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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Angle & The Truth; Several Miners Released from Hospital; "Pirate Lake" Murder; New Look at JonBenet Ramsey Murder; "Waiting for Superman"
Aired October 14, 2010 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight, breaking news: we've learned that several of the rescued miners in Chile have been released from the hospital. We have new late information from the hospital where the others are still being checked out, remarkable progress to report.
And remember that miner with the wife and the mistress? We'll have the latest on which woman he has chosen to go home to.
Also tonight: Sharron Angle squaring off against Harry Reid in a fiery Nevada debate. We'll show you the most startling moments, but we'll also focus on why Sharron Angle has claimed two American towns are being taken over by Sharia law. She said it on the campaign trail. We know it's not true. Now she's trying to explain herself.
But does her answer make sense? We're "Keeping Them Honest."
And later: the murder and now mystery on Pirate Lake. First, an American was murdered, then a Mexican law enforcement officer was killed and now there's a full-blown drug turf war. Tonight: a bold new theory of what really happened, how it all might have started with a case of mistaken identity, a Mexican license plate on an American truck.
We're going to go to Chile for the very latest in just a moment, but we begin tonight "Keeping Them Honest" with one of the closest- watched and tightest races this election, Nevada Republican and Tea Party favorite Sharron Angle versus Democratic Senator Harry Reid.
And moments ago, both candidates wrapped up a tense debate. We'll show you have the most interesting exchanges in a second, but, "Keeping Them Honest", we've got to start off with what Sharron Angle and something she has said on the campaign trail that is just completely not true, her allegation that two American towns have been adopting Islamic Sharia law.
She first made the comments that we know of more than two weeks ago, but only yesterday finally got around to backing away from the claim, only sort of, and only after being asked point blank by CNN.
Now, here's an audio clip of what Ms. Angle originally claimed.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
SHARRON ANGLE (R), NEVADA SENATORIAL CANDIDATE: We're talking about a militant terrorist situation, which it's -- I believe isn't a widespread thing. But it is enough that we need to address, and we have been addressing it.
My thoughts are these. First of all, Dearborn, Michigan, and Frankford, Texas are on American soil and under Constitutional law, not Sharia law. And I don't know how that happened in the United States.
But it seems to me that there -- there is something fundamentally wrong with allowing a foreign system of law to even take hold in any municipality or government situation in our states -- in our United States.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
COOPER: That certainly sounds scary.
Of course, we did some checking, and it turns out that Frankford, Texas, is just a church and a graveyard. It doesn't even exist anymore as a municipality. It was absorbed into the city of Dallas in 1975.
As for Dearborn, Michigan well, it's a major Arab-American community, about 30 percent Arab-American, but not all of them are Muslim, and there certainly isn't any Sharia law. We talked to Dearborn Mayor John O'Reilly.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Is there Sharia law in Dearborn, Michigan?
JOHN O'REILLY, MAYOR OF DEARBORN, MICHIGAN: No. There's no Sharia law in Dearborn, Michigan. There's -- in fact, there's hardly any Sharia law in the Middle East. Only about three countries actually still carry that out.
COOPER: Has there been an effort of -- by anyone in Dearborn to -- to get Sharia law instituted?
O'REILLY: Oh, no, no, no. It isn't even talked about in Dearborn.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: All right, so where did Sharron Angle get the idea? And why was she so confident it was true that she had no problem talking about it on the campaign trail? Well, she wouldn't come on the program to tell us, of course. We asked. She declined.
Like many candidates these days, she rarely speaks with anyone who doesn't already agree with her.
But, yesterday, CNN's Jessica Yellin did manage to get a-hold of her.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JESSICA YELLIN, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: What's -- what's your evidence, what's your proof that there's Sharia law in the U.S.?
ANGLE: All I had was just some articles that I read that there were some things that were happening that indicated that there might be something like that going on.
I'm not a -- of course, an expert in what goes on in -- in any municipality, but certainly, I believe in the freedom of religion and that none should be persecuted for their religion.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: All right. So she said she just read some articles, or perhaps maybe it was just one. Here's what she said to a conservative radio host, Lars Larson.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
LARS LARSON, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Now, did you say, though, that Sharia law was in place in Dearborn right now?
ANGLE: I had read that in -- in one place, that they had started using some Sharia law there. That's what I had read.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, that's as specific as she gets.
Sharron Angle, by the way, is essentially tied with Harry Reid in recent polling.
Let's talk about it. Joining us now: former John McCain campaign adviser Nancy Pfotenhauer; Eliot Spitzer, co-host of CNN's "Parker- Spitzer"; and senior political analyst, David Gergen.
David, a lot of people outside the state of Nevada see Sharron Angle making comments like that one which aren't true or -- or divisive comments or controversial ones and don't get why she's tied with Harry Reid. What do the folks outside the state not understand about what's going on in Nevada?
DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: I think we don't understand just how conservative Nevada is and how unpopular Harry Reid is.
He was a dead man walking until Sharron Angle got the nomination. And the fact that she's now tied with him I think is an indication of his weakness. I -- we will have to wait and see how this -- this debate turned out tonight, Anderson, but I don't -- but there's no question that Webster and Calhoun are safe. Their reputations are safe. And nobody has threatened them in that debate tonight. I thought -- I thought -- I thought that Harry Reid had a much better grasp of the legislation out of Washington. He's a master of all that.
But she captures the spirit of the times. And he did look a little old at times. I thought she probably helped herself, but, again, we're outside. And if -- you've got to be in Nevada to really appreciate just how intense the feelings are on both sides there.
COOPER: Eliot, I mean the debate was not exactly -- we expected kind of some sort of fireworks between the two. It -- it -- there really wasn't much of that at all.
ELIOT SPITZER, CO-HOST, "PARKER SPITZER": No, no, no there were very few fireworks until the very end, when she made some sort of vague reference to how he had gotten wealthy when he was in the Senate.
He responded, I thought appropriately, saying, look, don't challenge my integrity. And, of course, there is no basis whatsoever for doing that.
But I think David is right. The caliber of the debate was not going to be memorable. But I think the reason that she is doing well is -- it came out in the debate -- the rate of foreclosures in Nevada and the unemployment rate in Nevada, the highest in the nation. This is a very conservative state, gripped by an economic debacle right now.
And, of course, right now people are blaming Washington, the federal government, rightly or wrongly. And so you understand why she has an appeal to a dissatisfied, angry, anxious public.
I agree with David once again. You know, Harry Reid showed a grasp of the substance, not a -- you know, he would give a great deal to be as powerful a communicator as President Obama, but he just doesn't have that skill set.
COOPER: Nancy, Harry Reid does have a vaunted sort of turning out the vote machine. Do you think -- I mean, he is hoping, clearly, that's going to make a difference on Election Day. Do you think he's going to win?
NANCY PFOTENHAUER, FORMER G.W. BUSH APPOINTEE: I think it's going to be a dead heat right to the finish. It's all going to come down to turnout and to intensity.
Now, I have to say that most of the objective measurements of intensity show it to be more on the side for Republicans or independents who frankly have embraced the Republican label, although they would prefer none of the above in many instances.
So, I -- I do agree with Eliot, in that this is about jobs and the economy. And the problem is that you can't be Senate Majority Leader and distance yourself from the administration. It just doesn't work. And what we have seen in the last two years is 3.2 million jobs lost. And the foreclosure rate is abysmal in Nevada.
So they are looking for a change in direction. And if you're Harry Reid, that's just very difficult --
PFOTENHAUER: -- to position yourself as the author of change.
COOPER: I want to play for our viewers just some of one exchange during the debate tonight. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANGLE: Not at all. I'm glad to give voters the opportunity to see that Harry Reid has voted to give Social Security to illegal aliens. Not only did he vote to give it to them after they have become citizens.
SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), MAJORITY LEADER: Mitch, my opponent didn't answer the question.
Everything she has said in that ad is false. It's not true. I have never voted for tax breaks -- breaks for people who are here that are illegal.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: You know, David, it seems like -- I mean does it seem in this campaign, and not just this campaign, but in this -- this election cycle -- that kind of the truth is getting lost?
I mean it happens in every election cycle.
COOPER: There are campaign ads that things get said don't -- that aren't true, but does it -- maybe just we're calling them on it more, but it feels like candidates on both sides of the political aisle are making claims and -- and slinging mud in a way that -- that maybe we haven't seen before. Do you think that's true?
GERGEN: I -- I think that is true, and particularly because they won't sit down and talk to the press in an open, fair way, and talk to the press across a range of backgrounds.
COOPER: And that's different than -- than we have seen in past years?
GERGEN: Yes, I think it is. I have never seen candidates duck quite so -- you know, so intentionally, and to do it in such a sort of wholehearted, almost boycotting the press as a way to -- to provide information.
And we saw in this tonight, they -- they talk past each other. They want to make their own talking points, but they don't engage in a real -- it's not a real debate.
Again, I thought Harry Reid had this sort of the better grasp, but what's striking about this debate, Anderson, and what's very different from what we've also seen in the past is, we've got one candidate, Harry Reid, arguing the sort of traditional Democratic point of view.
But Sharron Angle is not arguing a traditional Republican view. Richard Viguerie pointed this out to me yesterday, the conservative Richard Viguerie, that Sharron Angle and this Tea Party represent people who want to roll the clock back.
They don't want to accept what's out there now. They want to repeal it. They want to go back to a very different form of government. And it's a very different argument. As I say, I think she's capturing the spirit of the times --
GERGEN: -- or at least a fairly significant portion of the population.
COOPER: Eliot, do voters want to hear facts anymore? Or -- or, I mean, are we so polarized now that it's just about who are you supporting and kind of siding with them?
SPITZER: I think they're voting for a pure ideological perspective, and they're basically saying, neither side is going to tell me the truth. And that's a very sad state of affairs, of course, but I think David was on to something.
We in fact had Richard Viguerie in our show this evening, and he was saying that this in -- in an interchange with him, this has been the fourth chapter, the fourth iteration of a Republican revolution.
And, really, as David just said, the public, those who are supporting this -- and I think it's a rather slim -- slim group, of course -- they are saying we're going to completely undo the foundation pieces of government, whether it's Social Security, the Education Department. Every major building block that has created our society, they want to challenge it and take it back.
And in that context, saying that she's not getting some of the facts right just doesn't seem that important. This is a raw, visceral, emotional response.
COOPER: And, Nancy, I should point out, it's not just --
GERGEN: That's exactly right. I agree -- agree with that.
COOPER: I don't want to sound like just we're bashing Republicans here for not appearing on programs. I have been trying to get Sanford Bishop, a Democrat from Georgia, on the program to talk about Congressional Black Caucus Foundation scholarship money that he's been giving to friends and family, and he's -- he's been running pretty hard from us.
PFOTENHAUER: Well, you know, the bottom line is that I -- I disagree with Eliot on this one, in that I think people want facts. I do think they are not trusting anybody with a label to give it to them.
But it is, I think, very true that independents, particularly, are turned off by the nastiness and the negative campaigning. And what's happened, both at the national level and at the state level, is that you're seeing people embrace a strategy almost of demonizing their opponent.
PFOTENHAUER: And that kills debate. It does not help move the ball forward.
Now, I would think it's not -- I don't think it's fair to characterize one candidate here who we heard debating as speaking in untruths or half-state -- half-truth statements without also mentioning that the majority leader has -- has a long history of, let's at best say, inartful phrases.
So, I mean, we don't have enough time in this program to go through all the inartful phrases that have been uttered by both candidates in this particular race.
COOPER: Fair enough.
Nancy Pfotenhauer, appreciate it.
David Gergen and Eliot Spitzer, thanks very much.
A quick reminder: Don't miss "PARKER/SPITZER" every weeknight 8:00 p.m. Eastern right here on CNN.
Let us know what you think. The live chat is up and running at AC360.com.
When we come back, the breaking news from Chile, where several of the miners have been released from the hospital and some of the rescued miners are speaking out tonight. Also, who will one of them go home with, his wife, or his mistress, who greeted him at the rescue site?
And later: Did a Mexican license plate on David Hartley's truck set off a drug turf war that took his life? That's a new theory. We'll explore it. Murder and mystery on so-called Pirate Lake -- when 360 continues.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: I hope you were with us for that moment last night. We brought that to you live in the 11:00 hour of 360 last night. That was Manuel Gonzalez, the final rescuer out of the mine in Chile, and the first to go into it. Greeted like a hero, of course, coming and going. He spent about 25 hours underground.
Well, tonight, the 33 miners that he helped to rescue are doing remarkably well. The breaking news: several have now been released from the hospital. Doctors say all of them could be out over the weekend.
But take a look at this new video we just got in tonight showing several of the miners being taken care of in the hospital, looking good and in good spirits. You note that one of them is still wearing the glasses, in fact all of -- nearly all of them there still wearing the glasses that they were given as they left the mine. That's in a meeting with Chile's president.
Many also began telling of their long ordeal. One of them, Mario Gomez, the oldest, said he had been -- he had approached a breaking point in the days leading up to the rescue.
The others are speaking out as well tonight. There's also the case of Yani Barrios, the miner who was met when he came out by -- by his mistress, his girlfriend, not by his wife. The question is, who will he end up going home to?
All that in the breaking news; let's go to Gary Tuchman now on the scene -- Gary.
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, all 33 of the miners were mandated to go to the hospital for a thorough check-up.
And the good news is we have confirmed several of them are now out of the hospital, home with their families. We're also told by the hospital many more will be released tomorrow -- no major medical problems whatsoever. One miner has slight pneumonia. A couple of other miners have dental problems. A couple of others have skin problems.
But the great news is no major problems whatsoever. As a matter of fact, the officials tell us the only complaint they have gotten from any of the miners is from Mario Sepulveda. He was the second miner pulled out. And his complaint was, "I don't want to be treated like a celebrity, just like a common man."
We come to you from Camp Hope, adjacent to the mine. Camp Hope is where the family members were living while waiting for their loves ones' return. They are now all gone because of all the excitement, because of all of the success.
And speaking of the success, we want you to listen to the words of one of the miners. We also want you to see this miner. We've got some extraordinary footage from a journalist by the name of Jonathan Franklin. He got this interview with one of the miners, miner number 28 of 33, right after he was rescued.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RICHARD VILLARROEL, RESCUED MINER (through translator): We were all waiting for that. We were all very thin. I lost 12 kilos. I was afraid that I was not going to meet the child that was on the way. It was the thing that most scared me.
I think the worst thing is to pass three, four, five days without food, to know that there might not be any future.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: And, Gary, I noticed that -- and I noted that they're all still wearing those glasses. I guess they'll have to keep those on maybe for -- for -- do we know how long they will have to keep them on?
TUCHMAN: Not sure. Each man will be different, but that's a major problem. They have been in the dark for so long, they need to have those special sunglasses. And doctors will determine how long they have to wear them.
One other thing I want to mention to you, Anderson. When he said 12 kilos, I want to convert that, to give you an idea, if you're not familiar with kilos. That's 27 pounds he lost.
COOPER: Yes, well, especially in those first 17 days, when they really only had, you know, cans of tuna and mackerel and water to sustain them, and they had to ration it out. I think it was about one can every couple of days per person.
What about the -- the guy who was both married, but apparently had a girlfriend? And at one point they were both there at Camp Hope, and then it was the girlfriend who greeted him. What's -- where is he going?
TUCHMAN: Well, Yani Barrios is his name. And, for weeks, it's been widely talked about and openly talked about that he did have a wife and had a girlfriend or a mistress, whatever you want to call it.
So there was active betting here among many people, not just the families, but some of the journalists too, not necessarily using money, but will it be the wife or will it be the mistress greeting him when he came out of the capsule?
And for a lot of us, we thought it would be great if they were both here. But, as it turned out, it was indeed his mistress who was here. The wife decided she didn't want to be here with her.
COOPER: And -- and he's going home to the girlfriend? Do we know?
TUCHMAN: You know, I don't know the answer to that exactly, Anderson. I think that will be in "Soap Opera Digest" next week.
COOPER: To be determined. Yes, they'll have their own reality show, no doubt.
Amazing that they're all doing so well; it's certainly great news.
Gary, again, we appreciate all the reporting. It's been long days and many days for you as well.
Like you, we have been completely taken by the story of the 33 miners and the operation to save them. And there's a lot of details that we're really just learning about what they went through underground. In particular, I'm particularly fascinated by those first 17 days.
Tomorrow night at 10:00, we're devoting the whole hour to it, beginning -- beginning to the end, from the cave-in all the way to the remarkable rescues and the updates on their health conditions. So, that's a special 360, "Countdown to Rescue." Don't miss it tomorrow night at 10:00 p.m. Eastern.
COOPER: "Crime & Punishment" tonight: it began with a reported murder on so-called Pirate Lake, and now it's a mystery, the case with more questions than there are answers.
First and foremost: what happened to and where is David Hartley? As we have been reporting, his wife, Tiffany, claims he was shot and killed while they were jet-skiing on the Mexican side of Falcon Lake two weeks ago. His body hasn't been found. Then, earlier this week, the lead Mexican investigator in the case was found beheaded, presumably by Mexican drug traffickers.
Now comes a theory by a Texas think tank, STRATFOR, that Hartley may have been killed in a case of mistaken identity caught in the ongoing war between drug cartels.
We sent Ed Lavandera to McAllen, Texas to try and sort out the facts.
Ed, what have you found?
ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, according to this latest intelligence report from that think tank based in -- in Austin, they believe -- and this is -- we have spoken with the author of the report, who says they have talked to about six witnesses or six sources in this case.
And we go back to the beginning of the day that they were driving out to the lake in their pickup truck with both -- with two Wave Runners. The Hartleys used to work and live on the -- across the border in the town of Reynosa. They have Mexican license plates on their truck.
The -- according to this report, they believe that spies working for the drug cartel the Zetas had noticed them going toward the lake and became suspicious of what they were doing. Then they alerted their counterparts on the other side of the lake.
And when they approached this one area in particular that is to be -- believed to be heavily guarded and protected by the Zetas organizations, that's when they were confronted.
Tiffany Hartley, I spoke with her about this. She says she doesn't remember seeing anybody spying on them. The first thing she noticed was when they were being attacked.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LAVANDERA: Have you gotten any more answers as to what might have been the reason?
TIFFANY HARTLEY, WIFE OF DAVID HARTLEY: We kind of -- something -- it's just a rumor, but we don't know, that maybe we were spotted at the boat ramp and, you know, maybe because we have Mexico plates on our truck, on David's work truck, that they mistake us for somebody who is a threat. And they, of course, contacted their people and didn't follow us, because we didn't have anybody behind us and we didn't see any boats but they just kind of kept people knowing that -- where we were going.
And having two jet skis, I'm sure that was pretty valuable for them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: So, Ed, what are -- what are local investigators telling you about this -- this idea, this report?
LAVANDERA: Well, look. The sheriff that we spoke with in Zapata, which is the area -- Zapata County, which is where Falcon Lake is, he says, "Look, I can't corroborate this. I don't have any proof that this is indeed what happened, but it seems to kind of go along with other cases that he's heard of in the past."
So he doesn't think it's farfetched. And you take into account also the beheading of the lead -- the lead investigator, and all of this is sending a chilling effect through the investigative ranks on the other side of the border.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LAVANDERA: What do you make of what's happened in the last 24 hours, the news that the investigator's head being decapitated, delivered to an army office across the border, what do you make of this?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I make that as a message to Mexico to back off from the search, to stop, back off with the investigation. There is really what it means, every time when you got to Mexico, I think in a case like this, I also understand that they do their own justice to their own people that caused this and go from there.
(END VIDEO CLIP) COOPER: And when the lead investigator in the case in Mexico gets beheaded, I can't imagine what that does to the actual investigation on the Mexico side of the border. Do Mexican authorities at this point, I mean, have any suspects?
LAVANDERA: Well, you know it's interesting. Listen to what the sheriff said there in the end about how they take matters into their own hands.
According to this Stratfor report, this was not an authorized attack or murder, if you will, by the seniors of the Zeta organization. So essentially, the men who carried this out, if this is indeed what happened, will have to face the consequences for that. The last thing these organizations want is this kind of publicity, believe it or not.
And essentially what this -- the -- the writers of this report say, don't be surprised in the next couple of days, the people responsible for murdering David Hartley turn up dead themselves.
COOPER: All right, Ed Lavandera, stay safe.
Now let's have more -- let's talk more about this report, though, the idea that David Hartley may have got caught in the middle of the ongoing war between violent drug cartels.
Joining me now is Fred Burton, Stratfor's vice president of counterterrorism and corporate security. He's also the author of "Ghosts: Confessions of a Counterterrorism Agent."
So this series of events is just surreal. It's like something out of a novel. Unfortunately, it's all too real. You've got this man, David Hartley, disappears. His wife says he's been shot on the jet ski. Then the lead investigator gets killed. Is there a real escalation in cartel activity in this area, or is this just kind of the norm?
FRED BURTON, STRATFOR, VICE PRESIDENT OF COUNTERTERRORISM AND CORPORATE SECURITY: Anderson, it's just more of the same for Mexico, and I think that this is an issue that the Mexicans really don't understand, either. Meaning the media interest surrounding this case is a bit of a surprise to them, as well.
COOPER: Right. We're paying attention because an American was killed, and in an unusual way, whereas thousands of Mexicans have been caught up in this drug war and killed every single year.
BURTON: Exactly. And in essence, though, the problems back on the local sheriffs and the state police agencies and the Texas Rangers that are staring down the barrel of the gun with limited federal resources at times to police this area.
COOPER: How realistic is it that this drug gang, the Zetas -- first of all, who are the Zetas? I mean, my understanding is that they used to be members of paramilitary forces or Special Forces or law enforcement in Mexico and basically, became a drug cartel of their own.
BURTON: They were actually hired by the Gulf cartel to be the enforcers, the bodyguards, the protectors of the Gulf. Anderson, they broke off on their own. They're a standalone cartel now. They're extraordinarily violent. Their -- their signature is the chopping off of the heads. They have a tremendous reputation on the street as being an organization that you don't mess with.
And I think that the warlord that controls this area, Miguel Trevino, he's going to find the killers and probably take care of them, and we'll never see them again.
COOPER: Why do you say that? Because this was -- you believe this was not a sanctioned killing?
BURTON: It's our understanding this was not a sanctioned killing, which raises concern within the organization, because this kind of notoriety is bad for business. And this is a disruption to their supply chain, and they exist to make money.
COOPER: These -- David Hartley was killed, apparently, according to the wife's story, on the Mexican side of the border, miles into Mexico on the lake. How likely, though, is it that they had spies on the American side watching them go in? Is that -- is that common?
BURTON: It's very common, Anderson. In all the little border towns and little areas there, they have spotters with handheld Motorola radios. They're using message texts and cell phones. They're on the lookout for individuals that may not belong: spies, informants, undercover DEA agents and so forth.
COOPER: How concerned do you think -- are you surprised that more violence hasn't poured across the border from Mexico, given -- I mean, you know, there's a war zone going on in Mexico, right across the border.
BURTON: Well, I know we have tremendous intelligence gaps on just the scope of violence across the border. There's some troubling trends with grenades coming across from time to time. We've seen the escalation of the improvised explosive devices detonated along the border. Local law enforcement have really got their hands full in trying to deal with this problem.
COOPER: Fred Burton, we're going to continue following this case. Appreciate your ideas tonight. Thank you.
Still ahead, a cold case we cannot seem to forget, the murder of JonBenet Ramsey. Police now say they want to talk to JonBenet's older brother, Burke. You may remember he was just 9 years old at the time of the crime. Said he was asleep during the whole thing. He's 23 now.
The question is, why do they want to talk to him now, and will he be willing to meet with the police after all that family has been through? You can find out tonight.
COOPER: Another "Crime & Punishment" report tonight, a cold case that haunts everyone, 14 years later is now getting new attention.
JonBenet Ramsey, hard to believe, but she would be 20 years old today, had she lived. The child beauty pageant queen remains frozen in time, the blond, smiling 6-year-old. Her brutal murder in her family's home the day after Christmas, 1996, still unsolved.
JonBenet's older brother, Burke, long ago cleared of the crime. He's been approached by the police to come in and talk to them. The question is why and will he do it?
Here's Tom Foreman.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In the enduring mystery of JonBenet's murder, Burke Ramsey was the 9-year-old brother who, by all accounts, slept soundly in his room that Christmas of 1996 while his sister's skull was fractured and she was strangled nearby.
Now he's 23, and though police investigators aren't talking, a Ramsey family attorney says officers have invited Burke to discuss the case again.
So far he's declined this latest request, and good for him, say some legal analysts in the Colorado foothills. He's answered all the questions many times before.
Larry Pozner is a Denver defense attorney not connected to the case.
LARRY POZNER, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Burke Ramsey has been completely cleared. And to way back at the beginning of this case when tabloids said otherwise, they got sued, and I believe they settled, paying large amounts of money. Burke Ramsey has nothing to do with this case.
FOREMAN: The murder of JonBenet was little more than a tragic local news story that holiday season until her parents appeared on CNN.
PATSY RAMSEY, JONBENET'S MOTHER: There is a killer on the loose. I don't know who it is. I don't know if it's a he or a she, but if I were a resident of Boulder, I would tell my friends to keep --
JOHN RAMSEY, JONBENET'S FATHER: It's OK.
P. RAMSEY: Keep your babies close to you. There's someone out there.
FOREMAN: Patsy and John Ramsey's comments turned the story into a sensation, fed by those pageant videos and a puzzle. How could a 6- year-old girl be killed in a quiet neighborhood and no one see or hear a thing? As the parents pushed for answers, early evidence seemed to point their way. There was no sign of forced entry, no footprints in the snow. The rope used to choke JonBenet was tightened with a paint brush from her mother's hobby kit. An alleged ransom note was written on a pad of paper from inside the house. And some investigators thought the handwriting looked like Patsy's. And the body was found in a little-used basement room the police didn't even notice at first.
Investigative reporter Julie Hayden says all that had people asking, could a stranger be responsible?
JULIE HAYDEN, FOX 31 NEWS, KDVR: It's sort of like a puzzle. It's just how do you put all those pieces together? Was it an intruder? Wasn't it an intruder? If it was an intruder, how on earth did this happen?
But on the other hand, you have was it a family member? Well, how could that happen? How could somebody do that to their own child? You know, but it's got to be one or the other. You know, somebody killed JonBenet.
FOREMAN: The Ramseys hired lawyers, a publicist, and soon their relations with investigators were noticeably strained.
POZNER: The Boulder police engaged in a crime scene search and preservation that was worse than amateurish. It borders on criminal.
FOREMAN: Police have always defended their work, but despite all the scrutiny, all the hours of investigation, nothing. Each possible break in the case, each supposed suspect over the years, has proven worthless or a fraud.
Just two years ago, the district attorney said new DNA testing methods had cleared all family members of suspicion.
J. RAMSEY: We're certainly grateful for the acknowledgment that we are innocent, this was an intruder, which of course, we've always maintained.
FOREMAN: So does JonBenet's brother, Burke, have some memory locked away that could unlock the case? Attorney Scott Robinson, who's also followed the story closely, says not likely.
SCOTT ROBINSON, DENVER DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Even if Burke were to have some miraculous memory that could lead to the arrest of a suspect, that information would be so dated and so questionable that most criminal defense attorneys would have a heyday with it at trial.
It's very problematic to be using information that would be so stale from an individual who did not remember it before. The colder the case gets, the colder the trail gets.
FOREMAN: The main figures are almost all gone, to other jobs, other cities. Some, including Patsy Ramsey, have died, leaving so many questions and one terrible fact. A 6-year-old girl was killed, and no one has ever spent even a day in jail for her murder.
COOPER: Tom Foreman joins me, along with senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin. Tom, you've been following this case for years and years and years. I mean, do you remember anything about Burke back then when he was younger? He was just 9 years old when this crime took place.
FOREMAN: I remember a lot about him, Anderson. I know he attracted a lot of attention, because he was in the house. He was the younger brother; he was nearby. A lot of people paid attention, and there was pretty overwhelming evidence from the beginning that he had nothing to do with this.
I even remember an appearance by the parents at their local church where they were surrounded by church members. There were people everywhere. And I remember Burke and a friend of his sort of running around through the crowd and seemingly not even being paid attention to by his parents for a while there, and that struck me as odd in a couple ways.
One, because I thought, look, if he had anything to do with this crime and his parents knew it, there's no way they'd let him run around like that. Secondly, if he knew anything about the crime, they wouldn't let him run around like that. That was one of the things that I saw firsthand. But also, as I said, the evidence was overwhelmingly said over and over again, he slept through this whole thing.
COOPER: Why do you think interest, though, have turned to him now? Do you think police are just kind of clutching at straws?
FOREMAN: There are two theories here. One is that the police have always, always, always been hurt by that kind of criticism, like Larry Pozner had there, that they're desperate to somehow, some day prove that they knew what was going on.
The other theory, which I tend to go with, is it's just his age. People have waited for ages to say, "Look, let's wait until he's through his teens. Wait until he's through with college, when he's a real adult where he would totally be free to say something if he wants to." I think that's what they're looking for.
COOPER: Right. It's understandable why he wouldn't want to, though, I mean, given all that his family has been through.
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Absolutely. The paradox of the current situation is you can sort of understand both sides' perspective. I mean, it is frustrating to the police, as it should be. To solve a crime that should have an answer. There are so many clues. There's such a limited universe of suspects.
COOPER: So many contradictory clues. I mean, it just -- that's what's so endlessly fascinating about this. TOOBIN: -- fascinating about the case. But -- so you can see why they'd want to talk to Burke, just because he's one of the handful of people who might have had some firsthand knowledge of what went on in the house.
But on the other hand, you can certainly understand Burke's perspective, which is, "Go to hell. I've cooperated. I've done my best. My family's cooperated. This has been nothing but pain for us. I'm not going to tell you anything new that I couldn't have told you five, ten, 15 years ago." And, you know, I can certainly understand his perspective, as well.
COOPER: Tom, what's the essential evidence that really stands out to you that's most sort of odd and contradictory and hard to kind of wrap one's mind around, what is it for you?
FOREMAN: For me? I've always said to people that the central problem of the evidence in this case is that there -- as I've cited before, there's a whole bunch of evidence here that points to the family. There is not, however, the definitive end evidence to say, when and where and why and how did this happen, if they did it?
The flip side is, you have to clear a lot of hurdles to get through this theory that some kind of outsider came in and did it, and that's the problem on that side.
So as Jeffrey just said there, you know, you find yourself looking at this and looking at it and looking at it, and saying, "I don't know." That's been the problem from the beginning. The investigators closest to it have told me this for 14 years. They've said, "When it gets down to the final event, we just don't have the final proof."
COOPER: And short -- short of a confession, it seems like it would be very hard for some sort of new evidence to suddenly pop up.
TOOBIN: That's true, with one possible exception. The technology has changed and improved. DNA evidence, which seemed to exonerate -- there does appear to be -- and Tom can fill this in, that there was DNA evidence at the crime scene that was not a family member, that did support an intruder theory.
But there have been refinements in DNA evidence, in getting DNA off of things that we didn't -- we weren't able to do that. So it is possible. One thing that might have triggered a change in the police tactics is some new scientific evidence --
COOPER: Tom, do you think that's possible?
FOREMAN: Well, I don't think it is, actually. The reason I don't think it is, is because from the beginning one of the problems here was that the DNA was always, always, always very small. We're not talking about a splash of blood or something else that you can really measure. This was always very, very small. And I think the problem -- Jeffrey, you can tell me if this is true or not -- I think the problem is when it's that small, there's always going to be the alternative answer that says, "Yes, it's such a small amount. Maybe it came from the guy who worked at the dry cleaners. Or maybe it came from somebody who worked, you know, on the lawn -- on the washing machine at home." And after all these years, I don't think technology's going to solve this.
COOPER: It's fascinating. Tom --
TOOBIN: Beats the hell out of me.
COOPER: Jeff Toobin, appreciate it.
Up next, "Waiting for Superman", the new documentary has a lot of people talking about education in this country. You're going to hear now from the producers of the movie who are accused of being anti- teacher in tonight's "Perry's Principles" report.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVIS GUGGENHEIM, PRODUCER, "WAITING FOR SUPERMAN": It shouldn't be that you have to win. Whether it's a public lottery or not shouldn't be you have to win a chance at a great school.
COOPER: "Waiting for Superman" is a documentary about education in America and it's certainly not without its controversy. The film follows five kids and their parents on their quest to get a quality education in 21st century America.
On the face of it, it sounds like it shouldn't be a challenge, but in fact, for many families across the country it is. In tonight's "Perry's Principles" report, education contributor Steve Perry talks with the documentary's producers David Guggenheim and Leslie Chilcott.
STEVE PERRY, CNN EDUCATION CONTRIBUTOR: you said something in a number of interviews that I think a lot of people experience but few ever acknowledge. You were driving by a school, and then another school, and then another school until you got to your children's private school. Tell me what that -- what happened inside you that made you think, there's something to this story.
GUGGENHEIM: I'd originally said no, when the participant media asked us to do the movie about public education. I'd done a movie ten years ago and I said, "No it's just too complicated." Like I don't know how you tell that story.
And the next morning I'm putting my kids in the minivan, you know, with the backpacks and going to school. And I'm a visual person. I go off impressions. And I'm driving. Out of the corner of my eye, I go, that's my neighborhood school. That's where the kids in my neighborhood go.
It was like, is it enough that my kids are doing ok? And what about other people's children? And I said that's the angle in.
PERRY: There's a myth out there. I've run a public school.
PERRY: Eighty-five percent of the children in my school are black and Latino, 70 percent are poor. And you punctured a myth that parents from those communities don't care.
PERRY: tell me about what's real about parents in the communities that you were in, and what's a myth?
LESLEY CHILCOTT, PRODUCER, "WAITING FOR SUPERMAN": When we were looking for these families to follow because we follow five families that are doing everything they can to get into a good school. We would go to parent info night all across the country and we did not find a single parent that didn't care.
Some didn't really know how to advocate for their kids, but they showed. They were filling out applications. They know it's the one thing that they could do right for their kids or for their future, rather, would be to get them into this great school.
PERRY: One of the points that you make is about the impact that a teacher has on students' performance. We often hear the union talk about how important teachers are. Yet they won't let people like me, or principals, get access to the teachers that we want. It was said by at least one member of one union, or one president of one union, that this is anti-teacher. Is it?
GUGGENHEIM: No. It really isn't. And we -- in our movie we talk -- Anthony's first -- the first classroom in this is in a district school. And we say what a great teacher this year. Anthony showed us success. That was a district union teacher.
Leslie and I never wanted the discussion -- we thought it might happen, that the discussion gets pro this and anti- that. The only thing I thought we were ever pro is the kids. Anthony wants to make his grandmother proud. I want my kids to have better than I had.
PERRY: Stop right there. That was a powerful point in the film.
PERRY: When you asked him, you're already thinking about your kids?
PERRY: I wondered what you were thinking when you heard him say that. GUGGENHEIM: I couldn't believe it. I couldn't believe it. This -- the self-awareness of these kids.
PERRY: He's a little kid.
GUGGENHEIM: He's a little boy, but he sees, he lost his dad to drugs.
PERRY: I know.
GUGGENHEIM: His grandmother says he never met his mom. And this kid has a self-awareness, like something is not quite right. But he sees a school that offers him a chance. And he wants to go to that school. And it shouldn't be that you have to win, whether it's a public lottery or not, shouldn't be that you have to win a chance at a great school.
PERRY: This movie is more than a movie.
CHILCOTT: Because it's a movie, because it's so emotional, and when you see these five kids, you're like, look at what we have done. Look how we -- what we have done to the system and how we have this crisis. So it's a movie first, and then now it has become a movement.
COOPER: So what role do you think media has in impacting education?
PERRY: in this case, when I watched "Waiting for Superman" I felt I was watching a Rodney King video. Because finally -- I'd known that this has happened but finally somebody caught it on tape. What the media can do is they can both predict and in some places set the standard for what is acceptable. And even in education, even in education, the media can play a very meaningful role. Because we are all watching.
COOPER: Steve Perry, thanks.
PERRY: Thank you.
COOPER: We'll be right back.
COOPER: Hey, that's it for 360. Thanks for watching.
"LARRY KING" starts right now.
I'll see you tomorrow night.