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CNN SATURDAY MORNING NEWS
Meteor Damage Clean Up Begins in Russia; Triumph Passengers Stranded Again; Olympic Star in Jail; Lady Gaga Cancels Concert Tour, Dorner's Cause of Death Revealed; Million Dollars Up For Grabs; Dorner's Cache Of Weapons Found; Tank Leaks Radioactive Waste; Nurse Sues Hospital For Discrimination; New Jersey Boardwalk Rebuilding Under Way; Protecting The Planet From Space; Planned Execution Raises Legal Concern; Navy SEAL Asks Military For Help; Critics: SEAL Broke Code Of Silence; Freeze Drying Your Furry Friend; E-Mail: Wal-Mart Sales A "Disaster"; Tiffany Sues Costco; U.S. Airways, American Merge
Aired February 16, 2013 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
SUSAN HENDRICKS, CNN ANCHOR: From the CNN Center this Saturday morning. Great to see you, I'm Susan Hendricks. It is February 16th. I'm in for Randi Kaye today.
A frightening scene over California a fireball barrels across the San Francisco sky soon after a meteor explodes over Russia. Is there a connection?
And it's happened. Carnival Cruise Lines has been slapped with its first lawsuit from the nightmare cruise to Mexico. How is the cruise liner responding?
And South African authorities investigate the motive for a shocking killing that could send this Olympic hero to prison.
But first, California authorities say it appears suspected cop killer Christopher Dorner took his own life, following through on his promise not to be taken alive. Autopsy results showed Dorner died from a single gunshot wound to the head. Dental records do confirm it was his body found in a burned out cabin on Tuesday following that week- long manhunt. We will have more on this case and what may have happened to the million-dollar reward, where it's going. That's ahead.
Half a world away, authorities are looking closely at a possible motive in the horrific killing of a top model who was found dead at the home of her boyfriend, Olympic hero Oscar Pistorius. He sobbed uncontrollably as he was charged with premeditated murder in the death of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. He is now in jail.
We'll go to South Africa for the very latest on the case in just a few.
Well President Obama is calling on Congress now to pass laws to reduce gun violence. During an appearance at a Chicago high school, the President said 65 out of 443 victims killed last year in gun violence in the city were under 18. And he mentioned this girl Hadiya Pendleton, the teenager who is gunned down a week after taking part in Obama's inauguration festivities. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: What happened to Hadiya is not unique. It's not unique to Chicago. It's not unique to this country. Too many of our children are being taken away from us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HENDRICKS: The President also said children from poor violence- plagued communities need help and opportunities to get ahead.
This week, a meteor shower, an asteroid and now a fireball streaking across the sky? This heavenly disruption happened California's Bay Area last night. Folks in that area say it looked like a shooting star. CNN does not know the source of the lights, but we are efforting an official statement for you.
First it was a flash across the sky and sonic booms. And now the cleanup begins a day after that spectacular meteor blast that shook Russia's Urals region. People are trying to repair the damage. More than 1,000 have been injured, most of them from shattered glass.
Our Phil Black is in the area of Russia where this happened. So how much damage are we talking about here and what's the cost look like?
PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): Susan, it's widespread but not really substantial. Most of the damage was inflicted upon glass and window frames. And a big cleanup and repair operation to fix that is already well underway. The latest estimate from Russian authorities here, though, is that the total bill will be somewhere around $300 million.
HENDRICKS: Do we know specifically about the meteor so far? I'm surprised, first of all, that the injuries weren't more serious. Have they found any traces of the meteor?
BLACK: The authorities is said to be tracking what they believed were a number of fragments that sort of flew off in different directions over a very wide area when the original single meteor hit the atmosphere. One of them is believed to have fallen not far from Chelyabinsk where I am. It's about an hour's drive from here where locals said a big piece of the meteor struck a frozen lake, punching through the ice.
And they believe it's now in the water at the bottom of this lake. Local authorities there have zoned off that area. We -- we walked out on to the lake today to get a look at the hole in the ice that is said to be there now. We're not allowed to get very close. We're told government divers went down into these freezing waters to take a look but were not able to see anything when they did -- Susan.
HENDRICKS: Phil as you know, an asteroid also passed very close to the earth yesterday. Are these two events related in any way? That's the big question today. BLACK: Certainly. And the broad scientific consensus from the last 24 hours or so seems to be no, it is just something of a cosmic coincidence that within hours of each other two different asteroids approached the earth from two different directions. Unfortunately it was the big one that (inaudible) -- Susan.
HENDRICKS: Phil Black thank you. Appreciate it.
Well, from space to the water. We knew this would happen. The first passengers stranded aboard the disabled Carnival "Triumph" is now suing. The lawsuit blames the company for negligence and fraud. Cassie Terry called her cruise quote "A floating hell and a floating toilet" that made her fear for her health. She is seeking unspecified damages.
Carnival says it has not seen the lawsuit and cannot comment yet on it.
Well the travel nightmare didn't end for some of the passengers even after they finally got off the ship in Mobile, Alabama. Can you believe this one -- a bus taking them to New Orleans broke down on the highway.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JACOB COMBS, CARNIVAL TRIUMPH PASSENGER: Basically we were driving down the road, we're thinking that we're going to get in this warm bed we're going to have a hot shower, we're going to have a good meal. And he starts pulling over to the side of the road, rattling in the back. He gets out and a belt comes loose, you know. And so we're there for about an hour before we could take off. And we don't get in until 5:00 a.m.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HENDRICKS: Well it wasn't over yet for that poor guy. When Jacob Combs finally made it to the airport, his plane for Galveston, Texas -- you guessed it -- it was delayed. It didn't take off for hours.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COMBS: But we get on this flight that's supposed to leave at 8:30. And I'm on my phone, and I'm not paying attention. And then all of a sudden I look down on my watch it's 9:30, it's 9:45, an hour and 15 minutes past when were supposed to leave. And I couldn't find a stewardess, I don't know what's going on? We finally took off and I didn't know what happened.
But when I landed, Shelly, one of my friends on board, said, "I can't believe it happened to us again." She was on the bus. And she said it was an electrical problem and that's what caused the delay. And it just -- you know, it's a domino effect. Shipwreck, the bus breaks and the -- and then the plane.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HENDRICKS: At that point, he's probably thinking, is there a hidden camera around here?
So what is next for Carnival, the ship and the investigation into what happened? I want to bring in Susan Candiotti. She is in Alabama where the ship will get an overhaul and a thorough cleaning. It should take some time. What are investigators saying, Susan?
SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You know, Susan, even before I get to that, as a very wise person once said, after listening to what those people just told you, if I didn't have bad luck I would have no luck at all.
HENDRICKS: Good point.
CANDIOTTI: Talk about -- talk about a problem, right? Exactly. Well -- well here we are where the "Triumph" is now at a boat yard. You can see it way off in the distance over my shoulder. And this is the first full day that it has been docked there allowing investigators to spend even more time as they begin to go over every inch of that engine room, for example, study the procedures that were done, look at the ship's records for past problems. And try to get to the bottom of what happened when that fire broke out on Sunday.
Here's the Coast Guard investigator.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PATRICK CUTY, SENIOR MARINE INVESTIGATOR, COAST GUARD: Passengers did report that on previous cruises there were some mechanical issues. And that's something that we're going to go in and investigate and find out what the causes of those were. They may be completely unrelated to this we just don't know yet.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CANDIOTTI: Now, one of those two problems that happened since January of this year involved a propulsion system aboard the ship. We can tell you that just a little while ago we were over in the area where the ship has docked and we saw a number of buses arriving there. And they were taking crew members on and off the ship.
Some of whom told us that they had been working on the ship throughout the night trying to help with the cleanup effort and acknowledging that they have a lot of work on their hands. They said that Carnival has been trying to do -- as best it can to get the ship back in shape, if you will. And they have a lot of work themselves to do to try to get that accomplished. But it's rough going all around. Still, they seem to be in pretty good spirits -- Susan.
HENDRICKS: Yes one thing we have heard is the spectacular job that the crew on board keeping the passengers calm.
CANDIOTTI: That's right.
HENDRICKS: What else is Carnival doing to kind of repair their image or give to passengers, if you will, who were on that boat? CANDIOTTI: Well as we heard in the beginning days right after this happened, Carnival Cruise Lines was quick to respond by offering a full refund to all of the passengers as well as $500 in cash; and not only that but to give them credit on future cruises. So that certainly may go a long way in convincing some people to come back to Carnival. Some people have already said, how can we turn down a free cruise?
On the other hand, well certainly part of that evidence is in that lawsuit that was filed. Some people are saying that they just as soon not cruise again. So we'll have to see whether time heals all wounds and whether Carnival is able to come back from what happened here.
HENDRICKS: Yes I think Jacob who had his flight delay and his bus break down I think he's going to walk to his next vacation, safe to say. Susan Candiotti, thank you.
From international track star to accused murderer, we're going to get a live report from South Africa on what people there are saying about the Oscar Pistorius story.
And later, a mentally disabled man is scheduled to be executed in Georgia on Tuesday. Even one of his victims' family members says he should not die. Why the state is determined to go forward with it.
HENDRICKS: Family members of Olympic star and double amputee Oscar Pistorius says he is numb with grief and shock as he sits in jail suspected of killing his model girlfriend. Many South Africans are stunned that such a celebrated athlete and hero could be charged with a horrific crime as he is.
CNN Errol Barnett has that.
ERROL BARNETT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Susan, Oscar Pistorius has now spent his second night in jail after learning Friday that the prosecution plans to charge him with premeditated murder. That means that they believe he intentionally killed his 29-year-old girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp.
Now the hearing has been postponed until Tuesday so Oscar Pistorius, the so-called "Blade Runner", will remain in jail until then.
Meantime, Saturday, today here in South Africa, a reality show premieres starring the slain woman. Reeva shot a program "Tropical Island of Treasure Five" in Jamaica last year that the producers will air. They've defended that decision by explaining they want the rest of South Africa to appreciate and see the intelligence and beauty of Reeva Steenkamp. It's just the latest twist in what is already a bizarre and tragic story -- Susan.
HENDRICKS: Errol thank you. Meanwhile, police have said there were other incidents at Pistorius' home of a quote "domestic nature". And prosecutors are charging him with premeditated murder.
I asked HLN's Jane Velez-Mitchell about that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HLN ANCHOR: Well, premeditation could be an outright plot, or it could be premeditation in the blink of an eye. We are hearing that Reeva was shot four times. So is that where they're making the case for premeditation? That he had the opportunity to stop after shooting her once. One shot was in the hand, reportedly. And then if he continues, does that constitute premeditation?
We don't have all the facts, and we know from his management company that he is strongly disputing that he murdered her.
But an ominous portrait is emerging. According to cops, there were only two people in the home. Oscar and Reeva. Neighbors heard shouting before the shooting and according to police, there were previous incidents of a domestic nature.
And the final thing, Susan, in 2009, he was accused of assault even though the charges were dropped. He apparently slammed the door so hard that a piece of it fell off. That also involved a female. Does he have a temper problem specifically when it comes to women?
HENDRICKS: I do want to say, Pistorius' agent says that Oscar rejects the murder allegation, quote, "in the strongest terms" here.
But it seems as though it's another -- if he is guilty of this crime -- athlete fall from grace. Do you think there was one Oscar at home and another one in the public eye? We've seen this before.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, fascinating you should say that. I just talked to a couple of people who worked with Oscar and called him the most charming, gracious, soft spoken, beautiful man.
But what happens in life is that people often present -- it's called reaction formation -- the opposite of what they are as a smokescreen. So, did he have a temper behind closed doors? Did he have a problem with women?
And, of course, the other possibility which has been floated in South Africa is that there's such a high crime rate there and he's spoken publicly and tweeted about his fear of intruders that we know that he was a person who liked to shoot guns and had been to a gun range in the past several times. And that perhaps he thought there was an intruder in the house and shot her by accident. That would be the best-case scenario for him at this point.
HENDRICKS: And he was breaking down in court sobbing and shaking.
Jane, do you think that it finally set in with him what happened. That he's finally coming to, if you will, and realizing his girlfriend is, in fact, dead at his hands?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, this is one of the most extraordinary falls from grace in recent years. I mean this makes the Tiger Woods scandal look like a Tea Party. This is somebody who goes from being an international icon and an inspiration to everyone who has ever overcome any kind of adversity to somebody accused of the most heinous, hideous act imaginable. It's just a complete change of story line from a hero to an alleged monster.
HENDRICKS: And this happened on Valentine's Day. And it's so sad. His girlfriend Reeva was tweeting how she was excited for Valentine's Day. Do you think passion will come up on the prosecution side?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, look, we don't have all the facts, but human nature, often the story lines are pretty predictable. She's tweeting the day before Valentine's Day that her boo, her boyfriend, meaning Oscar, made her a healthy shake. They're getting along fine. She's excited about Valentine's Day.
And then sometime before 3:00 in the morning, neighbors hear shouting, and according to a newspaper in Africa that she may have gone into the bathroom. That these shots may have gone through the bathroom door, four shots. So did they have a fight as many women do? Did she lock herself in the bathroom? He says come out and she won't and then boom, boom, boom, boom right there the bathroom door? That's a possibility.
Domestic incidents are -- they fall in a very narrow range. It's an argument that gets out of control and there's a gun handy and next thing you know, somebody's dead.
HENDRICKS: And you can watch Jane Velez-Mitchell weeknights, 7:00 Eastern on HLN.
It is another scoop for Oprah. This time, pop star Beyonce sits down with Oprah for an hour special before the singer's HBO documentary airs. Hear why some are calling Beyonce just a quote, "regular woman".
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HENDRICKS: Welcome back.
Singer Chris Brown and Drake, they are facing off in court over a nightclub brawl in New York City. TMZ is reporting Brown and Drake have filed lawsuits against each other in connection with a fight at New York City's WIP nightclub last June.
Well, model Romain Julien has allegedly filed a suit against both singers, along with the day club for injuries he says he sustained during that fight. Neither Brown nor Drake is accepting responsibility for it. They want a judge to make the decision who will pay if Julien wins the lawsuit.
Beyonce's HBO documentary "Life is But a Dream" premieres tonight 9:00 Eastern time. But if you can't wait, Oprah has a sneak peek an hour earlier. In the exclusive interview with the queen of talk, she talks to Beyonce and gets her to open up about her career, her marriage to rapper Jay-Z, and how large their family could get. That airs tonight 8:00 Eastern on OWN.
Now for more entertainment news for you, take a listen.
HENDRICKS: That is Lady Gaga, of course, live in concert. Something thousands of her little monsters won't see any time soon, though. The superstar shocked fans this week cancelling her "Born this Ball Tour" because of a tear to her hip. She's injured.
In a series of tweets, Lady Gaga explained that she can't even walk and apologized, quote, "It will hopefully heal as soon as possible. I hate this, I hate this so much. I love you and I'm sorry."
Kim Serafin is the senior editor at "In Touch Weekly", and Kendra G is the entertainment correspondent, V-103 Radio personality.
Great to talk to you both.
KENDRA G, V-103 RADIO PERSONALITY: Great to be here.
HENDRICKS: Love the dress and the shoes, by the way.
KENDRA G: Thank you so much.
HENDRICKS: Let's start with Lady Gaga. We saw on the stage. She wasn't moving as she normally does.
KENDRA G: Right.
HENDRICKS: It takes a lot, it would seem, to keep her away from her fans.
KENDRA G: It takes a lot, you know. Remember, she was in Barcelona and she threw up four times and kept going within the show. Lady Gaga (inaudible) so much passion into her performance, in her image and to her music. So I understand this, but this is God's way of saying, take a break. It's been two years.
HENDRICKS: Take a rest.
KENDRA G: Yes, yes.
HENDRICKS: Kim, why do you think she kind of kept her injury a secret for the last few months? Do you think she was trying to heal on her own and not talk about it?
KIM SERAFIN, IN TOUCH WEEKLY: Sure. I think that she just wanted to push through it. I mean, just look at the way she lives her life. Look at her career ethic. She is such a hard worker.
So, I think partially because of that, partially because of her fans. I mean, of course, every musician loves her fans, but with Lady Gaga, you really get a sense that she's so emotionally committed to her fans, more so than almost any other musician.
She just really gets that strength from her fans. So I really think she did not want to disappoint her fans. She did not want to disappoint her employees. And, of course, there's the money aspect too. So I think she wanted to push through and make it through these next 20 concerts and then deal with the injury.
HENDRICKS: Speaking of another superstar on the topic. Beyonce's documentary "Life is But a Dream" premieres tonight on Time Warner's HBO. She addresses controversies like the rumor that she faked her pregnancy. What are you expecting to see tonight?
KENDRA G: You know what? I love Beyonce. It's officially V-Day part two today. And tonight we're going to realize that Beyonce's a human being.
People do not want to look at Beyonce as a regular woman. That's why they thought that she actually faked her pregnancy. And we're going to learn tonight that she's emotional, she cries, she shares details about her miscarriage. She's going to talk about her relationship with her father.
I can't wait to watch it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HENDRICKS: And again, Oprah's interview with Beyonce airs on the OWN Network, 8:00 p.m. Eastern time. The HBO documentary follows at 9:00.
A million-dollar reward is up for grabs in the California cop killer case. Is it possible that none of the people who gave information about Christopher Dorner will get the money? We'll investigate.
HENDRICKS: He vowed not to be taken alive. And autopsy result appears to show suspected cop killer Christopher Dorner did in fact shoot himself in the head ending a week-long manhunt in the mountains east of L.A..
So what happens now to the big reward offered in this case?
CNN's Nick Valencia joins me now with the million-dollar question here. Nick, you were up there in Big Bear when this all went down. Any word on who's going to get this reward?
NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Police don't want to talk about it. In fact, Susan, I was the only reporter at the last LAPD media briefing to ask about the reward money during that briefing. They ignored me. I had to go off camera and have an off-camera exchange with the LAPD. At which point they told me, "I don't know what's going to happen with the money."
And right now, it was pulled together by so many people, there's more than 20 people that are going to have a say in what happens to this money. Does it go to the couple that was tied up by Christopher Dorner? Does it go to the man that was carjacked. Or maybe does it go back in to the city?
Hundreds of hours of overtime are used Susan to pay for this investigation -- very, very wide manhunt in southern California. Now, we don't know what's going to happen with this reward money.
Could be another black eye on the already stained reputation of the LAPD.
HENDRICKS: We all know the manifesto that Chris Dorner wrote in terms of what he wanted to do. Police say Dorner also had a huge cache of weapons. What did they find?
VALENCIA: Well, they found assault rifles, semiautomatic weapons. They even found ten silencers and a military grade-style helmet. This was a heavily armed individual. You read his manifesto, I did, too. He had every intention of carrying out this vendetta and very violent -- violent spree of revenge -- Susan.
HENDRICKS: Nick, you were there, you felt the tension in L.A. You spoke with many LAPD officers about how they were feeling during this manhunt for Dorner. What was the most surprising thing that the officers said to you?
VALENCIA: I think most surprising thing was one LAPD officer, we asked him about safety concerns, if he's taking added security precautions. He said in an exchange with his wife, his wife told him, Susan, you know, I knew that your job was dangerous getting into it becoming an LAPD officer.
What they did not anticipate or expect was this widespread empathy and sympathy for Christopher Dorner that showed up online. That, to them, was the scariest part. I even spoke to a supporter on my way back from reporting on the Dorner manhunt.
I was in a taxi cab and the driver told me, don't mistake our support for Dorner, for our disdain for Los Angeles Police Department. But it was just shocking to not only the LAPD, but local residents for those that came out aggressively in support of Christopher Dorner.
HENDRICKS: Yes. Any man that brutally killed officers and innocent people -- shouldn't be any support for him in my opinion. All right, Nick, thank you so much. Appreciate that report.
A tank storing radioactive waste is leaking at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. That's in Washington State. It contains almost 450,000 gallons of sludge and about 150 to 300 gallons of it that's seeping out even year. This is the first tank documented to be leaking at the 177 tanks at the site. Washington's governor says there's no immediate public health risk, but he called on the federal government to address the problem fast.
A nurse is suing a Michigan hospital for allegedly agreeing to a man's request that African-Americans not care for his baby. The lawsuit says managers at the Hurley Medical Center reassigned the African-American nurse after the father made that request.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JULIE GAFKAY, PLAINTIFF'S ATTORNEY: It was shocking to her. She was very upset. She was very offended. She was in disbelief.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HENDRICKS: The hospital has not responded to CNN's request for a comment.
The meteor that exploded over Russia was a wake-up call for scientists. But does the government have a plan to intercept an asteroid on a collision course with earth? We're going to tell you.
HENDRICKS: A brand new boardwalk is taking shape in Seaside Heights, New Jersey. This scene of the landmark roller coaster there under water was a symbol of the destruction of Hurricane Sandy. But by Memorial Day, a $3.6 million project will rebuild that boardwalk.
Construction crews and heavy equipment pounded in the first pilings on Friday, certainly symbolic there. Once the mile-long boardwalk is complete, crews will add the ramps, railings, and lighting, too.
A meteor streaking through the sky in a close call with an asteroid both on the same day, well, earth was lucky this time. But do we have the ability to defend the planet from a meteor that's on a collision path? Here is Lisa Sylvester -- Lisa.
LISA SYLVESTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was something that came out of the blue. You can hear the frightening sounds, a bright streak across the sky, an explosion and a loud bang.
A meteor exploding over Russia. The Russian Interior Ministry says a thousand people suffered injuries mostly from broken glass. Scientists were rehashing what happened even as they were keeping their eye on another separate cosmic event, an asteroid passing only about 17,000 miles from earth, closer than our weather and TV satellites in space.
Melissa Hayes-Gehrke is a scientist at the University of Maryland where they keep a data base of asteroids and comets that could pose a problem for earth.
MELISSA HAYES-GEHRKE, SCIENTIST, UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND: We want to get a good idea of what sizes of objects are out there that could hit us and how many of each size object out there. And we're finding that the really big ones are rare which is great. But the small ones are much, much more common such as the one that passed over Russia.
SYLVESTER: But while scientists can see cosmic rocks coming our way, doing something about it is the tricky part. In theory, NASA would be able to knock a threatening incoming asteroid off orbit so it misses earth.
But there's very little precedent for that. The only thing that comes close was a 2005 mission where NASA steered a probe about the size of a coffee table into an oncoming comet, a project known as "Deep Impact," but that was on a much smaller scale.
GEHRKE: In principle, it should work because as I said that strategy is a very straight forward strategy of just hitting an asteroid with an object and so with all of the physics theory we have it should work just fine.
But certainly there would be a lot of details in launching a massive object into space, making sure that we guide it correctly so that it will hit the right spot on the asteroid to knock it appropriately off-course.
SYLVESTER: Scientists say these events, the meteor in Russia and the asteroid is close call, should be a wake-up call. If that asteroid instead of missing earth had impacted, say, Washington, D.C., it would have been devastating.
GEHRKE: If it's dense enough and it could hit the earth intact then impact crater itself would not be that big. But the effects from the shockwave and the heat from impact would be enough to basically wipe out everything within the Beltway around D.C.
SYLVESTER: Scientists would not only need to identify that an asteroid is headed toward earth, but they would also have to have enough time to do something about it. Experts say they would need at least a couple of years to be able to work on a strategy for intercepting or diverting one, but the good news is the technology is out there. Lisa Sylvester, CNN, Washington.
HENDRICKS: Lisa, thank you.
Coming up, a Georgia inmate is scheduled to die on Tuesday, but his attorney and others say he should not be executed. We'll tell you why.
HENDRICKS: A Georgia death row inmate who killed his girlfriend and years later a fellow inmate is set to be executed on Tuesday. No one disputes his crimes, but while on death row, doctors have determined that Warren Hill is mentally disabled with an I.Q. of only 70.
So should this man be executed? I asked Hill's defense attorney, Brian Kammer, and CNN legal contributor Paul Callan their opinion.
BRIAN KAMMER, WARREN HILL'S ATTORNEY: There's now no dispute amongst any of the experts who have evaluated Mr. Hill over the last 22 years that he is mentally retarded.
And so I am hoping that the Board of Pardons and Paroles will reconsider its denial last year of clemency, and we have also filed a court action in state court to ask a judge to reconsider the mental retardation claim based on this new information.
HENDRICKS: We were talking during the break, and you said your client, Warren, is afraid. What's the next step for your client?
KAMMER: Well, Mr. Hill is waiting for some good news. And I would say that he's extremely anxious and frightened about the potential execution next Tuesday.
HENDRICKS: Let's go to Paul Callan. Paul, the State of Georgia has no plans yet to stay Hill's planned execution. Why do you think this is? If he is deemed that he does have a -- that he is mentally retarded, Paul?
PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL CONTRIBUTOR: Well, when you look at these death penalty cases, you have to look at the facts of the underlying cases and that tells you a lot. He was charged originally -- by the way, he's been convicted two of murders.
He was in prison because he murdered his girlfriend, a woman named Myra Wright. He confronted her on a crowded street, shot her, and then pursued her and shot her again while she was on the ground 11 times.
He was sentenced to life in prison. The murder that he was in prison for and that he was sentenced to death on, he murdered another inmate and he did that by fashioning a two by four board with nails and beating him about the head until he was no longer recognizable.
He imposed the death penalty on Joseph Handspike who was a fellow prisoner. So when a jury looked at this and when a judge looked at this, they see a very serious murder case. At the time of trial, there are two parts to the mental retardation tests.
One is what was his I.Q? His I.Q. was 70, that's borderline mental retardation. There's a second part to the test. Has he adapted to society? He's -- he was in the Navy. He has writing skills. People in his family described him as a family leader and a father figure. Ultimately the judge decided you know something, there's not sufficient evidence to indicate that he is truly mentally retarded. And that's why the State of Georgia has fought to keep the death penalty in place in this case.
HENDRICKS: Brian, how do you respond to that?
KAMMER: Well, the reason that the judge in this case -- I would point out that the judge in this case found Mr. Hill to meet the criteria for mental retardation by a preponderance of the evidence back in 2002. That means in legal -- lay terms, he's more likely than not mentally retarded.
But that's not the standard in Georgia. It's beyond a reasonable doubt. So he could not meet that standard according to the judge at the time. And the reason he could not meet that standard primarily was because the state doctors opined that he didn't quite meet the standard.
He was borderline intellectual -- he had borderline intellectual functioning. But now, these doctors recognize having reviewed Mr. Hill's Navy performance, having reviewed his entire background again, far more thoroughly than they had before, that in fact he is mentally retarded.
HENDRICKS: Is it true one of the victim's families does not want him executed and former President Jimmy Carter, as well?
KAMMER: That's right correct. The Carter family expressed strong support for clemency in Mr. Hill's case last year. The victim, Mr. Handspike's family, also expressed support for clemency.
HENDRICKS: We do want to point out that we asked Georgia State Attorney General Sam Owens to come on the show, talk about this. He declined our offer. But Paul, a number of people had come forward saying that Hill should not be executed. As I mentioned, the family of one of the victims, also former President Jimmy Carter, do you think that has much sway?
CALLAN: Well, you know, most -- I can't say most people, but a substantial number of people have a conscientious objection to the death penalty. I will tell you, former President Jimmy Carter opposes every imposition of the death penalty, but as do most death penalty opponents.
So no, it doesn't surprise me that he's made this statement. And you know, the State of Georgia and just to -- to disagree with his very able representative on why the appellate court upheld this sentence, they were looking at this -- two parts to the test.
One is whether he can adapt to life in a sort of ordinary way when you're judging mental retardation. They looked at the fact that he had been a seaman second class in the Navy. He had gotten promotions in the Navy. He can write. He can function.
And you know, in truth a lot of people in prison are of low intelligence. He's at that border of mental retardation and low intelligence. Ultimately the federal court said, you know something, we're not going to disturb at least at this point what the State of Georgia has decided.
HENDRICKS: Our thanks to Warren Hill's defense attorney, Brian Kammer, and CNN legal contributor, Paul Callan.
A Navy SEAL who claims to have killed Osama Bin Laden is coming under criticism for breaking the code of silence.
HENDRICKS: A Navy SEAL is doing what some call the unthinkable -- he is complaining. And even though he served honorably in combat and may even be the man who killed Osama Bin Laden, he is now criticized for breaking the SEAL code. Here now is Chris Lawrence.
CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They've endured hot, cold, deadly conditions, and push past unbelievable levels of pain.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A Navy SEAL would break his leg and never let you know.
LAWRENCE: So some former SEALs like John Maguire are shocked to hear of one of their own being accused of, well, whining. Already immortalized on film, there's an anonymous SEAL Team 6 member who by some accounts fired the shots that killed Osama Bin Laden. But that SEAL told "Esquire" magazine the military has abandoned him.
PHIL BRONSTEIN, EXECUTIVE CHAIR, CENTER FOR INVESTIGATIVE REPORTING: This shooter served 16 years, went on hundreds of missions, and he gets out four years early. He gets no pension, zero pension.
LAWRENCE: The commander of all Navy SEALs is now firing back. Quote, "This former SEAL made a deliberate and informed decision to leave the Navy several years short of retirement status."
The military officials showed that memo to CNN, but it was never meant for the public. The commander sent it to the SEAL community in response to the shooter's accusations that he had arthritis, eye damage, and blown discs, but no health care or pension.
The SEAL commander says he voluntarily left the service despite the option to stay in. Quote, "claims to the contrary are false."
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That goes against everything we're taught. We don't complain.
LAWRENCE: John Mcguire says everyone knows going in, barring catastrophic injury, you must do 20 years for a pension.
JOHN MCGUIRE, FORMER NAVY SEAL: It's rare that someone gets out at 16, but, you know, I have a lot of respect for someone who knows when they're done.
LAWRENCE: Well, the shooter was wrong on one account. He is going to get at least five years of health care from the VA just like everyone who served in Iraq or Afghanistan. The Navy is also promising to help him with his transition.
But some say these special operations forces with the hundreds of deployments and the wear and tear on their bodies and minds, perhaps there is something that should be done for those who can't make it all the way to 20 years. Chris Lawrence, CNN, The Pentagon.
HENDRICKS: Chris, thank you. "CNN NEWSROOM" starts at the top of the hour. Deborah Feyerick is here. Deb, what do you have for us?
DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We have so many good things that are coming up. First of all, we're going to be looking at the heavens, talking about this sort of cosmic collision that's happening. You had the asteroid that just came within the earth's GPS satellites.
Then the meteor that fell to earth as you're seeing there in Russia, hurting more than 1,000 people. And last night there was a flash over the skies in San Francisco. So we're going to be taking a look at all that, talking to a NASA expert, and also getting a live report out of Russia as well.
Plus, our legal guys, well, our legal guys always have plenty to say, as you know.
FEYERICK: We're going to be talking about the twisted sex tale of Jodi Arias and what she's testifying to on the stand as she fights for her life. She's accused of killing her boyfriend.
Also we're going to be talking about a pregnant teenager who's gotten a restraining order against her own parents. We'll give you the reason behind that.
And in case you feel you haven't been putting in that exercise you need to put in, we'll talk with Jillian Michaels for the skinny on getting skinny and even staying that way.
HENDRICKS: You don't want to mess with Jillian Michaels.
FEYERICK: She will make you cry.
HENDRICKS: She will.
FEYERICK: Also, you know, now in this market, should you rent, should you buy? Christine Romans is going to have the whole layout for us on that. Of course as always, the latest breaking news that will be coming direct from our "NEWSROOM" to everybody's rooms wherever they may be watching us.
HENDRICKS: Looking forward to it, Deb. Great to see you.
FEYERICK: You, too, Susan.
HENDRICKS: Just ahead, U.S. Airways and American Airlines will soon be one and the same. Will the merger mean trouble in the skies for flyers? We'll tell you.
HENDRICKS: Whether your best friend is a dog, a cat, or a bird, one Missouri businessman says he can help you keep your pet forever. How? It's not taxidermy but freeze-drying. It only costs about $850. Alan Shope from our affiliate KCTV in Kansas City, Missouri, has all the details.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's not for everybody.
ALAN SHOPE, KCTV-5 REPORTER (voice-over): Fido is frozen.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's not unusual to see people weep again and cry and sometimes that's an indication that you've done a good job.
SHOPE: Slater resident Anthony Eddy started freeze-drying pets after a friend's request. Now his company, Eddy's Wildlife Studio, does close to 120 pet preservations a year. He admits it can be a difficult business.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You have to have the right individuals working for you.
SHOPE: It's not taxidermy, it's actually freeze drying the entire pet minus a few organs and body fat.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Actual animal muscle bone and tissue, facial features are still there.
SHOPE: There are just a handful of guys that do it nationally. Some say it's a little spooky. Others are amazed just how real their passed-on pet looks.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Like this cat here, ultimately he will end up -- it's a calico cat so he'll have three colors on his nose. I have a vacuum pump on this so we've extracted all the air pressure.
SHOPE: These 15 freeze dryers run up to $40,000 each and cost Eddy about $5,000 a month in electricity, so it's easy to see how popular this has become.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Calls from Israel, Japan. SHOPE (on camera): And freeze-drying someone's pet is not a short process. Sometimes it takes between eight months to a year to freeze the animal depending on size.
(voice-over): Whether it's a large dog, a fat cat, or eve an bird, now your pet with can stay with you always.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You get attached to the darn things and I think everybody that has a pet can identify with that.
HENDRICKS: That just proves people love their pets. Alan Shope, our thanks to him for that.
Now taking a look at some of the top business stories of the week, Wal-Mart's stock took a nosedive on Friday after an internal e- mail published by "Bloomberg News" quoted an executive saying that February sales were a, quote, "total disaster." The news came in around 2:30 p.m. shortly after that, the stock for the world's largest retailer plummeted before making a slight recovery.
How about this one, Tiffany is suing Costco accusing the discount retailer of selling knockoff Tiffany engagement rings. Tiffany says Costco falsely marketed diamond rings as being real Tiffany jewels.
The rings were sold in store. Other high-end rings are sold online. The high-end jeweler says it wants triple the profits Costco made off the rings plus $2 million for every Tiffany-style model that it sold.
A deal six months in the making finally went through this week, the merger between U.S. Airways and the bankrupt American Airlines. The newly formed carrier will be the world's largest, but that has some consumers worried about possible fare increases. Ali Velshi explains what it means for flyers.
ALI VELSHI, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Susan, if regulators allow it, U.S. Airways will take over a bankrupt American Airlines creating the world's biggest airline in the process. The newly merged company will keep the American Airlines name, and while the deal is probably good for investors, passengers worry air fares will shoot up as competition disappears.
Now I talked to the CEOs of both companies when they announced the merger and they said passengers will not see fare hikes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DOUG PARKER, CEO, U.S. AIRWAYS: We're going to take two airlines that are highly complementary, put them together, still fly the same number of airplanes to the same number of places, which is actually good for the consumers of both airlines. There won't be a reduction in supply so therefore no reason to believe there would be an increase in pricing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELSHI: So why would we take the CEOs word for it? Take a look at this. Prices for an average domestic economy air fare have actually dropped since 1979 from $579 then to $365 now, though they have started to tick up a little lately.
At the same time, the number of airlines has been shrinking. Just after airline deregulation came into effect, there were 20 major airlines in the U.S. By 1990, there were only 12 in operation. Today, just seven and with U.S. Air and American merging we'll be down to six.
U.S. Air and American don't have a lot of overlapping routes or hubs. In the end, there will be about eight routes out of the combined airlines 900 or so that will only be served by one airline -- Susan.
HENDRICKS: Ali Velshi, thank you. Appreciate it. CNN "NEWSROOM" continues now with Deborah Feyerick -- Deb.
FEYERICK: Hi, there, Susan. I'm looking at that freeze dried pet thing -- we're still not over it. I can't exactly quite figure out what to make of that. All right, thanks so much.