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Interview With Louisiana Attorney General Charles Foti; Cheney Shooting Victim Speaks Out; Do Nail Salons Pose Hidden Dangers?

Aired February 17, 2006 - 20:00   ET


PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: And good evening. Thank you all for joining us.
Tonight, what could be a major turning point in a case that has haunted New Orleans ever since the Katrina disaster.


ZAHN (voice-over): A CNN investigation continues. Were patients murdered at this flooded New Orleans hospital? Louisiana's attorney general in an exclusive interview about his investigation.

CHARLES FOTI, LOUISIANA ATTORNEY GENERAL: We have spent a lot of time, energy and manpower on working on this case. But we think it's a good case.

ZAHN: How close are they to results?

"Outside the Law" -- terror at the door. The police came in, in the middle of the night.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I didn't think that anybody had the right to kill my animals.

ZAHN: They weren't even suspected of a crime. So, why were they treated like criminals?

And a big family reunion. They have been separated and scattered, working in small circuses all over the country. After years of hardship, they're finally being brought back together.


ZAHN: Tonight, we may be on the verge of a breakthrough in one of the most disturbing stories to come out of Hurricane Katrina.

In the chaotic days after the storm, a suspiciously high number of patients died at one New Orleans hospital. And, for months, authorities have been looking into the possibility that some of them were intentionally killed.

Well, now Louisiana's attorney general tells CNN his investigation is in its final phase.

From New Orleans, Sean Callebs has this exclusive report. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SEAN CALLEBS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): What happened inside this Memorial Hospital in New Orleans, right after Hurricane Katrina, has been a prime focus of Louisiana's attorney general for months.

Charles Foti is pursuing allegations that medical professionals, sworn to save lives, deliberately ended some. Today, in an exclusive interview with CNN, state A.G. Charles Foti for the first time indicated his ongoing investigation has produced results.

CHARLES FOTI, LOUISIANA ATTORNEY GENERAL: Well, actually, we -- we think it is very credible, because we still -- we are still working on the case. We have spent a lot of time, energy and manpower on working on this case. So, we think it is a -- we think it is a good case.

CALLEBS: Foti will not discuss specifics of the case yet. He is waiting for a court ruling on a related matter that is still sealed by the judge. Foti expects that ruling soon and says that, afterward, his case will proceed rapidly.

FOTI: Like any investigation, you -- you -- you run into roadblocks. You run into dead ends. And this is -- this is more just a -- a roadblock. Once this roadblock is passed, we're very hopeful that we will be -- we will be able to wrap it up.

CALLEBS: We asked if there would be any arrests.

FOTI: That's -- how do they say on the TV; that's a very good question?


FOTI: We -- we will wait to see and -- when all the evidence comes in. But it -- I will say what I said before. It is a very good case.

CALLEBS: After Katrina, the staff at Memorial was working in stifling hot conditions, no power, dwindling water, food and medical supplies. Nearly 2,000 people were trapped in the hospital, with floodwater rising and evacuations sporadic.

Staff saw people looting a nearby credit union, and there were fears those looters would soon move to the hospital. When the hospital eventually was evacuated, there were 45 bodies left behind in the hallways, in the chapel, in the morgue, in beds, including 11 who hospital officials say died before the hurricane hit.

CNN has been told that, just before the final evacuations, doctors and nurses openly discussed euthanizing patients as situations deteriorated. This doctor says he was asked by another physician what he thought about putting patients out of their misery. Dr. Bryant King dismissed it as just talk, until, he says, this unfolded. DR. BRYANT KING, FORMER CONTRACT PHYSICIAN AT MEMORIAL HOSPITAL: This is on the second floor in the lobby. This -- and across that walkway, there's a group of patients. And Anna is standing over there with a handful of syringes.


KING: Talking to a patient. And the -- the words that I heard her say were, "I'm going to give you something to make you feel better."

And she had a handful of syringes. I don't -- and that was strange on a lot of -- on a lot of different levels. For one, we don't give medications. The nurses give medications. We almost never give medications ourselves, unless it's something critical.

CALLEBS: Shortly after that, King says he left the hospital. He never saw anyone use those syringes or kill a patient.

And neither Dr. Pou, nor anyone else, has been named as a suspect in the case. A source close to the investigation has told CNN that more than one person is being actively looked at as a possible person of interest for crimes related to euthanasia.

Dr. Pou didn't speak to CNN on camera, but, a few days after evacuating Memorial, had this to say to a Baton Rouge television station.

DR. ANNA POU, MEMORIAL HOSPITAL PHYSICIAN: We all did everything within our power to give the best treatment that we could to the patients in the hospital to make them comfortable.

CALLEBS: Now her attorney, Rick Simmons, told CNN, "My client has not been involved in any criminal misconduct."

Regarding his investigation, the Louisiana attorney general had this to say:

FOTI: Well, the -- the public has a right to know, and that the people that -- the families of the people involved have a right to know. But, in the process, we want to be very careful.


CALLEBS: Memorial Hospital remains closed. There are actually two companies involved in providing health care at the hospital. Tenet Healthcare ran the hospital. And a company called LifeCare of New Orleans leased space to provide long-term acute patient care.

Now, just a couple of hours ago, this state's attorney general told CNN, at this point, LifeCare's employees are not a subject of this investigation.

Both companies are declining to be interviewed. But both say they are cooperating with the state's attorney general. And both also say that they believe their employees operated heroically, even under the worst of circumstances. Paula...

ZAHN: Sean Callebs, thanks so...

CALLEBS: ... that's basically all the companies have to say.

ZAHN: Well, like -- we would have expected that, I guess, at -- at this stage.

And, again, Sean Callebs, thanks for the update.

Once again, the attorney general telling Sean that he expects a court ruling next week. And, from that point on, he expects things to move more quickly than they have thus far.

In Florida, a once-secret videotape is sparking outrage tonight and raising a lot of questions about what killed a 14-year-old boy. A coroner says Martin Anderson died from natural causes while attending a state-run boot camp for troubled teens. But the boy's mother says the videotape shows he was picked on by authorities until they killed him.

Susan Candiotti has been working on this story. She joins us now Miami with the tape and the very latest information.

Hi, Susan.


It is very difficult to watch this videotape. Again, as you pointed out, we're talking about a boot camp for juvenile delinquents in Bay County, Florida. The young man we're talking about, 14-year- old Martin Anderson, an honor roll student who also played high school basketball.

He got into trouble and was sent to the boot camp for taking his grandmother's car for a joyride and violating his probation. It was his first day there, orientation drills, when the trouble started. A fixed camera catches all the action.

You can to start to look at this videotape now. They say -- authorities, that is -- that, when Martin Anderson started running around the track -- that's what all of them had to do -- he collapsed while running. And, then, what happened was some attitude adjustment, possibly, some say.

The question is whether medical help could have come sooner. First, you see officers kneeing him, and he falls to the ground. Then, you see the boy receiving a series of punches, you see again on one of his arms, for example, again and again and again. We counted at least seven times before he goes down to the ground.

And we count at least up to eight employees at one time surrounding him. Then, you see him getting yanked backwards. You see, very violently there, it would appear, pulling his head back. We don't know exactly what is happening on the tape at that time. And, finally, a nurse who had been standing around watching this -- the tape goes on for at least 25 minutes -- finally, after 25 minutes, a nurse wearing a stethoscope approaches the scene and looks things over. And finally, then, paramedics are called in. The boy is lifted on to a stretcher. His arm is limp.

People who have seen this tape, not only the family, but others who have no direct involvement in the case, say, after watching it, the boy looked like a rag doll at times because of the treatment.

Finally, he is put on to a stretcher and taken away by ambulance. He died the very next day. He was pronounced dead at a hospital in Pensacola, Florida.

Now, the mother says this was indeed, in her opinion, excessive force.


GINA JONES, MOTHER OF MARTIN LEE ANDERSON: They murdered my baby. I mean, they beat him. The tape -- I couldn't even watch the whole tape. I walked out. I couldn't stand to see my baby like that, one holding one arm, the other holding one arm.

He get punched, and his body goes up in the air. The nurse stands to the side and do nothing, at to the end, when you see where they was concerned because he couldn't move anymore. That's when the nurse want to come and doctor on him. It was too late. He was dead.


CANDIOTTI: Now, the medical examiner has ruled that this boy died of natural causes, complicated by a sickle cell trait. However, a hematologist that we spoke with said that the internal bleeding that this boy suffered could not have been caused by a sickle cell trait alone, that trauma would have to be involved. Authorities are conducting an investigation.


FRANK MCKEITHEN, BAY COUNTY, FLORIDA, SHERIFF: We at no time have indicated that we believe this incident was handled correctly. It is very obvious to us that there are valid concerned raised in some of the procedures that are being used in this particular incident.


CANDIOTTI: Along with state authorities who are looking into this case, so is the Justice Department, the Civil Rights Division, to see whether excessive force was used or whether there was a deliberate attempt to withhold medical attention -- Paula.

ZAHN: Please keep watching that for us, Susan. Appreciate the update.

Now, today, we got our first good look at the man who Vice President Dick Cheney accidentally shot. What did Harry Whittington have it say? How is he feeling? And what does the vice president have to say about all this today?

And if any of you women are heading to the salon for a pedicure this weekend -- and millions do every year -- did you know it could leave your legs so deformed, you will never want to wear a dress again? We will explain what you got to look out for.

And would you believe that tough bikers have a soft side? What did the cops do to some Hells Angels that can still make one of them cry?

First, though, nearly 19 million of you went to our Web site today. Here is tonight's countdown of the top 10 most popular stories on

At number 10, new views of al Qaeda. Two West Point studies shed light on the terror group's network and operations.

Number nine, actor and activist Mike Farrell testifies at the corruption trial of former Illinois Governor George Ryan. Farrell was a character witness for Ryan. Both had been working to abolish the death penalty -- numbers eight and seven still ahead.


ZAHN: Most bandits use guns. Some use knives. But who would use a blowtorch? Coming up, the story of a very creative crook.

Well, today, two men involved in last weekend's now infamous Texas quail hunt made their very first public appearances. As Vice President Cheney was getting a rousing reception from lawmakers in his home state of Wyoming, in Texas, the man he accidentally shot was speaking out for the very first time.

Here is Jonathan Freed.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I will introduce the individual you have been wanting to see all week, Mr. Harry Whittington.

JONATHAN FREED, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A shotgun blast turned him from private citizen to public figure. Now the man wounded by the vice president in a hunting accident faced the cameras for the first time.

HARRY WHITTINGTON, ACCIDENTAL SHOOTING VICTIM: My family and I are deeply sorry for all that Vice President Cheney and his family have had to go through this past week. We send our love and respect to them, as they deal with -- with situations that are much more serious than what we have had this week.

FREED: Whittington was clearly being modest about his ordeal of the last six days. On Saturday, he was out hunting quail with Vice President Dick Cheney on a Texas ranch, about two hours south of Corpus Christi, when Mr. Cheney accidentally shot him in the face and upper body. Then, Whittington suffered a mild heart attack on Tuesday, when a piece of the birdshot migrated into or near the heart. He recovered quickly. And doctors discharged the 78-year-old.

WHITTINGTON: Medical attention is very important to someone my age, and you haven't failed to give my age.


FREED: Yesterday, the Kenedy County Sheriff's Department announced, no criminal charges would be filed, calling it -- quote -- "a mere hunting accident."


FREED: In Wyoming, at his first speaking event since the incident, Mr. Cheney briefly acknowledged his friend.

RICHARD B. CHENEY, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It is a wonderful experience to be greeted with such warmth by the leaders of our great state. That is especially true when you have had a very long week.


CHENEY: Thankfully, Harry Whittington is on the mend and doing very well.

FREED: Indeed, Whittington was poised as he spoke for several minutes and made a point of thanking his medical team.

WHITTINGTON: They are truly remarkable servants of God. And I'm extremely blessed for all they have done.

Thank you.

FREED: Whittington asked people to understand that accidents will happen.

Jonathan Freed, CNN, Corpus Christi, Texas.


ZAHN: And you might be surprised to hear that Harry Whittington also told reporters he hopes the vice president will continue to hunt in Texas.

Did you know that one of the most popular reasons to visit a salon can make your life absolutely miserable? Well, coming up next, how could pedicures lead to serious skin infections, permanent scars, and terrible, terrible pain?

And who says tough bikers don't cry? What did a SWAT team do that ended up making lots of money for some Hells Angels?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) ZAHN: All right, try to imagine yourself going to a salon to treat yourself to a pedicure and ending up permanently scarred because of a skin infection. This might make you a little queasy to watch, but it could also save you from a painful fate.

Consumer correspondent Greg Hunter has been investigating the $6.5-billion-a-year nail salon industry.

And he has filed tonight's "Eye Opener."


GREG HUNTER, CNN CONSUMER CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's supposed to be a treat for your toes, a pedicure in a whirlpool foot spa, but did you know a relaxing pedicure could lead to this, a terrible skin infection that causes painful leg boils?

MARILYN CLARKE, SUFFERED SKIN INFECTION: I had huge, oozing lesions on my leg, pussy oozing.

CYNTHIA HINZ, SUFFERED SKIN INFECTION: It looks like cigarette burns, somebody took cigarettes and went up and down your leg.

HUNTER: Hundreds of women have developed skin infections after getting pedicures in salons. Doctors say it's a disturbing trend caused by bacteria that can grow in dirty foot spas.

DR. SHELLEY SEKULA-GIBBS, DERMATOLOGIST: We really can't scare people enough regarding this. It's a very real threat.

HUNTER (on camera): All across the country?

SEKULA-GIBBS: All across the country.

HUNTER (voice-over): In the U.S., the problem was first noticed in California, where there had been three serious outbreaks of bacterial infections in five years.

In 2002, a month after getting a pedicure near San Jose, Angela Lanctot noticed what she thought were mosquito bites. The bumps turned into sores. Her father, a surgeon, had to drain daily by squeezing them.

(on camera): Painful?

ANGELA LANCTOT, SUFFERED SKIN INFECTION: Extremely painful, and kind of like grit- your-teeth, you know, scream-out-loud painful.

HUNTER (voice-over): And, worst of all, Lanctot was suffering during one of the biggest events of her life, her wedding.

LANCTOT: There were open sores that were -- that were seeping with puss.

HUNTER (on camera): All under your beautiful white wedding dress? LANCTOT: Yes.

HUNTER: Pretty memorable?


HUNTER (voice-over): But Lanctot isn't alone.

(on camera): Did any of you ever imagine that you would be saying, pedicure, open sores in the same sentence?



HUNTER (voice-over): All of these women have sued California salons for skin infections after a pedicure.

MONICA DITTRICH, SUFFERED SKIN INFECTION: It really makes you feel ugly and damaged. And I really felt like a leper.

HUNTER: The Centers for Disease Control says, infections like these are caused by this water-borne bacteria. In a 2002 study of California salons, the CDC found the rapidly growing bacteria were highly prevalent in whirlpool footbaths.

Infections have now been reported in 12 states. Dr. Shelley Sekula-Gibbs, a dermatologist, says you can absorb bacteria from dirty footbath water from through a tiny cut or abrasion on your skin.

SEKULA-GIBBS: It can really hurt people's legs. And it can leave them with disfiguring scars. So, it's very bad.

HUNTER: Something these women know all too well. Several showed us their legs.

Nineteen-year-old Brittany Welby had some of the worst scars.

BRITTANY WELBY, SUFFERED SKIN INFECTION: I'm not the same person anymore. And I can't live the life that I used to when I was 18. This past year has just damaged me so much.

HUNTER: Infections can be prevented, scientists say, if foot spas are cleaned properly.

One problem is this screen that covers the plumbing in many machines. It can trap dirt, hair, and skin, turning the tub into a breeding ground for bacteria.

We wanted to see for ourselves what's behind foot spa screens. So, we went along with this salon inspector in Raleigh, North Carolina.

CONNIE WILDER, NORTH CAROLINA STATE BOARD OF COSMETIC ART EXAMINERS: My name is Connie. I'm a state board inspector. HUNTER: In the first shop, the foot spa screens turn out to be clean. But, at another salon, watch what happens when this footbath screen is removed. Look how much buildup is there. The owner claims it's from one day of doing pedicures.

(on camera): So, that's from one day?

KELLY NGUYEN, SALON OWNER: Yes. We got very busy today.

HUNTER (voice-over): So, we take a closer look at one screen.

WILDER: That looks like mold with dead skin.

HUNTER (on camera): And people's feet are in this?


HUNTER: Is that gross?

WILDER: That is terrible.

HUNTER (voice-over): But it isn't just one screen. According to our inspector, all three of the salon's foot spas show signs of serious neglect.

(on camera): Do you think this is as clean as it should be?




HUNTER: It's -- it's bad, isn't it?


HUNTER: It's gross, right?


HUNTER (voice-over): The following week, the salon was reinspected and the footbaths were clean.

(on camera): It takes about an hour to do a pedicure. But the numbers really add up for just one chair. You can do eight pedicures a day, 50 pedicures a week, around 200 pedicures a month in one chair. And, if it's not cleaned correctly, it's like sitting in the same bath as everyone before you.

CLARKE: It's gross. I would never do that. It -- it makes you feel gross, dirty and disgusting.

HUNTER (voice-over): This California salon, where more than 100 women were allegedly infected, settled, along with its insurance company and some of its suppliers, a lawsuit for nearly $3 million. Cases against five other salons are pending. Neither the salons, nor their lawyers, would agree to speak with us.

But the industry says the vast majority of millions of consumers who get pedicures every year are not at risk.

PAUL DYKSTRA, SENIOR DIRECTOR, INTERNATIONAL NAIL TECHNICIANS ASSOCIATION: The salon professionals with proper education will do what is necessary to make sure that this isn't a problem.

HUNTER: Paul Dykstra heads the International Nail Technicians Association, which has published guidelines, advising members to clean like this Chicago salon does, by scrubbing foot spa screens daily and disinfecting after every client.

But Dykstra believes it's up to consumer to ask questions.

DYKSTRA: If the salon professional, God forbid, is one that doesn't understand these procedures, they shouldn't get the service there.

HUNTER: So, we decided to find out what happens when consumers inquire about cleaning.

We asked Nancy King, a nationally known industry expert who trains nail professionals, to go into upscale salons in Houston wearing a hidden camera. Our expert finds one salon doing everything right, disinfecting after each pedicure.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have to, because there's water jets in there.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And the germs get caught in the water jets.

HUNTER: At another salon, the receptionist says the right thing.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: After every client, they clean and disinfect.

HUNTER: But when King talks to the pedicure technician, she gets a different story.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If there's a salon out there saying that they're cleaning and, like, bleaching after every client, that's a lie, because they can't do it. I mean I have never seen anybody do that.

HUNTER: CNN asked the salon owner to comment. He never responded.

(on camera): You went to seven spas. How many did you approve of?


HUNTER: What does that tell you? KING: That there are a lot of people out there that need a lot more training.

HUNTER: These women know how important a safe pedicure is.

WELBY: It's really, really sad that this -- a pedicure has changed my life like this.

HUNTER: They face a lifetime of scars they say may never heal.


HUNTER: So, what do you do?

Experts say, first, ask how the salon cleans the footbaths.

The salon should tell they use hospital-grade, EPA-approved disinfectant, and they run a 10-minute cleaning cycle before -- before each and after every client, so before and after every single client. If all they're doing is spraying some stuff inside the footbath and wiping it out, our expert says, not good enough.

Second, do not shave your legs at least 24 hours before you get a pedicure. Another expert told me at least two or three days. Why? Because, when you shave, it makes it easier for you to get an infection. And, finally, ask the salon to take off that screen. You know, we showed you in the story, it should be clean. And if the salon doesn't take it off for you, our experts say use your feet and walk out.

ZAHN: So, you're talking about real simple quality-control matters here.

HUNTER: You're right.

And if you really want to just bypass all the quality control, just ask the pedicure people to just use a simple pan of clean water, and use you own tools. Our experts say it will really cut down on the risk of infection.

ZAHN: Or just carry your on bucket around with you wherever you go.

HUNTER: There you go.

ZAHN: Thanks so much for the warning. Appreciate it. Important stuff.

What comes to mind when you think of Hell's Angels? Think they are too tough to cry? Well, what did the SWAT Team do to this couple to make them break down?

And there is a robber who would be in trouble if anyone could catch him. Get a load of the weapon, a blow torch. I wonder where he got that idea. And where do lucky elephants go when their performing days are over? Well, it's a place the public isn't allowed to see, but you're going to see it here coming up next.

First, though, on to number six and five on our countdown.


ZAHN: For any American, this next story could be one of your worst nightmares, especially when it begins while you're actually sleeping. Let's say in the middle of the night your property is invaded by the police, shots are fired and after a devastating loss, it turns out it is all because you're a member of a certain club, one that makes a lot of people nervous, including the cops.

Here is Dan Simon with one of those more unsettling stories we have seen in a while.


DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): More than anything else in the world, Bob and Lori Vieira cherish their dogs. That's why it is so painful for them to talk about the incident.

LORI VIEIRA, DOG OWNER: I cried and cried and cried and was emotionally drained for months, you know, and eight years later I still can't talk about it without crying.

SIMON: In the early morning hours of January 21, 1998, police swarmed onto their property, which sits on an old junkyard.

BOB VIEIRA, DOG OWNER: I look down the -- and they proceed to cut the gate and get in.

SIMON: Who says tough guys don't cry? Bob is a member of the Hell's Angels Motorcycle Club. But police had shot and killed two of Vieira's beloved pets.

B. VIEIRA: If a dog is locked in the yard and that's where he belongs, I don't think anybody has a right to kill them. And as far as I'm concerned, it was just target practice for them.

SIMON (on-camera): It all began at the strip club call the Pink Poodle. In august of 1997, a member of the Hell's Angels was accused of beating to death a patron here. Although the Vieiras had absolutely nothing to do with the murder, investigators searched their home and several other properties looking for evidence.

(voice over): The reason for the raid, to carry out a search warrant and seize property that would show the angels had common symbols that in turn would qualify the Hell's Angels as a criminal street gang and make the murder suspect liable to a stiffer sentence.

The officers went to the homes of nine suspected Hell's Angels carting away everything from jewelry to Harley-Davidson motorcycles. The sweep even included wall plaques from the Hell's Angels headquarters where officers once posed for this congratulatory photo.

The Vieira's only connection to the Pink Poodle murder was that the suspect happened to be a member of the Hell's Angels. That's why the police showed up on that January morning.

L. VIEIRA: Boom, boom, boom. I woke up, said, Bob, and I heard it again. And I said, oh my God, oh, my God.

SIMON: When officers from two different agencies raided their home, they encountered two of the Vieira's guard dogs on their fenced- in property. The police fearing the animals were a threat fired on them with a shotgun. One of the dogs died instantly. The other had to be put down because of his near fatal wounds.

L. VIEIRA: I had many animals but they die of old age or, you know, not being murdered. That's what they were.

SIMON: Attorney Kate Dyer filed a lawsuit on the Vieira's behalf.

Did the raid make any sense to you?

KATE DYER, ATTORNEY: No. It was a raid designed to gather plaques, t-shirts, belt buckles, all sorts of paraphernalia that indicated that the people were members of the Hell's Angels Motorcycle Club.

SIMON: What is noteworthy, she says, the defendant in the strip club murder was ultimately acquitted.

DYER: What happened to our clients was not right.

SIMON: Several courts agreed. According to one federal judge, the property seizures violated the constitution. The Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office, which seized the items, decided to settle with the Vieiras and 13 others targeted in the raids. The sum, nearly $1 million. Although a majority of that goes to the lawyers, the Vieira's share will be about $60,000. But that's just on the property issue.

There could be a much bigger settlement for the death of their dogs. Dyer told us she wouldn't be surprised if it gets into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

DYER: Their only crime was to be who they are. And it is not a crime to be a Hell's Angel.

SIMON: The San Jose Police Department whose officers shot the dogs has declined to comment to CNN. Sources saying it is weighing whether to settle the case or go to trial. Even critics of the angels say they deserve compensation.

SCOTT HERHOLD, SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS: I have no love for the angels. They have done some things that we just don't like. And yet they were wronged in this case.

SIMON: Any sum of money say the Vieiras is small consolation.

B. VIEIRAS: Yes, money does not replace life. Those dogs died for no apparent reason.

SIMON: Nevertheless, Bay Area taxpayers are already stuck with a sizable bill that could go even higher.

Dan Simon, CNN, San Jose, California.


ZAHN: And the San Jose City attorney says negotiations are ongoing in the matter of compensation for the death of the Vieira's dogs. A trial date is set for September 18th.

There is a creative bandit on the loose in California. Instead of using a gun, he threatens people with a blow torch. Anybody out there know this guy? They need help.

And we have found a retirement preserve for elephants, but why do only females get in?

Now onto number four on our countdown.


ZAHN: Criminals like the couple you're about to meet don't come around very often not if they know what is good for them. Getting caught on tape was only their first mistake. These people you could say give criminals a bad name.

Here is Thelma Gutierrez.


THELMA GUTIERREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Cardiff, California, inside this mini mart is where owner Jack Ballo and store clerk Eric Piva experienced one of the most bizarre nights of their lives, captured on tape by one of the store's many surveillance cameras.


GUTIERREZ: It began around 6:39 p.m., a woman in her 50s with short bright red hair buys some bottled water and appears to leave.

BALLO: Here is the man with the blow torch.

GUTIERREZ: An older man wearing a fishing hat approaches the counter. Thirty-year-old Eric Piva is at the cash register.

ERIC PIVA, STORE CLERK: This guy walks in with a Gilligan's hat on and like aviators, you know, mirror glasses. Walks in. I walk behind the counter.

GUTIERREZ: Eric says the man puts a box on the counter then hides something behind his back.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Load it with money.

GUTIERREZ: Eric Piva, who is Samoan, grabs his homemade bat called a Fiji stick. The bandit fires up his weapon, a blow torch. Eric surprises the bandit by wildly whacking away.

BALLO: And then he called me Jack,.

GUTIERREZ: Jack Ballo hears the commotion and runs outside.

JACK BALLO, STATION OWNER: The guy was 6'2. I hit him with a chair. And I came back here, and then he had a blow torch on fire and was on the floor. I was like hey, man, can you stop, can you get up? Are you OK?

GUTIERREZ: Eric is OK. But now very angry. Jack says that's bad for the suspect.

BALLO: Samoan people are tough. Don't miss with Samoan.

GUTIERREZ: Eric chases the man and hits him several more times as he tries run to the getaway car. Police say the woman who had cased the store earlier is in the car.

BALLO: He throw the blow torch at me.

GUTIERREZ: The car tries to run over Eric but not before Eric manages to ram a plastic chair through the windshield.

PIVA: If he had pulled out a gun, I'll probably give him the money. But, you know, he pulled out a blow torch, so I go yes, here is fair game right here. So I took advantage beat the hell out of him.

GUTIERREZ (on-camera): Eric, the store clerk, hit the bandit so hard so many times, detectives say it is possible he may have broken the bandit's hand, his shoulder, and even fractured his ribs.

(voice over): Officials checked the area hospitals but say the suspects are still on the lamb.

Thelma Gutierrez, CNN, Los Angeles.


ZAHN: So you want to know just how unprofessional this couple is? Turns out only a few minutes before what you saw, they tried to use their blow torch at a Rite-Aid but ran off when the clerk yelled at them to get lost. OK.

Now something not usually associated with Tennessee. Would you believe elephants, coming up. What did they go through before they got here?

First, though, Erica Hill has the "Headline News Business Break."

HILL: Paula, this week's stock market rally ended today. But just barely. The Dow slipping about five points. The Nasdaq dropped a little over 12 while the S&P was down two.

Today's decline likely a reaction to a higher than expected rise in January's core producer price index, up .4 percent. The price of oil also on the rise and sharply today to just under $60 a barrel. This coming just a day after the price had reached a two month low. The reason, forecasts of more cold weather in the U.S., as well as word that some OPEC states might cut production.

A big victory for drugmaker Merck. A New Orleans jury cleared the company of its first federal Vioxx case stating Merck was not liable in the death of a Florida man who used the painkiller.

And are you ready for Enron, the musical? A Houston theater company is planning a stage version of the scandal. Hit Broadway songs like the Sound of Music are going to be reworked to something like the sound of shredding, Paula. Who knows, if it takes off, maybe it will come to Broadway.

That's going to do it for your Friday business headlines.

Paula, have a great weekend.

ZAHN: You too. Erica, thanks so much.

A couple of retirees have just moved south. Some pretty smart ones at that. It's a family reunion that if you believe the old saying, they'll never forget. How about you?

And at the of the hour, "LARRY KING LIVE," reunites Watergate reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein.

First, though, number three on our countdown. About 100,000 people are still without power in the wake of a storm that battered much of the Midwest. That storm also brought cold temperatures to that region in the northeast. Number one and two straight ahead.


ZAHN: We all love to hear stories about families that for one reason or another get separated and then years later find each other again. And those images of family reunions are some of the sweetest scenes we ever get to show you.

And in Tennessee, Keith Oppenheim has one of those stories.

And in this case, it happens to be one big family.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) KEITH OPPENHEIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): In the remote Tennessee hills, it is the end of a long journey. After more than 600 miles, two travelers reach their new home. The door opens and it is obvious that the passengers are curious about this strange new place.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, pretty girl. How are you?

OPPENHEIM: Her name is Mini. But there is nothing mini about her. And more than 11,000 pounds, Mini gingerly steps out of the trailer. Minutes later, Mini's traveling partner Lodi (ph) joins in. After two days in a trailer, she's ready to play...


OPPENHEIM: share a drink, to show a little love.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What are you doing? Huh?

OPPENHEIM: Mini and Lodi are in their 40s. For most of their lives, they were rented out to small circuses. Lodi is a leader, a matriarch with strong influence on other elephants. And so far she seems to like her new home, the elephant sanctuary in Tennessee.

SCOTT BLAIS, CO-FOUNDER, THE ELEPHANT SANCTUARY: I think the biggest thing that we can provide for them here is the opportunity to evolve into who they are and who they're supposed to be.

OPPENHEIM: Scott Blais and Carol Buckley founded this 27,000 acre facility more than 10 years ago, so aging elephants could roam and live their lives in freedom. The sanctuary doesn't allow visitors, but it does stream live pictures on its web site. That helps with donations.

Interestingly, there are no male elephants here as they tend to be solitary and a bad fit in the tight relationships of female elephant society.

CAROL BUCKLEY, CO-FOUNDER, THE ELEPHANT SANCTUARY: They are matriarchal by nature, which means the females live their entire life with their mother's family.

OPPENHEIM: By necessity, the elephant sanctuary is in effect also a rehab center. The founders say that many elephants were neglected in circuses or zoos.

BUCKLEY: And I tell you every single elephant is labeled as bad in some way. Something about their behavior is bad.

OPPENHEIM (on-camera): And they're treated that way.

BUCKLEY: And they're treated that way.

OPPENHEIM (voice over): In fact it was allegations of mistreatment that brought Mini and Lodi and nine other elephants from the same herd to the sanctuary by order of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. They were in northern Illinois at a facility owned by the Hawthorn Corporation, a provider of circus animals with a history of problems with elephants. The U.S. Department of Agriculture charged Hawthorn with numerous violations.

(on-camera): It said that from 2001 to 2003 Hawthorn repeatedly violated the Animal Welfare Act by not providing good veterinary care and by treating the elephants in such a way that they were stressed and traumatized.

In 2004, Hawthorn entered into an agreement with the USDA to pay a $200,000 fine and to donate its elephants to other facilities.

(voice over): Hawthorn officials declined to speak to CNN on camera but sent us this written statement, "Hawthorn has been focused on finding fitting homes for its elephants and ensuring that they continue to receive the best possible care."

In all over two years, Hawthorn has released 11 elephants to the sanctuary. Carol Buckley says all of them have been exposed to tuberculosis, and so the sanctuary staff wear face masks as a precaution.

Today, in Illinois, Billy and Freida (ph) are the last to make the trip to Tennessee. The company tries to block our view, but the elephants load up surprisingly quickly and then hit the road. We follow along, stopping whenever they do for an elephant picnic.


OPPENHEIM: Carrots, apples, bananas and hay. After more than seven hours of traveling, the two elephants get a break.

BLAIS: We're about done for the night. We're just checking on them one last time.

OPPENHEIM: In a rest area in Kentucky, Billy and Freida stand in the back of the trailer and get some sleep. In the morning, Billy gets going with a gulp of water. Freida starts the day with carrots and potatoes.

(on-camera): So they're comfortable back there?

BLAIS: Oh, they're very comfortable back there. We have a heating unit that is keeping the trailer right around 60 degrees, 65 degrees.

OPPENHEIM (voice over): Their arrival has been anticipated. Staff line up to meet the last of the Hawthorn herd. Freida is first off the trailer. A veteran of the circus, her health isn't great. She's underweight with built up dead skin all over her body.

At 53, Billy is the oldest of the herd, and she carries scars from captivity, chain marks that go an inch deep on her legs.

Freida trumpets. Normally a positive sign, but she's a little out of sorts after the trip and in no mood to share with billy. She steals part of Billy's grain.

Outside the other elephants from the Hawthorn herd play in the creek, but they sense the new arrivals. Some of them have been separated from Freida and Billy for years. They line up, crowding each other for a view.

Inside, Freida feels shy and stays behind. Billy ventures outdoors. At Hawthorn, Billy and Freida were considered aggressive, often kept apart from the other animals. So here they are reintroduced slowly to the rest of the herd, putting them in separate corrals.

But clearly these elephants care for each other. The emotion easily carries over a big fence.

BUCKLEY: We weren't sure if they were going to be friendly toward each other, but look at that, I mean, they just, you know, reached over the fence, touched each other...

OPPENHEIM (on-camera): There is love going on?

BUCKLEY: Oh, gosh, yes.

OPPENHEIM (voice over): It is true. An elephant never forgets. Her sisters smother Billy with affection. Moments like this make the effort worthwhile.

(on-camera): How many elephants are you going to have, do you think, or do you want?

BLAIS: We have no idea.

BUCKLEY: He has no idea. I know how many.

OPPENHEIM (voice over): With the new arrivals, Carol Buckley now takes care of 19 elephants. She says she has enough land for as many as 100.

BUCKLEY: Good girl.

OPPENHEIM: It sounds like a dream. But for Mini and Lodi and their sisters who found a better life here, it is already a reality.

Keith Oppenheim, CNN, Tennessee.


ZAHN: And it would seem a very nice reality. One more thing, continuing a trend at zoos around the country New York's Bronx Zoo recently announced that one or two or once one or two of its three elephants dies it will shut down its elephant exhibit all together.

Now on to number two on our countdown. Marijuana moves onto Washington state's list of top 10 agricultural products.

And number one, the parents of missing teenager Natalee Holloway file a wrongful death suit against the Dutch teen questioned in connection with her May 30th disappearance in Aruba.

And that wraps it up for all of us here tonight. Thanks so much for being with us. We hope you have a really nice weekend. We'll be back same time, same place, Monday night. Until then have a great night.

"LARRY KING LIVE" starts right now.


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