Return to Transcripts main page

CNN Connie Chung Tonight

Westerfield Trial Now in Jury's Hands; Iraqi President Fans Flames of War

Aired August 08, 2002 - 20:00   ET


CONNIE CHUNG, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening. I'm Connie Chung.
Tonight, the trial that's captivated the nation. Now it's in the hands of the jury.

ANNOUNCER: A dramatic climax in the Westerfield trial.


JEFF DUSEK, DEPUTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY: Danielle, please tell us, who did this to you?


ANNOUNCER: Now the man accused of kidnapping and murdering Danielle van Dam has his fate in the hands of a jury. We go inside the courtroom.

Saddam fans the flames of war. Anyone who attacks Iraq will pay the price. Tonight, we'll take a look inside the mind of Saddam Hussein.

These kids are wanted for smoking.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You can't mess with a mother and her children.


ANNOUNCER: A desperate mom's campaign to make her teen twins break the habit. How far would you go?

This is CONNIE CHUNG TONIGHT. Live from the CNN Broadcast Center in New York, Connie Chung.

CHUNG: Good evening.

Tonight, six men, six women, they have begun their work, started their debate, and what they decide will determine the fate of David Westerfield, accused of kidnapping and killing Danielle van Dam. They got the case today after prosecutors had the final say. On the story of the day's proceedings is CNN's Rusty Dornin.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She went to the rear of the motor home...

RUSTY DORNIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A final chance for the prosecution to blow holes in David Westerfield's defense. Prosecutor Jeff Dusek led the jury one last time through the evidence that he says pins the kidnapping and murder of 7-year-old Danielle van Dam on Westerfield. But nothing speaks louder, says Dusek, than the jacket that Westerfield took the cleaners two days after the 7-year- old was kidnapped.

DUSEK: This is the smoking gun, right here, this jacket. This is the smoking gun. Danielle's blood is on that jacket. And after hearing all of the closing arguments yesterday and part of the day before, this wasn't touched, how it got there. This wasn't touched at all.

Give me an explanation. You have to be sitting there. Give me another explanation of how it got there. Please. You didn't hear one. Not one.

DORNIN: Defense lawyer Steven Feldman hammered home his message to the jury. The evidence is all circumstantial, he claimed, seeds planted of reasonable doubt. When there is reasonable doubt, Feldman told them, they must acquit his client. Prosecutors theorize that Westerfield entered the van Dam house that night and hid in a closet before kidnapping Danielle. Not possible, says the defense.

STEVEN FELDMAN, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: ... that somebody else was in that residence that was not David Westerfield. You know, without being facetious, we see all of their boards. If I was to put this board up on the wall, this the evidence they have of David Westerfield in the van Dam residence.

DORNIN: Shortly before the final proceedings, Brenda van Dam broke down and left the courtroom, but returned a few minutes later. Both she and her husband remained calm throughout the prosecutor's closing statements, even when Jeff Dusek made an emotionally charged appeal.

DUSEK: Danielle, please tell us. Who did this to you?

DORNIN: He urged jurors to imagine that by some miracle, Danielle van Dam was standing before them.

DUSEK: I've told you with my hair, and you where found it. I told you with the orange fiber that you found on my choker, and where you found it. I told you with the blue fibers that were on my naked body and where you found it. I told with you my fingerprints and I told you with my blood. Please listen.

DORNIN: The last words to the jury as they received the case, words the defense hopes they ignore.

Rusty Dornin, CNN, San Diego, California.

(END VIDEOTAPE) CHUNG: We're going to look at this case now with the help of Lisa Bloom, anchor of Court TV's "Closing Arguments." Lisa has been watching the proceedings in San Diego. And here in New York, CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin. Thank you both.

Lisa, first, we just heard the prosecutor take on the voice of Danielle van Dam. It's an unusual strategy to say the least. What did you think?

LISA BLOOM, COURT TV: I thought it was a very effective strategy. It was a powerful closing to his closing argument, using Danielle's words as if from the grave. "Listen to me," he said, that she would say, "look at the physical evidence, the hair, the fibers, the blood." And I'll tell you, Connie, the jury was riveted to those words. They were leaning forward in their chairs, their eyes were fixed on the prosecutor. No one was fidgeting. They were listening very carefully.

CHUNG: Jeffrey, what did you think?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I thought it was hokey. I mean, I just think he's done a great job prosecuting this case, but this evidence is so powerful. I don't blame him for a dramatic flourish at the end of his argument, but it just seemed to me a little false. I thought earlier, when he talked about the blood, Danielle's blood being on Westerfield's jacket as being the smoking gun, that's where this case is going to be won, if it's going to be won. And, as he said, I do think that is close to irrefutable evidence.

CHUNG: All right. Let's go back to Lisa. Lisa, what did you think or how do you think Danielle van Dam's mother was handling today, because it had to be a difficult day?

BLOOM: I think they've handled themselves with a lot of class throughout this trial. I look back at the van Dams seated in the back row of the courtroom, although the back row and the front row are only two rows apart. But they sat quietly throughout the closing arguments. Danielle van Dam's mother, Brenda, her eyes teared up a little bit. They were shining. Damon van Dam would put his arm around her. At other times, they would have their hands clasped. They have a friend there for emotional support as well.

It has been a long, long trial. But keep in mind, Connie, Danielle's abduction was only six months ago. They're still in the grieving process. They've had to endure the national media attention, this trial, attacks on them and now this entire trial.

TOOBIN: You know, Connie, I was there last week. And it is such a small courtroom. You don't really get that on television. And, you know, what has got to be so excruciating for the van Dams is they're incredibly close to David Westerfield. They're about 10 or 15 feet way.

At one point, you know, Damon van Dam was thrown out of the courtroom because they thought he was sort of making menacing gestures or some sort of threatening motions towards David Westerfield. He was allowed back in when it became clear he wasn't going to do anything. But it is such torture, it's got to be for these parents, to be so close to the man they obviously believe killed their daughter.

CHUNG: And what about David Westerfield, Lisa?

BLOOM: Well, Connie...


BLOOM: Let's get to the bottom of Damon van Dam's supposed threatening gestures. What he did was he stood in a public hallway in the courtroom, looked through a little window in a doorway at the route that David Westerfield took into court. Now that's not a violation of any rules or any laws that I'm aware of. He did ask one of the sheriff's deputies about Westerfield's route.

But there were no threatening gestures, although that has been widely reported. There was no threatening movements or anything else. He was simply looking at David Westerfield and asking about his route. Now, I suppose asking about his route could be interpreted as threatening, but the judge initially kicked him out of the courtroom. Once Damon van Dam got an attorney, argued California law on the point, which does protect victim's rights to be in the courtroom, he was allowed back in. He's been there for the duration.

CHUNG: Jeffrey, the jury was not sequestered. What affect do you think that's going to have?

TOOBIN: Well, certainly, the defense was arguing vociferously throughout the trial, or at least certainly the latter stages, to get them sequestered, mostly because of the Samantha Runnion case. That took place just a few miles away, just north of San Diego, received, as we all know, enormous publicity. And the defense said, look, that case is simply too close. The jurors are going to be biased against Westerfield.

I think once Judge Mudd did not sequester the jury during the intense period of publicity about that case, he certainly wasn't going to do it during deliberations. Again, last week, I saw the interplay between the jury and the judge about this. The jury desperately did not want to be sequestered. They have family responsibilities. And the judge, obviously, has a very good rapport with them, didn't want to put them through it.

CHUNG: All right. How did the jury seem, Lisa, as they left the room for deliberations?

BLOOM: Well, I'll tell you, Connie, the 12 who left to go into the jury room to deliberate seemed eager to get on with the business at hand. The six alternates, who had to stay behind, one of them sort of rolled her eyes and sighed, and you got the impression that she really wanted to go in and deliberate with the rest of them. She sat through the trial just like the rest of them. But she is not going in.

But something did happen towards the latter part of the afternoon. And that is the jury sent out a note and they said they want to deliberate five days a week in this case, not four days, as had been previously planned. Now, you could look at that as maybe they just want to make their own plans, they want to move forward or they're hunkering down for some long deliberations.

CHUNG: All right. Finally, Jeffrey, was there anything unusual about the summations?

TOOBIN: The one thing that caught my ear was that both sides very directly addressed the issue of a hung jury. Steven Feldman, the defense attorney, really appealed for a hung jury, said, look, if it's 11 to 1, if you're that one, stick to your guns. And the prosecutor, Jeff Dusek, he said, look, this isn't like an election where everybody just votes and you move on. You listen to each other, try to come to an agreement. I think it means both sides see that there are nine or 10 votes for conviction here -- that's my interpretation -- and so they want -- and they're trying to fight over the last two.

CHUNG: All right. Jeffrey Toobin, Lisa Bloom, thank you so much for being with us. We'll check in again with you, I'm sure.

The end of this trial means a lot to many people, especially to one man who has attended the proceedings because he was part of the five-man search team who found the body of 7-year-old Danielle. His name is Joseph Nemes and he joins us now from San Diego. Thank you so much for being with us. We appreciate it.

Tell me, how did it come about that you were part of the search team? Did you volunteer?

JOSEPH NEMES, PART OF TEAM THAT FOUND VICTIM'S BODY: I volunteered. I watched the media coverage of it and thought that the vast area that we had to cover was ridiculous to go out there and just walk around aimlessly. But I saw that it was very professionally organized and they really needed people with a cry of please come and help us. We can't do it alone.

CHUNG: Joe, did you know Danielle van Dam or her parents?

NEMES: No, I've never met any of them.

CHUNG: And have you ever done anything like this before?

NEMES: Personally, not gone out and volunteered. But out of the goodness of my heart, I do, you know, things that I can for the community. But never gone out and done anything like this. No.

CHUNG: And do you have any children?

NEMES: Yes, I do. I have a 13-year-old daughter.

CHUNG: OK. When you set out to look for Danielle van Dam, where did you go? Where did your team ago go? I don't mean specifically, but did you have an idea of where you wanted to search?

NEMES: Where I personally didn't have any idea where we were going to be sent, I could have went easily just out to the desert, which was 100 miles away from the point that we were sent to. We were -- how can I put it? Somebody, I haven't figured out to this day, mapped out, carbon copies for us and we were each handed a map page from the local Thomas Brothers and we just went to where our group was designated to go.

CHUNG: Were you optimistic?

NEMES: I honestly didn't think we were going to find anything. I honestly didn't.

CHUNG: But, Joe, in fact, three hours later of your first day of searching, you did in fact find the body with the other members of the team. I don't want you to describe exactly what you found, out of respect to the family, of course. So, can you tell us when you did find the body, what was going through your mind in terms of emotions and thoughts?

NEMES: A big giant relief came over me, the thought that thousands, hundreds and hundreds of people were out there, now they can all come home. And the big burden of what we were trying to accomplish was going to be over with.

CHUNG: At the same time, did you think to yourself, I don't have good news?

NEMES: Of course.

CHUNG: I mean, you wanted to come back with good news. But you knew it was going to be very, very sad.

NEMES: Well, I still to this day can't figure out where the part of good news come in on something like this, but to put a closure to everything and we can stop wondering what could have happened and just the relief that we did our job, because that's what it was, was an organized task that we had to go out and do. It was just like doing our job and we did what we were asked to...

CHUNG: Yes. Joe, tell me, do you regret being part of that search team?

NEMES: No, I don't, because I somehow have mixed emotions about it. But the part with where's all the good news in all of this, you know, to find her and come back with the news, but we had a job to do. I don't regret it at all. Sometimes, I wonder why did I go do it. But, you know, the good things about it, apparently, in my heart, outweigh the bad. So...

CHUNG: I know you went to the trial. You went to a few sessions.


CHUNG: Do you have very strong feelings about the outcome of the trial? And have you found closure? NEMES: Well, speaking with people that were associated with the search party, law enforcement and things like that, I have -- my opinion was that he was the man that did it, because I have also ran the route of going to the desert. And he came up with such a cockamamie story about where he had been, and I couldn't, for the life of me, figure out why he would do some kind of journey to the desert, back to the beach, all over the place like that with a beautiful, big, huge motor home. The road is just straight on Interstate 8 all of the way out there, and that would be the most logical place to go.

And we were also looking for opportune -- well, how can I put it? Our search team pulled over on the side of the road where there was space enough -- we only searched places where we thought that he could take a 35-foot motor home out there and park it. So we searched...

CHUNG: OK. Joseph, forgive me, I need to say good night to you. But we appreciate your coming on and talking to us.

NEMES: You're very welcome.

CHUNG: Joseph Nemes, thank you.

Still ahead, why would she put up wanted posters about her own sons? Where there's smoke, there is ire. Stay with us.

ANNOUNCER: Next, the winds of war fan a fiery response. Is this Saddam's first engagement in psychological warfare? CONNIE CHUNG TONIGHT will be right back.


CHUNG: Apparently, Saddam Hussein has been listening. After months of escalating threats by the U.S. about an attack or even an invasion of Iraq, that country's dictator, Saddam Hussein, spoke to his people on television today. In a taped, 22-minute speech, Saddam said anyone attacking Iraq would be, quote, "digging their own graves," and that the forces of evil would, quote, "die in disgraceful failure."


SADDAM HUSSEIN, PRESIDENT, IRAQ (through translator): One of the lessons of recent and distant history is that all empires and bearers of the coffin of evil, whenever they mobilize their evil against an Arab nation or against the Muslim world, they were themselves buried in their own coffin.


CHUNG: Recently, Saddam has offered to let U.N. weapons inspectors return with conditions. The U.S. believes that Saddam is using this as a ploy to weaken U.S. allied supports for an attack on Iraq. The White House shrugged off Saddam's newest comments as nothing new. The State Department called them, quote, "bluster."

Joining me now from the Iraqi capital of Baghdad is CNN's Rym Brahimi. Rym, thank you for joining us this evening. Can you help us to analyze what Saddam said, because it seems to me as if he was, on the one hand, saber-rattling, but on the other hand, offering a diplomatic olive branch?

RYM BRAHIMI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's exactly it, Connie. On the one hand, the usual tough rhetoric that Saddam Hussein is famous for now, saying that forces, the American forces, are forces of evil or forces of darkness, if you will. On the other hand, the president was clearly making some sort of an appeal for dialogue, literally telling the United States, well, if you think war is the best way for you to protect your own security and your people, well, you're wrong, there is another way, and that way is peace and dialogue.

So, as you said, there's a bit of this and a bit of that. On the one hand, showing he's prepared to fight if he has to have a war, but on the other hand, saying that he would prefer to avert the war and he would try anything he could do that.

CHUNG: Can you help us gauge what he is saying? Should Americans be alarmed?

BRAHIMI: Well, it's difficult from here, because obviously most people you talk to here would say why do we -- why are we perceived as being threatening by Americans? Why do they say that they're afraid of our president? So, it's difficult from this perspective where I'm sitting. Americans maybe should be alarmed, but the idea that they don't know what sort of weapons are in Iraq, if there are such weapons -- that is of course another thing that's very difficult for us to establish here in Baghdad.

But on the other hand, when you talk to people in the streets, they find it hard to understand, Connie, why they're perceived as such a threat. They think that maybe part of it is just that all Arabs are perceived as terrorists. On the other hand, they think, well, maybe this is just a ploy on the part of Americans because they're after oil.

As you know, Iraq hosts -- is believed to host the world's second-largest oil reserves, so people are convinced that the reason wants to come into Iraq is because of oil. So there's a lot of misunderstanding, maybe, on both ends. That's at least what a lot of Iraqis are saying, and this is why they're extending the olive branch you were mentioning, saying, well, why don't U.S. Congress members come to visit -- Connie.

CHUNG: Rym, Saddam Hussein met today with a member of the British parliament. Can you tell us anything about that meeting?

BRAHIMI: Yes, Connie. I spoke with George Galloway, who's a member of the British Labor party, earlier today, right after his meeting, actually. He told me that the president seemed very, very calm and as calm as he's ever seen anyone under such circumstances.

He also said that President Saddam Hussein was keen to convey the idea that he was really sincere about extending these olive branches, about talk of dialogue, and that was one of the aspects that struck him. At the same time, Connie, he said that he saw a president that was literally preparing for the worst, and he said that from his conversation with the president, he could sense that there is no doubt that should the United States attack Iraq, this attack would be fiercely resisted, and that the bloodshed would not only be Iraqi -- Connie.

CHUNG: Rym, has he increased security nationally?

BRAHIMI: Definitely. There has been heightened security, at least so it seems, in the country. You don't maybe sense it that much in the capital, Baghdad, where I am, but if you leave the capital then you sense it a little more. There are a lot of checkpoints outside of the city, and when you go from one place to another, you do feel that there is quite a lot of army here and there.

It's difficult because they're very good at -- they're very discrete about it, but certainly you sense also maybe that there's more tension, maybe a bit more security here and there in the sense that not only the checkpoints but everywhere you go you feel you are being observed quite closely -- Connie.

CHUNG: Rym Brahimi, our CNN reporter in Baghdad. Thank you so much for being with us.

BRAHIMI: You're welcome, Connie.

Part of the challenge for the U.S., both diplomatic and military, is to figure out how Iraq would respond, and that means figuring out how Saddam Hussein would respond.

Joining us to put the long-time Iraqi leader in focus is CNN's Beirut bureau chief, Brent Sadler. Brent, thank you for joining us tonight. Brent, I'm told that Saddam Hussein grew up poor. He was beaten by his stepfather and he was not allowed to go to school until he was 10 years old.

Yet how did he rise to the presidency a couple of decades later?

BRENT SADLER, CNN BEIRUT BUREAU CHIEF: That's right, Connie. Flash back to the young Saddam as a child, a very difficult upbringing, beaten by his stepfather who made him work very, very hard in the fields. A peasant family. It really was a tough upbringing. Denied schooling, as you say, until 10, when he was sent to Baghdad, about 100 miles from his original home, which is in the Tikrit area. We hear a lot about the Tikrit, the Tikriti clan of the Saddam Hussein family.

He went to Baghdad, attended school, got over his illiteracy problem, but graduated really only as a Grade 9 student. And then at the age of 16, and later to the teens, turned to revolutionary politics and really got his teeth stuck into how he would take an active role in the then emerging Baath Party of Iraq, the Arab Socialist Baath Party, which of course controls, is Saddam Hussein's power base today.

CHUNG: And later he did get a higher education, but let's go on to the religion. Is he a religious man?

SADLER: He is not, in the sense of a fundamentalist Islamic follower, at all. No, he's had -- he's run a country that really had a secular form of Islam in terms of the way Iraq was run. Certainly after he came to power in '79 and early '80s, Baghdad actually was quite a hot place to be. There was alcohol, restaurants, lively restaurants, nightclubs, some international singers went into Baghdad.

So really a pretty hot place, and in terms of the way that Saddam was ruling it, very much the anti-fundamentalist phenomena, if you like, because remember that Saddam Hussein was an ally of the United States in the early 1980s when Iraq was at war with Iran, America using Saddam Hussein in those years as a block to the possible expansion of Iranian style fundamentalism, which of course we still see in various parts of the world today.

CHUNG: We've all heard a lot about his oldest son Uday. Tell us a little more about him and the rest of the members of Saddam Hussein's family.

SADLER: Well, Uday Saddam Hussein really came to notoriety, if you like, in 1988, at end of the Iran/Iraq war because there was a scandal that broke out. Uday, Saddam Hussein's eldest son, actually bludgeoned to death his father's valet, a very popular man, if you like, in the court of Saddam Hussein, killed that valet in a family dispute, and then was put on trial in Iraq. It was fudged and eventually he was exiled to Switzerland.

I met Uday Saddam Hussein on one occasion. He was carrying a gun on his hip. He had a penchant for expensive watches. I noticed a gold Rolex on his wrist, smart suits and really a man who emerged in the '80s and '90s specifically as a really tough hard individual who today really controls much of the domestic propaganda inside Iraq.

CHUNG: We got a good example of how Saddam Hussein would take no prisoners when the two men who are married to his two daughters took them and left the country. Tell us that story.

SADLER: Well, that really is an extraordinary story. It was back in 1995, when Hussein Kamal Majid defected from Iraq. Now, Hussein Kamal was a key player, if you like, a henchman, if you like, within the regime of Saddam Hussein. He defected along with another man who was married to one of Saddam Hussein's daughters, two sons-in- laws married to two of Saddam Hussein's daughters. Their grandchildren, they all defected from Baghdad and went to Jordan.

Now Hussein Kamal was actually tightly involved in the weapons of mass destruction program that Iraq was concealing at that time from U.N. weapons inspectors. He went to Jordan, sought sanctuary from the then-King Hussein and was hoping really to trigger off an opposition, an Iraqi opposition to overthrow Saddam Hussein. So this really was a big embarrassment and a problem for the Iraqi leader.

And incredibly, back in the early part of '96, Hussein Kamal and his cousin Saddam were both persuaded to go back to Iraq. To cut a long story short, they went back. At the border their wives and children were split from them, and the two men went to a villa in Baghdad. A few days later they were killed in bloodbath by members of the wider family, it was reported, and those assassins later killed themselves.

CHUNG: We have a videotape of Saddam Hussein swimming in the Tigris River. What is that all about?

SADLER: Well, that again is another one of these amazing phenomenons that, a cult personality, if you like, around the Iraqi leader, which is perpetuated, has been, throughout his more than 20 years in power, going back to this amazing sequence of pictures, it goes back to a reenactment of an event in 1959, when Saddam Hussein was part, it's reported, of an attempt to assassinate the then- military ruler of Iraq.

It failed, Saddam Hussein reportedly, as legend has it, inside Iraq, was wounded in that assassination attempt against the then- ruler. Stitches those wounds and swam across the river Tigris to get to Syria, but occasionally we have seen Saddam Hussein swimming, reenacting that assassination attempt and escape across the river to show that Saddam Hussein was able to escape his adversaries then and, they say, will continue to overcome his adversaries of today.

CHUNG: And finally, tell us, do the people in the country know where their leader is from day to day? And how does he avoid these assassination attempts, which do come along?

SADLER: Doubles are used to foil possible assassination attempts. So where the Iraqi leader is at any given time is impossible to say.

And all these elements, of course, have made it very difficult for Saddam Hussein's adversaries to track him down, to nail him, and possibly to eliminate him. And that's not going to get any easier as the weeks and months go on, given the rhetoric from Washington, and given what might happen in terms of military action to possibly topple Saddam Hussein -- Connie.

CHUNG: All right, thank you. CNN's Brent Sadler reporting from Beirut.

And still ahead: What does the blink of an eye mean? We'll have a quick check on how the formerly conjoined twins are doing.

ANNOUNCER: Coming up: How far would you be willing to go to stop your kids from smoking?




ANNOUNCER: We'll meet one mom who's taking it to the streets, when CONNIE CHUNG TONIGHT continues. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CHUNG: Many of us, I think, know from personal experience that it sometimes takes a little more than just a light-hearted admonition to get people to stop smoking. And when it's a mother telling teenage boys to stop, it can take a lot more.

You're about to meet one Wisconsin mother who's gone to extremes to snuff out her sons' habit.


(voice-over): Identical twin boys, Bradley and Gavin, their mother's dream, the faces of angels. Now, a dozen years later, those faces grace a wanted poster. A sign made by their mother, Karen Paape.

PAAPE: So I went up to their room with my camera, and I said smile, boys; if you don't want to smile, that's OK too.

Mom, what are you do doing now?

CHUNG: That photo ended up on this poster. It asks anyone who sees the boys not to buy them cigarettes, and to call the police if they're caught smoking.

Their mom then plastered the fliers at gas stations across town.

PAAPE: Are you absolutely out of your mind, my dad calls me, because I think he thinks that it's going to cause a lot of trouble, you know, rather than help.

CHUNG: Not surprisingly, one of her sons, Gavin, tore down the posters. But that didn't stop his mom.

PAAPE: I knew he would. I got more where that came from.

CHUNG: She'll keep the posters coming until she hears those magic words:

PAAPE: Mom, we don't smoke any more. I had a drag yesterday and it made me sick.

Good. That's what I want to hear.

CHUNG: Is mom's no-smoking campaign quite ingenious, or has she gone too far?

CHARONNE KALUZNY, WEST BEND, WISCONSIN: When I was a kid I sort of wish my parents would have done that, or some of the other people in the community would have spoke up.

JULIE SCHMIDT, WEST BEND, WISCONSIN: I think it's kind of extreme measures, yes. I think talking to your kid, trusting them, you know, supporting them.

CHUNG: Karen Paape says she's tried that. For her, the posters are a last-ditch effort by a loving mom.

PAAPE: You can't mess with a mother and her children.


PAAPE: Karen Paape is here with me now from West Bend, Wisconsin along with the friend who gave her the idea, Shannon Garrison, as well as her sons Bradley and Gavin Belunes.

Nice to see you. Thanks for coming.

OK guys -- hello. When did you start smoking and why?



CHUNG: And why?

B. BELUNES: Just wanted to. Our cousin got -- I wouldn't really say he got us into it, but showed us it.

CHUNG: And how did you get the cigarettes? From your cousin?

G. BELUNES: Yes, she gave us one.

B. BELUNES: Yes, that night she gave us it and then we just -- we just started going down to gas stations and asking people for them, or just saying, hey, can you buy me a pack of cigarettes?

CHUNG: And people would do that?

B. BELUNES: 12 years old and they'd do it. I don't know why, but...

CHUNG: Well, you're a little surprised too, huh?

B. BELUNES: Yes, and four years later we're still trying to quit, but -- and I think we have.

CHUNG: You think so?


CHUNG: OK, we'll get to that in a minute.

But how much were you smoking by the time you were 16?

G. BELUNES: Maybe a half a pack a day between us both, but now it's like, I don't know, one pack between us both is three, three-and- a-half days.

CHUNG: Got you.

OK mom, how did you find out that they were smoking? PAAPE: You could smell it when they would come in the door. And the lies worked for a little while, "oh, we were by somebody's house, they smoke. We were with so and so, they smoke." But, you know, I got wise to that.

CHUNG: So, what did do you in the beginning?

PAAPE: Smell their hand.

CHUNG: Yes. Did you try to get them to stop in the beginning?

PAAPE: Oh, yes. First, it started with grounding them. Then it was grounding them longer. Then it was chores, take away allowance, take away computer, PlayStation, Nintendo, just try and make their lives a living hell.


CHUNG: And it obviously didn't work?

PAAPE: No, because, you know, you let your guard down and then they just -- they'd pull something else. And you think they would get sick of being punished and just give in.

CHUNG: Not a chance. OK, enter Shannon. Shannon, you had this hair-brained idea. Where did you get this idea?

SHANNON GARRISON, CAME UP WITH IDEA FOR FLIERS: Well, Karen a talk about our kids a lot at work.

CHUNG: But you have little kids?

GARRISON: I have little kids. But, in a lot of ways, my son and her sons are a lot alike. And she had told me that Gavin basically told her that there was nothing she could do to stop them from smoking. And I'm like, well, she said that people at gas stations would buy them cigarettes. And I said, well, try to make up a poster.

CHUNG: Like a wanted poster.


CHUNG: Mom, how could you? I can't believe you did this. You know, your precious sons, you slap them up there like they're wanted for something awful.

PAAPE: I didn't expect anybody else to really see it except, you know, them or who is going to go in and buy them these cigarettes. That was my whole point. I mean, I just -- we didn't expect it at all. And, at first, there was some people that were concerned, oh, it could backfire.

CHUNG: Right.

PAAPE: And it hasn't. And I'm grateful and it's really been a positive thing. CHUNG: Think so? All right. Well, let's go back to the guys. When you first saw those posters up in these gas stations, what did you think?

B. BELUNES: I don't know...

G. BELUNES: It bothered me at first, like bad.

CHUNG: Like how?

G. BELUNES: Well, the first time that we went, that I saw it, I was with her and my stepdad and Brad. And I saw it in the window and I looked at Brad and I went, dude, there is pictures. And he's like, no. And he looked like that and he's like, yes.

B. BELUNES: Go tear it down.

G. BELUNES: I was like, turn around, I'll tear it down. And I ran in there and, guys need this? No. Crumpled it up, put it in my pocket.

CHUNG: Yes. So were you embarrassed?

B. BELUNES: A little bit of both, like and then high school is going to start soon. So we were afraid that kids would go and make fun of us and so we were a little worried about that.

CHUNG: Well, you know, that was the point, I think, right? So, did it kind of hit home with you?


CHUNG: Big time?

B. BELUNES: Yes, big time.

CHUNG: OK. So, one of you -- which one, Gavin or Brad, quit?

B. BELUNES: We both did.

G. BELUNES: We both did.

CHUNG: You did?

G. BELUNES: I -- he -- I don't know...

CHUNG: Look at the smile on mom's face.

G. BELUNES: I don't know if he's had one like before I quit or whatever, you know, like that. But I'm around him like 24/7 constantly and everybody knows that. And I haven't seen him with one.

CHUNG: Really?

G. BELUNES: Yes. I mean, neither of us.

CHUNG: You're not just saying that? You're not just saying that because you're on television?

B. BELUNES: No. We made a pact with each other not just because of my mom, but with each other. If we're going to quit, we might as well do it together. And he said, yes, that's true. So, it worked.

CHUNG: And tell me, what is the reason? Why are you quitting?

G. BELUNES: Not only this if I'm going quit, I'm not going to quit because they preached to me or it's bad for you, don't do it. You know, I'm going to quit because I want to quit. And I want to quit now.

CHUNG: And you want to quit because?

B. BELUNES: Because I don't want to be laying on my death bed 30 years from now.

CHUNG: There you go. Yes? Mom, give me five. You did it. I think it's a little crazy, but...

PAAPE: Some people do.

CHUNG: ... you did it. And on national television, are you now committed to completely staying off and you're not going to be tempted or persuaded by other kids?

G. BELUNES: I can't really say that I'll be completely off of it. It's just like a step by step thing.


G. BELUNES: I mean, I've cut like a lot within these, like, what four years, yes.

B. BELUNES: Because it's too soon to tell right now.

CHUNG: All right. Now, we're going to make mom confess. Do you smoke sometimes?



PAAPE: I would be somewhat of a hypocrite. I don't call myself a smoker. But go to a party, have a few cigarettes, have a couple drinks.

CHUNG: And your excuse to them is?

PAAPE: I'm an adult. I know it's wrong. I know it's bad, but learn from my mistakes then, if anything.


PAAPE: I don't want them to smoke.

CHUNG: Karen...

PAAPE: And I try to -- I told them I would make a promise with them that I would try not to do that social smoking anymore.


PAAPE: And Gavin looked at me and said when the grass is purple. So, I don't think he's convinced yet. But, I will.

CHUNG: All right. So, this is what I have to look forward to with my 7-year-old son, right?

PAAPE: Yes, and this one with her 4-year-old son.


CHUNG: Karen, Brad, Gavin and Shannon, thank you so much for being with us.

PAAPE: Thank you.

GARRISON: Thank you.

B. BELUNES: Thanks.

G. BELUNES: Thanks.

CHUNG: Appreciate it. We'll be right back.

ANNOUNCER: Still ahead, good signs from the separated twins. The latest on the little Marias when CONNIE CHUNG TONIGHT returns.


CHUNG: Doctors got some good news today about the Guatemalan twins separated in surgery earlier this week. And they got the news in the blink of an eye. Joining us now to brief us on the latest condition of the twins known as the little Marias is CNN's medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen, who is at UCLA Medical Center. Elizabeth, tell us, how are the girls?

Can you hear me, Elizabeth?

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Connie, a doctor from the pediatric intensive care unit here at UCLA just came out to give the good news that now both of the girls, not just one of them, both of them, are able to blink their eyes. They're looking around a little bit. They're able to move their extremities a little bit. They even respond to stimulation. When a doctor squeezes their hand, they try to pull it away a little bit. That's really good news. This is exactly how the doctors expected it to go.

Now, the children are still under sedation. If they weren't under sedation, they would be in great pain. So, the doctors are telling us that they're still under sedation and that they're not recognizing their parents, not at that point yet. But that's where they're hoping things will go in the future.

CHUNG: Elizabeth, can you hear me now? I guess not.

All right. Doctor Kawamoto is also here with us. I think maybe if the camera can pan over to him, we'll be able to talk to him as well. He was one of the surgeons, one of the 50 members of that surgical team. Thank you so much for joining us, sir.

Tell me, I just learned from our medical reporter that the girls are able to respond to some stimulus and that they have both opened their eyes and blinked. That's such good news, isn't it?

DR. HENRY KAWAMOTO, UCLA MEDICAL CENTER: Well, it's great news. Actually, you have a better update on the condition than I, since I was struck in traffic coming over here.


CHUNG: All right. Well, let me tell you how they are.

KAWAMOTO: Thanks for telling me.

CHUNG: They're moving their hands a little bit. They're moving their legs a little bit. But Maria Teresa...

KAWAMOTO: That's great news.

CHUNG: Maria Teresa actually isn't responding as much as Maria de Jesus. I'm told the reason, of course, is because she was in that follow-up surgery for about five hours yesterday. That's understandable, isn't it?

KAWAMOTO: Yes, quite understandable. And we sort of expect that would be the case and it's not a real surprise.

CHUNG: Now, Maria de Jesus is actually smaller than Maria Teresa. Isn't Maria Teresa the one that would sort of lead the two of them?

KAWAMOTO: Well, before the operation, she was a leader, a little bit more aggressive, if you will, because she was bigger and she could flip her twin around. And she always had her way because of her size. But, I think in the operation itself, I think we felt they both had equal chances.

CHUNG: All right. Were there dressings changed today?

KAWAMOTO: Yes, their dressings were changed today.

CHUNG: And did that tell you anything? Did that tell any of the doctors or nurses any clues about their future?

KAWAMOTO: Well, one of the things that we were concerned about is how they're going to heal their wounds, especially after a very complicated operation and planning. And they look fine to us. So, we're -- we remain cautious but optimistic. CHUNG: When will they need follow-up surgery, would you estimate?

KAWAMOTO: That's kind of interesting, because it will depend upon how they grow. But usually in this kind of state, the next procedures from the plastic surgery point of view would be to go ahead and build them a skull cap and get their hair pattern right. And usually, I would say that would be about five or six years of age.

CHUNG: I see. And that is your specialty. Now their grandfather in Guatemala was concerned that the girls would need extra special care. And he said, you know, his son only makes something like $64 every three weeks. He works on a banana plantation. Are they going to need extra special care or will they be OK?

KAWAMOTO: You know, I traveled a lot around the world. And there are excellent plastic surgeons around the world. And some of the care that they need may be available in Guatemala. I don't know the situation per se in Guatemala, but a lot of Latin American countries have very well qualified surgeons.

CHUNG: All right. Dr. Henry Ma -- am I pronouncing your last name right, Kawamoto, right?

KAWAMOTO: Kawamoto, yes.

CHUNG: Thank you so much for being with us. And you are a craniofacial surgeon, correct?

KAWAMOTO: Craniofacial and plastic surgeon, yes.

CHUNG: Terrific. Thank you so much for being with us tonight. And, Elizabeth Cohen, thank you for being with us as well.

Before we leave this story, a look now at how much the twins mean to their parents' tiny impoverished village in southwest Guatemala. Residents there have been holding vigils for Las Marias. The girls have never been to their own home, born in Guatemala City. They have spent their entire lives in medical facilities. Their neighbors, however, were able to catch a glimpse of them on television on Tuesday as they emerged from the 22-hour long operation to separate them. And despite their own poverty, the Guatemalan villagers have taken up collections to help pay for the girls' medical costs.

And that's our news for tonight. Tomorrow, Alejandro Avila, accused of kidnapping, molesting and killing Samantha Runnion, will enter his plea.

We'll see you tomorrow. "LARRY KING LIVE" is next. Good night.