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Paula Zahn Now

NASA Grounds Shuttle Fleet; Overcoming Telephone Hell

Aired July 27, 2005 - 20:00   ET


PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, everybody. Thank you so much for joining us tonight.
We have some breaking news for you on the space shuttle program.


ZAHN (voice-over): A dramatic development. NASA grounds the space shuttle fleet because of what went wrong during yesterday's launch of the shuttle Discovery.

And what would you do if you found out your child was gay?


ZAHN: Would you send your kid...


ZAHN: ... to conversion camp?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sorry. I didn't hear you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want to talk to a human being, God damn it.

ZAHN: Trapped in telephone hell.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Press one if you'd like to murder the operator.

ZAHN: What can you do to beat the system?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thanks for calling. Goodbye.


ZAHN: We have breaking to share with you tonight, a major blow for NASA, just one day after the space shuttle's triumphant return to space.

Earlier tonight, the agency announced that it has grounded future shuttle flights after learning that a large piece of insulating foam broke off Discovery's external fuel tank during yesterday's launch. So far, there is no indication that the Discovery crew is in any danger because of the problem, but there are a lot of questions to ask tonight.

And we have our guy, our space expert, here with us in the studio who can answer them.

Is this a big deal, Miles?


And we should underscore at the top, we want to make this as clear as possible, the crew is not in any danger. What this was, was a potentially dangerous close call. A piece a foam about the size of the piece of foam which struck the leading edge of the wing of Columbia two-and-a-half years ago and caused that fatal breach in the heat shield, which, 16 days later, meant that Columbia broke up and we lost the crew of seven, a piece of foam of that size fell off.

Fortunately, it fell off at a time in the flight when it was unlikely to hit the orbiter. Let me show you some pictures and tell you what NASA is looking at and why they're concerned about all of this. This is a still image right there. And what it's showing you there is some of the damage to the tile which was indicated.

And NASA is telling us that this damage to the tile is not a big concern. They're not worried the crew is in any danger. And that's a point we want to make over and over again here. But if you look at the pictures which we saw just about two minutes after the launch, pictures of a piece of foam that was very significant in size coming off.

Now, what makes this interesting and causing concern -- there you see it highlighted on the left there. This is part of a ramp which goes down pretty much the full length of the lower second two-thirds of the tank. That piece, if it had struck the orbiter, could have had catastrophic implications.

Now, NASA thought they fixed this problem, had done some work on it, and had considered some possible other fixes in the future to it, but did not see it as a critical problem. Two minutes after launch, clearly, it is a problem, a close call. And the deputy -- or excuse me -- the program manager, Bill Parsons, is saying, unequivocally, they will not fly until they come up with a fix.


BILL PARSONS, NASA PROGRAM MANAGER: It does cause us pause to take a step back and take a look at what we might have to do. We have integrated hazards for the debris environment. And that integrated hazard will now be opened after we get more information. It will be opened. And until it's closed, we won't be ready to go fly again.


O'BRIEN: All right. Let me just show you where this is on our shuttle model here.

There is this pipe which goes along this part of the orbiter right here. And it's got a bunch of wire trays that go along with it, Paula. And what they do is, they build up a wedge of foam along the side of it in order to give it better aerodynamics. That piece fell off. And it fell beneath the wing. If it had happened earlier in the flight, if you remember, Columbia's piece of foam fell off 82 seconds after flight, different aerodynamics then, it might very well have gone right into in the leading edge of the wing. And we could have had a repeat scenario of Columbia.

And that's why this is such a critical problem and why NASA will ground the fleet until they figure it out.

ZAHN: I'm just wondering if there is any thinking on the part of these NASA officials how lucky they've been, with the Discovery now, what, the 114th flight of this program.

O'BRIEN: Well, you know, engineers don't do luck. They talk about statistics and numbers.

And they have much more data than they have ever had before, because there were 100 cameras trained on the space shuttle as it went up. There were cameras on the tank. There were cameras in the orbiter itself, which actually captured this piece of information for them.

So, when they look at this added information, suddenly, their statistical analyses completely change. You and I might say, looking at it, they were pretty lucky over 114 missions.

ZAHN: The program was going to be phased out anyway in 2010. Everybody knew that was coming, but this still represents a huge blow to NASA.

O'BRIEN: It does represent a huge blow, because you have to wonder, after two-and-a-half years of trying to fix things and get it right and doing everything they could to answer the calls of the independent investigation which looked into this, to have -- to fly and then literally, after two-and-a-half years, only two minutes into a flight, have a piece of foam that size, that troubling fall off calls into question what other things might have been overlooked over that period of time.

ZAHN: I don't want you to think I haven't been listening to it, because you have said it three times tonight. And it bears repeating one more time, that NASA officials are now saying the current flight of Discovery, based on what they know at this hour, is not in any jeopardy, correct?

O'BRIEN: No. And that is -- we can't say that enough for folks, because it's easy to get that confused, because there is a little bit damage to report on the tiles, not any serious concern.

The fact of the matter is, the crew is safe and sound, as best we know. This was a close call, such -- so serious a close call that NASA will not fly until they fix that problem.

ZAHN: Thank you for putting this all into perspective for us. O'BRIEN: All right. You're welcome.

ZAHN: Miles O'Brien. See you in the morning.

O'BRIEN: All right.

ZAHN: Go home. Get some sleep.



ZAHN: Now on to some other breaking news in the terror case in Britain, a wave of arrests, four men and now three women accused of harboring some of those men. Most important, police have snared one of the men accused of trying to set off last week's bombs. Police confirm that Yasin Hassan Omar was arrested today in a massive raid in Birmingham, about 100 miles north of London.

That arrest leaves three other suspected bombers still at large tonight, the police also still looking for any connection to the attacks of July 7, in which we all know the bombers were successful in their deadly plan.

Senior international correspondent Nic Robertson joins me now from Birmingham with the very latest.

What else have you just learned about these arrests tonight, Nic?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, three women have been arrested, as you say, for harboring suspects. But we're beginning to be able to see perhaps the same thing that the police are seeing at the moment, some of the dots beginning to connect here.

Now, the apartment in South London where these three women were arrested was the center of a police raid this afternoon. Also, this afternoon, the police issued a very new photograph, one they haven't released before, of a man they called suspect number four. He was involved in the failed bombing attempt on the Shepherd's Bush tube station.

This new photograph shows suspect number four taking a bus ride as part of his escape. He has changed his shirt. He has got a short- sleeve white shirt on. Now, what connects him to those three women, we found out from residents very close to the house where the three women were arrested, residents close to that house told us today that they recognized that man, suspect number four, as living at the same residence that those three women were arrested at.

ZAHN: All right. I thought we were anticipating some sound there from one of the investigators.

Let's go back to Yasin Hassan Omar one more time and what we're able to piece together about this guy's history. What can you confirm tonight? ROBERTSON: Twenty-four years old, moved to Britain in 1992, when he was 11 years old, of Somali dissent, living legally in Britain. He is registered to a house in North London. That house has been the subject of a police raid for the last -- last two days.

But he was the -- he was the man who was involved in the attempted bombing on the Warren Street tube station. The police have identified him from a photograph of him leaping over the turnstile at Warren Street tube station. They believed he was dangerous when they went to arrest him this morning. It was an early morning raid, just before dawn, when people are normally at their -- they're least likely to put up any kind of a fight.

He did put up a fight. The police say that he struggled. They fired a Taser at him to disable him, quickly bundled him into a car. Local residents saw him being pushed out of the house with handcuffs on, put in that police vehicle and sped off to London. And that's where he is now. He's at the high-security Paddington Green police station, which is where a lot of terrorism suspects go.

He is really the biggest lead for the police right now. The big question at the moment is, of course, can the police convince him to talk? And, if they can, can he provide the police with any real-time information that could lead to those other three bombers, because the police are still saying they're not going to feel even just a tiny little bit safer until they get those other three bombers, at least three, rolled up -- Paula.

ZAHN: But, Nic, what you're also saying begs the question now, with the additional seven arrests today, whether that gives investigators any more information on potential linkages between the July 7 bombings and last week's attempted bombings.


I think every piece of information that they get -- and of course, you have the July the 7th investigation, the July 21 investigation, the police obviously putting a lot of effort in the July 21, because the bombers are on the loose. But we are seeing emerge are two distinct cells, essentially Pakistani cell that was involved, a Pakistani-descent cell that was involved in the July the 7th bombings, and a East African, Somali, Eritrean, perhaps a couple of others, but an East African cell emerging as being behind the failed bombings last week.

The police say they know a lot about the explosives. They have got the bombs. What are the links in between? The police say there are similarities between the bombs, but it's going to be getting all that information and then drawing the links. Who was behind them? Who financed it? Who motivated them? Was there any place, any person that joined these two groups together? That's what the police are looking at right now, Paula.

ZAHN: Nic Robertson, I don't know how it's all being perceived over there. But, from this side of the pond, there is a feeling of great impressiveness with how quickly the investigators have moved in England.

Thank you so much, Nic.

Great Britain, of course, is a much smaller place than the U.S. There are still plenty of places for a terrorist to hide, though.

And Kelly Wallace has more on the huge dragnet that seems to be gaining a new sense of urgency.


KELLY WALLACE, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A nationwide manhunt, the largest in the country's history, thousands of officers trying to prevent the suspects still on the run from fleeing. There is heightened security in and around the airports, and:

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Please do not leave (INAUDIBLE) or parcels unattended anywhere on the station.

WALLACE: At this London station, where some trains leave the city and the country, passengers have to go through extra police checks. Roy Ramm (ph) is a former Scotland Yard commander.

(on camera): How difficult is it to remain hidden when you're facing this massive manhunt?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, it's a bit of a cliche to say it, but the best way to hide a tree is in a forest. And London itself is a pretty big forest. There are millions of people in this city.

WALLACE (voice-over): Police believe the suspects may have planned to blow themselves up in last week's botched bombings., If so, that means they most likely did not have an escape plan, according to Daniel Smith (ph), an analyst with the (AUDIO GAP) firm in London.

(on camera): Do you think it makes it easier, potentially, then, for police if they didn't likely have any exit strategy or any exit plans in place?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, because they're likely to panic. What they will do is go for the familiar. They will fall back either on friends or family or their own communities. In this case, it will be East African communities in the U.K. So, in that sense, it narrows the police search down that much more.

WALLACE: The suspects had just 24 hours of anonymity before their pictures captured by surveillance cameras and two of their names were broadcast nationwide. With one of them now in custody, there is a full-court press to get the public's help in finding the three still at large.

When you head to London's underground train, the tube, like we did, you will find posters urging people to call with information. This has led hundreds of witnesses to come forward, more leads to follow. But there is a downside. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There will be very many conflicting statements. And that -- the danger within that is that the police may be swamped in their investigation. It may slow it down in some respects.

WALLACE: Last week's failed attacks left a treasure trove of forensic evidence for investigators, including fingerprints and DNA samples. But those take time to process, something investigators don't have much of right now, as they hunt the suspects.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The longer they remain at large, the greater the opportunity they have of regrouping, maybe constructing other weapons and going back for another attack on the underground.

WALLACE: Ultimately, much of it is police work 101. Tips are checked, homes searched, one clue leading to another. But with three of the four suspects still out there posing a threat, investigators believe its becoming more urgent to track them down.


ZAHN: So, Kelly, it's pretty clear tonight how much information investigators are trying to get out of the public. But I'm wondering if it works both ways. Is Scotland Yard sharing much with the public it's leaning on?

WALLACE: Well, exactly, Paula. There is a limit in terms of how much Scotland Yard is going to share with the public. Definitely, investigators know a heck of a lot more than they're sharing with all of us and with the public.

They have to find that balance, Paula, giving as much information to get the public's help without compromising any ongoing surveillance or their ongoing investigation.

ZAHN: Let's talk about the time frame here. There was a 24-hour period before investigators actually released pictures of four of the suspects. Do the authorities believe that the three remaining are even in the country at this hour?

WALLACE: You know, here is the question. That's one we've been asking. And many believe that these people involved in last week's attempted bombings were planning to blow themselves up, and so therefore didn't really have a whole big exit plan in mind. They didn't have the passports. They didn't have the money to get out of the country.

Again, they can't rule it out that some of these suspects were able to get out of England. But, right now, the thinking is that they're either in London or somewhere around -- around the country and they most likely believe they didn't get out of London -- and England. Excuse me.

ZAHN: Finally, it's already Thursday where you are, with the bells tolling behind you. Is there any sense of fear, knowing that both of these -- well, the bombings on July 7 happened on a Thursday, but the attempted bombings also happened on a Thursday.

WALLACE: A great deal of anxiety, Paula, for that very reason. With these other bombings, the failed bombings and then the bombings, of course, earlier this month, happening on Thursday, a lot of tension and anxiety about what people will expect and what will happen during rush hour tomorrow morning. And you can expect that all the police officers, all the authorities are going to be on high alert as well.

ZAHN: Kelly Wallace, thanks so much for the update. Appreciate it.

And coming up next, we change our focus quite dramatically. How would you react if you find out your child was gay? The controversy over sending gay teenagers to camp to set them straight.

Stay with us.


ZAHN: If you have teenagers, you probably now how difficult it is for everybody in the family. It gets even more complicated, though, if your child comes to you and says, I'm gay. And here is something that really struck us.

There is a radical step some parents are taking all over across the country when they confront that issue. They're actually sending their gay children off to a kind of camp to try to make them straight.

Here is Deborah Feyerick.


DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Memphis, Tennessee, home to the blues, Elvis, some 2,000 churches and one program that claims to help gay and lesbian teenagers give up homosexuality.

(on camera): How many teens are here at any given time?

REV. JOHN SMID, LOVE IN ACTION: We have had anywhere from two to six at any given time in the youth program. One of the reasons, of course, as you have experienced...

FEYERICK (voice-over): It's called Refuge. And it's run by Reverend John Smid as part of a larger program, Love in Action.

(on camera): So, when people say you cure gays, what's your answer?

SMID: I don't cause it; I don't cure it; I don't create it. There is no way I can cure gays. There isn't a cure for homosexuality. What we find is, there is an opportunity to learn how to live responsibly, even with homosexual attractions or desires.

FEYERICK: But that's not the way 18-year-old Ben Marshall first saw it. Last summer, his parents told him he was going, whether he liked it or not.

B. MARSHALL: I was just so angry that my parents weren't accepting who I thought I was and that they were sending me to get fixed. I told all my friends they were sending me to straight camp.

FEYERICK: Religion has always been a big part of Ben Marshall's life. He was raised Southern Baptist. His parents were strict. Dating wasn't allowed. Then, last year, Ben told friends he was gay.

B. MARSHALL: It was surprising to me how much -- people just flocked to me after I came out and how all these people that I considered untouchable, as far as popularity was concerned, wanted to hang out with me now.

FEYERICK: Three months later, the boy who had never dated anyone was with his first serious relationship with a high school senior. It was short. It was painful and Ben wondered whether it was right.

B. MARSHALL: And that became my identity, was just Ben, the homosexual. I liked the attention that I got from that.

FEYERICK: His parents, Sharon and Larry, didn't like it at all.

L. MARSHALL: I had had enough as a parent, and I felt that, with my beliefs and with my rights, that this is the way it's going to be.

FEYERICK: Sharon packed up the family camper, leaving Pensacola, Florida, driving Ben eight hours to Tennessee.

SHARON MARSHALL, MOTHER OF BEN: And I said, OK, Lord, we're going to go to Memphis.

FEYERICK: In Memphis, they met program director Reverend Smid. Married 16 years, he renounced his own homosexuality two decades ago after attending a similar program. At Refuge, there is no touching, no flashy clothes. Teens and young adults study scripture, attend group therapy, pray and keep journals, what they call moral inventories.

SMID: When they express things that have gone on internally, and they find other people have shared those thoughts and feelings, it actually releases the shame.

FEYERICK: Yet others say the opposite is true.

DR. JACK DRESCHER, AMERICAN PSYCHIATRIC ASSOCIATION: It increases their feeling of shame. It increases their feeling of failure. it makes them feel worse about themselves when they're done.

FEYERICK: Dr. Jack Drescher has written a book on homosexuality and psychoanalysis. He says programs like Love in Action are misguided.

DRESCHER: It offers the possibility that somehow homosexuality is a result of not being religious enough, not having enough faith, and if you just increase your faith, then that should help the homosexuality go away, which would be nice, I suppose, if that were true.

FEYERICK: Not being religious enough certainly wasn't true for evangelical Christian Brandon Tidwell. In the summer of 2002, he spent three months at Love in Action's adult program.

BRANDON TIDWELL, LOVE IN ACTION GRADUATE: I was at a place of such desperation, believing that the only alternative was to not be gay, not being able to see things from a different perspective that I see it from now. And so it was, in my opinion, the last and only attempt to get fixed.

FEYERICK: But something else happened instead.

TIDWELL: I realized, quite quickly, that I could be a person of faith and embrace who God had made me to be.

FEYERICK: Tidwell, a trained social worker, is critical of Love in Action's counselors. Only one is licensed. Last month, state agencies began investigating after a teenager entering the program described his feelings of depression on a Web log. Reverend Smid is confident the state will find nothing wrong. But the blog struck a chord with Ben Marshall.

B. MARSHALL: There was one comment that he made about, if he did come out fixed on the other side, he was going to be so depressed and emotionally unstable. That was what I kept telling my parents, so...

FEYERICK: Yet, not only did Ben survive the initial two-week program. He stayed eight months.

B. MARSHALL: There is that lust that's still there. It's subsiding. I don't know that it will ever go away altogether. But it's not nearly as strong as it used to be. I don't go to the same places in my head that I used to.

FEYERICK: Asked if he's gay?

B. MARSHALL: I have trouble with the word gay, period, because that is a label, and I don't necessarily think anyone is clearly heterosexual or homosexual.

FEYERICK: Before Love in Action, Ben planned to go to New York to study journalism. Now he's part of a church group and plans to study psychology in Memphis, with an eye towards theology and a seminary. As for a wife and children:

B. MARSHALL: I think it's possible. I think I'm attracted to women enough right now that it can eventually develop into a relationship. I know I'm capable of that. If it don't get that, that's fine. Celibacy is an option for me right now.

FEYERICK: Texas-born Brandon Tidwell is also staying in Memphis. He goes to church regularly with his new boyfriend and trains young people to become community leaders.

TIDWELL: I have never felt more true to myself, more true to my community, more true to my family and to my relationship with God than I do now.


ZAHN: Deborah Feyerick giving us a very good idea of why these conversion programs remain so controversial.

Still ahead tonight, what if I told you that because of two little words, convicted killers are getting a second chance? It's a story that has many people in Florida outraged. You'll understand when we come back with our report.

Please stay with us.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Off Clement. Oh, my, as this one goes into left.


ZAHN: ... survive this, a line drive directly to the head. I know my heart stopped when I saw it. We're going to tell you how the pitcher is doing in just a little bit.

But, first, let's take a look at today's top stories with Erica Hill of Headline News.


ERICA HILL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It hurts every time I see that.

ZAHN: Oh, I know.


HILL: Happy to see he's doing well, though.


ZAHN: You don't know that yet, Erica. We're going to tell you that later on.


HILL: I mean, I hope he's doing all right, Paula.

ZAHN: Thank you, Erica.

HILL: Why don't I get just on with the news, yes?

ZAHN: Yes, please. Get to your job, all right?


HILL: I will.

Some talk tonight of a rough time frame -- it's very rough at this point -- for U.S. troops to start coming back from Iraq. The U.S. top commander in Iraq said the U.S. could start withdrawing some troops by the middle of next year if -- and this is a big if -- the political process proceeds according to plan. Also, Defense Donald Rumsfeld pressed Iraqi leaders to finish drafting their constitution and to prepare Iraqi forces to take over security.

The wife of BTK killer Dennis Rader has received an emergency divorce. A judge today waived the 60-day waiting period on papers filed by Rader's wife, Paula. Rader pleaded guilty to ten counts of murder in the killings known as bind, torture, kill. Rader's lawyers say he did not contest the divorce. The couple was married for 34 years.

Much of the East Coast is still sweltering through a week-long heatwave. Power companies report record demand as people crank up the A.C. But some welcome relief, my friends, on the way: A cold front is making its way across the country, headed toward the Atlantic Coast.

The sizzling home market though, shows no signs of cooling off. The government says new home sales hit a record 1.37 million in June. That's four percent more than in May. This week, record sales of existing homes were also reported. The economists say the housing boom though, is going to have to slow down sometime. Hopefully though, it'll make a soft landing, but others worry some home buyers may be setting themselves up for a devastating bubble burst, which we, of course, hope is not the case.

Sorry, Paula.

ZAHN: Yes. You are the bubble-burster tonight.

HILL: I know. I'm terrible.

ZAHN: So, are there any other stories you'd like to share the mystery with and including your mystery for our audience later tonight?

HILL: no. No. I'm going to leave your show alone and let you do that since it's your show.

ZAHN: Well, we like you. We'll let you come back in 10 minutes or so.

HILL: All right. Thanks.

ZAHN: Thanks, Erica.


ZAHN: When we come back: It was an absolutely horrible crime.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) LEONARD HOUDA, VICTIM'S SON: The acid just continued to eat him up. He looked like a melted candle when we burred him.


ZAHN: And you may be outraged at why the convicted killers are now getting a second chance.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're under arrest for the murder of Marcus Tate. You have a right to remain silent. Anything you do say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford one, one will be provided for you. Do you understand these rights?


ZAHN: Well, I know I've heard those words on television shows so many times like in "Law and Order," that I can practically recite the Miranda Warning by heart. Still, if the police don't say the warning is the right way, it can actually lead to convicted criminals, criminals who've admitted their crimes, going free and crime victims suffering even more. And that's exactly what's going on in Florida right now and there are a lot of people outraged over it.

Here is Susan Candiotti.


SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Leonard Houda recalls the gruesome attack that killed his elderly father. A cooler of acid thrown in his father's face.

HOUDA: The acid continued to eat him up. He looked like a melted candle when we buried him.

CANDIOTTI: Now, two men convicted in the attack are getting a second trial because of a botched Miranda Warning.

When this Leonard Houda, Sr. was murdered in a parking lot, evidence included statements from Walter Dendy (ph), sentenced to life for ordering the attack and from Neil Bross (ph). He told detectives tossed the acid into Houda's face. Bross (ph) got 15 years. This is part of his confession: "The guy came out, he came around his car and I said 'hey' and I threw it at him and just turned around and walked away and jumped in the truck."

CANDIOTTI: Yet an appeals court said those confessions cannot be used in court this time, because of the flawed Miranda Warning. Broward County's Miranda Warning read, " you have the right to a lawyer present before questioning."

An appeals court ruled two key words were missing. It should have read, "before and during questioning." The court ruled the Broward's wording was so flawed that it has put at least eight other felony cases between 1999 and 2002 in trouble.

For example, prosecutors say this admitted killer is a free man. His Mirandized confession and other crucial evidence thrown out. That's why he won't be retried.

This teen, convicted of manslaughter for drowning a 5-year-old autistic boy, had his conviction overturned. The case is dropped. Defense attorney Fred Haddad, who represents one of the two Houda murder defendants says: The law is the law.

FRED HADDAD, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I have a job to do just like a prosecutor does and a judge does and the police do. The police saw fit to shortfall their job.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It wasn't a mistake.

The Broward sheriff's office still defends its Miranda warning as quote, "Adequate." It had rejected a warning from state prosecutors that the wording needed change.

JIM LELJADAL, BROWARD SHERIFF'S OFFICE: In hindsight, we wished that we'd used it.

CANDIOTTI: Eight months ago, the sheriff changed the wording to this: "You have the right to talk to an attorney/lawyer before talking to me and to have an attorney/lawyer here with you during questioning now or in the future."

LELJADAL: The form that we're using today is absolutely perfect, as far as we know. But that doesn't mean that tomorrow, some lawyer isn't going to go into court and suggest that we need to start using the word after.

CANDIOTTI: A former federal prosecutor says Miranda must be fool-proof.

KENDAL COFFEY, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: When a confession is thrown out, especially if somebody blew it, then justice is really being denied, because that is the most important kind of a proof that the jury ought to here.

CANDIOTTI: When Leonard Houda found out he was going to have to endure another grueling murder trial of men already convicted of killing his father, he was stunned.

HOUDA: I mean, it eats at you. You know, that they can think about these, you know, what had happened and these people might possibly go free, because of a Miranda reading.

CANDIOTTI: The re-trial is underway without confessions. The victim's widow and son, waiting to see if a jury will reach a different verdict than last time.

(END VIDEOTAPE) ZAHN: And they've got a long way ahead. Susan Candiotti reporting for us tonight.

It's has been nearly 40 years since the Supreme Court made the Miranda ruling requiring police to read suspects their rights. That case involved a rape suspect in Arizona.

When we come back, something that absolutely froze me in my tracks when I saw it for the first time: A Boston Red Sox pitcher walloped in the head by a line drive. How could he possibly survive that?

And something that bugs all of us every single day...


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What city or borough?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's North Armstead (ph), Ohio -- right?


ZAHN: Yes. Right. Some hints for escaping the hell of those computerized phone systems. A way to get around them, when we come back. Please stay with us.


ZAHN: It's been twice now in the past week we've seen absolutely horrifying accidents in sports. Last Friday it was 17-year-old diver Chelsea Davis during the World Swimming Championships. Take a look what happened to her. A talented diver, a normal takeoff. And ouch! She clips the board. Miraculously, despite all the blood loss, all she eventually needing were a few stitches. We are told she's getting along just fine. And plans to get back in the water.

Now, when I saw what happened last night at a Red Sox/Devil Rays game, I was speechless. Kyra Phillips has more on that.


KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's a pitcher's worst nightmare.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And here's the pitch. Swing and a line drive that hit Clement. Clement's been hit by the ball. It deflects into left field. A run scores. Runners at first and second. They throw behind the man at second. Clement is down. He's been struck by a line drive. He's holding his face. They might have caught him in the side of the head. And Matt Clement is down.

PHILLIPS: For almost six minutes, Boston Red Sox pitcher Matt Clement laid motionless before being wheeled off the field on a stretcher. Here's the replay. 30-year-old Clement, struck on the side of his head. A line drive right off the bat of Tampa Devil Rays Carl Crawford. Clement's pitch clocked 90 miles an hour. Players and fans were breathless.

Clement's wife, Heather, was watching the game on TV with their 4-year-old son. She didn't relax until she talked to her husband by phone. Clement never lost conscious, and a CT scan at the hospital came back negative.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What was going through your mind when you saw that ball hit his head?

TERRY FRANCONA, RED SOX MANAGER: I'm not sure if I can explain to you now. Obviously, a lot of concern. I mean, part of you wants to get out there as quick as you can, even though you're helpless.

PHILLIPS: After a night in the hospital for observation, Clement received a second CT scan, it came back negative.

The all-star pitcher was released from the hospital cleared to travel home with his teammates. Although Clement escaped serious harm, the outcome could have been far worse.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: One thing could have happened is that when it actually hit him, it can could have cracked his skull base. And that could have caused a significant injury. What I think a lot of people thought might happen is that it hit with such force that a blood collection would have occured on the top of his brain requiring surgery, possibly causing stroke-like symptoms as well. So he got of pretty lucky.

PHILLIPS: Over the years, a handful of pitchers have been hit in the head, including New York Yankee's Carl Pavano. He was struck earlier this year, but didn't miss his next start.

Kaz Ishii's 2002 season came to an end with a fractured skull. But he returned to pitch for the Los Angeles Dodgers the following year. Former Red Sox pitcher Brice Florie (ph)wasn't so lucky, in September of 2000, he was hit in the face by a ball that fractured his cheekbone and eye socket. He made a brief come back the following year, but never regained full vision in his eye. And was released by the team.

Despite these incidents, getting hit is not something pitchers think about.

JOHN SMOLTZ, ATLANTA BRAVES PITCHER: If you think about it, then you can't perform what we're trying to do at that level. So when you see it, it's just one of those thing that is a very difficult thing to watch as a pitcher. And you just hope the best for the person. And certainly so far so good for him.

PHILLIPS: Flori says, he's had a hard time getting past the haunting memory of being hit, a challenge Clement will now face when he returns to the mound. (END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: Kyra Phillips reminding us of the risks these great athletes take every time they take to the field or take to the diving board. And I know that everybody witches Matt Clement the best the next time he steps on the field.

LARRY KING LIVE gets underway at 15 minutes, straight up at 9:00 here on the East coast. Hi, Larry, what are you focusing in on tonight.

LARRY KING, HOST: Hi, Paula, we're doing Aruba again, because stories breaking over there. Looking at that pond now and getting the water out. And hopefully we'll get some answers. So, we'll have Natalee's mother and stepfather on, along with a member of the Aruban law firm that representing them. And T.J. Ward, the private investigator. And then our own Susan Candiotti. And the venerable Dr. Henry Lee. That's all ahead at the top of the hour with calls.

ZAHN: We will be watching. Thanks, Larry. Have a good show.

Still ahead, something that bugs me more and more these day, and I'm sure you as well, those annoying computerized telephone systems. We're going to have some tips on avoiding the telephone trap.


ZAHN: And we're back with more ahead tonight. Move over road rage, now there's phone rage brought on by the annoying computerized voices that is give you the telephone run around. But first, time for another quick look at the latest headlines with Erica Hill of Headline News -- Erica.

HILL: Thanks, Paula.

Tonight, another suspected case of mad cow disease in the U.S. Authorities are having further tests done of the animal which they say was born in this country. The U.S. imposed stricter testing on cattle two years ago after the first U.S. case was found in a cow brought from Canada. Cattle growers say this latest animal, though, never entered the food chain.

The so-called millennium bomber who plotted to blow up Los Angeles International Airport is sentenced to 22 years in jail for conspiracy. Ahmed Ressam was caught on the Canadian border with Nitroglycerin and timing devices in his car just days before January 1, 2000. Officials say Ressam had trained in an al Qaeda camp in Afghanistan.

Prosecutors dropped the key charges against the son of late mobster John Gotti in an alleged plot to kill the founder of the Guardian Angels. John "Junior" Gotti had been charged with aiding and embedding a murder attempt on Curtis Sliwa, who was shot in New York in 1992. Sliwa had criticized Gotti's father on a radio talk show. Junior Gotti still faces eight conspiracy counts.

Pope Benedict warning the church may be dying in the modern western world. The pope blames falling Catholic attendance on a culture that he says no longer seems to need God. On the other hand, the pope said the Christian faith is flourishing in the developing world. And Paula, those are the headlines at this hour. I don't think I ruined any stories for you this time. We'll hand it back to you.

ZAHN: I know, you promised a half hour ago you wouldn't and you're a woman of her word. Erica Hill, thanks so much.

When we come back: the voice behind the misery when you get stuck on one of those computerized telephone answering systems.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sorry, try telling me your ten digit account number once more.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can you do that one more? Just sound a little more sorry.


ZAHN: Come to think of it, never do that again -- OK?

So, she's the one. Right there. Meet her and get pointers on beating the system, next.


ZAHN: The most irritating voice of our times a machine that talks back to you when all you wanted was a human being. In fact, the technology is so advanced it can actually do my job.

ZAHN (robot voice): For more on this story, here's Jeanne Moos.

MOOS: It's an option people who hate automated voices can only dream of...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Press one if you'd like to murder the operator.

MOOS: After all, there's nothing more human than getting enraged over not being able to talk to a human. This is an actual call...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I can't believe I'm talking to this stupid robot. I want to talk to a human being, God damn it.

MOOS: They may sound like 911 calls...


MOOS: But all they want rescued from is the interactive voice.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What can I get you?

MOOS (on camera): A drink! UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I can't stand them.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They are such a pain in the butt.


MOOS (on camera): Why?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can't talk to a human being. You've got to go through 20 different things just ask one simple question.

MOOS (voice-over): And to add insult to injury...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They can never understand me.

MOOS: But at least they know how to apologize...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sorry we're having so much trouble.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm sorry, but I'm not exactly sure what you want.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My mistake again.

MOOS: The computer takes the blame even if it's the caller's fault. Misspelling Peoria, for instance.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: P-I-A -- Now, can I talk to a person!

MOOS: Being a virtual operator means always having to say you're sorry.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm really sorry. Hey, I'm sorry. Sorry, try telling me your ten digit account number once more.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can you do that one more time. Just sound a little more sorry.

MOOS: Meet Jenny from Yahoo. Not to be confused with...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, I'm Julie, Amtrak's automated agent.

MOOS: Actually Yahoo Jenny is really actress Deborah Eliezer, who jokes about what she'd rather be saying to callers...

DEBORAH ELIEZER, VOICE OF "YAHOO JENNY": You look great in those pants today. Just to be able to say something like that would be so funny.

MOOS: And maybe folks wouldn't swear at her.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And when I said 'shit' and it goes, "sorry, do not recognize that command.'

MOOS: Experts like Professor Clifford Nass, author of "Wired for Speech," say the worst thing callers can do is get mad.

PROF. CLIFFORD NASS, AUTHOR: Their voice changes in ways that make it harder to understand. So, now the system has an even tougher time, which makes the person even madder. So, you get in a hideous downward spiral.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I said no, no, n-o, n-o.

MOOS: These calls you've been hearing are from an airline. Professor Shri Narayanan of the University of Southern California's speech analysis lab, is studying 1400 recordings.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I would like to speak with a human being, please.

MOOS: He is developing a computer program that can recognize when a caller is upset.

PROF. SHRI NARAYANAN, UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA: Here you see, you know -- You also see these wild pitch variations.

MOOS: The program analyzes, pitch, volume and certain words to determine when to turn the caller over to a live person.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good morning, my name is Fred.

MOOS (on camera): Are you real?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was when I woke up this morning.

MOOS (voice-over): There's even a Web site that gives tips on how to find a human; how to go around the interactive voices at various companies, though the tips didn't always work...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Which would you like?

MOOS (on camera): Agent, agent, agent.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think that you said you wanted reservations.

MOOS (voice-over): Try telling directly assistance you want this town in Ohio.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What city or borough?

MOOS (on camera): Knockemstif, Ohio.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's North Armstead, Ohio -- right?

MOOS (voice-over): Even a live operator had trouble.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What city was the city ma'am?


MOOS (on camera): Knockemstiff.

(voice-over): Other tip from experts: Try to speak naturally.

NASS: Trying to say like "this is what I meant" makes it hard to understand; trying to neutralize you accent in some strange or bizarre way.

MOOS: Jenny from Yahoo sounds pretty strange herself.

ELIEZER: Oh, my God. You've got more than 50 messages.

MOOS: One Valentine's day, National Public Radio invented a romance between flight information guy, Tom and Amtrak Julie.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you also a little lonely? Please say yes or no. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

MOOS: Though it didn't end well...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Call me back when you can act like a human being.

MOOS: What do automated voices have over real voices? The head of a speech recognition company called Nuance explains...

CHUCK BERGER, CEO, NUANCE: and it saves a lot of money. Instead of three to five dollars a call, it's 15 to 20 cents a call.

MOOS: ATMs were once despised, now they're loved. Maybe the same thing will happen to virtual operators.

(on camera): Do you ever swear at them?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. I just pray for them.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Press three if you'd like to pray for the operator.

MOOS: Virtual operators don't have a prayer...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You are full of crap!

MOOS: Of avoiding abuse.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can I talk to a person?


ZAHN: Jeanne Moos, thank you for keeping your vocal quality very neutral tonight. And that is it for all of us here. Thanks so much for being with us.

Tomorrow night a very disturbing story. We're going to go inside the minds of a woman who allowed her body to go down to 58 pounds because she refused to eat. That's tomorrow night, but in the meantime though, primetime continues with "LARRY KING LIVE." Thanks again for joining us.