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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Suspected Atlanta School Gunman in Custody; Interview With Glenn Greenwald
Aired August 20, 2013 - 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: Good evening, everyone. It's 10:00 here on the East Coast.
And, tonight, the reporter who made NSA leaker Edward Snowden a household name says he's facing retaliation by government forces targeting his spouse. My exclusive interview with Glenn Greenwald and David Miranda, recently freed after hours of interrogation at the London Airport.
Later tonight, we're on the fire lines where the tide may be turning, but it is a race against weather conditions that could breathe new life into the inferno.
Also tonight, how a convicted baby killer who is suspected in the deaths of dozens of other kids might soon walk free and the mother who is determined to see that she doesn't.
We begin though with that 360 exclusive involving alleged misuse of government power, not to investigate to prosecute potential acts of terror, but to intimidate and persecute individuals, like this man, who you see here at the airport in Rio de Janeiro, David Miranda, and his spouse, journalist Glenn Greenwald.
Tonight, they're speaking out for the first time since Miranda's detention at London's Heathrow Airport on his way home to Brazil. Greenwald, you will remember, writes for Britain's "Guardian" newspaper and has been NSA leaker Edward Snowden's conduit to the world.
Sunday, Miranda was heading home from Berlin having met with a documentary filmmaker named Laura Poitras who has been working with Greenwald on NSA stories. While he was changing planes in London, British authorities detained David Miranda and questioned him for nearly nine hours under Britain's anti-terrorism law.
As you will hear though only on 360, Miranda claims they did not ask him a single question about terrorism. They did, however, threaten him with jail time and confiscate his laptop and memory sticks and before letting him go just minutes before the law says they would have to justify their actions in court.
Just a short time ago for the first time since the incident, I spoke with David Miranda and Glenn Greenwald.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) COOPER: David, let's just start with -- there has been a lot of misreporting on this. So, if you can, just take us through what happened. You were on a plane and there was an announcement that everyone had to show their passports and then what happened?
DAVID MIRANDA, INTERROGATED AT AIRPORT: Well, I walk out, and there was two officers just waiting by the door above the plane, and they were just like checking people.
They pick up my passport and they looked at my name and looked at my face and just ask me, sir, can you accompany me? And I went with them. And we went to this room, and there was four chairs in there and a table, and they start to ask me questions.
The moment that I got there, they told me that I was under this law, because I asked why I was being held. And they said it was the law that -- in 2000. And I asked, what was my rights? And what do I have to do? They say that I have to answer every questions and if I didn't cooperate, then I can go to jail.
COOPER: What kinds of things were they asking and saying to you, David?
MIRANDA: Well, they ask me all kinds of questions, and they ask me about my relationship with Glenn.
They ask about my relationship with Laura and what I was doing on my trip to Germany and what I was carrying, everything.
COOPER: And, David, British authorities say that they detained under -- it's called schedule seven of the U.K. Terrorism Act, which allows them to question someone to determine if they are or have been -- and I quote -- "concerned of the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism."
Did they actually ask you anything about terrorism?
MIRANDA: No, they didn't ask me anything about terrorism, not one question about it.
And I think it's really weird, because I was in there for, like, eight hours without talking to anybody outside, and like they are just like keeping me. I have to ask them, do I have to answer this? They are just telling me like if you don't answer this, you going to go to jail. You know that that's a big thing because when they say I was in this under this law, they say terrorist, you know what U.K. and United States do. They have all the powers in the world to do anything they want with this, because they I have been following Glenn and his career for the past eight years.
And I have seen many stories that people pick up in different countries, getting to this -- and just staying in prison and they vanish. Nobody has seen them. So, in that moment, I was really afraid what would happen to me.
COOPER: Sure. MIRANDA: And you understand that I was for eight hours without talking to anybody on the outside of the world. I didn't know what is happening, and they keep threatening about me going to the jail with that law.
COOPER: Glenn, you got a call from some British official who wouldn't give you his name, just his identification number. What did that person say was happening with David?
GLENN GREENWALD, "THE GUARDIAN": The very first thing that he said to me was that he was detained under the Terrorism Act of 2000, which is an obviously terrorizing thing to hear about the person you love most in the world and with whom you share your life.
And I then asked how long he had been detained. He said he had been detained by that point already three hours, which made me know it was much more than a routine secondary screening in immigration. I asked whether I could speak with him or have a lawyer from "The Guardian" sent in and they said you cannot speak with him and he does not have the right to have a lawyer present with him.
I asked them what their intentions were as far as how long he would be held and they said they had no idea and that was all they would tell me.
COOPER: David, I know you had said they took a laptop, memory sticks, an external hard drive, your cell phone and more. Do you know what were stored on those devices? Was there classified material?
MIRANDA: I don't know that. I was just taking the files, those materials back to Glenn.
I mean, you know, Glenn been working with a lot of stories along the years. I didn't quite follow everything that he writes every day. I can't follow him because I have to have a life. And, I mean, I can't know everything that he's been working with.
COOPER: So David had visited this filmmaker that you're -- your reporting partner on the NSA stories, Laura Poitras, in Berlin.
COOPER: I read "The Guardian" had paid for David's flights. Glenn, was he carrying classified material with him?
GREENWALD: Well, I'm not going to talk about what he was carrying because that's our work product as journalists. Remember, both Laura and I are working with "The Guardian" as journalists.
What I would say is every single newsroom in the United States, every single major news organization in the world has classified information. Reporting on what governments do in the secret is what journalism is about. So if you want to support the idea that states can just go and confiscate from journalists classified information, you should be demanding that your government can go physically into newsrooms and seize whatever classified information is there. All of the best reporting over the last 40 years involves journalists having classified information, the Pentagon Papers, the Bush torture sites, CIA black sites, the illegal warrantless eavesdropping program. That's what investigative journalism is. And if you want to start criminalizing that, it means that you're asking as a citizen to be kept ignorant and to allow people in power to conceal what they're doing behind a wall of secrecy and to have no accountability or transparency.
Journalism is not a crime and it's not terrorism.
COOPER: I would also imagine that any information David might have had was likely duplicated, backed up someplace else.
So confiscating it, it's not like that would make it simply disappear, which then I guess leads to your argument that this was to intimidate you and send a message to others.
GREENWALD: What they did is ludicrous.
First of all, of course, we have multiple copies of every single thing that we're working on. Nobody would ever travel with only one copy of anything. Even if you just lose it or it's stolen, that would be inane. Of course, we have multiple copies around the world in different places.
Taking it is no way accomplishing anything. Secondly, every single thing that both David and I carry, even personal items and things for his school are protected by very advanced and heavy forms of encryption which they can't access. So taking it doesn't enable them to know what is in there, either. It is not going to stop our reporting and it doesn't do them any good.
All it did, as I said this week, is give them a huge black eye in the world and make them look thuggish and authoritarian interfering in the journalism process, creating international incidents with the government of Brazil which is indignant over what was being done for no benefit at all to themselves, which is why I said I truly believe they will come to have regret what they have done because, aside from being oppressive and dangerous, it's also quite incompetent and really quite dumb.
COOPER: We will have more of our 360 exclusive interview next, including claims that David Miranda was detained on orders from Washington.
COOPER: The U.S., Glenn, has said they got a heads-up that David might be detained, but they have said, you know, they are not the ones who were behind it, that this was a law enforcement matter in the U.K. Do you buy that?
(END VIDEOTAPE) COOPER: His answer to that question next.
Let us know what you think. Follow me on Twitter right now @AndersonCooper.
Later tonight, the moments of terror, as an AK-47-toting gunman shows up at an Atlanta area elementary school and how everyone made it out alive.
COOPER: More now of my exclusive interview with reporter Glenn Greenwald and his spouse, David Miranda, who was detained and questioned for nearly nine hours under Britain's anti-terrorism laws.
Greenwald claims the real purpose was to intimidate him and other journalists, also in light of his stories on the National Security Agency to retaliate. The question is, was the United States involved?
Here's what Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest said when asked that question.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOSH EARNEST, WHITE HOUSE DEPUTY PRESS SECRETARY: There was a heads-up that was provided by the British government. So, again, this is something that we had an indication was likely to occur. But it's not something that we requested. And it's something that was done specifically by the British law enforcement officials there.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: So, officially, a heads-up for Britain but not a request from America. I asked Glenn Greenwald whether he buys that. Here's what he told me.
GREENWALD: I don't have evidence that the U.S. government ordered it, but I'm very disturbed that my own government was aware of this foreign country's intent to detain my partner and did nothing to discourage it or to protect the right of free press guaranteed in the First Amendment of the Constitution, or did anything else to protect the rights that we all have as human beings and that I have as an American and as a journalist.
So whether the idea originated with the U.K. or with the U.S., clearly the U.S. government was perfectly happy to see this happen.
COOPER: David, when you stepped off the plane finally and when you got back to Brazil, what was that like? What was that feeling?
MIRANDA: I was relieved. I was in my country.
I knew I was going to be protecting him because I was in my country. And I know that people here would be caring about the situation and I was going to see my husband and we would be together and I know he was going to take care of this whole situation.
COOPER: Glenn, I saw a quote from you saying you would be "more aggressive, not less" in reporting on England. Some headlines seem to indicate you were going to be acting out of revenge. Is that accurate?
GREENWALD: It's completely inaccurate, Anderson.
I was asked whether or not the detention of David would deter my reporting and what I thought the outcome would be for the U.K. government. What I said was that if they think they're going to deter me in any way from this threatening behavior, they're deluded. It's going to have the opposite fact on me.
It will embolden me, and the reason it will embolden me is because when I see governments abuse their power, as the U.K. government did, I realize that they need even more transparency and more accountability and it makes me want to work harder and it makes me want to faster to inform the world about what it is that they're doing. When I said I thought they would come to regret it, it wasn't because I was going to publish out of vengeance.
It was because I knew what they had done was extremely counterproductive to their own interests.
COOPER: As far as legal action goes, your lawyer seems to be indicating you're planning something. Can you say what?
The lawyers in the U.K. on behalf of David have filed a lawsuit and what they're essentially seeking right now is a declaration from the British court that what the British authorities did is illegal, because the only thing they're allowed to detain and question people over is investigations relating to terrorism, and they had nothing to do with terrorism.
They went well beyond the scope of the law and, secondly, to order them to return all the items they stole from David and to order that they are barred from using them in any way or sharing them with anybody else.
COOPER: Finally, Glenn, just on another topic, since Edward Snowden has been granted asylum in Russia, can you tell us anything about his life there, how he's doing?
GREENWALD: He's doing great. What he spends most of his time doing honestly, Anderson, is following the incredibly productive debate that has been triggered all around the world over the dangers of surveillance and the value of Internet privacy and freedom that he hoped to trigger.
I don't know if he necessarily loves Russia, that would be the first choice that he would pick to live in, but he certainly prefers it to the next three decades in a supermax prison in the United States. So I think he's happy to be there given his options. COOPER: Glenn Greenwald, David Miranda, thank you guys for talking. Appreciate it.
GREENWALD: Thanks, Anderson.
MIRANDA: Thank you.
COOPER: Let's dig deeper now with senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin and Jesselyn Radack of the Government Accountability Project. She's a former whistle-blower in connection with the investigation of the so-called American Taliban John Walker Lindh and now represents people doing what she once did.
Jeff, let me start with you. Do you believe the British government was justified in detaining David Miranda for some nine hours?
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: I sure do.
Let's be clear about what Mr. Miranda's role was here. I don't want to be unkind, but he was a mule. He was given something -- he didn't know what it was -- from one person to pass to another at the other end of an airport.
Our prisons are full of drug mules. Glenn's view is, as long as one of the two people on either end of that transaction was a journalist, he can take anything he wants. He could take the nuclear launch codes, he could take the names of our undercover agents.
COOPER: His flight was paid for by "The Guardian" though so wasn't in effect he acting in a journalistic capacity?
TOOBIN: No. I don't think that matters a bit, who pays for your ticket.
He's on a plane with stuff that is highly classified, anything he wants. It turns out it wasn't the names of our undercover agents. It was the extremely classified, presumably, NSA material. That is not the law.
COOPER: But he's being detained under a British U.K. Terrorism Act, which is only supposed to be used to detect and find people who are connected to terrorists.
There's no indication that David Miranda, they knew who he was. They knew he's not connected to some terrorist group.
TOOBIN: Great Britain has its own laws that are similar to ours, but that are somewhat different.
Their terrorism law takes it one step farther. They say it's not just the material -- this person is a terrorist, but can be used by terrorists. Frankly, if terrorists know how we surveil their cell phone calls, how we surveil their attacks, they could be useful to terrorists.
COOPER: Well, couldn't any information published by a journalist be used by terrorists in some way?
COOPER: And can't that excuse be used to then detain journalists?
TOOBIN: Not at all. Not classified information of this -- it would have to be classified information of this kind.
COOPER: Jesselyn, what do you think?
JESSELYN RADACK, GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABILITY PROJECT: I think that argument is completely vacuous.
First of all, as Mr. Toobin says, he is presuming. He in fact he has no idea what was on those thumb drives and other documents and electronics that were seized. Nobody does.
But no matter what was on there, it obviously had to do with journalism. Laura Poitras is a journalist and a documentarian. Glenn Greenwald is a journalist. And David was serving as an in-between, not as a drug mule.
I have to wonder why the U.S. government and our allies are so desperate to keep our illegality secret and our law breaking secret that they're willing to use a terrorism law to try to stop a journalist.
COOPER: But, Jesselyn, just to be devil's advocate here, if the British government thought there were stolen documents that were being transported, why don't they have the right to stop this person and check?
RADACK: The British government, if they thought they had stolen documents, could go through the criminal process, rather than using an anti-terrorism law, which has nothing to do with stolen documents.
There's been no evidence of that whatsoever put forth even by the British government itself that they thought these were stolen documents.
TOOBIN: Mr. Miranda was lucky that they used the terrorism law, because he wasn't delayed. He wasn't even stopped overnight.
I'm sure it was inconvenient to be stopped for nine hours at the airport. But when it happens to you on JetBlue, they don't even offer you a lawyer. So I just don't think he was sent to the gulag. He was delayed for a while and they took what appears to be stolen classified information. I think Mr. Miranda actually did pretty well considering what he was carrying.
RADACK: I have to interject. I hope the next time Mr. Toobin is stopped for nine hours and detained with no due process on an anti-terrorism law that he is equally as generous with his assessment. But, clearly, being detained on a terrorist law, an anti-terrorism law, having spent time on a no- fly list myself, is pure government retaliation against a whistle- blower and it's the criminalization of journalism and whistle-blowing that had been going on and frankly the United States has been behaving in a completely unhinged, desperate and rather foolish way in dealing with this.
COOPER: Jesselyn, you talk about due process. Under British law, though, there is no right to stay silent in this case.
There is no -- under this U.K. law, there is no right to have an attorney present. They actually offered him one of their attorneys, and he declined. But under this law, the person being questioned has no right to have counsel there.
RADACK: I'm not arguing that.
I'm arguing that, under this law, to be held under schedule seven of this particular law, you have to have a reasonable nexus to terrorism. And here there has been absolutely none asserted, unless someone is trying to make the government -- the argument that journalism is the new terrorism.
COOPER: What about that, Jeff? That is Glenn Greenwald's argument, that basically it's linking journalism, conducting journalism to acts of terror.
TOOBIN: The world journalism is not magical immunity sauce that you can put on anything...
COOPER: Magical immunity sauce?
TOOBIN: That you can put on anything and eliminate any sort of liability.
You know what? If he had the nuclear launch codes in there, they can take that. If he had the names of undercover operatives, they can take that. Our government and the British government regards the method of surveillance as just as serious a security breach.
Now, that's the law. I'm sorry Glenn thinks that's a bad thing, but that's the law. If you go through an airport carrying that stuff, you take your chances.
COOPER: Jeff, what do you think of the fact that British authorities showed up at the offices of "The Guardian" demanding that they destroy two hard drives that had information I guess relating to Snowden, classified information?
TOOBIN: Grotesque and appalling.
COOPER: So you draw the -- you think that was too far?
TOOBIN: Huge difference. Huge difference.
When we show up at the border somewhere, we know we're going to have our stuff searched. We know there are certain rules.
COOPER: But he didn't go through customs, David Miranda. He was in transit.
TOOBIN: Well, you take your chances.
But inside a country that believes in free press, that they would destroy a computer, imagine here at CNN authorities walking in and demanding that they destroy our computers. I think it was horrific. I think it was terrible. And I think it's important to draw distinctions between different kind of government activity.
COOPER: Jesselyn, do you agree with that, that that was too far certainly?
RADACK: No. I think that's a distinction without a difference.
By detaining him in a transit zone on a terrorism law, when there was no suspicion whatsoever even asserted by the United Kingdom was purely a pretextual contention under the very inflammatory label of terrorism.
The way I understood the incident at "The Guardian" to unfold is that the U.K. wanted copies of the information and instead "The Guardian" wisely said we will destroy it before handing it over to you, which is a principled thing to do.
And when it suits Mr. Toobin's interest, he's glad to claim First Amendment principles in shielding newspapers, but then at the same time he's willing to dispense with those completely when dealing with a terrorism statute, detaining a completely innocent person involved in the conduct of journalism.
TOOBIN: It's called drawing distinctions. Different situations have different results.
And I don't apologize for that in the least. You're running around the world with extremely classified information, and you don't even know what it is. You're being used as a mule. You take your chances. And I think Mr. Miranda got extremely lucky in only being delayed nine hours in London.
COOPER: All right, we got to leave it there. Good discussion.
Jesselyn Radack, good to have on the program, Jeff Toobin as well.
RADACK: Thank you.
COOPER: Let's talk about it more on Twitter during the break. @AndersonCooper is the address. For more on this story, you can also go to CNN.com.
Just ahead, a chilling reminder of Newtown, children being led single file out of a Georgia school today after a gunman opened fire. He was armed with an AK-47. He's in custody tonight.
Also, the cold-blooded killing of an Australian student in Oklahoma. Three teenagers are in custody and what they allegedly told police about why they did it, it is unthinkable. We will be right back.
COOPER: Terrifying day at an elementary school just outside Atlanta. A gunman opened fire, barricaded himself inside the school before eventually surrendering to police. Police say he was armed with an AK-47 and had other weapons as well.
He's in custody tonight. Thankfully, no one was hurt, but as we said a terrifying ordeal obviously for everyone inside that school.
On "ABC World News With Diane Sawyer," school clerk Antoinette Tuff described how she convinced the gunman to put down his weapon. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANTOINETTE TUFF, WITNESS: I was there with him the whole time. We had a couple -- I had a teacher to come in, and then our cafeteria manager came in.
So, I just kind of walked him through it and talked to him and told him that it was OK, that we all have situations in our lives, and I just went through a tragedy myself. But I recovered from it. And so it was going to be OK. If I can recover from it and open up a business, then he could too.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: After the gunman surrendered, these pictures aired live, children being led out of the school.
Police were worried that a vehicle parked outside the school might contain explosives. It's quite a job getting all those kids out.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CEDRIC ALEXANDER, DEKALB COUNTY, GEORGIA, POLICE CHIEF: We had to move the kids from the rear of the school and find an escape route, which we had to cut a hole in a fence, take the kids through the back of a house, down a small embankment to an adjoining street, get the kids on the school bus.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: David Mattingly joins me now with the latest.
David, what have you learned about this gunman and why he may have done this?
DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, he's been identified just in the last hour, Anderson. His name is Michael Brandon Hill.
Police say he's not 19. He's actually 20 years of age. He's now being charged with aggravated assault on a police officer, terroristic threats, and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. They continue to interview him.
As far as a motive goes, police yet aren't saying why he decided to do this, but we do know from talking to a local -- local television station, when this man went into the office and took a couple of office workers hostage, he had them call a television station and relay a message to them that he was going to -- he was not afraid to die, and that he wanted the police -- the television station to come out and take pictures while he was killing police officers. Now, fortunately that didn't happen.
This man, Michael Brandon Hill, did fire off, we're told, about a half dozen shots at officers. They returned fire, but then he gave himself up. And you just heard the woman in the office describing how she convinced him to do that. So no bloodshed here. He never actually made any shots fired at any of the staff or, luckily, at none of the children. But still very scary times at this school, as this gunfire was being exchanged.
COOPER: So he had an AK-47. There were reports of potential explosives in his car. Did they find anything else?
MATTINGLY: They did not find explosives in the car, but it took them a couple of hours to very carefully go through that car and find out what was in there.
As they were going through it, they really haven't told us what actually they did find in the car. But because the car was parked in front of the police station -- or in front of the school, police couldn't take the kids out that way. And that's why they had that elaborate means of escape for the kids that the chief was just describing, that they had to go out the back and a way out, that they could get out safely just in case there were explosives in that car.
COOPER: And I understand in order to get into the school, visitors had to be buzzed in. Do we know how the gunman got in the building?
MATTINGLY: This is one of the most disturbing things. The security system is there that someone has to be buzzed in; they have to show I.D. Well, when someone did that, the gunman just went up and grabbed the door before it closed behind someone who had been buzzed in. He defeated their security system just that easily.
So you can bet they're going to be looking at beefing up security here. Parents here, as they were collecting the kids, had a lot to say about that, some of them afraid now to send their kids back to this school.
COOPER: Wow. Dave Mattingly, I appreciate the update. Thanks.
Elsewhere, a different kind of horror story that's unfolding, this one much, much darker, really. In Oklahoma, three teenagers were charged today in the shooting death of Australian college student Christopher Lane. He was gunned down last week while jogging. The suspects are 15, 16 and 17 years old.
But what makes this story so disturbing, besides the murder, police say the teens targeted Lane randomly because they had nothing to better to do. Their story tonight from Alina Machado.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You just can't imagine it happening in this neighborhood.
ALINA MACHADO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Shock and disbelief in the small Oklahoma town where Chris Lane, an Australian student at East Central University, was gunned down in what police say was a random attack. Fifteen-year-old James Edwards Jr. and 16-year- old Chancey Luna are charged as adults with first-degree felony murder. Seventeen-year-old Michael Jones is facing two charges, including accessory after the fact and murder in the first-degree.
Authorities say the teens were on a mission to kill, supposedly just for the thrill of it.
CHIEF DANNY FORD, DUNCAN, OKLAHOMA, POLICE: They witnessed the young man run by on the street, chose him as the target.
MACHADO: Chief Danny Ford says Lane was out jogging Friday afternoon when the teens drove up and shot him in the back.
FORD: There was some people that saw him stagger across the road, go to a kneeling position and then collapse on the side of the road.
MACHADO: A woman told police she ran to Lane and tried to help by performing CPR. Another witness dialed 911. Lane was taken to a local hospital where he died.
Police say one of the teens told investigators details of the killing and where they could find the murder weapon. Thousands of miles away in Australia, Lane's father shared the family's heartbreak.
PETER LANE, VICTIM'S FATHER: He's left his mark, as we know, and I think there's not going to be any good come out of this, because it was just so senseless. It's happened, it's wrong, and we just try and deal with it the best we can. (END VIDEOTAPE)
COOPER: CNN's Alina Machado reporting.
Up next, an almost unbelievable twist to a chilling crime. Why a nurse who was convicted of killing this 15-month-old girl named Chelsea and suspected of killing dozens of other babies may soon be released from prison. Chelsea's mom joins us live.
Also ahead, the desperate fight to save homes in the line of fire in Idaho.
COOPER: The get-out-of-jail card that soon will allow a suspected serial killer to walk free, when 360 continues.
COOPER: In "Crime and Punishment" tonight, a convicted baby killer will soon walk free in Texas, even though she's serving a 99- year sentence and is suspected of murdering dozens of other children.
Genene Jones is a former pediatric nurse who parents trusted to care for their children, instead, she allegedly targeted them. Now this convicted murderer has a perfectly legal way out of prison, and law enforcement has only way of keeping her inside. That's by finding another victim whose life was cut short like Chelsea McClellan's.
Here's Randi Kaye.
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Back in 1982, Chelsea McClellan, just 15 months old, needed immunizations. It was routine stuff. Chelsea's mother, Petti, took her to the local clinic in Kerrville, Texas. But what happened next was anything but routine.
That's because Genene Jones was the nurse on duty at the clinic. Chelsea's mom remembers what happened next, when all hell broke loose.
PETTI MCCLELLAN-WIESE, CHELSEA MCCLELLAN'S MOTHER: She gave her her first shot in her left thigh, and she immediately started sort of gasping for air. Turned around and gave her another one, and she immediately just went limp and quit breathing.
KAYE: In the chaos of rushing Chelsea from the clinic to the hospital, Genene Jones somehow slipped into the ambulance and gave the little girl a third shot. Petti would later learn the nurse had injected her daughter with a drug called succinylcholine, which causes muscle relaxation and short-term paralysis. It stopped Chelsea's heart.
Two years later, in 1984, Jones was convicted of infanticide and sentenced to 99 years in prison for killing Chelsea, plus 60 years for injuring another child who had survived. To this day, she still says she did nothing wrong.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Miss Jones, do you have any reaction at all?
KAYE: For Chelsea's parents, the verdict was bittersweet. Their daughter was gone, but her killer would spend the rest of her life behind bars. At least that's what they thought. It turns out Genene Jones is scheduled to walk free.
(on camera): Jones will be automatically released because of an old Texas law designed to prevent prison overcrowding. The mandatory release law allows inmates convicted of violent crimes between 1977 and 1987 to be released if their good behavior credit plus time served equals their sentence. The law was changed in 1987 to exclude violent criminals, but it isn't retroactive.
(voice-over): It's now a game of beat the clock. Chelsea's mother and Andy Kahan, a victims' advocate for the city of Houston, are desperately trying to find other mothers whose babies may also have been killed by Genene Jones. A new conviction could keep her locked up. Otherwise, Kahn believes she'll be the first serial killer ever to walk free.
ANDY KAHAN, VICTIM'S ADVOCATE, CITY OF HOUSTON: In reality, she'll have served less than one year for every infant she is credited with murdering. It's unheard of, and it's never happened before in our country's history.
KAYE: Sadly, there's reason to believe other victims exist. When Jones worked at Bayer (ph) Hospital in San Antonio between 1978 and 1982, her shift became known as the death shift, because so many babies were mysteriously dying. Cheri Pendergraft worked alongside her.
CHERI PENDERGRAFT, WORKED AT HOSPITAL WITH GENENE JONES: The death rate was higher than it had been in previous months and previous years as I went back. So we started to question why is that happening? And I also noticed that it tended to concentrate more on the 3 to 11 shift, which was the shift that Genene was working mostly.
KAYE: Genene Jones was suspected of killing as many as 46 babies but was only charged in the death of Chelsea McClellan. Kahan's job is only complicated by the fact that many of the victim's records were either destroyed or disappeared. But so far, two mothers have reached out to him.
Marina Rodriguez lost her son in 1981 after, she says, Genene Jones gave him a shot at a San Antonio clinic. At just 5 months old, he had a heart attack and died.
MARINA RODRIGUEZ, BELIEVES JONES KILLED HER SON: All of a sudden he turned blue, and all of a sudden, I started hearing "code blue." And they, you know -- and then, of course, they pulled me to the side because I'm a young mommy and I'm freaking out.
KAYE: Back then, Marina was just 15, too young to afford a lawyer. Her parents were migrant farmers. Marina couldn't even read.
(on camera): How would you feel if she got out?
RODRIGUEZ: She's not getting out. She's not going to get out. If my son has to be exhumed to prove that she murdered him, then that's the step we'll take. They're not dealing with a little girl anymore. This is a woman now.
KAYE (voice-over): Marina Rodriguez and the other families are Petti McClellan-Wiese's only hope.
MCCLELLAN-WIESE: Thirty years in prison is not justice. It's not justice for Chelsea.
KAYE: Randi Kaye, CNN, Houston.
COOPER: Under that expired Texas law, Genene Jones will walk free in 2018. A lot of people, understandably, are outraged over this. No one more than Petti McClellan-Wiese, who we just saw in Randi's report. Her 15-month-old daughter Chelsea was killed by Jones.
Petti, thank you so much for being with us. Our condolences to you on the loss of your daughter, Chelsea. I can't imagine what this has been like. When you heard that she could go free, what did you think?
MCCLELLAN-WIESE: Well, the first time I heard it, I just -- I didn't even acknowledge it because I thought it was absolutely impossible. And I really didn't realize that it was going to happen, it was, you know, unless another case was found, until probably about six months ago. I was horrified.
COOPER: And you're convinced -- you're convinced that Jones could do this again?
MCCLELLAN-WIESE: Absolutely, absolutely. Anybody that knew her and has dealt with her across the board, that's in agreement with everybody.
COOPER: This -- this nurse who killed your daughter, I can't imagine -- I can't begin to imagine why someone would do something like that. Did she seem like there was something off about her when you actually saw her?
MCCLELLAND-WIESE: Well, when she was taking care of the kids, she has this very kind, loving, you know, like these children were her life and meant everything to her.
But then in a crisis, it was like that she would get this wild look, and she had a reputation for being very aggressive and very -- she was very narcissistic. And she knew more than anybody, and loved the media and loved the attention. So everything really changed. And I kept telling my family that, you know, she did something to her. COOPER: And you -- you actually saw this woman at your daughter's grave one day.
MCCLELLAN-WIESE: Yes. Right after Chelsea died, I spent a lot of time. I would go there every day, and I went there to put some fresh flowers on. And she was there, and she was just rocking back and forth, wailing. That's the only word to use, was wailing. And I asked her what she was doing. And she really just looked at me, and she had this glassy-eyed look. And she just walked right past me and didn't even respond to it. She never responded to it.
There's obviously this concerted effort to try to prove this woman killed other children. She's suspected in the deaths of 40 -- more than 40 other kids. Prosecutors think that she may have killed up to 46 kids. If there's anyone out there who might have any information that would keep your daughter's killer behind bars, what do you want to say to them?
MCCLELLAN-WIESE: I want them to be not afraid to come forward, because this isn't just about Chelsea anymore. This is about all the families and all the children in San Antonio that died that shouldn't have, and they -- they need their justice, too. And they need their stories told.
Because the only difference between their situation and Chelsea's is where the San Antonio hospital chose to cover it up and not do anything about it and send her about her way with a good reference. The Kerrville hospital decided something's wrong and decided to do something about it. So those babies and those families, they need a voice.
COOPER: Yes. Petti, thank you so much for speaking up tonight. And I hope it helps, and we'll continue to follow this, because it's just -- it's unthinkable to think of this woman getting out there. Thank you so much.
MCCLELLAN-WIESE Thank you, Anderson. I appreciate it.
COOPER: Stay strong.
Still ahead, we're going to meet a homeowner who was forced out by wildfires. We've got some good news tonight.
And we're learning more about how badly wounded the Boston bombing suspect was before his arrest.
COOPER: Smoke from dozens of wildfires hangs over the western third of the country tonight. Take a look at the latest map. Each individual flame indicates an active fire. The large pink area indicates that conditions are hot and dry enough for new fires to ignite at any time. The Beaver Creek Fire in Idaho has been especially destructive. Take a look at that: 106,000 acres scorched so far. Look at those flames leaping up.
Eighteen-hundred firefighters are on the front lines. And there is finally some good news to report. While the fire is only 9 percent contained, and it's touch and go, crews say they have turned a corner.
Gary Tuchman is in Haley, Idaho, for us tonight.
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's the not knowing that's the hardest part. Not knowing if your house is still standing or up in flames. It's what Pamela Sue Martin wants to know as she watches helicopters drop water right where her house is located.
PAMELA SUE MARTIN, HOMEOWNER: I'm very grateful they're there. I really am.
Watching these fires on the mountains for these last three days burn it down.
TUCHMAN: Pamela is an actress and writer who's had a successful career, on Nancy Drew and "Dynasty," among other shows. She's one of many celebrities who live in the Sun Valley, Idaho, area. But she lives here year-round. It is not a second home.
MARTIN: This has been very, very hard. Really, all the emotions are coming now, watching them put it out.
TUCHMAN: Pamela took these dramatic pictures of the area where her house is during the peak of this fire. Her house still sits in one of the hottest and most vulnerable spots of the blaze. She watches the choppers and wonders.
(on camera): How long have you lived here?
MARTIN: Twenty-eight years.
TUCHMAN: You've been here 28 years?
MARTIN: Right there. Right where they're dropping the water.
TUCHMAN: Pamela lives adjacent to the Wood River. And the Wood River is one of the places where the helicopters are dropping their buckets to refill. There are 15 helicopters flying in and out of this area.
(voice-over): The evacuation order is still in effect. But we went with Pamela to her house to see if it escaped the flames.
(on camera): Pamela, it looks like your house is OK.
MARTIN: It's standing. I'm really grateful for that. TUCHMAN (voice-over): The flames aren't far away. But firefighters and choppers are close by.
MARTIN: Reminds me of all the Vietnam movies, I mean, Vietnam. You know, and it is like a war. It's like a war for them fighting the fire. And I feel for them.
TUCHMAN: The danger is not ever yet. But Pamela feels much better now than when we met her a short time ago.
(on camera): You believe your house is safe?
MARTIN: I know my house is safe, yes.
COOPER: Gary Tuchman joins us from beautiful Haley, Idaho. So when will Pamela and the other evacuees be allowed to move back in their homes? Do you know?
TUCHMAN: Well, authorities are saying they hope that nearly everybody will be able to go back to their homes tomorrow and Thursday.
The winds have just picked up, Anderson, in the last 30 minutes. And that's normally not good news. But authorities do believe they're moving in the positive direction. They say there's 9 percent containment right now, but that doesn't mean there's 91 percent fire. It's so far behind me. That means 91 percent of the land is vulnerable. They hope by tonight they have an official 20 percent containment. They hope by the end of the week 50 percent containment. They do believe, at this point, either way, whatever the numbers are, most people will be back at their homes no later than two days from now.
COOPER: We wish them the best. Gary, thanks.
Let's get caught up on some of the other stories we're following. Susan Hendricks has a "360 Bulletin" -- Susan.
SUSAN HENDRICKS, HLN ANCHOR: Anderson, the prosecution rested its case today against Major Nadal Hasan, the Army psychiatrist charged with murdering 13 people in Fort Hood, Texas, in 2009. Hasan is representing himself at his court-martial.
Newly-released court documents show Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev suffered multiple severe gunshot injuries before his capture in April. This includes a gunshot that appears to have entered his mouth and exited through the left side of his face.
Now, the documents don't indicate if it was a self-inflicted wound or if it happened during his showdown with police when he was cornered inside of a boat.
And this good Samaritan earns the Dr. Oz seal of approval. Here's what happened. Plumber David Justino rushed into action after a cab jumped the curb in midtown Manhattan, hitting a British tourist and severing her leg. He used his belt as a tourniquet, and a food vendor put the woman's amputated limb on ice for doctors to try and reattach it.
Dr. Oz and medical staff from his show were at their offices nearby. They heard the crash and came running. Pretty amazing there. Unbelievable story.
We'll be right back. Stay with us.
COOPER: Hey, that's it for us. Thanks for watching. "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts now.