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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
A Fugitive Doctor is Charged With Poisoning His Own Wife; Cartoon Controversy Continues to Spread
Aired February 8, 2006 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: We begin tonight with that breaking news, a terror scare on Capitol Hill.
Here -- here are the facts. At around 6:30 p.m. Eastern time, alarms in the attic of the Russell Senate Office Building sounded after sensors indicated the possible presence of nerve gas.
Police promptly evacuated some 200 Senate staffers, about a dozen lawmakers, and moved them to a nearby parking garage at about 8:30 Eastern time. A Capitol Police spokeswoman reported the tests conducted after the sensors went off came back negative. She also said none of the people in the garage showed any sign of illness, but said they had to stay there until results from the final test came in.
Shortly after 9:30 Eastern., police gave the all-clear and released everyone in the garage. The final test had come back negative, no sign of nerve gas.
CNN congressional correspondent Joe Johns has been closely following all the action tonight in Washington and joins us now from the scene -- Joe.
JOE JOHNS, CNN CAPITOL HILL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, it is a sign of the times.
You know, it was not too long ago here on Capitol Hill, in 2001, when there actually was an emergency on Capitol Hill that really did require all of the services of the police and other emergency officials. This time, however, a different story on Capitol Hill -- no nerve gas, as you said -- a large number of staffers and a few senators evacuated from the Russell Senate Office Building, about 200 people brought to an underground garage, where they stood for just about three hours, waiting for the all-clear sign -- a number of tests done, apparently, in the attic of the Russell Senate Office Building, testing, we are told, for nerve gas, some kind of chemical agent.
Nothing found there, the authorities tell us this evening -- so, those few senators and the 200 staffers allowed to go home this evening -- one of those situations on Capitol Hill, as I said, a sign of the times -- Anderson, back to you.
COOPER: Joe, the attic in the Russell Building, is that something that's accessed by the public? Are there offices in there?
JOHNS: To my knowledge, it is not something that is accessed by the public, although, in times past, we have been told stories about people who would go up into the attic and have meetings or just clown around.
We're told, nowadays, people are not generally allowed up there. So, the question of whatever there was up there, the police will leave that to them. Hopefully, they will tell us one day if there was anything at all or if it was just a malfunctioning sensor. That, of course, has happened here on Capitol Hill before -- Anderson.
COOPER: And, Joe, the picture that we're looking at right now, which is this glass, see-through, it looks like garage doors, that is -- that is the garage that -- that people were standing around in?
That's the garage just behind me. They opened it up just a little while ago, let all the people stream out. It sounded like a pretty cozy situation. I talked to Senator Judd Gregg of New Hampshire a little while ago, the chairman of the Budget Committee. He was in there for some time. He said people did a little bit of bonding. They actually talked some business. There were a bunch of interns. Found it all very interesting.
Once again, fortunately, nothing wrong, at least here on Capitol Hill tonight.
COOPER: All right, Joe Johns, thanks for that.
Getting that many people out of the building at once, no easy task. And it had to be done very quickly, in case it really was a terror strike.
Joining me now to talk about how the warning was passed and how it was handled, CNN homeland security correspondent Jeanne Meserve.
Jeanne, it was at 6:30 that the alarm went off?
JEANNE MESERVE, CNN HOMELAND SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: That's what we understand, yes.
And they have something called an enunciator system an Capitol Hill. It's a series of speaker boxes. And that's how they pass the alarm. They have used it in the past, for instance, when they have had scares that an airplane was heading towards the Capitol.
Those send out the messages, so everybody in the Capitol is informed immediately of exactly what is going on. The message went out that way. And staffers, we heard, from some who were there moved immediately, and, at the direction of the Capitol Police, went on down into that -- into that parking lot area.
And, meanwhile, other agencies around Washington became aware of the situation. I will tell you that many of -- many of those who I talked to early on in this had the feeling that it just might not amount to anything, because they're so used to dealing with these false alarms here in Washington.
A D.C. Fire official told me a couple days ago that -- that when it comes to, for instance, reports of white powder, they get, on average, at D.C. Fire, three a day. And if there has been an incident somewhere around the country that has put that in the headlines, they can go up to more than 80 incidents a day. So, they go through these sorts of drills quite regularly -- this one different, however, because this was an alarm on nerve gas, as opposed to something biological.
COOPER: And it was interesting.
We have a press conference from Senator Frist.
(JOINED IN PROGRESS)
SEN. BILL FRIST (R-TN), MAJORITY LEADER: See, I really need that -- I need that coat.
FRIST: That's right. Bad physician's advice, to be out without a coat.
First of all, let me reassure everybody who is -- is watching, everybody who is in the area here that everything is A-OK, and everybody is safe. This was a false alarm. And I think that is a -- a thing that everybody needs to -- to understand.
But a false alarm can be very important. And with that, I want to thank all of our Capitol Police and all the people who have been involved over the last four hours, four-and-a-half hours, in terms of establishing that this is what is called a false positive.
When you say false alarm, people say, does that mean a mistake or a misread? No, it means an alarm went off, with an indication that was initially positive, but, with further testing, in terms of both specificity and sensitivity, there was no agent of danger found.
Everybody is out. Everybody is -- is doing fine. I'm sure, tomorrow, there will be a lot of questions about, was it necessary for us to be quarantined over the course of that four hours? And the answer to that is -- is yes.
The good news, there's no evidence of -- of a terror attack, no evidence of a bioterror attack. And, with that, people will be able to enter the building, and they're back in the building now. Work will resume tomorrow morning. Some people will be working through the night, I'm sure.
And work will resume tomorrow. Again, I want to congratulate the police, the Capitol Police, and all the various ancillary personnel who are involved, and who have been very patient and very systematically -- as you can imagine, when there is such a threat, with an initial false positive -- or positive, it is critical that there be a thorough examination, and that thorough examination, in terms of the very best science, the very best, in terms of technology, was applied. And, with that, everybody is safe.
QUESTION: Mr. Leader, can you describe from a medical perspective the idea of quarantine, putting people in this situation, and what you look for, please?
FRIST: The issue of -- of quarantine is important, because people always ask, do you want to get people out of a situation or into a situation?
In this, there was a certain fingerprint involved which suggested a particular agent. And, with that, by protocol, it is straightforward, in terms of what you do with people who may or may not have been exposed. It depends on where the location is, how ambient a -- a -- a chemical or a gas might be.
This was straightforward, handled by protocol, really, from start to finish. And, with that, there was appropriate quarantine for a period of time. And, with that, there is constant monitoring by appropriate health personnel to see if there's any side effects while that testing is -- is under way.
Clearly, since we had an agent which was not toxic, which was not a potential, suspected agent, on further confirmation, nobody had any side effects, symptoms. And a lot of it is observation.
QUESTION: Senator, was there an item or an object that was the subject of this test? And was there something that was found there? Or was it just that the alarm had gone off?
FRIST: The -- you know, the -- the details -- and I know you have already been briefed, in terms of it being a single sensor.
And people will understand that, because certain sensors, you know, we all have sensors that could have a false positive in our homes and -- and in -- in our everyday lives. It was a single sensor. In terms of the etiology, all of that will go -- undergo further examination over the course of tonight.
But there is no single chemical that has been identified yet in terms of what might have set it off.
QUESTION: So, there was nothing like it was on the floor?
QUESTION: Like a substance...
FRIST: No, no.
QUESTION: ... or...
FRIST: And -- and -- and what's important, it is a false positive. Could it have been in the alarm itself? It could have -- could have been.
What is important is -- is that, right now, there's nothing dangerous in that building, nor was there anything dangerous in that building.
QUESTION: Will you check the other buildings?
QUESTION: Pardon me. I -- I might have missed it. Will you be checking the other buildings as well?
FRIST: Appropriate surveillance is -- is under way all the times in -- in the building. So, it -- no further testing is going to be required. Again, this was a false positive.
QUESTION: Sir, you have...
COOPER: You have been listening to a press conference given by Senator Bill Frist.
We want to bring in Jeanne Meserve, our national security correspondent, also Dr. Sanjay Gupta, who is standing by.
Also want to bring in former FBI assistant director, currently the chairman and CEO Giuliani Security and Safety, Pat D'Amuro.
Appreciate you joining us as our analyst tonight -- a lot to talk about.
Pat, first of all, these false positives, it could be anything -- a female perfume.
PAT D'AMURO, CNN SECURITY ANALYST: That's correct.
It could be perfume. It could be fertilizer. It could be diesel fuel. A lot of different items can give a false positive. That's one of the problems, is that the field testing kits really haven't come up to the level of adequacy for making that sure that we're getting a true result of something that -- that sets off an alarm.
COOPER: Sanjay, if it was a nerve agent, we would probably see some sort of physical reaction pretty quickly?
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes.
That's -- that's one of the characteristics of nerve agents, Anderson, absolutely, you know, runny nose, at a minimum, blurriness of vision, chest tightness, those sorts of things. That's typically what happens when someone has an exposure.
COOPER: Pat, how -- how would an agent like that be brought in?
D'AMURO: Well, it can be brought in several different ways.
Employees, for example, if you are concerned about employees, that's why access control, security controls for individuals that can enter that type of building, that there would be a sufficient vetting process of individuals that would enter a building like that.
COOPER: When we are talking about a never agent, that's the same thing that we saw in the Japanese subways attacks, with the -- the -- the cult...
D'AMURO: That's correct
COOPER: ... unleashing a nerve agent. And that was actually brought by individuals.
D'AMURO: Sarin. Sarin gas, yes.
COOPER: And -- and, Jeanne, what kind of testing is -- is done? Is it -- it's just sensors out there?
MESERVE: There are sensors all over Washington, D.C.
They're all along the mall. They're in the subway system. They're in the Capitol. I live in the city. And, periodically, you will see sensors going up on random street corners. They seem to be moved around periodically. They're sampling the air here all the time for bio-agents, but, also, some of those are, indeed, chemical sensors.
In addition, I was told by one official tonight that, when the teams went in, the hazmat teams went in tonight, they were carrying other kinds of sensors, handheld devices, and a couple of different types. So, if one alarmed, they would crosscheck it with another.
Well, tonight, none of them alarmed at all. That's why they were so confident that they did not have an actual live agent here.
COOPER: Sanjay Gupta, I want to talk to you about it. First of all, why did it -- did those people need to be quarantined?
GUPTA: Well, you know, first of all, I don't think they really knew what they were dealing with. So, I think that's pretty standard protocol.
But, with a nerve agent, it's -- it's not -- not contagious, Anderson, but what can happen is, it can get on your clothing; it can get on your skin. And, then, there's a possibility that, if you're contaminated, you could contaminate someone else.
And, you know, a -- a nerve agent, what -- what is it exactly? It's a -- it's a -- it's a highly poisonous chemical that prevents the nervous system from working properly. And, you know, you already gave the example of sarin from the Aum Shinrikyo attacks in Tokyo.
But, also, V.X. is another type of nerve agent as well. And that's different from a biological agent. We know a lot more about biological agents, because of anthrax, but, certainly, it's a bacteria, a virus, or -- or just a toxin from one of those two things that can cause illness as well.
With a nerve agent, Anderson, as you mentioned, the symptoms come on pretty quickly. With a biological agent, it could take a couple of days before someone would even know that they have been exposed.
COOPER: So, Sanjay, a nerve agent could have many forms. It could be a powder. It could be a powder a liquid. It could actually just be a gas; is that correct?
GUPTA: That -- that's correct.
And, you know, I mean, people talk about little vials of liquid, for example, being a possible way that it would be carried into a building like this, but, subsequently, would turn into a gas, perhaps, if it was released.
COOPER: And a biological agent, can that be -- be passed through human contact?
GUPTA: Yes, in certain -- certain biological agents can be passed through human contact. They can also, for example, with Anthrax, get into your lungs. And you could subsequently cough it up, for example. That would an inhalational form of anthrax. That's uncommon, but that could happen as well.
So, that's much more of a contagious phenomenon, as opposed to the nerve agent being a contamination phenomenon.
COOPER: Initially, Pat, there was a positive test, then a false test, and then they gave the all-clear later on. The testing is pretty unreliable.
D'AMURO: Testing is unreliable.
Technology really needs to catch up with the level that we're at right now, because we're going to see this again and again in the future, until technology produces a -- a test that can give us a positive -- or an adequate testing result.
COOPER: Pat D'Amuro, appreciate you joining us.
Dr. Sanjay Gupta and Jeanne Meserve, as well, thanks very much.
We have a lot to cover in the hour ahead, including the latest on the -- the Entwistle murder mystery, Rachel and Lillian Entwistle murdered in their homes. The search for clues behind the killings in Massachusetts continues -- tonight, putting the puzzles together, a timeline of events, and how it may help investigators solve the mystery.
Also, an emergency-room -- room-doctor-turned-fugitive -- the manhunt for an Ohio physician accused of using cyanide to murder his wife. He could be anywhere, in Florida, in Syria, overseas -- many different places he may be hiding. We will take a look.
Also, the finger is pointing -- the White House says Iran and Syria may be fueling the violent protests over cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed. We will have the latest on the controversy.
You're watching 360. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
COOPER: Well, tonight, there are new developments in the execution-style murders of a mother and baby.
And, once again, the focus is squarely on the husband, who police still call a person of interest. Security tapes seized from Boston's Logan Airport reportedly show Neil Entwistle acting calm, cool and collected, as he headed to England last month, a day later. Police found his wife a day later, Rachel Entwistle and their daughter, 9- month-old Lillian, shot to death inside their Massachusetts home.
Now, he didn't go to funeral. He's refusing to answer questions. And, tonight, he remains in seclusion, a person of interest.
For detectives to solve the horrific crime, they have to go back to the beginning and before the two lives were taken.
CNN's Jason Carroll is investigating.
JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The mystery began here, at Priscilla Matterazzo's home in Carver, Massachusetts, when Matterazzo spoke to her daughter, Rachel Entwistle, on Thursday evening, January 19, for the last time.
(on camera): Investigators have not said how long they talked or what they talked about. The next thing we know in this story happened here at Boston's Logan Airport.
(voice-over): Early Saturday, January 21, Rachel's husband, Neil Entwistle, walked through terminal E at the airport. He appeared on a passenger list for an 8:15 a.m. British Airways flight to London's Heathrow Airport.
Officials, however, are not saying definitively whether Neil Entwistle was on that flight, could have been on another flight at another time.
(on camera): Later that same night, several of Entwistle's friends show up here at the Hopkinton, invited for an informal dinner party. But no one answers the door. Rachel's family, who had been unable to reach her, are concerned and call police.
(voice-over): Sunday morning, January 22, Entwistle's family and friends check inside the home. They, too, look in the bedroom upstairs and notice the unmade bed, but they see nothing out of the ordinary and file a missing-persons report.
(on camera): In response, that same Sunday night, police reenter the Entwistles' home and detect an odor. That's when they discover the bodies of Rachel and her baby, Lillian, under the disheveled covers in the bedroom upstairs.
(voice-over): The death certificate says Rachel Entwistle died from a gunshot wound to the head. It says her death was immediate. Baby Lillian died from a gunshot wound to the abdomen. Her death occurred within minutes.
The medical examiner cannot pinpoint the exact time of deaths. Investigators say, it appears to have been some time between Thursday and Saturday. That does not explain how both family and police missed the bodies in previous checks of the home or whether there's some chance Rachel and her baby were shot in that bedroom after those checks.
Monday, January 23, police find Neil Entwistle's BMW at Logan Airport. The Middlesex County district attorney holds her first press conference, labeling Entwistle a person of interest.
MARTHA COAKLEY, MIDDLESEX, MASSACHUSETTS, DISTRICT ATTORNEY: No, I have not labeled him a suspect. We do not label people suspects. He is somebody we would always be interested in talking to, in that he's the husband of two people who have been killed.
CARROLL (on camera): January 24, Rachel's family get a phone call here from Neil Entwistle, who is staying with his parents in Worksop, England. The British tabloid "The Sun" reports, Entwistle told Rachel's stepfather -- quote -- "I can't remember how I got to England. Is it true Rachel and Lillian are dead?"
(voice-over): CNN's attempts to reach Entwistle or his attorney have been unsuccessful.
January 25, four Massachusetts investigators travel to England to meet with Entwistle. Two days later, Entwistle heads to the U.S. Embassy in London to meet with them, but, prosecutors say, under advice from his attorney, he does not answer their questions.
January 28, Rachel's obituary runs in "The Boston Globe." Neil Entwistle's name is not included.
February 1, Rachel's family lay her and Lillian to rest. Neil Entwistle misses the funeral of his wife and daughter. Today, he remains in England in seclusion.
Jason Carroll, CNN, Hopkinton, Massachusetts.
COOPER: It is important to point out, again, that Neil Entwistle is not a suspect, has not been charged with any crime. He is, though, a person of interest.
Joining us now, our CNN senior analyst, Jeffrey Toobin, and Lawrence Kobilinsky, a forensic scientist from John Jay College of Criminal Justice.
Guys, thanks for being with us.
DR. LAWRENCE KOBILINSKY, FORENSIC SCIENTIST, JOHN JAY COLLEGE: A pleasure. COOPER: Jeffrey, let me start off with you.
There's no way they can get him back from England?
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Not unless they charge him with a crime.
They -- a grand jury subpoena won't do it. They actually have to charge him with a crime and begin this process known as extradition. It is a very -- it can be a very long process. But it is ultimately likely to be successful, but it can only be done if he's charged first.
COOPER: And why not say he's a suspect? Why is the district attorney there going out of her way repeatedly to say person of interest?
TOOBIN: You know, this is something that has happened only in recent years.
Neither -- none of these terms have any particular legal significance, person of interest, suspect. They're -- they're not clear categories. What prosecutors try to do is avoid a claim down the road that there was some sort of prejudicing of the jury pool.
So, basically, they're trying to be as cautious as possible. But, I mean, you would have to be an idiot, frankly, not to regard the husband as an obvious suspect here. So, the -- the fact the prosecutor isn't saying it doesn't mean that, in any real sense, he isn't one, because, of course, he's a suspect.
COOPER: And, Larry, you actually have a copy of the death certificate...
COOPER: for ... for Rachel. What -- what jumps out at you?
KOBILINSKY: Well, clearly, they have no real indication of the time of death.
Unfortunately, the longer the postmortem interval, when they find the bodies, they're limited in the ability to narrow down the time of death. So, there's a wide range.
COOPER: Why does that change? Why over -- if it's 24 hours or 48 hours, does it matter?
COOPER: Why can't...
KOBILINSKY: It makes a big difference, because some of the indicators of -- of time of death disappear very quickly. For example, rigor mortis, liver mortis, or the change, the cooling of the body over time... (CROSSTALK)
COOPER: But can they determine from stomach contents, things like that?
KOBILINSKY: Those things are useful when the postmortem interval is short, in other words, they find the bodies soon after death. When you start talking about days passing, you can rely on other kinds of things, for example, the potassium level in the vitreous humor, a certain fluid in the eye.
That usually goes up with time. So, we can get a good estimate, but it's not a pinpoint estimate.
COOPER: What shocked me, though, from what you showed me in this report, is that, I mean, she died immediately, they say...
COOPER: ... but that the baby, Lillian Rose, who was shot in the stomach, it took minutes for that baby to die.
The -- the medical examiner found that the bullet that entered the abdomen penetrated and ruptured the liver, as well as the kidney. The child died of exsanguination, blood loss, hemorrhage. And, so, that takes time.
COOPER: Jeffrey, he -- Neil Entwistle has not answered police questions.
I mean, it's the smartest thing to do. I mean, if you have seen any cop shows, it's always people talking to police that ends up tripping them up down the road.
TOOBIN: Well, and -- and he has a lot to explain, you know, why he left, why he didn't go back to the -- for the funeral. All of those things, you -- you could do a lot with, if you had answers to them. He's much better off as a suspect, which is, obviously -- which is what he is, not saying anything at all. And, so, he's getting the right legal advice.
COOPER: They did not impound the car immediately. They found the car on Monday, after he had left. But, for -- for legal reasons, they -- they just kept an eye on it. Is it possible evidence in there could have disappeared in that time?
KOBILINSKY: That -- well, it's a possibility. We have to know if anybody else had access to the vehicle. That's why the videotapes of the video are quite important.
But I think what's even more important is the timing of when he left that vehicle, because he could have stayed around at the airport. We are saying we don't know exactly when he took off to Britain. It may have been another flight. We're not sure. But we -- we do know, from the videotapes, when he left the car.
So, that kind of narrows down his timing, with respect to, did he have the capability of committing the crime?
COOPER: Lawrence Kobilinsky, appreciate you coming in. And thanks.
And, Jeffrey Toobin, thanks very much.
KOBILINSKY: A pleasure.
COOPER: Another unspeakable crime -- remember the movie "The Fugitive"?
Well, tonight, police say one physician is the real thing. Only, this time, they believe he wasn't framed. They say he is guilty of killing his wife, and they want your help in trying to find him.
Also ahead tonight, cartoon controversy. Muslim -- the Muslim world is up in flames over it, as President Bush urges world leaders to stop the surge of violence.
Across America and around the world, you're watching 360.
COOPER: Well, if you picture a fugitive as a tough character in convicts' clothing, stay tuned for the story of someone very different, a doctor accused of poisoning his wife and now on the run.
First, Susan Hendricks from headline News joins us with some of the other stories we're following tonight -- Susan.
SUSAN HENDRICKS, HEADLINE NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Anderson. Thanks.
We begin in California, where there was more fighting today at the prison north of Los Angeles where a riot last weekend cost one man his life. The violence between inmates took place in different buildings this time. Nineteen inmates were injured at the Pitchess Detention Center East, but no guards.
That prison break in Yemen was even worse than thought at first. It turns out now that among the 23 escapees was not only the mastermind of the bombing of the USS Cole, but also Jaber Elbaneh, who is charged with providing material support to terrorists and is a known associate of the Lackawanna cell. Now, the FBI calls Elbaneh dangerous and a threat to the U.S. and its interests.
An Alabama state officials said today that the new church fires in his state are certainly motivated by hate, but that it isn't clear yet whether those setting the fires were choosing their targets on the basis of race or religion. The churches burned this time have been mostly black, but four of the five burned during an earlier rash of fires were predominantly white. And take a look at this. Here is why fans call this the Super Bowl of surfing. The Mavericks surf contest Half Moon Bay, California, features 40-foot waves and was won by a 32-year-old South Africa. Grant "Twiggy" Baker scored two perfect -- perfect 10s on two rides in front of thousands of onlookers. Baker won a trophy and $30,000.
And he makes it look so easy -- Anderson, back to you.
COOPER: Yes, I could do that.
HENDRICKS: You should try next year.
COOPER: Yes, right. All right. Thanks very much, Susan.
COOPER: It has all the elements of a Hollywood movie, deadly cyanide, the doctor who had access to it, and the doctor's dead wife. He fled the country. The question is, did he actually commit murder? It is a mystery still unfolding. We will bring you the latest.
Also, a global firestorm still growing -- what some call free speech, others say is blasphemy. Have the Danish cartoons set off something that is unstoppable?
That's coming up on 360.
COOPER: Well, he took an oath to heal, but tonight an Ohio doctor is charged with killing his own wife and using poison to do it. Right now he is on the run. Police believe he may even have left the country. Prosecutors say he put cyanide in her calcium pills, and they insist he made sure it was a lethal dose.
TOMMY LEE JONES, ACTOR, "THE FUGITIVE": Put that gun down!
COOPER (voice over): It's a tale eerily reminiscent of "The Fugitive," the movies based on the true story of Samuel Sheppard, a doctor wanted for murdering his wife in Ohio 50 years ago. Now some of those same authorities are on the trail of another Ohio doctor indicted yesterday in the murder of his wife.
BILL MASON, CUYAHOGA COUNTY PROSECUTOR: Yazeed Essa is a fugitive as of yesterday, there's a warrant out for his arrest. Hopefully it will circulate through law enforcement and we'll have him shortly.
COOPER: Dr. Yazeed Essa and his wife, Rosemarie, had been married for five years. They had two small children and lived in this affluent suburb outside Cleveland.
By the looks of it they were a happy family. But everything changed on February 24 of last year.
That day, Rosemarie left the house to meet a friend for a movie. She never made it to the theater. Rosemarie Essa collapsed at the wheel of her Volvo. Prosecutors say she called a friend just before she passed out saying...
MASON: Her husband had just given her a pill, that her stomach was making her vomit, getting sick. And then she passed on.
COOPER: Dr. Essa now stands accused of giving his wife a lethal dose of cyanide in a capsule she thought was a calcium pill.
MASON: Well, he took the calcium pills shortly before this death and dumped the calcium out and put cyanide in it. He insisted that she take this cyanide pill before she left, which she did. Approximately 10 minutes later, she was dead.
COOPER: Police interviewed Dr. Essa about three weeks later on March 17 and confiscated the bottle of calcium pills, pills they later tested.
MASON: There were 56 pills in the bottle, nine of those pills still had cyanide in the packet.
COOPER: Hard to believe, but that night there was a party at Essa's house.
MASON: Our interpretation certainly is that it was a good-bye party. He had his family and friends over, got to see them all for one last time. The next day he took off for Detroit, boarded a flight in Toronto and went to Cyprus.
COOPER: From there he disappeared. Authorities say Essa has traveled to Greece, Lebanon and Syria. His family is thought to own property in Syria, a country that does not have an extradition policy with the U.S. Authorities also say he may have spent the holidays in Florida.
TED WASKY, SPECIAL AGENT, CLEVELAND FBI: We did receive information that he may have been in the Fort Myers Beach area. We did execute a warrant, but we have not apprehended him to date.
COOPER: Essa's lawyer, Larry Zukerman, would not agree to an interview but says he hasn't had any contact with his client since he disappeared and that he's presumed innocent under the law.
Prosecutors, however, say the motive is clear.
MASON: The motive that really goes back throughout time, it's he had another woman. He was seeing another woman. And he just wanted her out of the way, unfortunately.
COOPER: The other woman, according to prosecutors, was a nurse at Akron General Medical Center where Dr. Essa worked as an emergency room physician. A job that authorities say would give him easy access to cyanide. Rosemarie Essa's brother has taken custody of his sister's two young children. Nearly a year after her murder, police say they have finally identified the killer, now they just have to find him.
CHIEF JAMES COOK, HIGHLAND HEIGHTS POLICE DEPT.: We do believe that he is responsible for her death, and we're comfortable to present our case in court. And we believe we can prove it beyond a reasonable doubt.
COOPER: I'll let you take another look at that picture. Authorities are asking anyone with information on the whereabouts of Dr. Essa to call 216-522-1400. That's 216-522-1400, or their local FBI office.
The doctor is accused of using cyanide to murder his wife. The chemical is a silent killer, one that can claim a life within seconds.
To find out more about cyanide and what makes it so deadly, I spoke earlier with 360 M.D. Sanjay Gupta.
COOPER: So, Sanjay, how deadly is cyanide?
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN SR. MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, interestingly with cyanide, most people have sort of the Hollywood perception of cyanide. I just saw this on "24" the other day, somebody puts a table in their mouth, they immediately start frothing and they die.
That's obviously the deadly side of cyanide, it's the thing you see in movies. But cyanide is actually present in lots of different foods, for example, in almonds and spinach and tapioca pudding. If I were to test your cyanide levels right now, Anderson, you would have trace amounts of cyanide probably in your blood.
It's when you get large doses in a very quick period of time that it becomes deadly. It's been used as a genocidal agent they believe in World War II. So it could be a very deadly agent in high doses and in a quick time.
COOPER: What actually happens to you, to your body when you're exposed to those toxic doses?
GUPTA: You know, what cyanide does, it basically competes with oxygen in your blood. So oxygen is trying to get in your blood. The cyanide basically says no, and it gets -- it binds to all of your blood cells and it makes it so that you're not circulating any oxygen if your body.
So, essentially, you're starving your body very quickly of oxygen. That's what causes death.
COOPER: How can you tell if someone's been poisoned with it? GUPTA: You know, it can be hard, which is why spies, for example, love to use this agent. You know, unless you do a blood level or a urine level very quickly after death, you may never know that cyanide was actually the culprit.
Another little interesting tidbit, though, is that if you smell the breath of someone who has just been poisoned with cyanide it will have this very distinctive almond-like smell. And that's another way that you can tell as well.
GUPTA: Thank you.
COOPER: This, of course, is just the latest high-profile case of a husband accused of killing his wife. We've seen it before. Of course we will see it again. The statistics speak for themselves.
According to the FBI, 579 women were murdered by their spouses in 2004.
CNN's Rick Sanchez has more.
RICK SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Redwood City, California, December 2002, Scott Peterson kills his wife Laci. She was eight months pregnant.
Boston, 1989, lawyer Charles Stuart makes up a story about a "black man who shot his wife." It turns out it was Stewart who pulled the trigger.
North Carolina, 2003, novelist Michael Peterson is convicted of bludgeoning his wife of five years. He did it in the stairwell of their Durham mansion.
All are cases that fascinated and made us wonder why, why would a husband kill his own wife? Even mere accusations seem to make us all take notice. Who in America can say they don't remember this...
O.J. SIMPSON, DEFENDANT: Absolutely 100 percent not guilty.
SANCHEZ: O.J. Simpson was found not guilty. But the fascination with everything O.J. continues, as does every book, TV show or movie on husbands who stands accused of killing their wives.
TOMMY LEE JONES, ACTOR, "THE FUGITIVE": Your fugitive's name is Dr. Richard Kimble.
DR. ROBERT FRIEDMAN, CRIMINOLOGIST: You have crime, you have sex, you have money. SANCHEZ: Criminologist Robert Friedman has spent decades studying why people kill. He says to understand the motives of men like Scott Peterson, you first have to understand not why they did it but why they needed to do it.
(on camera): What's to gain? Why not walk out?
FRIEDMAN: If the convenience of the moment is that he deems her standing in his way, he will resort to that resolution that for the wide majority of the population is incomprehensible.
SANCHEZ (voice over): Friedman says wife killers all have a problem they need to resolve. Whether it's greed, lack of freedom, convenience, ego, or jealousy, the answer tends to be the same if the man views life as frivolous.
FRIEDMAN: The ultimate resolution that he arrives at is that taking her out is best for him.
SANCHEZ: So for police, the challenge is to find out what their suspect was trying to resolve.
(on camera): So when you figure out what the conflict is, that will lead you to figure out what the motive was?
SANCHEZ (voice over): So why do husbands kill? Power, authority, possessiveness. We've all heard the pop psychology, but key to breaking any case, says this veteran investigator, is finding out what conflict was seemingly resolved when a spouse turned up dead.
Rick Sanchez, CNN, Atlanta.
COOPER: Well, coming up on the program, President Bush pointing the figure of blame for anti-Western violence in Iraq in the Muslim world over those 12 cartoons portraying the Prophet Mohammed. We'll show you how it all began and why it turned so deadly so long after the pictures appeared.
Also ahead, who is targeting American's churches for arson?
Around the country and the world, this is 360.
COOPER: Well, for the first time since the Muslim world erupted over unflattering cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed, President Bush weighed in. With Jordan's King Abdullah by his side, the president today accused Iran and Syria of fanning the flames. He called for the violence to end but also greater sensitivity on the part of the media.
King took it one step further, adding that any attack on the prophet or Muslim sensibilities ought to be condemned. In the meantime, new mayhem in Afghanistan. Police killing four rioters. So far, 11 people have died in a little less than a week, four months after the cartoons first ran.
That's only part of the story. The rest of it has to do with how this turned into a global firestorm and why, and why now.
CNN's Nic Robertson investigates.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Though the protests and violence ignited and then spread from Gaza 10 days ago, the truth is the story really begins early last fall in Denmark.
(on camera): Incredibly, all this violence was sparked when a Danish author writing a children's book about the Muslim faith discovered he couldn't find an artist to draw a picture of the Prophet Mohammed, Islam's founder. He realized they were afraid of offending Muslims who consider such depiction sacrilegious.
FLEMMING ROSE, "JYLLANDS-POSTEN" CULTURE EDITOR: We had five, six cases in Denmark in the course of two weeks, all speaking to the problem of self censorship and freedom of speech in terms of dealing and covering Islam.
ROBERTSON: So in a competition, Rose's paper asked artists to draw Prophet Mohammed. On September 30, they printed 12. Two weeks lapsed before Muslim demonstrators took to Denmark streets.
It was another week before ambassadors from Muslim nations complained to Denmark's prime minister. He ignored them.
Next, a delegation of Muslim leaders from Denmark carried a file full of the offensive cartoons to Cairo to plead for support from Muslim clerics there. But it wasn't until after mid-January, in fact after the Hajj, the Muslim world's holy pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia, that word really began to spread.
AHMED ABU LABAN, DANISH MUSLIM LEADER: Once the season was over, the scholars there started to give attention to this issue.
ROBERTSON: Then, two weeks ago, on January 26, the Saudis recalled their ambassador to Denmark, and Internet sites did the rest.
ALI AL-AHMED, GULF INSTITUTE: There is actually a Web site dedicated to this issue, to the boycott issue listing companies' products, and even fatwas.
ROBERTSON: And that's when demonstrations ignited. First, a flag burning in the West Bank, a takeover of a European Union office followed in Gaza. Then, a week ago, the Danish government expressed concern to Muslims. But several European newspapers reprinted the cartoons. That proved incendiary and led to critical mass. From Iran to Syria to Beirut, across the Arab and Muslim world, fiery violence brought deaths.
CONDOLEEZZA RICE, SECRETARY OF STATE: Iran and Syria have gone out of their way to enflame sentiments and to use this to their own purposes. And the world ought to call them on it.
ROBERTSON: And despite President Bush's call earlier today to end the violence, there seems to be no indication at the moment that it is about to stop -- Anderson.
COOPER: Nic Robertson.
We heard a bid from Flemming Rose in Nic's report. Here's more of what he said today about how far non-Muslims covering a hot topic in a free country ought to bend to Muslim taboos.
Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROSE: This is exactly what this debate is about, does a religion have the right to impose its religious taboos, its religious rules on to the public domain? Should I as a non-Muslim submit myself to their taboos in the public domain?
I mean, I respect Islam. When I go to a mosque, I do behave in accordance with all their rules. I do not draw a cartoon of the prophet in a mosque. If I bring my daughter, she will be dressed in accordance with Islamic rules.
But I do think when they ask me to submit myself to their rules outside the mosque, they're not asking my respect. They are asking my submission.
Even though I do recognize that a lot of Muslims have been offended by these cartoons, and I apologize for that, I'm really sorry if people have been offended. That was not my intention. My focus was on the question of self censorship.
There was a story out there and we had to cover it. And we just chose to cover it in a different way. According to the principle, don't tell it, show it.
And I would like to say here to your viewers that, you know, even though we have maybe a tense discussion about these things, there has been no anti-Muslim riots. Not a single Muslim that I know of have left the country because of these cartoons. It's the other way around.
We have never had so many Muslims participating in public debates in Denmark on the pages of my newspaper, on television and radio shows. So I think we, in fact, have had a very good and constructive debate about this.
You know, this was not a stereotyping or demonizing of Muslims. And, in fact, that cartoon is not -- it is not saying that the prophet was a terrorist or that all Muslims are terrorists.
It is just saying that some individuals have taken the peaceful religion of Islam hostage in order to commit terrorist acts. And thereby, giving their religion a bad name.
If you make a religious cartoon, we do that with Jesus Christ, with the royal family, with public politicians. But that does not mean that you thereby denigrate their religion, you humiliate it, you make fun of them. In fact, by that you are saying, you are part of Denmark, you are treated as everybody else in our society. You are not strangers and outsiders.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, now a tough question and one we put to a Muslim leader.
Coming up, why the outrage in the Muslim world over these cartoons but not suicide bombers? We'll ask the Danish Muslim leader who put this story on the map ahead.
Also, who's torching houses of worship in this country? And why?
First, a reminder to ask Dr. Sanjay Gupta your medical questions. If you like, just log on to our Web site, click on the e-mail link.
You're watching 360.
COOPER: Well, more now on the cartoons, Islam and the West. Cartoons, by the way, that American media outlets by and large have remained from showing, this network included.
A paper in Jordan, on the other hand, did run them. The editor was fired.
It was the backdrop this afternoon to my conversation with Ahmed Abu Laban, the Danish Muslim leader who first called attention to the issue. We spoke about many things, including double standards.
COOPER: The Jordanian editor who was fired for publishing these cartoons said, and I quote, "Who insults Islam more, a foreigner who draws the prophet or a Muslim with an explosive killing himself at a wedding in Amman or anywhere else?"
Why are there not similar demonstrations against suicide bombers, against, you know, IEDs, against mosques in Iraq being destroyed by insurgents? Why do we not see people, thousands of people in the streets in Lebanon, in Egypt, in Syria, in Afghanistan?
LABAN: Well, you come to a very fundamental theological issue where Mohammed is the perfect man, is the prophet of Islam, is the teacher and the guide for every believer. And that's why they responded in individual bases. But if you ask me why...
COOPER: Yes, but, sir...
LABAN: ... people did not...
COOPER: Everyone says, though, that Islam is a religion of peace. And it clearly is for the millions of Muslims who follow it peacefully.
Why, then, is it not seen as an insult to Islam, to the Prophet Mohammed, that there are suicide bombers and that there are IEDs and that mosques in Iraq are being used by insurgents? Why is that not as great an insult to Islam and protested against as greatly as these 12 cartoons?
LABAN: I disagree with you. I think we have seen and so many guests have condemned suicide bombing, a result of violence, massacres, bloodshed. I think -- but maybe it happened intermittently in different occasions, but now we have the potential spontaneous, instantaneous in this historical moment. That's why we feel the difference.
COOPER: Why should a free society have to obey the taboos of religion? Why can't in a free society a religion be made fun of?
In the United States, there are artists who take a crucifix and dip it in a vat of urine. That may not -- that may be widely offensive to many people here, but it is not something that people get killed over because it is a free society. Why must a free society follow the religious taboos?
LABAN: If it so happened that we have 25 million ethnic Muslims or so in the European continents, if democracy and pluralism would give them a margin to live under some democratic values of freedom of faith, now let's move on a step forward about equality in faith.
COOPER: But the -- you didn't answer the question. The question is, why should a free society have to obey a religious taboo of a religion? I mean, why -- why should what is offensive to you, why should that dictate what a newspaper can print or what someone can say or talk about?
LABAN: Because we are searching for a solution between freedom of speech and the freedom of religion. Because we take regard to the charter of the United Nations and the different acts concerning the protection and respect of religions. So it had been fashioned by...
COOPER: I'm sorry, I understand that answer. And that makes sense to me.
LABAN: Yes. COOPER: Why, though, are cartoons which are, without a doubt, offensive to you and to Muslims because they depict the Prophet Mohammed, but why is that somehow infringing on your religious freedom? I mean, why should a free society be bound by the taboos of a religion?
LABAN: Because of the moral commitment of coexistence, because when we live together, when we seek any kind of harmony, when we like to have a good life side by side, we have to take care of the feelings of both parties or whatever you have in the society. And that's it. We said let's give it notice and let's give it thought.
COOPER: These cartoons, though, were originally commissioned because the editor of this paper, rightly or wrongly, believed that artists were feeling that they had to censor themselves when talking about Islam or writing about Islam because of the filmmaker Theo van Gogh, who was murdered in the streets after making a film that some Muslims found offensive.
Is -- I mean, why can't an artist or a writer talk freely or depict Islam in the way they want as long as your rights are not being violated?
LABAN: I don't think it's a healthy way in going in that discussion which will seem to the audience that, again, it's the Western arrogance that they would like to bring Muslims to their knees as pupils to accept the lesson. Our point, our outcry in Denmark -- and we should repeat, we are appealing to everybody -- seize the moment.
Let's evolve and develop the concept of (INAUDIBLE) civilizations. Let's see after careful and thorough discussion how can we come up with a better formula for co-existence, tolerance and equality?
COOPER: That was Ahmed Abu Laban. And if you'd like to weigh in on this story, just go to our blog, CNN.com/360, and click on the blog link. You can join the nearly 300,000 people who have been there today.
It's your chance to tell us what you think, and we might just read your entry on the air later tonight. Even if we don't, I read all the entries that are posted.
We want to thank our international viewers for watching.
But ahead on 360, a lot more to cover. The latest on that terror scare on Capitol Hill. We take a look at the threat, nerve gas. Just how deadly is it, and was today's evacuation warranted?
Plus, nine churches burn in a matter of days. What is going on? Investigators want to know. Are they connected?
We're closely following the story.
Across America and around the world, you're watching 360. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
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