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CNN Larry King Live

Sunday School Teacher Facing Death Penalty?; U.S.-Flagged Ship Attacked; Interview with Sharon Stone

Aired April 14, 2009 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight a Sunday school teacher breaks down in court -- formally charged with murder, kidnapping and rape of her daughter's playmate. Melissa Huckaby could face the death penalty if convicted.

Was 8-year-old Sandra Cantu killed because she trusted too much?

We'll take you into the courtroom to witness what happened.

And then Sharon Stone, the actress, phenomenal fundraiser and mother is here. She knows what it's like to fight for her kids.

And then Ashton Kutcher challenged me and I'm striking back.


ASHTON KUTCHER, ACTOR: This is a message for Larry.

Why don't you come on my Twit show and we'll put it on Twitter and then maybe we could (INAUDIBLE) to call.



Good evening.

A gruesome crime, a shocking suspect -- Sunday school teacher Melissa Huckaby stands charged with the rape and murder of 8-year-old Sandra Cantu Huckaby, whose daughter was one of Cantu's playmates, was in court today -- shackled. A single tear rolled down her cheek.

Here's some of the proceedings.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right. Miss Huckaby, there's been a complaint filed in case number SF11539A that (INAUDIBLE) in count one (INAUDIBLE): "That on or about March 27th of 2009, the crime of murder in violation of Section 187 of the penal code, a felony, was committed by Melissa Huckaby, who, at the time and place last aforesaid, did willfully and unlawfully and intentionally, with malice aforethought, murder Sandra Cantu, a human being."


KING: Our panel to discuss this, here in -- in Los Angeles is Trent Copeland, the defense -- prominent defense attorney.

In Tracy, California, Jennifer Wadsworth, the reporter for the Tracy Press. She was in court today for the arraignment and did a phone interview with Melissa prior to the arrest.

And in Miami is Stacy Horowitz, Florida assistant state attorney, who specializes in cases involving child abuse and sex crimes.

Was this pretty much a standard arraignment today, Jennifer?

JENNIFER WADSWORTH, REPORTER, TRACY PRESS: Yes, it was. They formally read the charges against her. She -- she didn't enter any pleas. She was assigned a public defender and -- and then they called an end to the hearing. It was very brief.

KING: You had a chance to talk to her before all of this.

What did she say?

WADSWORTH: I was -- well, when I talked to her, I was specifically asking about the black suitcase Sandra's body was found in. I wanted to find out who owned it. So I asked her if it was hers. And she said yes, that it was hers. So that's why I called her that day. And -- and that's mostly what we talked about.

KING: How did she sound?

WADSWORTH: She sounded like an intelligent person. She sounded calm and collected. And she didn't describe in very much detail what -- how she said her suitcase was stolen the day Sandra went missing -- the hour Sandra went missing.

KING: Were any members of her family in court today?

WADSWORTH: I saw her father, Brian Lawless. From where I was -- from where I was sitting, I couldn't see anyone else. But -- so not that I know of besides Brian.

KING: Who else is in the family?

WADSWORTH: She has -- she lives with her grandparents, Lane Lawless, Connie Lawless. And she lives in a mobile home park with -- with her grandparents there and with her 5-year-old daughter. So -- and then several of her family members from Southern California flew up this weekend and were at the Easter Sunday service at the pastor's church in Tracy where she taught Sunday school.

KING: Stacy, does everything point to her, from what you read and hear?

STACEY HONOWITZ, FLORIDA ASSISTANT STATE ATTORNEY: Well, you know, Larry we don't know enough about the evidence. And the sergeant and the investigators came on the and they said they want to keep everything very close to the vest because the investigation is still ongoing.

So right now for me to sit here and tell you that does it all point to her?

We don't know. But, obviously, the police had probable cause to arrest her. The suitcase did belong to her. There was a relationship between her and this child. But we're going to have to wait to see if any of this evidence does trickle out. And we might not hear a lot about this, because they really want to keep it under wraps.

KING: Would a state-assigned attorney, Trent, handle a murder case?

TRENT COPELAND, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Of course. Particularly if the...

KING: A public defender?

COPELAND: A public defender, particularly if the defendant is indigent, does not have the resources, financial or otherwise, to hire a private lawyer.

But, look, I want to -- I want to respond to something that -- that Stacy said a moment ago. And, you know, here in California, we're -- we're getting this news on an ongoing basis. And what we're hearing, Larry, is that -- the police have, for all intents and purposes, closed the investigation and that they don't believe there are any other suspects. And they do believe that all signs point to -- point to Miss. Huckaby.

So, you know, I'm certain -- I do agree with Stacy to this extent, that they're certainly keeping things close to the vest. But it sounds very much like they have narrowed in on this defendant as being their primary suspect.

HONOWITZ: No, that's right. And they...

COPELAND: Now, again, (INAUDIBLE)...

HONOWITZ: And, absolutely, Larry. They did come on the air and they said there are no other suspects. And that's not what I meant by it's an ongoing investigation. What I meant was certainly there are still investigations that go on with regard to evidence and things like that. So I'm not going to sit here today and say she's guilty of this crime.

But they have probable cause to arrest her and there are no other suspects.

KING: All right.

Are they going to need, Trent, motive?

COPELAND: No. They're not going to need...

KING: They don't need motive? COPELAND: They're not going to need motive to convict her, Larry, of murder. But they certainly will need to know whether or not she engaged in this with -- with sound mind.

The essential element is -- look, these are -- there are special circumstances involved in this case. That is, that there was a kidnapping associated with the murder, that there was a rape associated with the murder and that perhaps it was even premeditated.

Now, if I'm her defense lawyer, what I'm concerned about is what this woman's mental state is in terms of establishing whether or not there is a motive.

Now, she doesn't have to have a motive to kill. There doesn't have to be a motive for her to be found guilty. But if I'm going to defend her, then one of the first things that I'm going to look to, Larry, is whether or not she is of sound mind, whether or not she's of some kind of mental diminished capacity.

And, remember, at the end of that arraignment, her lawyer specifically said to the judge, he said, judge, you know, look, we'd like to order another medical evaluation. And, remember, she'd already had a medical evaluation over the course of the weekend.

So clearly, what's being suggested here is there's something going on mentally with her.

KING: Jennifer, did she appear remorseful?

WADSWORTH: She did to me. I mean I have no idea what's going on in her head. But she was -- she was sobbing and it seemed as if she could -- she could barely stand to hear what was being read against her.

KING: Doesn't it -- it would appear, Stacy, off the front of it, that something's the matter with her?

HONOWITZ: Well, Larry, I don't think anybody can look at this case and say that there's something not wrong with this woman. I mean you just don't hear about things like this. And the crime is so atrocious, it's so heinous, it's unfathomable.

But what Trent was saying is true. And I think that the lawyers are going to start -- on her defense team -- start looking at some kind of mental defense.

I mean that's the only way people can look at this -- was she insane at the time?

That's probably the type of issues they're looking at.

Back in January, she had an issue with the court and it's my understanding that at that time, there was some kind of medication given to her or they -- she was -- it's some kind of mental health. And that's what they're going to start focusing in on right now.

But you can never -- I don't think anybody can look at this case and say that there's something not wrong with this woman.

KING: Yes. Right.

Hold on, we'll come right back.

And we thank Jennifer Wadsworth for reporting for us from Tracy, California.

Do you have something to say about the Cantu murder case?

Go to, click on a blog and tell us what you think. And while you're there, download our daily podcast, too.

We'll be back right after this.

Don't go away.


KING: We're back with breaking news.

An attempted pirate attack apparently was thwarted. The Liberty Sun, a U.S.-flagged ship cargo ship bound for Mombasa, Kenya was attacked today by Somali pirates, according to a NATO source with direct knowledge of the matter. It was an unsuccessful attack. The pirates never made it onto the ship.

The vessel is now being escorted by a coalition ship still bound for Mombasa. And we'll have more information and give it to you as we get it.

Stacy Honowitz and Trent Copeland remain with us.

Joining us now in New York is Judge Jeanine Pirro, who presides over the TV court show that bears her name, former prosecutor and D.A. for Westchester County.

And in Pittsburgh, the famed Dr. Cyril Wecht, forensic pathologist and attorney, author of "A Question of Murder."

Judge Pirro, what do you make of this?

JUDGE JEANINE PIRRO, FORMER PROSECUTOR, D.A. WESTCHESTER COUNTY, HOST, "JUDE JEANINE PIRRO": Well, you know, it's highly unusual for a woman to murder a child, especially a child that is not hers. You know, women are historically seen as nurturers and not murderers.

So statistically, this is a very unusual case. And in researching Melissa Huckaby's background, it appears that when she pled no contest last year, Larry, to a petty larceny, she was ordered, as part of her probation, to go into a mental treatment program on April 17th.

This feeds into what we're hearing about the possibility of an insanity defense given the horrific circumstances of this homicide. And if, indeed, she is the person who is guilty of this crime, I mean, this is a classic death penalty case if there is no mental illness...

KING: Yes.

PIRRO: ...because of the innocent nature of the victim here.

KING: All right. Dr. Wecht, Sandra, the little girl, went missing March 27th. We want to get the facts right. Her remains were found April 6th in a suitcase in an irrigation pond.

Now, how might the passage of time and submersion in water affect evidence?

DR. CYRIL WECHT, FORENSIC PATHOLOGIST, ATTORNEY: It would have affected it considerably. The suitcase would have provided some protection, Larry, from immersion and decomposition. But the changes to the soft tissues would be significant.

So I think that the circumstances are going to be important here in order to determine the cause and mechanism of death -- unless, of course, you're dealing with fractures of the skull or some serious injuries to the neck or the cartilaginous structures in the Hialeah bone for strangulation.

The rape aspect is fascinating in this case -- a woman to girl child. And, of course, it has to be pointed out to people that rape, in modern times, is no longer a matter of penis per vagina. It can be anything. And the district attorney has charged, as I understand it, the use of some kind of foreign object.

I -- I have a feeling that the foreign object probably was found in the suitcase with the girl and possibly maybe even inside one of the body orifices.


WECHT: I don't know, but in order for them to say that...


WECHT: ...I get that feeling.

KING: We obviously have a mental case here.


KING: I mean if this occurred, this is not normal.

The question is how do you approach that?

If you plead not guilty by reason of insanity and she's found not guilty, she goes somewhere, right?


KING: A mental institution? COPELAND: Yes. Look, Larry, I don't think that -- if what we're hearing is true -- and I agree with Jeanine. I really do think that this case plays directly into an insanity defense. And I think that there has to be some explanation for a woman to commit a crime like this.

And the only explanation that I can think of is that this is a person who's seriously mentally ill.

And Jeanine is correct, you know, women comprise less than 7 percent, according to the FBI statistics, of murders of any kind and less than 2 percent, apparently, of murders in situations that are even remotely classified as this one.

So this is so beyond the pale, this is so unusual, so fundamentally weird, that it's very, very difficult to understand.

HONOWITZ: But there is...

KING: More puzzling is...

HONOWITZ: There is an issue -- there is a very interesting aspect in agreeing with Trent and Jeanine.

KING: I'm sorry.

HONOWITZ: And we talked about insanity. When you heard some of the news that came out this week, when they talked to all of her family members, you never heard one family member say, you know what, there have been issues in the past. They've all talked about how normal she is. She's a Sunday school teacher, how this is so out of character.

So in interviewing all of them, this will play a role in determining whether or not she's been suffering from some kind of mental disease or defect.

KING: OK, we...

HONOWITZ: And they're going to deep -- very dig -- dig very deeply to see that.

PIRRO: If you recall, Larry...

KING: Let me get a break. I've got to get a break. Don't let -- we'll go inside the courtroom again when we come back in about 60 seconds.


KING: Welcome back.

Let's go back into the courtroom today, as Melissa Huckaby was formally charged in the death of 8-year-old Sandra Cantu. Now, as we've been telling you, she could face the death penalty if convicted as a result of a special circumstance. Watch.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There are three special circumstances alleged. In the first special circumstance, it is further alleged that the murder of Sandra Cantu was committed by defendant, Melissa Huckaby, while the said defendant was engaged in the commission of the crime of kidnapping in violation of penal code Sections 207 and 209.

In the second alleged special circumstance, we further allege that the murder of Sandra Cantu was committed by Melissa Huckaby while said defendant was engaged in the commission, attempted commission or immediately after the commission or attempt commission of the crime of performance of a lewd and lascivious act upon the person of a child under the age of 14, in violation of the Penal Code Section 288, within the meaning of Penal Code Section 190.2 (a)(17)(e).

In the third special circumstance, it is further alleged that the murder of Sandra Cantu was committed by Melissa Huckaby while said defendant was engaged in the commission, attempt commission or immediate flight after the commission or attempted commission of the crime of rape by an instrument in violation of penal code Section 289, within the meaning of penal code Section 19012A17K (ph).


KING: A criminal profiler will join us when we return.


KING: Judge Jeanine Pirro and Dr. Cyril Wecht remain.

We're joined by Pat Brown, criminal profiler, founder and CEO of the Sexual Homicide Exchange.

OK, Pat, what do you make of this crime?

PAT BROWN, CRIMINAL PROFILER, FOUNDER, CEO, THE SEXUAL HOMICIDE EXCHANGE: Well, it is an unusual one, Larry. Women do kill children. That is not that unusual. But they kill their own children. They kill children in their care. And when they kill an older child or abduct an older girl like this, it's usually for a guy. They're helping out their boyfriends.

But for a woman to take a child of this age for her own sexual purposes, that's what's extremely strange about this crime.

KING: What do you make that the family members are all -- all in shock and claims that -- they claim that the crime is completely out of character?

And one of those family members is a pastor, her grandfather.

BROWN: Right. People have a real difficulty recognizing psychopathy in their own children. They tend to minimize a lot of their behaviors.

For example, if it's so out of character for her to do this crime, was it also out of character for this Christian woman to commit theft?

I would think so. But I don't -- you know, she's done it more than once. So quite frankly, this is the way she is. She's probably exhibited psychopathic behavior for -- through a great deal of her life, but her family simply has ignored it or minimized it. And that's probably one of the reasons she's been able to get away with so much of her poor behaviors.

KING: Dr. Wecht, our forensic pathologist and attorney -- by the way, his new book is "A Question of Murder."

Doctor, is there a way -- could an autopsy determine if the -- any injuries that the victim sustained were inflicted pre- or post- mortem?

WECHT: Larry, the injuries would have to be substantial to the genitalia area in order to determine that they are not post-mortem artifacts because of the decomposition changes that occur.

In light of the charges that have been brought against this woman, I believe that there is something of a patterned nature. And, again, I do believe that there is a particular object that they have found, that they -- that they have matched up with an injury on -- on this girl.

I'd just like to -- to add something to all the discussion about insanity pleas and so on and so forth. There's one other possibility here -- not to the exclusion of insanity. But this crime suggests strongly to me a motive possibly of rage -- rage out of control. To -- to have used a foreign object in order to penetrate...


WECHT: ...this young girl's body, you've got to think that there is something that -- that turned her on at that time. It doesn't mean that she's going to prove to be legally sane, but there is an element of rage here.

KING: What do you make of that, Judge Pirro, rage toward a -- toward a child?

PIRRO: Well, yes. And, Larry, I've handled cases where objects have been, you know, injected into the body of a female.

But I wonder if maybe -- and only the autopsy will tell us this, Larry, whether or not the sexual assault was, indeed, a subterfuge. And your last question was an excellent one, and that is, can we tell whether the sexual assault was pre- or post-death?

If it was post-death, then there's a way to think that maybe this woman thought that she would make it look like a pedophile had done it. And if that's not the case, if it was pre-death, then you've got either insanity or incredible rage.

And if it is rage and not insanity, it is deserving of the death penalty.

KING: Pat Brown, were you nodding your head no?

BROWN: No. I do not believe this was a staged crime. If she had done that, she would have done something that would look more like a sex predator committed this crime -- let's say leaving the girl's body out by the side of the road naked.

But she's not going to put the child in a suitcase and then go put the suitcase in the water, because, clearly, she did not think that suitcase was ever going to be found.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And the suitcase belonged to her.

PIRRO: We don't know that until we get the autopsy report. That's the point.

BROWN: We don't -- no, no, no, no.

PIRRO: We're speculating here.

BROWN: No, no. I'm saying that the -- she would not have put the child in the luggage and hid the luggage in the water had she wanted to stage a sex crime. She would have put the body some place where the body would have been found naked and then we would have said oh, look what happened.

But she hid this. So she was not expecting anyone to ever discover her crime.

So why would you stay (ph) something no one is going to discover?

WECHT: And the luggage is hers, right?

PIRRO: The luggage is hers, yes.

BROWN: Right.

KING: Curiouser and curiouser.

Do you think that she might break down in all -- in your studies in the past, Judge Pirro, break down and admit it all?

PIRRO: Well, you know, it appears that she seemed to be very upset. And I think that when she thinks about this, that, if, indeed, she did kill this child, the child was a friend of her own daughter. And her own daughter will now see her as a monster. And I imagine that that will start to break her down, if, indeed, the woman is sane.

We don't know if we're dealing with a sane person. We do know that she's been ordered into mental health treatment. We do know she suffered from depression, as did Andrea Yates, who killed her own children, as well.

And I'm not saying that depression equals insanity or in any rage that's sufficient to kill. But there's a lot that we don't know, Larry. There's a lot. And I'm curious, as I'm sure Pat and Cyril are, as to what really happened here.

KING: Yes.

By the way, we have a question from our blog regarding the arrest of the Sunday school teacher: "No one has said anything about where her daughter was when this crime supposedly happened."


KING: Does anybody know where her daughter was?

PIRRO: It depends on whether or not she killed the child in the -- where her daughter was. We know that the victim came to the trailer to play with her 5-year-old daughter.

Now, I've handled cases, Larry, where you take children of the murderer and use them as material witnesses if, indeed, they have seen what happened.

KING: Yes.

PIRRO: I mean that would be the cruelest of all.

KING: Well, we obviously are going to do lots more on this. And we thank our guests for being with us. It's sad.

We'll change things and we'll go to one of my favorite all time guests. Sharon Stone will join us right after the break.

Stick around.


KING: It's always a great pleasure to welcome Sharon Stone, one of the delights of LARRY KING LIVE.

She's the Oscar-nominated actress, Golden Globe winner, global fundraising chairperson for amfAR. That's the American Foundation for AIDS Research.

When you hear this past story we just did, as a mom, what's your reaction to something like that?

There has to be an illness.

SHARON STONE: I just -- you can never understand why people do the things they do. You just -- there's nothing more heart-breaking than -- than a person losing their child.

KING: Nothing.


KING: I could -- I could not fathom it.


KING: Do you worry about your kids, by the way?

Are you a worrier?

STONE: You know, I think you just have to say, a mother worries.

KING: A mother...

STONE: A mother worries.

KING: Do they -- do you worry about them as children of a celebrity?

STONE: I think that, you know, being a celebrity is normal for me. I've been famous for a long, long time. So I don't think of it -- I think of it very differently. It's the normal temperature of my room.

KING: But what about them?

STONE: No. I really don't. I mean we -- we have our life and it's pretty regular for us.

KING: You had a rough time last year. We are going to discuss AIDS and a lot of other things. But you wanted to modify custody arrangements for your oldest son Roan, who I know very well. Great little kid.

STONE: I think we have to say our kids play together.

KING: That's right. Roan continues to live in San Francisco with your ex-husband. How do you deal with that? How do you deal with that?

STONE: Well, I'm a Buddhist. I think that helps. I think that in my way of understanding life, that I understand that everybody has their own destiny, even Roan. And so I recognize that Roan has his path in life. And so when he's with us, we try to love him up as much as we possibly can.

KING: And he comes down to you? How does it work? He lives in two cities, right?

STONE: He does. He's a man with a tale of two cities.

KING: Does he understand it all?

STONE: Roan? Yes, Roan's a very smart cookie. He's not a celebrity, so I prefer not to talk about his life on TV, because it's not fair for him.

KING: Do you know what the judge was thinking?

STONE: I don't mow what anybody is thinking, Larry.

KING: He didn't give a reason, right?


KING: Some other things in the news and your thoughts. Madonna was recently rebuffed in a bid to adopt a little girl in Malawi. What do you make of that?

STONE: You know, I don't really know. Because I think that there are so many children that need homes, especially children in third-world environments, that I would think that someone who's really loving, really gracious -- I happen to know her. She's a lovely person, who wants to give her other adopted son, particularly, a brother from his home country. I think seems lovely to me. So I don't know.

KING: It would have only benefited the child, you would think?

STONE: One would think, because it creates for him a sense of unity from his environment. So I just don't really know the particulars. But I'm sure she will continue to move on, and continue to expand her family in a way that becomes appropriate.

KING: Like you, Natasha Richardson was very active in the fight against AIDS.

STONE: Yes, she worked with us. She was my compatriot at AmFar.

KING: What do you make of that? Is that going to impact this in any way?

STONE: Impact?

KING: Your fund raising?

STONE: I think it will impact in the way that we'll all buckle down and work even harder to honor her memory, and the incredible graciousness and dedication and amazing grace with which she worked hard and gave of herself on behalf I think of the love of her father, Tony Richardson, who died of AIDS. I think there's probably nothing that we could ever do that would be enough to say thank you for all of the good things she did for us.

KING: Was she as nice as everyone tells me she was?

STONE: It seems implausible, but she really was that nice.

KING: What you hear is true?

STONE: It's true. She was a great lady.

KING: She died of head trauma skiing. You had a brain aneurysm.

STONE: Yes, we had a similar kind of thing.

KING: It was similar? How?

STONE: Well, I have to adjust. My earpiece is coming out.

KING: You didn't fall?

STONE: No, but I had a ruptured vertebral artery in the back of my head that tore. When I first went to the hospital, they thought it was an aneurysm. It wasn't. My vertebral artery tore and I hemorrhaged into my brain. At first, they missed it. So I ended up bleeding into my brain for a very long time, nine days, in fact, before they understood what was happening to me.

And it was just really very much by the grace of god that I survived. It's my understanding that what happened to Natasha was not dissimilar, that she had something happen in a similar way. And at first, they didn't understand the severity of what happened. And by the time that they did, she had irreparable damage to her brain. And it was just too late for them to fix it.

KING: The fight against AIDS with Sharon Stone will continue when we come back.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's true what Sharon says, if it weren't for all the research that they've done, we wouldn't have the life- saving drugs, many and most of the life-saving drugs that we have to keep people alive who are HIV positive. So thank you, AmFar.


KING: By the way, do you know someone living with HIV? That's tonight's quick vote. Go to

The big AmFar event next month is at the Cannes Film Festival. Bill Clinton will be there. What are you doing there?

STONE: Well, what we've do there -- what we've done there many, many years -- what I've been doing there -- This is, I think, the 14th year since I started. We have this dinner, which is a great dinner. When I started, it was a small dinner in a small room. Now, it's a gigantic dinner in a great big tent.

Every year, we have a co-host. Last year, it was Madonna. This year, it's President Bill Clinton. Every year, we have a musical guest. Last year, it was Mary J. Blige. This year, it's Annie Lennox. It's just phenomenal.

That's not all, normally. Normally, there are other musical people in the audience who will just come up and I'll often auction them off in the room.

KING: I've seen you auction things. You're relentless.

STONE: I am. I'm relentless. My mother says I could sell ice to the Eskimos.

KING: How much do you raise?

STONE: Last year, I raised 10 million dollars in that evening, which goes on about three hours. It just depends how it's going.

KING: Do you expect less this year due to the economy.

STONE: Well, last year, they say -- I raised seven million the year before. Last year, they said, Sharon, we know you're not going to raise the seven million. We know you can't do it in this economy. And I said, you know, I'm sure I can. They said, no, you can't. I said, you know, I will actually make you a bet that I can raise seven million and more.

Part of it was that I had an idea that I wanted to start this initiative, because I go -- before I go there, I often go to Vienna for what's called the Life Ball, which is a phenomenal ball that they give that's a drag ball. Now, it's not a drag ball where transvestites get dressed up like they do on Santa Monica boulevard on Halloween. It's a drag ball in Vienna, which is, of course, centuries and centuries old. So people come dressed like you'd think in a movie about Mozart. They come in these elaborate costumes, fabulous.

KING: That's a fund raiser too?

STONE: It's a huge fund-raiser. Every year, I come back from there with somewhere between 500,000 and a million. And that money goes to what's called our Treat Asia Program. And all of that money goes to all of the scientists who are working towards a cure in Asia. But I came back last year, and I thought, you know, I think we got 900,000 last year. And I thought, god, that doesn't seem like very much for this continent that's like, you know, a third of the world, 900,000. That doesn't seem like very much to give to the scientists for all of Asia.

We really need more money. And I want to come up with a plan for that. And I just turned 50. And I thought, you know, I didn't really do some big partying. I didn't do some big blow out. Instead, I gave away half of my belongings. And I was on this whole kind of trip about all of this.

So I thought -- I told the audience. And I prepared this show of photo's of everywhere I've been in all the time since I'd taken this job, when Elizabeth Taylor felt she couldn't do it anymore. I was going to work for three years. Now, I'm in my 14th year of three years.

So I showed them all these pictures of when I spoke at the United Nations and when I went to Israel and when I went to Dubai and when I went to hospitals and hospices and places all over the world. This is what I do when I'm not here. This is kind of where your money goes and what's happening and everything that's going on in the labs and the scientists.

But what I want to do this year is different. I want to start with 100,000 dollar donation. And I want to get matching donations from all of you people. Some of these people are so lovely, they come every year.

KING: You're going do this or you did it?

STONE: I did. And with this initiative, I want to do a bigger treat Asia pediatric program. Because, you know, Larry, you have little kids. You know when they're sick. They have pediatric Tylenol and pediatric Motrin and pediatric antibiotics.

KING: They do.

STONE: We don't have all of these pediatric AIDS drugs, which is really difficult. And this is why -- one of the big reasons why one child dies every other minute from AIDS. And in third world environments, the life expectancy for a child with AIDS is six months. Half the kids aren't getting any medication. And the other half of the kids, they're dying. There's no medication.

And half the mothers who have HIV aren't even getting the drug that they can take that will allow them to deliver HIV-Negative children. It's just a nightmare.

KING: Are you -- I know that AIDS patients are living a lot longer, right?

STONE: Adults. Adult AIDS patients. That's the accomplishment we've made in these last -- I mean, since I was there 14 years -- this didn't happen when I started. Now, 14 years later, we've granted all of these scientists, and they've come up with these drugs that create these life extensions. People are living 20 years or more.

Still, you still die from AIDS. So don't get me wrong. You need a condom. You don't want to get AIDS. AIDS is still a death sentence. Wear a condom, don't have unsafe sex. Get into reality.

KING: Have you thought of involving the first lady?

STONE: I would love -- but you know, I have to say, our president is already on it. They're already working and being much more thoughtful and outspoken than ever a president was before. They're making public statements about that there are 33 million people with AIDS. They're making public statements.

I mean, right now, there are 1.1 million people living with AIDS in the USA. One-fifth of those people don't know they have it; 1.7 million Americans have been infected with HIV since the start of the AIDS epidemic. And more than 550,000 have died of AIDS.

These are the kind of statements that our president is now putting out there. Our new president is the most aware and on top of it of any president in office so far.

KING: But Bush did worldwide -- he did enormous amount of money that the country gave to AIDS, did he not?

STONE: Bush went to Africa and spoke about AIDS. But Bush's home policy was an abstinence program, 100 percent.

KING: All right. AmFar -- by the way, you have a website?

STONE: We have a website. But what I'm here to tell you is that what happened was in Cannes last year, we raised over two million dollars on this initiative that's going to a treat Asia program. It will go to these scientists who are going to work on pediatric drugs.

KING: That's great. AmFar, you've done a good job.

STONE: I have done a good job, Larry. Thank you. All I've done is get the money for the scientists. And I want to say thank you to the scientists, because the scientists have done a good job.

KING: You've never been -- you've never seen anything until you've been at an event where an auction takes place and she auctions off.

STONE: I could auction you off.

KING: She sold a Mercedes-Benz to the president, a Mercedes- Benz. Ashton Kutcher is trying to take me down. He's just declared war. Stay with us. You'll see the battle play out in 60 seconds.


KING: Most of you know that I don't get into it with my guests. But sometimes, they give me an earful. And Ashton Kutcher has thrown down the gauntlet. He did it today on the Internet. And I'm ticked. And here's what he posted. Take a look.


ASHTON KUTCHER, ACTOR: I just made a comment yesterday that I found astonishing that one person can actually have as big of a voice online as what an entire media company can on Twitter. So I just thought that that was kind of an amazing comment on the state of the -- you know, our media. And I said that if I beat CNN to a million viewers, then I would ding dong ditch Ted Turner. I don't think it's going to happen.

Now, Larry King called -- what happened. Did Larry King call you this morning, Terry?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, Larry King wants you to go on their show. They want to try to get Ted Turner.

KUTCHER: Well, why does it -- this is a message for Larry. Why don't you come on my Twit-show and we'll put it on Twitter, and then maybe we'll get Ted Turner to call. Let's do it on the Internet. This is a saga for the Internet.

(END VIDEO CLIP) KING: Ah. Sharon, do you Twitter?

STONE: I'm just about to start. Yes, just about to get into it.

KING: I Twitter and I Tweet. Do you Tweet?

STONE: You know, Larry, I'm game for anything.

KING: You Twitter, I'll Tweet.


KING: Sounds like a little bird. When we come back, I've got a message for Mr. Kutcher. Come on, Ashton. We're raising to a million. Stick around.



KING: Ashton Kutcher -- we showed you that earlier -- posted an interesting video today. Well, here's the response that I sent to Ashton. It was taped up in our offices. Take a look.


KING: Hey, Kutcher, I got your message. It's Larry King. Do I have to tell you who I am? Anyway, are you putting me on? Do you -- are you kidding? Do you think you can take on an entire network? Do you know how big we are? Do you know what CNN is?

Kutcher, you're playing out of your field. You're in another time zone. This ain't going to work. CNN will bury you.

But we won't take any ads saying we'll bury Kutcher. What would be the big deal in that. But I'm proud to say that I'll participate in anything you want. You come on my show, I'll go on your Twitter, or whatever it is you do.

Now, if you want to give something or do something crude to Ted Turner, I hope you know that he doesn't run this network anymore. Some people think that, but he doesn't. However, he's a good friend. There's a strong possibility he would participate. If you ring his bell, there's also a strong possibility that he'll send some bison to your house.

The man takes strong repercussions. Anyway, I'm looking forward to being part of this whole Twitter scene. I'm honored to Tweet, Twitter with you. And I know that CNN will beat you to 900 to a million. But don't take it badly. Don't take it personally. You're one guy. They're an entire gorge network.

We will defeat you. We will.


KING: You going to Twitter with me, Sharon?

STONE: Got a date.

KING: You going to start? I started my Twitter today. Start a Twitter. I can send you a Twitter. You can send me a Twitter. We can send Sarah a Twitter.

STONE: We'll be Twittering it up.

KING: You can follow along at CNN's number one show page, You better believe we'll be updating you on what's going on. We're going to keep you posted.

Let's start right now with our own Sarah Schnare. Sarah?

SARAH SCHNARE, CNN BLOG CORRESPONDENT: Well, we've got quite a battle tonight, Larry. And Ashton actually said something earlier. He said, OK, Larry is now one of my new favorite people, and this means war. So let's go, Tweet.

Larry, I think means you'd better bring it. Even some celebs are chiming in on this, Twittering on this race to a million. Ashton's wife, Demi Moore, says, can you use your super power and get my guy to one million before CNN? He promises lots of fun and games in exchange.

Larry, your BFF, Ryan Seacrest, well, he is throwing you another dog into this dogfight. He writes, "Ashton is gaining on Britney Spears. Team Brit has been awfully quiet. Are they plotting a move for one million before CNN, too?"

Let's have a look at the numbers and see how we actually are doing. As I thought, bad news, Kutcher. CNN is still leading with 927,434 followers. And you, my friend, you have 868,181.

The race isn't over, guys. So make sure you follow us at You can access Twitter there. And help us put an end to this battle, once and for all. Larry?

KING: Sarah, we don't want to lose now that Ashton has declared war. You can head to, sign up, follow up on Twitter. Best of luck, Sharon, with all that you do.

STONE: Thank you so much.

KING: You're 50?

STONE: That's right, baby.

KING: It's cool. It's cool.

STONE: Just a girl with a dream.

KING: Just a little girl with a dream. We wonder how that dream will come out. She's got a movie coming, too, with who?

STONE: Christopher Walken. "Five Dollars a Day." Not for you, baby. The price goes up for you.

KING: OK. We'll be right back. Don't go away.


KING: We've got a minute. Last night Marlee Matlin was here, spoke about her past relationship with actor William Hurt. She made some serious claims. Watch.


MARLEE MATLIN, ACTRESS (through translator): I met William Hurt, and it was a complete 360-degree -- I mean, I didn't understand what this was about. It was both of us. It was -- I mean, there was so much going on with the film, with him being older, me being younger, not seeing eye to eye on a lot of things, and being drunk, and being high, and all meshing together in one big ball.

JOY BEHAR, "THE VIEW": Was there violence?

MATLIN (through translator): There was violence.

BEHAR: Sometimes? He was just --

MATLIN (through translator): All the time.

BEHAR: Knowing what you know today, would you have pressed charges against him if you had known better?

MATLIN (through translator): Absolutely.

BEHAR: You would have?

MATLIN (through translator): Absolutely.

BEHAR: So it was very serious. Has he ever apologized to you?

MATLIN (through translator): No.

BEHAR: He has not?

MATLIN (through translator): No.


KING: William Hurt issued this statement today: "my own recollection is that we both apologized and both did a great deal to heal our lives. Of course, I did and do apologize for any pain I caused. And I know we have both grown. I wish Marlee and her family nothing but good."

Go to CNN's number one show page, for something you won't find anywhere else, Doris Day's exclusive commentary for us about her pet cause, animals. April is Prevention of Animal Cruelty Month, and no one speaks for them better than Doris Day. By the way, Donald Trump tomorrow night. Time now for Anderson Cooper and "AC 360." Anderson?