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LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES

Thousands Show for Funeral for Murdered Family

Aired July 16, 2003 - 19:23   ET

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

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Well, a funeral to tell you about.
Thousands of people gathered in Bakersfield, California, for the funeral service for five family members found dead in their home last week.

Now one of those in attendance, the man police say is their only suspect in the crime, Vincent Brothers.

Our David Mattingly was there, as well.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ROBERT HARPER, SON OF VICTIM: I just want to say thank you, Father in heaven, for picking Earnestine Harper to be our mother.

DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A family torn by five senseless murders reaches deeply into its faith for comfort.

HARPER: Because we don't understand does not make what God does wrong.

MATTINGLY: Ernestine Harper, her youngest daughter, Joni, and Joni's three small children all laid to rest in Bakersfield while their murders remain unsolved.

LETHA HORNE, FAMILY FRIEND: It's just like sorry, sorrow in it, yet there's something you can wake up to. It could happen to any of us. It could have been my family.

MATTINGLY: Vincent Brothers, Joni's husband and father to their three children, remains the only named suspect in the case. He entered the funeral services apparently in tears and under suspicion.

Police have not yet announced that they have confirmed his alibi that he was in Ohio with family at the time of the murders.

TOMMIE WOFFORD, FAMILY FRIEND: My mixed emotions is both directions with him. I can't see him doing that. Of course I'm not a police officer. I have no idea. We have competent police officers here that I'm sure do their jobs. But I feel sorry for everybody.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MATTINGLY: In recent days, at times Vincent Brothers has been observed under police surveillance, but he maintains his silence. His attorney says it could be sometime early next week before they have may to say, publicly at least, about this case -- Anderson.

COOPER: All right. David Mattingly thanks very much for covering it.

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