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Man Accused of Killing 9 Believed to be His Children; "Novak Zone"

Aired March 13, 2004 - 09:00   ET


HEIDI COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, everyone. This is CNN SATURDAY MORNING. I'm Heidi Collins. It is 9:00 a.m. Eastern time, and if you're just waking up on the West Coast, yes, it's early, 6:00 a.m., in fact. Thanks to all of you for starting your day with us.
Well, headlines are straight ahead, and you're going to want to stick with us for the rest of the hour. Here's what we've got coming up for you.

A sickening discovery in Fresno. A domestic disturbance call leads police to a pile of nine bodies stacked on top of each other in a bedroom. You might be surprised to find who the suspect is.

Also, a story of courage and survival. Try walking through 14 states on one leg. You'll meet the man who is about to start his quest.

And later, doing any shopping this weekend? Well, we'll tell you how to save money on some things that deserve a second chance.

But first, the headlines at this hour.

Police are sifting through evidence found with nine bodies. Most of them are children. It happened in a house in Fresno, California, and they're questioning the suspect in the killings, 57-year-old Marcus Wesson, believed to be the father of the victims. Officers have interviewed four women believed to be mothers of the victims.

This just in now. A Baghdad clothing store owner has been killed and two passers-by injured by an explosion at the store. The man killed reportedly was a brother-in-law of an Iraqi Governing Council member. We'll keep our eyes on that one for you and watch out for any more developments in that story.

Meanwhile, beefing up border security in Iraq. U.S. civilian administrator Paul Bremer says terrorists are entering Iraq from other countries. The coalition is doubling the 8,000 security officers on Iraq's borders, cutting the number of crossing points, and identifying people entering or leaving Iraq.

U.N. nuclear watchdogs agreed within the last three hours to censure Iran for its nuclear activities, but it's unclear if the censure has any teeth. The wording was changed to effectively delay taking Security Council action against Iran until June, when the U.N. agency meets again in Vienna.

Our top story now this hour, that horror in Fresno. Nine bodies, 10 empty coffins, one suspect, and a number of questions following a grisly discovery in Fresno.

For the very latest, we turn to CNN's Miguel Marquez on the phone now from that area with the very latest. Hi, Miguel. What do you know at this time?


Well, we know the police are still at the scene, at the house, where Marcus Wesson was taken away about 2:15 yesterday afternoon Pacific time. They responded to a domestic disturbance call, which is about one of the most common calls that police get.

When they got there, there were several distraught women out in front. They told police that they were trying to get their children back from Mr. Wesson. When police tried to enter, Mr. Wesson locked himself in, barricaded himself in, and held off police for a short time.

A SWAT team was called out, but before they could even deploy, Mr. Wesson gave up. And then when police went in, that's when they just found a -- what must have been an incredibly grisly scene, seven children, infants, toddlers, children up to about 8 years old, one teenager, and one adult, stacked up, apparently, and sort of intertwined and twisted together in a back room there.

Ten caskets, tens of antique caskets apparently were also found in the front part of the house. Police at this point have interviewed four women who they believe may be the mothers of some or all of those children that were killed in the house.

And they have not, Fresno police have not brought charges yet. It's not clear, apparently, how many charges there would be. They're still sitting through evidence and sifting through bodies trying to figure out if Mr. Wesson will be charged, and what exactly he would be charged with.

Back to you.

COLLINS: Miguel, I know you are just getting on the scene there. Just wondering, though, you mention these coffins, and we haven't really talked about them up to this point. Some of the authorities there, I guess, were mentioning the possibility -- again, I say possibility -- of some sort of ritualistic ceremony taking place. Any more information on that yet?

MARQUEZ: None that we're hearing so far. That seems to be a line of investigation that police are following up on, but there is nothing specific with regard to that.

The coffins, as I understand, were purchased by Mr. Wesson over time from antique dealers in town. He apparently told the local paper here, there are reports that he told people that he was buying them for the wood. Apparently they were old, beautiful, handcrafted coffins.

So it's not clear whether they would have anything to do with a ritual-type slayings or if this was just a domestic situation that got out of hand and led to a very grisly scene.

COLLINS: Ah, that's for sure. All right, Miguel Marquez, thanks so much for that, live from Fresno today. We'll check back with you a little bit later on.

And now to Tennessee, where police are waiting it out there, hoping to end a standoff with a heavily armed 16-year-old in Louden (ph) County. One officer is dead and four others are injured. It all started yesterday when police responded to a domestic violence call at the boy's home and were turned back by heavy gunfire as they approached. In about 15 minutes, we will bring you the very latest in a live report from there.

And turning now to the war in Iraq and the search for possible moles within the Iraqi police. Robert Zangis (ph) and Fern Holland (ph), both U.S. civilians working in the war-torn country, were killed in an attack last Tuesday. Now the FBI is investigating if six suspects dressed as Iraqi police were really impersonators, and if violent insurgents have infiltrated Iraqi security forces. Tomorrow morning we'll have more on this story when members of the Zangis and Holland families join us in the 9:00 a.m. hour.

Well, imagine hiking the Appalachian Trail from end to end. The catch, you only have one leg to do it on. We'll introduce you to the man who is preparing to take on this imposing journey.

Plus, in about half an hour, robots will start racing across California. We're going there live.

CNN SATURDAY MORNING back in just a moment.


COLLINS: In Spain, the death toll is mounting in those terrorist bombings in Madrid. Government officials now say 200 people are dead. That, in addition to the almost 1,500 who are injured, including three Americans.

Makeshift memorials that you see there to the victims are springing up outside train stations in major Spanish cities.

CNN's Brent Sadler is live now in Madrid with the very latest. Good morning once again, Brent.


Outside the Atocia (ph) railway station in the center of Madrid here, I'm just going to walk you through a carpet of anger and grief. If we can take the camera down, you'll see hundreds of candles here, and many, many countless more posies and bouquets of flowers.

And many black ribbons indicating the way people feel here, anger and sympathy for the more than 200 victims who lost their lives in Thursday's series of bomb attacks on the commuter rail service here in Madrid and outside the city center.

Now, there is still no clear indication of who is responsible for the bombing. The government continues to point the main finger of suspicion at the ETA separatist group. ETA has denied that.

And also there are suspicions that perhaps an Islamic extremist group could also be involved in this. There has been some evidence of connection between dynamite found in a bomb that did not explode here at Atocia station and dynamite that was found, traces of dynamite that was found on a van that was found soon after the explosions went off.

Overwhelming grief here in Madrid on the eve of general elections, Heidi.

COLLINS: I would imagine. All right, Brent Sadler, live this morning from Madrid. Brent, thanks so much.

And following this incident, we want to know, are you concerned that a Madrid-style attack could happen right here in the U.S.? You can send your responses to that address, We'll go through some of them a little bit later.

Back in a moment.


ROB MARCIANO, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Well, about a week from now, Scott Rogers will be off and walking. Scott plans what's called a through-hike of the Appalachian Trial, starting right here in north Georgia and ending up all the way to Maine.

And what might be an impediment to some is not apparently to Scott. He only has one leg.

And Scott joins us live this morning from Nashville, Tennessee.

Hey, Scott, good morning.

SCOTT ROGERS, AMPUTEE HIKER: Good morning. How are you?

MARCIANO: I'm fine, thanks. You are about to try something that folks with two legs wouldn't even think about. Why are you doing it?

ROGERS: I've heard that quite a bit. Hiking the Appalachian Trail is something I've always wanted to do, and...

MARCIANO: And, well, you had an accident earlier in life which left you as an amputee. And were you an outdoorsman before then? Did you like to hike and be outdoors before the accident?

ROGERS: I've always grown up -- I mean, I grew up in the country, and I've always liked to do outdoor things, and, you know, hiking and camping out and stuff like that. So this is just a continuation of that. MARCIANO: Well, it's a -- I'm told that you can confirm this, if you complete this through its entirety, would you be the first amputee to complete the Appalachian Trail?

ROGERS: That is my understanding.

MARCIANO: So, I mean, is that one of the reasons you're doing it, to be the first? Or are you doing it more so for your love of the outdoors? Or you want to bring your family along and just have some fun along the trail?

ROGERS: Well, when I first started planning this, I had no idea that I was going to be the first. It was just something that I wanted to do. And then, as I got into it, and people started finding out about it, they said, Hey, nobody's ever done this before. So that's when I found out I would be a first. And then we started planning it as a family, because I wanted to include my family in every aspect of it.

MARCIANO: Well, whether you like it or not, I'm sure you're going to be an inspiration to many folks, especially other amputees. I'm told you're dedicating this trail hike to a young man. Tell us about him.

ROGERS: Lane Miliken (ph). His mom contacted me a couple of weeks ago. Lane was run over by a lawn mower when he was 3 years old, and it damaged both of his legs, and doctors have saved his left leg, but they are going to have to amputate his right leg on January -- I mean, I'm sorry, on June 8.

And I met with Lane and his family earlier this week and spoke to his class at school. And I just feel like that -- you know, as a 29- year-old man, when I went through this, I knew how hard it was on me, and I couldn't imagine going through it as an 8-year-old child. So I really felt like the encouragement would do him good.

Plus, his -- you know, after meeting him and seeing what kind of child he is and the spirit that he has, it really does me good as well.

MARCIANO: So it's a two-way street.

ROGERS: Yes, sir.

MARCIANO: This trail, over 2,000 miles. Have you done any sort of training? Have you been doing warmup hikes? I mean, how do you prepare for such a thing?

ROGERS: I don't really know that there is way to prepare for it, but I've done warmup hikes. I've hiked 70 miles in Pennsylvania last year. I've hiked the trails in the Smokies, trails in Kentucky, and...

MARCIANO: Scott Rogers, thanks for joining us this morning. I think your hike begins in about nine days. We wish you the best of luck, an inspirational story, no doubt, and we want you to finish that, we want you to be the first, and we wish you and your family safety along the way.

Thanks for joining us.

ROGERS: Thank you.

MARCIANO: is the Web site. You can log on and check out his story, follow him along the trail, and make yourself a donation as well. And see just how Scott is doing.

Heidi, hope you enjoyed your little break there. Back to you. Get back to work.

COLLINS: All right, I will try to do that. And, of course, we would love to have him back after he finishes the hike. All right, very good story.

Hey, a rivalry of another kind taking place in California today.

DANIEL SIEBERG, CNN TECHNOLOGY CORRESPONDENT: I'm CNN technology correspondent Daniel Sieberg. Coming up, find out why 15 robots are going to race across the Mojave Desert for a million-dollar cash prize, with no human drivers.


COLLINS: A quick check of our top stories now.

California authorities still have not released the cause of death for the nine people found dead in a Fresno home. About two hours ago, the police chief told us they had interviewed neighbors. Most of the nine victims are believed to be the children of the suspect, who is now in custody.

In Spain, the death toll rises to 200 in the train bombings. And today, authorities are searching for three men seen in ski masks carrying backpacks toward a train station. Officials have said the bombs used in Thursday's attacks were hidden in backpacks.

We want to get now to Rob Marciano, who was sitting here a minute ago, and then he ran away. What happened?

MARCIANO: Hey, (UNINTELLIGIBLE), my computer wasn't in the show, so I had to run upstairs and...

COLLINS: Oh, yeah, yeah.

MARCIANO: ... (UNINTELLIGIBLE), yes, up and down the stairs, Heidi.

COLLINS: All right. Hey, cool, warm?

MARCIANO: Cool, warm.


MARCIANO: Cool, warm. Here we go. All right, there you go. COLLINS: OK, thanks for the weather.

MARCIANO: The Northeast's going to enjoy some cool weather, windy conditions there, and the Southwest, some warm weather. This will happen from time to time in the springtime as Mother Nature doesn't know which end is up. As the sun gets higher in the sky, we often get these flipflops, and we often get turbulent weather in between.

That's not the case today, although we'll see some showers and some thundershowers from Dallas to Houston over towards, say, Beaumont, Orange, Port Arthur, Lake Charles, maybe Lafayette, Louisiana, certainly Oklahoma City, and then pushing east towards Little Rock, Arkansas, maybe over towards parts of Iowa as well. Des Moines and points eastward reporting some mixed precipitation as in and around Minneapolis. But not a whole lot of precip there. It's a pretty weak system.

Just some strong winds across the Northeast, some lake effect snow. I can't believe we're talking about it this late in the season, now that we're in March, but certainly some lake effect snow, just a few inches, expected about as far as Binghamton. You go farther east than that, (UNINTELLIGIBLE) just partly cloudy conditions.

Fifty-nine degrees in Denver. It'll be 57 in Salt Lake, 65 here in Atlanta with good-looking weather. Forty-six degrees in Chicago, 48 degrees in D.C., 45 in New York, and 40 degrees in Boston. Seventy-seven in San Francisco. I can just imagine what that Golden Gate is going to look and feel like today.

Heidi, back to you.

COLLINS: Makes me kind of wish I was there.

MARCIANO: Yes, kind of.

COLLINS: All right, Rob, thanks so much. We're talking to you again later on.


COLLINS: Well, it's not the world's last great race, but that's the Iditarod, but the payoff is pretty big. The Pentagon awards a million dollars today to the team whose robot covers a rugged desert course from Barstow, California, to Prim (ph), Nevada.

Our technology correspondent, Daniel Sieberg, is in Barstow.

Hey, look how behind you!

SIEBERG: Hi, Heidi.

That's right. We're here in the Mojave Desert. It's very early, but the anticipation is rising here. We're about 15 minutes away from the start time for the DARPA Grand Challenge. You can probably hear the helicopters flying overhead here. There's a lot of media, a lot of people are gathered here.

The whole idea behind this race, DARPA is the research agency of the Defense Department, and they're trying to find new technologies for autonomous robots. What that means are robots that have no human intervention whatsoever, no human control.

These are robots who are going to have to navigate their way across the desert to win this million dollars using GPS, lasers, sonar, complex computer programs, but no humans involved whatsoever.

Now, we're here at the start line. There are about 15 robots, there 15 robots that will be competing. Earlier today, they were preparing their 'bots, doing some final adjustments.

The course will be about 150 miles, maybe a little bit more, over this desert terrain. They will have certain points they will have to hit along the way to qualify. There are speed limits that they'll also have to go. The 'bots will average about probably 5 to 15 miles per hour, or can go as fast as about 60 miles per hour.

And there will be some chase vehicles following each robot to ensure their safety. They can kill the robot if they have to, they can stop it if it gets into a dangerous situation.

A lot of noise here. You can probably tell the helicopters are right overhead.

DARPA has said that safety is a major issue here, as these robots go across the Mojave Desert. They will be going, as I say, about 150 miles to 200 miles, all the way to Prim, Nevada, assuming any of them can make it that far. It's quite possible that none of them will make it that far. They may run into an obstacle, they may not be able to get through the entire course.

But at this point, they're all fairly enthusiastic. These engineers and scientists and researchers have been qualifying all week, trying to do their final preparations for their robots. About 100 teams initially entered. They've whittled it down to 15.

The first team that will be leaving here is from Carnegie Mellon University. They'll be followed by Cal Tech, Virginia Tech, a number of other teams off the start line, Cyatonics (ph), another company involved.

They will be going off the start line here and trying to go through this desert terrain. And again, they may not make it that far.

An interesting side note, they will be going over some area where there are some sensitive habitats, for example, the desert tortoise is endangered species, federally endangered. The Bureau of Land Management has been working to safe -- make it safe for them.

So quite an interesting race here. We're going to follow it throughout the day, Heidi.

Back to you.

COLLINS: All right, Daniel, I'm hoping that can you hear me. Just want to ask you quickly to remind us, what is it that DARPA is looking for from these vehicles? This is going to be used, I assume, by the military, yes?

SIEBERG: Exactly. That's the whole idea, is that eventually these vehicles will be used by the military in the battlefield. This is the first time they've done this, so they're researching these technologies to see how they could be used in the future. There is a congressional mandate that a third of military vehicles must be autonomous by 2015.

So this competition was open to anybody, anyone who wanted to enter, universities or even just groups working in their garage. There's even some high school students who are competing. So it's open to anyone, they're trying to find new ideas and fresh ideas for these military vehicles that will one day be out on the battlefield.

COLLINS: All right.

SIEBERG: To keep soldiers out of harm's way, yes.

COLLINS: Understood, anything to keep the soldiers safe. We sure do like that idea. Daniel Sieberg, thanks so much.


COLLINS: Want to of course...

SIEBERG: All right.

COLLINS: ... remind everybody that we're going to have the results of that race coming up for you tomorrow.

Well, he represents the United States in the Supreme Court. In The Novak Zone, solicitor general Theodore Olson. You won't want to miss this enlightening interview.


COLLINS: Shopping secondhand, is it a deal, a steal, or are you just being ripped off?

Welcome back, everybody. We'll have that story coming right up.

But first, want to let you know what is happening at this hour.

Police in Fresno, California, are sifting through some of the evidence found in a house where nine bodies were discovered. Police think most of the victims are the children of a man who was barricaded inside the home. The 57-year-old man surrendered and is now in police custody.

Police in Tennessee could make a move this morning in a standoff with a 16-year-old boy. The teen is suspected of killing one officer and injuring four others. Police first responded to a domestic violence call at the boy's home in the Lenore (ph) City. It has turned into a standoff involving some 150 police officers.

The U.N. Security Council is asking governments around the world to freeze the assets of former Liberian president Charles Taylor and his immediate family. The council wants to bar Taylor and his family from using misappropriated funds.

The U.S. military announcing today a new operation in Afghanistan to crush the Taliban and al Qaeda and ultimately nab Osama bin Laden. The military spokesman says the operation, code-named Mountain Storm, began March 7. It involves the entire 13,500-strong U.S.-led coalition.

In The Novak Zone today, the man the Bush administration depends on when cases go before to the U.S. Supreme Court. Here is Bob Novak.


ROBERT NOVAK, HOST: Welcome to The Novak Zone. We're at the Robert F. Kennedy Department of Justice building in downtown Washington, D.C., in the offices of the solicitor general of the United States, Theodore B. Olson.

Mr. Olson, what does the solicitor general do?

THEODORE OLSON, SOLICITOR GENERAL: Well, our most notable function is to represent the United States in the Supreme Court of the United States. We also decide whether or not the United States will appeal a loss in a lower federal court. But most people know the solicitor general from his role in the United States Supreme Court.

NOVAK: Does the solicitor general personally always represent the United States in cases before the Supreme Court?

OLSON: Well, in -- yes, officially he does, except that the United States will participate in about 80 percent of the Supreme Court's cases each year. That's about 60 to 65 cases out of the court's 75- to 80-case docket. The solicitor general himself will not argue all of those cases.

NOVAK: How many do you argue?

OLSON: I usually argue about one a month.

NOVAK: You are the 42nd solicitor general of the United States. And all 42 have, when they go before the Supreme Court, wear morning coats and gray striped trousers, which is really something more of the 19th century than the 20th century, but we're in the 21st century. Why has that persisted?

OLSON: Well, there's -- it's a nice tradition. It used to be that all advocates before the Supreme Court wore formal attire, and since the court hears arguments in the daytime, it was a morning suit rather than an evening suit. Over the years, regular litigants have changed to dark suits. But the solicitor general and anybody in the office always wears a morning suit, as does the clerk of the court and the bailiff in the court.

NOVAK: In the recent affirmative action case, University of Michigan case, the government's position didn't sound much like what Ted Olson's position would be. How does that work?

OLSON: Well, in that case, particularly, the president of the United States has relatively strong views on the role of diversity in governmental institutions. And the president spoke out and told the American public what he thought about that. And, of course, we listened to what the person who was elected by the people, is the president of the United States.

And so his view, his views were a part of the case that we presented to the Supreme Court. We did oppose those affirmative action programs. And, of course, as you know, the court upheld one and struck down one.

NOVAK: Of course. So you are, in a sense, an attorney representing a client. In -- attorneys don't always put their own views out when they represent a client.

OLSON: Well, that's very well put. And our client is the -- are the people of this country, the Constitution, the governmental institutions, and the president whose oath of office requires him to take care that the laws of the United States are faithfully executed.

We are his agent in the Supreme Court for that purpose.

NOVAK: Ted Olson, you, of course, are at -- stood before the Supreme Court as a lawyer, a private lawyer, before you became solicitor general on many occasions. The most famous, of course, you represented the Bush-Cheney campaign in the famous vote recount case in 2000.

Is it different -- is there a different feeling when you're in there representing the government of the United States of America as opposed to a private client, even so important a client as the Bush- Cheney campaign?

NOVAK: Yes, it's very different, in the sense that when we stand there, we are the United States. We are the government of the United States before the Supreme Court. Therefore, we have to make sure that the views we express are not only complete and accurate and scrupulously honest with the court, but that fairly represents all of the institutions of our government, and the laws that are passed by Congress.

So that whether -- whatever we might think of a law in a private advocacy situation, you're representing one person or one point of view, and representing the government, you're representing very many components of that government. NOVAK: The late Thurgood Marshall, the late Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, once said that being solicitor general was the best job he ever had. Do you agree with him? And if so, why is this such a good job?

OLSON: Well, it's a wonderful, wonderful job. I do agree with him. William Howard Taft, who was solicitor general and then president, and then chief justice of the United States, said something along the same lines.

The wonderful part of the job is the honor of representing the United States in the Supreme Court, and the exhilaration of standing before the Supreme Court and making arguments in the highest court of our land.

NOVAK: As you suggested, some solicitor generals have become Supreme Court justices, and there has been speculation that you're on the short list for the Supreme Court. Is that your ambition, to serve on Supreme Court?

OLSON: No. My ambition is to do the best job I possibly can here.

NOVAK: You wouldn't turn that job down, though, (UNINTELLIGIBLE)?

OLSON: Well, I don't really think about it.


And now, the big question for Theodore B. Olson, solicitor general of the United States.

Mr. Olson, more than any government official, the 9/11 terrorist attack came home to you when your wife, Barbara, a very prominent Washington figure herself, was killed in one of those terrorist attacks on board one of the planes. Do you -- what do you feel about the way the U.S. reaction to that terrorist attack, to the -- and by the passage of the PATRIOT Act and other measures, well, how has that changed America, and does it -- do you have any concerns the way it's changed America?

OLSON: Well, I'm very, very proud to be a part of this administration and to have had the responsibility to assist in some of those measures. I'm very proud of what the president has done and what the United States military has done and the firmness and resolve with which these administration officials and this administration has gone after the problem of international terrorism.

I feel it very, very keenly because of Barbara's death. I think about that every day.

I think also that we have a responsibility, those of us who did have that experience and who are also serving in government, not only to think about the people that lost their lives on September 11 and the threat to people throughout this country of future -- from future terrorist events, but also to keep faith with the Constitution and the laws and the principles of this country so that the terrorists will not have succeeded by tearing the fabric of our government and our society and our principles down.

COLLINS: Solicitor general Theodore B. Olson, thank you very much.

And thank you for being in The Novak Zone.


COLLINS: If you haven't had time to keep up with the news this week, that's what we're here for. I'm going to go ahead and rewind for you now and look at the top stories.

In Madrid, bombs go off on four commuter trains, killing 200 people. It is the deadliest terror attack in Europe since Pan Am flight 103 exploded over Scotland in 1998.

The older D.C.-area sniper, John Allen Muhammad, is sentenced to death. The younger one, Lee Boyd Malvo, gets life in prison.

Haiti gets a new prime minister. Gerard le Torteau (ph) leaves his home in Florida to assume that role.

And Massachusetts lawmakers move closer to an amendment that would ban same-sex marriages but legalize civil unions. And San Francisco complies with a state supreme court order to halt gay marriages until the court holds hearings.

Want to go ahead and get back to our e-mail question of this morning. Are you concerned a Madrid-style attack could happen here in the U.S.? We've been taking your e-mails this morning, and here is another response right now.

"I have seen many people with heavy backpacks boarding trains, and I did wonder, what if? This is a very bad situation and an obvious target for coward terror attacks."

Thanks to you, Cindy, for writing in to us today.

Then, "The question, unfortunately, is not if, but when."

J.A. from Farmington Hills, Michigan. Thanks so much as well for your e-mails.

We will take some more of those as we go on today.

Want to take a break here, though. We'll be back in just a moment.


COLLINS: This annual 450-mile yard sale is but one example of the popularity of buying and selling secondhand goods. Every summer, bargain hunters in four states -- Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, and Kentucky -- line the roads looking for shop-till-you-drop deals.

And take a look at this, a Web site with a flea market guide for every state in the Union, including Alaska and Hawaii. It's

Now, as you see, buying secondhand goods has become an art form. Everybody is looking for a bargain these days. And we've got your bargain hunter, a recognized expert on finding the best used products. Carolyn Forte is associate director at the Good Housekeeping Institute. She is joining us now from New York.

Carolyn, good morning to you. Thanks for being with us.


COLLINS: You know, I have an Uncle Ken in Minnesota who lives for garage sales...

FORTE: Oh, yes.

COLLINS: ... and we saw a little bit of that. What is the fascination? You just have to be the kind of person who doesn't mind having secondhand things, or is it about the hunt?

FORTE: I really do think it's about the hunt. And with the popularity of eBay, buying things secondhand has really become almost a craze of late, if you will. It's such a great thing when you really feel like you've found the perfect item at the perfect price. I don't think anything beats that.

COLLINS: And speaking of price, how much of a savings benefit is it really to buy secondhand?

FORTE: Well, you know, every item is going to be different. But if you're really looking for a good deal, the best thing to do is to know your prices before you go out and look. And if you feel you're getting about a 50 percent reduction off the retail price, then that's pretty much going to be a good deal.

COLLINS: OK. So I know you have a lot of things to show us there. We've been talking...

FORTE: We do.

COLLINS: ... eBay, flea markets, estate sales...

FORTE: Right.

COLLINS: ... and you've got particular items that you have found, or people have found at those different places?

FORTE: Right. Right. In our April issue of "Good Housekeeping" magazine, we looked at the different items that we thought were really the best things to look at for secondhand purchases. We've got some of them here today. The first area is home furnishings. Home furnishings can be lots of fun to look for. And we've got several items that we found on eBay. One in particular is this pillow. It's a quilted sari (ph) pillow. And on eBay, it's $10.99, full retail price would be about $30, so that's clearly a good savings there.


FORTE: The next item we have is this little marquesite (ph) frame. That on eBay is $11.99. Full retail price would be $45. So that's an even better savings.

And then, finally, in home furnishings, we've got this little Japanese table lamp, $35 on eBay, $50 full retail price.

COLLINS: OK. Excellent. And I see right next to that, I hope I'm not getting out of order here, but I saw some, something that looked like crinoline, maybe, from a wedding dress?

FORTE: Yes, that's exactly what it is. Bridal areas are another thing that you want to look into. We -- these items here are from one of our staff members. She purchased her whole bridal outfit on eBay. And again, eBay's...

COLLINS: Really?

FORTE: ... great. Yes, there's lots of other things. For bridal outfits, you can go to sample sales, vintage stores. Her veil she purchased on eBay. She paid $29 for it, full price $99. She even got her tiara. I mean, it's amazing, it really is.

COLLINS: Let me ask you quickly, you know, you showed that pillow, and then you showed the bridal gown. When you're buying on eBay, what sort of stipulations or regulations, if you will, are there for cleaning things? I mean, when you get this, do you handle that yourself, or do you already, as the person who puts it on eBay, you have to have things cleaned and sanitized and detail what they are?

FORTE: Yes, I think the buyer should expect to have to clean it themselves.


FORTE: So -- and that's one thing. You know, there are certain tips that you want to follow. If there's not enough information there for you, e-mail the seller back, find out if there's more details they can give you. If you're nearby, if it's a piece of furniture, and you want to take a look at it, see if you can make an arrangement to go take a look at it.

And eBay is great. There are lots of other areas that you can go where you can actually go and look at the items yourself. Like model homes or flea markets, consignment shops. Take a look at things, make sure they're right for you, check out the quality, the features. If it's something that's going to need a lot of repair, it may not be the best deal. COLLINS: Yes, and Carolyn, I want to ask you about musical instruments, because I'm picturing all those parents out there...

FORTE: Right.

COLLINS: ... who have children, who are, Yeah, I want to play the clarinet. No, the flute. Maybe the drums, you know.

FORTE: Right, exactly.

COLLINS: These are expensive items.

FORTE: No, musical instruments are clearly one of the best things to look at secondhand when a child is first starting to learn how to play. And with musical instruments, the parent may not be as expert in this area as they would need to be to buy a good one.

So what we recommend is that they go to a reputable store, reputable musical instrument store or repair store. We got a flute here from Charles Fail (ph) in Atlanta. This flute is sold by them for $275. New, it would be about $695. So, clearly, that is a great savings.


FORTE: And what they recommend is, buy it from a place where you can get, let's say, a trial period, three-day trial period. Take it to your child's band leader, have them take a look at it, and see if it's really a good buy.

COLLINS: And if you're lucky, your kid won't be playing within that three days.

FORTE: Right, right. And if it's not a good buy, hopefully, you can bring it back. That's really what you want to do.

COLLINS: Wonderful. Carolyn Forte, we certainly appreciate your advice today, and good luck to all those Saturday morning garage sale...

FORTE: Yes, happy hunting.

COLLINS: ... goers today. All right, Carolyn, thanks again.

FORTE: Thank you.

COLLINS: And good morning, Orlando. Your complete weather forecast is coming up when CNN SATURDAY MORNING continues. Boy, I wouldn't mind being there, huh?


COLLINS: More news to tell you about this morning. This just in now, coming to us out of Battle Creek, Michigan, a shooting at Kellogg Community College this morning has now caused that college to be under lockdown status. Once again, a shooting at Kellogg Community College in Battle Creek, Michigan, has put that school on lockdown this morning. This is according to a campus security officer who talked to our people here at CNN. We will, of course, keep all of the information that we have coming to you just as soon as we do get it.

Meanwhile, an armed standoff in Loudon County, Tennessee, is now about 24 hours old. On one side is a teenager with a semiautomatic weapon and plenty of ammunition. On the other side, about 150 heavily armed police officers. One officer has already been killed.

For the very latest on the tense situation, Tearsa Smith of affiliate WATE joins us now from the scene. Tearsa, what can you tell us at this point? This has been a long, long standoff.

TEARSA SMITH, WATE: Very long and very tiring. Things are very quiet here as police try to wait this suspect out. This is a very tense and delicate situation, because the man is only 16 years old, a very young man.

If you take a look behind me, you'll see a barricade. This barricade goes into the entrance where the active scene is. It's about two miles up this road. This standoff started after Loudon County deputy Jason Scott was shot and killed while responding to a domestic call. The alleged gunman, 16-year-old Michael Harvey.

Police say he had been drinking the night before, got into a fight with his mother, so she called police. Now, some 24 hours later, and Harvey is still barricaded inside his home. The Loudon County sheriff is stressing that he does not want another life lost, so they are taking their time with this one.

Now, back out here live, they're fearing this young is -- young man is armed and dangerous, because he has a stockpile of weapons inside the home, he has access to some very high-powered guns like an AK-47.

Very sad twist to this story. The officer that was killed was expecting a baby any day now. So now he'll never get to see the child that he was looking forward to seeing.

Reporting live in Loudon County, Tearsa Smith for CNN.

COLLINS: All right, Tearsa. That is a shame. Let me ask you real quickly, if I could, please, usually in situations like this, many negotiators on the scene as well. Do you have any idea if anyone has had contact, whether it be a phone call or yelling out the windows, with this Michael Harvey?

SMITH: Well, Heidi, they've been trying to call this young man on a cell phone, on a house line. He will not respond. They've even tried text messaging his cell phone. They have a loudspeaker. He will not respond. His father has also tried talking to him. But still, there's no communication.

Right now, they're at a standstill. They say if they can just get some type of communication with him, then they can begin a negotiation process. Right now, they're just waiting.

COLLINS: All right. Tearsa Smith, thanks again, coming to us with that story. Thanks so much.

Want to go ahead and get a look at the weather now. Rob Marciano sitting next to me, telling us that we have cold up here and warm down here, mixing it all up.

MARCIANO: (UNINTELLIGIBLE), yes, (UNINTELLIGIBLE), getting towards down to ski season.


MARCIANO: Have a good trip to Colorado?

COLLINS: Yes, two trips this year.


COLLINS: It was nice. It was actually snow the second time I went. It was lovely.



MARCIANO: Have you ever been to Shanti Creek, Michigan?

COLLINS: I have not.

MARCIANO: It's in the northern hills of Michigan. They got 12 inches of snow last weekend.


MARCIANO: So we want to, we want to give a shout out to our friends in northern Michigan (UNINTELLIGIBLE)...

COLLINS: Yes, invite us to your homes.


COLLINS: We'll come to you.

MARCIANO: We'll come over.

Let's go to the opposite end of the spectrum, see what, I think, Daytona Beach, Florida. Orlando? Let's have a look at the shot.

COLLINS: Yes, that's good, too.

MARCIANO: I don't know, Orlando -- it does not look like -- Really?

COLLINS: Yes, look at the cards driving in the water there, on the beach. MARCIANO: Isn't Orlando in the middle of the state? Anyway.

OK. Good shot. Looking good in much of Florida today, and good morning, south Florida and central Florida. Forty-six degrees in Atlanta right now, and it's 70 in Miami, 29 degrees in Chicago.

Some rain is expected across the eastern parts of Texas, Oklahoma, and western parts of Arkansas, and there is your sunshine. Good beach day across all of Florida. A little windy, a little chilly across the Northeast, feeling a little bit more like winter than spring, feeling, in some spots, like summer, or maybe even October in San Francisco, where they expect a high temperature of about 77 degrees today.

Boston, New York, and D.C., we'll see some chilly winds. Temperatures there will be in the 40s and 50s. And some rain will be moving slowly across Texas and eventually will move into Tennessee tomorrow, maybe Nashville, and some of the country music lovers out there will get wet in Atlanta maybe late tomorrow afternoon. Miami, Orlando, Daytona Beach, pretty much everywhere in Florida, looking good.

So (UNINTELLIGIBLE) to Michigan, and chamber of commerce in Florida happy now as well.

COLLINS: Yes, they probably are. All right, Rob, thanks so much.

Want to get to some -- back to some news that we just had moments ago, coming to us from Battle Creek, Michigan. You can see the situation here. We are understanding that Kellogg Community College is under a lockdown after a shooting that happened earlier this morning. This is all according to a campus security officer.

But now to update the story, we do have the president of Kellogg Community College on the phone with us from Battle Creek.

Hello. Dr. Haring, Dr. Edward Haring, can you hear me? Dr. Haring, can you hear me? It's Heidi Collins in Atlanta.


COLLINS: I'm wondering what you've been able to find out. I know that you are not at the scene, but what are you hearing from people at the school, if anything, about this situation?

HARING: I have been in contact with our director of security, who is working directly with the Battle Creek police detectives. At this point, what we know is that there was a shooting that occurred on the college -- in a parking lot on the college campus. We do not have any reason to believe at this point that, other than the location of the parking lot, that the shooting had anything to do with the college.

COLLINS: OK. Are there normally classes that are going on on a Saturday? I mean, I'm understanding that the school is under lockdown. What normally happens on a Saturday there?

HARING: We do have a few classes that occur on Saturday, so our local security has closed the campus, and we have locked down the buildings at the request of the local law enforcement.

COLLINS: Do you know, by chance, if this individual is still outside in the parking lot, and that is why you're trying to keep everybody safe inside the building?

HARING: At this point, they have not apprehended or arrested anyone. And obviously, they would like to have the buildings secured so that people aren't coming onto the campus and leaving the campus.

COLLINS: All right. Any idea exactly what time this happened?

HARING: To the best of my knowledge, it was between 8:00 and 8:30 this morning.

COLLINS: Eight and 89:30. All right, we certainly appreciate your information, Dr. Edward Haring. He's the president of Kellogg Community College, coming to us from Battle Creek, Michigan. And that school, once again, on a lockdown right now because of a shooting that happened, according to the president, out in the parking lot.

All right. We are going to take a quick break for now, and we will be back in just a moment.


COLLINS: Police are gathering evidence in the house in Fresno, California, where nine bodies were found, most of them children. Fifty-seven-year-old Marcus Wesson, believed to be the father of the victims, is being questioned. Wesson is identified as a suspect in the killing but has yet to be charged.

We do have Miguel Marquez standing by now to tell us the very latest from Fresno. Miguel, hello.

MARQUEZ: Good morning there, Heidi.

I want to give you a sense of what this place looks like. It is a very quiet neighborhood here in Fresno. There's this bus out in front of the house that looks like it's been reconfigured and sort of chopped up. The house looks like it's in a forest, almost. It's just many trees in the front, and the house itself, sort of a cement structure that looks almost like a commercial structure.

This is where 57-year-old Marcus Wesson was taken into custody yesterday afternoon about 2:00. Police responded to a domestic disturbance call, about the most common calls that police get. What they found once they got inside, once they talked Mr. Wesson out of a back room, was that he -- there were one adult, one teenager, and seven children, ranging in ages from 1 to 8 years old, who were stacked up on top of each other.

They also found 10 caskets in the house. The police chief, at a press conference last night, talked about the relationship between Mr. Wesson and some of those victims.

Now, Mr. Wesson was arrested. He is at the jail for the city of Fresno right now. Police are interviewing him. They say that he will be transferred to the detention center later today. He has not been charged as of yet. And police say that that will probably be coming later today. We expect a press conference about 4:30 p.m. Pacific time, 7:30 on the East Coast, Heidi.

COLLINS: All right. Of course we'll be watching very closely for that. Miguel Marquez, thanks so very much.

Well, that is it for us right here on CNN SATURDAY MORNING. We appreciate you watching.

For now, we're going to turn things over to "ON THE STORY."


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