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Virginia Tech Shooter's Roommate Speaks Out; Suicide Car Bombing Kills Nine Americans in Iraq; Nightmare in Paradise

Aired April 23, 2007 - 22:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, everyone.
We begin, sadly, with breaking news out of Iraq: a suicide car bombing, with heavy loss of American life.

Let's go right away to CNN's Michael Ware in Baghdad.

Michael, what's the latest?

MICHAEL WARE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, all that we know right now is exactly what you have said, is that a suicide car bomb struck what's called a patrol base somewhere in Diyala, taking the lives of nine American soldiers and wounding 20 others.

However, of the 20 wounded, only five currently remain in hospital, according to the U.S. military. Now, this has been a bloody day in Diyala Province. This is a province the size of Maryland. It's just north of the capital, Baghdad, because we saw also yesterday another suicide car bomb targeting the provincial council.

This is a provincial council that was essentially suspended. It was unable to function for many, many months. And, most council meetings, they don't get enough members attending to even have a legal quorum.

So, this has been yet another awful day in a province that has long been plagued by wretched violence from al Qaeda, Shia death squads and all sorts of violent groups -- Anderson.

COOPER: Michael, you just came back from an embed in Diyala Province. The security situation, how bad is it there? What did you see?

WARE: Well, what's going on at the moment, Anderson, is that this, in many ways, has become the new front line against al Qaeda.

Way back last year, al Qaeda started shifting its operational focus away from the western deserts of Al Anbar Province and moved into Diyala`. Diyala has been an al Qaeda stronghold almost since the beginning of al Qaeda's presence here three years ago.

Indeed, if you recall, the al Qaeda in Iraq leader, Abu Musab al- Zarqawi, was actually killed in Diyala Province. We have seen U.S. forces there. The brigade that is currently there, about 5,000 troops, arrived at the end of last year. They have been just there six months so far. Now, the brigade before them, in one full year, lost 19 people. If you include these now nine further soldiers, this new brigade has lost 50 in six months. The level of violence in this province is almost double what it was one year ago.

The difference, however, is that, one year ago, it was Iraqis being killed, civilians. What's happened is, we have seen a shift in the violence targeting coalition forces and Iraqi security forces.

Now, the brigade commander up there, the leader of the Grey Wolf Brigade, the 3rd Brigade Combat Team from the 1st Cavalry Division, with many other units attached to it, has said that he is aggressively targeting al Qaeda. He is going into their safe havens.

In Diyala Province, al Qaeda has training bases. It collects taxes. It has entire regions which are firmly under its control where it has Sharia courts. It has declared much of Diyala Province as part of the Islamic state of Iraq.

And this combat brigade is attempting to wrest it back by going into the al Qaeda strongholds, battling with them in blazing, pitched fights that go for days and weeks, at enormous cost of American life, trying to take this province back.

COOPER: So, has anything in Diyala changed because of the increase in troops, of American troops, in Baghdad? The what was one time called a surge or an escalation, is that occurring also in Diyala or is it simply in Baghdad?

WARE: Well, what we saw with the introduction of what's now almost 30,000 additional combat troops to the war here in Iraq, focusing on the capital Baghdad -- as you say, it's the surge -- is that we saw a furtherance of a trend that had already been well under way in Diyala Province.

Yes, when more troops dime Baghdad, more al Qaeda went to Diyala to join the others who had already moved there. But let's not forget, this has been an al Qaeda stronghold for years. It ebbs. It flows. The level of activity changes, but they have been the preeminent insurgent force in that province for quite some time now.

Indeed, when the American brigade commander arrived there, he described the situation that al Qaeda considered that America owned the roads in that province, but they owned everything else. Well, he's been taking the fight to them. And this would be one of many acts of retaliation from al Qaeda.

COOPER: All right, Michael Ware, appreciate the latest from Baghdad.

Just to reiterate, nine American service members killed in a suicide attack, a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device, or a VBID, as the military calls them. We don't know exactly where it was in Diyala Province. We are going to trying to get more details. We will bring that to you as warranted. Now to Virginia Tech, the first day of classes since the shootings last week. As you might imagine, it was not an easy day. But ask the students, and many will tell you, it would have been even tougher for them to stay away.

CNN's Gary Tuchman is there.


GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): On the day Virginia Tech students went back to school, a bell to symbolize the exact moment a week ago horror gripped Norris Hall, the classroom building that remains shut down, 32 white balloons in place, one for each life lost.


TUCHMAN: About every 15 seconds, one bell for each victim, followed by the release of one balloon. There was utter silence, a ceremony elegant in its simplicity, as thousands of Virginia Tech students honored their fellow students and faculty members killed by Seung-Hui Cho.

Amid this intensely emotional tribute, classes resumed. But, while the buildings were familiar, the feelings inside them were very different.

CHIDO OBIDEGWU, VIRGINIA TECH STUDENT: It's not really school, I would say, not yet at least.

TUCHMAN: Chido Obidegwu is a sophomore majoring in finance. He was in the dormitory where the rampage began.

(on camera): And what was it like being in economics this morning?

OBIDEGWU: It was just -- the focus wasn't on economics today. Just everyone was just trying to get through this thing together. We just all talked. And some people had certain things to say. They just kind of opened the floor for anybody who wanted to talk.

TUCHMAN: In many ways, the school day did appear normal. The campus was crowded with Hokies lugging their books to class.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a very nice, quiet place to study.

TUCHMAN: Prospective students and their parents went out on tours of the scenic campus on this beautiful sunny day. But, for many current students, the classrooms today were rooms for therapy and companionship.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The professors were definitely just going through the same thing we are. So, we aren't quite in the mood to learn yet, and they're not quite in the mood to teach yet.

TUCHMAN: David Gerhardt (ph) is a junior. His morning U.S. government class had three seats left open. They were seats that Reema Samaha, Matthew La Porte, and Nicole White used to sit in, three of the students who were killed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was sad just knowing that, last week at this time, Monday 8:00 a.m., you know, those seats were filled with students learning, having, you know, normal lives, continuing about what they were doing, and, this week, knowing that those seats are empty because of what happened.

TUCHMAN: When the morning memorial ended, 1,000 balloons in Virginia Tech colors were sent to the sky in a symbol of Hokie unity. As you squinted in the sunny horizon, they looked like orange and maroon tears.


COOPER: Gary, the school gave the option of a lot of kids -- a lot of the students there, they didn't have to go to class. They could just take the grades that they had already earned. Did most of the students show up?

TUCHMAN: Classes were very full today, Anderson. But you're right. The university anticipated that some people wouldn't come back this week. The school year, after all, is ending in just a few weeks. Graduation is May 11. And some seats were empty.

But the university is being flexible. They are telling students, as you just said, that they can take the final grade they have right now, and not take final exams, or they can withdrawal from the class with no penalty whatsoever. It's all because of a most unusual and very sad end of the school year here.

COOPER: Amazing, that they were giving tours to prospective students on campus. It must have been a difficult tour, indeed.

Gary, thanks very much.

As the campus began adjusting today a new kind of normal, fresh details kept coming about the crime and the killer. And, as they did, more lives, young lives, were remembered at funerals across the country.


COOPER (voice-over): Tomorrow would have been Austin Cloyd's 19th birthday. This weekend was her funeral.

Jarrett Lee Lane was also buried this weekend. So was Jarrett Lane, Waleed Mohammed, Partahi Lumbantoruan, G.V. Loganathan, and Minal Panchal.

And, today, more funeral, more tears for Ryan Clark, the resident assistant, Reema Samaha, who loved to dance, Matthew La Porte and Matthew Gwaltney.

As the grieving continues, so does the investigation. Here's what we have learned from the autopsies. The 32 victims suffered more than 100 gunshot wounds, many of them defensive wounds, suggesting those who died tried to shield themselves.

As for the gunman, Seung-Hui Cho, he killed himself with a gunshot to the temple. Seven days later, the most painful question remains, why? What made Cho, a virtual ghost on the Virginia Tech campus, go on the deadliest shooting rampage in U.S. history? Blood samples from Cho's body are being tested for drugs. But it will be weeks before the results are in.

Meantime, investigators are still searching the cell phone and e- mail records of Cho and his first victim, Emily Hilscher, looking for any link between them. Investigators are looking into Cho's online purchases; eBay say his bought empty ammunition magazines through its Web site, magazines that match the type of gun used in the massacre. State police earlier said he used the Internet to buy one of the guns used in the attack.

There were questions in the Senate today as well at a Homeland Security hearing.

W. ROGER WEBB, PRESIDENT, UNIVERSITY OF CENTRAL OKLAHOMA: The spotlight is shining squarely today on college presidents and senior administrators. And that question is before us: How safe are our campuses?

COOPER: In the case of Virginia Tech, at least, last Monday, the answer was not safe enough.


COOPER: Well, still plenty of students did come back today, as Gary Tuchman just said, including Andy Koch, who shared a suite with Cho.

He's what he said to CNN's Gary Tuchman in an exclusive interview last week about an apparent stalking incident, with Cho pursuing one of Andy's female friends.


ANDY KOCH, FORMER SUITE MATE OF SEUNG-HUI CHO: I I.M.ed her and told her, this guy, you know, he is messing around with you. Here's his name. And you should kind of ignore him and just stay away from him.

Then, the other time, the cops responded again. And Seung became upset about that. And he had told me that he might as well kill himself. And, so, I told the cops that. And they took him away to the counseling center for a night or two.


COOPER: Well, that was Andy Koch last week.

He sat down with Gary again today. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TUCHMAN: You and your roommate John did so much. You alerted the authorities here at Virginia Tech to the fact that he wanted to kill himself. He sent you the instant message saying that. You told them. They sent him away for counseling. But he came back.

Do you look back now and say you wish you were more strident with them: You better not bring him back to us?

KOCH: We -- I wish, maybe, like we had pushed maybe to get him moved out. But I don't think it would have changed.

He was obviously angry, and something wasn't right. I don't know if pushing him would have -- it would have happened somewhere else, or -- I don't know. You...


KOCH: ... play that game all day.

TUCHMAN: Right. The fact is, they took him away for a couple days. He came back to your room. Were you surprised that he was back? Did you think about it?

KOCH: You wouldn't have missed him if he was gone, because it was -- he wasn't really there to begin with. He didn't talk. So...

TUCHMAN: Did his attitude change at all after he underwent this counseling and was brought back -- brought back to school?


KOCH: He was calmer. And there was no more of the extreme -- there was no more of the extreme stories and the incidents, as far as we know.

TUCHMAN: So, did you think perhaps that whatever counseling had worked a little bit?

KOCH: Yes. Or I thought maybe he was more careful what he was doing, so that we wouldn't see it, maybe.

TUCHMAN: One of the things you were telling us last week is that he wrote on the walls. And you were concerned about it, because you could get charged when you write on the walls. What did he write on those walls?

KOCH: It was lyrics from a Nirvana song, "Smells Like Teen Spirit." And I remember it's: "Load your gun. Bring your friends." And there's another line, "It's fun to pretend."

TUCHMAN: So, when he wrote about loading your gun on the wall, did that concern you at all?

KOCH: No. It -- it -- not at the time, it didn't concern me. I was just, you know, more mad that we would have to pay for the walls, you know? I didn't think much of it.

TUCHMAN: But you were telling us you never saw him with guns or talking about guns. But now that we look back at it, this is the only mention that you ever know where he mentioned guns.

KOCH: That's the only time I have ever seen him, yes, interested in guns, or even say it, I guess, a couple of times.

TUCHMAN: The university says he stalked two girls, but you know of three girls he stalked, right?

KOCH: Right.

TUCHMAN: And one of the issues is, none of these girls pressed charges. Is that your understanding of it, too?

KOCH: Right. Mm-hmm.

TUCHMAN: I guess, now that you're looking back at it, too, you -- we all wish they did, right?

KOCH: Right. I wish somebody had done...

TUCHMAN: Did you know why they didn't? Did you ever ask them why they didn't?

KOCH: As far as, like, I can tell, from my own thoughts, they probably just didn't want to cause trouble. It was annoying. It wasn't -- they probably weren't scared. They were just extremely annoyed.

TUCHMAN: The thing is, if you have, in your room at this university, drugs, what would happen to you?

KOCH: It's zero tolerance. You're out.

TUCHMAN: You're out of -- you're out of the dorm?

KOCH: Yes, out of school.

TUCHMAN: But this guy stalked girls, was sent away because he sent an I.M. he wants to kill himself, never talked, teachers that didn't want him in his -- class, and he was left in your dorm the entire year. Does that anger you, when you look back at it, that you don't think there's a contradiction there or some hypocrisy?

KOCH: It doesn't anger me. It's scary. And it's -- there was never a system in place, that all the information from us, from his teachers and from, I guess, the police could be put all in one place.

So, if it had been -- if there had been a system -- I don't think there's a system anywhere, but, if such a system existed, something may have been able to be done.

TUCHMAN: Can you still believe that this guy who you lived with for a year is the same guy who killed 32 people? KOCH: No, not even close to believing it yet.


COOPER: Gary, what did Andy say about the video that Cho sent to NBC?

TUCHMAN: Andy was shocked and repulsed by it. I mean, so are we, the viewers who didn't know this guy, Cho.

But Andy knew him, and knew he was strange and weird and bizarre. But Andy and his roommate John, who we talked to last week, never thought he was dangerous to other people. So, when they saw this, and they saw him holding the guns and saw him holding the hammer, and speaking the way he spoke, they just couldn't believe it. I mean, they knew he was a problematic person, but certainly not that problematic.

And one other thing, Anderson. As Andy told us, he never heard this guy, Cho, in the entire year he lived there say more than eight or nine sentences in an entire school year. And, during this manifesto that he sent to NBC, I mean, he spoke and spoke and spoke. He didn't know he could talk that much.

COOPER: Fascinating.

Gary, thanks.

We spoke with John, another former roommate of Cho's, last week. Today, he sent us this e-mail, saying -- quote -- "I would like to make a statement thanking all of my family and friends for their unending support during this difficult time. It's hard to concentrate on classes right now. But every new day is a step in the right diction. While this past week has been difficult, with all of the sadness on campus, I feel right in moving forward."

Many of Seung-Hui Cho's victims were just started their adult lives. Others had accomplished great things in their careers.

Here's the raw data. The four youngest victims were 18 years old, the oldest, 76. Eighteen of those killed were men. Fourteen were women. Five were faculty, the rest, all of them, students. They all, of course, left behind families and friends who love them.

One other note on how you can help: The university has set up what it's calling the Hokie Spirit Memorial Fund. Donations will go to help victims and their families pay for grief counseling, memorials, and other related expenses.

We have -- we have put a hot link to it on our blog, You can just page down, click on the link. Again, that's

Still to come on the program tonight: It sound likes a Hitchcock nightmare -- an American in a strange country who says he was railroad for a crime he wasn't even around to commit. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER (voice-over): Was it mob justice? An American in Nicaragua convicted of killing the local beauty, with no physical evidence and 10 people who said he was somewhere else. Justice or injustice? You be the judge.

Crow and Karl Rove? Why did the president's brain just about run screaming from Sheryl Crow? He says/she says, and a touch from a rock star that freaked out the president's right-hand man -- when 360 continues.



COOPER: As the president's top political adviser, Karl Rove prefers to stay in the shadows. He likes to keep a low profile, except when he's rapping.

But then came this weekend, when Rove got into a very public sparring match with Sheryl Crow and Laurie David, both activists on tour to fight global warming.

Candy Crowley has the fireworks. But, first, she serves up some more raw nerves in tonight's "Raw Politics.


CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, in "Raw Politics" tonight: veto schmeto. The Democratic-led Congress is just about to send President Bush an Iraq spending bill with an October deadline for the beginning of a troop pullout by October.

SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), MAJORITY LEADER: With all due respect, our president is wrong. And the new Congress will show him the way.

CROWLEY: The president, in his umpteenth veto threat, says he doesn't think politicians ought to be telling people in uniform how to do their job.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I believe artificial timetables of withdrawal would be a mistake.

CROWLEY: So, Congress will send the president a bill he won't sign. He will send it back to Congress, which doesn't have votes to override him. And then both sides will begin to talk compromise, while blaming each other for not compromising enough funding the troops.

Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer can't believe Attorney General Alberto Gonzales still has a job. "It's just like Iraq," Schumer said, "only the president and the few advisers buried in a bunker think Gonzales should stay."

Presidential hopeful Dennis Kucinich, darling of the left wing, says he will tomorrow file articles of impeachment against Vice President Dick Cheney. Kucinich is a true believer, but, realistically, not a chance of impeachment. Politically, Kucinich is an asterisk in the polls, and this will get him some face time.

Making the best of a bad call, John Edwards now jokes about those pricey haircuts. The Democratic hopeful says people want to come to America because people like him, from a modest background, can make good and -- quote -- "run for president and pay $400 for a haircut" -- end quote.

The American dream leaves.

DANA PERINO, WHITE HOUSE DEPUTY PRESS SECRETARY: I just wish that they would channel some of that Hollywood energy into something constructive, rather than baseless finger-pointing.

CROWLEY: Heat over global warming at the White House correspondents dinner this weekend. Guests singer Sheryl Crow and one of the producers of Al Gore's film "An Inconvenient Truth" approached Bush adviser Karl Rove, and asked him to rethink the administration's global warming policy.

They say he got really angry and rude, and snapped at them. He says they came to insult him, and succeeded. The next day, Crow called Rove a spoiled child throwing a tantrum. And the White House criticized Hollywood histrionics.

Miss Manners would be horrified. We're just not sure at who.

And that, Anderson, is "Raw Politics."


COOPER: And we will have more on the Rove spat a little bit later on in the next hour of 360.

But, up next tonight: a nightmare in paradise, an American tried and convicted for a crime that he and others say he could not possibly have committed.


COOPER (voice-over): Was it mob justice? An American in Nicaragua convicted of killing the local beauty, with no physical evidence and 10 people who said he was somewhere else. Justice or injustice? You be the judge.

Also: It was never supposed to happen, pet food poison now in the human food chain, pigs, and maybe people, too. Why can't the authorities seem to stop it? Who's keeping you safe? We're "Keeping Them Honest" -- tonight on 360.



COOPER: A new study shows that the pay gap between men and women still exists, and it's bigger than you might think. Why is that?

We asked personal finance guru Suze Orman.


SUZE ORMAN, AUTHOR, "WOMEN & MONEY: OWNING THE POWER TO CONTROL YOUR DESTINY": You would think that it would change, but it hasn't changed, because women are not as aggressive as they need to be.

And the perception of them not being aggressive also hurts them, because women don't want to hurt people's feelings. Women don't want to step up to the plate that way. They're totally capable. They actually get better grades in college than most men do.

I'm sure the study, if you looked at it, would say that women graduate with a higher grade-point average.


COOPER: You will hear more about the study and more from Suze coming up in the next hour of 360.

But, like buried -- being buried alive, that's what an American citizen says life is like inside a maximum security prison in Nicaragua. Now, he was convicted of a brutal crime that stunned the country. He says he is innocent and that he has the alibis to prove it.

Tonight, we want you to be the judge.

CNN's Rick Sanchez reports.


RICK SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was like a lynch mob. Angry Nicaraguans had been waiting for this moment. And 27-year-old Eric Volz was at the white-hot center. How he got here, to this awful place, is a story of: Whom do you believe?

Great waves attract surfers are to the sleepy seaside town of San Juan del Sur. And that's what originally drew Volz here two years ago. But he was also starting a magazine, "El Puente," "The Bridge," a serious cultural magazine intended to improve relations between Nicaraguans and Americans.

Then, last November, Doris Jimenez, just 25 years old, is found dead. The murderer apparently strangled her with his own hands in the clothing store she owned here.

By U.S. standards, the police response was casual. The murder draws bystanders, who actually crowd in to look. In just minutes, evidence is critically tainted. The murder of this beautiful young woman was a sensation. Police would quickly charge four men with the crime. One was American Eric Volz. He dated Jimenez. But they had broken up.

Thousands of miles away, in Tennessee, Eric's mother gets the news.

MAGGIE ANTHONY, MOTHER OF ERIC VOLZ: I got a phone call from a man that I had no idea who it was. So, I walked off to the side, and he told me that Eric had been arrested for Doris' murder.

SANCHEZ: For Volz's mother, it was the first step in what she considers the railroading of her son. His alibi rests entirely on this story, that he was two hours away from the victim at the time of the murder. And he provided testimony from witnesses who back him up.

(on camera) Keep in mind, the court record indicates that the murder took place Tuesday at 11:45 a.m., just 15 minutes before noon. Yet there are ten different people who have signed affidavits saying they saw Eric here between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. in the afternoon right here in his office.

RICARDO CASTILLO, NICARAGUAN JOURNALIST: We were in the same house, room. We had lunch.

SANCHEZ (voice-over): The caretaker on the property says that he, too, saw Eric that morning, and afternoon.

(on camera) You can swear that he was here Tuesday at noon?

CARLOS PEREZ, CARETAKER: (speaking Spanish)

SANCHEZ: He was there in his office, you say. You saw him, he was wearing shorts.

PEREZ: (speaking Spanish)

SANCHEZ: He was wearing shorts at noon? (speaking Spanish)

PEREZ: (speaking Spanish)

SANCHEZ (voice-over): Ten witnesses for him, no authentic forensic evidence against him, and yet Volz had a sense of foreboding.

VOLZ: I'm worried that this is bigger than anybody really understands.

SANCHEZ: His premonition proved correct.

(on camera) With Eric Volz on trial, his life hanging in the balance there in that courtroom, the mob here on the street was getting even more tense. And the message that they seemed to be sending to the judge was clear. We want the gringo convicted.

(voice-over) Outside, the chanting, "Viva Nicaragua" and "death to the gringo."

Inside the courthouse, Volz's lawyers present witnesses to prove he was in his Managua office two hours away at the time of the murder, ten of them.

His defense also provides cell phone records, even this time stamped instant message conversation Eric says he had with a colleague in Atlanta. That's Volz' screen name, EPMagazineEric. She's swapping messages from about 9 a.m. to two in the afternoon, covering the time just before noon when Jimenez was killed. His lawyer is convinced the alibis will win Eric his freedom.

RAMON ROJAS, ERIC VOLZ'S ATTORNEY (through translator): The evidence presented before the district judge coincided in showing his lack of participation and his innocence.

SANCHEZ: Outside, the mob is growing more agitated. Police fire rubber bullets to hold them back.

Leading the mob, Jimenez's mother, Mercedes. Like prosecutors, she believes Eric Volz was obsessed with her daughter and jealous that she was dating others.

(on camera) Tell me what evidence you think there is.


SANCHEZ: So he had a big scratch on the back of his shoulder.


SANCHEZ: Fingernails? (speaking Spanish)


SANCHEZ (voice-over): Volz did have marks on his shoulder at the time of his arrest. This photograph was taken the day after Jimenez's funeral. Volz told police the marks came from carrying her coffin. And, in fact, they do correspond to the correct shoulder.

But the prosecutor tells me she's certain the marks could only have come from fingernails. She also tells me Eric had blood under his fingernails when they arrested him two days after the murder. But she admits they never proved it.

What about witnesses, I ask. Surely somebody in the busy town would have seen Eric if he was there.

(on camera) How's it possible that nobody saw him?

(voice-over) Her answer, no, nobody saw him. Nobody, that is, except this man. He is Nelson Dangla (ph), who testified he saw Eric after the time police believe Doris was murdered.

But he is also tainted. Why? Because he was originally also arrested for Jimenez's murder and, in exchange for testifying against the American, he receives full immunity.

And that is why Eric is so worried as he sits outside the courtroom, waiting for the verdict.

VOLZ: I've been sitting in this room for almost 45 minutes alone. It's a thin wall right here. And that's where the trial is. There's like four police outside my door with machine guns. I'm just about to walk in the courtroom.

SANCHEZ: No one in Eric's family is prepared for what comes next.

This is Volz's mother telling his father the outcome.

ANTHONY: It's a guilty verdict.

SANCHEZ: Eric was found guilty of murdering Doris Jimenez. He was also found guilty of raping her, even though police never concluded that she'd been raped.

He was sentenced to 30 years in prison and, if that seems strange after what you've heard, listen to this. Another man was also convicted of the same crime, by the same prosecutor, and the same judge, even though the prosecution never connected him with Eric Volz.

CNN arranged to interview Volz in prison. In fact we got a Nicaraguan court order allowing us access to him. When we arrived, we weren't allowed to see him.

(on camera) We have a signed document that was given to us by the presiding judge in this case, which is supposed to give us permission to go in and interview Eric Volz. But the director of the prison is telling us that he's not going to let us in.

(speaking Spanish)

We've been here now for the better part of five hours. And still they're saying the document's not good enough and that we're not going to be allowed to talk to Mr. Volz.

(voice-over) We don't know why. Perhaps Nicaraguan authorities decided they don't want this story told worldwide. We'll never know. And until his appeal, his parents can only see him in prison.

ANTHONY: Every meal, I think of him and what he's not eating. Every ice cube, every cold glass of anything, he doesn't have.

SANCHEZ: The U.S. embassy in Nicaragua is following the case. So for now, Eric Volz is in prison for 30 years and, despite a formal trial, no one seems certain justice was served.

Rick Sanchez, CNN, Managua, Nicaragua.


COOPER: Interesting case.

Up next on 360 -- how that pet food -- how the poison pet food ingredient might have ended up in the human food supply. We're "Keeping Them Honest".

Plus, how one family got rid of an unwanted houseguest. Yikes! Here it is, the "Shot of the Day", still ahead on 360.


COOPER: There are new and troubling developments in the story that has shaken pet owners across the country.

The recalls of contaminated pet food began back in March after cats and dogs began dying and thousands more became ill. Since then, more than a half dozen companies have pulled their products off the shelves, but that is not the worst of it. It turns out that pets may not be the only ones at risk.

CNN's Joe Johns tonight, "Keeping Them Honest".


JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Up until now, the pet food recall controversy has been all about animals, thousands of complaints in the U.S. Reports of dead pets as far away as South Africa, recalls with no end in sight of pet food products containing wheat and corn gluten, rice protein.

But all of a sudden this small quarantined hog farm near Sacramento is the site of a potentially significant new development, the place where the chemical contaminant melamine that was found in tainted pet food could have entered the human food supply.

It's still not clear if it was melamine that killed the pets, but some of the hogs on this farm apparently ate feed containing melamine, which has been traced back to two supply companies in China.

The state of California says meat from the suspect hogs that wasn't quarantined is confined to customers in a small area of California. They advise consumers not to eat it but say its health risk to Houston is considered minimal.

Marty Stone, a Washington activist who looks out for the interests of pet owners, wants an investigation.

MARTY STONE, PETDEFENDERS.ORG: We've had some -- the member of Pet Defenders wondering why there's no attorney general investigating this, why there's no state attorney general, why there's no federal attorney general investigating how this stuff got into the food supply for pets and leaked into the food supply for humans.

JOHNS: But wait a minute. There's no evidence of harm to humans here, and there's no evidence anyone's even gotten sick ingesting this stuff.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Most of the studies that have been done were done with rats and mice and some work with the humans, just by accident, and a low level of toxicity. Should not be a problem.

JOHNS: The FDA has said from the very start that it was vigorously exploring whether any of the suspect product could have made its way into the human food supply. But for Marty Stone, the FDA is part of the problem. STONE: The FDA is not investigating nearly as many human food suppliers as they do, and they haven't investigated pet supplies either.

JOHNS: His point: federal budget cuts make it difficult for the FDA to properly do its job. At a hearing who weeks ago the FDA said, it is leaving no stone unturned.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ten FDA district offices have inspected manufacturing and distribution facilities, and five field laboratories have analyzed wheat gluten and pet food samples. More than 400 FDA employee across the country have been involved in the investigation sample analysis, communication, management.

JOHNS: But the investigation isn't the only problem. The Chinese government hasn't exactly had an open-door policy on this investigation.

According to U.S. Senator Richard Durbin, the FDA first contacted the Chinese government as early as April 4, but has not been given permission to send food inspectors into the country.

The second hearing comes on Tuesday, as Congress explores the blurry line between what humans eat and what they feed their pets.

Joe Johns, CNN, Washington.


COOPER: I think you be sure there will be tough questions in tomorrow's Senate hearing. Senator Dick Durbin will be asking some of them. I spoke to him earlier today.


COOPER: Senator, a third company's now recalled pet foods made with this imported Chinese ingredient. You say China is not cooperating with the FDA or efforts to try to inspect their facilities. Why not? What is their problem?

SEN. DICK DURBIN (D), ILLINOIS: I wish we knew the answer. We've written the Chinese ambassador and said why won't you give them a visa to the FDA inspectors so they can go over and take a look at this plant in China? And they haven't done it. For weeks they've refused these visas.

COOPER: You've said that the contamination may have actually been intentional not accidental. Why would anyone intentionally contaminate the pet food supply?

DURBIN: The value of this food product is based on the protein content. Protein is measured chemically by the presence of nitrogen. This chemical melamine, which has no place in a human or pet food product, is inserted into the product to show more nitrogen and make it a more valuable shipment. It could be economic fraud.

COOPER: What's the next move with China?

DURBIN: Well, clearly, they have to give us visas at some point. If they refuse to cooperate with the United States, we can't compromise the health and safety of the people that live here and the pets that they love.

COOPER: What does this mean for even the human food supply? Because there's a lot of humans -- I mean, food that we eat that comes from China or ingredients that come from China.

DURBIN: Well, unfortunately, we're now seeing that some of these food products are making it into livestock, in this case, into hogs that have been slaughtered and now being recalled. So we know that it's getting way too close to the human food chain.

COOPER: You held a special hearing on the recall last week. How do you think the FDA has handled this situation so far? Because I'm getting e-mails every day from people who seem to have no confidence in the FDA.

DURBIN: Well, I can tell you that it's understandable, because the FDA has very limited powers and very limited resources facing an almost unlimited challenge with global imports.

You take a look at what's happened here. They've had over 12,000 complaints about pet food. In a given year, they have 5,000 complaints about everything that they regulate. So this is a big issue. People really care about it.

COOPER: It does seem that there was all along a lot of people saying, "Oh, look. Now it's taken care of. Now it's done." And then we find out a couple of days or a couple of weeks later, you know what? In fact, it's not over, but more pets are dying. There's more of this stuff showing up on shelves. Should people out there have confidence that -- do we have a handle on this at this point?

DURBIN: Now, we don't. As a matter of fact, it turns out the FDA is the weakest link in a very weak chain. We have 12 to 15 different federal agencies responsible for food safety, 30 different laws, 40 to 50 different committees on Capitol Hill.

We have buildings filled with lobbyist down on K Street here in Washington, D.C., who are fighting for no change. This system is awful. It has to change, if the people are going to have confidence in the food that they're buying for themselves and the pets they love.

COOPER: That's a long-term change. Short term what do you tell people who are, you know, looking for food for their pets on the shelves?

DURBIN: Check the FDA web site. They've listed all of the products that have been recalled. That's a starting point. And I think most owners are looking at it.

But we've got to keep vigilant. And we've got to keep on top of this. The investigation is not complete by any means. COOPER: Senator Durbin, appreciate your time. Thanks.

DURBIN: Thank you.


COOPER: Don't miss the day's headlines with the new 360 daily podcast. You don't need an iPod to play it. You can watch it on your computer at or you can go to iTunes store, where it is one of the downloads there.

Next on 360, more of our breaking news, the suicide bombing that has killed at least nine U.S. troops in Iraq. We'll have the latest on that.

Also tonight, his rule was erratic, his behavior eccentric. A look at the life and legacy of former Russian president, Boris Yeltsin.


COOPER: Well, the "Shot of the Day" is coming up, a raccoon literally on the run inside a house. Yikes! How would you like to have that thing running around? You'll see how it all ends in a moment.

But first, Randi Kaye joins us with a 360 bulletin -- Randi.

RANDI KAYE, CNN ANCHOR: Hi there, Anderson, more on our breaking news out of Iraq. The U.S. military says nine U.S. soldiers were killed in a suicide car bombing. Twenty other soldiers and one Iraqi civilian were wounded.

The attack happened near the soldiers' patrol base in Diyala province, northeast of Baghdad. We'll have much more on the story at the top of the hour in a report from CNN's Michael Ware in Baghdad.

Well, if you've ever used the phrase "the best and the brightest," you have author David Halberstam to thank for it. He died this morning in a car crash in California. His book, "The Best and the Brightest" profiled Defense Secretary Robert McNamara and others who led the country deeper into Vietnam and then couldn't get out.

Substitute Rumsfeld for McNamara, the critics say, and Iraq for Vietnam, and you've got "The Best and the Brightest Book 2", but now no one to write it.

David Halberstam was 73.

In Russia, Wednesday will be a national day of mourning honoring former president, Boris Yeltsin. The first democratically elected leader of Russia died today of heart failure. He served as president from 1991 to 1999. Boris Yeltsin was 76.

Back here at home, the government now says the Social Security and Medicare trust funds will last one year longer than estimated. Credit higher tax collection and lower payouts for that.

Medicare will now run dry, they say, in 2019. Social Security will run dry in 2041. So I guess we bought ourselves a little time there, Anderson.

COOPER: I guess so. Very sad news about David Halberstam. He was a wonderful writer.

KAYE: Very.

COOPER: Yes, very sad.

Randi, thanks very much.

Time for the "Shot of the Day", a surprise visitor caught on tape. An Ohio woman woke up yesterday morning and found a raccoon running around her house.

After she called 911, an animal control officer came by. First, the critter kept alluding capture. He scrambled on the TV, dangerously -- yikes! Right past that guy's legs.

The animal control officer finally captured the raccoon. It was returned to the woods, leaving the homeowner very happy. Yikes!

We want you to send us your "Shot" ideas. If you see some amazing video, tell us about it: We'll put some of your best clips on the air.

Up next on 360, sex and salary. The stunning new statistics that shows it still pays more to be a man.

Also ahead, two world class skaters, one horrible accident. Yikes! You might have seen the video on YouTube. Tonight, 360 M.D., Sanjay Gupta, has the rest of the story. It's coming up, the next hour of 360.


COOPER: We begin with breaking news out of Iraq where it's been a very deadly day for Americans. A suicide car bomb has killed at least nine U.S. soldiers. More than 20 other U.S. troops were wounded in that one attack.

It happened today near a patrol base in Diyala province. We don't know the exact location. Diyala province is northeast of Baghdad.

CNN's Michael Ware has just easily returned from an embed with troops there. I spoke to him a short time ago.


MICHAEL WARE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Now, this is a bloody day in Diyala province. This is a province the size of Maryland. It's just north of the capital, Baghdad, because we saw also yesterday another suicide car bomb targeting the provincial council.

This is a provincial council that was essentially suspended, was unable to function for many, many months. And most council meetings they don't get enough members attending to even have a legal quorum.

So this has been yet another awful day in a province that has long been plagued by wretched violence, from al Qaeda, Shia death squads and all sorts of violent groups -- Anderson.

COOPER: Michael, you just came back from an embed in Diyala province. The security situation, how bad is it there? What did you see?

WARE: Well, what's going on at the moment, Anderson, is that this, in many ways, has become the new front line against al Qaeda.

Way back last year, al Qaeda started shifting its operational focus away from the western deserts of Al Anbar province and moved into Diyala. Diyala has been an al Qaeda stronghold almost since the beginning of al Qaeda's presence here three years ago.

Indeed, if you recall, the al Qaeda in Iraq leader, Abu Musab al- Zarqawi, was actually killed in Diyala province. We've seen U.S. forces there, the brigade that is currently there -- about 5,000 troops arrived at the end of last year. They've been there just six months so far.

Now the brigade before them in one full year lost 19 people. If you include these now nine further soldiers, this new brigade has lost 50 in six months. The level of violence in this province is almost double what it was one year ago.

The difference, however, is that one year ago, it was Iraqis being killed, civilians. What's happened is we've seen a shift in the violence targeting coalition forces and Iraqi security forces.

Now the brigade commander up there, the leader of the Gray Wolf Brigade, the 3rd Brigade Combat Team from the 1st Cavalry Division with many other units attached to it, has said that he is aggressively targeting al Qaeda.


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