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LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES

Minister Who Killed Doctor to be Executed Tomorrow

Aired September 2, 2003 - 19:03   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Now in Florida another man will remain on Death Row for one more day. Paul Hill is his name. Once a Presbyterian minister, he shot a doctor and his escort outside an abortion clinic in Florida, killed them both, wounded the escort's wife.
He is sentenced to die tomorrow in Florida. Governor Jeb Bush says has no plans to stop it.

Hill will be the first person executed in the U.S. for anti- abortion violence. From Death Row he'll talk to the media today, and Brian Cabell has more on what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BRIAN CABELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): No regrets, no remorse. That was convicted murderer Paul Hill's message during his press conference one day before his scheduled execution.

PAUL HILL, SENTENCED TO DIE: I can honestly say that if I had not acted when I did, and in the way I did, that I could not look myself in the mirror.

CABELL: Nine years ago, Hill, a Presbyterian minister and father of three, opened fire on an abortion-providing doctor and his two escorts as they drove into a Pensacola clinic. Dr. John Britton was killed. So was escort James Barrett. His wife, June, was wounded but survived.

Hill has never denied shooting them, nor has he appealed the case, with the exception of one mandatory appeal before the Florida Supreme Court. He long ago dismissed his attorneys.

And now as his execution by lethal injection nears, some clinics providing abortions are on alert for possible violence. Some state officials have received threatening letters, including the judge who sentenced Hill to death.

And Paul Hill himself, if you believe him, he has no fear.

HILL: I believe that the moment I'm executed, that my soul will be made perfect in holiness and that I'll enter into the immediate presence of the Lord and I'll be forever with him. And so I'm certainly looking forward that.

(END VIDEOTAPE) COOPER: To hear him talk, I mean, he seemed to be laughing at times, certainly smiling most of the time. What was it like being in that room? What was his demeanor in person?

CABELL: That was the remarkable thing about this, Anderson. He was remarkably calm and composed, as you saw. He smiled throughout. He laughed on occasion. Not mockingly. It was just a little laugh.

He was unfailingly polite to the reporters. At times he asked, "Is there anybody out there who hasn't had a question? I'd like to talk to everybody. A couple times we asked him to speak up. He said, "Oh, sure. Sorry, I want to speak up. I'm very sorry for that."

Extremely polite. He spoke for about an hour, answered all questions until finally he hour was up. And he walked away and tomorrow 6 p.m., barring any unforeseen circumstances, he will be executed.

COOPER: All right. Brian Cabell, thanks very much. Extremely polite convicted murderer.

Here's some perspective on the issue of violence from abortion clinics from the National Abortion Federation. Since 1977 in the U.S. and Canada there are been seven murders, 17 attempted murders and 41 bombings at clinics.

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com


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