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Greek Authorities Trying To Identify Little Girl; Missing Teen's Parents Speak Out; Officials Up Reward For Inmates To $10,000; Health Care Site Down For Repair; Clinton Steps Back On Political Stage; School Attorney: Johnson Not Alone In Gym; Nearly 100 Wildfires Scorch Australia; Second Arrest In LAX Dry Ice Bombs; NBA Legend Bill Russell Arrested; Neighbors Describe Death Scene; Florida Student Bullying Arrests; Questions Over Melissa McCarthy Cover
Aired October 19, 2013 - 12:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: All right, much more straight ahead in the NEWSROOM and it all starts right now. Hello again, everyone. I'm Fredricka Whitfield. Here are the top stories we're following in the CNN NEWSROOM this hour.
Who is this little girl? Police in Greece want to know, she doesn't look anything like the couple claiming to be her parents and they're now under arrest.
Florida prison officials call it a system failure, two murderers dupe the system, walking out the door and creating an intensive manhunt.
In New York, a different search but no less frantic, in a city of 8 million, the hunt is on for one 14-year-old boy, he has autism and hasn't been seen in two weeks.
Greek authorities are looking to help solve a mystery. This little girl was first spotted in a gypsy community outside Athens. Police were suspicious that a couple claiming to be the parents of a blonde haired, blue-eyed child didn't seem to match up. DNA testing revealed she is not related to either of them. So now police are trying to figure out who she really is.
I spoke earlier with a spokesman for a Greek charity that is caring for the little girl who talked about the confusion surrounding the case.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PANAGIOTIS PARDALIS, SPOKESMAN, "THE SMILE OF THE CHILD" (via telephone): We are only making assumptions, police authorities only make assumptions right now, and there's an investigation going on. So even, I mean, we make assumptions about her age. We think that she's four. We don't have anything about her origin, so we don't really know everything. So everything needs to be clarified.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: The couple claiming to be the girl's parents have been arrested and they're charged with abduction of a minor. Also this morning the parents and lawyer of a missing autistic teen are desperately asking for help to find him. Avonte Oquendo ran out of his school in New York on October 4th, and hasn't been seen since. Police and volunteers have pulled out all the stops to find him.
Alexandra Field is live for us now in New York. You attended the press conference earlier. So Alexandra, what are the parents saying and where is the search focusing on right now?
ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Fredricka, these parents are in a profound amount of pain, you see it in their eyes and they want this search to be happening everywhere. That's why they spoke at a press conference in Harlem this morning with Reverend Al Sharpton. They're trying to recruit more volunteers to join in the effort to find Avonte Oquendo. His mother spoke about what the last 15 days have been like without her missing 14-year-old son.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VANESSA FONTAINE, AVONTE'S MOTHER: It is just terrible, like a nightmare. I can't wake up from, you know, every day waiting to see my son come home, praying that someone has found him. I don't wish this on anyone, any family, to experience this, and this should have never happened.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If someone sees him, what do you want them to do, how should they handle it?
FONTAINE: I want them to call the authorities. I don't want them to call the next day, a couple hours later, saying I seen him, you see him, you know, just hold onto him, if you can, you know? Follow him if you can, but make that call, make that call.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FIELD: Avonte's father also spoke this morning, he asked every single New Yorker to join the search, in a very simple way, he wants people to step outside for 5 minutes, open their eyes, look around. This child's face is plastered everywhere. Avonte was last seen on October 4th when surveillance camera captured him walking down the hall of his school and running out the door.
Since then, hundreds of police officers and volunteers have canvassed the city. They have searched on boats. They have searched by air. They have searched on foot. The family wants yet more volunteers to join them now in again canvassing the city to try to find Avonte -- Fredricka.
WHITFIELD: All right, Alexandra Field, thank you so much.
Onto Florida now where two convicted killers simply walked away from a prison there, and they're still on the loose. Today, officials are offering a $10,000 reward each for their arrest. Charles Walker and Joseph Jenkins have been free awhile now, using forged documents, although authorities only learned of their escape this week. Nick Valencia has more. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
SHERIFF JERRY DEMINGS, ORANGE COUNTY, FLORIDA: There have been tips being received in terms of legitimate spotting.
NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Two convicted killers on the loose. Free after they used forged documents to get an early release from a Florida prison, but how did Joseph Jenkins and Charles Walker duped the system? That's a question no one seems to be able to answer and a mistake no one wants to own.
DEMINGS: I'm not here to point fingers at anyone. There will be plenty of that to go around eventually I'm sure.
VALENCIA: In Between the fingers of Evangelina Kearse is a letter from the Florida Department of Corrections about her son's killer, Charles Walker. It says his release was beyond their control.
EVANGELINA KEARSE: We are in shocked, frightened, and the system let us down for letting a murderer go free. I understand that the state attorney and the judge had nothing to do with it. But somebody, I don't know if it was an inside job, whoever did help him. I do believe that. They had to have help.
JUDGE BELVIN PERRY, ORANGE COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT: This is somewhat ingenious.
VALENCIA: It was the fake signature of Judge Belvin Perry that ordered the release of both Walker and Jenkins. The high profile judge says he's not entirely surprised.
PERRY: People, particular people with criminal minds come up with ingenious ways to beat the system. They have nothing but time on their hands to think of things.
VALENCIA: The Department of Corrections, which allowed the release said they were only following procedures and was, quote, "not at fault." We don't have the statute or authority to question the court's decision, a spokeswoman said. This will be a lesson learned for all involved. The Florida Department of Corrections has since made changes to the process of early releases. They tell CNN they would require verifications from the sentencing judge before any other inmates are released early.
WHITFIELD: Nick Valencia joining me live outside the Franklin Correctional Institute. Nick, what more can you tell us about where they're focusing this search?
VALENCIA: Fred, we've learned this isn't the first time a Florida inmate has tried to use fraudulent documents to get out of prison early. In 2011, Jeffrey Forbes tried to use forged paperwork for an early release, he was caught. That leaves a lot of people wondering after two years, why Florida state officials weren't better prepared this time around. As far as this investigation is concerned, the manhunt is on-going, state officials here have reason to believe the two suspects are still in the state of Florida -- Fred.
WHITFIELD: Nick Valencia, thank you so much. The search for the two escapees in Florida is one of the stories Don Lemon will be looking at in a CNN special called "Making The Case" that's tonight at 8:00 Eastern Time. Don and a group of legal analysts will breakdown the top crime stories of the week.
Later this hour, our legal guys take up the case of a Utah doctor accused of drugging and drowning his wife.
And next, if you try to log onto Obamacare this weekend, you're going to hit a roadblock, the health care web site down.
WHITFIELD: If you will try to log on to the new health care web site, you are going to have to wait. The Health and Human Services Department says the Obamacare web site is being taken down intentionally this weekend for maintenance. The web site has been plagued with problems since October 1st. Let's go to Brian Todd in the Washington Bureau who has been looking into these glitches.
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Fredricka, we have been speaking to those on the receiving end of all these applications, insurance companies, insurance industry sources say telling us there are widespread problems with the applications coming in, and now they have to track back to solve them.
TODD (voice-over): Signing up for Obamacare is now a problem not just for potential customers, but for the insurance companies processing their applications. Listen to Joan Budden of the Michigan Insurer Priority Health.
JOAN BUDDEN, CHIEF MARKETING OFFICER, PRIORITY HEALTH: We talked to one gentleman who had not received the confirmation that he anticipated on the exchange web site. So he hit submit a couple of times. And ended up, was concerned that he had enrolled in multiple plans.
TODD: Another company tells us soon after enrolment started they had one customer mistakenly apply three times for two different plans. Insurance industry sources tell CNN, insurers are getting duplicates, missing information, data without a time stamp. We did speak to other insurers who said they had no problem with the data, got complete applications. But for those who have had problems --
BUDDEN: We're calling each member and going over their enrolment information with them to make sure it is accurate.
TODD: For response to those issues, we call and e-mailed CGI, the private contractor which got tens of millions from the government to design the system. We didn't hear back. The Department of Health and Human Services said as individual problems are raised by insurers, we work aggressively to address them.
As for customers' problems, we first interviewed Luke Chung who runs a database company a week into the enrolment. He'd been pulling his hair out with all the glitches. Now he says there are still too many screens on the web site for those applying.
LUKE CHUNG, PRESIDENT, FMS INC: I had to enter previous screen that gave me my name and e-mail address then I have to come to this screen to provide a username and password and then the next screen I have to provide three secret answers to questions.
TODD (on camera): And should it all be on one screen?
CHUNG: It should be on one screen. I mean, why bother having three screens.
TODD: How would you fix it?
CHUNG: The way I would fix it would be two levels. First of all, I would have a change in management. Technically, I would try to get people through this system as quickly as possible, asking for as few pieces of personal information as possible to expedite the process.
TODD: To be fair, Chung said he has seen some improvements. On some pages on the web site he says, they've added more questions to save people having to answer a question, save a screen, and then go to the next screen. And administration officials continue to say they are hammering away at these glitches -- Fredricka.
WHITFIELD: All right, thank you so much, Brian Todd in Washington.
All right, Hillary Clinton is out on the campaign trail today. Is she already thinking about 2016?
But first, we are shining a spotlight on the top ten "CNN Heroes of 2013." You can vote for the one that most inspires you at cnnheroes.com. This week's honoree spent 13 years delivering babies before a back injury forced her to stop. Now she's found a new way to bring babies and mothers safely through childbirth. She calls it the "solar suitcase."
DR. LAURA STACHEL, MEDICAL MARVEL: There's a traditional African saying, when you become pregnant that you have one foot in the grave. There are so many women dying in childbirth in many communities, pregnancy is feared.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In the last month recorded four women died from pregnancy complications.
STACHEL: When I went to Africa, I saw women one after another coming in with complications and didn't have adequate light to treat them. A lot of clinics don't have electricity. Midwives use kerosene lanterns, candles, use their cell phone to deliver babies. Once I witnessed the things I saw, I had to do something about it.
My name is Dr. Laura Statchel. I am helping provide a simple solar lighting source so that mothers and babies can be saved during childbirth. Hospitals and clinics receive the solar suitcase for free. The charge controller is very important. Solar suitcase provides medical quality lighting, charges cell phones, has a small battery charger for head lamps and for fetal Doppler that we include.
Perfect, that's it! Mothers are eager to come to the clinics. It shifted them around for the health care worker.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is going to bring good changes.
STATCHEL: I really want a world where women and their families get to celebrate birth and I would love to be part of making that happen.
WHITFIELD: Wow, that's simply amazing. So Laurie is just one of our top ten honorees. You can help decide who will be "CNN's Hero of the Year." Go to cnnheroes.com, you can vote once a day every day for the most inspirational hero to you.
WHITFIELD: All right, Hillary Clinton is dipping her toes back into the political pool. This afternoon she's expected to endorse Terry McCauliffe for governor of Virginia. This is her first public event since she left the State Department as secretary of state.
CNN national political reporter, Peter Hamby is in Virginia ahead of that event. So Peter, Hillary Clinton and Terry McAuliffe, well, they go back a long way, don't they?
PETER HAMBY, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER: They do, Fred. This is a relationship that goes back almost two decades. This isn't that surprising of an endorsement. Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton had been raising money for Terry McCauliffe, he was a top bundler for them when they were in the White House. He was the former Democratic National Committee chairman and frankly, he is just one of the Clintons' best pals. They talk all the time on the phone.
So this is not a huge surprise. This is her first big public political event since leaving the State Department, and this is sort of getting her back in the political game. She's mostly been giving a bunch of paid speeches, speaking at charities, award ceremonies. It is her first big political event and safe bet for her.
Look, Terry McCauliffe is up by eight points in most polls against his Republican opponent, Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli. Most expect that Terry McCauliffe is probably going to win here, although the final result might be a little bit tighter than an eight-point spread we see now. Look, they're best friends. It is a good event, fairly safe. Expect to see more of the Clintons and possibly Bill Clinton here, Fred, in the coming weeks. WHITFIELD: Peter, of course, you know, her appearance is not about herself, it is about Terry McCauliffe. But one has to wonder if she's also kind of, I don't know, taking the temperature of the political environment whether in any way this is testing ground while she's thinking about 2016.
HAMBY: Of course. That's in the back of everyone's mind as this is happening. Hillary Clinton has said she is not even going to start thinking about maybe running for president until next year. No one in politics believes that at all. The Clintons are fundamentally political animals. They think about this stuff all the time.
Like I mentioned, this is a good safe comfort zone for her. This event is called women for Terry event. It dovetails with her 2008 campaign theme about breaking the glass ceiling for female candidates. She may drop a hint or two, but this is guaranteed to get her tons of media attention, and that's only a good thing for her with all these buzz -- Fred.
WHITFIELD: Everybody knows she's clever and uses her words very wisely. Peter Hamby, all right, thanks so much. We will check back with you a little later on.
NBA legend Bill Russell back in the news, this time for being arrested at a Seattle airport. We're going to explain why next.
WHITFIELD: Welcome back. I'm Fredricka Whitfield. Here are five things crossing the CNN news desk right now. First up, a mystery in Greece, authorities in Athens are trying to figure out the identity of this four-year-old girl. She was found Thursday in a Roma or gypsy community as it is known in the custody of a couple who claimed to be her parents, but DNA testing revealed she is not related to either of them, and police have no idea where she came from. The couple has been charged with abduction of a minor. We will have a live update at the top of the hour.
And number two, new developments in the case of a Georgia teen who was found dead at his high school gym. New surveillance footage indicates Kendrick Johnson was not alone in the gym the day he died and that other minors were there. Johnson's suffocated body was found in January, rolled up in a gym mat. The Georgia sheriff's office determined the death was accidental but his parents are challenging that. A U.S. attorney is now reviewing the case.
Number three. Nearly 100 wildfires are scorching parts of Australia, many of them burning out of control. At least one person died and hundreds of homes damaged or destroyed. Investigators say some of the fires were caused by sparking power lines.
And number four takes us to LAX, Los Angeles police have now arrested a second person in connection with the dry ice bomb explosions that put airport security on high alert earlier in the week. Both men work for a company that services airplanes, giving access to restricted areas. The small explosions didn't injure anyone. Number five. NBA Hall of Famer Bill Russell got arrested at Seatac International Airport in Seattle. Police say the 79-year-old was cited for carrying a gun in a prohibited area of the airport Wednesday. The former Boston Celtics star has been released, but he could still face a fine of $7500.
They seemed like they were living the American dream, but now it is a nightmare. This former doctor on trial, accused of drugging and drowning his wife. Find out what prosecutors brought into the courtroom to try to prove their case.
WHITFIELD: It sounds like something out of a courtroom thriller, a former doctor on trial right now in Utah accused of drugging and drowning his wife so he could be with his mistress. Yesterday, neighbors described what they saw and heard after Michele Macneill's lifeless body was found in the family's bathtub. Jean Casarez has the details.
JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Fred, prosecutors on Friday took the jury into the master bathroom of the Macneill home. What they actually did was bring a tub and put it in the center of the courtroom and then neighbor after neighbor testified on how they saw an unresponsive Michele Macneill in that bathtub and what it was actually like to be right next to the frantic now defendant, Dr. Martin Macneill.
CASAREZ (voice-over): Neighbor Christy Daniels described the tragic moments after Michelle Macneill was found unresponsive in her bathtub. She had been summoned to the home by the youngest daughter, Ada.
KRISTI DANIELS, NEIGHBOR: I could hear Martin yelling that he needed help. I started running and went into the house and followed Martin's voice. And when I came in to the bathroom, I could tell that we need to call 911. I said I'll call 911 and he said I've already called 911.
CASAREZ: Prosecutors brought in a bathtub similar to the one in the Macneil home so they could demonstrate how Michelle was found. Daniels said she was lying face-up, her head at the faucet. Her feet in the tub with her husband draped over her head. She said there was not any water in the tub. Neighbor Angie Aguilar was also in the bathroom and said Martin didn't appear to be making any real effort to revive his wife.
ANGELA AGUILAR, NEIGHBOR: I don't remember him actually blowing into her mouth. I don't. I did not see him actually put his mouth on her mouth.
CASAREZ: Prosecutors say Macneill forced his wife to have a facelift, applying her with several different drugs all so he could be with his mistress. Macneill is charged with murder and obstruction of justice in the death of his wife. The defense says she died of natural causes.
For months leading up to his wife's death, Martin Macneill was telling friends and neighbors that he had a life threatening disease and didn't have long to live. At the Church of Latter Day Saints where he was a Sunday school teacher, he told the congregation.
AGUILAR: He had cancer and that he was preparing Michelle to take over the financials, and it was a very heartfelt, tearful lesson.
CASAREZ: Just days after Michelle died, Daniels ran into Martin Macneill in their driveway.
DANIELS: He told me that she died of some kind of heart problem. The doctor had called. They had a conference call with the doctor and made sure the family knew it was nobody's fault. That it was just all natural. And I asked him -- well, yes. I asked him, well, Martin, how that are you doing? Because I heard you only had like six months to live and he said something to the effect of, don't write me off yet.
CASAREZ: In fact, Macneill was already introducing his mistress around town, saying she was the new nanny.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At first it was very vague, and then we learned she was the nanny, so we just had conversations both with Jillian and Martin how the kids were doing and what not, and eventually as everybody could tell the relationship was more than that, as to whether or not they were getting married.
CASAREZ: The next witnesses to take the stand, an officer from Pleasant Grove, Utah Police Department, the fire chief, and also paramedics, all trying to save the life of Michele Macneill. Fred, back to you.
WHITFIELD: All right, thank you so much, Jean. Some very dramatic testimony as you heard there and that bathtub entered into the courtroom. Let's bring in our legal guys, Avery Friedman, a civil rights attorney and law professor in Cleveland, good to see you, Avery. And Richard Herman, a New York criminal defense attorney and law professor joining us from Los Angeles today. Good to see you.
Gentlemen, so much to talk about as it pertains to this case, which is shocking, disturbing, all of the above. Richard, let's first talk about the fact that the couple's own children were the ones to push to have this case reopened and may testify against their father at the trial. How influential might that be potentially?
RICHARD HERMAN, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, look, Fred, when a state brings first degree murder charges, the highest charges they can bring against someone, they have to have their ducks in a row. It is very emotional when children are going to step up against a parent and make certain claims.
You have to look at the objective findings and objective evidence here, and here what is clear is that this woman had high blood pressure. She had a cardiomyopathy, she was -- in 2007 they bring charges five years later, and not one medical examiner for the state of Utah said her cause of death was done by homicide. That's critical, Fred.
I don't know how they're going to be able to prove first degree murder against the doctor when, number one, they don't have a homicide here, and number two, he has an alibi, he was in his office. Number three, how are they going to prove he supplied her with drugs? She's a grown woman. She underwent the procedure and easily could have taken the drugs herself. There are a lot of open issues here, not a slam dunk case.
WHITFIELD: I thought a daughter might testify to say because there have been some previous interviews with at least one daughter, who says that the mother especially immediately after that face surgery, that face lift surgery, that she was debilitated and that he, the husband, was allegedly actually putting the pills in her mouth and she got to a point where she was actually feeling the pills because she didn't know what her husband was giving her.
And there was that trust, but that ultimately may have caused her demise, according to one daughter that's been on television interviews and might testify to that. Is that enough, is that critical enough, Richard, quickly before I get Avery's take?
HERMAN: Yes, no, I don't think it is critical. I think there's a huge gap here, Fred, and I think the fact they're going to bring in jail house rats who shared prison cells with him to say he told us he used bad words to reference her.
AVERY FRIEDMAN, CIVIL RIGHTS ATTORNEY: They're not bringing in just jail house rats. That's who they're bringing in, that's the evidence, yes. Here is the evidence. The evidence is that in many first degree murder cases it is circumstantial evidence. It doesn't matter whether a coroner concluded there was a homicide.
It would help, but you have Alexis Macneill who is a medical student at the time and she actually maintained a journal of how the drugs were administered and that all of a sudden the journal is gone and also there's going to be evidence that the girlfriend of one of the other children actually was told by Dr. Macneill get rid of the medications.
And on top of that, I think the smoking gun, the smoking gun is the girlfriend, Gypsy Willis. Gypsy Willis, this is out of Hollywood.
WHITFIELD: The alleged mistress or nanny.
FRIEDMAN: Nanny. It was the girlfriend. He also claimed he was married to her. It is an awful, awful story. I think there's sufficient evidence to get that conviction and we have a long way to go. This is going to be a five week trial, by the way, so a long way to go. HERMAN: Fred, when the prosecution stands up in the opening and says to the jury listen, he mislead police, he didn't even give them the right address when he made the 911 call, then the trial opens and they play the 911 call, and he did give the right address, that's a blow to the prosecution. And it starts there.
WHITFIELD: All right, we have a few weeks to ponder over that case and dissect, it is riveting. Expect that to go on another five weeks. Don't go away, Richard and Avery, we have other cases including that of a 12-year-old girl who kills herself and now we understand that two teenagers have been charged and it may be a case of bullying. Was she bullied to death?
And then there's yet another arrest involving one of the parents in an unrelated matter. All of that straight ahead with our legal guys next.
WHITFIELD: October is national bullying awareness month and a lot of people are thinking about that right now because of an alleged bullying case in Florida. Police say it led to a 12-year-old girl's suicide. Today could have been Rebecca Sedwick's 13th birthday.
Earlier this week, police arrested two classmates charging with felony aggravated stalking. And yesterday, the mother of one of the girls arrested in that case was also charged in an unrelated case. Vivian Vosburg faces neglect charges.
In the case of the suicide, the whole tragic scenario may have been said in motion simply because the two girls liked the same boy and now he is talking. Our Chris Cuomo talked to him and Vivian Vosburg and her husband before she was arrested yesterday.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It shocked me. It made me mad, you know, because she should have just told somebody.
CHRIS CUOMO, ANCHOR, CNN'S "NEW DAY" (voice-over): Rebecca Sedwick's ex-boyfriend, John Borgen, also dated one of the girls arrested for bullying her to death. In fact, his relationship with Sedwick may have been why the bullying started.
JOHN BORGEN, REBECCA SEDWICK'S FORMER BOYFRIEND: Just say something, that's all I got to say, do what you got to do, just say something.
CUOMO: This is the girl that reportedly also dated Borgen, a 14-year- old, Guadalupe Shaw. She and 12-year-old Kaitlin Roman were arrested and charged with aggravated stalking. When I interviewed the parents, Jose and Vivian, they said they didn't know about the boy trouble or bullying.
(on camera): Did your daughter tell you that other kids were giving Rebecca a hard time? VIVIAN, MOTHER OF ALLEGED BULLY: There was this one time this one girl was bullying Rebecca, but Rebecca always came to her for comfort and, you know, my daughter was always there for her when Rebecca needed her.
JOSE, FATHER OF ALLEGED BULLY: They were friends at the beginning, then for whatever reason, you know, they stopped being friends.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Unfortunately there's an absolute total denial.
CUOMO (voice-over): Sheriff Grady Judd told "NEW DAY" if he can hold the girls' parents criminally responsible, he will.
SHERIFF GRADY JUDD, POLK COUNTY, FLORIDA: This bullying has gone on since last November, both in person at school and over the cyber world. There's a significant problem and it started at home.
CUOMO: Meanwhile, some lawmakers are pushing for a provision in an education bill that would deal specifically with bullying.
SEN. BILL NELSON (D), FLORIDA: The measure calls on schools to report incidents of bullying to parents and others so that we can try and prevent such conduct in the future.
WHITFIELD: Everyone agrees, so sad. Our legal guys are back, Avery Friedman in Cleveland, Richard Herman in Los Angeles. Avery, you first, you know, police arrested the two suspects this week after Rebecca Sedwick's mother saw a message on one of the suspect's Facebook page saying this, quote, "Yes, I know I bullied Rebecca, and she killed herself, but I don't give a blank." Is that what triggered or what may have triggered the arrest, Avery?
FRIEDMAN: Yes, there's no doubt about it. By the way, there may be 15 others involved in this, but the evidence was so powerful between Guadalupe and the 12-year-old, I understand what the police have done. It was the correct thing. But the sheriff has effectuated arrest against both and then they interviewed the parents, who frankly said we don't care. We are going to let our daughter remain on social media, which is unbelievable.
And then lo and behold, they dig up evidence that the mother is engaged in other criminal conduct. I think this is a very serious case. Forget the sticks and stones argument, this is cyberbullying, the evidence is overwhelming, and I think law enforcement means business. They're going after these kids and they're going after the parents.
WHITFIELD: Richard, you talk about the mother that we mentioned, Vivian Vosburg, in an unrelated case she's been charged with child abuse and neglect for allegedly beating a child that was caught on videotape. So how does that case potentially influence this suicide investigation that has already led to the charging of two teens?
HERMAN: Well, Fred, the stepmother is charged because they have a video posted on Facebook of her actually participating in the beating of one of the children, so that's why she's arrested, and does that impact the case? Sure it does because one of the defenses is that I monitored my child's Facebook account and I haven't seen any instances of bullying. Well, now her credibility is shot.
But Fred, these are tragedies that are happening today. This young girl, she had a history. She tried to kill herself before. She slit her wrists before this. Where do you draw the line? How far does the bullying have to go? We have first amendment issues here, is it really bullying?
Who knows the mental state of mind, emotional state of mind of an individual, if you tell someone they should go jump off a cliff and they go do it, where do you hold the liability in here, how long, how pervasive. There are a lot of issues here, but let's face it, cyberbullying is real, due to the technology today, and the social web sites out there, it is not like the old days where you spread a rumor. You push a button. It is all over the place now.
FRIEDMAN: There's no first amendment right to bully.
HERMAN: Freedom of speech. There's a tie in between the struggle that Rebecca suffered before she committed suicide and it is specifically related to the bullying. This is a serious case that should be prosecuted and I see no constitutional right interfered with by these kids that were engaged in this, nothing under the constitution that this is the right thing to do.
WHITFIELD: It is heart breaking on so many levels.
FRIEDMAN: It is.
WHITFIELD: We have an update on another story we talked about a couple weeks ago, talking about the family feud surrounding radio legend Casey Kasem, by the way, great friend of yours, Avery. Casey Kasem, 81 years old, suffering from Parkinson's disease. His daughter has been trying to get temporary conservatorship.
She says her father's wife, Jean Kasem, won't let her and her siblings see their father, much less make decisions about his medical care. The judge says there is no urgent need for him to get any kind of intervention in this case. Jean Kasem's attorney telling us, quote, "The court's refusal to appoint a conservator validates the care being provided by his wife Jean during this difficult period," end quote.
The judge didn't dismiss the case, gentlemen, he appointed an independent doctor to review Kasem's medical records and to report back to him. So Avery, if I can ask you first, what are your thoughts about that?
FRIEDMAN: Well, I think it's not forthright to say that it reflects the quality of care. It really doesn't. All the court did was simply deny emergency relief and you know what, give credit to the judge. He is sticking to it, he doesn't care about the news coverage. He is going to send out an independent investigator and we're going to make sure that the king of countdowns is protected and he will be OK, at least I hope so.
HERMAN: Initially, Fred, Casey's attorney is right, it does validate their position and how unconscionable it may seem that the wife is not allowing the children to see him, she has the right to do that, and if the report that comes back confirms he is he is being taken care of properly, that's it.
WHITFIELD: Avery, Richard, thanks so much. Always good to see you. Of course, you can catch the legal guys every weekend, every Saturday at this time to delve into their brilliant minds on the most intriguing cases of the day, the week, the month, you name it, they are the ones. Thanks so much, Avery and Richard.
And a programming note, there will be more on legal discussions tonight at 8:00 Eastern, Don Lemon hosting "Making The Case." Don and a group of legal analysts will breakdown the top crime stories of the week, such as the Florida manhunt for the two escapees.
We will have much more after this.
WHITFIELD: Big controversy about the picture on the cover of "Elle" magazine, of Melissa McCarthy. It's one of "Elle's" six covers showing off the women of Hollywood, but as Stephanie Elam reports, some are asking why is McCarthy so covered up?
STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Scene stealing humor like in "The Heat" has turned Melissa McCarthy into a bonafide box office sensation. That star power lands her in exclusive company, one of six women honored with their own cover for "Elle" magazine's women in Hollywood issue. All over social media, McCarthy's fans celebrate the glamorous cover photo. Many are saying McCarthy is too covered.
EMME, FOUNDER, EMMENATION: Hopefully it is not a message that full figured women are not meant to be seen, which I am not taking it like that. I am happy Melissa is on the cover and she looks fantastic. I would have liked to see a little more of her.
ELAM: You do see more of the other women featured on the other covers of "Elle's" November issue. Emmy, who is a plus-size supermodel and activist for women's causes says McCarthy is a role model.
EMME: We love the whole package of who she is and what she brings as entertainment. To cover her up is a missed opportunity for celebration.
ELAM: "Elle" magazine response to the criticism? "On all shoots, stylists work with the stars to choose pieces they feel good in. This is no different. Melissa loved this look and is gorgeous on our cover." McCarthy told "OMG Insider" she was thrilled to be featured.
MELISSA MCCARTHY, ACTRESS: It was fun, it was amazing.
ELAM: McCarthy has yet to comment on the controversy specifically. Last summer, when movie poster for "The Heat" got heat for making her face and head appear smaller, she laughed it off.
MCCARTHY: Everybody was like this is an outrage. I am like am I the only one thinks it is funny? It was clearly a goof up.
ELAM: To McCarthy, it is her body of work that matters most. Stephanie Elam, CNN, Los Angeles.
WHITFIELD: All right, coming up in just a minute, we have a new look at an amazing space jump that you will remember. We will show you what it looked like from a helmet cam.
WHITFIELD: All right, one year after historic sky dive from the edge of space, you'll probably recall we are getting a brand new look from the jumper's point of view. Red Bull, which is the label of a beverage that sponsored the whole jump just released new video from cameras on Felix Baumgartner's body as he jumped from 24 miles above earth. Take a look.
My gosh, if you're dizzy, you're not alone. He got caught in that spin but managed to straighten out. He broke the sound barrier. He described what it was like to Anderson Cooper last year.
FELIX BAUMGARTNER: It was a very unique, outstanding moment because I have been working so hard for five years to reach that point, you know, and it was a beautiful view when you look out there, but at the same time you realize that everything around you is hostile, plus when I disconnect my oxygen hose from the ship system, I only get that from the bailout bottles, only have ten minutes, there's not a lot of time to waste.
ANDERSON COOPER, HOST, "AC 360": I heard if you got a tiny tear in the suit you could have died, been boiled alive.
BAUMGARTNER: That's not true. If you have a hole the size of a dime, it will still do the job.
COOPER: What does it feel like to be traveling more than 800 miles per hour? Do you feel like you're --
BAUMGARTNER: You feel like you're fast, you accelerate fast. You don't feel you're 838 miles per hour an hour at supersonic speed. All the scientists before, I have been told that you're going to have a shock wave go through the suit. Never saw it, never felt it. And that supersonic boom happens way behind you.
COOPER: It happens behind you. Do you notice anything? BAUMGARTNER: Not at all. Still until I hit, until I open the par chute didn't know if I broke the speed of sound or not. When I touched the ground with the par chute, I was told by a lot of people on the ground they heard the supersonic boom. That's the first and only supersonic boom created by a human person, which is kind of cool.
COOPER: To say the least!
WHITFIELD: All of it very cool. We have much more ahead in the NEWSROOM. That too is pretty cool and it all starts now.