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CNN LIVE AT DAYBREAK

Reaction to Westerfield's Guilty Verdict

Aired August 22, 2002 - 06:02   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: From a San Diego restaurant to the Van Dam neighborhood, those who knew both Danielle and her convicted killer reacted to the verdict.
CNN's Anne McDermott has that part of the story from San Diego.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANNE MCDERMOTT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They gathered at this restaurant bar to hear the verdict.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Guilty of the crime of murder.

MCDERMOTT: Bar owner, Patrick Lipes, had known customer, David Westerfield, for years.

(on camera): How do you feel about it?

PATRICK LIPES, "DAD'S CAFE" OWNER: I'm kind of sad for him as a person. You know, I just hope that he was the person that really did it.

MCDERMOTT (voice-over): Lipes' place, called Dad's, played a role in the trial. It was here that Westerfield and Danielle Van Dam's mother met by chance the night the child disappeared.

BRENDA VAN DAM, VICTIM'S MOTHER: Mr. Westerfield came up to us, and said, "Ladies don't buy their own drinks." And he threw some money on the bar.

MCDERMOTT: Later, there would be a massive search effort for Danielle, headquartered at Dave Pierce's real office, where he watched the verdict with satisfaction.

DAVE PIERCE, SEARCH ORGANIZER: I just shook with emotion, and I just said, "Yes!"

MCDERMOTT: In the Van Dam's neighborhood, they, too, were watching the verdict.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I guess he knows that he's going to pay that consequence.

MCDERMOTT: Others watched the verdict and remembered the day they found the child's body.

(on camera): Weren't you freaked? KAREN BRODERICK, VAN DAM'S NEIGHBORS: Very. I mean, my whole -- my whole world was rocked just that we can't keep our children safe in our own homes at night. It was very scary.

MCDERMOTT: And this was the right verdict?

BRODERICK: Yes, definitely the right verdict.

RICK ROBERTS, KFMB RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: It's a good day in San Diego that a child-murderer, a child abductor has been brought to justice.

MCDERMOTT (voice-over): Rick Roberts of San Diego's KFMB Talk Radio invited me to listen to his callers.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We were applauding. I was so happy.

MCDERMOTT: But some disagreed with the verdict. Not enough evidence, they said.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You have to prove that he was in that house. If he was at Dad's restaurant drinking...

ROBERTS: Legally, you don't, Michelle (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How do you know he got in the...

ROBERTS: Michelle!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: ... how can he go in the house with no fingerprints?

ROBERTS: Legally -- how do you get in the house with no fingerprints? One word: gloves.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh!

MCDERMOTT: Back at Dad's, they talked about the verdict, and they talked about Danielle Van Dam.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That little girl is never coming home.

MCDERMOTT: Anne McDermott, CNN, San Diego, California.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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