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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

President Drops in on the Big Easy; Did Virginia Execute an Innocent Man?

Aired January 12, 2006 - 23:00   ET

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


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Saudi Arabia, once again the Hajj, the Muslim's annual pilgrimage to Mecca has been marred by a fatal stampede. The country's health ministry says at least 345 pilgrims died today -- 345. The mayhem apparently triggered when several pilgrims tripped over luggage.
Turkey, the man who attempted to assassinate Pope John Paul II in 1981 was released from prison today, after more than 25 years behind bars. The pope forgave him for the shooting. After the gunman's release, he was required to check in to a military recruitment center in Turkey. He may now have to do some military time.

Well, the president dropped in on the Big Easy today and pronounced himself pretty well satisfied with the way recovery efforts are going there. Too bad those who remember what he said during a previous visit aren't satisfied. CNN's Susan Roesgen reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SUSAN ROESGEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When President Bush stood in New Orleans Jackson Square on September 15, it was as if the cavalry had come to the rescue.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We will do what it takes. We will stay as long as it takes to help citizens rebuild their communities and their lives.

ROESGEN: With that, New Orleanians assumed that however rough the future might be, at least the city would have the cash it needed to recover. But today, a top city official says the city is broke and hasn't gotten any federal money for more than three months.

GREG MEFFERT, CITY OF NEW ORLEANS: You're just kind of stunned in some of these meetings because you're like, well, wait a minute now, you know the White House wants this, oh yes, yes, yes. And you know the mayor wants, oh yes, yes, yes. yes. And even the governor's saying yes, yes, yes. Yes, well, we're working on it. Well, working on it doesn't build me a police station.

ROESGEN: Greg Meffert blames FEMA bureaucracy for holding up $600 million the city needs to stay afloat.

MEFFERT: They're going to just do their thing. And I don't care if there's 1,000 people waiting outside, one person waiting outside or a million. I go to Form 5 and then I put this here in triplicate, and I move it over here, and this is what I do and it's what I've been doing for 20 years and you know, we be here before you came and we be here after you came and you know, that's the way it is.

ROESGEN: City officials aren't the only ones wondering when federal money will materialize.

Catholic school girls marched on Jackson Square today. They and their teachers say more money is needed to fix the levees. And they hoped the president would stop by after his meeting with business leaders. But while a look alike showed up with a wad of cash, Mr. Bush did not.

Greg Meffert says he shared the city's frustration today with the president.

MEFFERT: I'm frustrated on behalf of the city and here's the president of the United States who's frustrated that the money's not going down, and you're like, wait a minute. If the president agrees and mayor agrees and everyone on the camera's agreeing, why is this money not moving?

ROESGEN: A FEMA Spokeswoman Nicole Andrews says, "Because these projects typically request millions of taxpayer dollars, there is paperwork involved to ensure that the funds will be spent appropriately ... However, once the request is received, the average turnaround time for FEMA to fund public projects is 14.5 days." That's just two weeks, but the city's been waiting for its money for nearly four months.

MEFFERT: After a while, you start to wondering, man, is this the plan or something? You know, I mean, do you really want us to come back or not?

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ROESGEN: Now, just to give you an idea of the FEMA paperwork, Anderson, this is a 10-page FEMA form that the city filled out, asking FEMA to release $81,000 so the city could fix up some broken street lights. Well, they submitted this form back in November, the money has never arrived, and 600 broken street lights are still broken -- Anderson.

COOPER: It's amazing, if it takes that long just for the city to get money and is waiting that long, imagine what it's like for individuals and of course, you must be hearing those stories all the time, people who are still just waiting to get money from FEMA and you know, they don't have a city government behind them.

ROESGEN: And President Bush heard some of those stories today. He met with small business owners here in New Orleans. One of them was a praline candy maker here in New Orleans, a woman who says, look, I'm not wanting a handout. I do want some help just to get back on my feet.

COOPER: And that is what people need. Susan, appreciate it. Susan Roesgen in New Orleans tonight.

Of all the places that had the rug pulled out from under them in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, and there were so very many devastated places, one of the hardest hit was a small gulf coast town we visited so early on that it was literally still wet. It's dry now, all these months later, but not much else has changed. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER (voice-over): This is what Waveland, Mississippi, looked like after Katrina struck. This is what Waveland looks like today. More than four months have passed and not much has changed. So CNN went back to keep them honest.

We were there just days after the storm. The focus at that point was grim. Search and rescue; and in many cases, recovery.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Any chance of anybody being alive is pretty slim to none.

COOPER: After a few days, people began returning home. Most found rubble instead.

GERMAINE KEARNEY, FORMER WAVELAND RESIDENT: Oh my God, look at Reggie's house.

COOPER: Germaine and Charles Kearney's house was destroyed. We met them as they worked to salvage any mementos Katrina left behind.

KEARNEY: These are my babies.

COOPER: It must be overwhelming just seeing all of this.

KEARNEY: It is. It is. You know, this is blowing me away. It really is. You know, but I mean, this happens to other people (inaudible) come back from it so, we're going to come back from it too.

COOPER: Today, the Kearneys say they have come back from the storm, but Waveland has not.

CHARLES KEARNEY, FORMER WAVELAND RESIDENT: Overall, I'd say my family is doing very well, considering everything we've been through. The town of Waveland is not doing as well as us. It's totally devastated, with most of the structures completely gone.

COOPER: The Kearneys and their two children now live about a half an hour outside of Waveland. They'd like to return, but there's really nothing there.

Nearly 8,000 people used to call Waveland home, now fewer than 1,500 live there.

C. KEARNEY: Waveland absolutely is a ghost town in the sense that the families and the people are no longer there.

COOPER: Instead, there are miles and miles of debris.

TOMMY LONGO, MAYOR OF WAVELAND, MISSISSIPPI: I wish it was all cleaned up too, because everything hinges on debris removal.

COOPER: The Mayor Tommy Longo says federal officials only gave him a commitment for debris removal this week, in advance of the president's visit.

LONGO: Their big gear-up was supposedly coming in the next week or two, but my only question is why didn't it happen five months ago? It should have happened instantly.

COOPER: Charles Kearney watched the president's motorcade pass by today. He says he would have liked to have talked to Mr. Bush.

C. KEARNEY: I would tell him to please, please cut out the bureaucracy, but out the red tape, let the people who need the help get the help.

COOPER: The anger may have subsided, but with every day that Waveland waits, their frustration only gets worse.

C. KEARNEY: I'm frustrated, angry -- not so much anymore. I want to move on past that and I want to get our lives back and enjoy the place we know as home.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Waveland then and now.

In Louisiana, St. Bernard Parish, the waiting continues. Almost five months after Katrina, less than a third of the much-needed FEMA trailers have arrived. And residents who were lucky enough to get one, are facing even more problems. Tonight, Gary Tuchman is keeping them honest.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): These days it's not easy to think positive in St. Bernard Parish. Not with thousands of homeless people still waiting, many of them in tents, for FEMA trailers to live in.

JOEY DIFATTA, ST. BERNARD PARISH COUNCIL: We have 6,000 folks applied for trailers in St. Bernard Parish. There are roughly 1,300 were delivered.

TUCHMAN: These trailers, being installed by FEMA contractors, are still empty. Katrina victims say they were told the construction would be complete by Christmas. So why is all this taking so long? FEMA says it's working against unprecedented obstacles.

Is it fair to say, though, that in the beginning you weren't that satisfied with the pace?

MARK MISCZAK, FEMA: I think that none of us were satisfied to think that we were, you know, actually meeting the need in a timeframe that disaster victims would be happy with.

TUCHMAN: Not happy would describe homeless Jim LaCharty (ph), owner of a destroyed mobile home park.

(On camera): So how long have you and your family owned this mobile home park?

JIM LACHARTY (PH), OWNER OF DESTROYED MOBILE HOME PARK: About 50 years.

TUCHMAN: Fifty years.

LACHARTY (PH): Right.

TUCHMAN: So, when you see it like this, you see it like this four months after the hurricane, what goes through your mind?

LACHARTY (PH): It's unbelievable. It's just heartbreaking. To see what we built years ago -- my father and I, and to see it like this.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): LaCharty (ph) says he was told by FEMA nearly three months ago it would remove the wreckage and put its trailers in his park. He says the hookups are all ready. And the price would be a lot cheaper for FEMA than land like this with no hookups. But nothing's happened.

LACHARTY (PH): There's a lot of waste of money going on down here.

TUCHMAN: After we talked with mobile park owners, FEMA had this news for us. The decision has been made to put trailers in the devastated mobile home parks.

MISCZAK: We had to make sure that, you know, it was appropriate and that it was legal and that took a little bit of time, but it certainly is an option available to us now.

TUCHMAN: While most of the residents in this hard hit parish still wait, some seem luckier than others. But talk to Joy Melerine who just moved into her trailer last week in front of her gutted house.

JOY MELERINE, TRAILER RESIDENT: They put the trailer there, but they wouldn't put up the utility pole to run the energy. That took over six weeks to get them to do that. And someone broke in using a key that the contractor stores here at the trailer, which I didn't know, in the heater panel. They used a key and opened up my trailer and took everything inside, the furniture and household items, blankets, everything.

TUCHMAN: So you were robbed in your trailer -- your FEMA trailer?

MELERINE: Yes. I lost everything I owned twice in three months. That's how I look at it.

TUCHMAN: That's incredible.

MELERINE: It's heartbreaking.

TUCHMAN: There is no shortage of heartbreak in St. Bernard Parish.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

TUCHMAN: So why don't the local governments deal with the trailers by themselves? Well, first of all, under federal law, they would not get reimbursed. And also, it's too big of a job.

We asked FEMA how long it will take for everyone who's entitled to a trailer to get a trailer, and they told us June -- which is still five months away and happens to be the beginning of the 2006 hurricane season -- Anderson.

COOPER: You know, just when you think it can't get any worse, it just keeps on going along. Gary, thanks for the report. Life has not been easy for folks in St. Bernard Parish, as Gary just showed us -- even for local officials who have been helping with the relief.

Earlier tonight I spoke with the sheriff of St. Bernard Parish, Jack Stephens.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Sheriff, you're one of the lucky ones. You've been living in a trailer for months now. But, I mean, there are people in your community driving by a lot where they just see hundreds of trailers just sitting there, and they're hooked up, they're ready to be mobile, to be operable, and no one's living in them.

JACK STEPHENS, SHERIFF, ST. BERNARD PARISH: Yes. You know, Coop, I checked before I came up here. One of my senior rank was with the trailer manufacturer today. There are 6,600 requests for individual assistance in my community. Only about 750 trailers have been located and there's a location on a major state highway that is stockpiling over 1,400 trailers right now that have not been distributed. The reasons for that, I understand, is that FEMA has not paid for the trailers, and the manufacturer will not locate those mobile homes on the sites until FEMA pays for them. And they've been there for over 40 days now.

COOPER: How is that possible that FEMA has not paid for more than 1,000 trailers -- and you said there are 6,600 requests in St. Bernard Parish alone?

STEPHENS: That's right. There are 6,600 requests, I understand, that have been processed and authorized and all that needs to be done is the trailers need to be located on the respective individual properties and hooked up. And again, on the most prominent state highway in our community, there are 1,400 trailers that are stockpiled there. People have to drive past them every day and see them and they're just scratching their heads about what's taking so long.

COOPER: And I mean, people are getting desperate. I understand you had to respond to a situation where FEMA delivered a trailer to someone who didn't order one, didn't need one, but the guy's next door neighbor sees this trailer being delivered, freaks out and padlocks himself to the trailer, and you guys had to be called. What happened then?

STEPHENS: Well, yes, he chained himself to the trailer and my deputies responded to it and negotiated a deal and guaranteed him that FEMA would deliver his trailer the next day. He made the deputies personally guarantee that they would and fortunately for all of the parties involved, the trailer was delivered. And while, you know that's somewhat of a humorous situation. It is really sad to see the desperation that exists amongst our local population with regards to getting temporary housing, just so they can try to start rebuilding their lives. I mean, there's nothing funny about that. And you know, I mean, we're starting to see a higher degree of agitation and anxiety over this. I mean, we've had a couple of suicides. And I mean, people are really at their wit's end about how to deal with their housing situation at this point.

COOPER: Yes, I mean, someone doing that, there's nothing funny about it, it's a sign of desperation that a lot of people, no doubt, feel.

Well, the president was down there today. He says he sees progress. Do you think he saw the whole story down there?

STEPHENS: Well, you know, I guess if you haven't been here for a while, maybe things do look a lot drier and there is some signs of life, but when you look at the region as a whole, Anderson, we're in real trouble here. We're hanging on by our fingernails and we're just trying desperately to hold on until the government does truly come in here and give us some definitive answers about levees and base flood elevation. But more importantly right now is -- you know, our lives are really built on 24-hour increments. We can't think too far ahead. And for the next 24 hours we have to think about how to resettle our local population here and get them back into a position where they can start dealing with their housing situation on a long-term basis -- and that is gutting their houses, you know, rebuilding them, and resettling in these communities. I mean, this is just a horrible situation. Everyday, you know I wake up hoping I'm involved in a bad dream, but unfortunately I'm not.

COOPER: Let's hope at least in the next 24 hours, the next 48 hours, you get those 1,000 plus trailers out of that parking lot and distributed to some of the 6,600 people who need them desperately.

Sheriff Stephens, appreciate you joining us. Thanks.

STEPHENS: Thank you, Anderson.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: So did Virginia execute an innocent man? Tonight DNA tests set the record straight on whether a convicted killer was wrongly executed.

And a kidnapped baby -- but why did a phone company make it harder to find him?

And caught on tape, another vicious attack, one of several in Florida against homeless people. Do you recognize any of these two young attackers?

From across America and around the world, you're watching 360.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Perfect match.

JIM MCCLOSKEY, CENTURION MINISTRIES: How can somebody with such equanimity, such dignity, such quiet confidence make those his last words when it looks like he did it.

KAYE: Centurion Ministries Executive Director Jim McCloskey believed Coleman and fought all these years to prove Coleman didn't rape and murder his sister-in-law, Wanda McCoy.

She was stabbed twice and nearly decapitated by someone police believed she knew.

Just two months ago, McCloskey convinced Virginia Governor Mark Warner to order DNA tests so this small community of Grundy, Virginia, where the crime occurred, would know once and for all.

State of the art DNA fingerprinting wasn't available when Coleman was on trial.

(On camera): Given what we know, given all the evidence against Roger Coleman, given there was a jury that decided he was guilty and should be put to death, given his past history -- a conviction of attempted sexual assault -- how did we end up here today?

MCCLOSKEY: Well, but it wasn't over and done with years ago because there was -- as many people who believed he was guilty based on the facts and the elements of his conviction, an equal amount believed in his innocence.

KAYE (voice-over): McCloskey doubted Coleman had enough time to commit the crime, given his whereabouts that night. And he questioned whether hair and blood samples collected from the victim really belonged to Coleman.

MCCLOSKEY: He had to be a ninja to do it, but he did it. I mean, I'm mystified by it. Absolutely mystified.

KAYE: Prosecutor Tom Scott isn't so mystified. He always believed Coleman was guilty and took issue with the decision to test his DNA.

TOM SCOTT, FORMER PROSECUTOR: I don't mean any disrespect, but I felt like we were beating a dead horse. KAYE: Coleman's case captured national attention. In 1992, weeks before he died, the cover of "TIME" magazine suggested this man might be innocent. He even went on "LARRY KING LIVE."

ROGER COLEMAN, CONVICTED OF KILLING WANDA MCCOY: I had no reason to want to hurt Wanda. I had no reason to want to rape her.

KAYE: In response to the DNA results, Virginia Governor Mark Warner released this statement, "The confirmation that Roger Coleman's DNA was present reaffirms the verdict and the sanction." For Jim McCloskey, it's not as simple. He devoted 18 years to the Coleman case. And in a sense, to the rest of the accused behind bars who say they're innocent.

(On camera): So now you know the truth, how does it feel?

MCCLOSKEY: It's like a spear in the side. I mean, the truth can be a very prickly thing. But even with that, even though the truth can be hurtful, you can never give up trying to find it.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KAYE: Anderson, tests show that there is a one in 19 million chance that someone other than Roger Coleman committed this crime. That means a one in 19 million chance that someone else has matching DNA to Roger Coleman.

I spoke with the Prosecutor Tom Scott today by phone. He has always believed that Roger Coleman was guilty. He told us, "I'm feeling euphoric. This has confirmed what we know all along. I do feel the prosecution, the entire legal team and the judiciary system have been vindicated ... for the McCoy family this will give them some kind of closure, maybe they'll get on with their lives, but you never really get over something like this."

Also, talking with Jim McCloskey today, we asked him if had had any contact with Roger Coleman's family, Anderson. He did speak with Coleman's mother. He described her as heartbroken because she had always believed in her son's innocence.

COOPER: Erica -- sorry, Randi, thanks very much. Erica Hill from "HEADLINE NEWS," joins us now with some of the other stories were following tonight.

ERICA HILL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, I'm over here.

COOPER: Yes.

HILL: We start off actually with some harsh words for Iran today. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice lashing out on Iran's decision to restart it's nuclear program. Rice says the U.S. is gravely concerned with the situation, and called Iran's move to continue it's nuclear intentions a deliberate escalation on this issue.

In New York, Bill Clinton launches a new drive to fight AIDS. The former president's foundation reached a deal with nine drug companies to reduce the cost of HIV testing and treatment in 50 countries. Clinton said that will help save hundreds of thousands of lives.

Pat Robertson says he's sorry. The televangelist apologized to the son of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon for saying Sharon's stroke was retribution for quote, "dividing God's land." In his apology, Robertson calls Sharon a kind, gracious and gentle man.

In Detroit, three zoo penguins who were nearly blind -- apparently seeing a little better tonight. The trio had been bumping into walls and also other penguins. So veterinarians performed a cataract surgery. Penguins who develop cataracts in the wild often die because they have trouble catching fish.

And in the hopes of drawing more tourists to the garden state, not penguins for New Jersey, but a new tourism motto. This one -- New Jersey, Come See for Yourself. It beat out several others, including, Expect the Unexpected, The Real Deal, and what seems to be a real favorite of the AC360 staff, Anderson, New Jersey, You Got A Problem With That?

COOPER: I don't know what you're talking about, Erica Hill.

HILL: I just read what's in front of me.

COOPER: I don't know where you heard that. Erica, thanks very much. We love new Jersey.

It's something we all need, but don't get enough of. Sleep, of course, is what we're talking about. If you think you can live without much of it, think again. Get the facts and the answers in our 360 sleep exam. Part of our special series, Mind and Body.

And a car is stolen with a baby inside. This baby. Why a phone company prevented the police from finding the kidnapped child sooner. Unbelievable. You're watching 360.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN GRAPHIC)

Sleeping in America. Hours of sleep an average adult gets every night: 6.8 hours.

(END GRAPHIC)

COOPER: 6.8 hours. I didn't know that. It's almost 11:30 Eastern Time and perhaps you're thinking of hitting the hay. Hopefully you'll wait until after our program. Most Americans, though, wait too long to get some sleep.

According to "TIME" magazine, 71 percent of adults are sleep deprived and 85 percent of teens are not getting enough Zs. We're one tired country. And you may be surprised by just how much it is having an impact on our daily lives. Tonight, in our "Mind and Body" series, we explore some of the misconceptions about sleep. Earlier, I separated the fact from the fiction with CNN's Senior Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Sanjay, a lot of people think you can catch up on sleep. True or false?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: That's actually true, Anderson. This one sort of surprised me because I always thought that once you lost the sleep, it was never going to come back. But your brain keeps tally of how much sleep you've lost. You can actually catch up on that.

COOPER: Sanjay, true or false? You can will yourself to get by on less sleep?

GUPTA: That's actually false. The military's tried that. Drug companies have tried that. There's a lot of money in this. You simply can't will yourself to get -- to try and get less sleep. You need to get as much as you can, otherwise you're going to start feeling the affects of it. Usually about 16 hours is about as much as you can tolerate being awake. After that, your brain starts to decrease in its overall function.

COOPER: Sanjay, true or false? Sleep may be more to rest the mind than the body?

GUPTA: That's absolutely true. Interestingly, lack of sleep, you have difficulty with your memories, you may have difficulty solving problems, it'll slow down your reaction time. Lack of sleep can also mimic dementia. And did I mention that it can slow down your reaction time as well?

COOPER: You're very sleepy, I can tell. True or false? There's a link between lack of sleep and weight gain?

GUPTA: Yes, that's absolutely true. And you know, I did some research on this. I learned something here. When you don't sleep enough, a couple things happen. You actually release some hormones in your body that stimulate your appetite, which could explain those late night refrigerator raids. Also, you're just awake more so you probably have more time to eat. Both those things in combination and you're more likely to gain weight.

COOPER: I hope this next one is false. The moment you wake up is the most alert you'll be for the whole day. True or false?

GUPTA: Good for you, Anderson. It's actually false. About 20 minutes after you wake up, it's still like you've never woken up, you're still acting like you're asleep. About two hours before your brain actually starts to hit it's peak in terms of overall intellectual and cognitive performance. COOPER: And true or false? As people get older, they need less sleep?

GUPTA: That's actually false. You actually still need the same amount of sleep, Anderson. But as you and I are getting older, it becomes more difficult to sleep. And that happens to older people for sure. It could also be the medications that they take sometimes or just the aches and pains of older age -- Anderson.

COOPER: Dr. Sanjay Gupta, thanks.

GUPTA: Thank you.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: A brutal attack caught on tape. Now police are on the hunt for a group of young men, accused of attacking homeless people with baseball bats, even killing one person. We'll take you inside the story next.

Plus, a baby boy kidnapped by a carjacker. Did a cell phone company actually slow down his rescue? His parents claim it did. We'll explain why when 360 continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: The kidnapping of a child. A story that would have had a happy ending a whole lot sooner if some cell phone rules and regulations hadn't gotten in the way. That story in a moment.

First, here are some of the other stories we're following at this moment.

During his first visit to New Orleans in three months, President Bush today called the recovery there pretty dramatic. This, in spite of the fact that the future of the city, much of which remains uninhabitable is locally a topic of heated debate.

The device found in a Starbucks bathroom in San Francisco earlier this week turns out not to have been an explosive device after all. Police initially said the device was powerful enough to seriously injure or kill someone if it had exploded. Police say a 44-year-old man has admitted to putting the device in the bathroom. He'll appear in court tomorrow on unrelated burglary charges.

In Alaska, the Augustine Volcano took a breather today. It's seismic rumblings fell to pre-eruption levels after two brief explosions yesterday spewed ash five miles into the skies over Cook Inlet. Nonetheless, scientists continue to anticipate another eruption.

Well, fair warning now. The images you're about to see are disturbing. And the aftermath, well, it's an outrage. In Florida, some club-wielding young men apparently set out for blood. And for targets, they chose some of the most helpless among us. Tonight, police are looking for the perpetrators and asking for your help. If you recognize anyone in this video. CNN's David Mattingly has the story.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was about 1:30 Thursday morning, when a surveillance camera recorded these horrifying images. Two young white men using baseball bats or long sticks repeatedly striking an African American man. They run away when a car's headlights approach. The victim is unable to get up. He eventually notifies a security guard and is now hospitalized in serious condition.

This attack happened at Florida Atlantic University's downtown campus in Fort Lauderdale. About an hour later, a second homeless man was attacked nearby, at the Broward Center for Performing Arts.

People say the victim, Norris Gainer (ph), was an artist who never bothered anyone. He was barely alive when Eric Williams found him and called 911.

ERIC WILLIAMS, WITNESS: He was on the bench, he was slumped over, and all you seen was a pool of blood. You know, and just sitting there. No one was around.

MATTINGLY: Gainer (ph) was rushed to the hospital, where he died. Police have removed the bench, hoping to find evidence that will lead them to whoever is responsible.

Then, about 4:00 a.m., there was a third beating. This time, in an upscale neighborhood. Another homeless man was attacked near a church. He, too, is now hospitalized in serious condition.

Police say the three attacks may be related. They'd like help identifying the two young men in the surveillance pictures.

KATHERINE COLLINS, FT. LAUDERDALE POLICE: They took advantage of these individuals at their weakest moment, whether they were asleep or certainly not expecting anything like this. So, you know, there was no provocation, there was no confrontation.

MATTINGLY: Advocates for the homeless are handing out fliers around Ft. Lauderdale, alerting people about the attacks.

SEAN CONONIE, FOUNDER, "THE HOMELESS VOICE": Anytime you have this type of vicious behavior, it's not going to go away. Hopefully, it's just an isolated incident, but you know, they'll strike again.

MATTINGLY: To avoid a repetition of such brutal confrontations, homeless people around Ft. Lauderdale are being advised to stay in shelters at night and to be extra careful, no matter where they might be.

David Mattingly, CNN, Atlanta.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Unbelievable seeing that.

In California tonight, a baby boy is back with his family after being kidnapped by a carjacker. Parents are relieved, but at the same time they are outraged at a cell phone provider. Sprint could have helped find their child earlier, but why did it choose not to? CNN's Chris Lawrence joins us from Los Angeles for that story -- Chris.

CHRIS LAWRENCE: Anderson, you know, this was just an awful experience for the mom and dad involved. But, their case may just change how and when cell phone providers track these new phones equipped with GPS.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

LAWRENCE (voice-over): A truck stolen from a family's own driveway. Their 10-month-old inside. Could the cell phone sitting on the front seat help save the baby buckled up in back?

STEPHANIE COCHRAN, MOTHER: The one thought was that maybe that the phone could like be our one saving grace.

LAWRENCE: It had GPS built in, but bureaucracy initially kept police from tracking it.

OPERATOR: 911 state your emergency.

MOTHER: Someone stole our car with my baby in it at my house.

LAWRENCE: It was two days before Christmas, Corona, California.

MOTHER: Oh my God, why would someone do this?

LAWRENCE: Stephanie Cochran's husband had just buckled up their baby and ran inside to get his 3-year-old brother.

BROTHER: Somebody stole Wade?

MOTHER: yeah.

BROTHER: He's lost?

MOTHER: He's lost.

LAWRENCE: A thief stole the truck and drove off.

COCHRAN: I felt like my heart was broken and that I felt like I was dying inside.

OPERATOR: We're going to try to see if we can do a GPS tracking.

LAWRENCE: They called Sprint. The detectives called Sprint, but they wasted valuable time with a customer service rep, who initially refused to track the phone because the company didn't want to violate the family's right to privacy. KATHLEEN DUNLEAVY, SPRING SPOKESPERSON: What's under investigation right now is the time lag.

LAWRENCE: Sprint says it would be easy to abuse this technology and it has a legal obligation to protect customers' privacy.

DUNLEAVY: That is why if someone calls our customer care center, we will not track their phone for them.

LAWRENCE: Customers have to call the police, who fill out a form and fax it back to Sprint.

COCHRAN: I couldn't believe that they were asking for those sort of things, and paperwork. You know, I had been on the phone with them. What other kind of release did they need from a customer?

LAWRENCE: In this case, they didn't need GPS. Police found the truck and Wade a few hours later, about a mile away.

COCHRAN: I'm just so thankful to have him home. You know, that's all I cared about. Thank you for not hurting my baby.

LAWRENCE: The county board wasn't so quick to move on. And at one point considered freezing construction of Sprint's cell phone towers.

JOHN TAVAGLIONE, RIVERSIDE COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS: Bureaucracy can't get in the way of the life of a child and I felt that something needed to change.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LAWRENCE: Yes, Sprint is already working with the police to change its policy. And because of this specific case, California legislators are already drafting two new bills. One of them would allow you, the customer, to sign a form when you buy your phone. That form would then authorize the cell provider to track your phone's GPS in case of an emergency -- Anderson.

COOPER: All right, we'll be watching. Chris, thanks very much. Chris Lawrence.

Is the mystery solved or is the plot just thickening? A small plane crashes, its pilot dies. Investigators say a mid-air collision was the cause. So why now have they changed their mind about it?

Also, now that Iran has gone ahead and done what the rest of the world warned it not to, what happens next? How grave is the danger? CNN's Christiane Amanpour reports live from Tehran, next on 360.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: To Mobile, Alabama, a story that CNN's Jeanne Meserve first reported in 2004. The mysterious crash of a small plane. Federal investigators took the unusual step of sending the plane's wreckage to Washington for more testing. Well, now the federal government says that it solved the three- year-old mystery. But for the relatives of the dead pilot, the plot has only thickened. Here's CNN's Jeanne Meserve.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEANNE MESERVE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Like many mysteries, this one starts on a dark and stormy night.

On October 23, 2002, Tommy Preziosi, an experienced pilot who had flown helicopters for the New York City Police Department, takes off in bad weather from a Mobile, Alabama airport. His Cessna caravan, loaded with freight.

As he climbs, air traffic controllers warn him about a nearby DC- 10. Roger, Preziosi replies. I've got him above me right now. But then, it what will be his last communication, Preziosi says, "I needed to deviate. I needed to deviate. I needed --" and the plane plunges into Big Bato Bay, just four minutes after takeoff.

In an interim report, the National Transportation Safety Board reached the highly unusual conclusion that the plane had "collided in- flight with an unknown object." But what?

MAURA WADE, PREZIOSI'S SISTER: You know, some time this was an airplane. This was a beautiful airplane at one time.

MESERVE: Preziosi's sister, Maura Wade, dredged up evidence at the crash site that appeared to support the finding. Unexplained red marks on parts of the wreckage.

WADE: All these scratches, all these dents, all these marks are signs that tell them what happened at this particular part of the airplane.

MESERVE: Speculation about what it was ran from an Air Force Drone, to a missile, to a drug runner's plane, even to a UFO. But this week, the NTSB reversed itself, saying in its final report that there is no evidence of an in-flight collision or contact with a foreign object. It says the mysterious red marks were caused by parts of the aircraft, its cargo, or the recover of the wreckage and concludes that Preziosi became disoriented by the bad weather and possibly the nearby DC-10 and flew his plane right into the water.

(On camera): Though no one associated with the case still believes there was a mid-air collision, there is sharp disagreement with the NTSB's final report from the attorney representing Preziosi's son.

TONY JOBE, ATTORNEY FOR PREZIOSI ESTATE: It was not his fault. He was placed in a situation where most pilots would have met disastrous consequences.

MESERVE (voice-over): Supporting his case, an affidavit from a former NTSB investigator, who cites an inadequate FAA weather briefing and inaccurate air traffic information. Factors never mentioned by the NTSB.

As for Maura Wade, a pilot herself, she says disorientation is only a possible cause of her brother's crash. She has now reluctantly come to the conclusion that the mystery of why her brother and his plane ended up in the swampy waters of Big Bato will never be solved. Jeanne Meserve, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: And Erica Hill, from "HEADLINE NEWS" joins us now with some of the business news we're following tonight. Hi Erica.

HILL: Hi Anderson. Get ready for a widening budget gap. The White House saying today the budget deficit will soar above $400 billion this year -- well over a July forecast of $341 billion. The White House says Hurricane Katrina costs are largely to blame.

One of the oldest department store chains in the country, Lord and Taylor, headed now for the auction block. Fettering (ph) department stores plans to sell the chain by the end of the year. It acquired Lord and Taylor five months ago. The chain was founded in 1826. It has stores in 12 states and Washington, D.C. But for Williams-Sonoma, the SBL house wares retailer, forget the auction block altogether. It's just closing its hold everything stores -- all of them by the end of 2006. In an effort to focus more on its more profitable Pottery Barn and West Elm chains.

And, here's another way for you to spend your money at Starbucks. The coffee chain is now adding movies to its offerings. Under a deal with Lions Gate Entertainment, Starbucks will promote the studio's upcoming film, "Akeelah and the Bee." It will sell DVDs of the movie and, of course, CDs and soundtracks. In return, Starbucks is getting an undisclosed share of box office proceeds.

There you have it.

COOPER: There you go, Erica. Thanks very much. See you tomorrow.

So what did you resolve to do this year? Iran apparently resolved to start up its nuclear program. Now that it has, how concerned should we be? Could we be heading for a nuclear showdown with Iran? We're going to get the latest on their brazen move from Christiane Amanpour when 360 continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Well, it's the question tonight on the minds of many top U.S. and European officials. Is Iran working to build nuclear weapons? Its decision to restart its nuclear program has been a cause for alarm. And today, the U.S. supported European recommendations that the U.N. Security Council look into the matter.

CNN's Chief International Correspondent Christiane Amanpour is in Iran's capitol, Tehran. She joins me now -- Christiane. CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, as Iran comes diplomatic eyeball to eyeball with the West over its nuclear program, we had an interview exclusively with Iran's top nuclear negotiator, and it was (inaudible). After several days of hard line bombastic views about their right to proceed with their nuclear program, he sat down and told us he believed the time was still left for negotiations to compromise and to talk.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

AMANPOUR (voice-over): This is what the U.S. and the West worried about, what they told Iran not to do. The message was loud and clear. Do not break the seal laws to reopen your nuclear plans. After 14 months of talk and a voluntary suspension of its nuclear program, Iran has restarted anyway.

(On camera): Could you tell me precisely what Iran wants to do now that the seals have been broken? Precisely what activities you will undertake.

ALI LARIJANI, IRAN'S CHIEF NUCLEAR NEGOTIATOR: We have already declared that our intention is to do nuclear research. It has nothing to do with the enrichment.

AMANPOUR (voice-over): Enrichment, that is precisely the fear. If Iran were to use it for enrichment, it could then be on the way to building nuclear weapons.

(On camera): Most normal people agree that you have the right to enrich under the MPT. But it's your intentions that people don't trust.

LARIJANI: Why should the world turn an international right into (inaudible) intentions. International law should be the same for everyone. It's very bad to say we think this is your intentions; therefore, we are confronting you. How can you tell anyone's intentions?

AMANPOUR: Iran, with nuclear weapons has always been a troubling prospect for the United States. But especially now, with Iran's new President Mahmud Ahmadinejad, a hardliner, who has recently had much to say about Jews and Israel. He has said, for example, the Holocaust never happened. And on Israel, he has said, quote, that "it should be wiped off the face of the map."

And that is why breaking the seal locks the International Atomic Energy Agency, the IAEA, had used to close its nuclear plants, is a concern.

CONDOLEEZZA RICE, SECRETARY OF STATE: We are gravely concerned by Iran's long history of hiding sensitive nuclear activities from the IAEA, in violation of its obligations, its refusal to cooperate with the IAEA's investigation, its rejection of diplomatic initiatives offered by the EU and Russia. And now, it's dangerous defiance of the entire international community. AMANPOUR: Iran does say it'll continue to work with the IAEA, but from both the U.S. and European Union, there is condemnation. And now, there may be a threat of U.N. sanctions against Iran.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: That was Christiane Amanpour reporting from Tehran. Obviously, we've got a problem with her video signal there at the end of her piece.

After the Tsunami, so many families torn apart -- even animals had to start all over again. We update you one hippo who's done just that when 360 continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Well, you've heard of the tortoise and the hare, no doubt; but the tortoise and the hippo? CNN's Jeanne Moos has an update on a friendship that's -- well, it's unlike any other.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is an odd couple that makes that other "Odd Couple," seem bland. Maybe you've heard about the baby hippo that fell for an aging tortoise in Kenya.

I could see why the hippo would think this was a hippo.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Large, round, gray.

MOOS: Hippos do have poor eyesight. But even in hindsight, it's hard to believe that a year later, these two are inseparable.

And here's how they got that way. Just over a year ago, when the Tsunami's waves hit Kenya's shore, Owen the hippo was separated from his family. He had to be rescued by villagers, using shark nets. They brought him to Heller Park Animal Preserve, where he made a beeline for Mzee, the tortoise, even though the tortoise --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- was hissing and rebuffing.

MOOS: But the hippo glommed onto the tortoise. The tortoise relented. And their cozy photos made them a world-famous couple. Now, Mzee and Owen sleep together. They wallow in the pond together. Owen tends to follow Mzee around like a love-sick dog. A two-year-old hippo and a 130-year-old tortoise. Their age difference puts even Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta Jones to shame.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I've seen Mzee put his head into Owen's mouth. And this is a hippopotamus that could crunch his head, but he doesn't. They're extremely trusting of each other.

MOOS: Dr. Paula Kahumbu is Heller Park's expert on the pair. They even munch on the same branch. Back when they first got famous, a then 6-year-old girl in New York saw pictures of the two and asked her dad if they could write a book. Now, Scholastic is publishing it, the Children's Picture Book.

CRAIG HATKOFF, CO-AUTHOR, "OWEN & MZEE": It's almost surreal what's happened between those animals or in their developing their own form of communication, which has really sort of baffled the scientists.

MOOS: We're not talking the usual snorts and mounds. Dr. Kahumbu tells us the hippo and the tortoise now make noises at each other. A high-pitched wailing sound.

(On camera): I don't suppose you could imitate the sound, could you?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It sounds a bit like this --

MOOS: Fans get fanatic. This box arrived for the author of the children's book.

HATKOFF: This is unbelievable.

MOOS (voice-over): A miniature diorama, created by his mother's hairdresser. There are plans for Owen to be introduced to a female hippo, named Cleo, to teach him hippo behavior because he's acting too much like a tortoise. When Owen wants Mzee to move, he nibbles on his foot. Scientists say the amazing thing is that a cold-blooded reptile would warm up to a mammal. Slow and steady doesn't just win the race, it wins the hippo.

Jeannie Moos, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Yes, Whitney and Bobby, it's like them really, you know. If these two can find love, those crazy kids.

Thanks for watching 360 tonight. "LARRY KING" is coming up next. His, yes, convicted killer Erik Menendez and his wife Tammi. It is their first joint interview.

Thanks for watching 360. See you tomorrow.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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