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Matthew Cordle Reacts to Sentence; Pirates Kidnap Americans; Girl, 12, Caught Up in Martin MacNeill Trial.

Aired October 24, 2013 - 11:30   ET


JOEY JACKSON, HLN LEGAL ANALYST: Motive, while not relevant to prove a case, is relevant to a jury's knowledge and relevance as to why it occurred.

ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: I'm with you there. I have jury duty coming up and I'm very excited about it. You don't have to prove motive but, boy, does it ever help for those 12 panelists wrestling with the most difficult questions.

Danny, Joey, thank you.

DANNY CEVALLOS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: You'll be your foreperson on your jury, I know it already.


BANFIELD: I think they'll strike me because I'm way too keen.

JACKSON: Not at all. We want you on that jury, Ashleigh.

BANFIELD: Oh, you're kind.

Thank you both. I appreciate it. I'll talk to you soon.

We've got a couple of other big stories we're following as well. He's running for governor in Maryland, but now the Maryland attorney general, named Douglas Gansler, is getting attention for somebody completely different. He wound up at a high school party at the beach in Delaware in June. He apparently had said he stopped by to talk to his teenage soon but somebody snapped this photo. Look in the middle. It's him holding the cell phone in the white shirt. You know what happens next. The photo is posted on Instagram. Gansler says it's not his job to break up a party. He has done pretty important public service announcements in the past about the dangers of underage drinking.


DOUGLAS GANSLER, MARYLAND ATTORNEY GENERAL: Hi. I'm Attorney General Doug Gansler. Alarmingly, kids typically begin to experience with alcohol at age 12. Parents, you're the leading influence on your teen's decision not to drink. It's never too early to talk with your kids about smart ways to say no, like these young Marylanders.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Drinking isn't cool. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't want to kill my brain cells.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Drinking has no meaning.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You're only hurting yourself.

GANSLER: For more ways to say no to alcohol, go to


BANFIELD: What do you think about that? I'll tell you someone who doesn't like it. There's been a huge outcry for people who work in the substance-abuse front lines. They're saying that Mr. Gansler should have done something, anything about the allegations of underage drinking at that party.

Also making headlines, Matthew Cordle. You'll remember that name, that man who confessed on YouTube that he killed a man while driving drunk, all before he ever said anything to the police. He is now speaking out about the sentence he got, six and a half years in prison.

This is the video that went viral. It was even played in the courtroom at his sentencing yesterday. And this morning he spoke to my colleague, Chris Cuomo on "New Day" here at CNN and told him how he felt about his sentence.


MATTHEW CORDLE, KILLED MAN WHILE DRIVING DRUNK: There is really no fair sentence when it comes to the loss of life. It's just time, and time won't bring back the victim, unfortunately. So, you know, I'm just glad that the family can have some measure of closure and I hope that they find peace throughout this.


BANFIELD: Cordle says he will do everything he can to walk out of prison a better man than he walked in.

I want you to take a look at two rifles. Take a close look. Can you tell which one is real and which one is a toy? A sheriff's deputy in California had that same difficulty. He couldn't tell the difference either. He mistakenly shot and killed the 13-year-old who was carrying it. The community is now in shock. The sheriff's department, of course, at this point investigating.

Police say an 11-year-old boy in Vancouver, Washington, has been arrested for bringing a cache of weapons to school. Not just small cache but 400 rounds of ammunition, multiple knives and a handgun. The school was placed on lockdown. No one was hurt. The boy is fashion an attempted murder charge.

It was a horrible case of a 12-year-old girl bullied so badly that she killed herself. Now the two girls who are suspected of bullying have been charged with stalking Rebeka Sedgwick. 14 year old Gaudalupe Shaw (ph) and 12 year old Catilyn Roman (ph) will be arraigned on Friday. The attorney representing Sedgwick's mother will launch a civil case and it's is expected to be filed today.

In less than two hours, attorneys in the Jodi Arias case will meet for a settlement conference. Arias was convicted for killing her boyfriend, Travis Alexander, but the jury couldn't decide whether she should be put to death. Her fate was supposed to be left up to a brand new jury. The prosecutors have not withdrawn the death penalty and we do not know where they stand on any possible settlement offers.

A father on trial for killing his wife. Their child found the body in the bathtub. And now, years later, dad and daughter could be reunited for the first time in a long time in this courtroom. Will the child take the witness stand against her own dad? The decision being decided right now. You'll find out live.


BANFIELD: A 12-year-old girl caught in a legal tug of war in Utah this hour. Her dad, Martin MacNeill, doctor, is on trial for murdering her mom. This week, she may have to testify against him. Ada MacNeill was just 6 years old back on April 11th, 2007, but she happened to be the one who found her mom, dead or dying in that bathtub. This is what she told attorneys at a preliminary hearing last year.


ADA MACNEILL, DAUGHTER OF MARTIN MACNEILL: Well, I got home from school and I went to go look for my mom, and I went into her room in the bathroom.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you remember how she was -- what she looked like when she was in the bathtub? Was she sitting down or lying down in.

MACNEILL: She was lying down.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How much water was in the tub?

MACNEILL: About -- like not covering her face, so about like right here, by her ear.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did she have a top on?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What about bottoms?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you remember seeing her eyes?

MACNEILL: Yeah. They were open.


BANFIELD: It's hard to, you know, listen to that, knowing she's talking about her own mother who died. There's a hearing going on right now and a judge must decide if that little girl, who is now 12, will take the stand in this case.

Jean Casarez is live in Provo, Utah.

I'm trying to access, Jean, this the first time this little girl will see her dad in, you know, almost half a decade.

JEAN CASAREZ, HLN LEGAL CORRESPONDENT: You're exactly right. I asked that very question to attorneys after court yesterday. And they told me that little Ada and Dr. MacNeill had not seen each other since 2007 because she went to live with Aunt Alexis. A protective order was established at that time. We just heard in testimony today that Alexis was living with Ada in the Las Vegas area. Remember, Alexis was in medical school. Rachel, another sister, was living with them also.

Ashleigh, that hearing is taking place right now. It is extremely significant for both sides, because the judge has not determined if little Ada will be able to testify. And that's because the defense is saying that through the years that there was just too much interpersonal questioning by Alexis and Rachel, then given to investigators, and so Ada may not really have a memory in all of this but merely what she was told or what she thinks happened.

Now we heard the lead investigator say that he got the case in July of 2008. So over a year, nothing was done, since this happened in 2007. But he said the first thing he did was to have Ada sit down with someone at the Children's Justice Center here in Utah for questioning. Listen to what his response was about what Ada initially told investigators. Listen.


DOUGLAS WITNEY, UTAH COUNTY COMMISSIONER: After the first interview with her, this case went about 360 degrees. It went out -- just shot out. We were trying to gather documents, trying to interview people. And as a result of those interviews, things came to light that we were interested in.


CASAREZ: So, Ashleigh, what he's saying is that they had always relied on Dr. MacNeill who said his wife was face first down in the bathtub, and suddenly little Ada says my mother was on her back, fully clothed, also that's contrary to what Dr. MacNeill said. They realized at that point that they had a case.

BANFIELD: Jean Casarez watching this for us. Do let us know if those other daughters will end up on the stand testifying against their father. That's also a potential movement in the trial.

A plot line you can see on the silver screen. Right now, in fact. And it's happening right now in real life on the high seas. Pirates taking hostages, American hostages. We'll take you live to the Pentagon, next.


BANFIELD: Like straight out of a movie on the high seas, pirates attack an oil platform supply ship and seize two mariners believed to be American citizens. All this happening on the gulf of Guinea.

Our Barbara Starr joins us now from the Pentagon.

Two obvious questions, who did this and why would they take two people but not the cargo, which is what the pirates are usually after?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Who did it? We don't know, Ashleigh. This is very rough territory out there off the coast of Nigeria. This is one of those oil supply ships, as you say, that goes around and replies the offshore oil platforms. Attacks, pirate attack, criminal attack on shipping in this region have been going up for the last three years. Any number of bad guys out there, conducting these attacks. Sometimes they want the cargo, but sometimes they want the crew and they hold them for ransom, hoping to get a payoff from the company that owns the ship or relatives or something like that.

This is going to be very tough for the U.S. to deal with. Not a lot of intelligence on the ground about who these people may be and what the conditions may be. At this point the word from security sources is that the two Mariners, the captain and the chief engineer, may well have been American citizens. That's the thinking right now. And, you know, it's interesting. At the same time, there's a multinational military exercise going on in the region, trying to improve maritime security -- Ashleigh?

BANFIELD: Good luck with that.

Barbara Starr, thank you for that.

Fireworks absolutely going off on Capitol Hill. In fact, most of the morning, because, on the hot seat, the people who built the Obamacare website, which hasn't been going so well, as you probably heard. As you might expect, they came out and pointed fingers at everybody but themselves for the debacle that is electronic and that the website has come to be known for.

One hot issue, your personal information, as you log on and you apply. Is it being put at risk? Have a listen to Republican lawmaker, Mike Rogers.


REP. MIKE ROGERS, (R), MICHIGAN: I am more nervous today than I was when I got here. I am shocked, shocked that on august 30g9 you get an independent check that says the system is fine and you have introduced new code to that system probably daily, probably in the terms of hundreds of thousands of lines, at least tens of thousands of lines of new code, which creates new vulnerabilities in the system and you don't even know the answer, if these things are end-to-end security tested, number one. Number two, you're not even sure if your piece is end-to-end security tested.

I have to tell you, Mr. Chairman, this is a significant event and you don't have to like Obamacare. You can hate it. You can love it. You can't wait to get in it. You cannot expose this much information with this low threshold of security in a day when there is 1.5 million people ripped off every day in cyber security. Where the folks who are systems administrators and people who sit in front of those portals, are they trained in spear fishing, one of the most basic levels of security protection, do you know?


BANFIELD: And that's kind of how it went. Mike Rogers, the Republican from Michigan. For their part, the Democrats on the committee also suggesting that much of the information that there is discussion about is not medical information, but is information like names and addresses, et cetera. You could be the judge of how critical those levels of information are. And we're continuing to watch this hearing as well. It keeps continuing with that kind of rhetoric.

Has one of America's closest allies lost trust in Washington? Coming up next, Germany's leader wants to know why her phone may have been tapped.


BANFIELD: Checking other top stories we're following, the American ambassador to Germany has been summoned to the foreign ministry over the allegations that the United States tapped the cell phone of Chancellor Angela Merkel. Obama spoke to Merkel personally and assured her the United States is not monitoring her calls now and will not do so in the future. Today, she said the trust between the United States and Europe has to be, quote, "re-established."

Documents in the JonBenet Ramsey case set to be unsealed tomorrow. Yesterday, a Colorado judge ordered the release of 18 pages that were sealed after a grand jury went home in 1999 without child abuse charges being filed against her parents. Half of the pages are supposedly on John Ramsey, the other half on his dead wife, Patsy Ramsey. The public release of the allegations furthers defames Ramsey and his late wife.

He, a star performer, a fixture at SeaWorld who worked with the senior trainer for years, until he killed a senior trainer. When we come back, Martin Savidge discovers it was not the first time Tilikum, the killer whale, attacked and killed a human being.


BANFIELD: You've probably heard the name Tilikum, the killer whale. He's about 32 year old and he's the largest and oldest orca in captivity and performs regularly at SeaWorld in Florida. In 2010, veteran trainer, Dawn Brancheau, pulled into the water and attacked and drowned by Tilikum. It was the trigger for "Blackfish," which airs tonight on CNN.

Martin Savidge went to western Canada to understand the sad history of a killer whale that lived up to his name.


MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Colin Baird grew up on the southern tip of Vancouver Island. He started working at a local Marine park called Sea Land of the Pacific.

COLIN BAIRD, FORMER KILLER WHALE TRAINER: Go after school and weekends, you know, growing up, and just thought that's how everybody grew up.

SAVIDGE: Sea Land of the Pacific used to be here where this marina is now. There's nothing left of the old place. It was an oceanarium, an aquarium built in the ocean. There were nets that separated the animals, seals, sea lions and the killer whales.

Baird became a trainer working with three killer whales. His favorite, a small male named Tilikum.

BAIRD: He was easy to work with. Easy going. He learned quickly, learned well.

SAVIDGE: Among other trainers, 20-year-old marine biology student, Kelety Burn (ph). February 20, 1991 she just finished a show with the killer whales when she slipped and fell into the enclosure. Baird arrived minutes later.

BAIRD: The three orcas were surprised that one of their trainers had seemingly jumped into the pool, although fallen, and they were sort of excited about that. It was something completely out of the norm.

SAVIDGE: Witnesses say the whales, including Tilikum, kept Burn from reaching the sides, repeatedly pulling her under the frigid water.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They couldn't get her. Finally she -- she didn't come up anymore.

SAVIDGE: Baird, the trained diver, volunteered to go and retrieve burns' body.

(on camera): The co-worker suffered, drowned in some way to animals in the tank, that you are about to go in with.

BAIRD: Yeah. But it wasn't a malicious attack. It was an accident.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): The coroner's inquest listing the death as drowning due to or a consequence of the forced immersion by orca, killer whales.

She was the first trainer ever killed. ANNA HALL, MARINE ZOOLOGIST: Oh, my goodness. It was awful. It was awful for everybody. People in general couldn't believe what had happened right here in our own backyard.

SAVIDGE: Not long after, sea lion shut down. Tilikum was sold to SeaWorld in Orlando. But residents would hear about Tilikum again.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Sheriffs deputies identified the 27-year-old man found dead in a killer whale's tank --

SAVIDGE: In 1999, a man's body was found draped naked on Tilikum's back one morning. How the man got there, SeaWorld couldn't say.