Skip to main content
U.S. Edition


Return to Transcripts main page


Tropical Depression Ernesto Heads North; Hurricane John Nears Mexico; Pentagon Issues Iraq Report Card

Aired September 1, 2006 - 22:00   ET


JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening again, everyone.
It doesn't take a hurricane to make life miserable. Just ask hundreds of thousands of people tonight hit -- and hit hard -- by what's left of Ernesto.


ANNOUNCER: Soaking rain, rising water, growing danger -- Ernesto heads north, and people head for higher ground.

Double whammy, Hurricane John coming ashore, parts of California bracing for heavy weather.

Iraq report card -- a grim assessment of the growing violence, not from us, from the Pentagon.

And was it rough justice?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Edington, just prior to the incident, received information leading him to believe Mr. James had sexually assaulted his daughter.

ANNOUNCER: A neighbor killed, a father arrested. Was the neighbor a molester? Is the father a murderer? With passions running high, we will get to the facts.


ANNOUNCER: Across the country and around the world, this is ANDERSON COOPER 360.

Sitting in for Anderson, and reporting tonight from the CNN studios in Washington, here's John Roberts.

ROBERTS: Good evening.

And we begin tonight with a hurricane and the remnants of a tropical storm, John and Ernesto. John is hitting Mexico's Baja Peninsula. Ernesto was never a major storm, as hurricanes go, but, tonight, even as a tropical depression, it's making big trouble up and down the Eastern Seaboard, as much as a foot of rain in places, flooding people without power, at least four people dead -- all the angles tonight.

CNN's Rob Marciano is in Virginia. Ines Ferre is on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. And Harris Whitbeck is covering Hurricane John in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.

First of all, let's go to Rob Marciano, who is just outside of Norfolk, in Poquoson, Virginia.


ROBERTS: What does it look like from where you are?


ROB MARCIANO, CNN METEOROLOGIST (voice-over): It's ugly and it's dangerous.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Flooding, wind, trash cans everywhere, limbs.

MARCIANO: Ernesto is drenching the East Coast, leaving a trail of floodwater and more than 300,000 people without power. North Carolina is soaked with more than eight inches of rain -- the ground sinking under the weight of the water.

Here in Virginia, hundreds have fled homes on streets turned into rivers.

Beverly Ward has a soggy grocery store, and memories of the last time a hurricane came to call.

BEVERLY WARD, STORE OWNER: Well, it's not as high as Isabel. Isabel was much higher. We had three feet of water in the store. This time, it only got to the porch down here.

MARCIANO: Still, Ernesto is bad enough to cause the governor to declare a state of emergency.

GOV. TIM KAINE (D), VIRGINIA: Nobody is relaxing until long after the storm has passed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One more bag. Need one more bag. One...

MARCIANO: In Washington, sandbags are piled around the National Archives, flooded in the last major storm. Ernesto is expected to keep moving north.

It's still packing enough of a punch to make this a miserable and possibly hazardous Labor Day weekend in parts of Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York.


ROBERTS: Rob, when was the last time it was this bad?

MARCIANO: Residents here are saying it was Hurricane Isabel. That was become in 2003. It was a larger storm, obviously, stronger, as far as winds go.

This one didn't have the winds, but it had the rain. And that's what caused most of the flooding here in eastern -- in eastern Virginia. Earlier today, about eight hours ago, this water was almost up to my waist. Obviously, it's receding quite quickly, low tide, and, thankfully, the rain has begun to taper off.

We did talk to one couple that -- that lived through Hurricane Isabel back in 2003. They lost their home, spent two years in a FEMA trailer, just recently finished building their new reinforced home. They just moved into it. And, well, that -- that -- that home, the new one, survived. And they're saying what a lot of people have said this hurricane season, is that, it's bad, but it could have been a lot worse -- John.

ROBERTS: Rob -- Rob, as you said, the water going down pretty dramatically, quickly. How long before the rest of the water goes, do you think?

MARCIANO: Well, just a matter of just the rest of it going out to sea, and -- and -- and sinking back into the swamp.

We're pretty much very close to the Chesapeake Bay area. There's a lot of marshlands here. So, the next high tide comes in, maybe the next low tide will take some of this out. The good news is, the next several days, you will see minimal amounts of rain. And that is the key here. And they're thankful for that, for sure.

ROBERTS: Rob Marciano for us tonight in Poquoson, Virginia -- Rob, thanks very much.

Looking at the big picture for a moment, for the second time in a month, a team of leading forecasters today lowered their predicted number of Atlantic hurricanes, this time from seven to five. That is slightly below average. And, again, that's the big picture.

But, right now, like politics, all weather is local. And they're taking a beating tonight in Annapolis, Marican, where we find -- Annapolis, Maryland, where we find CNN's Ines Ferre.


INES FERRE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The water lapping at the very edges here, threatening to flood downtown Annapolis, the storm hitting Maryland now. And high tide is still to come.

FOREST RODERICK, WAITER: I really didn't think too much of it, but it seems to be coming right at us.

FERRE: The Chesapeake has risen two to three feet in just the past three hours. This city remembers the last time storm surge has flooded its streets, so it has been watching Ernesto's every move, and moving in over 1,000 sandbags for its dock and shops downtown.

GEORGE WAYNE, HARBORMASTER: We're kind of in the middle, because we have flooding up in Western Maryland. We have the leading edge of the storm pushing the water in from the Chesapeake Bay. So, it's getting pretty critical right now.

FERRE: But, despite official warnings to be prepared, these people have seen storms before here, and say they're not too concerned.

KATIE BYRNE, RESIDENT OF MARYLAND: We were here during Hurricane Isabel, which was much worse. And we're just going to go about doing our daily lives.

FERRE: Eastbound traffic trying to cross the Chesapeake Bay Bridge was backed up for miles. As the Labor Day weekend kicks off, some vacationers aren't letting Ernesto stop them from heading toward the Eastern Shore.


ROBERTS: Ines Ferre joins us now live.

When is high tide expected, Ines?

FERRE: It's expected, John, in exactly three hours. And the harbormaster here says that, if it continues at this rate, that we could see another two feet of water rising here.

Now, our CNN colleagues at the Weather Center on CNN -- at CNN -- tell us that the worst of the storm has passed us. And the harbormaster says here that he's at least grateful that we're at about a quarter moon, and not a full moon. Otherwise, it could have been worse.

ROBERTS: We see those boats bobbing around behind you. How -- how close to the dock are they, in terms of the -- the height? Could they actually come up above those docks, if the water comes up much more?

FERRE: They -- well, actually one of the concerns that the harbormaster has is that, if these boats keep rising and rising, they are going to have to move them somewhere, to an anchorage place, probably.

And what they have to keep doing is loosening the ties on these boats, because they are rising.

ROBERTS: Ines Ferre for us in Annapolis, Maryland, famous place for yachting, thanks very much.

You don't hear as much about Pacific hurricanes, because few of them come ashore. John is the exception, though, a very powerful exception. It's hitting Cabo San Lucas right now, right there on the top of the Baja Peninsula. Luckily, so far, though, it's not a direct blow.

CNN's Harris Whitbeck is there, and joins us now live.

Harris, what's it looking like from where you are?


It's a dark night. And several big resorts and hotels on and near Cabo San Lucas, many hotels have cut down their power, as a precautionary measure.

However, Hurricane John, at this point, doesn't look like it's going to take a direct hit on this side of the Baja California Peninsula. Rather, it has taken a turn towards the east. And the concern there is that, once it takes a turn toward the east, and then cuts across the peninsula, it will come in contact with the mountain range, and dump lots of water on that mountain.

Now, the peninsula is a desert. The ground here, the earth is not really prepared for absorbing large amounts of water. That's why officials are concerned that there could be lots of flash floods and mudslides. And that's why 15,000 local residents have been asked to go to local shelters.

About 700,000 tourists, who are mostly in the Cabo San Lucas area, down on the southern tip of the peninsula, are spending their nights in hotel ballrooms tonight, as hotel management takes precautionary measures -- John.

ROBERTS: Harris, it looked like it was very fortunate that the hurricane took a little jog to the east, just before it came in contact with the tip of the Baja there. That -- that -- that made sure that Cabo San Lucas was not on what they call the dirty side of the hurricane.

From where you are, is -- is the wind actually blowing offshore, as opposed to onshore?

WHITBECK: It's definitely blowing offshore. In fact, we have been waiting for these high winds all day.

The first -- the first information we had this morning was that the hurricane was going to come ashore here around 11:00 in the morning. So, we have been waiting for those hurricane-strength winds that we have all grown accustomed to over the last several very busy hurricane seasons. And it just never happened.

And, as you say, it was very fortunate that, just at the last moment, it seemed to take that veer to the east, and is now heading a northeastern direction. It will spare the most heavily populated tourism destinations, but that doesn't mean, of course, that other parts of the state of Baja California Sur won't be affected.

ROBERTS: Yes. I mean, just Cabo San Lucas, as you mentioned, is -- it's a famous tourist destination. And it's the best known place in that area.

But just to the east and a little bit north is another quite large village called La Paz. Could it be in the track of the hurricane?

WHITBECK: Well, La Paz is the state capital. And it has several -- it has over 100,000 inhabitants. So, obviously, there is concern there. That city could -- could face the possibility of flash floods and landslides. Now, the state -- in the last several months, the state of Baja California has been investing a lot of money in fortifying its road system and building bridges over some of these washes, so the idea -- the -- the hope is that flash floods will not have such a big effect.

ROBERTS: All right, Harris Whitbeck for us tonight from Cabo San Lucas, Mexico -- Harris, thanks very much.

So, a pair of storms tonight, and neither one through with us yet.

For more on what comes next, we turn to CNN's meteorologist Jacqui Jeras. She's at the Weather Center in Atlanta.

How we looking, Jacqui?

JACQUI JERAS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Well, still not looking great across Baja California. We still haven't had landfall just yet.

The eye wall of the hurricane, however, which is where some of the strongest of winds are, has been scraping along the southeastern coast for the last hour or so. It did take a wobble earlier today, which is very common for hurricanes to do, and that wobble significant enough that it spared Cabo San Lucas from the worst of the storm.

You mentioned La Paz, by the way. Unfortunately, this track certainly puts them in the chance of getting a lot more heavy rain. So, we are going to have to watch that very, very closely.

The track of John will continue on a northwesterly track. We expect it to move across the peninsula throughout much of the weekend, and continue to bring down heavy downpours. But it will weaken as long as it's over land -- the waters out here, a little bit cooler, so we don't anticipate any additional strengthening once it gets into the Pacific.

It is expected to take a little bit of a turn on up toward the north and east eventually, and could be affecting the Southwestern parts of the United States by your Labor Day and into Tuesday as well. It will just bring in showers and thunderstorms, maybe some flash flooding. So, we will have to watch it closely.

As for Ernesto, there, you can see the tropical depression continue to move northward across the mid-Atlantic states. Some of the heaviest rainfall has been pushing in towards Atlantic City, across Dover, Delaware, on up towards Philadelphia. And Baltimore and Washington, D.C., have been reporting some very gusty winds.

The worst of the flooding certainly over with now, as we head into parts of North Carolina and Virginia. But we're still concerned about the Delmarva, travel plans, big holiday weekend here, John. And take a look at the delays here, this late at night. We usually don't still see this going on. We're talking about hours of departure delays out of JFK, arrival delays of about an hour-and-a-half in La Guardia, Newark, more than two hours, and more than two hours in Philadelphia. Your weekend looks very soggy and very wet. Even when Ernesto begins to die down, we have got a new system coming out of the nation's midsection, which is going to keep you cool, going to keep you cloudy, and, mostly, keep you rather wet -- John.

ROBERTS: All right, Jacqui, thanks very much.

You know, we spend a lot of time on the Atlantic hurricane season, mostly because those are the hurricanes that typically hit the United States. But, in the West, this has been a particularly busy year. Here's the "Raw Data."

So far, there have been 10 named storms during the 2006 Eastern Pacific hurricane season. Four of those were tropical storms, but six, including John, became hurricanes.

Straight ahead: a grim report on the war in Iraq. And it's coming from the Pentagon -- sobering new details about the violence and growing concerns about civil war there.

Also, a young father accused of murdering his neighbor -- was the neighbor a molester? Was the killing a crime of passion or rough justice or something else? We will take a look at the facts.

And the polygamist leader Warren Jeffs, now that he's in custody, do the graves of the children of his followers have a story to tell? -- all ahead on 360.


ROBERTS: After an especially bloody week in Iraq, even by Iraqi standards, the Pentagon today spelled out just how grim things have become. Its latest report to Congress documents a surge in sectarian violence and security problems that are growing more complex each day.

More on that now from CNN's senior Pentagon correspondent Jamie McIntyre.


JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN SENIOR PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Things in Iraq have been getting worse in the past three months, and the report to Congress shows just how much worse.

Attacks have gone up 15 percent over the summer, and Iraqi casualties up an alarming 51 percent, compared to the spring. The report says, civilian casualties increased by about 1,000 per month over the three-month period, and says 90 percent of the bodies brought to the central morgue in Baghdad appear to have been executed in Iraqi-on-Iraqi attacks, which the U.S. still insists does not yet constitute a civil war.

It's an assessment echoed by U.S. commanders on the front lines.

COLONEL THOMAS VAIL, COMMANDER, 101ST AIRBORNE DIVISION: I have got an optimistic view that civil war would not occur, but I can't predict the future. My optimism comes from the amount of forces and the amount of capability available in Baghdad right now, as we intervene and we protect the people.

MCINTYRE: Still, the report warns, conditions that could lead to civil war exist in Iraq, but argues the current violence is not a civil war, and "movement toward civil war can be prevented." The report to Congress does cite progress in building up Iraqi forces, as well as turning over one southern province to Iraqi control.

But the report's grim news gave more ammunition to administration critics. Senator Democratic Leader Harry Reid fired off a statement, saying the report shows, "President Bush, Vice President Cheney and Secretary Rumsfeld's speeches are increasingly disconnected from the facts on the ground in Iraq."

Rumsfeld fired off some missives himself, both to Senator Reid and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, defending his speech this week to the American Legion, in which he warned of latter-day appeasers who want to make a separate peace with terrorists.

DONALD RUMSFELD, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: Can we truly afford to believe that somehow, some way, vicious extremists can be appeased?

MCINTYRE: In his letters, Rumsfeld said: "Thought and careful preparation went into what I said. It is absolutely essential for us to look at the lessons of history in this critical moment in the war on terror."

(on camera): Whether the violence is a result of a civil war, sectarian fighting, or criminal death squads, the report makes clear it's getting worse, not better. And it calls it a setback, affecting the stability, reconstruction, and transition plans for the country.

Jamie McIntyre, CNN, the Pentagon.


ROBERTS: CNN's Michael Holmes is in Iraq tonight. He joins us now from Baghdad.

Michael, you heard Jamie's report. You know about the Pentagon's statistics, the fact that attacks have increased by 15 percent over the summer, Iraqi casualties up 51 percent. This idea of civil war, is it just a matter of semantics?

MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Indeed. That's certainly my feeling on the ground, John. That's right.

You go out, and you talk to Iraqis about the number of deaths -- and they really are staggering numbers when you stop to think about it, but they're not just numbers. These are people. The people will tell you, you know, civil war, well, so what? I actually had one person tell me, he said, yes, well they start -- they didn't call it genocide in Rwanda either, until it was over.

And -- and, to them, it is -- it is semantics. It's -- people are dying every day. They feel insecure. Operation Together Forward, the coalition attempt to clear out some of the more problematic suburbs, is having success, while it's under way. But the insurgents were just pushed out of those suburbs. In fact, they left of their own volition before the U.S. and Iraqi troops came in.

And the great fear is, they will just come back in again, when those troops leave. And, indeed, they're still carrying out acts of violence in other areas. And those figures of -- the -- the -- the terrible figures of those who were killed execution-style, let's remember the huge numbers of people who were killed in the numerous bombings that we have seen, not just in the last week, but over the last couple of months -- John.


So, Michael, there -- there was a brief reduction in violence in the city of Baghdad. Now it's stepped back up again. And the Pentagon also says that the sectarian violence is spreading elsewhere throughout the country. Can American and Iraqi troops ever hope to get a handle on it, if it's spreading as quickly as the Pentagon says it is?

HOLMES: Well, it's -- it's very difficult to get a handle on it, because they are just moving out of those suburbs, where there is a big force of troops, and they're popping up elsewhere.

In fact, military officials told us they, in many ways, expected what we have seen in the last week, 300 dead Iraqis, nearly 1,000 wounded, just in the last week, and 63 U.S. soldiers, let's remember, killed in the month of August, 18 since Sunday. The military commanders have told us they almost expected this, that the insurgents, al Qaeda and others, would simply pop up elsewhere, carry out attacks like this, simply to prove that they're still active.

And how you get ahold on it is very problematic at the moment. The insurgents in particular, those who are carrying out the sectarian killings, well, they are members of the community. And, as one colonel told me last week, once they put down a weapon, they're just part of the civilian population. It's very difficult to track them down. Intelligence is the key -- John.

ROBERTS: Those statistics really are quite striking -- more than 300 dead this week. And we have to remember that each and every one of them is a person.

Michael Holmes, in Baghdad, thanks very much.

The war in Iraq is being fought with more than just weapons -- coming up, a tactic both sides are using, not bullets or bombs, just some powerful spin in a battle of perception.

Plus: a father's rage. He allegedly killed his next-door neighbor, but is he a murderer? Was his neighbor a molester? -- all that when 360 continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) ROBERTS: Selling the war -- why U.S. military commanders are looking for a good P.R. firm to keep an eye on the news -- 360 next.


ROBERTS: Before the break, we heard from CNN's Michael Holmes in Baghdad. The violence in Iraq is getting worse, much worse. That's the Pentagon's latest assessment.

Coalition leaders in Iraq say, insurgents are using more than just weapons to try to start a civil war. And the coalition is fighting back.

This report from CNN's Brian Todd on the war of perceptions.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): U.S. military commanders in Iraq seem more fed up than ever that the mainstream media is reporting mostly what they believe are negative stories on the war.

LIEUTENANT COLONEL, BARRY JOHNSON, DIRECTOR, COMBINED PRESS INFORMATION CENTER, MULTINATIONAL FORCE-IRAQ: We know that bombs and deaths and the tools of our enemies tend to make the news more quickly than the things that we are doing to reinforce democracy and the progress that our troops are making each day in -- in decreasing the violence, which is less likely to make it on the news.

TODD: Now, for two years and up to $20 million, U.S. military commanders in Iraq plan to hire a civilian P.R. firm to keep a close eye on news reports on the war. On a new contract document, CNN tops the list of so-called Western news sources, along with the Pentagon Channel, and so-called pan-Arabic news outlets, like Al-Arabiya.

But the firm won't just monitor the news. It will also brief commanders on their public messages, draft ideas for newspaper columns and news conferences. The goal? To send what they believe is a more positive message on the war.

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, in his own editorial this week, writes, "The war on terror, to a great extent, will be fought in the media on a global stage."

Analysts believe insurgents in Iraq have already mastered that.

ROBERT MALLEY, MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA PROGRAM DIRECTOR, INTERNATIONAL CRISIS GROUP: If they're going to go on a sniper attack or an IED attack, they send journalists, a media team, to tape it, to record it, to have commentary. And, then, it is posted on the Web site.

TODD: Is the new coalition effort propaganda?

JONATHAN ALTERMAN, MIDDLE EAST PROGRAM DIRECTOR, CENTER FOR STRATEGIC AND INTERNATIONAL STUDIES: To the extent that we're trying to do the sort of audience research that people in media do all the time, that's useful. But, to the extent that we are trying to buy good news, Iraqis don't need more news about what we're doing, because they look out the windows, and they see what we're not doing.

TODD (on camera): The U.S. military has hired P.R. firms before for this kind of thing. Last November, it was disclosed that the military had used one firm to plant articles written by American soldiers in Iraqi newspapers, while hiding the sources of those articles. An internal investigation found, that did not violate military policy.

Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.


ROBERTS: War takes on many different forms.

It began with a phone call, and, soon, one man was dead. Coming up on 360: two neighbors, an ugly allegation, and many questions about a father now accused of murder.

Plus: In a town devoted to polygamy, a cemetery filled with tiny graves. Why do so many of the children in Warren Jeffs' sect die so young -- all that and more ahead on 360.


ROBERTS: In Connecticut, a young attorney is accused of murdering his neighbor, allegedly stabbing him multiple times with a kitchen knife. Friends of the suspect say he snapped after he was told the victim molested his 2-year-old daughter. But did he?

CNN's Tom Foreman reports.


TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The violence began with a phone call. Police say Jonathan Edington had just been given deeply troubling news by his wife about their 2-year-old daughter and a neighbor. So police say Edington went next door, confronted Barry James, and stabbed him repeatedly.

CAPT. GARY MCNAMARA, FAIRFIELD POLICE DEPARTMENT: Mr. Edington just prior to the incident, received information leading him to believe Mr. James had sexually assaulted his daughter.

FOREMAN: Police say James lived with his parents, and his mother called for help, but by the time officers arrived, he was dead, a kitchen knife nearby. They say they found Edington back in his own kitchen, trying to wash blood from his shirt. He's been charged with murder and released on a $1 million bond.

JONATHAN EDINGTON, MURDER SUSPECT: Don't ask questions. I can't answer them.

FOREMAN: Neither family is talking publicly about the incident, but authorities say Edington is a 29-year-old attorney. They say eight years ago at a college in upstate New York, he was charged with disorderly conduct, dangerous behavior, and harassment after he trashed a Planned Parenthood display, yelling, "How many babies have to die?" But other than that, he has no police record.

James was 58. He was arrested in 2001 for driving under the influence of alcohol, and police say just weeks ago, he drove his vehicle through the back of his own garage into a neighboring house.

(on camera) Edington this past spring reported that James sexually exposed himself through a window. Police believe it was accidental, not a crime. Still, lately, several neighbors say James was behaving erratically.

DARELL MAYNARD, NEIGHBOR: Allegedly making obscenities to the kids going by. So I mean, he's had some troubling behavior over the last month that I know of.

FOREMAN (voice-over): Police are investigating all the claims, including that allegation by Edington's wife that their daughter was sexually abused by Barry James. Of course, James never knew of her formal accusation to police. It was filed after he had been killed.

Tom Foreman, CNN, Washington.


ROBERTS: For more on the case and how it might play out in court, I spoke earlier to CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin.


ROBERTS: Jeffrey, when it comes to trying a crime like in this in a court of law, does a crime of passion play any differently with the jury? Is there anything extra the defense has to do to prove that this, indeed, might have been a crime of passion?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: You know, it makes a big difference, the circumstances, but the facts matter.

First of all, the big fact that matters is, did any abuse actually take place? Is this something that Edington was responding to a real injury to his daughter or was it something he just flew the -- flew off the handle about?

Second, does he have any sort of history of this kind of behavior or was this a complete aberration that he was essentially provoked into doing?

FOREMAN: Well, if it is found that Edington's daughter did suffer some sort of abuse, what kind of mitigating aspect might that have to the trial when it comes to the jury during the trial or would that only play into sentencing?

TOOBIN: Well, it would first of all play into what he's charged with. Prosecutors understand that juries respond viscerally to these sorts of things, so there can often be plea bargains to crimes of passion to much reduced charges.

There was a somewhat similar case in Baton Rouge not too long ago where a father actually got probation for a murder, somewhat similar to this, but the facts will determine whether any kind of offer like that is made. And a lot of the facts aren't known here.

FOREMAN: Right. That case, I think, was back in 1984. A child was kidnapped and molested. The father shot the guy. I think the shooting was actually caught on tape. He was -- he was dead to rights, and he just got probation. How unusual is an outcome like that?

TOOBIN: It's very unusual, but the circumstances there, there you had an absolute certainty that the abuse took place. Here, that's very much in dispute. Also, another thing in dispute here, not clear at the moment is you know, how much time elapsed.


TOOBIN: Is it something that he heard instantly and ran across the street? That would be somewhat in Edington's favor. Did he bring a weapon with him, or did he simply grab something in James' kitchen?

Again, those are the kind of facts that will play both in terms of what he's charged with, and how a jury might react to it.

ROBERTS: Yes, how critical, Jeffrey, is that time factor? I mean, how long do you have to react in a crime of passion, versus premeditation?

TOOBIN: It's a big factor, because you know, if you're stewing about something for as long as a day, where you could go to the police, where you could think over your actions, that is a less sympathetic defendant than someone who hears something at 6:51, and at 6:52, is bolting across the street. Those kind of facts matter a lot.

ROBERTS: And how difficult will it be to prove that the child might have, in fact, been molested by this fellow, Barry James? All we have right now is an allegation by the wife to both the husband and the police that this happened.

TOOBIN: Well, and since the child is only 2 years old, you can't very well ask the child.

Certainly, what should be done and what may already have been done is an examination of the child to see if there's any evidence of molestation. That would be very important evidence.

Beyond that, you'd want to know when did James, the neighbor, the fellow who died, when did he have access to the child? When might they have been in some sort of proximity where abuse could have taken place? You have to try to reconstruct what happened in order to know whether there was any justification for what Edington did.

ROBERTS: Jeffrey, it's a pretty incredible case, and it's going to make for a fascinating court case, as well. Thanks very much. TOOBIN: OK, John.

ROBERTS: In another very closely watched case, more troubling questions tonight about Warren Jeffs' polygamist sect. Why do so many young children in his community die? Coming up, a cemetery filled with tiny graves and the questions being raised by that.

Plus, in Houston, Katrina fatigue escalates into anger. Why many locals say it's time for the evacuees to leave, when 360 continues.


ROBERTS: This week, polygamist leader Warren Jeffs, one of the FBI's most wanted men, was arrested on charges, including rape as an accomplice. He eventually will be prosecuted in Utah, and during that time, we'll likely hear more details about life in his secretive religious sect.

For the moment there are only a few glimpses into that closed world, and one is raising questions of life and death.

CNN's Gary Tuchman reports.


GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When a member of Warren Jeffs' fundamentalist church dies, odds are, he or she will be buried in one of two cemeteries in Colorado City, Arizona, and the neighboring town of Hilldale, Utah.

Jeffs' father, Rulon, who was the prophet before his son, is laid to rest here. So is the prophet before him, Leroy Johnson. But what many visitors to the cemetery notice first...

FLORA JESSOP, FORMER POLYGAMIST: The kids die off in numbers that are far greater than any other community.

TUCHMAN: ... is something that this woman, who says she escaped from the church talks about.

JESSOP: Jessop girl, stillborn. Jessop boy, stillborn. Jessop boy, stillborn.

TUCHMAN: If you tour the cemeteries it's impossible not to notice the high number of children's graves in towns with only several thousand people.

This baby boy was only 5 months old; this baby girl 10 months. This baby died the day she was born. This little boy died at the age of 2.

Authorities not connected to the church say there is no evidence there are criminal reasons for this.

GARY ENGELS, INVESTIGATOR, MOHAVE COUNTY: I checked what I could check as far as, you know, people I talked to about it and nobody that I know thinks there's anything, you know, suspicious here about the deaths.

TUCHMAN: What authorities do believe is there are a combination of reasons for the apparently high child death rate.

Family intermarriage is a way of life in this polygamist community. You see the same last names over and over. The Southwest Utah Public Health Department says the part of the FLDS church that's in Utah is only three percent of the population it serves, but 20 percent of the children in its special needs clinic are from the church.

RUTHANN ADAMS, SOUTHWEST UTAH HEALTH DEPARTMENT: To me, personally, it's a tragedy that those many children, a number of them have cleft palate, cleft lip.

And then there's probably double that number in who have various sundry genetic disorders and syndromes, not awe all of them, some of them rare, some of them unusual, but genetic disorders.

TUCHMAN: The average American household has 1.86 children. Here, it's dramatically higher, which means there's the potential for more children dying from sickness and accidents.

Flora Jessop, whose last name is seen on many of the graves here, believes neglect is a major cause.

JESSOP: I don't know if I can -- if I can even describe the emotion that I feel when I see so many graves and know that we fought so dang hard to get somebody to listen to us.

TUCHMAN: An Arizona state legislator touring the cemeteries says he's concerned that under Arizona law, as well as in 32 other states, death certificates do not have to be made public.

DAVID LUJAN, ARIZONA STATE REPRESENTATIVE: I would be interested in looking to see if we can change the law to look at the death certificates for the children in Colorado City to see what was the cause of death in these instances.

TUCHMAN: As per usual, Warren Jeffs' followers would not comment to us, but an attorney who has represented the FLDS church told CNN, "If the higher death rate is true, one must be careful to not draw the conclusion that this is the result of any wrong doing. It would be an inherent result of the isolation of the community."

There is disagreement about why so many children die here, but agreement that it's very sad.


ROBERTS: Gary Tuchman is with us now from Colorado City.

Gary, I understand that Gary Engels, the investigator in your story, interviewed Warren Jeffs in his jail cell. How did that play out? TUCHMAN: That's right, John. Gary Engels one of the only outsiders that lives here -- it's a very hostile environment -- two years ago, to chase Warren Jeffs and to try to arrest polygamists who had sex with underaged girls.

When Warren Jeffs was arrested he was in his jail cell in Las Vegas after his hearing. He sat down with Jeffs. Jeffs was very quiet, just stared at him. And Gary Engels said, "Do you know who I am?"

And Jeffs said, "Yes, I know you who are. You are Gary."

And then Gary Engels said, "Do you have any questions for me?"

And Warren Jeffs looked at him for, like, seven seconds and then said to him, quote, "I just say to you, I forgive you." So perhaps that's surprising to you that statement. Perhaps not, but needless to say, the authorities here don't feel any desire to be forgiven by Warren Jeffs.

ROBERTS: This story just keeps getting more interesting the more layers you peel back. Gary Tuchman in Colorado City, thanks very much.

A year ago people in Houston opened their hearts and their homes to the survivors of Hurricane Katrina. Now, some are saying their city is worse off. That's coming up next.

Also, New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin goes to New York looking for money to rebuild but some of his controversial comments follow him there. So why did he say what he said about the World Trade Center site? His answer ahead on 360.


ROBERTS: One year ago tonight, Houston's Astrodome was filled to capacity with 12,000 Katrina refugees from New Orleans. They were just the first wave. At its peak, Houston welcomed at least 250,000 Katrina evacuees, an influx that would put a strain on any city.

A year later, more than 100,000 evacuees are still in Houston. Violent crime is up and fair or not, many locals say they have had enough. At a public hearing this week, Katrina fatigue erupted into anger.

Here's CNN's Sean Callebs.


SEAN CALLEBS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Houston was there when New Orleans was hurting. Among volunteers helping Katrina victims at the cavernous Astrodome, Crystal Woodard. But she says in the past year a spike in violent crime, widely blamed on evacuees here, is souring Houston's goodwill.

CRYSTAL WOODARD, HOUSTON RESIDENT: Even though we have extended a helping hand we're getting bit, you know. They're not giving a damn what we think or how we feel.

CALLEBS: A simmering frustration over crime and the strain on public services is boiling over.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We want the New Orleans residents to go home.

CALLEBS: At the same public hearing Houston's mayor was just as blunt.

BILL WHITE, HOUSTON MAYOR: It did not help that some small minority amount of citizens from the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) that went in a community which apparently tolerated a great degree of lawlessness.

CALLEBS: New Orleans' own mayor empathizes with Houston.

RAY NAGIN, NEW ORLEANS MAYOR: The Texas court system seems to be much tougher than the system a lot of our residents left.

CALLEBS (on camera): Houston police say that burglaries, armed robberies and assaults are up significantly over the past year. And they say during that same time period, the murder rate has shot up nearly 25 percent.

(voice-over) Last month, a 64-year-old man was killed at dawn at this car wash. Three Katrina evacuees have been charged in the crime.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Police, put your hands up!

CALLEBS: Police say Katrina evacuees have been charged or victims in at least 59 out of 262 killings this year, even though Katrina evacuees are less than seven percent of Houston's population.

Patrolman Sam De La Cruz works Houston's west side, home to most of Katrina's evacuees.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The normal criminals that we had on the street, they don't hang out anymore because they're so afraid of the Louisiana criminals now.

CALLEBS: Houston's mayor wants to help evacuees who abide by the law, but...

WHITE: We will use all of our law enforcement resources that we can to make sure that people who break the law and prey on others find Houston an unwelcome place.

WOODARD: A lot of the evacuees are good-hearted people, hard- working citizens, but that small percent that is just -- they don't have any respect for anybody.

CALLEBS: And to those people, Houston says, "You've worn out your welcome."

Sean Callebs, CNN, Houston.


ROBERTS: Meanwhile today, New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin visited New York, looking for investment money to help his city rebuild.

But as CNN's Jeanne moos reports, before Nagin did any asking he first had to take his foot out of his mouth.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's not easy asking for money in a city some think you've just dissed. Mayor Ray Nagin comes begging for investment money to rebuild New Orleans less than a week after the comment he made about Ground Zero aired on "60 Minutes".

NAGIN: It's all right. You guys in New York City can't get a hole in the ground fixed, and it's five years later.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That wasn't nice.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He shouldn't take it out on us.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a ridiculous thing to say.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't think there's a need for a big apology.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it's a bigger deal than a hole in the ground.

MOOS: Now it's the hole he dug for himself that the mayor is trying to get out of.

NAGIN: I love New York City, wonderful New York. I tell you what I will never do again is refer to that site as a hole. It's a sacred, you know, site that is presently in an undeveloped state.

MOOS: But just as Mayor Nagin was backing off, a reporter brought up a "New York Times" column that suggested Nagin had a point, after all. Even though the mayor's wording may have been crass, was he wrong?

The column answered its own question. To the dismay of most New Yorkers, it sadly remains, five years later, a hole in the ground.

But when a reporter voiced those last five words...

NAGIN: He said it, he did it. He said it!

MOOS: Al Sharpton to the rescue. Mayor Nagin took a dig at "60 Minutes", saying he was led to believe...

NAGIN: And they did the nice little puff piece. They interviewed my family. "We're going to take care of you, and it's going to be nice. It's going to make sure that we're going to tell the story," which was a bunch of bull, all along. And then...


NAGIN: Yes, baloney, baloney.

MOOS: Sounds like somebody's ticked.

Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


ROBERTS: Coming up, a special edition of 360, a close up look at polygamy in the United States.

But first, Erica hill joins us with the "360 Business Bulletin."

Hi, Erica.

ERICA HILL, CNN HEADLINE NEWS ANCHOR: John, markets responded positively to news that slightly more jobs were created last month than economists were expecting.

The Dow rose 83 points to close at 11,464. The S&P 500 added seven, both closing at their best level since May. And the NASDAQ jumped nearly 9.5 points to its highest finish since June. And as you probably guessed, all three indices were also up for the week.

Oil prices are heading in the opposite direction, which is probably good news to a loft folks, hitting a ten-week low of $69.19 a barrel. Now the reason here is political.

While Iran has refused to stop its uranium enrichment program, the U.N. hasn't yet come back with sanctions that it is threatening.

And you can forget that free afternoon cup of joe at Starbucks. The company pulled its offer of a free iced coffee after a promotional event basically got out of hand.

Starbucks sent an e-mail offering that freebie to what it says was a limited group of employees and told them to send it to friends and family.

The e-mail, though, ended up going all over the place, and what was intended to be a five-week promotion was shut down.

So get this, John, Caribou Coffee is now saying it's going to honor those coupons for select ice drinks next Friday. If you still have it, there you go.

ROBERTS: There's the competition.

Hey, stick around for tonight's "Shot", Erica, because it is positively awe-inspiring.

And most cat owners think that their cat is special, and as today's "Shot" proves, some cats really are. This is video footage to prove it. It's been making the rounds on the Internet. This cat's owner caught her pet flushing the toilet and peering over the side to see what happens. By our count, the cat flushed 11 times.

HILL: Eleven times? That's a talented cat, actually.

ROBERTS: Eleven times. Never seemed to get tired of the effect that it produced.

HILL: I wonder what their water bill is.

ROBERTS: Can you say obsessive compulsive disorder?

HILL: Just a little bit. If only we could teach the cat to clean the toilet, then you'd be in business.

ROBERTS: You know, there are probably a lot of parents who would like to bring the cat over to teach their kids how to flush the toilet, as well.

HILL: I think you may have a point there.

ROBERTS: Thanks, Erica. We'll see you next hour.

HILL: Thanks, John.

ROBERTS: Just ahead, Anderson Cooper is back with a 360 special report. With Warren Jeffs now in custody, we take you inside his secretive world. 1

Ten thousand followers practicing polygamy and worshipping him as a prophet. Will he become a martyr to them now that he's in custody? The report is called "Polygamy in America: Cult or Calling?" and it's next.


COOPER: Tonight, the hunt and capture of Warren Jeffs, a prophet to some, a polygamist cult leader to others. He ruled with faith and fear. Now his luck has run out.

ANNOUNCER: He calls himself a prophet, but his luck ran out north of Las Vegas.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Guys on my team said, "That looks like him. I think we got him."

ANNOUNCER: How a routine traffic stop netted one of the FBI's most wanted.

She was born into Warren Jeffs' sect, forced to become a teenage bride to a man with four wives.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You're not supposed to speak. You're supposed to be willing to be perfectly obedient. To me I see it as a life of slavery.

ANNOUNCER: Tonight, how she escaped with her eight children in tow.

Three wives, 19 children, one husband, all under one roof. They say they couldn't be happier.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They're not all on welfare. This isn't about sex. It's not about control or oppression or abuse. It's about choice. It's a spiritual choice.

ANNOUNCER: Polygamy outside of Warren Jeffs' sect.

Across the country and around the world, this is a special edition of ANDERSON COOPER 360: "Polygamy in America: Cult or Calling?"

Reporting from New York, Anderson Cooper.

COOPER: The massive manhunt for polygamist leader Warren Jeffs is finally over. In the next hour, we'll show you the power that Jeffs had on hits estimated 10,000 followers.


CNN TV E-mail Services CNN Mobile CNNAvantGo Ad Info About Us Preferences
© 2007 Cable News Network LP, LLLP.
A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines. Contact us. Site Map.
Offsite Icon External sites open in new window; not endorsed by
Pipeline Icon Pay service with live and archived video. Learn more
Radio News Icon Download audio news  |  RSS Feed Add RSS headlines