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CNN Larry King Live

Interview With Judge Judy

Aired September 08, 2009 - 21:00   ET





LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, Judge Judy is outraged that rapist Phillip Garrido was let out of prison, free to allegedly snatch little Jaycee Dugard off the street and then keep her locked in a shed for 18 years. TV's tough talker puts sex offenders on notice they'll be behind bars forever if she ever has her way.

Plus, exclusive -- the police detective's daughter who was kidnapped and murdered. She dialed 911 from the killer's own phone. A witness who knew she was in trouble made another frantic call.

Why didn't police find Denise Lee before it was too late?

Her husband speaks publicly for the first time since her murder's trial about the heartbreaking crime that left two children without a mother and could send a monster to the chair.


Good evening.

One reminder. Following the president's speech tomorrow to both elements of Congress, we will follow it with a major panel discussion. That's following President Obama's health speech tomorrow night, a major panel discussion right here.

Judy Sheindlin presides over the top rated TV court show, "Judge Judy." The 14th season of "Judge Judy" premiers on Monday night. Congratulations.

Let's get right to things at hand, the Jaycee Dugard case. This is a girl kidnapped -- kidnapped at age 11, allegedly held captive by this convicted rapist and his wife for 18 years, bore two daughters, finally found and freed.

You're a mother, you're a grandmother, you're a judge. Give me your read.

SHEINDLIN: Well, first of all, I don't think she was allegedly was kidnapped. She was kidnapped and I don't think...

KING: Well, he's the alleged person. And we (INAUDIBLE)... SHEINDLIN: He's the alleged person. There are certain things that we know, which...

KING: I didn't say she was allegedly...

SHEINDLIN: Yes, you...

KING: I said allegedly held captive by a convicted...

SHEINDLIN: And there's no question she was held captive.

KING: She didn't leave (INAUDIBLE).

SHEINDLIN: She's 11 years old.


SHEINDLIN: She's held captive. The only question is who did it and...

KING: We kind of think this guy may have done.

SHEINDLIN: Yes, I think he may have done it. I think that the thing that should outrage people is that he was out of prison. And you and I have talked about that before. So I was thinking -- and I said I have to kvetch -- call and fetch to Larry.

Parole boards have to say to themselves, as every person in the criminal justice system -- involved in the system has to say to themselves, the safety of the community is our primary responsibility. Rehabilitation is second, because rehabilitation, as far as we know, hasn't worked in the vast majority of cases where we've tried it, because the recidivism rate is well over half and probably close to 70 percent.

So despite the trillions of dollars that we spend, rehabilitation doesn't work. Therefore, the safety of the community has to be number one.

And here is a man who was sentenced federally to 50 years in prison. And he was paroled from a federal penitentiary after serving 11 years. Because he had also committed a state offense by raping a 24-year-old woman in the State of Nevada, he was transported back to the State of Nevada, where he had been sentenced to five to 15 years.

I guess the State of Nevada said if it was good enough for the Feds to let him go, who are we to keep him?

So after seven months, they let him go.

The one thing in all the reading that I have tried to do is tried to find out what was in the mind of the people who signed off on paroling him. That would be the interesting thing -- not even so much why the parole officer didn't find them. Some people are very devious and some parole officers are terrific and some are dumb. So it's -- that's possible. But what was in the minds of the people...

KING: How would we know that unless we asked them?

SHEINDLIN: You can ask them.

KING: We asked one guy at the head of the state board. He explained it. That, you know, that's the time. He had a parole hearing. You know, if...


KING: I'm going to be a devil's advocate, weirdly, in this case, which is impossible almost.

Under your system, why have any parole then the communities are guaranteed safe. Nobody gets out.


KING: You'd need more prisons.

SHEINDLIN: Under my -- first of all, no one explained why he was released, because that report has been sealed. I have not seen that report anywhere. If somebody wants to send it to us you and I can renew this debate. But that report...

KING: I'm not debating you.

SHEINDLIN: That report has been sealed. But there are certain criteria. In my world, the first criteria would be would you want this person to live next door to you?

If the answer to that question is no, you need not proceed further with this questionnaire, because it is irrelevant whether he ate his broccoli, whether he finished his string beans, whether he got his GED.

KING: You're talking about rapists and molesters, right?

SHEINDLIN: I'm talking...

KING: You're not talking...

SHEINDLIN: I'm talking about...

KING: You agree that a bank robber could be rehabilitated?

SHEINDLIN: I'm saying any...

KING: Could a bank robber be?

SHEINDLIN: ...violent felon who is sentenced after a trial by a judge who has heard from the victims, heard from the witnesses -- a violent felon, someone who goes into your home and burglarizes your home with you in it at night and holds a knife to your throat while they go through your property and takes your wife and holds a knife to her throat and then goes into your baby's room and grabs them out of bed...

KING: But how do you...

SHEINDLIN: ...that's a violent crime.

KING: do you write that law because a violent felon would also be a husband who hits his wife and is sentenced to six months and you'd keep him forever?

SHEINDLIN: No, no, no.

KING: Why?

That's violent.

SHEINDLIN: The answer, if you would want, if you would feel comfortable having this person, with this entire history, living next to you, check it off and go to question number two -- finished his GED, finished all of this.

What I think people fail to realize in the criminal justice system is that those people, if they're smart enough -- and we hope that they're smart -- have heard from victims, have seen the evidence, have seen the photographs and if you are removed...

KING: So what is your conclusion?

Are they idiots?

SHEINDLIN: No, but they are...

KING: Are they malicious?

SHEINDLIN: No. But they're looking at the one person who's sitting before them. And they're saying to themselves, well, he did he's done everything he was supposed to do. That was 10 years ago.


SHEINDLIN: He's turned around. He's a born-again.

KING: Can't people testify at parole hearings -- victims -- against him?

SHEINDLIN: Well, they weren't even -- in -- in this case, in Jaycee's case, they weren't the -- the prior victim wasn't even notified of the hearing.

KING: Now, that's -- that's absurd.

SHEINDLIN: Wasn't notified of the hearing. Nor was the prosecutor. So the only person who was interviewed...

KING: Was the... SHEINDLIN: Was the defendant.


SHEINDLIN: ...was the subject of the proceeding. That's ridiculous.

KING: As she said, Phillip Garrido was on parole when Jaycee was abducted. Judge Judy has voiced her strong opinions on sex offenders, incarceration and rehab many times on this show, so this is not like a new view.

Watch this.


KING: Isn't the whole purpose of the system rehabilitation?

SHEINDLIN: Well, Larry, that's -- that's part of the purpose of the system.

KING: Punishment is a purpose, too?

SHEINDLIN: I think punishment is a big part of it. Part of it is to keep society -- and a big piece is to keep society safe, for me. Incarceration is supposed to keep the community safe from your behavior. And if you don't -- because rehabilitation, despite the fact that we've spent trillions of dollars on various forms of rehabilitation...

The only way to rehab cure a pedophile is to kill him. There is no other cure. And what has happened in...

KING: You can capitally punish a convicted pedophile.

SHEINDLIN: I mean, you know, unless you want to put him somewhere in the Sahara and make sure that they can't get away.


KING: Were the police negligent in failing to find Jaycee Dugard?

That's tonight's Quick Vote question. You go to and tell us what you think.

Sex offender registries -- what about them?

Do you think they're good?

We'll ask Judge Judy next.


(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TINA DUGARD, JAYCEE DUGARD'S AUNT: Jaycee and her daughters are with her mom and younger sister in a secluded place reconnecting. I was with them until recently. We spent time sharing memories and getting to know each other again. Jaycee remembers all of us. She is especially enjoying getting to know her little sister, who was just a baby when Jaycee was taken.


KING: Now, what do you think of the idea of a registry -- that we all know where they are?

SHEINDLIN: We know that they're...

KING: After they're paroled or have served their time?

SHEINDLIN: I guarantee you, Larry, not one of them is living next to you in Beverly Hills and not one of them is living next to me in Greenwich. Not one of them is living next to me -- next door to me in Naples, Florida.

The question has to be, if you would not be comfortable paroling this person to live next door to you...

KING: Everything goes back to you?

SHEINDLIN: Everything -- no. Everything goes back to common sense.

KING: Thinking of the...

SHEINDLIN: Everything goes back to common sense. Sure, it's wonderful to feel as if the human condition can be changed, the mind can be rewired, we can do -- everybody can do better, you can change everybody. And the truth of the matter is, based upon my 40 years experience in the justice system, and added to that my husband's 45 or 50 years in the system, we know that there are certain people that are just wired wrong and evil.

KING: What does that do to the Judeo-Christian ethos of forgiveness...

SHEINDLIN: Well, there's practical.

KING: Change.

SHEINDLIN: There's practical. Practical. And if you are one of those people -- and I heard in a prior clip I say you've got to either have to kill them or put them away so that they can't hurt anybody else. All right. So, capital punishment, whether you're for it or against it -- let's say you're against it -- build more jails. You know, you want to keep them away, build more jails. Make it part of the stimulus package. Not everybody can be -- not everything can be building a bridge and a sewer.

KING: Phillip and Nancy Garrido are accused of holding Jaycee Dugard captive in the backyard of their home in Antioch, California. Philip Garrido is a registered sex-offender. If you go to the national sex-offender registry and type in the zip code for this area, you'll find about 100 names there. Authorities say that's a high number. The county has about 1,700 registered sex offenders.

So what do you do with that, though?

Am I -- if I find out that the guy living two blocks away is a registered -- what do I do?

Not go by his house?

Keep the children two blocks away?

SHEINDLIN: You're asking...

KING: What do I do?

SHEINDLIN: You're asking me in my world -- in my world, a sex offender, Larry, someone who is a predatory sex offender -- and we're not talking about a 21-year-old kid who has sex with a 15-year-old girl who looks 18 and they're wearing -- is wearing high heels. We're talking about the kind of guy, like this guy, who planned to kidnap a woman, took her to a storage unit that he had outfitted with pornography...


SHEINDLIN: Kept -- held her captive for hours, put her through something from which she will never recover and some genius interviews him 11 years later and says, well, he ate all his broccoli and he got a GED and he married some other lunatic, that he -- who married this sex offender when she was coming to visit another lunatic in federal prison. So we think he's all ready to re-enter society.

The person who recommended that, I'm sure, in the caveat says, she's not -- he's not moving into 90210 zip code. He's not moving into my zip code. He'll go elsewhere. He'll go to Nevada. Maybe Nevada will keep him.

Nevada says we're not going to support this guy. He was good enough for the Feds to parole, we're sending him back to California.


KING: I don't mean to laugh.

SHEINDLIN: But that's it. Well, so it doesn't all come back to me. It comes back to common sense. And it comes back to the people making the judgments for other people's lives. And their first priority has to be the safety of the community, not whether Phillip ate his green beans.

KING: Is there a sex offender living in your neighborhood?

We're going to show you how to find out. We'll do it in 60 seconds.


KING: We're back with Judge Judy. Her show "Fourteen Years" premiers Monday night.

We've talked about the large numbers of sex offenders living in Phillip Garrido's neighborhood.

What about your neighborhood?

You can find out at FamilyWatchdog.u-s. FanmilyWatchgdog.u-s.

To show you how easy it is, we're putting our zip code here at CNN Los Angeles in the designated box on the site. Our Sarah Schnare is going to call it up now and you'll see where the sex offenders are and who they are, as well.

Sarah is at the machine. She clicks it in. The color is coming up, as I understand it. There they are.

What do the -- what does all this mean?

SARAH SCHNARE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Larry, there are eight categories. But the color you really need to know about is in red. Those are the offenses committed against children. And, as you can see, there's a lot of red.

If you click on each square, you'll loan -- you will learn more about the offender -- who he is and what he did and where he lives -- Larry.

KING: So we have a lot -- that's our area now?

Whatever. We have a lot of reds in this area.

SCHNARE: Yes, Larry, we do. As you can see, we've got a lot red. And those are the ones that we really -- I mean we should be concerned about all of the colors, obviously. But the red are those crimes that have been committed against children. Those are the ones we should really be focusing on.

KING: Judge, what's your comment?

SHEINDLIN: My comment is do you want them living next -- do you want all of those reds living next to you?

And if the answer is no, people have to start getting real. And there are...

KING: And what?

SHEINDLIN: ...and there are certain people who are just, despite our best efforts and despite all of God's good work, are wired wrong. There's just something in there that we can't take care of. And even if 25 percent of them will not recidivate, are we willing to risk the other 75 percent of our children?

You know, if you have a sex offender and he -- let us assume that he doesn't grab another child, but instead exposes himself to your six, sweet year old little girl, who's waiting for the school bus.

I remember when I was a child, my friend Elaine and I were walking and we were a block away from our home in front of a convent. And a man walked by in a raincoat and flashed us. I was no more than six or seven years old. It is so vivid in my mind today...

KING: You still see it?

SHEINDLIN: I still see it. And there was nothing.

Can you imagine somebody being touched, being fondled?

I can't.

KING: Neither can I.

We have all this information, by the way, on our Web site. Go to, click on our blog for more.

Next, Nancy Garrido, the wife -- is she a victim?




DUGARD: Not only have we laughed and cried together, but we've spent time sitting quietly, taking pleasure in each other's company. We are so very grateful to have her home. The smile on my sister's face is as wide as the sea. Her oldest daughter is finally home.


KING: Judge, how do you explain -- you're a family court judge.

How would you explain to the two children that Phillip Garrido fathered with this abductee, who know him as a father and know her as a mother?

What would you say to them...

SHEINDLIN: I don't...

KING: He raped...

SHEINDLIN: I don't know, it's not my role.

KING: What's their life?

SHEINDLIN: It's not my role. But you just think of how many victims there are because of somebody's misjudgment. Certainly, she; certainly, her two children; certainly, her mother; her step father, who lived a life under suspicion that he was the one who had something to do with abducting her.

KING: Yes, my God.

SHEINDLIN: And all of the people that were touched by this evil doer, this badly wired evil doer.

You know, I remember years ago, my husband did a trial with a pedophile who had a long rap sheet of pedophilia and he appeared before a lot of judges who said there's a chance for him. We have to send him to school -- to sex offender school. He's going to go to school while he's in jail.

And, finally, he committed another rap. He was -- he appeared before Jerry Sheindlin. And his defense was it's not my fault because I'm wired wrong. That's my defense. It may be. It may be.

KING: Because he can't help it?

SHEINDLIN: He can't help it. That was his defense, I can't help myself.

KING: That's what most pedophiles can't help...

SHEINDLIN: They can't help themselves.

KING: But why would you do this if...

SHEINDLIN: They can't help themselves. We need places for people who can't help themselves. You don't put them back in the community, you put them where they can't hurt anybody.

KING: What about Mrs. Garrido?

SHEINDLIN: What (INAUDIBLE) -- do I sound shrill when I say that?

I am.

KING: Deservedly shrill.


KING: What about Mrs. Garrido?

What do you make of her?

We've got more to learn here.

SHEINDLIN: We have a lot to learn here. I doubt the sanity of anybody who decides to be a pen pal of a prisoner and then goes and marries them while they're in federal prison. I have to say, what -- what would I tell my daughter -- if my daughter said to me, I'm going to marry a man who's been convicted of a violent rape in a storage unit and we're getting married because we're going to live a happy life together.

I mean, Larry, you're laughing.


SHEINDLIN: But what would I say?

What would I say to my daughter?

KING: Right. Sure, yes.

SHEINDLIN: It doesn't make sense, right?

It's absurd. It's absurd.

KING: I mean what was going on in that house?

What do the kids think Mrs. Garrido was?

I mean there were two Mrs. Garridos in the house.

SHEINDLIN: They'll never be able to figure out their lives. You know, they'll try. They'll go to therapy and they'll have bonding sessions and they'll have time together. But their lives will always be screwed up.

You know, little things happen to us during the course of our lives when we were children that stay with us. I read your book. Little things -- I know in my own childhood, little things stayed with me. But we are able to overcome -- you know, they weren't so tragic that we weren't able to overcome. These children can't overcome.

KING: What do you think it's like for the children who have been -- were molested by priests?

Do you think that's different?

Or is molesting, molesting?

SHEINDLIN: Molesting is molesting.

Will they ever recover?

These people are wired wrong. And not only are they wired wrong, but they were placed in a position where they knew they were going to be dealing with vulnerable children and they knew what their plan was.

KING: Yes. By the way, investigators are looking into other abductions in the area to see if there's any link. And an expert has determined that the bone fragment found in the backyard of Garrido's neighbor is probably human. We'll be requesting the state to see if they can develop a DNA profile on that fragment.

We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) KING: We're back with Judge Judy discussing -- I don't know if this is even discussing -- how do you analyze something like this, why mistakes are made and why this occurred.

Now, you said an interesting thing, that the violent from -- if Bernie Madoff, you did say that if Bernie Madoff developed cancer and had three months to live, he'd probably not be paroled.


KING: He never killed anyone, never committed a violent crime.

SHEINDLIN: He didn't kill 270 people.

KING: There's someone who killed 270 people and got off?

SHEINDLIN: Not got off, went back to Libya in order to die.

KING: Oh, yah.


It was -- Scotland said that's what we do. That's compassionate release. He killed 270 people. But I guarantee you that Bernie Madoff will die in jail. He didn't kill anybody. I'm not saying that he should -- that they should release him. If, God forbid, he had cancer, he should die in jail with whatever medical facilities that they have for him.

But I'm saying to you that the system is screwed up, Larry. That every person in law enforcement -- kudos to those people who were security people on campus that brought this, ultimately, to the attention of the authorities.

And there will be people out there who will say, well, she operated on a hunch and we don't like law enforcement people to operate on hunches. Well, having been in law enforcement, I will tell you, as a judge, I always felt my first responsibility was to protect the public -- do justice, but to protect the public. And that's where people should come from. That's the primary job of the president of the United States, to make sure that his country is safe.

KING: Right.

SHEINDLIN: Primary job, that's what his job is. Primary job of a governor, a mayor, judges, police officers, those people who are charged with the judgment of making the rest of us safe, that has to be their first question.

KING: Speaking of judgment, I'm going to be talking with Nathan Lee very shortly. His wife Denise was abducted from their Florida home. She was raped and killed in January of 2008.

Last week, a jury unanimously recommended the death penalty for her murder. Reports on this case, it seems like a horribly random crime, and the perpetrator apparently had no criminal record. Now, this was a woman who had the perpetrator's cell phone, dialed 911, nothing.

SHEINDLIN: So you're not suggesting that it's the cell phone's fault that nothing happened, that it was the 911 operator.

And Larry, may have no criminal history, you know, there are laws throughout this country that say, well, if you're 18 and 17 and 19, 20 years old, you can be a juvenile offender, and if you eat all your broccoli, we'll -- and eat your green beans, we're going to expunge your record after a certain period of time, seal it so that nobody can ever look at it and say, what's your history?

So I don't know whether he has a history or not. I don't know enough about it. But, he was convicted of a horrendous act, and you and I have had discussions on the death penalty before.

I don't know what the majority of the people in this country would say if they were queried, but the last time I heard, most people in this country, the majority of people in the country say that should be an option. Not necessarily the option, but it should be an option for the system.

KING: It's a little scary when you find that over 200 people on death row have been released, they didn't do it. The guy just died as an arsonist who didn't commit the arson. How do you redress that grievance?

SHEINDLIN: I'm going to ask you this question, Larry. Somebody was released because they allegedly did not commit a rape, a horrendous rape, based allegedly on DNA evidence that they did not commit a rape. And within, I don't know if it was a year or six months of release -- do you remember how long, Jerry? Two months of his release, he did it to somebody else. Now do you think he was getting even?

I think that sometimes things can be manipulated. So I don't know the answer to that.

But in a clear-cut case, where there is no issue as to whether or not this was the perpetrator of this atrocity, I believe in my soul that that should be an option, and certainly there should not be any opportunity for that person to get out ever.

KING: You were a family court judge. This is a question, the last one before you leave us.


KING: Could you sentence someone to death?

SHEINDLIN: Yes. I could. I could.

I think that if the state where I was sitting had that as an option, and there was no question in my mind that this was the perpetrator, and I listened to the family, which you do now, and the family said to me, "I would sleep better knowing that this person wasn't breathing, that my daughter and her children who he killed during the course of a home invasion robbery" -- no question, they found him in the home with a knife, confessed. He said I was high on LDS, it was the LDS that made me do it.

KING: You could send him to his death?

SHEINDLIN: I could say arrivederci.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Arrivederci judge, but for a short time. I'll be back.

KING: She's always back. She's Judge Judy, 14 years in that slot, doing it again Monday night, another year.

Next, the husband whose life was forever changed by a killer. His victim, a wife and mother did everything right. They called 9/11. So did a witness listen? Don't go away.


KING: Welcome back.

Joining us is Nathan Lee in Englewood, California. He's the widower -- Englewood, Florida, I'm sorry. He's the widower of Denise Amber Lee.

His wife was abducted from their home, assaulted and murdered on January 17, 2008. Denise used her kidnapper's cell phone to call 911 during her terrible ordeal, but to no avail.

Michael King was convicted of the crimes and the jury recommended last week that he be sentenced to death in the electric chair.

Joining us is Nathan Lee. A jury has convicted Michael King of the death penalty. Is just served, Nathan?

NATHAN LEE, DENISE AMBER LEE'S HUSBAND: Well, nothing will ever be able to bring Denise back. But, you know, I think the family is satisfied with the outcome and definitely glad he's going to be sentenced to death.

KING: What did you go to that trial every day?

LEE: I just felt like, you know, I had to be there for Denise. And I wanted to know what was going on. The hardship that Denise went through that entire time when she was kidnapped was nothing compared to -- me sitting through the trial was nothing compared to that.

And I just wanted to be there so Michael King could see me and the family, and, you know, it wasn't fun. But we had to do it.

KING: Your wife was a beautiful woman.

Take me back to January 17, 2008. What happened on that day. When did you talk to your wife? What happened? LEE: Well, I talked to her a couple of times that morning, just normal conversations. I normally talked to her throughout the day on my cell phone. I would put it on speakerphone and put it in my pocket. I read meters for an electric company.

It started raining. I didn't talk to her for about four or five hours. And on my way home from work at about 3:00, I started trying to call her. And she didn't answer. I called her about eight times and she didn't answer.

I got home and my kids were in the house by themselves, in the same crib. Denise wasn't anywhere to be found.

I called 911 right away. I knew something was not right because she would never go to the mailbox without the boys. Noah, my oldest was two and my youngest, Adam, was six months.

And she was kidnapped, raped, and then murdered.

KING: That call you made 911 after finding her missing, here's a little bit of that call, your call.


LEE: I just got home from work and my wife, I can't find her. My kids were in the house, and I don't know where she is. I have looked every single place that I know --

SHEINDLIN: Your kids are at home by themselves?

LEE: Yes.

SHEINDLIN: How old are your kids, sir?

LEE: My oldest is two and my youngest is six months. She wouldn't just leave. The car is here. I don't know where she is. The windows were open. I have no idea.

SHEINDLIN: Hold on one second, OK?

LEE: Yes.

I know. I don't know where mommy is.


KING: Did 911 help at all, or what could they do?

LEE: Well, there were a total of five 911 calls. I was the first. My wife actually got a hold of Michael King's cell phone when he went to his cousin's house to get a shovel and a gas can, and she called 911.

They couldn't track his cell phone when she called. Two more people called, family members of the person who did this, and then a woman named Jane Kowalski called 911 while she was driving alongside him and Denise screaming in the car.

And that call just never was dispatched to authorities. The people took the call, the county sheriff's office took the call, and they never dispatched anybody. And they definitely would have been able to find her if they would have dispatched that.

KING: Hold it, Nathan, we're going to come back in 60 seconds. When we come back we're going to play that call from the driver by and get your thought as to who goofed. We'll be back.



SHEINDLIN: Look at the baby, he's picking his head up. Good job, Adam, good boy.


KING: As Nathan Lee mentioned, another 911 call was played at Michael King's trial. A motorist saw what she thought was a child screaming inside an adjacent car. Listen.


SHEINDLIN: (inaudible) banging on the window and screaming and crying. And not a happy scream, like a "get me out of here" scream.


KING: That was a woman, and that was what was happening to your wife, who must have sounded by the sounds of the screams like a younger lady.

Nothing happened from that, Nathan, nothing?

LEE: No.

You know, obviously there were multiple agencies scrambling to search for Denise that entire time. There were "be on the lookout" notices for a green Camaro and Denise and the suspect, which was Michael King.

And they actually got a 911 call with a motorist saying that she saw them in an area that was actually specific to one of the bolos. And so, I mean they were looking for her, they finally found her. A motorist was in real time giving cross streets of where they were. And nothing, they never dispatched anybody.

KING: How was he caught?

LEE: Well, finally, he proceeded right after that to take her to a wooded area, where he shot her and buried her.

And then when he was -- when he left that area, which was in a secluded area, he went back on to a busy road, tried to get on the interstate, I-75, and there were two cops sitting at that intersection of the overpass, and they spotted him and then pulled him over and then they arrested him.

So probably only two hours after he murdered her and they finally found him.

KING: Your father-in-law in a police officer, right, with that department?

LEE: Yes. He's actually been employed there for 26 years at the same sheriff's office that botched this call.

KING: We'll get back and get Nathan Lee's thoughts on all of this, and what do you make of it? We'll be right back.


KING: Before we get back with Nathan Lee, Anderson Cooper will host "AC 360" at the top of the-hour. All this week he's in Afghanistan. Right now he's in a patrol base in Helmand province. Anderson, what's happening there?

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Larry, it was a tough day for the marines here in Afghanistan. Four marines were killed in the east in Kunar province, far from here. Tonight we're going to take you on patrol with Marines hunting for IEDs here in Helmand province.

Also, Michael Ware takes us on night patrol in Kandahar and comes very close to losing his life to an IED attack. He takes us to the front line to fight against the Taliban, an amazing story.

And Dr. Sanjay Gupta is also here profiling a surgeon in the warzone. And Dr. Gupta becomes part of the operating team, lending a much needed hand at a battlefield hospital.

We'll show you all that live from Afghanistan tonight, those stories and more on "360" -- Larry?

KING: We're back with Nathan Lee, the widower of Denise Amber Lee.

In her 911 call, when your wife, while she is captured, fools her kidnapper into thinking she is talking to him while she is actually communicating with a 911 operator. She repeatedly says I want to see my family again and she pleads with him to let her go.

She tries to get him to provide her information about where they are. Her final words are "Help me." Why couldn't they trace this? What -- how did they explain this to you?

LEE: Well, you know, I'm not an expert in the 911 field. But obviously throughout this whole ordeal, starting Denise Amber Lee foundation trying to reform 911, people have explained this to me.

I guess the way the system works now, the 911 system, is they use a form of tracking called triangulation where you get pings off the cell phone towers. And they use these calculations to try to find the location of the person making the call.

It's a very tedious and long process, especially with today's GPS technology where you can have a GPS on your dashboard and see where you're going and track yourself going down the road.

It's just amazing to me that with today's technology and advancements of technology we can't track a cell phone more accurately. You know, so it's definitely been something that our foundation working alongside with the 911 industry really has been trying to work towards, as far as getting funding, working with cell phone companies and trying to get that, you know -- how many lives could be saved if you could track a cell phone by GPS? People being kidnapped in cars and people stranded on, you know, I mean it's amazing.

KING: Absolutely. The web address is, all one word. You're trying to straighten out the 911 situation.

LEE: Yes. We actually become pretty much the spokesperson for 911 reform.

And, you know, unfortunately 911 isn't magic. There is a lot of dedicated people that work in our 911 industry and are trying to do their best. And they're sitting in a room trying to help you while they're on the phone with you. And they're almost completely helpless.

So we're really trying to push with federal legislators, state legislators to try to get better funding for 911.

KING: Nathan Lee also plans to file suit against the Charlotte County sheriff's office. In fact, his father who works in that office plans to join in the lawsuit.

We asked the Charlotte County sheriff's office for a statement and Denise Amber Lee murder case and Nathan Lee's planned lawsuit. They have declined to comment. More after the break.


KING: We're back with Nathan Lee. Nathan, did the defendant take the stand at the trial?

LEE: No, he did not.

KING: So did you ever find out how he took her?

LEE: Well, obviously, most of that is speculation. Denise was actually cutting my son's hair that day at some point. Apparently he was just driving around neighborhoods and drove around that -- our house about five times. At least the neighbor next door saw him drive around five or six times.

And so we think that he probably spotted her on the back porch. It was in the middle of January in Florida, so all of our windows were open. It was like 70 degrees outside. You know, and I have no idea what happened. He could have come to the door. You know, people come to your door all the time. You open it not thinking they're going to kidnap you.

So I don't think we'll ever be able to find out why. But I'm just glad he's not going to be able to, you know --

KING: Do it to anybody else.

How are the little boys doing?

LEE: Exactly.

KING: How are your kids doing?

LEE: It's amazing. Yes, it's amazing how resilient children are. They're doing great. They're getting really big. They both love baseball, which is great for me. But they're doing good, and we're moving forward and doing our best. You know, they're good.

KING: How old are they now?

LEE: Noah is three, three-and-a-half, and Adam is two. And they're both resting comfortably in bed right now.

KING: And are you the sole -- do you have anyone else helping you take care of them?

LEE: Well, I almost have the entire community helping me take care of them. But both sets of grandparents, Denise's parents and my parents have been amazing with helping me and a lot of friends and family. The support has been tremendous.

My work, Best Buy has been great with letting me get time off when I need it. And just -- I really couldn't have a better situation considering the circumstances. So I don't feel alone...

KING: Nathan, what advice have you gotten as to when and how to tell them about their mother?

LEE: You know, people told me, you know, just make sure you wait and don't give them any false, you know, realities, like say she's sleeping or that, you know -- they know that she's in heaven as an angel.

I'm hoping that my whole family will be there with me on that day when I have to tell them exactly what happened. I don't want to fill their minds with all the details, but at some point they're going to need to know.

But they know that something is wrong. They know that she's in heaven. So that's most important thing now at their age the way they are.

KING: What was she like as a mother and wife? KING: Perfect. It was just amazing how selfless she was. Everything she did was for others. You know, just looking at her with the kids just made my heart melt every time. She loved being a mom.

We were both young. She was 21 when she was murdered. And, you know, she got pregnant when she was 18. You know, we started a family, and, you know, we couldn't be happier.

But I think whenever you think about having the perfect wife and mother, you know, you can look it up in the dictionary and her picture would be there.

I miss her a lot. And it's just tragic that boys don't have their mother anymore. I think that is the hardest part to get over is just knowing that they don't have any idea really. And some day they're going to find out. I think that's the hardest part of the entire situation.

KING: What has it done to your faith?

LEE: I'll tell you, it's actually strengthened it. You know, I understand that there is free will. And that's one of the greatest gifts god gives you.

And I just want to make sure that my kids grow up in a home and we, you know -- I know she's in heaven. She's an angel. She's looking over us.

But I'm definitely not hating god, or anything like that. I'm just glad and fortunate that I have what I have. And I have two beautiful kids and a great family.

KING: Nathan, we salute you, Nathan.

The web address for more information if you want to help, good idea -- all one word.

Thanks again, Nathan. Good luck.

LEE: Thank you.

KING: Tomorrow night, we'll have reaction to President Obama's health care speech. We'll follow the address as soon as it ends.

And now live from Afghanistan, "AC 360." Here's Anderson Cooper.