KING: So there was no need to have any fear?

MEDICO: No, there was no fear.

WEINTRAUB: Of course, under the law, they were looked at as equal.

KING: by the law, they were, OK. We'll be right back. We've got more moments to go.



KING: I know you'll find this interesting. I asked Kathryn during the break if Alex needed permission from his probation officer to come from Florida to do our show tonight here in California. You need more than that, right? What did you have to do?

MEDICO: He has to pay court costs. And it's been very difficult for Alex to work, because it's hard to get a job when you have a record. So the little bit of work that he's doing, he is contributing to paying for these court costs.

KING: The whole --

MEDICO: The whole court costs.

KING: What does he owe?

MEDICO: He owes maybe 2,400 dollars, something like that. So they said, well, you cannot come unless you make a payment. And so that's what we had to do.

KING: So you paid for him?

MEDICO: I loaned Alex the money, because Alex wants to pay these court costs. He feels like that's part of his responsibility. So I said to him, if that's the way you want to do it, I'll be happy to front you the money. That's what we did. He received the document and off we went.

KING: What do you think, Alex, if there had not been a Kathryn in your life?

A. KING: That's an unpleasant thought. Kathy, my mom, she's done so much good for me. It's unbelievable. She supported me throughout my entire incarceration, even when I got out.

KING: No telling where you would be?

A. KING: No telling.

KING: Do you call your biological mother mom, too? A. KING: I do.

KING: Jayne, what would have happened to Alex, do you think, if there were no Kathryn and no Rosie?

WEINTRAUB: I think he would have been still in prison, in state prison. And he would have gotten out in another ten years and he would have gone back again, because he would have had nothing else to do but commit a crime.

And, Larry, look at him. Look at that boy next to you. I am so proud and so glad to have had a chance to be part of doing what we did and helping to give this kid a life.

KING: Deepak, what do you think would have happened, no Kathryn?

CHOPRA: He would have been in prison. If and when he got out, he had a likelihood of going back, because he would have been even more violent, going through the prison system that we have right now.

You know, this is proof, Larry, that love is a real healing force. This is not a metaphor. Love restores self repair mechanisms. It restores self regulation. It restores what we call homeostasis.

And it spreads. It's contagious. In the eastern wisdom traditions, they say if you have loving kindness, if you have compassion, if you can make other people happy, and if you have equanimity, that becomes a contagion. It is something that cannot be contained. That is what Kathryn did with this boy.

I wish we could have this phenomenon universally applied, so that we would actually rehabilitate these children and prevent these things from happening in the future.

KING: Also the mystery of childhood, right, Kathryn?

MEDICO: Absolutely.

KING: And what affect we have on children and we don't even know we have.

MEDICO: You can't overstate how important those early years are.

KING: Do you think, Jayne, the legal system will catch up?

WEINTRAUB: I sure hope so, Larry. And I'm going to keep trying to get it to do so.

KING: Because it is -- it's still a step behind, right, in its treatment, especially in Florida?

WEINTRAUB: Especially in Florida. And it seems that we keep having all of these kids that keep coming up to be tried as adults because the system is just throwing them away and not knowing how or taking the time to cope and care for them. Because that's what they need, caring and nurturing and learning. KING: Alex, do you at all feel lucky?

A. KING: I feel blessed. So many people, Kathy, Jayne, Rosie O'Donnell, all those that cared about me and also took care of me, really. I feel it's a blessing from God. I don't think luck really had anything to do with it.

MEDICO: Also his original attorneys were amazing people. Sharon Wilson and James Stokes and Dennis Quarter, they cared so deeply and they invested so much pro bono in taking care of Alex. And he absolutely had such a bond. Two of those attorneys have passed away. But Sharon Wilson is still doing great work in Pensacola.

KING: Thank you. Thank you very much. Thanks, Jayne Weintraub. Thanks, Deepak. Best of luck to you, Alex.

A. KING: Thank you.

KING: Keep in touch and clean up the beaches.

A. KING: I'll do my best.

KING: To learn more about Deepak Chopra's nonviolence pledge, go to Hope you -- I don't know if enjoy is the word. I hope you found tonight's program enlightening. See you again tomorrow.

It's time now for Anderson Cooper and "AC 360." Anderson?