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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Murder Cover-Up; 12-year-old Fired Shot Gun in School; Gov. Christie's State of the State Address; Newtown Tragedy Charity Scam; Husband Sues To Remove Brain-Dead Pregnant Wife From Life Support; Retired Police Captain Accused Of Shooting Man To Death Over Texting In Movie Theater
Aired January 14, 2014 - 20:00 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.
The sheriff says no foul play. The dead man's family says cover-up. Tonight how they're trying to prove it. Part two of our exclusive investigation into the strange -- disappearance and suspicious death of an African-American man in Texas named Alfred Wright.
Also tonight, the husband of a brain-dead pregnant woman says she never wanted it to end this way. Hooked up to a machine, the hospital won't disconnect. Now a new development, he's taken the case to court.
And the strange and terrible case the man who shoots and kills someone allegedly for texting in a movie theater and now is claiming self- defense after getting hit by something the witnesses say was nothing more than a bag of popcorn.
We begin tonight "Keeping Them Honest" with our continuing 360 exclusive investigation into the death of 28-year-old Alfred Wright. He's the rural Texas father of two who vanished last November. His family found his body nearly three weeks later, two weeks after local authorities gave up searching.
The local sheriff told them there was no sign of foul play. The family says that virtually nothing underlying that conclusion makes any sense. Not the cause of death, not the body's condition, not the official theory of how and why a man with everything to live for stripped down to his boxers, wandered off and gave himself a lethal dose of drugs that his family says he has no history of using.
As we reported last night, they say it adds up to a murder and a cover-up. Tonight their evidence but first a warning, some of the images in the report are graphic.
Here's part two of Deborah Feyerick's exclusive report.
DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Alfred Wright's body was found less than 150 yards from where sheriff deputies had originally set up their search command post. LAUREN WRIGHT, ALFRED WRIGHT'S WIDOW: How was he so close? And we didn't find him? It's not like he was miles away. He was right there.
FEYERICK: Saying there was no foul play, Sheriff Tom Maddox called off the search after only four days. Leaving family and friends to find the body on their own.
DOUGLAS WRIGHT, FATHER OF ALFRED: And it says that his spirit spoke out to me and said, Daddy, I knew you were going to find me.
FEYERICK: And just as the sheriff had foreseen, an autopsy did find drugs. Three kinds, including meth. Though his family insists they had never seen him do any drugs.
L. WRIGHT: I still know and believe wholeheartedly that someone -- someone did this to my husband.
FEYERICK: Despite heavy rains, thick mud, brambles, underbrush, barbed wire and wild animals, Alfred's body was found surprisingly clean and virtually intact, 19 days after he disappeared.
RYAN MACLEOD, WRIGHT FAMILY ATTORNEY: If that body was there for 19 days, it would have been in a much different state than what we would have found.
FEYERICK: Alfred's body was stretched out and he was wearing a pair of black boxers, two tennis shoes but just one sock. His father and the volunteers who had searched for him on the other hand were caked in mud and their clothing was torn, which made Alfred's appearance even stranger.
D. WRIGHT: What was weird about his sock is that in this area, his socks were clean and his sock was pulled up as if -- with his toe stuck in it as if he was in a Sunday school class. Neat. His tennis shoes looked very clean.
FEYERICK (on camera): What about his car keys?
D. WRIGHT: I was told by the mortician that came to the burial, who was down at the autopsy, that when they pulled off his left shoe which did not have a sock, his keys was under his left feet in his shoe.
FEYERICK (voice-over): The second sock was under the body. Dogs had searched that ranch area in the days after Alfred's truck broke down and some of his clothing was found scattered around the property. Then there was no sign of Alfred, leading the family to believe his body ended up here after the search.
L. WRIGHT: There's an open gate here, almost a straight path, and then his body was right through -- right through the gate, the fence here. One of the only open trails in this woods.
FEYERICK (on camera): What doesn't make sense to you about what you were told by law enforcement?
L. WRIGHT: Everything.
FEYERICK (voice-over): We went to the Sabine County Jail to talk to the sheriff. He refused to meet with us. But as we waited outside he did return my call.
(On camera): And I understand that it's been turned over to the Texas Rangers. But a lot of -- there are a lot of rumors, a lot of speculation, a lot of allegations. And we just wanted to give you --
(Voice-over): Before I could finish, Sheriff Maddox told us to call the Rangers and said he never comments on rumors and speculation.
(On camera): You stand behind your handling of this -- of the initial stages of the investigation, sir, and how it was done?
(Voice-over): The sheriff repeated that at his request the investigation was turned over to the Texas Rangers. That was one month after Alfred's body was found.
The sheriff had told the family there was no foul play. The Rangers, however, have since called Alfred's death questionable and have asked the FBI to assist.
So what about the drugs and the autopsy performed by a local medical examiner and attended by a Texas Ranger who was also a close friend of the sheriff's?
The autopsy determined that Alfred's death was accidental. Caused by a drug overdose from a mix of cocaine, amphetamines and meth. Yet astonishingly, that same autopsy concluded that Alfred Wright died three hours after his family found his partially decomposed body.
The official autopsy found shallow puncture wounds on his left palm, left thigh, leg and abdomen, but no evidence of severe trauma. And those missing teeth? The report concluded it was due to insect activity. And what appeared to be that straight cut on his neck was due to animal activity.
Suspicious of the investigation, the family had already hired an independent pathologist who made a very different finding after examining the body herself.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have a high index of suspicion that this is a homicide.
FEYERICK: Dr. Leanne Grossmann says that contrary to the autopsy, Alfred did appear to have severe trauma to the neck and head. His missing ear and teeth evidence. And it seemed his throat had been slashed.
MACLEOD: Having seen Alfred's body, I know that that's not the case. I know that drugs don't cause that type of severe trauma.
FEYERICK: The medical examiner would not talk to us.
The Texas Rangers acknowledged the high level of mistrust in the community and said the autopsy is only one part of an active investigation.
So why is it that so many things don't add up? The Wright family believes the sheriff and his deputies may know more than they're saying.
D. WRIGHT: They was defining their story.
FEYERICK (on camera): Before the investigation had even --
D. WRIGHT: Before --
FEYERICK: -- concluded.
D. WRIGHT: Investigation concluded. And by the way, I don't think we really had an investigation.
D. WRIGHT: It seems that most that's taken place so far is to discredit my son.
FEYERICK (voice-over): The family suspects Alfred may have been held captive and tortured during the time he was missing. They want forensic evidence to determine whether the drugs entered his body before or after his disappearance. And they don't believe he left the liquor store on his own.
That store is owned by a former sheriff's dispatcher whose son is a deputy. And even though there are visible surveillance cameras and a sign that says 24-hour surveillance, the family's lawyer was given multiple explanations for why no surveillance images exist.
MACLEOD: Within one five-minute conversation I'm told three different stories. I'm told that it was broken -- it was a system that didn't work. Then I'm told that it was kind of malfunctioning. Then I'm told that it was a live feed camera, that you could only see what was happening at the time it was happening. The third was that it was a VHS system and that there was no videotape in place at the time.
FEYERICK: More than two months after Alfred Wright disappeared his truck had not yet been searched and no one from the family had been formally interviewed.
After his death, wife Lauren went through bank records and found three charges her husband made at local hotels when she and the children were away the month before he died. Texas Rangers are pulling video from one of the hotels to see who Alfred was with.
The family said it wants answers no matter how painful those answers may be, and it has been holding vigils to keep Alfred's memory alive. For now Lauren Wright and her two young sons are coping the best they can.
L. WRIGHT: My 4-year-old asks a lot of questions. He doesn't understand why his dad doesn't come home. And my 2-year-old asks for him all the time. FEYERICK (on camera): What are you telling them?
L. WRIGHT: Well, we told my 4-year-old that the angels came to pick daddy from up work one day. And that he needed him. He needed him back.
COOPER: So many questions unanswered.
Deborah Feyerick joins us now.
All right. So as you reported the Texas Rangers, they've taken over this investigation. The FBI is getting involved. Is there any sense of a timetable? Do we know where they are in the investigation?
FEYERICK: Well, Anderson, what we do know is they still have not searched that truck. They still have not interviewed any members of the family, not officially. And remember, several of the family members, the wife and his parents, they were eyewitnesses to what was going on the evening that he disappeared, and then all through the search. So they've not reached out to them as of yet -- Anderson.
COOPER: I don't understand how -- I mean, they had a search, they had dogs that went on for several days. If his body was there during the search just a short distance from the command center, I mean, that seems hard to imagine. And the condition of the body as you said didn't -- I mean, according to witnesses you talked to, it didn't sound like that was a body that had been left out in the woods for more than two weeks.
FEYERICK: Well, that's exactly right. And that's what the family wants to know exactly when those drugs actually entered his system. Whether in fact it was during the three weeks that he had simply disappeared, that he vanished, because they don't believe that that's where he ended up, certainly not in the days immediately after he disappeared.
Also the Texas Rangers did reach out to us this evening. And they tell us that in fact that cut to the neck, they say, was made by the medical examiners. Now I spoke to the lawyer for the family. The pathologist says no, that is not clear from the autopsy. What's more, she has not been able to view the original autopsy photos. Those have been denied to her pending this investigation.
COOPER: What about Alfred and his past? I mean, first of all, those hotel reservations while the family was away, that certainly raises some questions about maybe there was other things the family didn't know about. You've also learned he was fighting embezzlement charges.
FEYERICK: Well, that's exactly right. Apparently what had happened is about three years ago he was working as a bank teller, putting himself through school. $1,000 was stolen from an ATM. The prosecutors tried to cut a deal, saying that they would pardon him, all he had to do was plead guilty. He wanted to fight it. He said he wasn't guilty, and so therefore he was not going to accept any deal whatsoever, certainly not one predicated on any kind of guilt.
COOPER: Interesting. All right, again a lot of questions remain unanswered.
Deb Feyerick will continue to look into it. Thanks.
Let us know what you think about the case, you can follow me on Twitter @andersoncooper, tweet us using #ac360.
Coming up next, breaking news out of New Mexico where today there was another school shooting.
Also Governor Christie talks again about the bridge scandal and a new photo casts some doubts in one of his claims about it last week. How serious the doubts are? We'll talk about that.
Also "Keeping Them Honest," part two of our investigation of that alleged Newtown charity scammer. He personally assured one victim's family that his foundation was legitimate. Tonight family members who say they got burned.
COOPER: Welcome back. There's breaking news tonight in the New Mexico school shooting that authorities say began when a 12-year-old, a 12-year-old entered his middle school gym, reached into a bag, pulled out a shotgun and then opened fire. He is in custody. Two students were wounded, one critically.
Miguel Marquez is monitoring late developments. He joins us now.
So what do we know at this point?
MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we do know that the injured, one of them, a 13-year-old girl, her condition has been improved to serious. But the 11-year-old boy remains in critical condition tonight after this 12-year-old classmate of theirs walked into the school gymnasium a little after 7:30 this morning in New Mexico, and opened fire on the crowd gathered there.
It was a very cold day in Roswell. The kids had gone in there into the gym in order to wait for class to start when this kid walked in -- Anderson.
COOPER: Is there any sense of what the motive is? Have authorities said?
MARQUEZ: It is not clear. He is a classmate. It is not clear if this is a bullying situation, if this is some sort of, you know, love gone wrong between these kids. But the idea that he would have to handle it with a shotgun just shocking.
COOPER: Anybody know how the shooter got into the school with the shotgun? I mean, a shotgun is not necessarily a small gun.
MARQUEZ: No. It's not at all. The police say that he had it in a bag. We -- there are reports out there that it was in a musical case of some sort. But that is unconfirmed at the moment. But police did say that he walked basically right into the gym with a shotgun in a bag, pulled it out and started shooting.
COOPER: Wow. Miguel, I appreciate the update. Thanks.
In "Raw Politics" tonight just about the only thing that can turn a governor's State of State address into appointment viewing is scandal. In this case, the George Washington Bridge traffic scandal.
Today in Trenton, New Jersey, Governor Chris Christie made it the opening topic in his annual message to state lawmakers.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: The last week has certainly tested this administration. Mistakes were clearly made. And as a result, we let down the people we're entrusted to serve. I know our citizens deserve better, much better.
And I'm the governor. And I'm ultimately responsible for all that happens on my watch both good and bad. And without a doubt, we will cooperate with all appropriate inquiries to ensure that this breach of trust does not happen again.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, meantime, shortly before he spoke the "Wall Street Journal" ran this photo. Take a look. Casting doubt on the governor's claim last week about David Wildstein, the Christie appointee who ordered those toll lane closed on the bridge. He said, quote, "I've had no contact with David Wildstein in a long time, a long time, well before the election."
This picture, though, of the two men was taken at a 9/11 event in Manhattan right in the middle of the four-day traffic jam. The Christie spokesman telling the "Journal" the governor had interaction with public officials that morning, they were all there, he says, for one reason -- to pay tribute to the heroes of 9/11.
Joining us tonight from Trenton chief Washington correspondent Jake Tapper, anchor of "THE LEAD." Also political commentator, Democratic strategist Paul Begala and former New York Congressman Rick Lazio.
So, Jake, you were there listening to it. How do Christie's people feel this went?
JAKE TAPPER, ANCHOR, "THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER": They feel like it went pretty well. They initially did not want the governor to talk about this issue in the State of the State address. But it became clear that he had to. They know this is a bad week for the governor. But they hope that ultimately the fact in their view, they maintained, he had no knowledge of this and no involvement will ultimately rule the day. And he will get through this.
COOPER: Paul, obviously you've been a lot -- involved in a lot of speeches and speech writing. Would you -- how did you think he handled it bringing it up right away off the top and in the way he did?
PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: You know, as a speech writer, and not as a partisan, I'm not sure that I would have brought it up. It's the elephant in the room, it's true. But if you -- he talked about it for, what, 108 minutes the other day? And I think more talk is not going to get him out.
There's still no smoking gun, no real evidence that he knew about what happened. He's still responsible for what happened but he said all that the other day.
So -- plus as a speech writer, please, all fellow speech writers, don't use the passive voice. Mistakes were made? No. I made a mistake. I'm responsible. Or don't talk about it at all.
COOPER: Right. Because it seems like it's sort of passing the buck like it magically happened?
BEGALA: Right. It's passive voice, as Miss Gloria Ronheimer (ph) taught me at John Foster Dulles High School in Sugarland, Texas. And the passive voice suggests weakness. It's weasely. And if you're going to be a strong leader and he projects strength, don't use a weasely passive voice like that.
COOPER: Congressman, you actually question the genuine nature of acknowledgements like this.
RICK LAZIO (R), FORMER NEW YORK CONGRESSMAN: Yes. I mean, I think first of all you have to go there and do the mea culpa. Apologize, acknowledge, take responsibility. But I'm kind of sick of people, politicians in the aftermath of some type of public relations blowout just saying, I'm sorry and I'm responsible, but there's no follow-up, there's no tangible evidence of accountability.
But Christie has an image which he wants to amplify of strength and decisiveness. And I think he did that with the press conference and he's trying to do it again -- try to do it again tonight in the State of the State.
COOPER: Well, Paul, let me ask you about this photo that the "Wall Street Journal" dug up. We're going to show it again. Showing that he did in fact -- you know, it's him with this Port Authority official who was deeply involved in the scandal. In that long press conference Christie said it had been a long time since he'd actually even seen him before the election. This was actually taken on September 11th, I think, what, day three or day two of the bridge scandal.
BEGALA: This is the problem that Rick was talking about. When you fill 108 minutes and now a couple more minutes in his State of the State you're going to say things that will be -- to put it charitably -- overtaken by events. It's entirely possible he forgot. He meets with lots of people. But this is the guy at the heart of this. And it's a guy who he helped put there at the Port Authority. So it's not like a total stranger to him --
COOPER: Right. A guy he went to high school with.
BEGALA: And then he threw the guy under the bus, the high school bus, I guess. But believe, if the guy had just won the Nobel Prize, he would not have said, yes, I barely knew him in high school. Right? He'd be like, we're like this. So yes, it's really unfortunate for the governor. But when you put out that much, you're going to get tripped up. And I think he has spoken too much and acted too little.
LAZIO: Yes, and, Anderson, if I could add to this point. You know this is kind of an old trial lawyer's strategy, which is you don't go to the heart of the matter, you try and undermine a witness on collateral matters. And if you can undermine their credibility on collateral matters you can later on argue to the jury that they're not trustworthy.
And really in the end for Governor Christie, what he has to salvage coming out of all this is the perception that he is a straight- shooting, honest politician. And that's the most important thing that he has got to focus on.
COOPER: Jake, I mean, what about this photograph? Because, you know, everybody -- a lot of people after that epic long press conference that the governor gave said, well, look, if -- I mean, he's either completely innocent then there's no evidence that he was involved in any way, but if anything emerges that is not true what he said at this press conference is going to be bad.
Is this photo -- I mean, is this serious or is this just a blip of well maybe he was just mistaken?
TAPPER: I haven't heard the response from the governor's office yet. But I think the fact of the photograph, and more importantly all the unknowns out there, is symbolic of a phenomenon that we've seen, which is a lot of Republicans not really going out there and supporting Governor Christie in a way that I think probably a lot of political reporters expect.
Republicans with whom I've spoken, they just don't know. I mean, they want to take the governor at his word. They believe him. But it's very early in this scandal. And you never know what's going to come out.
COOPER: Jake Tapper, thank you. Paul Begala, Congressman Lazio, great to have you. Thank you.
As always, you can find out more of the story at our Web site CNN.com.
Just ahead, this is the last picture taken of Victoria Soto with her siblings shortly before the Newtown tragedy. Tonight two of her siblings speak out about the alleged scammer that they say betrayed them and their sister's memory. We're also on the trail of that scammer and we'll show you his picture if you have any information.
Also ahead, the family of a brain-dead woman who is pregnant has taken their case to court to honor what they say are her wishes. We'll be right back.
COOPER: Hey, welcome back. Another "Keeping Them Honest" report now. New developments tonight in a story we told you about first last night.
An alleged charity scammer. His name is Robbie Bruce. Now we want you to know his name. We want you to look at his picture because he's on the run basically.
This what he looks like. He suspects of making off with $73,000 that was donated to help the families of the Newtown shooting victims. A lot of people including the authorities want to talk to this guy.
He's the founder of a group called 26.4.26. A foundation that held an impromptu marathon 26 miles for the 26 victims just a week after the massacre. The event raised $30,000, money that was delivered to Newtown to fund a youth center. After the race the charity kept raising money. $73,000 in all.
Now this guy Robbie Bruce personally met with some of the families and gained their trust. He got particularly close to the family of Victoria Soto, a first grade teacher who was killed in the attack. She was just 27 years old. She died trying to protect her young students.
Now here's a photograph of Mr. Bruce meeting with her brother Matthew Soto. You'll hear from him in just a moment. After all of his assurances to the Newtown families about his charity being legit, now Robbie Bruce is nowhere to be found. He had sole access to the money that 26.4.26 raised. $73,000 that's now unaccounted for.
Tonight the search to find him is heating up.
Investigative correspondent Drew Griffin joins me now from Nashville with the latest.
And, Drew, what's going on?
DREW GRIFFIN, CNN INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, I can tell you the bottom line tonight just about everybody in the state of Tennessee is looking for Robbie Bruce. We haven't been able to find him. Some of his relatives have actually hung up the phone on us as we were calling around for him.
The attorney general's investigators haven't been able to find him. Now we know that both the district attorney here in Nashville, the Connecticut attorney general's office, and the FBI in Connecticut all want to find Robbie Bruce but he's nowhere to be found.
Now this charitable organization was in violation of Tennessee Civil Codes because it never registered itself as a charitable organization. That came as a bit of a shock to one of the cofounders, Ryan Graney. And when she found out that some of the $73,000 raised was being used for personal items, she's the one who blew the whistle on Bruce.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RYAN GRANEY, CO-FOUNDER, 26.4.26 FOUNDATION: I took down all the Web sites when I kind of had an inkling of what was going on. I removed all of our Web sites so that there was no way for anybody to collect any more money.
What's next is we're going to work very closely with the authorities to try to find out where this money is. And hopefully from what we can find, I would like to get it to the people that it deserves to go to.
I don't know where it is, but hopefully we're going to find it. And I will make sure thought gets to the people that it needs to go to.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRIFFIN: Anderson, we -- Anderson, we did hear from the attorney general's office here in Nashville just late this afternoon. They are asking for anybody's help in finding Robbie Bruce. We also got a statement from the Attorney General Bob Cooper. Here's what he told us.
"It's unthinkable that anyone would attempt to profit from the Sandy Hook tragedy and ultimately cause more pain for the families. Charities are supposed to help the community, not prey on it."
I think that sums up why this case is getting so much attention. You know, we've seen this before where people try to profit off of victims' families' grief. That's why we know that at least four law enforcement agencies are trying to find Robbie Bruce tonight, ask him where this money is or where the money went.
If you know where this guy is, Robbie Bruce is his name, 33 years old, we have a phone number that you can call the FBI's New Haven, Connecticut, office.
Anderson, that number is 203-777-6311. But again, we went to a lot of different houses where he might have been -- 8311, excuse me.
COOPER: Yes, 203-777-8311.
GRIFFIN: It's 8311. So we went to a lot of the various houses he could be at. We did contact an aunt. She said she'd pass on the message. Somebody at his mom's house just hung up. So we're just not having any luck finding this guy.
COOPER: Hopefully, we'll put the picture up again throughout this next conversation. Hopefully, someone out there knows where this guy is. He likes to go running. He works out, is a trainer. So clearly probably stops into some gym somewhere. As we said, Robbie Bruce personally assured the families of Victoria Soto that his foundation was legitimate.
The last photograph taken of Victoria and her siblings taken just after they'd cut down their Christmas tree. Victoria's sister, Jillian and her brother, Matther, are joining me now. Appreciate you being with us. This has got to just add insult to injury here. Jillian, this guy was in your house. He visited your sister's grave. What was he like?
JILLIAN SOTO, SISTER KILLED IN NEWTOWN SHOOTING: He seemed like a really nice guy. No questions in any of our minds that he would ever turn out to be a person who would scam us. It hurts to know. We invited him into our home, shared memories of my sister, and showed him my sister's grave. He decorated a flamingo that was at her grave with a 26-4-26 logo, and to know he did this is one of the hardest things to know. He was a friend to us. We were all friends on Facebook and he did this to us. It's awful to think that he could actually do this. It just hurts.
COOPER: Matthew, we have that picture of you guys together you wearing the shirt. Did you ever have any doubts about him?
CARLOS MATHEW SOTO, SISTER KILLED IN NEWTOWN SHOOTING: I had no doubts whatsoever. He came into our house and I trusted him completely because you know he was trying to help. And he didn't know what to do. So he started this foundation and he collected money. And he had all the good intentions, but then something happened.
COOPER: I understand that you actually reached out to him on Facebook when you started to get word that wait a minute something may be not right. Did he return your message?
CARLOS MATHEW SOTO: I contacted him several times and he kept trying to assure me that nothing was wrong, none of the money was missing, and that there was a misunderstanding. But then when our good friend, Ryan, actually confirmed that there was a huge amount of money going missing at times. You know, I sent him a message and I just told him how disrespectful it was. And he just kind of just sat there and lied to me and then just blocked me off of Facebook.
COOPER: Blocked you off Facebook?
CARLOS MATHEW SOTO: He blocked me and he cut all ties with me.
COOPER: Jillian, did he say anything about his past? Do you know anything really about him?
JILLIAN SOTO: We didn't really know anything about him. It was more of he was a friend of some people in Nashville and they trusted him. He seemed like a good person. He wanted to do good like so many people wanted to do good out of what happened in Sandy Hook.
COOPER: Something is on a paddle board? It's so disgusting that anybody would like do this kind of thing. Obviously, if he's out there listening to this, what do you want to say to him?
JILLIAN SOTO: Just come clean. It's not worth what you're doing. It's not right that you're putting the 26 families through this, that you're putting my family through this. When you've been in our house and, you're putting the cofounders of 26-4-26 through this. And making the people questions if people really are doing well.
And with everything that happened, so much bad has happened, and he's continuing to allow this bad to happen. And he just needs to turn himself in. Come clean. If he truly didn't do anything wrong like he originally claimed to my brother, then why are you running? Why are you hiding?
COOPER: With all these different agencies looking for him, his picture on the news, he's going to be found sooner rather than later. So he should just come forward right away. You would echo that, Mathew.
CARLOS MATHEW SOTO: I would absolutely echo that. You know, it's just a matter of time before justice gets served. Whether he decides to come forward or it takes another month or even a year to track him down, he's going to get found.
COOPER: Yes. Again we're we have the pictures of him on the screen. There's the number at the bottom of the screen if you have any information about this guy, call that number. We're going to put that number on our web site so later on tonight if you want to look it up, you can look it up there. The number is 203-777-6311 before we thought it was 8311. It's not, 203-777-6311. Again, we'll put that number on our web site, 203-777-6311. I wish you guys the best. I'm so sorry you're going through this.
It also is bad because it makes people doubt other charities that are out there that are doing well. And again, people can go to charitynavigator.org if they want to look at a charity to see what kind of record a charity has. These guys didn't even register their foundation. So again, thank you so much. I'm glad you're with us, Jillian, Matthew.
Just ahead, new developments of the heart breaking case of a pregnant woman who's legally dead under Texas law, but is being forced to remain on life support by hospital officials.
Plus a father of a 2-year-old is killed in Florida movie theatre allegedly for texting. The retired police officer who is accused of killing him was denied bond. What witnesses said they saw ahead.
COOPER: New developments tonight in another story we're following closely. On one side a grieving, heart-broken family. On the other Texas hospital that says it's bound by law to ignore their wishes. Under Texas law, Marlice Munoz, a young mother, pregnant with her second child is no longer alive. She was declared brain-dead after apparently suffering a blood clot in her lung.
She collapsed two days before Thanksgiving. She was 14 weeks pregnant at the time. When they learned that Munoz was brain-dead, her husband and parents asked the hospital to remove her from the machines that are forcing her to breathe. The hospital insists its hands are tied by state law. Tonight the family has taken their fight to court, asking a judge to intervene. Ed Lavandera has the latest.
ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Marlice Munoz's husband, Erick and her parents, all say Marlice never wanted to be kept on life support. The family says they've been telling the hospital exactly that since Marlice collapsed of a blood clot in her lung on November 26.
ERICK MUNOZ, HUSBAND: We've reached the point where you wish that your wife's body would stop.
LAVANDERA: So now family has filed a lawsuit in hopes the courts will back them up. In the suit, lawyers for Marlice' husband say that what's being done to the brain-dead pregnant woman is, quote, "nothing more than the cruel and obscene mutilation of a deceased body." The lawsuit demands that Marlice Munoz be immediately disconnected from ventilators and that her body be turned over to the family for proper burial.
LYNNE MACHADO, MOTHER OF MARLICE MUNOZ: We were told she was brain- dead November 26.
LAVANDERA: Marlice Munoz's body is still in the intensive care unit of John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth, with a lawsuit now filed hospital officials have said they're encouraged by this development because the courts are the appropriate venue to provide clarity, direction and resolution in this matter. A hospital spokeswoman has said this is not a difficult decision for us.
(on camera): Officials at John Peter Smith Hospital say they are simply following the Texas law that overrides a woman's end of life wishes if she is pregnant. Marlice's family calls that decision absurd. They say because she is brain-dead, the law does not apply to her.
(voice-over): Tom Mayo, a law professor at Southern Methodist University helped write the law 15 years ago. He says the hospital is wrong because Marlice cannot be brought back to life.
THOMAS MAYO, LAW PROFESSOR, SMU: I don't see how we can use a provision of the law that talks about treating or not treating a patient in a case where we really don't have a patient.
LAVANDERA: Marlice's fetus is now about 21 weeks along. Doctors can still hear a heartbeat, but it's not clear what kind of damage the blood clot that killed Marlice has done to the unborn baby. Medical experts say even ultrasounds and heartbeat patterns can't accurately predict if the fetus is viable. That's a risk the family does not want to take.
DR. JEFF ECKER, MASSACHUSETTS GENERAL HOSPITAL: With those things can't perfectly predict health and outcome. And there are certainly occasions whereas we look as best as we can tell, a fetus appears to be developing appropriately and meeting all its mile stones, and yet after birth, after delivery there's evidence of profound compromise.
MACHADO: I cry every time I hear it.
LAVANDERA: As Marlice Munoz's family deals with this ordeal, Marlice's mother helps her son-in-law take care of the couple's 15- month-old son who doesn't understand what's happened.
MACHADO: The door will open and he'll look to see if it's mama coming through the door still.
LAVANDERA: Ed Lavandera, CNN, Dallas.
COOPER: The legal and ethical issues in the case are obviously complex. Joining me tonight is attorney and children's evacuate, Areva Martin and also Sunny Hostin, CNN legal analyst and former federal prosecutor.
Areva, what do you make of this? The lawsuit states not only that this woman is dead, but that the hospital's refusal to remove her from life support is in their words mutilating, disturbing and damaging her deceased body. Do you agree?
AREVA MARTIN, ATTORNEY AND LEGAL AFFAIRS COMMENTATOR: I totally agree. I think the hospital has this all wrong. They are reading that section of the Texas code that talks about not withdrawing life support from a patient -- and in this a patient that is pregnant. In this case this woman is no longer a patient. And I think people are having a hard time coming to grips with this. She's legally dead. She's a corpse, not a patient.
So to continue life support in this case is just cruel and inhumane treatment. We saw this in the Oakland teen case where the doctors and hospitals argued vehemently that Jahi McMath was legally dead and that doctors no longer had an obligation to provide any care for a corpse.
COOPER: Sunny, you disagree with this. I mean, you can't disagree that she is dead, correct?
SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I don't know that the doctors have determined that she's brain-dead. We know that her husband has said that, but they told him that. But we don't have any paperwork to support that.
COOPER: Assuming he's not lying about that. Assuming she's brain- dead, that to you does not convince you.
HOSTIN: No, it doesn't. I think if you look at the statute, Anderson, the statute is ambiguous. It's vague. When you have these murky areas you have to go to court because courts provide clarity, courts provide direction. And that's why I think the lawsuit is the right thing. But I think to sort of jump to the conclusion that the hospital is sort of, I don't know, bastardizing this statute is just incorrect. It's premature. COOPER: Sunny, you keep saying that because the mother never specified, well, if I'm on life support and I'm pregnant I still want to be taken off life support. I mean, she did -- maybe she didn't go to that level of detail, but she did, her wishes are clear. She, a paramedic, who had seen the results of this, said she never wanted to be kept alive like this.
HOSTIN: But Anderson, her wishes aren't in writing. I mean, in Texas, you do have the ability especially as a paramedic to put your advanced directive in writing. It wasn't in writing.
COOPER: Areva, to you, does that matter whether or not her wishes were in writing? Her husband says this is clear what she wanted, we had this discussions.
MARTIN: It doesn't matter, Anderson. There is no dispute what is this woman wanted and as you say --
HOSTIN: There is a dispute.
MARTIN: She's an educated woman. She deals with medical and health issues all the time. She could have said as a woman, I don't want to be kept on life support unless I'm pregnant. And I want to address Sunny's point about the statute. Texas has the same law that every state in this nation has, which the definition of legal death is cessation of all brain activity. It could have said in that statute, you can't withdraw life support from a patient that is pregnant or that is declared legally dead by statute either and it didn't do that. It uses the word patient.
HOSTIN: That is why it's vague.
MARTIN: Not someone that is a corpse.
COOPER: Let me ask you, Areva, for you do the age of the fetus matter? I mean, the fetus is now about 21 weeks along. She was 14 weeks when she collapsed in her kitchen. The fetus was 14 weeks old at that time. Obviously, time is of the essence. If this drags out for six more weeks, should that make a difference in the argument?
MARTIN: You know, Anderson, I think the hospital is purposely drawing this out. What disturbs me is what if this woman had had this terrible accident and she was four weeks pregnant? Would this hospital keep her on life support for five months, for six months? Again, knowing what all the medical professionals tell us, which is her body is decaying. It's deteriorating.
So would we cause a woman to gestate a baby for five or six months? I think the hospital knows that time is on their side so they can delay this so they can go into court when she is 24 weeks. This happened just 14 weeks pregnant and she was entitled to have an abortion at 14 weeks.
HOSTIN: The bottom line is, I think when you have something that is unclear, especially if you're in the place of this hospital, and you err on the side of caution and that is what this hospital has done. This statute is less than clear and they need the court's direction. That's the first thing.
The second thing is, wait a minute, Areva. She is comparing California and Texas. We have two different states, different laws. So I think that's like compare apples and oranges. In Texas one thing that people have to recognize is Texas definitely recognizes the personhood of a fetus at any stage of the pregnant is.
So if you attack a pregnant woman and she dies, you can be charged with murder of the unborn child. And so we're talking about a different type of statute and you have to make that very clear.
COOPER: OK, Riva, I want you to respond.
MARTIN: To say the hospital wants clarity is disingenuous. This hospital doesn't clarity. This hospital wants time.
COOPER: All right, Areva Martin, it's great to have you on. Sunny Hostin, difficult case, thank you. Well, let me know what you think about it on Twitter @andersoncooper. Use #ac360.
Up next, a retired police officer who shot a man in a movie theatre is allegedly because he was texting. He's now facing a judge. Why he says it was self-defense.
Also ahead, police search Justin Bieber's home and get more than they bargained for. What they allegedly found inside next.
COOPER: In Crime and Punishment tonight, a shocking case out of Florida where an argument over texting in a movie theatre led to a fatal shooting and a former police captain is in custody after pulling a hand gun in the movie theatre killing a 43-year-old man and wounding the man's wife.
In court today, an attorney for the 71-year-old defendant tried to make the case that the dead man was actually the aggressor. Martin Savidge reports.
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The suspect, a retired police captain, stood handcuffed, facing second degree murder charges, as he made his first appearance in court today via video conference.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. Reeves, apparently you can afford your own attorney?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, Ma'am.
SAVIDGE: The allegations against Curtis Reeves become more jaw- dropping the more details emerge. It happened at the movie theatre during the previews in Monday's matinee of the movie "Lone Survivor." The 71-year-old Reeves and his wife were sitting one row behind this man, 43-year-old Chad Olson and his wife, Nicole. Witnesses say Reeves became very irritated when Olson began texting during the previews. What was so pressing for Olson, his 2-year-old daughter.
DETECTIVE TIMOTHY HARRIS, PASEO COUNTY, FLORIDA SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT: The young child was with a babysitter and the father was communicating with the babysitter concerning the daughter.
SAVIDGE: But Reeves was so annoyed about the texting he left the theatre and complained to management. When he returned to his seat, he started arguing with Olson.
CHARLES CUMMINGS, WINTESS: He came back very irritated with theatre management. They started arguing again about the cell phone. There seems to be almost a confrontation and then bang he was shot.
SAVIDGE: How could it escalate from an argument over a text to a shooting?
RICHARD ESCOBAR, REEVE'S ATTORNEY: The allegation there is that the victim threw a bag of popcorn.
SAVIDGE: That's right. Witnesses say a bag of popcorn turned this argument into a murder scene.
ALEX CUMMINGS, WITNESS: He said Man I can't believe he got shot. Blood started coming out of his mouth. I was trying to hold him up and he just fell down.
SAVIDGE: Olson was shot once in the chest and died in the hospital. The bullet that killed him first went through his wife Nicole's hand, placed on her husband's chest perhaps is in an attempt to shield him. Reeves' attorney argued for his release on bond and painted his use of force as self-defence.
ESCOBAR: He was attacked. At that point in time, he has every right to defend himself.
SAVIDGE: In an affidavit, Reeves said Olson struck him in the face with an unknown object. The same affidavit says witnesses saw only popcorn being thrown and did not observe any punches. In yet another strange twist, prosecutors say Reeves has a history of retribution for others texting at the movies. A witness told them he came after her at the same theatre just a few weeks ago.
MANUEL GARCIA, ASSISTANT STATE ATTORNEY: Indicated that he was glaring at her the entire time throughout the movie, and he also followed her to the bathroom when she had gotten up to go to the restroom. And make her feel very uncomfortable.
SAVIDGE: With all the evidence against him, the judge denied him bond.
JUDGE LYNN TEPPER, SIXTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT COURT: It may or may not have been popcorn, but an unknown object doesn't equal taking out a gun and firing it at somebody's chest.
SAVIDGE: For now, a man awaits trial. A family grieves their father and a community asks how texting could lead to murder. TEPPER: Thank you. You may step back.
COOPER: Martin Savidge joins me now live. So Florida is known for the stand your ground law. Is it possible that Reeves will actually try that as a defence?
SAVIDGE: Good evening, Anderson. Yes, that was the first thing that came to a lot of people's minds here because we all know Florida and stand your ground. The sheriff of Pascoe County says that his detectives immediately began looking into that along with the assistant state's attorney. And the sheriff says that there is no way that the defense can use stand your ground. They say it does not apply here.
COOPER: What do you know about the two men, the victim and the suspect?
SAVIDGE: You know what's very interesting and tragic is that in many ways these two men are very similar. Both of them were veterans of serving in the U.S. Navy. Both of them love motorcycles. In the case of Olson, he loved dirt bikes. Both of these men are described by their friends as great individuals.
But somehow in the darkness of that movie theatre, texting and an argument led to gun fire and now you have an officer who was considered a pillar of the community facing the potential of life in prison and a young father dead, his wife and young daughter absolutely shattered by grief.
COOPER: It seems hard to believe. Martin, appreciate the update.
Let's get caught up on some of the other stories we are following. Susan Hendricks has a 360 Bulletin -- Susan.
SUSAN HENDRICKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, a 360 follow, Southwest Airlines says a third person was in the cockpit of their 737 that landed at the wrong Missouri airport on Sunday and is now on paid leave. A source tells CNN investigators want to know if the company dispatcher distracted the pilots.
A federal judge has withheld approval of the proposed $760 million settlement between the NFL and thousands of retired players who sued the league accusing it of hiding the dangers of concussions. The judge is worried it may not be enough money to pay all affected players over 65 years. The NFL says it is confident the settlement is fair and adequate.
Los Angeles sheriff's deputies with a search warrant raided Justin Bieber's California mansion. They were looking for possible surveillance video from the home that may show who was responsible for an egg attack on a neighbour's home estimated to cost $20,000 in damage. Investigators ended up arresting a house guest for alleged cocaine possession. You got to see Mitt Romney here. He tries to kick it up Gangnam style and there he goes. The former presidential candidate let loose at a conference for young adult Mormons.
COOPER: Give him credit for public dancing. Something I would never do.
HENDRICKS: Looks like the Irish jig a little bit.
COOPER: That's all right. Susan, thanks. We'll be right back.
COOPER: That does it for 360. We ran out of time for "The Ridiculist" tonight, but we're going to bring it to you one hour from now at 10 p.m. Eastern on AC 360 LATER. We have never done that before. It's live version of "The Ridiculist." We'll see how that goes. "PIERS MORGAN LIVE" starts now.