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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Clinton Correctional Facility Prison Guard Gene Palmer Charged, Arrested; Interview with South Carolina Rep. Mark Sanford; Boston Bomber Speaks Out in Court. Aired 8-9:00p ET
Aired June 24, 2015 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[20:00:00] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Hey, good evening. Thanks for joining us.
A new and major development in the New York prison break. The corrections officer, Gene Palmer who passed the meat with hacksaw blades to killer Richard Matt has now been arrested. Earlier tonight, the local DA told us that Palmer had also given Matt and David Sweat access to the catwalk that they eventually used to escape.
Jason Carroll has the breaking news, joins us now. So what are you learning about the charges against this guy, Gene Palmer?
JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, there are several charges, Anderson, we are hearing about. This according to his attorney who I speak to just a short while ago. He said that Gene Palmer has been charged with following promoting dangerous contraband, destroying evidence, official misconduct, in terms of destroying evidence that could be, reference to some of the paintings that Richard Matt has made.
You heard about those in the past. Apparently he gave, may have given some paintings and/or drawings to Gene Palmer as well. And then shortly after Gene Palmer found out about what happened with the escape he allegedly destroyed some of the paintings and/or drawings. So that could be part of the reason why you see that destroying evidence charge.
I also as I said, I spoke to his attorney a little while ago. He said that his client is very upset. His said that his client had no knowledge at all of what was inside that frozen chunk of hamburger meat that Joyce Mitchell, you already know about her, that she convinced Gene Palmer to pass that on to Richard Matt.
So now, we have two prison employees, Joyce Mitchell you already know was charged in her connection with the escape. Now you have Gene Palmer who has also been charged. But once again his attorney says he did not know what was inside that slab of meat. His attorney also says Anderson, he had absolutely no knowledge of any escape plan-- Anderson.
COOPER: We should point out, Jason, though the attorney is saying he didn't know obviously there was something hidden in the meat, or perhaps not obviously, but that is the claim that he didn't know. He did and the attorney has admit he neglected to put the hamburger meat through a metal detector that would have discovered this?
CARROLL: That's correct. And once again, this was a clear violation of prison policy. That is something that was acknowledged by his attorney early on. But he just wanted to emphasize though that he had made that mistake, and he just wanted to emphasize this was also a man who relied on Richard Matt and David Sweat over a period of time as a source, if you will. He said often time he would lean on both of them for information about other inmates there in the prison who could have caused trouble.
So he said there was some sort of a relationship there. He was hesitant to use the word trust. But he said, he didn't seem to be anything unusual about wanting to pass something along. But it was a violation of prison policy, not checking that meat, not passing it through a metal detector. That's part of the reason why you are seeing some of the charges we are seeing here tonight.
COOPER: And we are going to talk to a prison expert coming up. And one thing he raises tonight, and I think it is a very important point is, and we don't know the answer to it. Did Gene Palmer have approval to use Richard Matt and David Sweat as basically as a source, as somebody who gave them -- gave him information about what was going on in the prison. Because there are protocols for how you are supposed to actually get information from inmates, for how you are supposed to use an inmate in that capacity. It is not something you are supposed to just do unilaterally on your own without some sort of higher up approval. We don't know if we had that approval. But that would be something certainly investigators who are going to be looking at. Do we know when the arraignment is going to take place, Jason?
CARROLL: Well, a couple things. First about that arraignment, I'm told from his attorney the arraignment will take place sometime tonight, that time not set, at least not yet. But in terms of the source, I think this has something to do with prison culture. Often times whether it as the Clinton correctional facility or in California at L.A. county, you know, I have heard about this before, guard relying on inmates to try to get information about other inmates who may cause trouble.
It is an unwritten rule, if you will. It is the way that prisons operate. It is just a reality. Officers and prison guards who are there have to be able to get information about other inmates there who are going to be cause trouble, who might be trying to cause a fight, who might be trying to eliminate someone. If there are rival gang members working inside prisons and you are trying to get information about who is going to cause trouble. It's not unusual to try to get sourced information. It is not something written on the books. It is something that happens. It is something that is really a part of prison culture -- Anderson.
[20:04:59] COOPER: Jason. I appreciate the update. We will continue checking with you as the story develops.
There is a whole new dimension now. Joining us on the phone former federal prosecutor Jeffrey Toobin, our senior legal analyst.
Jeff, what do you make of this? How serious are the charges against Gene Palmer?
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST (via phone): It is very serious. And you interviewed Gene Palmer's lawyer last night. And his -- his argument was very clear. Joyce Mitchell had deceived and misled Gene Palmer about her relationship with the inmates, about what was inside the meat and this arrest indicates that the police don't believe that. They belief that Gene Palmer was at least involved in improper activities in relationship with the inmates. And perhaps, now this is not quite clear yet, he may have been involved according to the authorities' theory with the plans to make the escape.
COOPER: But these charges don't necessarily indicate that they believe he was involved in the escape plan itself. It could be viewed as just even if he was duped he violated prison policy, he allegedly destroyed evidence and that's what these charges are based on.
TOOBIN: Right. Those are not just violating prison policies. He's arrested for crimes. He is not arrest for violating the internal procedures. So it is a very serious matter. The way I read this very preliminary indication is that the prosecutors are leaning on him and trying to get him to tell anything he knows about the escape while leaving open the possibility of charging him with some complicity with the escape.
COOPER: Jeff Toobin, appreciate you calling in. Thank you again.
Again, the district attorney, Andrew Wylie, gave us our first inkling of what just happened. That's far from all he said. We spoke earlier this evening before the new charges came to light.
COOPER: Mr. Wylie, I want to ask you about the investigation into what happened inside the prison. I spoke with the attorney for one of the correctional office, Gene Palmer, the one who brought the meat with tools from Joyce Mitchell to Matt and Sweat. He said his client had no knowledge of what was in the meat, is that your understanding as well?
ANDREW WYLIE, CLINTON COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY: That is definitely our understanding. Speaking with Joyce Mitchell, she advised us that Gene Palmer in all likelihood had no idea that what he was bringing the meat in actually had the hacksaw blades in it. And based on our investigation with Gene Palmer, the statement that he provided, and he actually took a polygraph test, that came up positive that he would had no knowledge of the hacksaw blade to be in the hamburger.
COOPER: There is also been reporting that the two men may have tricked Palmer into giving them tools by tripping a breaker to their cells and telling him that they could fix it, fix the problem if they've had simple hand tools. Can you confirm whether that is true or not?
WYLIE: Well, there is information that he allowed them to go into the back of the cells, in the catwalk area and fix the breakers that were there. At that point in time the information we had, they all had hot plates. It was to help the breaker, fix the breakers so they could use their hot plates to cook their food.
COOPER: So, so he knew they were going back behind the cells to the catwalk area?
WYLIE: Correct. He actually took them behind there to do that.
COOPER: And were they alone there? Or were they with him at all times?
WYLIE: It is my understanding they were with Gene Palmer at the time.
COOPER: Do you have any indication why palmer chose not to put the hamburger meat through a metal detector? Because that would seem to be prison policy?
WYLIE: It would be prison policy. But in situations I think of this nature Anderson, they are, the guards develop these friendships with some of the inmates. They also will have inmates assist with information they can obtain in the facility involving other inmates all most like on the outside using a confidential informant for a drug buy.
COOPER: We are also hearing more from other inmates about the relationship between Mitchell and Sweat. One former inmate estimated the two had sex more than 100 times, which certainly sounds like an extensive and most likely conspicuous relationship, is that how Mitchell described it as well?
WYLIE: Absolutely not. She never described the relationship between her and Sweat in any manner of that nature. I'm not sure who the inmate is that is providing that source. But we don't have that information.
COOPER: That, in terms of where they did this, that same former inmate who said the more than 100 times, said that they would go to a storage closet. To your knowledge is there a storage closet in the tailor shop?
[20:10:13] WYLIE: There are a number of storage closets in the tailor shop. There is also from what I understand a bathroom within the tailor shop as well. The storage units that I observed -- I can't imagine anything could go on there with the exception of putting in paper supplies or, or the supplies they need in the tailor shop.
COOPER: And just in terms of -- trying to get to the validity of what the inmate said, he said more than 100 times with Sweat, would it be accurate to say she had sexual relations more than 100 times with Matt.
WYLIE: Absolutely not.
COOPER: OK. So not that frequently?
WYLIE: No. I think there is quite a bit of exaggeration going on there with the source. COOPER: OK. Obviously you have a lot going on. The manhunt is not
your responsibility. There are reports there was a bloody sock found at the cabin where they were. Can you confirm that? Does that indicate one of the men may have been injured and if so, do you know which one?
WYLIE: Well, there is a sock that has been recovered as listed as white and red. And the red could obviously be blood. There was -- I don't have a full detail on the analysis that was conducted on the evidence. That was secured from the cabin and brought down to Albany for testing.
But I do know that a DNA profile was from one of the socks. What particular sock it was, relative to blood being on a sock, we are talking these men have been out in the wilderness, out in these conditions, for the last 18 days. And, not sure what type of footwear they were, they were wearing. But, certainly they're feet could have been, you know, cut up, bloody as a result of the walking through the woods. That they have been doing the last 18 days.
COOPER: Right. So we are not, it's not clear how much blood there was, whether a blister or something like that or injury.
Andrew Wylie, I do appreciate your time. Thank you so much.
WYLIE: You're welcome. Thank you.
COOPER: Well, a lot more ahead on this big development including what a former prison warden has to say about the latest arrests and everything else we are learning about went on at that prison.
And later as the slain pastor of Charleston's Emanuel AME lies in state, the same bible study class where he and eight others were murdered that bible study class is just getting under way. One week to the day later in the very same room another demonstration of courage and faith and remarkable grace.
[20:16:43] COOPER: Well, the breaking news, we learned just before going on air, prison guard Gene Palmer by his lawyer's account, just a very trusting guy, has now been charged with promoting dangerous prison contraband, destroying evidence and official misconduct. He is expected to be arraigned tonight.
What he did according to district attorney and while he was let killers David Sweat and Richard Matt on to the catwalk behind their cells, apparently to allegedly trouble shoot electrical problems that their hot plates were causing. Hot plates they were cooking on inside their cells in the honor block using food brought in to the honor block including that hamburger meat with hacksaw blade that Gene Palmer gave to Richard Matt. Meat provided by Joyce Mitchell who was having sex with Matt. Now, if all of this sound to you more like minimum sanity at the maximum security, you are certainly not alone. Late today we learned more than a dozen investigators from the state
inspector general's office, have descended on the Clinton correctional facility. They are looking in to security lapses at Clinton of which they are allegedly are many. We'll talk about all that with a former warden.
But first, Gary Tuchman on the manhunt.
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A major road into the town of Owls Head, New York. Closed to outsiders but full of law enforcement officers. Every quarter mile or so, armed state police stand patrol next to wooded areas looking for any signs of fugitives Richard Matt and David Sweat. More than 2,200 leads have now come in say police.
MAJ. CHARLES GUESS, NEW YORK STATE POLICE: We receive reported sightings each day and we have investigated every one. We will continue to ensure the public every sighting or lead that is reported will be investigated until exhausted.
TUCHMAN: Exhaustive describes the searching. State and federal law enforcement members doing great searches in different parts of Franklin county where Owls Head is located. DNA samples from the killers were found in a cabin in the woods. And understandably many owners and guests of others cabins in the woods are staying away while the searching is going on.
So when we walked up to this cabin we didn't expect to find anybody, but we found this Al Mossy.
A lot of people have left their cabins.
Al bought the vacation cabin in Adirondack park years ago and is now retired and lives here permanently.
Do you feel safe, you are here in the middle of the search zone for the two killers?
AL MOSSY, 81-YEAR-OLD: Yes.
TUCHMAN: You are not going to leave?
TUCHMAN: How come?
MOSSY: No reason to.
TUCHMAN: The 81-year-old lives with his 141 pound dog Yoda and says odds are tiny that escapees would choose his cabin to seek refuge. And besides he is armed.
MOSSY: Shot gun. Deer rifles. TUCHMAN: Al Mossy believes the killers won't be able to navigate
their way out of this wilderness without police seeing them. And he is convinced they will be captured even though it is taking some time which is something police are addressing.
GUESS: Time is always a concern. It generally works against the police in the immediate response. But it works typically for law enforcement, long term as we begin to coalesce around the search area bringing in more partners.
TUCHMAN: Al mossy does say his 79-year-old girlfriend is scared. So they're spending the nights together for now. But he told her.
MOSSY: I'm not changing my life for this at all no.
TUCHMAN: You are not the least bit uneasy?
MOSSY: No, do I look it?
COOPER: No he does not.
Gary, do authorities think at all that Matt and Sweat could not be in this area?
[20:20:07] TUCHMAN: Police believe they're still here. And that's why there are more than 1,000 federal, state, and local police forces on the streets. They'll continue to be here tomorrow. They anticipate the possibility of a violent end. They are ready for that eventuality. They don't have any proof that these men are armed. No one has the reported a gun being stolen. But as we just showed you, cabins, hunting cabins have guns, many of them. And many people don't want to come back here and go in their hunting cabins to make sure everything is OK. The scenario that a lot of police officials feel that these guys may have found a gun in one of the cabins and be armed and dangerous.
COOPER: Although, given that a lot of cabins are not used for most of the year, I mean, a lot of gun owners wouldn't be leaving a gun in a cabin that's, you know, that they abandon for much of the year.
TUCHMAN: They probably wouldn't. But the scenario that a lot of police officials could be happening here is that these guys are going into many cabins because they're trying to find a gun. And if they get lucky and find a gun, then that would make them concerned.
COOPER: Got it. Well Gary, appreciate the reporting.
A lot to talk about with the man who led the hunt for Eric Rudolph, former FBI assistant director Chris Swrecker. Chris is joining us right now.
First of all, let's talk about Gene Palmer. I mean, this now - these charges being brought against him. What does that tell you? Does it raise more concerns about what was going on about the security in this prison?
CHRIS SWECKER, FORMER ASSISTANT DIRECTOR: It really does. I mean, I think the best you can say about this prison is it was loosely run. More like a prison camp, really, than a maximum security prison, that is housing murders on death row and like severing life sentences. So, it really is shocking to see how loose this prison was run.
COOPER: Right. I mean, somebody who not only killed a police officer, somebody who dismember and tortured to death somebody else, being on an honor block, being allowed to go, you know, behind the catwalk, giving gifts to the guard, it truly raises a lot of questions.
About the manhunt itself, there is now, there is evidence about a bloody sock was found. It is hard to tell much from that because we don't know how much blood there were -- there was on the sock. Is it just from a blister? It would be totally understandable that there would be a bloody sock after spending several days out in the wilderness.
SWECKER: Yes, I don't think they're going to focus too much on that except, again, maybe get some DNA off that just to confirm some things. But I think their assumption is they're on foot at least. Whether they're barefoot, not barefoot, whether they have the proper equipment, they probably don't. You know, I think they have been improvising and making things up since they popped out of the manhole. Once they got flushed out of the cabin it became even more exaggerated shall we say. And I think their desperation level is probably going up incrementally as the days go by.
COOPER: You see no sign, no indication that they're getting outside help somewhere.
SWECKER: Not at this point. It doesn't - I mean, there is no indications that I have seen that they're getting outside help. Maybe they have a cell phone, but it would be really, suicidal for somebody to try to break through that perimeter and come help them. So they're really helpless even if they have a cell phone.
COOPER: When somebody looks at, you know, Eric Rudolph who was able to spend, you know, five years on the run. It was interesting last night I think it was, you were saying he stayed in the kind of, in the same geographic area for all that time. What allowed, what enabled him to do that that these guys might not be able to do? I mean, what's the difference between them?
SWECKER: He knew the area very well. He would disappear for weeks at a time. And he would go up into the, the national forest. This was the very densely forested national forest area. He would set up hides in places. He would preposition food. He had multiple locations. We saw, personally saw at least three locations that he pre-prepared. And he placed sources of food that he was aware of. There was a granary nearby. He had stolen grain and other types of food stuff and he hunted back in a backpack. He had stolen some 55-gallon barrels and buried them underground and stocked himself. He was ready to go. COOPER: And the key difference being that he was able to plan this in
advance. He was able to preposition supplies, which there is no indication these guys had any outside help in doing that. I mean, they have been locked up for so long. It's not even clear they've have any friend left on outside who they could call.
SWECKER: They may not know what direction they're headed. I don't think that they're master outdoorsmen. They are probably not outdoorsmen of any kind. You know, I think they do not know the terrain very well. I envision them stumbling around, maybe a little bit at night. But during the daytime hunkered down. Just hoping nobody spots them and hoping that they can just wait things out, maybe some weather moved in or something.
COOPER: How critical is the fatigue factor for these two guys, but also for the searchers?
SWECKER: It is definitely a factor for the bad guys, people on the run, you know, as each day goes by and they don't have food and water and they are exposed to the elements. They're zapped. They may, what they call tap out. The law enforcement there is a fatigue factor there as well. Expenditure of resources. Running 300 miles to another location. Running down rabbit holes they have been running down. Based on tips and leads from the public. Then running back over there. Run night time shifts. Daytime shifts. Long shift. I think there is an impatience sets in. And that's where the cooler heads in the command post have to pull back on the reins.
[20:15:16] COOPER: You got to pace it out.
SWECKER: You got to pace it out. You got to be very deliberate. Make sure nobody gets hurt at this point. They can ambush and they will probably see the hunt, you know, the searchers before the searchers will see them. And they will, if they have a weapon, they will have the opportunity to use that weapon.
COOPER: Right. It is fascinating. Chris Swecker, appreciate you being with of again. Thank you very much.
Up next, a former deputy warden weighing in on the arrest of the prison guard, the second worker now at Clinton correctional facility now facing charges. We will also get his take on what was going on inside the prison. The frozen meat, access to the catwalk for the escapees and much more. We'll be right back.
[20:28:46] COOPER: As we reported at the top, prison guard Gene Palmer has now been charged in connection with the escape of David Sweat and Richard Matt. And by now, you have heard plenty of what Sweat and Matt had to endure. We will use that word in air coats (ph) inside the honor block there. To recap, they could visit other inmates. They could cook in their cells, grill hamburgers say with or without hacksaw blades inside them.
Honor block inmates were allowed to wear civilian clothing or takeoff said clothing allegedly in the company of the prison seamstress perhaps to better inspect the stitching. Items including that chopped meat that could and should have gun through metal detector did not. The prison worker who failed to scan it, Gene Palmer is expected to be arraigned tonight. That is his photograph.
As you heard the district attorney say, he apparently was scammed into giving the escapees access to prison catwalks which reportedly did not get the regular inspections they should have. And even though the honor block has been shut down. Procedures at the prison have been called into question. And new investigation is under way.
Our guest, Ed Gaven is a former deputy warden with New York City department of corrections. He joins us now.
So Ed, first of all, what do you make of the fact Gene Palmer has now been charged with a number of crimes destroying evidence, allegedly destroying the paintings or drawings that Richard Matt made for him, bringing in this contraband, and violating - violated the policies here. What does it tell you about what was going on inside that prison?
ED GAVIN, FORMER DEPUTY WARDEN: Obviously, it was culture of corruption. I mean, it was certainly undue familiarity. Why would an inmate draw a picture for an officer? And why would the officer accept it? And then why would the officer bring in chopped meat for an inmate? It doesn't make any sense.
COOPER: This is an officer also who has been on the job for more than 20 years. You would think somebody like that would, over time, I don't know if they get less skeptical or more skeptical, but certainly be aware of all of the whole range of possibilities for what prisoners are capable of.
GAVIN: Let's face it, the inmate's job is to escape. The officer's job is care, custody, control and supervision. Obviously this officer lost sight of that.
COOPER: How easy is it for an officer to be manipulated by a prisoner? Is this something you see a lot of?
GAVIN: I have seen it over the years. We had a case a couple of years ago where a male correction officer brought in a uniform for a female inmate and then he escorted her out after the midnight shift ended. He was caught. So it does happen. People fall in love in prison.
COOPER: And when you have a civilian employee, they don't have the same level of training certainly as -- Mitchell didn't have the same level of training certainly hat Gene Palmer has. And yet, he is claiming she was able to dupe him.
GAVIN: Well, first of all, Gene Palmer is a peace officer, he is an officer of the court, and he is in a position of public trust. He has statutory powers of arrest. And as such, that's why we pay him the big bucks and we put the inmates under his charge. She is a civilian. She has no statutory authority. All she does is minds her seamstress shop. That should be it.
COOPER: The idea he would accept hamburger meat from her and not put it through the metal detector, does that surprise you?
GAVIN: Yes. First of all, what he should have done, once she asked him to bring in frozen meat, he should have immediately assumed there was contraband in it. Why would she even ask him to do that in the first place? She knows the procedures. She knows that everything is subject to inspection, all people and all items coming into the facility. What he should have done, what I would have done, is I would have accepted it, and I would have reported it to my superiors or the inspector general, and we would have made the arrest right then and there.
COOPER: And it would have never happened.
COOPER: The notion that A, he wouldn't put it through the metal detector, but also that he would, he apparently had used these guys or at least one of these guys as kind of an informer about what may happen, about prisoners acting out, any prisoners who might become violent. Is there a procedure for that? Because it is not clear to me if had informed higher-ups that he was using these guys in that capacity, or this was just something he was doing on his own?
GAVIN: We don't have free agents at the officer rank. When an inmate is committing an illegal act in the confines of the institution, and the officer develops information or he works that informant, he then needs to take that to a superior officer, in this case the security deputy superintendent, or at the very minimum the sergeant or the tour (ph) commander. And that's how it should have been handled. And then from there they would make the determination if they would kick that up to the inspector general. And that's what should have happened. She should have been arrested right there.
Anderson, the thing that really troubles me most is this is another, the second allegation, against Ms. Mitchell. She was also charged with undue familiarity earlier in this way. It shouldn't have happened in the first place.
COOPER: Also, the idea that Gene Palmer would go and show the catwalks to these guys, allegedly with the idea of having them fix something because a breaker was going out, does that make any sense? Aren't there maintenance people?
GAVIN: Absolutely. They have electricians, they have plumbers, they have laborers, and they have -- it usually falls under what we call support services. And those are people who have access, they have the Folger Adams (ph) keys, they have all the materials and the tools necessary to affect repairs. We don't sub that work out to inmates, if you will.
COOPER: You have no doubt that there is a larger problem at this prison?
GAVIN: No doubt in my mind.
COOPER: Ed Gavin, appreciate you being on. Thank you very much.
GAVIN: Pleasure, thank you.
COOPER: Just ahead we have breaking news in South Carolina, hours after the body of slain Senator Clementa Pinckney arrived at the state house to lie in repose, Bible study resumed inside the Charleston church where he and eight others were murdered one week ago.
COOPER: Breaking news in Charleston, South Carolina, the Emanuel AME church did something remarkable tonight. Inside the very same room where nine people were murdered one week ago, Bible study resumed. It could not have been easy. A step forward though certainly in the wake of immeasurable loss.
As you see, the body of State Senator Clementa Pinckney, who was also the senior pastor at Emanuel AME, arrived at the state house in Columbia. Senator Pinckney lay in repose in the rotunda this afternoon. He served the state for nearly 20 years, starting as a page. There will be two more public viewings tomorrow in a church in the senator's district, and of course at Emanuel AME itself. On Friday, at his funeral in Charleston, President Obama will deliver the eulogy. Martin Savidge was at tonight's Bible study. He joins me now. What was it like, Martin, at the church tonight, I cannot imagine?
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, I thought it was going to be difficult telling about last Sunday's service. Trying to tell you about what it was like to go to the Bible study, because last Sunday of course what they did is they reclaimed the church, the parishioners. Today they went back in and they reclaimed the space where nine people were murdered. We are talking about, where the Bible study was held. And it is in the basement of the church. You walk in, and the sense that just strikes you, and I didn't lose anyone, and of course, I am not a member. But I was deeply struck by just the emotions that were in the room and realizing of course what happened there.
There was a lot of embracing. There was a lot of very, people holding on to one another in a way that they're trying to hold each other together. You could tell that. They were whispering. They were shaking as they held one another.
But once, once the Bible study began, people began to smile. The reverend was very good. He got people laughing. He got people reflecting. He mentioned, he said, look, we continue, but he said we will recognize that we will never be the same again down here.
But that said, the message tonight was the power of love. It transitioned to the gift of forgiveness. There were victims' family members who were there. And you could tell that there was still reminders of the horror that happened in the room. There were parts of the wood wall that had been cut away, clearly because there were bullet holes there. I looked up above the seat where I was sitting, you could see what was a bullet hole in the low hanging ceiling. It still had the police markings around it. But that didn't matter to the people who were there. They celebrated their faith. And most of all, they said that we are -- the words of the reverend here, this territory belongs to God. So, very courageous, Anderson.
COOPER: And there were certainly police there at the church. I know patrolling both outside and inside. How do people feel about that? Abut the presence of officers, certainly understood but not something you see every day at a church?
SAVIDGE: Right. It's something the church did not ask for. Again, the same thing as last Sunday. This is something that the community is providing because they're definitely very concerned about any repercussions.
There was one armed uniformed police officer in the back of the room. There may have been others that were out of uniform. And you were lightly searched as you want in. But beyond that, the police presence wasn't heavy. What was really heavy was the spirit of community and the spirit of love. That is the strength of this parish.
COOPER: Martin, I'm glad you were there. Thank you.
Outside South Carolina state house today, the confederate flag, well, it was still flying high even as Senator Pinckney lay in repose inside. Meanwhile, Alabama's governor today used his executive power to remove four flags with confederate symbols from a monument outside the state capitol. Also U.S. senators Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker, both from Mississippi, changed their positions. They're now calling to remove Mississippi state flag, which contains a depiction of the confederate flag. Yesterday, South Carolina lawmakers voted overwhelmingly to debate removing the flag after they finalized a budget. State Representative Bill Chumley was one of ten lawmakers who voted no. We asked Drew Griffin to go ask him why. The Congressman instead started talking last night on the program about the shooting itself, and his answer caught a lot of people off-guard, Drew included. Listen to what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL CHUMLEY, SOUTH CAROLINA STATE REPRESENTATIVE: These people sat in there, waiting their turn to be shot. That's sad. If somebody in there with a means of self-defense could have stopped this, we would have less funerals than we're having.
DREW GRIFFIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You are turning this into a gun debate? If those nine families asked you to take down that flag, would you do it?
CHUMLEY: You said guns, why didn't somebody just do something? I mean, you got one skinny person shooting a gun, you know, I mean, we need to take -- do what we can.
GRIFFIN: I mean, I want to make sure I understand what you are telling me. Are you asking that these people should have tackled him? These women should have fought him?
CHUMLEY: I don't know what the answer was. But I know it's really, really horrible for nine people to be shot. And I understand that he reloaded his gun during the process. That's -- that's upsetting. Very upsetting.
GRIFFIN: Those nine families and every black person in South Carolina, and all of the people, the white people who are against that flag, believe it shouldn't be on the state grounds, you are saying it should stay because your constituents want it to?
CHUMLEY: It stays there until the people of South Carolina say it should come down.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, today, that man, Representative Chumley, said he regretted using those words and wasn't trying to blame the victims. Representative Mark Sanford clarified his position on the flag issue today as well. On Monday when Governor Haley called for taking down the flag from the state Capitol grounds, he stood near her, even though days earlier he said it was too soon to debate taking down the flag. I spoke to the congressman earlier.
COOPER: Congressman Sanford, two days after the shooting, I saw you on Wolf Blitzer and you declined to take a position on the flag, and you said it is premature to go into an intense, exhaustive, emotionally draining debate of what we might do before we first have time to mourn the passing of these families and the lives that have been impacted. I know elsewhere you likened removing the flag to opening a Pandora's box or having this debate. You now support removing the confederate flag from the grounds of the state capitol. I'm wondering when and what made you come to that decision?
REP. MARK SANFORD, R-S.C.: Obviously, the miraculous turn of events we have seen over the last couple of days. I don't think anybody would have anticipated that things would change as quickly as they have. Not just in South Carolina, but frankly with regard to a larger conversation, with regard to monuments of Confederacy, of slavery and the whole basket, if you will. So I think the change has been startling.
My simple point was this, which is while we should have a debate on that front, while we might have a debate on that front, I believe it was premature to do prior to the burial of the nine victims.
Turned out I was wrong in that. This thing has come and moved much faster than I would have anticipated. COOPER: So it's really the change in public opinion that you have
felt. I assume you have been getting a lot of calls to your office, that's what had the biggest impact?
SANFORD: No. What had the impact for me was -- I stand by a belief that in a perfect world, you would wait until after we buried Clementa Pinckney. Clementa Pinckney was a friend of mine. I served with him for eight years in Columbia. I was governor and he was a state senator. I think it would be appropriate before you go into a debate on guns, racial balance, racial violence, I mean, the flag, you name it, to first mourn loss. That was my simple point. And I stand by that.
COOPER: How important was it to have the governor, to have Governor Haley, come forward and make that statement? Did it, in a sense make it easier for others in the state as well to come forward?
SANFORD: No, I mean, I think that in some ways her hand was forced. What you had during the same day was the mayor of North Charleston coming out with a press conference, and a whole host of different folks, I guess giving this an even larger level of attention.
COOPER: You said that for some, the flag is a symbol of a rich heritage, and sacrifice in battle. And to others obviously it is a symbol of slavery and repression. I'm wondering, for you, what is it a symbol of?
SANFORD: My forefathers were not slaves. And so, I don't have in essence a dog in the fight, so to speak. They were neither slaves nor were they confederate soldiers, to the best of my knowledge. So, so, what I would say is -- in representing the state for eight years of my life as a governor, I tried to take into account both view points.
COOPER: It does sound, though, that like you just don't want to take a position on, or let people know what you personally think of the flag?
SANFORD: I think I personally, maybe I stand very clear when I stood beside the governor and said the flag ought to come down. I put out a statement to that same effect. That's what I think.
COOPER: So because -- does it represent something for you, though? When you see it, what do you think? Do you view it as a symbol of heritage? Do you view it as a symbol of slavery and repression?
SANFORD: I think it is both. I think it's all in the eye of the beholder. And as I say, I don't come from a strong confederacy background in terms of a bunch of forefathers that fought in battles, nor do I come from a slave holder background.
COOPER: Just so I am clear, because you said you don't really have a dog in this hunt, to you, it doesn't have much meaning, personal meaning, but you understand the position -- you understand the various positions of your constituents, who feel strongly one way or the other. For you personally, you don't have that personal connection to it. SANFORD: That's all I am saying. I don't have a personal connection
to the flag. And the flag in South Carolina, and frankly through much of the South, there is personal connection. People feel a strongly held belief based on either the fact that your ancestors were one of 20,000 people who died in the war between the states, or based on the fact that you are -- your ancestors were actual slaves. And all I am saying is, it's not a benign viewpoint, it's an educated viewpoint based on being around those very folks over a long number of years who have strongly held emotional feelings towards it. And what I am saying is, when I look up at the flag, it doesn't evoke an emotional response for me. Maybe that's a better way of saying it.
COOPER: Congressman Sanford, I really appreciate your time. Thank you, sir.
SANFORD: Yes, sir. Pleasure.
COOPER: Just ahead tonight, raw words at the Boston bomber sentencing hearing. Victims and family members faced the bomber and unleashed grief and rage. The bomber also spoke, breaking his nearly two-year silence.
COOPER: At his sentencing today, the Boston bomber spoke publicly for the first time in almost two years. On this program we don't use his name or show his face because we believe he does not deserve any sort of recognition. Today he apologized for the suffering he caused and asked for forgiveness, and he also admitted his guilt. His remarks were filled with references to Islam, Ramadan and Allah. Now, before he spoke, he heard from victims and their loved ones. The father of 8-year-old Martin Richard, the youngest victim, spoke again in court. Bill Richard said this about the bomber. "He could have changed his mind, walked away with a minimal sense of humanity and reported to authorities that his brother intended to hurt others. He chose hate, he chose destruction, he chose death. This is all on him." After the hearing, some survivors shared their reactions to the bomber's words.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LYNN JULIEN, BOSTON BOMBING SURVIVOR: I regret having ever wanted to hear him speak, because what he said showed no remorse, no regret, and no empathy for what he has done to our lives.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Deborah Feyerick joins us. Now, you were in the courtroom today, what was the reaction like for those people sitting in the courtroom to that apology?
DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, for many, this was too little, too late. This is more than two years since this horrible attack. And through the duration, the bomber remained largely silent, saying nothing, showing no remorse. And people really felt that what he said in court today really also continued to show a lack of remorse. He did speak about Ramadan as a month of forgiveness, a month quote, "in which hearts change," but he did take responsibility or at least admitted that he did it. He said quote, "the bombing which I am guilty of, if there is any lingering doubt, I did it along with my brother." Finally acknowledging that it was him, exactly as his lawyer said. He also did apologize to the victims, to the families of the people who died, and he said, "I'm sorry for the lives I have taken, the suffering I have caused, the damage I have done." And his voice did choke with emotion there.
But again, the U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz, she said after this, she said what she didn't hear, she didn't hear him renounce terrorism, she didn't hear him renounce violent extremism. And one of the victims actually got up and said, show remorse, so that other terrorists don't do something similar. So it was a really powerful couple of hours in that courtroom today, Anderson.
COOPER: Of course this is all to avoid the death penalty. And the judge, did the judge say anything? In terms of reaction?
FEYERICK: Yes, the judge was really, really strong. First of all he sentenced him to die by execution. Those were the words he said when he sort of -- shuttled him out the door. The bomber is going to Terre Haute, Indiana. But he said to him that the way he justified these terrible, terrible acts, he said it was a monstrous self-deception, you had to forget your own humanity. The judge had no problems not only sentencing him to death on those six counts, but also consecutive life terms on the other counts on which he was found guilty as well, Anderson.
COOPER: Deborah Feyerick, appreciate the reporting. Thank you.
Up next, we have breaking news in the investigation to the escape of two convicted killers from a maximum security prison in upstate New York. Tonight, corrections officer Gene Palmer who passed that meat with hacksaw blades to killer Richard Matt is under arrest. He is expected to be arraigned any minute now. We'll bring it to you live in our next hour. Stay with us.