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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT

Brooklyn Bridge Shut Down; New Arrest In Terror Case; Cruise Canceled After Ship Catches Fire; Cruise Industry Hits More Troubled Waters; Spelling Bee Shake Up

Aired May 27, 2013 - 19:00   ET

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


BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: OUTFRONT next, the latest from the terror attack in London the investigation there. Now 10 people have been arrested in connection with the brutal meat cleaver murder of a soldier there in broad daylight.

Also, here we go again. The cruise industry takes yet another hit. A fire breaks out onboard a ship. We're going to show you some pictures today.

Also, a Kentucky police officer gunned down in what authorities believe was a pre-planned ambush. Who is targeting our law enforcement agents? Let's go OUTFRONT.

We begin with breaking news tonight. I'm Brooke Baldwin sitting in for Erin Burnett. You're looking at live pictures of the Brooklyn Bridge as New York police have shut down this bridge in both directions, as you can see on this Memorial Day evening, no cars going either way into the city or into Brooklyn.

The issue has been this vehicle that we've seen some bomb squads responding to with protective gear because it was curious the fact that it didn't have license plate nor did it have a vehicle identification number. The bomb squad as I mentioned searching the vehicle at this hour.

And CNN producer, Ross Levitt, is joining me now on the phone. Ross, I still see no traffic. Tell me the latest.

ROSS LEVITT, CNN PRODUCER (via telephone): Yes, that's right. Traffic is still shut down in both directions on the Brooklyn Bridge and so as pedestrian traffic, and also, not allowed to cross over the bridge right now. We are seeing some signs that this thing may be coming to a close, some of the vehicles leaving the scene.

But apparently the NYPD not ready to open things up for traffic. So they must have a few items they still want to check out. It's tough to know how long that will be. But on this Memorial Day whether people, you know, generally like to cross over the Brooklyn Bridge.

It's one of the fun New York things to do, not able to do that right now because of this suspicious vehicle that apparently had no VIN number on it, no license plate on it and so that raised a lot of suspicions. It was abandoned right on the bridge. BALDWIN: We're looking at pictures right now. This was earlier tonight. I mentioned someone in a protective suit. This is the bomb squad. You saw the NYPD officers as well. Here he is very, very carefully going through this vehicle to try to figure out if there might be something possibly nefarious inside. Bottom line, Ross, as you say, maybe it will be clearing out. How long is the car been sitting there?

LEVITT: We got this within the hour. So it hasn't been very long at this point. And from our experience in covering these things, generally as it goes past an hour, that's when you start to think gee maybe there really is something nefarious going on. But we're under that mark at this point. And so if at some point we do get an all clear here, you know, it will be a sign that things are OK.

BALDWIN: Ross, let me interrupt you.

LEVITT: Traffic has backed off here. Folks trying to get on to the bridge are unable to pedestrians and vehicles so --

BALDWIN: Ross, I just got in my ear that the NYPD has now officially said all clear, all clear tonight. So soon enough we will start seeing traffic back and forth on this Memorial Day evening there on the Brooklyn Bridge. Ross Levitt, thank you so much.

Also OUTFRONT tonight, a new terror arrest, number 10 here. Officers investigating the brutal killing of British soldier, Lee Rigby, have arrested another man for conspiracy to commit murder. So far, authorities have arrested 10 people in this case including one of the alleged killers who was captured on this incredibly gruesome video here.

You see his two bloody hands in his left hand a meat cleaver and a knife. The murder has caused all kinds of backlash against Muslims in London, which is where we have our Atika Shubert tonight with the very latest on the investigation. Atika, tell me about this arrest, number 10.

ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, he is the 10th person to be arrested. He is a 50-year-old man. He was arrested on the street by armed police. Now he didn't put up a fight. He was brought in like many of the others on suspicion of conspiracy to murder. Now we don't know the exact connection he had with the two main suspects.

In fact, we don't know from most of these young men that have been arrested, most of them are between the ages of 29 and 28 what their connections are. Are they acquaintances, close friends or family? We just don't know.

What we do know is that the two main suspects Michael Adebolajo and Michael (inaudible) remain inside the separate hospitals where they are recuperating from their gunshot wounds. They were shot and severely injured immediately after the attack, but we do understand that police have not been able to fully question them yet -- Brooke.

BALDWIN: OK, Atika Shubert tonight for us in London. I want to continue the conversation and bring in Phil Mudd. He is a former CIA deputy director of Counterterrorism, an FBI senior intelligence adviser. Also tonight, we have Fran Townsend. She is CNN's national security analyst, President Bush's Homeland Security adviser, formerly and a member of the CIA External Advisory Board. So welcome to both of you.

And Phil, let me just begin with you because one of the suspects that Atika was mentioning, we know that who is in custody for the killing of this soldier in London, we know that he was arrested by Kenyan authorities back in 2010 for suspected ties to terrorist organizations in Somalia possibly Al Shabab.

Also interestingly we've learned according to reports he was even approached by British intelligence. So this tells me he was known. What does that tell you?

PHILIP MUDD, FORMER CIA DEPUTY DIRECTOR COUNTERTERRORISM: It tells me a little bit, not as much as you might think. The quantity of threat that the British sit on is substantial. It's a lot greater than the amount of threat I saw in the United States with the FBI. Communities in places like Leads, London, Birmingham, they are fermenting with Islamic extremism so the Brits have a big problem.

BALDWIN: What about, Fran, when I look at you I also think of -- recently talking to you when I was in Boston covering the marathon bombings and specifically when you think of the Tsarnaev brothers and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the elder brother, we know he was on terror watch lists. Sometimes there is a concern that one could get lost on such a tremendous list.

But it sounds like that this individual, what was somewhat known, how do -- in terms of information sharing, how do we make sure that information is shared with the most important people in cases like this, i.e. local police?

FRANCES TOWNSEND, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: You know, Brooke that is the confounding thing about this. Look, the Tsarnaev brother lead came from the Russian government. The Russian government may or may not have passed it for its own reasons. And the FBI looked at it and developed -- couldn't develop very much about it.

The interesting difference here is in the case of the London murderer of -- murderers of Lee Rigby, this was somebody -- this was their own information, the own domestic service, their version of the FBI, MI-5, had this information and we understand from other reports actually approached him because of his access in extremist circles.

He was a known quantity to them and as you say, the question really becomes did they share it with Scotland Yard? If not, why not? What was the reason behind that and were they working together with Scotland Yard?

BALDWIN: So it's what did they know and now, Phil, it's the look at the demonstrations. You have the EDL, the English Defense League, you know, demonstrating this huge, huge backlash on the Muslim community. You have a mosque that was set on fire over the weekend. How concerning is that for you?

MUDD: I think it is the most disconcerting thing about the entire case. Aside from the tragedy of the murder, you go back to 12 years to 911, what you have is revolutionaries that is al Qaeda and it's sympathizers trying to create a clash of civilizations between the Muslim world, the United States and others. To my mind, the concern is that they're going to succeed. Society can't sit still and say look, let's not give them what they want. Let's sit still.

BALDWIN: So, Fran, what are your thoughts on that? I mean, this is a huge, huge part of the story.

TOWNSEND: It is a huge part of the story and I don't think we've seen the end of it, Brooke, unfortunately. I mean, we've heard today that there were then counter sort of protests and defacing of war memorials in Great Britain. I think that we're just beginning to see this and it's an ongoing problem as Phil rightly points out. The extremist population and problem that the level of threat in London is tremendous and so I think you're going to see this over a period of -- a protracted period of time, which will be a real challenge for security officials in London.

BALDWIN: We'll continue following that, of course. Again, we're reporting the 10th arrest here in this case. Phil Mudd and Fran Townsend, thanks to you both tonight.

Still to come, a fire erupts on a luxury liner forcing passengers to scramble to safety. How will the cruise ship industry respond to this latest PR nightmare?

Plus, George Zimmerman's trial, set to begin in a matter of weeks. What his lawyers are doing to get it delays.

And this is horrible, this couple murdered in their Alaskan home and their great granddaughter, 2 years old, sexually assaulted. An officer working the case joins us OUTFRONT tonight with an update.

The latest into the investigation into this Washington Bridge collapse, what authorities say caused the bridge to fall.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: Our second story, OUTFRONT, the cruise industry hits more troubled waters here. This time a fire broke out on Royal Caribbean's "Grandeur of the Seas" sending hundreds of guests scrambling to the decks with their lifejackets very, very early this Memorial Day morning. Fortunately, no one was injured despite the charred pieces of ship you're looking at.

But let me tell you, their voyage which started this past Friday in Baltimore has now been canceled. And plans are now being made to get the 2,200 passenger who are right now in the Bahamas back home to the U.S.

Erin McPike is OUTFRONT for us tonight on this one. Erin, we know that the NTSB, we know the Coast Guard, they're looking into this right now. Do we have any idea what caused the fire?

ERIN MCPIKE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Not yet, Brooke, but the CEO of Royal Caribbean Adam Goldstein did go to the cruise ship this afternoon to survey damage on its own. We know that the fire broke out sometime around 2:30 a.m. and it raged for about two hours. It was a terrifying experience for people onboard. One of those passengers, Danielle Miller, spoke to CNN earlier today about what that was like.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DANIELLE MILLER, ROYAL CARRIBEAN PASSENGER (via telephone): Our room attendant was pounding on our door. I opened the door and just see people running around and yelling at us to get our lifejackets on and run as fast as we can. We probably ran up to that deck faster than we ever ran before. We were terrified and a lot of people were just crying and freaking out.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MCPIKE: Now aside from some fainting and we hear vomiting and obviously fear, no one was injured so that's the good news -- Brooke.

BALDWIN: All right, I appreciate the silver ling here, Erin McPike. But let me ask you this, I'm thinking if I'm on that cruise ship and if I want to continue cruising, I'm going to want a little refund from Royal Caribbean.

MCPIKE: Absolutely. And so Royal Caribbean did issue a statement this afternoon. They told passengers what they were going to do for them and what they said is Royal Caribbean International will provide each guest with a full refund of the cruise fare paid. Royal Caribbean would also like to provide guests with the opportunity to sail with us again and what that means is they're going to give all of those passengers a voucher for 100 percent of a free cruise in the future, Brooke.

So they do want the customers to stay with them. Brooke, I'd also tell you that I talked to a couple of people today who follow the cruise ship industry pretty closely. And they said that Royal Caribbean did a pretty good job of responding in comparison to some of the other things we've seen in the last few months.

BALDWIN: Well, let me talk about that with someone who knows a thing or two about the cruise industry. Erin, thank you. Today's fire on the Royal Caribbean "Grandeur of the Seas" comes about, as she pointed out, three months after the disaster, let's call it was, the Carnival Triumph cruise ship fiasco that left thousands of vacationers without power and, you know, things we can't even talk about on TV. It was not a pretty scene for a lot of the folks.

Jay Herring is the author of "The Truth About Cruise Ships." Let me just start with the point that Erin McPike just made. She was saying, you know, in terms of PR and getting out front, if you will, of the story, how do you think Royal Caribbean did? JAY HERRING, AUTHOR, "THE TRUTH ABOUT CRUISE SHIPS": I think that royal learned a lesson from the fiasco with Carnival. I mean, we saw the CEO eventually came out and got onboard and greeted guests when they debarked, but it took a long time before we saw him respond. I think Royal is doing a great job getting out in front of this story, getting the CEO out there pronto and really showing his face.

BALDWIN: Let me ask you this, Jay. Just be honest. Listen, if we had not already had the fiasco that was Carnival Triumph, I was in Mobile and talked to those folks, it was not pretty. Then before that you had the Costa Concordia. Had those never happened, do you think this fire would even be a blip on our radar?

HERRING: I don't think so. You know, the most dangerous emergency that can happen on a cruise ship is fire and, yet, we see these fires happen every year on cruise ships, now most of the time they're small, quickly contained. There is little damage and you never hear about them. But the bigger fires like this, like the one with what happened with Carnival, they happen about every couple of years, usually. So it's rare that we see these happen so close together.

BALDWIN: But what I find fascinating, I tell you, people who cruise, they are like lifer cruisers. It seems like this industry, despite these pictures that, you know, everyone has their cell phone now and sending us pictures of their cruise ships, despite all of that, people continue to cruise. Am I wrong?

HERRING: Cruising has a 94 percent satisfaction rate. They do. They love to cruise and the reason why is it's such a great value for your vacation dollar. So, you know, we see this industry continue to grow.

BALDWIN: What about checks and balances? Who is making sure things like this happen fewer and fewer between?

HERRING: You know, we've seen a lot of changes in the industry over the last couple of years as a result of these continued incidents in the PR that they get. I mean, again, I think it was great that the CEO came out onboard. He is ultimately, the buck stops with him. It is his cruise line, his company so, sure.

BALDWIN: Jay Herring, thank you.

HERRING: All right, thanks. Thanks so much.

BALDWIN: Still to come tonight, a woman spends 22 years on death row for the murder of her son, but now authorities believe she's innocent. She was set up by a crooked cop.

Plus, a shake-up at the National Spelling Bee, this controversial decision could make this actually the toughest contest yet.

And later in the show, don't miss this, a tribute to America's fallen soldiers.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: Our third story, OUTFRONT, tonight, spelling bee shake- up. Folks, we are just a day away from the big Script's National Spelling Bee, you know, the annual event where hundreds of spellers, lovers of words here between the ages of 8 and 14 vie for the title.

So this year, 281 spellers from all 50 states and seven other countries will take the stage for a contest that has been called nerve-racking, dramatic and dare I add spellbinding. As our own Casey Wian explains though this controversial rule change could give this year's contest new meaning.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For the winner -- there's a hero's welcome back home, a limo, even a meeting with the president. For everyone else, the National Spelling Bee can be hell. The pressure builds, competitors frigid. Parents can't bear to watch.

For correct answers -- applause, mistakes bring the dreaded chime. This year, the spelling bee will be even tougher. Contestants in the preliminary rounds of the national finals also will be required to know the meanings of words.

PAIGE KIMBLE, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, NATIONAL SPELLING BEE: The reason for the change is all about extending the bees commitment to its purpose, which long has been not only to help students improve their spelling, but also to increase their vocabulary, learn concepts and develop correct English usage.

WIAN: Don't tell that to 11-year-old Spelling Bee competitor.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It doesn't make sense. I don't get the rule.

WIAN: He has won local and regional spelling bees. One prize was this iPad and last year he made it to the finals of the South Asian Spelling Bee. He is now studying and hopes he'll reach the national finals where South Asian-Americans have won 10 of the past 14 competitions.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I check the pages. I look for words then later my mom asks me the words like I have Iapygian right here.

WIAN (on camera): Can you spell it for me?

(voice-over): It's a group of ancient people living in Southern Italy, not knowing that might knock out of this year's competition. The new rule is controversial in part because it was announced only seven weeks before the national finals.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. There is going to be a lot of last minute studying. That is never good.

KIMBLE: The timing of our announcement of incorporation of vocabulary is absolutely fair. April is the first opportunity to engage all of the participants who have qualified for the national finals.

WIAN: Scripts and ESPN both reject speculation the rules change is TV ratings driven, perhaps an effort to limit the number of competitors in the finals. But the vocabulary test won't be televised. His parents have no problem with the new rule.

SUDAM MISHRA, FATHER: They make the rules harder, it is to be everybody.

SUCHARITA MISHRA, MOTHER: The number one person he's going to be number one. No matter how many rules you change.

WIAN: Casey Wian, CNN, Chino Hills, California.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BALDWIN: Those kids are incredible, aren't they?

Still to come tonight, a Kentucky police officer gunned down in what authorities think was a pre-planned ambush. Who is out there targeting America's law enforcement agents? We're going to talk about that.

Also, the man who shot and killed Trayvon Martin is about to get his day in court -- maybe. Why George Zimmerman's trial could be delayed.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: Welcome back to the second half of OUTFRONT tonight. We start the second hour of our show with stories that we care about where we focus on our own reporting from the front lines.

Now to an OUTFRONT update on what caused that bridge collapse in Mount Vernon, Washington. The NTSB chairwoman, her name is Deborah Herseman, she says a tractor trailer hit one of the bridge's overhead trusses causing this 150-yard chunk of it to collapse into the water along with two cars and three people. Thank goodness, they all survived.

The problem is that tractor-trailer was 15 feet, 9 inches high and the bridge only had a clearance of 14 feet 6 inches. It turns out Washington State does not require signs indicating the bridge's height unless the bridge is less than 14 feet four inches. There you go.

Less than two weeks after Angelina Jolie wrote that opinion piece in "The New York Times" about her personal decision to have a double mastectomy, OUTFRONT has learned that her aunt, Debbie Martin, died of breast cancer early Sunday morning. She was 61 years old.

Francis Bertrand, a nephew of Martin, tells us she discovered she had the BRCA2 gene back in 2004 but it was too late for preventative surgery. She already had breast cancer.

Angelina Jolie has the BRCA1 gene as she wrote about in this op- ed. And Mr. Bertrand tell us both genes run in the family. Here's a picture he sent us of Debbie Martin. His father Raleigh Bertrand (ph) and Angelina Jolie's mother, Marcheline Bertrand, they're they are. Each died of cancer in 2013, 2009, and 2007.

To Iraq tonight, where at least 51 people were killed and more than 160 were wounded in a series of car bombings today. This is according to Iraq's interior ministry. CNN tally shows more than 300 people have been killed thus far this month on the heels of Iraq seeing its deadliest month in nearly five years.

Expert Kenneth Pollack of the Brookings Institution tells us Iraq has been on the brink of a civil war for the last couple of months despite the fact that most Iraqis would like to avoid it. He says the situation there is likely to get worse before it gets better if it gets better at all.

And the ink isn't even dry on Julie Hermann's contract. She is in the new Rutgers athletic director. And let me tell you, a scandal is already brewing. A group of former volleyball players that she coached in the '90s have now written this letter to a New Jersey newspaper claiming she called them -- and I'm quoting them -- "whores, alcoholics and learning disabled," end quote.

You know the story of her predecessor. He resigned back in April after this video surfaced of basketball coach Mike Rice hurling basketballs and homophobic slurs at his players.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COACH MIKE RICE: You (EXPLETIVE DELETED) fairy. You're a (EXPLETIVE DELETED)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: Hermann meanwhile admits she was an intense coach, but says, quote, "There is a difference between high intensity and abusive behavior," end quote. Rutgers University is standing behind her.

And it has been 662 days since the U.S. lost its top credit rating. What are we doing to get it back?

The markets, as you know, on this holiday, they're closed. But investment bankers are still making deals. Canada's largest drugmaker Valeant Pharmaceutical said today it is buying eye care specialist Bausch & Lomb from private equity firm Warburg Pincus. The price, $8.7 billion.

Our fourth story OUTFRONT tonight: revenge.

Kentucky police are vowing to find justice tonight after a fellow officer was gunned down early Saturday morning when in what appears to be an ambush killing. Investigators say Bardstown police officer Jason Ellis was lured into a trap when he got out of his cruiser to remove debris from the road and was shot multiple times.

CNN's Alina Machado is OUTFRONT tonight with the story. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ALINA MACHADO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Fueled by anger and grief, the police chief in Bardstown, Kentucky, is vowing revenge.

POLICE CHIEF RICK MCCUBBIN, BARDSTOWN, KENTUCKY: I can assure you we won't give up on this person until we have them either in custody or in the front sight of one of our weapons.

MACHADO: Authorities say Bardstown officer Jason Ellis he will was driving home from work early Saturday morning when he stopped to clear debris from a freeway exit ramp and was ambushed. Police say someone was hiding nearby and opened fire with a shotgun, killing the 33-year-old, seven-year police veteran.

TROOPER NORMAN CHAFFINS, KENTUCKY STATE POLICE (via telephone): He was a distance away. It was obviously -- obviously he was lying in wait for someone to stop and pick up that debris. And, you know, as reported earlier, you know, Officer Ellis never had a chance.

MACHADO: The officer's weapon was still in his holster when he was found. Other drivers stopped and called for help but it was too late. Ellis leaves behind a wife and two young boys. His church honored his life during Sunday's services.

PASTOR BRENT SNOOK, FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH, GLEN ESTE. KY.: When you know a guy like Jason who is just a great man and a wonderful guy, you just don't expect this to happen.

MACHADO: Police say it is not clear if the shooter targeted Officer Ellis or intended to shoot whoever stopped. Residents of this area 40 miles south of Louisville already on edge are being told to remain vigilant.

CHAFFINS: We've got a dead police officer. And if a gunman is willing to shoot an armed police officer in a marked state -- in a marked cruiser, then, you know, they're capable of killing anyone. And these people are dangerous to the public.

MACHADO: And in front of the police station, a memorial of balloons and stuffed animals sits in tribute to a fellow officer gone too soon.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MACHADO: There will be a candlelight vigil at the police department tonight. The funeral for the officer is planned for later this week -- Brooke.

BALDWIN: Alina Machado, tonight. Alina, thank you.

Now, the Kentucky state police, they have taken charge of the investigation.

And master trooper Norman Chaffins is OUTFRONT tonight with me for the latest. Trooper Chaffins, I'm sorry about the loss of this officer. It sounds like an absolute tragedy.

And as you are investigating, as state police are investigating, I should say, do you have any idea whether or not this man was targeted?

CHAFFINS: Well, that's something that we're looking into, Brooke. We've got every resource available to us. It's been made available to us. I can assure you we're all proud of the agency we work for. But we're not too proud to ask for help. And if it comes to a point within the investigation that we need help and we are -- we will enlist that help and do whatever we can to bring this person to justice.

BALDWIN: Trooper Chaffins, tell me about this debris that was reportedly what was in the road that from what I understand caused this officer to stop his patrol car and get out.

CHAFFINS: Well, it's something that we've all done. Not just state police or the Bardstown police, law enforcement around the nation, we've got -- we've all got out of our cruisers before and we've all jumped out and removed debris from the roadway. It's -- that's one of our daily duties when we patrol the interstates and we work wrecks and things.

So, the debris he removed is something that we're keeping within our own investigation. It may turn out later on that it may be a crucial part of the investigation. And we would rather err on caution in releasing that right now.

BALDWIN: So it's something that you are not saying publicly what it was, but possibly it was something that could be tied to this.

And so, I'm hearing you correctly, I mean this could have been anyone, as you point out, who saw this debris in the middle of the road, be it an officer or just anyone passing by who could have been hit.

CHAFFINS: That's correct. I mean, we're looking into every possibility that we can.

You know, unfortunately, Officer Ellis got out of his car and he went to pick up the debris and he was shot as he was picking it up. He never had a chance. He never -- his weapon was still holstered. He never had a chance to fight back.

And, you know, it's something that, like I said, we do every day. And, you know, we've -- it's a wakeup call for all of us, all law enforcement officers out there that, you know, check everything before you get out of the vehicle.

And I can assure you that law enforcement officers especially in Kentucky this will be on our minds and we'll be checking before we stop to pick up any debris in the roadway from here on out.

BALDWIN: For a long time. It's so horrible. He was a husband and a father.

Master trooper Norman Chaffins, thank you so much.

CHAFFINS: Thank you, Brooke.

BALDWIN: George Zimmerman's second-degree murder trial is set to begin next month. Attorneys in the meantime in this case will be in court tomorrow arguing over what evidence the jury should hear and whether or not the trial should be delayed.

David Mattingly will be covering the hearing and is OUTFRONT tonight in Sanford, Florida.

David, obviously, there will be a lot evidence discussed in this particular hearing tomorrow. Could any of it be a real game changer?

DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's possible it could be, Brooke. And particularly whether we look at the very unflattering photos of Trayvon Martin that George Zimmerman's defense attorney released and made public last week. These are some of these that were off the Internet that we had seen before with the young Martin trying to look tough, making an obscene gesture to the camera, things like that.

But there were new ones as well taken directly from his cell phone. We were seeing photographs and seeing text messages from Trayvon Martin indicating history of drug use, a fondness for guns and a fondness for fighting. The defense wants to be able to use this as evidence if character becomes an issue. They're saying that if the prosecution decides to go after George Zimmerman's character, then they want to be able to do the same thing to Trayvon Martin.

So the defense is going to try to hold on to this evidence. The prosecution wants it completely off the table. They don't want a jury to see those pictures. They don't want a jury to see those text messages.

So, it's going to be very interesting to see what the judge decides here, how she rules could have a big effect on one side of this case.

BALDWI: But, then also, David, the other layer to this case is you have the prosecution and the defense, this back-and-forth arguing. It's really been ratcheted up. And now, we're hearing the defense, they want a delay, correct?

MATTINGLY: The defense wants a delay because they say the prosecution is not been getting information to them in a timely fashion. And they're to be complaining very loudly to the judge this time around that they need more time because all this information is evidence is coming to them too late from the prosecutors.

So, when you get this close to a trial, that becomes a very serious accusation. In fact, the defense may be seeking sanctions against the prosecutor here.

BALDWIN: And the prosecutor here wants a gag order.

MATTINGLY: That's right. He's asked for one a couple time in the past. He didn't get very far with that. He's going to be asking for one again. He just wants the defense team for George Zimmerman just to be quiet, particularly now that we're so close to jury selection in this case.

So, again, he's going to submit that request to the judge. The judge turned him down twice in the past. We'll see what happens this time.

BALDWIN: David Mattingly in Sanford, Florida -- appreciate it, David.

Still to come, a couple and their great granddaughter attacked in this Alaskan home. The 2-year-old, the only survivor here. An officer investigating the case comes OUTFRONT tonight with the very latest.

Also, you heard about this? This woman who has spent 22 years of death row for the murder of her child could be set free. We'll tell you the reason why.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: All right. Let's check in with Anderson Cooper to see what he's working on for "A.C. 360".

Happy Memorial Day to you.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: To you as well.

You know, as you know, there was a terror scare here in New York. It turned out to be nothing more than an abandoned vehicle on the Brooklyn Bridge. There are terror developments that show you why officials around the world are on a heightened state of alert, including the fallout from that shocking London killing. The man on screen had previously been arrested in Kenya on terror ties.

More ahead on what happened and didn't happen. Ten people now in custody. We'll talk with CNN national security analyst Fran Townsend.

Also ahead, yet another cruise ship fire in the early morning hours waking guests who grabbed their life jackets, headed to the top deck. The cruise is now over for the 2,200 guests on that Royal Caribbean ship headed for the Bahamas. A live report from Erin McPike.

Also, a lot more at the top of the hour, including the "RidicuList". So we'll start in about 14 minutes, Brooke.

BALDWIN: We'll see you then, Anderson. Thank you.

And to our fifth story OUTFRONT tonight. This brutal attack on an elderly couple and their 2-year-old great granddaughter. Tonight, police say this man, 24-year-old Jerry Andrew Active is behind bars. He's charged with entering this apartment complex here. This is Anchorage, Alaska. This happened Saturday night, killed the elderly couple. This is what he is charged with.

Police say he then sexually assaulted their 2-year-old baby, this great granddaughter. Police say that child's parents had taken their other son out that night just to go see a movie. And when they got home they found Active in their daughter's bedroom. He took off running and according to police was found about a block away.

I want to bring in Sergeant Slawomir Markiewicz with the Anchorage Police Department OUTFRONT tonight.

Sergeant, welcome.

Tell me more about this man who is accused of this horrendous crime.

SGT. SLAWOMIR MARKIEWICZ, ANCHORAGE POLICE DEPARTMENT: Well, we know that he's 24 years old Alaska resident, Jerry Andrew Active. We know that he was caught in a sexual assault in 2009. Apparently he broke into a residence where he sexually assaulted an 11-year-old girl.

BALDWIN: That's right. And assaulted according to reports, all three members of that household back in 2009, also served time in jail for attempted sexual abuse of a minor and trespassing in 2010 and 2011, just a little bit on this guy's background.

From what I read, sergeant, this scene upon which your officers walked into was one of the most gruesome they had ever seen. Is that correct?

MARKIEWICZ: I've been into the homicide unit for the last eight years and it's certainly one of the worst homicides we've seen in our town, in our state.

BALDWIN: What exactly -- keep in mind, you know, this is people could -- this is evening television. But what exactly happened to this couple?

MARKIEWICZ: Well, we know that when the younger couple came back home they tried to open the door and they couldn't gain entry. They entered through the window. They found their grandparents on the floor. We know that there was some blunt force trauma injuries to their faces.

We're waiting for the autopsy results. It appeared that the female, the 73-year-old female was sexually assaulted.

BALDWIN: And then there is the 2-year-old, Sergeant Markiewicz, who I just want to ask you about tonight. Have you been in touch with her family? How is she doing?

MARKIEWICZ: We did talk to her family. The last we heard was she was at the hospital and under medical care. She underwent surgery after this incident.

BALDWIN: Sergeant Markiewicz, thank you so much tonight for joining me.

MARKIEWICZ: Thank you.

BALDWIN: A death sentence overturned. Debra Milke has been on death row for 22 years, convicted of murdering her 4-year-old son. But now, she might be set free.

An appeals court overturned her conviction. Her lawyers are arguing that she was actually the victim of a crooked cop.

Christine Romans has her story.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A death row inmate convicted of killing her 4-year-old son could walk free next month. Debra Milke had her conviction overturned by a federal appeals court after arguing for years that she was the victim of a crooked cop.

Known locally as "Death Row Debbie", Milke has been sitting on Arizona's death row for nearly 23 years for the murder of her son Christopher in Phoenix.

MARK MILKE, FATHER OF 4-YEAR-OLD MURDER VICTIM: He was my pride and joy. I mean, he was so much more brighter than me and stronger.

ROMANS: In December 1989, according to the prosecution, Christopher was told he was going to see Santa Claus at a local mall. Two male friends of Debra Milke drove him instead to a desert where one of them shot the young boy three times in the back of the head, allegedly on her instructions.

The two men told police the boy disappeared at the mall, but a day later, one of them confessed to police and led them to the boy's body. Prosecutors argued that the boy was killed to collect on a $5,000 life insurance policy.

She has always maintained her innocence, but the key witness, detective Armando Saldate, Jr., said she confessed to the plot to him and him alone.

ARMANDO SALDATE, JR., DETECTIVE: She then manipulated two other gentlemen to get rid of the child, and they got rid of the child, and made up a story that he had gotten lost at a mall.

ROMANS: The appeals court said prosecutors should have revealed the detective Saldate's history of misconduct, which included lying under oath in other cases. Because Milke's guilty verdict was based largely on Saldate's testimony, the appeals court overturned her conviction.

(END VIDEOTAPE) BALDWIN: Christine Romans reporting there.

Milke could be freed from prison as early as next month.

Still to come, we remember, of course, the men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: On this Memorial Day, we are, of course, remembering the men and the women who made the ultimate sacrifice serving their country. We saw President Obama earlier today, spending the day honoring our fallen troops and meeting with some of the military families who have lost loved ones. There he is at national cemetery -- Arlington Cemetery in Virginia.

One of the families the president met with was that of Sergeant David James Smith. Sergeant Smith was deployed to Afghanistan in October of 2009 and just three months later, in January of 2010, Smith was killed in the line of duty.

And earlier, a CNN producer caught Smith's nephew, look at this, shaking the president's hand.

And I'm honored to be joined by Sergeant Smith's big sis, Kristen Smith. She is OUTFRONT with me tonight.

And, Kristen, thank you so much for joining me. I am sorry for the loss of your brother, but I am incredibly grateful for his service. I should mention not only in Afghanistan but in Iraq as well.

Let me just begin with -- here he was your little brother, I'm sure you find a way in your sisterly way to honor him each and every day, but today is special. On this Memorial Day, tell me how you honored him.

KRISTEN SMITH, SERGEANT DAVID JAMES SMITH'S SISTER: Well, taking the family to Arlington and spending the day with his fellow brothers and everyone that has cared about him, that's how we spend our memorial day. We get there first thing in the morning and we stay until the very end of the day. We have different people that come throughout the day and we all share his favorite beer.

He loves -- he loved Jack Daniels and people bring that and bring flowers and we just have a really good time remembering him and remembering just how much he loved life, and it's a happy time. It's not a sad time to go there and to celebrate him.

BALDWIN: I truly believe that Arlington Cemetery is hallowed ground. I have family buried there.

But section 60, Kristen, is a different place. It's a special place. It's a sad place for some, as you mention. You know, it can be a happy place as well. Help people understand who have never been to section 60 what it's like and who you saw today. SMITH: Section 60 is a section that's just for the people that have fallen in the Iraqi and Afghanistan war. So, a lot of the people -- you get to know a lot of the people that -- whose loved ones are buried next to yours. For example, two graves down from my brother is a family friend.

BALDWIN: Oh, wow.

SMITH: So whenever we go there, we run into them and it's just -- it's a way to just connect to people that have been through just the tragedy that you've been through, and then you see the people that are in rows behind you that their loved one died more recently and you see where they are in their grieving process and you can help them, you go and talk to them and just offer hugs.

The main thing about Section 60 is complete strangers will come up to you and ask for your story or want to give you a hug or just want to know about your soldier, your marine. It's wonderful. It's the most amazing place.

BALDWIN: It is absolutely the most amazing place. And as we saw President Obama there today, did I hear you, you said hello to the president?

SMITH: It was amazing. It was absolutely amazing. He -- my son went up to him and he shook his hand and the president was more interested in my son than David, which was amazing. It really made him feel good. He shook my hand and I will never forget this day, that I met the president on Memorial Day in Arlington and it never would have happened if it wasn't for my brother.

BALDWIN: Wow.

What did David have to say about meeting the president? Go ahead.

SMITH: David, the things that have happened since David has died is just unimaginable. I mean, the people that have come into our lives and just the love and just little things like this, it's just -- it's just amazing. I know he's there with us every single day because these miracles, they wouldn't happen if he wasn't.

BALDWIN: Forgive me, I meant his nephew, not David himself.

But on your -- let me ask you about your little brother. I have 40 seconds left. Just on this Memorial Day, what do you want Americans to know about your brother and how are you helping making sure his memory lives on?

SMITH: Sergeant David James Smith was one of the most amazing people to ever walk this earth. He was smart, he was funny, he was caring, he would do anything for anybody, and he could just light up a room. He danced better than anybody I have ever met and he loved the Marine Corps more than anything. He was going to do it for the rest of his life. With David's passing, we have been open to so many amazing things and you know, just the love and the gratitude. So what we have done is started a golf tournament in his name and we have raised money for the Wounded Warriors, the Semper Fi Fund, and we also give scholarships in his name to Frederick High School, which is the high school he went to.

BALDWIN: We will make sure we tweet out the information. Kristen Smith, incredible. Thank you so much.

SMITH: Thank you so much. Thank you.

BALDWIN: I'm Brooke Baldwin. Thanks so much for watching tonight. "A.C. 360" starts right now.