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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees

Wrong Man Executed?; Inside Sago Mine; Bird Flu Mystery; Waveland Waits; Author James Frey Addresses Memoir Controversy

Aired January 11, 2006 - 23:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: More proposals will be unveiled in the coming days.
And Randy McCloy, Jr., the sole survivor of last week's Sago Mine tragedy, remains in critical condition. Doctors say his status is quote, "essentially unchanged and he's still in a coma." McCloy's recovery is expected to be a slow process.

Since capital punishment was reinstated in the U.S., 1,004 inmates have been executed. But what if a state put an innocent man to death? That's the disturbing question being raised tonight in Virginia. We could have the answer within hours, with DNA tests that may change the face of the death penalty debate.

CNN Randi Kaye investigates.


RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Thirteen years ago, what happened here at the Greensville Correctional Center was supposed to be the final chapter of a horror story. Roger Coleman was executed for rape and murder. But it wasn't over.

ROGER COLEMAN: I'm innocent. I did not kill Wanda McCoy and I did not rape Wanda McCoy

KAYE : Coleman never changed his story. And so now, as early as tomorrow, more than a decade after this execution, the story may finally come to an end. The victim, 19-year-old Wanda McCoy, was Coleman's sister-in-law. He served as a pallbearer at her funeral.

(on camera): The victim's home is no longer standing. But when investigators showed up here the night of the murder, just 15 minutes after Wanda McCoy's husband found her, this is what they would have done. They would have climbed a flight of stairs, then entered the home through the only door. They would have made their way through the kitchen, through the living room and then over here to the back bedroom, down a long hallway. Here is where they found Wanda McCoy on the floor next to the bed. She had been stabbed twice in the chest, and her throat had been cut.

You actually viewed the body that night?

RANDY JACKSON, FORMER POLICE CHIEF OF GRUNDY, VIRGINIA: Yes, I did. Yes. KAYE: What do you recall about that? JACKSON: Actually, one thing that really stood out in my mind was the amount of blood.

KAYE (voice-over): It was 1981. Randy Jackson was the chief of police in the small town of Grundy, Virginia. Investigators zeroed in on Coleman immediately. He had been convicted of sexual assault once before. And police believed McCoy knew her attacker. No sign of forced entry.

(on camera): Over the last now 25 years, have ever wondered if possibly Roger Coleman was innocent?

JACKSON: No I haven't wondered that.

KAYE (voice-over): Tom Scott prosecuted Coleman back then. He says there were inconsistencies in Coleman's story. McCoy likely died between 10: 30 and 11: 00 p.m. Coleman said he was home at the time. But investigators say he failed to mention a visit to a friend that would have kept him out later, closer to the victim's time of death.

JOHN TUCKER, AUTHOR, "MAY GOD HAVE MERCY": It's really a question of tunnel vision. From that point forward, the police focused on Mr. Coleman exclusively.

KAYE: Virginia Author John Tucker wrote a book about the Coleman case.

(on camera): What makes you believe that Roger Coleman did not kill Wanda McCoy?

TUCKER: There are witnesses who saw Mr. Coleman that evening by himself. And the most important one saw him at about 10: 30. If he was at that place at 10: 30, he could not have committed the crime.

KAYE (voice-over): Still, prosecutors won their case, even without state-of-the-art DNA technology available today.

TOM SCOTT, FORMER PROSECUTOR: We know that Coleman had O Type blood on his jean pants, and we know that the victim had O Type blood. We know that Coleman had B Type blood. We know that the rapist had B Type blood.

KAYE: No one could have guessed then that today the story would finally end here, at this DNA testing lab in Toronto. Despite the prosecutor's confidence in their murder conviction, Virginia Governor Mark Warner ordered the tests.

MARK WARNER, VIRGINIA GOVERNOR: Because it will either confirm the guilt. It may demonstrate, and there's a high probability that it will remain inconclusive. Or it may to some degree exonerate him.

KAYE: Coleman's DNA, stored for nearly 25 years, is being compared to vaginal swabs taken from the victim. (on camera) If the DNA test comes back indicating that it is not Roger Coleman's DNA, did the state of Virginia execute an innocent man? SCOTT: Well, there are certainly some that would argue that. It doesn't automatically exclude him. It just excludes him from being the rapist.

KAYE: Experts say DNA results are so accurate, only an identical twin could have the same genetic profile.

What if, in 2006, you find out that it wasn't Roger Coleman's DNA? And say he's still here, would you have prosecuted him?

SCOTT: I'd have to re-evaluate that. I mean, I'm not sure. And if I did, I'm not sure whether or not we would seek the death penalty.


KAYE: Prosecutor Tom Scott, certainly believing that the DNA samples will match. But if they don't, Anderson, this will be the first time that a man was executed, only later to be exonerated. We are expecting the results of these DNA tests tomorrow. Our sources close to these test results are telling us possibly as early as the morning hours.

But there is some concern tonight, Anderson, about the integrity of these samples, how they have fared over the last 25 years. They've been moved around the country, they're now in Toronto. Lots of folks here wondering about the condition of that DNA sample.

But I did speak with a DNA expert tonight, and he tells me that the samples have been stored at very low temperatures, actually cold temperatures, and he expects that that would certainly slow down the deterioration process of the sample.

But what will be interesting to see is no matter how these results come back, Anderson, it will be interesting to see how the community here reacts. Because if it turns out that it's not a match, and it proves that Roger Coleman did not commit this crime, this community will be left to wonder who did.

COOPER: And also the debate, of course, over the death penalty, how it will affect that down the road. Randi Kaye, thanks.

As we said earlier, Randy McCloy, Jr., the sole survivor of the Sago Mine disaster remains in critical condition. It was uncertain how long or how complete his recovery will be. He's already defied enormous odds, simply by surviving.

Today, we learn new and heartbreaking details about how McCloy and his fellow minors tried to escape after the explosion and how close they were to oxygen that might have made a difference -- might have. No one knows.

Here's CNN's Christopher King. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CHRISTOPHER KING, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The sources involved in the investigation tell CNN the 12 men who died inside Sago Mine may have had breathable air within reach and could possibly have gotten out of the mine on their own.

According to sources, a spare tank containing fresh air was available. And sources say the trapped minors could possibly have brought it into the self-made barricade and used it to supplement the air in their emergency packs. However, it isn't clear how much air was in the tank at the time of the fatal explosion. It's also unclear if the miners even knew about the spare tank, and if they did, why they failed to use it.

CNN has also learned that the miners tried to escape using a rail car. Ben Hatfield, CEO of International Coal Group, which owns the mine, says footprints near the mine car do indicate the men tried to use the car to ride out of the mine shaft. It's unclear why they didn't make it, but Hatfield says the men may have been disoriented in the confusion, in the darkness and the chaos.

BEN HATFIELD, CEO, INTERNATIONAL COAL GROUP: But it's clear that the crew went to the intake escape way, trying to go to the outside and probably encountered very thick, very dense black smoke.

KING: CNN has also learned that the rescue teams had been using two-way radios to communicate between each other and the command base outside the mine. Some say, accounting for discrepancies in the first reports that the 12 trapped miners were alive, only to find out later they were actually dead.

HATFIELD: I've heard reports that word had to get relayed anywhere from four to seven times before it actually got back to the outside. So obviously, there's a ripe opportunity there for misunderstanding and miscommunication.

KING: In the meantime, a new federal report says the Sago Mine was cited for unsafe conditions just three weeks before the explosion that took the lives of the 12 miners. According to the Mine Safety and Health Administration, Sago Mine was last year cited for 208 violations, 17 of which involved conditions that inspectors say could have caused fires or explosions. Some of the violations occurred prior to International Coal's ownership.

The agency cited the company for quote, "an excessive amount of combustible materials" and quote "a high degree of negligence for the health and safety of the miners." Hatfield acknowledges the violations, but he says the company is working to correct any problems.

HATFIELD: The Sago Mine was a safe operation. Everything that we saw, everything that we know as mining professionals said that the violations that do exist are being remedied,

KING: International Coal says most of the citations are due to spilled coal in the mine. The company is challenging nine of those violations and defends its record by saying that inspectors would not let the mine operate if it were hazardous to workers. HATFIELD: We have heard nothing in the course of all this debate about the safety violations that even remotely connects with the current assessment of what's likely the cause of the explosion.


KING: Now, Sago Mine was fined a little more than $1,200 for 17 violations. So far, the company has paid nearly $1,000 in fines -- Anderson.

COOPER: Christopher, thanks very much. Christopher King reporting on that.

As we said at the top of the hour, high drama today at confirmation hearings for Supreme Court Nominee Samuel Alito. Democrats pressing him on abortion. Senators Kennedy and Specter clashing over access to records from the Princeton Alumni Group that Judge Alito once belonged to. The group favored keeping women and minorities out of the university.

One Republican, Lindsey Graham, rose to defend the judge against implications of bigotry. It all became too much for Mrs. Alito. She broke into tears and left the hearing room. It was perhaps the only iconic moment of the proceedings so far. It was not, however, the only time that spouses, male or female, have been caught up in the spotlight.

For a look at how they handle it, here's CNN Candy Crowley.


CANDY CROWLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): She flew from northern New Jersey to the planet of mean. But let the record show that Martha Alito lost it not when someone suggested her husband was a bigot or a misogynist, but when someone was being nice.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: Men and women, black and white, your colleagues who say that Sam Alito, whether I agree with him or not, is a really good man.

CROWLEY: Martha, Martha, Martha, we in the sisterhood get it. By way of comfort, it's been worse. Meet Virginia Thomas, wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

CLARENCE THOMAS, FORMER SUPREME COURT NOMINEE: I categorically deny all of the allegations.

CROWLEY: He talked about whether he had a porn habit and/or whether he had sexually harassed an employee. She listened. And that must be the hardest part, staying silent, looking non-controversial hour after hour, day after day, as cameras roll, roll, roll.

Not in the same category, but A-plus to the wife of Chief Justice John Roberts for at least trying to corral a 4-year-old using only body language. By way of advice, whoever gets to talk, when the going gets tough, the pros get mouthy. On the eve of her husband's convention, Teresa Heinz Kerry told reporter to shove it. She was the hit of the convention.

After her husband took on a fierce Geraldine Ferraro in the '84 vice presidential debate, Barbara Bush was asked what she thought. Answer: rhymes with witch.

And watching Hillary Clinton on "60 Minutes," you figured it out. The worse it got for him, the better she got.

HILLARY CLINTON, WIFE OF FORMER PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON: I'm not sitting here, some little woman standing by my man like Tammy Wynette.

CROWLEY: And he got elected president.

But Pat Nixon was the original tough as nails gal.

RICHARD NIXON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Everybody wants to tell the president what to do.

CROWLEY: The closer he came to breaking down, the more stoic she got.

In the end, all the pros will tell you, the best way to act is yourself. Without a word, you probably said more than all the words that came before you.

And Mrs. Alito, take heart. If he gets confirmed, you can tell anybody you want to shove it.

Candy Crowley, CNN, Washington.


COOPER: Well, back to the present. More questioning in store for Judge Alito. CNN is covering the hearings. A special edition of "THE SITUATION ROOM" with Wolf Blitzer begins tomorrow morning at 9: 00 Eastern Time.

Tonight, what may be some encouraging news on bird flu in Turkey. The outbreak has seen the number of cases increase day by day. So what is the possible silver lining? We'll have that ahead.

Although the author of "A Million Little Pieces." Tonight, a new chapter in the controversy over his book. He was a guest on "LARRY KING." And who should call in, but Oprah. We'll have it all for you in just a moment.

And a lobotomy patient's struggle to make sense of his life and of the procedure that changed him forever.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COOPER: There is a medical mystery in Turkey tonight surrounding the bird flu virus. It still is deadly. But in this latest outbreak of at least 15 cases, most of the people actually aren't that sick at all. At least their lives are not in danger. So what is going on here?

We asked CNN's senior medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta to try to sort it out.


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is the message in Turkey's capital Ankara: if you have birds, surrender them. It could be a matter of life and death.

For so long, the bird flu seemed to be contained only to East Asia, but just last week, Turkey confirmed its first human cases of the virus. Birds are being slaughtered by the hundreds of thousands.

But another very important fact has emerged. Something that could turn what we know about the H5N1 virus on its head. Of the 15 people with the virus, only two have died. That could be the best news we have heard yet about the bird flu. Up until now, the death rate was thought to be more than 50 percent. Survivors were simply thought to be lucky.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My full name is Verdausthru Baskara (ph). I'm eight years old.

GUPTA: Just this fall, I met an 8-year-old boy in Jakarta, who had caught the bird flu. His aunt died of the illness, but Daus (ph) barely had symptoms at all.

DR. TIM UYEKI, CDC: The nephew had a much milder illness, had fever for quite a number of days, but he did quite well and he's quite healthy.

GUPTA: Tim Uyeki of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control helped investigate. He said that mild cases are probably being missed, since it's usually only the very sick and the relatives that are being tested.

UYEKI: If we think about human influenza, human influenza virus infection or, for that matter, almost any infectious disease, there's always people who have asymptomatic infection, milder illness, and some people who have severe illness and some people who die.

GUPTA: It may also be that Turkish health officials are finding mild cases because they're looking so hard. Or it could be the patients are doing well because they've had prompt medical care, including the antiviral drug Tamiflu. The only victims who died did not get Tamiflu. It could also be that the virus is slowly changing; more common, but less deadly.

We do know the virus still seems to mainly spread between birds and humans, not humans and humans. And the numbers of infected will continue to grow.

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF HEALTH: Potential for this virus is still as serious as it has ever been right from the beginning when it was first starting to see how it could jump from chicken to human.

GUPTA: It is too early to tell whether the bird flu will become a worldwide killer or fade away to just a bad memory. But we do know that it will cause panic wherever it lands.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN, New York.


COOPER: Well, we're happy to report that 8-year-old Daus, who we saw on Sanjay's report, has returned to perfect health.

Erica Hill, from "HEADLINE NEWS," joins us with some of the other stories we're following tonight. Hi Erica.

ERICA HILL, CNN "HEADLINE NEWS" CORRESPONDENT: Hi Anderson. A conviction today in the case of a man who threw a grenade at President Bush last year during a rally in the country of Georgia. The man was sentenced to life in prison for the attempted assassination, not just on Mr. Bush, but also on the president of his own country. He's also convicted of killing a policeman during the shootout in which he was arrested. That happened weeks after the incident.

Stark numbers from a CNN/"USA Today"/Gallup Poll released today. Fewer than one in five Americans feel confident that Iraq will have a stable government in place within a year. And more than half said the nearly 3-year-old war hasn't been worth the cost.

A convenience store robbery caught on tape -- along with the perpetrator, who was caught by police. This is the fifth Exxon Mini Mart near Pittsburgh to be held up in a month, so this time the clerk decided enough was enough, saying he hit him really hard -- so hard, the clerk claims, that the robber said quote, "I don't need money no more."

And here's a little something you don't see every day. That is a seal, sunning itself on the roof of a car in the parking lot of a Seattle restaurant. Yes, he did choose the environmentally friendly hybrid, which he dented. The restaurant's wine steward eventually coaxed the seal back into the water. No word on whether the lure was a nice pinot, maybe a zin. The wine server, by the way, said, apparently, the restaurant had now been given the seal of approval.

COOPER: Ooh. Yes.

HILL: His words. His words, not mine. But, you know. Before you said it, I thought I'd say it.

COOPER: Oh no, I wouldn't have said that. Would not have said that at all. Erica Hill, thanks very much. More than four months after Katrina, the town of Waveland, Mississippi waits for help. But why? Why is it waiting? Why has it been so long? Also tonight, author James Frey, under fire. It's his book, which was part of Oprah's book, called "Fact or Fiction." Hear from him and what Oprah thinks.



SEAN CALLEBS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Waveland, Mississippi, and the damage from Katrina just a week after the storm. Waveland now, nearly five whole months removed from the hurricane. Residents here say, what's wrong with this picture? Why hasn't more debris been removed?

Tommy Longo is the mayor.

TOMMY LONGO, MAYOR OF WAVELAND, MISSISSIPPI: I wish it was all cleaned up too, because everything hinges on debris removal.

CALLEBS: When he says everything, that means restoring water and sewer lines, fully repairing power lines, getting FEMA trailers in place and, finally, claiming the tens of thousands of dollars for each homeowner that Congress has approved, but that's been stalled by bureaucracy. Longo says it was only this morning that he got assurance federal officials are finally committed to debris removal.

LONGO: Their big gear-up was supposedly coming in the next week or two, but my only question is why didn't it happen five months ago? It should have happened instantly.

CALLEBS: Brian Molair (ph) is looking forward to the president's Thursday visit. He'd like to tell Mr. Bush about empty promises and miles of red tape.

BRIAN MOLAIR (PH): Well, he was here before, saying how we were going to build back bigger and better. We don't care about bigger. We want to just come back, you know. The way we were basically, you know. Just help us.

CALLEBS: Molair has appointed himself the king of Coleman Avenue. His kingdom, trash, debris and a handful of FEMA trailers. It's all that's left of the main drag in town leading to the beach.

The morning Katrina hit, his long-time family home washed away. Molair swam for his life, floating for two hours while clutching his dog, Rocky. Then finally...

MOLAIR: I grabbed onto a side of a roof and pulled myself around the house and as I pulled myself around the house, I was in an eddy. In other words, there was no current.

CALLEBS: Molair was safe, but his 80-year-old mother drowned that day. Now he says he stays busy, trying to keep his mind off of the loss. Molair is adapting to a primitive lifestyle, sharing water he stores in the concrete slab where his house stood, grilling meals.

MOLAIR: And that's my washing machine. I'm getting ready to fold clothes as we -- dry clothes as we speak.

CALLEBS: At dusk, a dark cloud seems to well up over Molair. About the time he squeezes his hulking frame into his FEMA trailer.

MOLAIR: Every night I get depressed. That's why I try to stay busy. I'm not depressed about the trailer, I'm just depressed about my mother and the way things are going, you know. It gets old, looking at the debris and the lack of progress.

CALLEBS: Sentiments echoed by the mayor, who was both sad and angry over the lack of help from Washington.

LONGO: I guess the anger grows out of frustration, personally and professionally. Wanting to do more to help our people.


CALLEBS: And when the mayor talks about our people, he says there were about 8,000 residents here in Waveland before Katrina came. Now, amid all of this debris, maybe 800 to 1,200 to 1,500 people living here, depending on who you speak with.

And Anderson, I have to tell you, we didn't have to look far to find this kind of debris still scattered everywhere. This is right off Coleman Avenue, the main drag in town. The residents here remember you doing your report right after Katrina at the end of this road.

And to tell you about some of the snafus, as the mayor tactfully calls them, they have to deal with. In trying to get help from federal officials, the authorities will say, well, e-mail us that. The city says we don't have computers. Oh, fax it. We don't have fax machines and we just got phone lines last week. So, while he calls it a snafu, the residents here use a perhaps harsher term -- Anderson.

COOPER: It is incredible looking at that place where you are. I mean, that is -- it's identical to the way it was four months ago. I mean, you talk about these tens of thousands of dollars that homeowners have been promised. It was supposed to be coming. Where is it? What is the holdup?

CALLEBS: Well, it only recently came. And the residents here really credit their Governor Haley Barbour, with pushing this through, trying to get federal lawmakers to act. What happened -- so much of this area wasn't in a flood zone, and so people couldn't buy flood insurance even if they wanted it.

So Congress approved this measure to provide up to $150,000 for every homeowner whose home was destroyed by the hurricane. Well, it simply hasn't come. They're either trying to track the homeowners down, trying to get all the paperwork to them. The feds say they're doing everything they can, but the residents here, I tell you, are simply fed up with what they call red tape. And a lot of them just want to have just a few minutes with the president to try and tell their story tomorrow.

COOPER: Yes, well, I mean, is it just a coincidence that the mayor gets a call saying oh, yes, now it's going to be coming, the day before the president arrives?

CALLEBS: Well, we'll see. The mayor, this guy says the last four months have taken years off of his life. And he truly looks beaten up. Trying to talk to him was in between cell calls. He says the core of engineers, which was hired by FEMA to remove all of this debris promises to get on this within a couple of weeks, but in his eyes, he'll believe it when it happens.

COOPER: Yes, we've heard a lot of promises. Sean, thanks very much for that report. Appreciate it. Keeping them honest tonight.

Coming up, a best-selling book, endorsed by Oprah Winfrey, now coming under some heavy fire. After the break, the controversy surrounding James Frey's, "A Million Little Pieces." Is it fact or fiction? You'll hear from the author himself and from Oprah.

Plus, a man fights to get answers to the question that's been haunting him his whole adult life. Why in the world did his stepmother get him a lobotomy when he was just 12 years old.

Those stories and more when 360 continues.


COOPER: It was a memoir that seemed, well, too bad to be true. A graphic account of drug addiction, alcoholism and crime for a man who claimed to have been wanted in three states. James Frey's "A Million Little Pieces" was published in 2003, but its sales skyrocketed last year after Oprah Winfrey added it to her book club. It's also when scrutiny became intense.

Now a popular watchdog Web site claims that Frey has made up a lot of his story. And today Random House began offering, well, they didn't offer refund. There was a report they offered refund. They have now denied that they were offering refunds to anyone who bought the book directly from them.

Earlier tonight Frey was a guest on "LARRY KING LIVE," and Oprah even called in. We'll show you that in a moment. But first, CNN's Kelly Wallace examines the controversy.


KELLY WALLACE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): More intense scrutiny of the best-selling memoir started a few months ago after Oprah Winfrey selected it for her highly-coveted book club. Author James Frey's mom was in the audience.

OPRAH WINFREY, TALK SHOW HOST: Our next book is "A Million Little Pieces."

WALLACE: After Frey talked with Oprah about his days of addiction, crime and rehab.

WINFREY: At 23, James has no money no, job, no home, and is wanted in three states. WALLACE: Editors at "the Smoking Gun" investigative Web site said they got an email asking that they post a mug shot of Frey.

ANDREW GOLDBERG, MANAGING EDITOR, SMOKINGGUN.COM: He was arrested 13 or 14 times, and we could not find anything. So that kind of piqued our interest.

WALLACE: And led to a six-week investigation by, which accuses Frey of fabricating significant parts of the book, including many of his run-ins with the law. Frey rejected his charges saying on his Web site, "So let the haters hate, let the doubters doubt, I stand by my book and my life."

In a key part of the memoir, Frey claims he spent three months in an Ohio jail after hitting a police officer with his car and starting a melee with police during a night of boozing and crack smoking. Frey never specifies an exact location, but indicates this happened near where he went to college in Granville, Ohio. The Granville Police Department, which found only one record involving Frey, tells a very different story.

SGT. DAVID DUDGEON, GRANVILLE, OH, PD: Right front tire pulled up on to the curb.

WALLACE: Granville police Sergeant David Dudgeon says Frey was arrested for driving under the influence and released on a $733 bond.

DUDGEON: He was polite and cooperative. There's nothing in the report that, you know, indicates he was combative, argumentative or anything like that.

WALLACE: The local sheriff also tells CNN there is no record of Frey ever being incarcerated at the county jail. Kelly Wallace, CNN, New York.


COOPER: Earlier tonight, James Frey defended his book and so did Oprah Winfrey. She called in during Frey's interview with CNN's Larry King. Here's a little bit of that interview and Oprah Winfrey's call.


LARRY KING, CNN HOST: What's your side, James?

JAMES FREY, AUTHOR, "A MILLION LITTLE PIECES": My side is I wrote a memoir. I never expected the book to come under the type of scrutiny that it has. A memoir, the word literally means my story, a memoir is a subjective retelling of events. KING: But it is supposed to be factual events. The memoir is a form of biography.

FREY: Yes. A memoir is within the genre of non-fiction. I don't think it's necessarily appropriate to say I've conned anyone. The book is 432 pages long. The total page count of disputed events is 18, which is less than five percent of the total book. KING: People reading a memoir expect it to be a true story, whether it's Alan Alda doing a memoir of his life or James Frey doing a memoir of his, that the facts written down are as they happened or their perception of their happening.

FREY: It's an individual's perception of what happened in their own life. This is my recollection of my life. A lot of the events I was writing about took place between 15 and 25 years ago. A lot of the events took place while I was under the influence of drugs and alcohol. And I still stand by my book.

KING: Did you, frankly, embellish a criminal past?

FREY: I mean, Larry, I've acknowledged I've changed things. I acknowledged to "The Smoking Gun" that I changed things. I think you got into a very sticky situation where on one hand they're posting documents saying that I was an alleged cocaine dealer, and they match up pretty closely with what I'm talking about.

And on the other hand -- and they post two mug shots of at least two events, where I've been arrested. And on the other hand, they say that I'm a lily-white kid from the suburbs. You know, I had a very, very troubled past. But the primary focus of the book is not crime. The primary focus of the book is drug addiction and alcoholism.

KING: What do you think of your future?

FREY: I'm certainly never going to write another book about myself. This has been a very difficult week for me, you know? I've been shocked by the furor that has erupted. You know, I've been shocked by the scrutiny paid to the book. I don't know if any memoir in the history of publishing has ever been so, so carefully vetted so long after its publication. You know? That's what comes with selling a lot of copies and being part of Oprah's book club.

KING: I understand we have Oprah on the phone. So let's see what she has to say. Are you there, my friend?

OPRAH WINFREY, TALK SHOW HOST (on phone): Hello, Larry, how are you?

KING: Hello, dear one, how are you doing?

WINFREY: I'm good. I'm watching James and Lynn. Hi James, hi, Lynn.

FREY: Hi, Oprah. WINFREY: I just wanted to say, Larry, because everyone's asking me to release a statement, and I first wanted to hear what James had to say. The underlying message of redemption in James Frey's memoir still resonates with me, and I know that it resonates with millions of other people who have read this book and will continue to read this book.

And, you know, one of the things that James says in the book for all the people who are going through any kind of addiction is to hold on. And I just wanted to, you know, I've been calling this number and it's been busy trying to get through to say to all those people out there who have received hope from reading this book, keep holding on.

KING: You want to say something, James?

FREY: I admire you tremendously, and thank you very much for your support and, you know, it's -- I'm still incredibly honored to be associated you, and I will for the rest of my life. Thank you.


COOPER: As you can see, the call was certainly a surprise to everyone there. And in case you're wondering, the person sitting next to James Frey during the call was his mother Lynn. Larry King of course comes on after this program for the full interview.

The controversy, if anything, appears to have helped the book with its sales. And who knows what Oprah Winfrey's support tonight will do. Yesterday and today "Million Little Pieces" was the number one seller on The book has also spent 15 weeks on the "New York Times" bestseller list for paperback nonfiction. Right now it's sitting on number one on that list as well.

Well, imagine living your life knowing part of you is missing because you were forced to get brain surgery as a child. Not just any kind of brain surgery, a lobotomy. It may sound like a horror story, but it happened to a man you're about to meet. He got a lobotomy at the age of 12. His stepmother made him get it, and he didn't even need it. His search for answers after the break.

Plus, could this be nature's warning sign? Why this volcano's eruption has some scientists very nervous. All that ahead on 360.


COOPER: In a moment, you're going to meet a man whose life as most of us understand life ended almost 40 years ago, and his new life began. Howard Dully was forced to have an operation that today is considered barbaric. A lobotomy. He was just a boy at the time, 12 years old. Two years ago he set out to learn the truth about the operation that changed his life forever.

CNN's senior medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta has his story. Bear in mind, some of the images you will see are disturbing.


GUPTA (voice-over): He was a 12-year-old boy who says he didn't get along with his stepmother. She didn't like his sullen moods, he says. Didn't like the fact he was reluctant to bathe. So she took him to a special doctor.

HOWARD DULLY, LOBOTOMY PATIENT: I was 12 years old. It was in 1961. And I remember going to the hospital and being told that I was going to the hospital for tests.

GUPTA: But Howard Dully was not going to the hospital for tests. He was going for an operation. DULLY: My file has everything, a photo of me with the ice picks in my eyes. I want to understand why this was done to me.

GUPTA: What was done to Howard Dully was a lobotomy. His search for answers has been made into an NPR documentary called "My Lobotomy." Howard Dully's surgeon was the man who introduced lobotomies to America as a way to treat mental illness. Dr. Water J. Freeman. Dr. Freeman was so proud of his work, so convinced of the benefits of lobotomies, he distributed instructional films which he narrated in 1949.

WALTER J. FREEMAN, LOBOTOMIST: This patient came to the hospital this morning after breakfast and if all goes well, she will leave tomorrow afternoon.

GUPTA: A year later, another freeman film presented a young catatonic before lobotomy.

FREEMAN: This is a boy of 19. Dreamy sensitive individual, interested particularly in the current musical idiom of bebop. Transorbital lobotomy was performed on August 1st by Dr. Jonathan M. Williams. Within a few days the patient resumed playing the saxophone. Hallucinations subsided.

GUPTA: Considered barbaric by today's standards, the history of lobotomies is not black and white. Jack El-Hai is the author of "The Lobotomist" a biography of Dr. Freeman.

JACK EL-HAI, AUTHOR, "THE LOBOTOMIST": The mid-1930s when Freeman began performing lobotomies were a time of great desperation in the treatment of psychiatric illnesses.

GUPTA: At that time, mental institutions, or insane asylums as they were called back then, were overrun. Their conditions often deplorable. The medicines we now use to help treat psychiatric illnesses had not yet been invented. The lobotomy became the most legitimate form of treatment.

EL-HAI: It was not considered a cure but it was considered a way to blunt or lessen the symptoms enough so that people could get out and return to their families. And they did in many cases, return to their families. GUPTA: The idea behind a lobotomy is that symptoms of mental illness, such as depression, schizophrenia and suicidal tendencies, are caused by the connections between the frontal lobes and another part of the brain, the thalamus. Cut the connection, solve the problem.

Over the years, about 40,000 to 50,000 people received lobotomies. According to some estimates, about a third were considered successful. Ann Krubsack endured schizophrenia for eight years until she had a lobotomy in 1961.

ANN KRUBSACK, LOBOTOMY PATIENT: And I think I did very well. I'm not sure if I hadn't had the lobotomy that I would have done that well. GUPTA: But the vast majority of patients did not do well. Some died. Many were left paralyzed. And in the successful cases where someone was well enough to leave the hospital after their lobotomy, many were not the same person as when they came in.

One of the most famous of Dr. Freeman's patients was Rosemary Kennedy, sister to Jack and Bobby. Born mildly retarded, she functioned independently until age 23, when Dr. Freeman performed the procedure in 1941. It was a failure. After her lobotomy, Rosemary Kennedy was admitted to a mental institution in Wisconsin, where she remained for 50 years until he death at the age of 86.

(on camera): Rosemary Kennedy received a pre-frontal lobotomy. But another procedure championed by Freeman was the transorbital, or ice pick lobotomy. It was performed by Dr. Freeman himself or doctors he trained. They used only this device. It's called a lucatome (ph) and the entire procedure took less than ten minutes.

(voice-over): Instead of boring through the skull, the doctors could get through the brain through the thin bony plate at the upper part of the eye socket to sever the neural pathways. This was the kind of procedure 12-year-old Howard Dully received.

But why did Dr. Freeman choose to operate on Howard Dully? According to the records, Dr. Freeman diagnosed the boy as schizophrenic. A diagnosis that, according to Howard's doctors, would not have held today. After years of silence, and his stepmother's death, Howard turned to his father, Rodney Dully, for answers in the NPR documentary.

DULLY: So how did you find Dr. Freeman.

RODNEY DULLY, FATHER OF HOWARD DULLY: I didn't, she did. She took you. I don't -- I think she tried some other doctors that said, uh-uh, there's nothing wrong here. He's a normal boy. It was the stepmother problem.

DULLY: My question would be, naturally, why would you let it happen to me if that was the case?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I got manipulated, pure and simple. I was sold a bill of goods. She sold me and Freeman sold me, and I didn't like it. GUPTA: After the lobotomy, Dully became a ward of the state, moving from juvenile detention to mental hospital to a home for troubled children. Then halfway houses. At one point, even living out of a car. As for Dr. Freeman, he continued to perform lobotomies in 1967 when his final lobotomy patient died from a brain hemorrhage. He was banned from ever operating again.

DULLY: Considering that my life has been very traumatic because of the lobotomy. It's not what you see, it's physically that I dress like a normal person and look normal. It's how you live.

GUPTA: Howard began to turn his life around in the 1990s and quit drinking. He is now happily married, has a son, and enjoys his job driving a tour bus. Through this documentary, Howard has found some answers about what exactly happened to him. But the most profound will always elude him.

DULLY: I think that I'm intelligent enough now, I probably would have been as intelligent enough then. To say that I came out as I would have been? I don't know. I don't know how you can go into a brain and scramble it and have you come out like I would have been. It's -- that doesn't make sense. But what specifically have I lost, that I'm not capable of doing mentally, I can't answer.

GUPTA: Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN, Atlanta.


COOPER: It's hard to imagine that -- it is hard to imagine that actually happened to a young man.

Now, what happens when a sleeping volcano decides to wake up. The sound and the fury when 360 continues.


COOPER: After sleeping for nearly 20 years, Alaska's Mt. Augustine volcano woke up today. It erupted shortly before 5: 00 a.m. this morning spewing out a massive plume of ash. Just take a look at those pictures. We're actually just getting these in. Not exactly the kind of eruption that has people running for their lives.

But as CNN's Joe Johns reports, there's a lot of concern of what may come next.


JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Augustine Volcano, Alaska. For years, a picture of calm. That calm was shattered at 4: 44 a.m. and again at 5: 13 Wednesday when a pair of explosions sent a cloud of ash five miles into the sky. The event captured by seismic monitors at Alaska's Volcano Observatory. It's a prelude to what could be a larger explosion, perhaps less than a day away, if the volcano follows the pattern of its last big eruption in 1986. And there's bad history here, too. Scientists also know what happened 120 years ago when an eruption triggered a tsunami, huge waves that swamped nearby fishing villages.

Augustine is an uninhabited island, not easy to get to. From Anchorage you fly by plane all of the way down Cook Inlet to the fishing village of Homer. From there, we took a helicopter 65 miles across the water, with pilot Mike Fell.

MIKE FELL, HELICOPTER PILOT: Just here in the last, you know, month or so is when we've been getting the big cloud release. I've landed in the dome itself, you know, and in fact, we can't land there anymore because of how much it's grown.

JOHNS: As we approach, we see that we're flying into heavy weather. The top of the mountain is shrouded in mist. The terrain looks like a moonscape.

FELL: Here when we're close to this mountain we clearly get this smell of sulfur in the air.

JOHNS (on camera): This is 1200 feet elevation. The summit is just that way, through the clouds about 4,100 feet. Some of the worst weather in the world is out here. In just a matter of minutes we went from bright sunshine to freezing rain and sleet.

(voice-over): Our pilot, Mike Fell, was there when it went up in '86.

FELL: As we turned back around, it looked like just a giant mushroom cloud coming up out of the volcano, as you can imagine, and just a big ash and steam plume going straight up. It was a beautiful day. Crystal clear. And then it just had the anvil-shaped cloud going up and away from it.

JOHNS: The worst case scenario here is that, like Mount St. Helen's in Washington State in 1980, there would be a flank collapse, when an entire side of the mountain comes tumbling down into the water. Depending on what side of the mountain might collapse, the town of Homer could be at risk if there's a tsunami.

While there's little risk of a catastrophe 175 miles away in Anchorage, at the very least, air travel would likely be affected if the ash falls on the city. Remember the St. Helen's blast sent huge ash clouds into the air that actually circled the world. Eventually, a menace for all air travel. The ash from the initial explosions hasn't caused much trouble. Flights were restricted for a short time around Augustine. But the weather changes fast here, and if there's a big eruption as expected, all bets are off. Joe Johns, CNN.


COOPER: Erica Hill from Headline News joins us right now with some of the other stories we're following. Hi again, Erica.

HILL: Hi, again, Anderson.

Today in Louisville, Kentucky President Bush again defending domestic spying and his Iraq policy. The president also insists Iraqi insurgents don't deter him, telling his audience, quote, "I just want to tell you weather you agree with me or not they're not going to shake my will. We're doing the right thing."

A surprise today for U.S. Border Patrol agents investigating a caved-in road in California. The road caved in because there was a tunnel underneath it linking the U.S. to Mexico. It's the third such passage found in three years near the border crossing.

In Washington, sources with knowledge of the investigation tells CNN up to a half dozen people, including two members of Congress, could face charges stemming from the indictment of lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Abramoff has pleaded guilty to conspiracy, fraud and tax evasion charges.

And a little police chase video to show you. Like you've never seen before, probably. Could the driver of this pickup be driving under the influence? Nope. Falling asleep? Wrong again. The problem here, the driver, well, he's only 7 and barely 4 feet tall. Makes it kind of tough to reach the pedals. When he did finally stop, the second grader told police that he just wanted to get his license, Anderson. He's been charged with driving without one. He's seven. He's got to go to juvie.

COOPER: I don't want to know where the kids' parents are. Erica, thanks very much.

We're going to have more of 360 in a moment. Stay with us.


COOPER: A reminder tomorrow, CNN is going to have day four of confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito. A special edition of the SITUATION ROOM starts at 9: 00 a.m. Eastern. Larry King is next. His guest, James Frey. A fascinating hour interview on the controversy over his book, "A Million Little Pieces." Oprah even calls in. Stay tuned.