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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
More Details of Colorado High School Shooting; Shooter is Dead; Drunk Teen Driver Kills Four, Gets Probation, Defense Argued He Is Victim Of "Affluenza"; South African News Network: "Fake Interpreter" Faced Multiple Criminal Charges In The Past; White House: Levinson Not A Government Employee On Iran Trip; Stabbings Outside Broncos Stadium; $425 Million Mega Millions Jackpot
Aired December 13, 2013 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Coming up live on a press conference with the sheriff of Arapahoe County.
Let's take a listen.
SHERIFF GRAYSON ROBINSON, ARAPAHOE COUNTY, COLORADO: They immediately implemented our active shooter protocol. Our active shooter protocol is exactly the same as the active shooter protocols trained locally and regionally and across the United States, and that protocol and that purpose relative to the active shooter response is to go immediately to the threat and eliminate the threat.
The deputy that is assigned as the school resource officer did exactly as he was trained and as he's expected to do.
From the time that the deputy called out the incident until the time that he discovered the shooter's body, was with -- was within five minutes. The deputy did his job, school security did their job, and the additional responding deputy sheriffs that made up an active shooter response team did their job extraordinary well. I believe that their quick response and their reaction saved lives in this particular incident.
I have no way of knowing, nor will I have a way of knowing, but I believe the shooter knew that deputy sheriffs were immediately about to engage him, and I believe that that shooter took his life because he knew that he had been found. I also wanted to ensure that all of you understand how grateful I am for the unbelievable response of resources and individuals from public safety entities across the south metropolitan area to this incident. The men and women that responded to this incident acted courageously and exactly as they were trained and collaborated in the best interest of the public safety of our community and most importantly, the student body of Arapahoe. We evacuated the school quickly but deliberately.
While we evacuated the school, no student, no staff, no members of the community were injured and that's a very, very marked comment because the evacuation was done in an organized and very thoughtful and deliberate manner, so that we ensure there were no other injuries to anyone while they were being evacuated. We now have closed down both of our reunification centers, one at the Shepherd of the hill's church and the second one at Euclid middle school. All of the students that were in the school today during the tragic incident have been reunited with their family and with their friends. We know that they are all safe.
I'm sad to tell you that we have two students that were injured. One student suffered a minor gunshot wound, was treated at the hospital, and within the last half hour has been released to parent -- with parents.
Sadly, I also must inform you that a 15-year-old student who suffered a significant gunshot wound is currently listed in critical condition in a local medical facility. As I mentioned at our last meeting, our thoughts and our prayers are with that dear young lady and with her family.
Our investigation continues, and our investigation will go forward for the remainder of the weekend. We anticipate Arapahoe high school will be closed as a result of our investigation at least through Sunday and possibly longer. We have a very detailed and a complex investigation to conduct. We have a great deal of evidence that we need to evaluate and collect. We will do it right. We won't do it quick.
Our purpose now is to ensure that we serve our community so that the end of our investigation, our community and those that have interest will understand exactly how this happened and we are hopeful that we will be able to identify why it happened. That will take some time.
We currently have crime scene investigators from the Arapahoe county sheriff's office, from the Colorado Bureau of investigation and from the federal Bureau of investigation inside the school. They are beginning to design their plan to collect and evaluate evidence. That is a process that will take some time, and it is a process that will be done extraordinarily well because of the men and women assigned to those responsibilities.
We're fortunate to have some of the very, very best, most talented, most experienced crime scene investigators with us tonight in that school and conducting that particular piece of the investigation.
There have been some questions about releasing the property of students, and also releasing vehicles from the west parking lot. The west parking lot is the main parking lot used by students. At this point in time, we don't have a time frame where we will release those vehicles to the rightful owners. However, our goal is to try to accomplish that around 2:00 to 3:00 tomorrow afternoon. And again, that time is an estimate. It will depend on the evidence we find, and the work that we have before us to do the job that we need to do.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: You're listening to the Arapahoe county sheriff, Grayson Robinson, on today's high school shooting in Centennial Colorado, just outside Denver. The gunman, a student at Arapahoe high is dead after targeting a teacher who managed to escape and shooting two other students, wounding one of them seriously. That student a 15-year-old female is still in critical condition with what the authorities say was a significant gunshot wound.
(INAUDIBLE) that harm, police say the gunman then shot himself. Now, the images similar to other school shootings we have seen, Sandy Hook, eerily similar, of course, to Columbine which is just down the road. The outcome, fortunately, a great deal less tragic, but just as traumatizing for those who live through it.
I want to go to Ana Cabrera right now who is outside the school.
Ana, so tell us the details that we know thus far.
ANA CABRERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, good evening, Anderson.
One of the main points that Sheriff Robinson made, Grayson Robinson said, is he believes quick action and response by the law enforcement who were on scene, almost imminently likely saved lives.
You know, since Columbine, you mentioned, since that shooting, there is extensive training on how to respond to an active shooter situation inside a school, and the law enforcement officers, both locally and on a state level are trained to go in and immediately -- not to wait, to immediately identify the threat and to stop that threat. And so, they responded immediately and within five minutes, he said, of the initial call for help, they had identified the shooter who had already found had taken his own life.
So just to recap, there are one person whose dead, two people who are injured, the person who died, the officials tell us is the shooter himself, a student at the school. The two people who were injured, one remaining in critical condition, a 15-year-old girl, who had surgery for a very serious gunshot wound and a second student who was injured but they called it relatively minor injuries, that student has been treated and released from the hospital.
This was a scene of chaos for several hours this afternoon. Behind me, it's quiet now, but this was the scene where all the parents and students eventually were reunited. And again, a process that took several hours.
This school had trained for a situation like this, and so the evacuation of the students, their reunification with parents went very smoothly and the sheriff say, as a result of that, it went so smoothly, there were no injuries, it happened quickly and methodically.
And we spoke with several students while shaken who said they believe their teachers respond in a great way in terms of guiding them through the process and what to do to make as you were no other student was injured, Anderson?
COOPER: Ana Cabrera, appreciate the update.
More on who the shooter was. Obviously, we are not using any names. I spoke just a short time ago, though, with a student, Frank Woronoff. He saw the teacher in question just after his narrow escape and knew the gunman, as well. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
COOPER: So Frank, when you got back to the school, you realized something was going wrong. What did you see and hear?
FRANK WORONOFF, KNEW COLORADO SHOOTER: I just saw a bunch of cops swarm into the school, the parking lot, the side streets, everything, and they blocked off the intersection leading to the school and they forced me off the road into the local grocery store, where I met up with a librarian and janitor at the school.
COOPER: So, they had already left the school and it was the librarian, was that the teacher who was allegedly being targeted by this gunman or requested by the gunman?
WORONOFF: He was the one who was shot at, yes.
COOPER: So what did the librarian tell you?
WORONOFF: All he could really tell me were the same two or three statements over and over. He just kept telling me that the gunner asked where is he, where is he, and he kept searching for him and all he could tell me is his name and about the speech and debate team.
COOPER: Obviously, don't use his name, what about the speech and debate team, though? That has something to do with the motive?
WORONOFF: We believe the gunner was on the speech and debate team. He is on the speech and debate team but he was demoted a certain position and I'm told that's what led him sort of snap.
COOPER: Did you know this, the alleged gunman? And if so, what was he like?
WORONOFF: I did know him. I have known him since my freshman year in high school. He was the last person I expect to ever shoot up a high school. He was honestly incredibly humble and down to earth. He was a little geeky, but in a charming way. So, I don't know anyone who hates him, really. So, it came as a surprise to me, at least.
COOPER: Did you have any indication in the last couple of days that there was anything going on with him, anything wrong with him?
WORONOFF: Io heard from a few friends that, and I believe it was a Spanish class on Wednesday, that he has sure a few hours burst that were fairly violent.
COOPER: Do you know any more details on that?
WORONOFF: He went off to get water, I believe, or something from his locker. And when he came back, the door is lock so he started pounding on it and screaming and cursing at the teacher apparently.
COOPER: And that was something which was unusual for him?
WORONOFF: Right. COOPER: How are you and the other students doing? I mean, it is one thing to, you know, see this kind of thing on TV and have it happen somewhere else, but hat it happened in your school?
WORONOFF: Well, it is one of those things, you know. You see all over the news. You are like, that will never happen to us. But, it happens four hours ago, I think. And I'm just now texting my friends and they are telling me, it just now hit them that they just realized that this is a real thing. So, we are still kind of trying to get over, you know.
COOPER: Yes. Listen, Frank, I appreciate you talking to us. And I'm glad you are OK and your friends are, as well. Thank you very much.
WORONOFF: Thanks for having me, appreciate it.
COOPER: Well, you can follow me on twitter tonight @andersoncooper. Tweet us using #AC360.
We'll have more late developments throughout the hour and speak with another student inside as the gunshots rang out.
Also, the parallels with Columbine and frankly, the differences.
COOPER: The breaking news after today's shoot income Arapahoe high school in Centennial Colorado, a 15-year-old female student is in critical condition right now. The student who shot her is dead, apparently, by his own hand. The images is always steering, tough to watch, some like parents this afternoon hugging kids or at least a relief to see, so is hearing from survivors.
I spoke with Courtney Leypoldt just before air time.
COOPER: So Courtney, first of all, how are you holding up? I know you got real shook up with what happened.
COURTNEY LEYPOLDT, STUDENT: I'm OK. I've definitely been better. But I mean, something you got to stick out, got to stay strong for everybody else around you.
COOPER: Explain when you realized something was happening.
LEYPOLDT: We were just -- I was sitting in yoga class and we were working on a school project. It was actually our final for the class, and I just heard this bang, bang and it was like -- I thought somebody was just upstairs messing around, like with a vending machines because a lot of kids, like the vending machines get stuck and kids kick them and stuff like that. And the next thing we know, one of the girls that was actually upstairs, comes running down screaming help, help, there's a shooter, there's a shooter and she had blood on her shirt. And our teacher, Ms. Bradley, she brought -- kind of freaked out for a second. She calmed down and counted everybody as we walked in the room just to make sure everybody was in there safe and took this young lady with us. And we went into like a couple back rooms they have down there in the basement, and we all sat down there. And our teacher checked out the young lady that came down screaming and nothing appeared to be physically wrong with them, but you can definitely tell she was shaken up by the whole thing.
COOPER: So, I mean, this may be a dumb question, but, you said she had blood on her. Where did the blood come from?
LEYPOLDT: Her friend that she was standing next to was actually one that had been shot, and her friend -- I didn't really get the full story, but I guess her friend had fallen on her, and I guess her friend kind of just fell, and that's where the blood came from because she was standing right there when it happened, when her friend was shot.
COOPER: You must have been incredibly scared at this point.
LEYPOLDT: Yes, I was more angry, I guess, at first, to like sit there and think how could somebody possibly do this? Like it's the holidays. It's Christmastime. This doesn't happen to people -- this just doesn't happen. This hit way too close to home. This doesn't happen to, you know, Arapahoe high school. It just doesn't happen. And I guess I wasn't really scared until SWAT came down, and they were like it's SWAT, it's Swat, it's the police, stay calm and they were just really yelling. And I guess that's when it became a reality for me, and that's when I started to just freak out, and I just lost it.
COOPER: How long were you with the other students waiting for the police to come?
LEYPOLDT: I was one of the three girls. There was two other girls that sat and were comforting the young lady that had came down the stairs screaming for help. We sat there and comforted her, and the rest of the students were in a separate room. We probably were there for about 15, 20 minutes. Our teacher actually has a brother in SWAT and she had texted him and let him know where we were. So, that's when they came down and got us and they had to make sure everything was secure and stuff like that.
COOPER: Without obviously using any names, did you know the alleged gunman? And if so, what was he like?
LEYPOLDT: I knew of him. I maybe talked to him two, three times. He was a really sweet kid. Like, no one ever really expects that from anybody. He ran track. He was on speech and debate. He was a really smart intelligent kid. Really, had a good life ahead of him, and it's -- that's really all I can say about him at this moment.
COOPER: Courtney, I'm so glad you're OK and that you were able to comfort this other student at that time is a really wonderful thing you were able to do and appreciate you talking to us tonight.
LEYPOLDT: Yes, thank you for having me, appreciate it. (END VIDEOTAPE)
COOPER: Just ahead, we've been talking about the drunk driving rich kid that killed four people but only sentenced to rehab, including possible equine therapy. The idea of him being a victim of something called affluenza brought up in court. We'll get reaction to the sentence from the family of one of the people barely survived that wreck, another teen paralyzed.
Later, that bogus interpreter, wasn't just a bogus interpreter, turns out her was also a guy with a history that includes murder charges. He was just inches away from the president of the United States and dozens of world leaders. How did that happen? Details ahead.
COOPER: Well, we have some breaking news now.
The local sheriff now saying that two Molotov cocktails were found inside the Arapahoe high school, one was detonated, he said, one was not. Coming when it did and where did, today's shooting never been spurred comparisons to Sandy Hook a year ago tomorrow and Columbine 14 years ago, only a few miles separate Columbine and Arapahoe.
The images, some unchangingly similar. Thankfully, the outcome is very different for a whole variety of reasons, including how authorities responded this time.
Here to talk about it is Dave Cullen, who has written a definitive book "columbine, an extraordinary account." I highly recommend it.
One of the things I got from your book which took you ten years to write, was how much the initial reporting, how much and still in the collective memory what people think Columbine was about. How much of that was just flat out wrong? And it makes me think about we just got this report about Molotov cocktails and previously, people were saying he was targeting one teacher, so maybe that's not correct.
DAVE CULLEN, AUTHOR, COLUMBINE: Right, exactly. Right, with columbine, I mean, we had it so figured out completely the first week. It was two loaner out casts, you know, Goths from a trench of Mafia who are on a tirade targeting jocks to kill them and everybody knew that. And most people still believe that. That every single bit of that is wrong.
COOPER: And that was wrong?
CULLEN: Yes. You know, and I still, I do a lot of events at high schools and colleges and the first thing I do is, you know, ask people, OK, what happened at Columbine? Well first, I ask how many people know about it and they all do. And you know, what caused it, and I take, you know, selection from the audience, almost every still thinks all those things. They are all wrong.
And today, yes, it was like a minute ago, we just heard the news about the Molotov cocktails. The first thought of my head was like, OK, that may or may not be true. Although, with things like that that probably is because, you know, if the cops find a physical device, they are probably not going to mistake that --
COOPER: And if the story, I mean, up until a minute ago, people are saying well, he was targeting a specific teacher perhaps because he was taken or demoted from the debate team. But if you bring a Molotov cocktails to a school, that seems like a wider potential destruction.
CULLEN: Exactly. Well, yes, and plus planning. I mean, it takes you sometime to do those. And yes, and you usually don't target a single person. Yes, I was skeptical about the target. You never know but, you know --
COOPER: I follow you on twitter. And You and I have discussed on twitter the idea of not naming the shooters, which is something I believe in very strongly and have tried to do in all the reporting, not just obviously tonight but in all these instances.
Why do you think that's important and what role does extensive media coverage, pa particularly media coverage play a role in?
CULLEN: I think it has a huge impact. And you know, sometimes when I talk to people, they don't understand that because they say like, well, obviously, a person doesn't just think, a school shooting and I'll do that. That's not really getting it.
So, to understand how most of these people do it and how most of more deeply depressed, it's someone sort of at the end of their rope, they are trying to lash out and have some sort of impact. They usually don't know what. They don't necessarily have clearly defined -- well, they are not sort of clearly defined with goals and it is not trying to become famous like, you know, being on the tonight show for, you know, Jimmy Fallon or something. They are trying to be heard and have an impact on the world and they don't know how to do that. But then, they see the coverage of these things, and it was like that is sort like a model. Like, well that's kind of working. That guy is being heard. Everyone is hearing his name. And I think we give power to that individual and make it seem like wow, that sort of does fulfill this need I'm in search of. And if we take that away, we've sort of silenced the person, we really sort of de-muted them and made them sort of like this voiceless person, I think will take a lot of the power away.
COOPER: I also believe, just in reporting on these things, I mean, you can report on, you know, motive and you can try to learn things that will help the next time --
CULLEN: I'm all for that.
COOPER: Without using the person's name and in any way -- I just don't think --
CULLEN: You say the perpetrator, the gunman --
COOPER: They shouldn't remember those peoples' names of those who were killed, the victims, the lives forever changed. And the other point you make, which is that these schools are really kind of centers of community life. So the impact of a shooting at a school like this goes far beyond the immediate students who were involved and has rippled throughout the community.
CULLEN: It is. It is even more so -- I mean, every area usually, there is private and local high school. And in this area it's particularly great because of the suburban flight of when these suburbs came together. And most of those like Columbine, there is no down -- they are unincorporated Jefferson County. This wasn't unincorporated Arapahoe and then they created Centennial just five years ago or something like that.
So, they have no main street. There is no county courthouses, not even symbols where like, the center of town is. There is no town. And so, the high school becomes the town, and people when you ask them where they are from, they will say they are from like, you know, Columbine or Dakota Ridge or whatever the high school is, is how they think of their identity of their group. And so, you sort of shatter the symbol of what the community is.
COOPER: Well again, the book is "Columbine" --
CULLEN: That is the correct title, right.
COOPER: I thought there was --
COOPER: And it's truly -- I mean, I read it. It's such a good book, and if you think you know what happened at Columbine, really, you have no idea. I had no idea until I head your book. So, appreciate you being on tonight.
CULLEN: Thank you very much. Thanks for having me.
Up next, the Texas teenager who drove drunk and killed four and is getting no jail time, whatsoever. In court, they used the word affluenza to described what he, the guy who killed people, was a victim of. We'll hear from another teenager who survived the crash but his life changed forever. And we'll look at whether this so- called affluenza defense actually makes any sense. Is that even a medical term? I will tell you right now, it's not.
Later, new revelations about the interpreter that caused outrage in the deaf community signing essentially gibberish in Nelson Mandela's memorial. Now, reports of an alleged criminal past that he has when we continued.
COOPER: Welcome back. Tonight a new perspective on the case of the 16-year-old drunk driver who caused a crash that killed four and got no jail time. In a moment you'll hear from the family of a teenager who was hurt in the crash, but first the details of the case in case you don't know.
A judge in Texas sentenced that young man, 16-year-old Ethan Couch to 10 years of probation for the July crash that killed four people. The defense that was used was something called "affluenza," the theory that Couch isn't really to blame for his actions because his rich parents never set limits for him and he never learned about consequences.
Maybe it's hard for a lot of people to wrap their brains around that one. Last night I spoke with Dick Miller, the clinical psychologist who testified for the defense and used the term "affluenza." In the course of our conversation, Miller took issue even with the fact that Couch killed four people that night. Take a look.
COOPER: If you commit a crime, if you kill four people, you can't use that as an excuse, can you?
G. DICK MILLER, CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST: No, and the term -- when you use the word kill and people out in America hear that, it implies that there -- that motive, that the motive was not good.
COOPER: Are you saying -- he didn't kill four people?
MILLER: Yes, he did not murder four people. It's a legal term.
COOPER: Well, OK, but he slammed his truck --
MILLER: First-degree murder -- first-degree homicide and involuntary manslaughter different things, Anderson.
COOPER: He killed four people, yes?
MILLER: Four people died.
COOPER: Four people didn't just magically die. Four people were killed by this young man. Ethan Couch crashed his vehicle while driving drunk into these people. The lives of those victims' families are, of course, changed forever. It's not just them. Sergio Molina was riding in the back of that young man's vehicle, in the back of his truck in the back of Couch's truck. He survived the accident. His life will never be the same, not for him, not for his family. Gary Tuchman now reports.
GARY TUCHMAN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is the way Sergio Molina used to be a happy son and brother who loved playing soccer. This is the way he is today. The 16-year-old Sergio with his mother, he can't talk. He can't move. He is considered minimally responsive. It's what happened to him after he flew out of the back of Ethan Couch's pickup truck this past June, on the night that Couch ran into and killed four other people just outside Fort Worth, Texas. Alex Lemus is Sergio's older brother.
ALEX LEMUS, SERGIO MOLINA'S BROTHER: They told us that basically that's as much as he's going to rehabilitate, that that's -- that is all we can hope for is how he is right now for the rest of his life.
TUCHMAN: The family hopes and prays that is not true, but in the meantime, they deal with realities.
(on camera): In the six months since the accident, what have your medical bills totals so far?
LEMUS: Over a million dollars.
TUCHMAN: A million dollars.
LEMUS: Over a million dollars.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): Sergio's family has filed a multi-million dollar lawsuit against Ethan Couch, his family and his father's company because it was the company-owned truck Ethan was driving. An attorney for the driver's family has told CNN the judge made the appropriate disposition in this case. But Sergio Molina's family says testimony in the trial revealed the teens in Couch's truck pleaded with him to slow down and drive safer before the horrifying accident occurred.
UNIDENTIFIED 911 DISPATCHER: And how many people need EMS?
UNIDENTIFIED CALLER: Ma'am, I'm telling you it's dark. There are four or five kids, kids laying in ditches and streets.
TUCHMAN: Sergio was one of those in the ditch. His brother was in court during the trial, and says when he heard the "affluenza" defense being used he thought it was nonsense and upsetting.
(on camera): When the verdict came and you found out he wouldn't spend time in jail, what went through your mind?
LEMUS: Just a regular anger, disappointed, so outrageously angered, I can't say anything.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): The family is currently retro fitting their home with money they say they really don't have to accommodate Sergio. His mother, Maria, said it was emotionally hard for her to talk on camera, but she wanted to give it a try.
(on camera): Tell me about Sergio, what kind of boy he is.
MARIA LEMUS, SERGIO MOLINA'S MOTHER: He was the best. He was that kind of boy with a lot of dreams. He was -- well, his first dream was to be a soccer player. He was sweet. I mean, it was --
TUCHMAN: He's lucky he has you. You need to hear that from people like me outsiders. Do you realize that?
MARIA LEMUS: Yes. TUCHMAN: He's lucky he has you and siblings to take care of him, right?
MARIA LEMUS: Yes.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): The memories of Sergio before the accident sustain this family, the picture of him on the left with two of his other brothers, his soccer uniforms and relationship with his dog, Pinkie, which continues today. His brother says he has quit his job to stay with Sergio all the time.
ALEX LEMUS: That's my life. If I have to become a scientist to go and fix him, that's what I'm going to do. That's how much I love him.
COOPER: Gary Tuchman joins me now live. What's the status of the civil suit this family has filed against this family of Ethan Couch.
TUCHMAN: Sergio's family lawyers say that at this point, they would like to see a settlement before it gets to court. They want to spare the family more drama. They will ask for a deposition from Ethan Couch. Now during a criminal trial, as you know, a defendant like Ethan Couch does not have to testify, that's his right, but during a civil case like this he indeed can be compelled to testify.
COOPER: All right, Gary, heart breaking what that family is going through. Joining me now live, a criminal defense attorney, Brian Wice, CNN's senior legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin, and Syracuse University professor, Boyce Watkins, founder of yourblackworld.com.
Brian, I wanted to start with you. You've been outspoken about the fact, do you believe the judge in this case did the right thing sentencing Ethan Couch not to a juvenile justice facility, but instead to a top of the line rehab facility that his family is going to pay for in California. Why do you think that is appropriate? Why is that justice?
BRIAN WICE, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Because, Anderson, this is a veteran jurist, probably nobody more respected certainly in Tarrant County, maybe in the great state of Texas. A jurist since 1985, a woman that's done nothing but hear these kinds of cases, and the Family Code tells her that she has got to act in the best interest of the child, that rehabilitation unlike vengeance and deterrence in felony court is job one.
And at the end of the day, there is a presumption that this young man was supposed to remain in the juvenile justice system after hearing three days' worth of testimony, which is virtually unheard of in juvenile court, this judge decided that this was the appropriate sentence considering the facts of the case --
COOPER: So let me ask you, though, why, though, just because this young man comes from a rich family and his dad can pay 450,000 a year for a rehab facility that has equine therapy and daily yoga classes and nutritional counselling and cooking classes and mix the martial arts classes, why somebody that's rich pay for a fancy rehab facility, why should they not go through the same juvenile justice facility most other people who don't come from rich parents go through.
There was a 14-year-old boy who punched somebody, and that person fell down, hit his -- hit their head on the sidewalk and died, this same judge sentenced that young man, who is African-American and 14 to the juvenile justice facility, which also has rehab in it, but is a juvenile justice facility. Why should there be a separate system for rich people?
WICE: Well, I think let me take it in two parts with the last part first. First of all, that young man that cause the death of another youngster, knowingly and intentionally, first of all, may have had a --
COOPER: Actually, let me stop you, sir -- you're misstating the facts. This young man punched somebody, and that person fell and hit their head and died. You're saying that person intended to kill somebody. You have no evidence --
WICE: No, not at all -- of course not, Anderson, but the act of the punch itself was intentional, look, the bottom line, there are a number of distinctions, none of which anybody on this panel tonight can really be aware of. There may have been a plea bargain, there may have been a history of misconduct.
COOPER: There was a history of misconduct with Ethan Couch.
WICE: Well, of course, not. This young man had a minor in possession alcohol back in February -
COOPER: He was found with a girl half undressed and was belligerent with police.
WICE: Under Texas law that's not a criminal offense. Look, the fact that everybody believes he's going to this $450,000 lockdown facility in California --
COOPER: Sir, let me stop you there. It's not a lockdown facility. There are no locks. There are no chains. There are no fences. We're looking at pictures. It's the nicest facility you can possibly get. Jeff Toobin, do you think this makes sense?
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: No, this is outrageous. If the case every juvenile prosecuted in Texas or anywhere else, the only goal was rehabilitation, then perhaps this would be justified, but if you look at people, how people are sentenced and how the law is interpreted in the real world, of course, people are punished, young people are punished.
They are kept separate from the rest of the people to protect the rest of society, and that's the rule for everybody else and what outrages so many people including me about this case is that this kid got special justice because he's rich.
COOPER: Boyce Watkins, do you think he got special treatment because he's rich? This rehab facility, he's going to be there for a year and probation for ten years, but if you get sent to a juvenile justice facility, you can be there until you're 19 years old before you're actually released.
BOYCE WATKINS, PROFESSOR, SYRACUSE UNIVERSITY: Anderson, just yesterday I talked to a man who received a 40-year prison sentence for possession of one gram of crack cocaine. He studied the law and he's as brilliant as any professor I know. When I look at him and this kid, the question is who is a greater danger to society, this person who works so hard to better himself, or this kid who has this disease, "affluenza," which makes him think it's OK to get drunk, get behind the wheel, drive 30 miles over the speed limit and kill innocent victims.
So, I think that this case is -- I think it's clear cut. Most people watching understand how ridiculous this is, and we also have to remember this is one judge who made a decision that I don't think most judges would have made, but I think the reason it struck a chord with so many people around the country is because they see this kind of imbalance justice, this separate and unequal way of doing things that exists all throughout America. So as a person who didn't grow up with "affluenza," I'm offended and as an African-American I'm deeply offended.
COOPER: Boyce, as somebody who lives in this community, would you be concerned with having someone like Ethan Couch go to rehab for a year in this very nice facility and be on probation but be able to come back after completing therapy for a year, therapy which they never even had somebody for a year in this facility. They only do 90 days but they going to wing it. They think they can help this kid over the course of a year. Isn't there a concern about him coming back, and though he's on probation being able to drive again?
WATKINS: Well, let's think about this. I mean, if you say he has "affluenza" --
COOPER: Sorry, I was asking Boyce -- Brian, I'm sorry, Brian.
WICE: Anderson, first of all, having talked to the defense team today, it's not even a certainty that this young man is going to California. Judge Boyd has got to find a suitable facility that she believes is one that is ultimately going to be in which this child's best interest to achieve what the Family Code requires. This notion he's going to Equine facility with great food and everything else --
COOPER: That's what his lawyer and psychologists recommended.
WICE: Right. But until the judge signs off on it, no, but to answer your question, look, the only other alternative this judge had was to send him to the Texas Youth Commission, which is juvenile prison where he would receive absolutely nothing substantial in terms --
COOPER: Sir, that's not true --
WICE: Before he's ultimately sent onto the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. COOPER: I read an article about this 14-year-old, African-American child who was sent by this judge to the Texas Juvenile Justice facility with the idea that -- and they said there is rehabilitation in the Texas Juvenile Justice facility. I have no doubt it's nowhere near as good as this kid is going to get in the rehab facility, but why should somebody just because they don't have access to money and good attorneys and psychologists who work for these attorneys, why should they go to you juvenile justice and somebody who can pay, not go to juvenile justice?
WICE: This judge had to fashion a sentence, Anderson, that she thought was appropriate for this offender, and while this 14-year-old boy ultimately went into the Texas Youth Commission, again, we don't know what the back story was because of the nature of juvenile court proceedings.
Again, we don't know anything at all about his criminal history, about whether he accepted responsibility or as you said and you make a great point, Anderson, whether he had a lawyer that dropped the ball. At the end of the day, you are only going to get the kind of justice as the advocacy of the lawyer --
TOOBIN: Nonsense. That's a separate issue. The one fact we haven't talked about here, the 14-year-old kid wasn't just sent to jail, he was sent there for 10 years. Ten years when Couch got nothing.
TOOBIN: I mean --
COOPER: And again, one person died, four people were -- died and this young man, a friend of his is paralyzed as well as other people had their lives forever changed. Boyce, do you believe this confirms what a lot of people feel about an unjust system, a separate system for the rich or for people who have privilege?
WATKINS: If you want to understand what is going on in the criminal justice system, start with the state of Texas. It's a lot like slavery. If you look at the sentences that people receive, particularly in the state of Texas, it's unbelievable and outrageous. I would say that this particular judge has absolutely no credibility, particularly they ever sentenced any person either poor or of color to a sentence that was hasher than this kid.
I think that we're -- I think even the attorney whose arguing in favor of what happened here, I think deep down even he knows that this is ridiculous, and I think that if you want to draw a picture, imagine --
WICE: I'm going to object to what you think I know, Boyce, with all due respect -
COOPER: Brian, I'll give you a chance to respond.
WATKINS: Let me finish. I respect the fact you're going to argue your case. That's what good attorneys do and God bless you for that. Right is right and wrong is wrong. We know this kid got drunk, got behind the wheel, killed four people and they are not coming back. The idea that somehow that there is any reason that he shouldn't be punished and held accountable for what he did, is silly.
"Affluenza" says he's an irresponsible rich kid who didn't know the consequences of his actions. So the best cure for "affluenza" is to send him to prison, deprive him of wealth, hold him accountable and then guess what, in four or five years after he has some time, then he'll be cured of "affluenza." If you want to rehabilitate, that's what you do.
COOPER: Brian, I want you to respond.
WICE: Look, really briefly, this is not a situation where I got a dog in this fight, Anderson.
COOPER: I understand.
WICE: Whether or not the judge made the right decision is something that the voters of Tarrant County will ultimately have to conclude. Now she's not running for re-election they don't have that luxury. This judge whose literally helped write the case low and codes that govern what juvenile court judges every day. Texas is no better or worse than any state. The kind of justice that you get is going to be dependent upon who you hire and walk into court with guys.
COOPER: Brian Wice, I do appreciate your perspectives and I really appreciate you being on the program, Jeff Toobin as well and Boyce Watkins, always good to have you on. Thank you gentlemen. Good discussion.
Coming up, the story that keeps getting stranger and sadly, sadder, frankly. New information about the sign language interpreter who has been called as a fraud, new details about his possible criminal past and how did he get on the stage next to President Obama and other world leaders.
Also a massive storm baring down on the country, details ahead.
COOPER: A 360 follow now, stunning new development in the so-called fake sign language interpreter at the Nelson Mandela memorial. South African news network is reporting the interpreter facing multiple criminal charges from 1994 to 2006 including murder, attempted murder, rape, kidnapping and theft. The network reports he was only found guilty of theft and it's unclear if he faced jail time.
You may recall yesterday in an interview with CNN, the interpreter said he suffers from schizophrenia and is under treatment although he refused to do actually do any signing. All of this raising serious security questions now about the memorial considering the interpreter shared the stage with President Obama and other world leaders.
Let's go live to CNN's Errol Barnett in Johannesburg for more. So this guy, the fake interpreter, he was charged with how many crimes that we know about? ERROL BARNETT, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR/CORRESPONDENT: Six, Anderson, and that's according to this document obtained by a local channel here from senior police source. They include murder and rape, but shows he was found not guilty. He was found guilty of theft back in 1996. Three other charges though were withdrawn. It's unclear why they were withdrawn.
Now when he was asked about these charges by the local network, he didn't deny them. He wouldn't comment further and then asked how this network was able to get their hands on this document, Anderson, when CNN went to the courthouse to see the pages, we were told they were kept at a separate location.
So massive questions about these charges, did the government know? The government has launched an investigation, but they even are hitting road blocks announcing Thursday that when they try to reach out to the company they hired him through. They had vanished, up and left.
When we went to the address on his business card, people there said it's not a real business at that location so massive questions this weekend before Mandela's funeral on Sunday.
COOPER: This so-called interpreter had actually interpreted a number of other events and there have been apparently complaints from the deaf community about him, but nobody heeded that? Nobody cared?
BARNETT: According to the Deaf Federation of South Africa, yes. The only reason we're paying so much attention to this man is because of Tuesday's very high profile event. He was steps away from President Barack Obama, the U.N. secretary general, the Brazilian president and more. Deaf Federation of South Africa says they complained about this man back in 2012.
They said the government didn't do anything. They also said they are highly qualified to do these kinds of interpretations. It speaks to the criticisms of the government, Anderson, people saying that nepotism and corruption is rampant and that people only succeed based on connections. So what happened to this man's criminal record, why didn't we know about it? Why wasn't he properly vetted?
Those questions likely to hang over in Mandela's funeral on Sunday, it's a public holiday here Monday. We'll continue to work our sources, but those answers are elusive at the moment.
COOPER: And of course, why did the Secret Service not catch the past criminal record in vetting who would be standing next to the president of the United States. Errol Barnett, appreciate it.
COOPER: Let's get caught up in some of the other stories. Susan Hendricks has the 360 Bulletin.
SUSAN HENDRICKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, the White House says an American who vanished in Iran nearly seven years ago was not a U.S. government employee. This comes after news reports Bob Levinson was working for the CIA in Iran. You're looking now at his last proof of life video. Officials say it was sent from a cyber cafe in Pakistan in 2010.
More snow could ruin weekend plans for millions of Americans. The storm going to cover 1,000 miles, it is hitting parts of the Midwest tonight and arrives in the northeast tomorrow. Upstate Pennsylvania, New York, New England as well, are all expected to get up to 10 inches of snow.
Police say at least three people were stabbed in the parking lot after the Bronchos-Chargers game last night in Denver. The fight was apparently linked to a traffic altercation. One suspect is in custody, two others were released pending further investigation.
If you got a ticket for tonight's Mega Millions lotto, the jackpot is not up to $425 million, the second largest jackpot for the game. The odds of getting all six numbers correct, not so good, about 1 in 259 million - Anderson.
COOPER: All right, Susan, thanks very much. We'll be right back.
COOPER: Quick update on the breaking news in Colorado, a 15-year-old girl in critical condition still and the shooter also a student, dead, after he opened fire at Arapahoe High School in Centennial today. Much more on this throughout the night. That does it for us. Thanks for watching. "PIERS MORGAN LIVE" is next.