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The Families Behind the Crime and the Criminals

Aired June 28, 2013 - 23:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, HOST: Good evening. I'm Anderson Cooper.

In early June, Southern California was the scene of a deadly shooting rampage, this one carried out by a lone gunman in Santa Monica. The suspect, who had a history of mental health issues, murdered five people, including his own father and brother, before he was shot and killed.

Each time these crimes occur, we ask what could have been done to prevent it. Were there any warning signs? Often it's the people closest, the perpetrators, their spouses, and their relatives who feel the most responsible. Well tonight, an intimate perspective of the most troubled and violent among us those who knew them best. We hear from the wives, the daughters, the brothers and the fathers of those who would later commit unspeakable acts.

Randi Kaye begins our special report "The Madman in my Life."


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That child kidnapper operated a torture chamber and private prison in the heart of our city.

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): A daughter's sickening nightmare.

ANGIE GREGG, ARIEL CASTRO'S DAUGHTER: If you would have asked me this last week, I would have told you he's the best dad and the best grandpa. He's dead to me.

KAYE: A brother's terrible discovery.

DAVID KACZYNSKI, TED KACZYNSKI'S BROTHER: My wife, Linda, comes to me one day and says do you think there's any possibility that this Unabomber might be your brother?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There are 11 individuals or parts thereof that were recovered, and those would include 11 intact skulls.

KAYE: A father's frustration.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was ordered by the court to undergo counseling. I visited the psychologist, but she did not indicate to me that she knew what was wrong.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A single engine aircraft has crashed into a seven story building.

KAYE: A wife's horrible surprise.

(UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE): I can't imagine anybody doing anything like that. Let alone my husband.

KAYE: A family's desperate attempt to prevent a massacre.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: His thought process was the world was going to end on Friday.

KAYE: What do you do when a loved one becomes a monster?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How do you know the truth about someone that you love?

AMANDA BERRY, KIDNAPPED VICTIM: Help me. I'm Amanda Berry. I've been kidnapped and I've been missing for ten years, and I'm here, I'm free now.

KAYE: A chilling 911 call.


(UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE): We're going to send someone as soon as we get a car open.

BERRY: No. I need him now before he gets back.

KAYE: Minutes after receiving this call Cleveland police would rescue Amanda Berry, Michelle Knight and Gina DeJesus. Three young women who have been missing for ten years.

COOPER: An extraordinary story out of Cleveland tonight. A man by the name of Ariel Castro, 52 years old has been arrested. He is the suspect in this.

KAYE: Prosecutors say Ariel Castro kept these women locked in his house. Where he raped, starved and beat them. Forcing one to have several miscarriages.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The horrific brutality and torture that the victims endured for a decade is beyond comprehension.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why are you covering your face? What do you have to say to those women? What kind of monster does this?

KAYE: As shocking as these crimes are what is perhaps equally disturbing is that the alleged perpetrator lived in plain sight for a decade. Remaining close to family and friends.

(UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE): It's a horror movie. Only, we're in it. We're the main characters.

KAYE: Angie Gregg knows the man charged with these disturbing crimes very well. Ariel Castro is her father. GREG: If you would have asked me this last week, I would have told you he's the best dad and the best grandpa.

KAYE: Gregg, one of Ariel Castro's five children, says her father was loving and kind.

GREGG: Living at home, there were a lot of good memories. I remember my dad lining us up and cutting our bangs himself. Going on family outings, carnivals, motorcycle rides with my dad. There were a lot of good times.

KAYE: Greg says the good times ended when her mother left her father because he was physically abusive.

GREGG: He was pretty jealous. He beat her pretty bad several times. He would make excuses why he was the way he was with her.

KAYE: Yet even after her parents separated, Greg remained close to her father, often visiting him at his home, unaware the alleged horror taking place, hidden behind closed doors.

GREG: I spent some time in there. I would be in there after two hours at a time, and never noticed anything odd.

PEDRO, ARIEL CASTRO'S BROTHER: I don't know how my brother got away with it for so many years. That would never cross my mind.

KAYE: Ariel Castro's brothers Pedro and O'Neil are also still trying to comprehend how their brother was able to hide his alleged savagery.

O'NEIL, ARIEL CASTRO'S BROTHER: I can't believe that Ariel was committing such a hateful crime, for this amount of time, acting like nothing was happening. No worries.

PEDRO: It hurts. It hurts a lot. I want to wake up out of nightmare last night and I want to wake up out of this one and I just can't.

KAYE: Both brothers say they visited Ariel's house often, never suspecting any wrong doing, even when they saw him with a little girl, who they later discovered was Amanda Berry's child, born in captivity.

PEDRO: I had no idea that like girl was his or Amanda's.

KAYE: How was it possible that these close family members could not have known what was going on? How could they have not suspected or noticed anything troubling about their brother, their father?

DR. REEVE MALLOY. FORENSIC PHYSIOLOGIST: Often times you will find individuals who can channel their aggressive behavior. And sometimes their sexually aggressively behavior in a way that is very narrow and very clandestine.

KAYE: Dr. Reeve Malloy is a forensic physiologist he studies the physiological makeup of violent criminals. Manipulated people and I could never forgive him. Although Dr. Malloy hasn't met Ariel Castro he says it isn't surprising that those close to Castro were shocked. That he may have committed these disturbing crimes.

MALLOY: We tend to assume what we see on the surface as a full understanding of the individual. But the assumption is that book is explained by the cover and the cover typically doesn't tell us what is inside the book.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We would like to enter a plea of not guilty.

KAYE: As Castro awaits trial on charges of kidnapping, rape and murder. His family must attempt to reconcile the man they knew and loved. With the man charged with such sickening crimes.

GREGG: It is hard but I have no sympathy he was just another person who has lied and deceived and manipulated people and I could never forgive him.

KAYE: Dr Malloy believes Castro's family members are just beginning to emotionally process their brother's actions.

MALLOY: The sad reality is typically the healthier the family member is, the more likely they are to feel a sense of guilt and responsibility for what's happened and it can take a tremendous amount of work internally for them to overcome the sense that they had some responsibility for what happened.

GREGG: There's no doubt in my mind that he's guilty, and I have no problem cutting him out of my life. He's dead to me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All of a sudden a big explosion.

KAYE: Coming up, his bother terrorized a nation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If we turn that in we know it's not going to be to a psychiatric hospital. It's going to be to a criminal justice system that could very easily put him to death.


KACZYNSKI: To me, he was always a good brother. I always looked up to him. He was smart, he was independent. He had principles.

KAYE: Growing up, David Kaczynski always admired older brother Teddy.

KACZYNSKI: He had a sense of right and wrong that you behaved with integrity. Never violent. There was absolutely no indication of what he would later become.

KAYE: David's brother was the Unabomber. A domestic terrorist responsible for 16 bombings that killed three people and wounded 23 others. His killing spree went on for nearly two decades, until the one person who said he would never abandon him --

KACZYNSKI: I hope that my brother Ted will someday forgive me. KAYE: Faced the dilemma of whether to turn him in, and possibly send his big brother to death row. Separated by seven years, David and Ted Kaczynski grew up together on the outskirts of Chicago. With Teddy always looking out for his baby brother.

KACZYNSKI: I remember when I was about 3 years old, I used to push my way out through the screen door we had in back and play out back, and I always had a ball. But the frustration was trying to get back inside the house, because at the age of 3, I was so short I couldn't reach the doorknob. And then one day Ted, who would have been 10 or 11 years old at the time, came out of the house and I saw him fiddling around at the back door. When he's done, he says Dave, see if this works. And all of a sudden I realized what he had done. He had made like a little makeshift door handle for me.

KAYE: David appreciated Ted's kindness, but noticed something else about his brother.

KACZYNSKI: I guess there was a part of me, even as a young child that thought Ted is a little different. And I remember once asking mom, you know, mom, what's wrong with Teddy? She says nothing is wrong with your brother. I said, doesn't he like people? Why doesn't he have friends?

KAYE: Forensic psychologist Dr. Reed Malloy says it's OK for children to be different until it becomes a problem.

MALLOY: When parents are getting feedback or comments from other people that a child is behaving in an unusual way or is engaging in isolating behaviors, that's very important to listen seriously to what people are telling you.

KAYE: Kaczynski was socially awkward, but brilliant.

KACZYNSKI: He was fascinated with rocketry. So he used to make his own homemade, not out of any sort of kit, rockets that he would shoot off in the park.

KAYE: He earned a scholarship to Harvard at age 16, received his PH.D. from the University of Michigan and became a college professor at the age of 25. It was during his time at Michigan that he began losing touch with reality.

KACZYNSKI: He might have had his first sort of psychotic break when he was there. He began to imagine visits by people who had never visited him.

KAYE: In 1969, Kaczynski suddenly gave up his promising career as a college professor. Wanting to divorce himself from modern society and his family. He eventually moved into a small cabin in Lincoln, Montana, choosing to live in isolation without plumbing or electricity.

MALLOY: He had this peculiar nexus between ideology, sort of a hatred of the growing and advancing technology within the world. KAYE: When David married his wife, Linda, in 1990, Ted was supposed to be the best man but refused to attend. That's when Linda started asking questions.

KACZYNSKI: I struggled to answer the questions, why did he quit his job? Why is he living the way he's living? Why has he rejected his parents? Why did he refuse to come to our wedding?

KAYE: And then the letters started to arrive. A diatribe of hatred toward modern technology.

KACZYNSKI: It used to be that I suffered from hardly any tension at all around here. But the area is now so messed up that my old way of life is all shot to hell.

LINDA KACZYNSKI, TED KACZYNSKI'S SISTER IN LAW: This was not just a disgruntled brother. But this was something quite more serious than that.

KAYE: Attempts to get his brother counseling in Montana were unsuccessful.

KACZYNSKI: Given that Ted was an adult, given that there was no evidence that he was an imminent threat to himself or others, essentially there was nothing we could do.

KAYE: Around the same time, David was receiving disturbing letters from his brother, Ted. Universities and airlines received exploding bombs in the mail. Many contained meticulously carved wood.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We suspect this as the handwriting of the Unabomber subject.

KAYE: The haunting similarities between Ted's dark letters and a manifesto the Unabomber sent to "The Washington Post" and "New York Times" caught the attention of David's wife.

L. KACZYNSKI: It kind of added up. That he was a woodworker; he had connections to Chicago and San Francisco.

KACZYNSKI: Linda urged me to sit down and read the manifesto and I'm actually reading the first page, all set to turn to her and say, I'm sure this is not Ted's writing. And finding myself with a lump in my chest.

KAYE: For David, it was a horrible realization.

KACZYNSKI: If you looked past the ideas of the manifesto, you see a person as troubled as my brother.

KAYE: He now had to decide what to do.

KACZYNSKI: If we do nothing and Ted is the Unabomber, we may wake up some morning and realize he struck again. An innocent person died because we failed to act, we would have blood on our hands.

KAYE: It took Linda two months but she finally convinced David to contact the FBI.

KACZYNSKI: There was no turning back, but I can tell you how painful it was to just put my finger down and say yes he lives here, realizing that I could be sending my own brother to his own death. When Ted was arrested, under the bed where he slept was another bomb wrapped in a package accurately ready to be mailed to someone.

KAYE: Ted Kaczynski rejected his attorney's insanity defense and pleaded guilty to murder. He was sentenced to life in prison with no opportunity for parole. But to this day, David believes Ted is insane and should be in a mental institution.

KACZYNSKI: My biggest regret was not to have clearer insight that he was ill.

KAYE: David continues to write to his brother twice a year in prison. He has never received a response.

Coming up --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It looks like a fireball.

KAYE: Kyra Phillips on simmering anger. A deadly attack.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I didn't know about the IRS. I didn't know that he was violent.

KAYE: And a wife left searching for answers.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How could I possibly know he was anything like that?


CHERYL STACK: I still love Joe. I don't think that Joe was a bad person.

KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It took some time for Cheryl Stack to get to this point. For two years she has struggled but has found comfort in her music and her faith.

STACK: I have been more sad then mad. Suicide is so painful in so many different levels and then you add the public factor, the public suicide.

PHILLIPS: It was February 18, 2010, and angry and violent Joe Staff set his family's house on fire then drove her to the Georgetown Municipal Airport. Boarded a single engine plane and was cleared for takeoff. At 9:44 a.m. Joe Stack was headed for his final flight. Joe Stack knew exactly where he was going, The Echelon Building in Austin which housed the IRS.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was like a fire ball, people letting screams all around them. People were crying.

PHILLIPS: Stacks landed his plane between the first and second floors of the building. It exploded on impact. One man in the building was killed, Vernon Hunter an IRS employee.

Immediately there were fears that this was act of terrorism but it wasn't. It was simply one man's grudge against the IRS.

And then came the manifesto, before Stack would die by suicide the 53 year old software engineer would leave behind a rambling diatribe online where he railed against the government in excruciating detail.

"I choose to not keep looking over my shoulder at "big brother" while he strips my carcass." Stack wrote. "I choose not to ignore what is going on all around me. I have just had enough." Today that manifesto still haunts Cheryl Stack.

What do you say to people that maybe listening to you and thinking how could she not know about this rage, about this manifesto? About this anger?

STACK: Well I knew that he was angry. But I thought he was angry at us. You know about the IRS. I didn't know that he was violent. How could I possibly know he was anything like that?

PHILLIPS: Cheryl met Joseph Andrew Stack through a mutual friend in 2005. Both loved music Cheryl played piano, Joe played bass guitar. Two years later in a small ceremony in Austin they married. Joining them was Cheryl's 12 year old daughter Margo.

Did he ever talk about how he was angry with the government? Angry with the IRS?

STACK: When we were dating he did talk about the IRS. He didn't seem so angry, he just didn't like them.

PHILLIPS: But actually Joe's emotions ran much deeper. In the 80's while living in California he was part of an anti tax movement. Even forming his own tax exempt home church. His run ins with the IRS continued for decades. Joe and Cheryl got audited in late 2008 once again Joe was in another battle with the IRS. A battle he wasn't going to lose.

Joe Stack started to document what would soon become his suicide mission. He wrote, "Desperate times call for desperate measures. And violence not only is the answer it is the only answer."

This is what is left of the home that Joe Stack burned down. Is it hard to come back here?

STACK: It is hard to answer; it's not as hard as it was initially. It was really hard right after it all happened.

PHILLIPS: Cheryl said in the months before he became more angry with the IRS and the audit. He started to blame her and her daughter Margo for all his problems. And became increasingly strict with Margo. Cheryl talked about divorce.

STACK: He said that we were the cause of all of his trouble.


STACK: But that was at the same time that he was giving me a birthday card and saying you are the best thing that ever happened to me in my whole life.

PHILLIPS: Then came their final night together.

MARGO, JOE STACK'S STEP DAUGHTER: After we had dinner we sat down in the family room and he was just talking like he just wanted to leave. And he said he was just going disappear but we didn't really know what he was talking about. And I said mom he is not even taking a toothbrush with him or anything like. Where is he going? This is kind of scaring me.

PHILLIPS: So did you think he might do something that wasn't right?

MARGO: I kind of had like a feeling that something was going to happen, like something bad. And I told my mom that I wanted to leave and she said OK. And so we left.

PHILLIPS: Cheryl took her daughter to this nearby Ramada Inn. She never heard from Joe again. The next morning this is what Cheryl drove up to. The morning of the fire Cheryl and her daughter took refuge at a neighbor's home. It would be there that she would discover the fate of her husband, on the local news.

STACK: They interrupted the house fire to show that a plane had crashed into a building.

PHILLIPS: And how did you react when you realized it was his plane and it was him?

STACK: Well, I don't think I did react, I think I just was I just was in complete and utter shock.

PHILLIPS: He wrote in the manifesto, but violence not only is the answer, it's the only answer.

STACK: I don't know who that is. I don't know that man. I learned a lot being up in the air with Joe. One of the things I learned up there, is that the sun is always shining on either side of the clouds. It might be a really dark, dark day, might be a terrible, terrible day, but on the other side of those clouds the sun is shining.

PHILLIPS: Coming up


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He never gave any that he was involved in murdering people, or eating them or whatever.

BAILIFF: All rise.

PHILLIPS: Randy Kay on the sadistic serial killer, and a fathers anguish. LIONEL DAHMER, FATHER OF JEFFREY DAHMER: He was ordered by the Court to undergo counseling, I visited the psychologist, she knew something was wrong, but she really didn't know. She couldn't tell me anything.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There are 11 individuals or parts thereof that were recovered, and those would include 11 intact skulls.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE, INTERVIEWEE: It was gruesome, yeah it was.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He never carried his self or gave any idea that he was involved in murdering people, or eating them, or whatever.

PHILIP ARREOLA, CHIEF MILWAUKEE POLICE: The suspect is a 31 year old, white male. Were doing a great deal of investigation in the individuals background, his whereabouts, for all purposes his entire history.

PHILLIPS: Today, Jeffrey Dahmer is remembered as a monster, who murdered, dismembered, and cannibalized 17 victims. But long before then, Jeffrey Dahmer appeared to be an ordinary boy.

DAHMER: He was my first child, and we had lots of fun together when he was young. He returned my love, I loved him very much. He played in the sandbox I made for him at the University Housing, rode the bike with him, took him for a chocolate shake every Saturday morning.

PHILLIPS: Jeffrey Dahmer's father, Lionel Dahmer, sat down with CNN in 2007, and recalled how Jeffrey's happy go-lucky demeanor was soon consumed by overwhelming shyness.

DAHMER: His school teachers noted that and told us that he seemed very shy and a little bit, not very happy.


PHILLIPS: Psychiatrist Fred Berlin examined Jeffrey Dahmer after he was arrested for murder. Berlin says there was early signs that Jeffrey Dahmer had a dark side, but no indication that he would become a serial killer.

FRED BERLIN, M.D., PSYCHIATRIST: There had been one time in his childhood where Jeffrey Dahmer had brought home a road kill, a dog or something that had been killed on the side of the road. And certainly as a father if one were to see that he would want to know what in the heck is this all about? But that's a far cry from saying that having known that had happened I think my sons going to turn into a serial killer that's going to take the life of 17 people. To me, that's one heck of a stretch.


PHILLIPS: But by the end of high school, Jeffrey Dahmer was depressed, drinking and unknown to his family having violent sexual fantasies.


BERLIN: Well Jeffrey Dahmer's crimes were motivated by the presence of abnormal sexual fantasies, cravings and urges. When people are being driven to act the because of the privacy of their sexual make up, that's something that's very difficult for any of us to detect.


PHILLIPS: Three months after his high school graduation in 1978, Jeffrey Dahmer committed his first murder. Bludgeoning a 19 year old hitchhiker with a 10 pound barbell then dissecting his victims body in the crawl space of his parents home and burying the remains in a shallow grave. After the murder, Jeffrey Dahmer dropped out of college, began living at home without a job, and continued drinking heavily. His father urged him to enlist in the Army.


DAHMER: He doesn't have an occupation of any kind, he's not trained for anything, so how about trying the Army for a while?


PHILLIPS: Less than three years after joining the Army, Dahmer was kicked out for excessive drinking.

DAHMER: We had to do something so we sent him to my mothers in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

PHILLIPS: That's when his behavior changed from strange to bizarre.

BERLIN: For a period of time he was sleeping with a male mannequin in his grandmother's home in Wisconsin, pretending in his mind, that it was a corpse.

PHILLIPS: While Dahmer was living with his grandmother, he continued abusing alcohol. His father enrolled him in a treatment program, but the psychologist working with Dahmer refused to share any insights regarding his mental state.

DAHMER: He said I will not discuss his details because he is an adult and that's between him and I.

PHILLIPS: Dahmer severed short prison sentences for indecent exposure and molesting a minor.

DAHMER: He was ordered by the Court to undergo counseling. I visited the psychologist, but she did not indicate to me that she knew what was wrong, she knew something was wrong, but she really didn't know.

PHILLIPS: By 1988, Dahmer moved into his own apartment, and attracted little attention. BERLIN: He was someone who you could sit down and speak with and seemed quite affable, so there's nothing about his demeanor or appearance that would've given any clue that these sorts of crimes that we know he committed.

PHILLIPS: During a span of three years, the affable guy next door would kill and mutilate 16 more victims. All young men or boys. With most of the slayings taken place in his Milwaukee apartment. But his father's was completely unaware of the grizzly evidence inside the apartment.

DAHMER: It was a very nice apartment actually inside, it was neat and clean when we went there. There was nothing to give us any signals that something was wrong. But there were red flags, but we couldn't see them.

PHILLIPS: In 1991, Jeffrey Dahmer was finally caught and arrested.

BERLIN: Talking to the head that's been severed that seen himself has continued on an intimate relationship by eating someone.

PHILLIPS: It wasn't until his trial that his father would learn about the horrific atrocities his son had committed. Dahmer was convicted and sentenced to life in prison.

In 1994, less than two years after his conviction, Jeffrey Dahmer was brutally killed by a fellow inmate while cleaning the prison gymnasium. He was 34. Could Dahmer had been stopped before the rampage? His father says he begged his sons lawyer and the Judge to keep his son locked up after his earlier molestation arrest.

DAHMER: I wanted to have a little time to keep him in prison for the maximum time to try to find some solution to the problem. I wish he was alive that I could still, you know we could've pursued this and really found out what could have been the triggers. I think I would have really quizzed Jeff on his inner thoughts, I could have pushed more, you know, I could have.

PHILLIPS: Coming up, confronting mental illness, a family alerts authorities to a tragedy waiting to happen.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He had on body armor when I was talking to him through the window, I saw the butt of a rifle so I knew danger was there.




PHILLIPS: December 14th 2012, a Connecticut elementary school under assault. Within minutes six adults and 20 children massacred. Just three days later another school, this one in Florida goes into lockdown.

And Miami-Dade police negotiator, Victor Milian is called into action.

VICTOR MILIAN, POLICE NEGOTIATOR: Part of the information I received was there was multiple weapons involved to include grenades.

PHILLIPS: The shooter isn't in the school, but across the street living here, he is distressed and heavily armed. Inside his apartment the walls are covered with violent rantings and silhouettes used for target practice. His name is Franklin Rosario. Earlier that day his sister, Alma had sent this desperate email that alerted authorities. I live with him and have seen his suicide note written on his wall at home and he has personally told me about plans he has to do mass public shootings.

PHILLIPS: What were your immediate concerns as soon as you got there?

MILIAN: As I'm pulling up to the scene there is a private school across the street.

PHILLIPS: The police special response team surrounds the area as Milian begins talking to Rosario.

MILIAN: He had on body armor when I was talking to him through the window, I saw the butt of a rifle so I knew that the danger was there.

PHILLIPS: And he knew that Rosario suffered from mental illness. He's a combat Army veteran who is 100 percent disabled who suffers from PTSD, Schizophrenia, Bipolar and depression. It is unlikely that he is currently taking his medication.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Give me an idea of this veterans state of mind as far as you can tell.

MILIAN: He was in a crisis mode, his thought process was that the world was going to end on Friday and Americans were potentially in harm's way.

PHILLIPS: How do you rationally speak to someone whose having a mental breakdown?

MILIAN: A lot of patience, a lot of patience.

PHILLIPS: Milian says Rosario was suspicious of police, but he somehow finds a way to build trust.

MILIAN: I explain to him that I am a veteran myself, I actually showed him my military ID card and I think that was the turning point.

PHILLIPS: After more than five hours of negotiating, no bullets fired, no storming the building, Rosario surrenders peacefully. He is taken to a treatment facility, not a jail.

JUDGE LIFEMAN: He was very sick, very, very sick. But, he didn't break a law, that's what, they got to him before he did anything terrible.

PHILLIPS: It was Miami Dade county Judge Lifeman's staff that had received the email and alerted police. JUDGE LIFEMAN: We wait until someone is so sick they are either getting arrested, getting hurt, or hurting somebody. It's foolish, it's dangerous, and it's very expensive. And its ruining families, its ruining lives and its very unnecessary. We had a horrible situation over here

PHILLIPS: Lifeman has spent years insuring that when possible, mentally ill people are taken to appropriate mental health facilities for evaluation, instead of being arrested. He showed me the alternative here, the ninth floor of the Miami Dade detention center, where the most acute cases end up.

Walking around here I mean I've never been to a place like this, this is an awful place. We can't argue with that

LIFEMAN: No, it's startling.

PHILLIPS: It used to be dubbed The Forgotten Floor, Judge Lifeman told me.

LIFEMAN: People forgot about the inmates who have serious mental illnesses.

PHILLIPS: He says today, it's much improved and incredibly costly, about 60 million dollars a year to house these people in such horrific conditions.

When you're here and you look around, what disturbs you most?

LIFEMAN: Oh, the overcrowding twenty-four seven in the same cell. It's not conducive for treatment. There's no therapy here, it's basically

PHILLIPS: They just stay locked up.

LIFEMAN: They stay locked up and they get a pill. And that's pretty much it.

PHILLIPS: That's not treatment.

LIFEMAN: That's not treatment.

PHILLIPS: That's why Judge Lifeman started an intense 40 hour course.

LIFEMAN: Last year 1.5 million people with serious mental illnesses were arrested.

PHILLIPS: Which gives Miami Dade police the training they need to better deal with the mentally ill on the street and get them help.

Lieutenant Jeff Locke went through the crisis intervention training. On this night we joined him on a fairly quiet patrol.

Before there was CIT, before officers were specifically trained to deal with mentally ill? How did they deal with them?

JEFF LOCKE, POLICE LIEUTENANT: Confrontational. Grab them, arrest them, throw them, handcuff them, put them on a gurney, tie them to the gurney, and ship them off to a refinement facility

PHILLIPS: Lieutenant Locke says CIT are taught to take a step back, to deescalate the situation

LOCKE: Were not showing up in that macho level to where I'm here, I'm going to take you here, I'm going to do this. Now there's more of

PHILLIPS: I'm here to help you.

LOCKE: Were here to help you. What can I do for you? What do you need? And really try to be helpful, try to be their friend.

PHILLIPS: Judge Lifeman says more than 3900 officers are trained and on the team. Keeping those suffering from mental illness out of jail and in treatment.

LIFEMAN: Were not criminalizing their mental illness, which is what we've done in this country.

PHILLIPS: Unfortunately getting the mentally ill help isn't always enough. Army Veteran, Franklin Rosario had been in treatment for months when

JUDGE TENIS, PRESIDING: Ok sir, I am just ordering you that you may not possess any firearms, do you understand that?

ROSARIO: Yes Your Honor.

PHILLIPS: At this bond hearing he convinced the Judge to let him go home.

JUDGE TENIS: Okay, next case.

PHILLIPS: Days later he committed suicide. Stabbing himself to death.

But Judge Lifeman's programs have many more success stories, like this man.

LIFEMAN: Justin is amazing, he was a sous chef at a nice restaurant in South Beach, he had a schizophrenic break, he attacked the owner of the restaurant.

PHILLIPS: It was 2007, Justin (Volbeet) was taken to the ninth floor, the very same ninth floor we visited with Judge Lifeman.

JUSTIN: I do remember being completely delusional when I went in there and things not getting better after I went to the ninth floor and things got eventually worse.

PHILLIPS: Do you think that's the right place for someone who is mentally ill?

JUSTIN: I don't think it's the right place for anyone, let alone someone that's mentally ill.

PHILLIPS: Justin eventually entered the Judges program. After he completed it, Judge Lifeman hired him to work as program peer counselor.

JUSTIN: I feel great giving back and what I do is I offer the experience of I've been there, I've been arrested, I know what it's like to not want to take your medication.

PHILLIPS: Justin's come a long way. He still takes medication for Bipolar disorder, but he's now a married father. He showed me photos of his wedding, officiated by the Judge.

LIFEMAN: Just because you have a mental illness doesn't mean you don't have aspirations and dreams and goals. But giving people hope again, and they can recover and it is a remarkable, beautiful, thing to see every day.



COOPER: Over the last hour we've seen how family members can often miss the warning signs, or face frustration trying to get help for loved ones who are emotionally disturbed.

In Miami, Judge Steven Lifeman has started a new program in schools that trains teachers to identify kids who may be suffering from mental illness and get them the help they need. Similar programs have been launched across the country.

Judge Lifeman and others say it's important that the most dangerous part of mental illness is not the potential for violence but rather the stigma that prevents individuals or loved ones from seeking help.

I'm Anderson Cooper, thanks for watching.