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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
At Least 10 Killed in Midwest Tornadoes; Mad Cow Disease in United States; Police Announce DNA Match in New York City Murder Case
Aired March 13, 2006 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening again, everyone.
This weekend, of course, police say they made a major break in the case of Imette St. Guillen. We will be covering that in the hour ahead with some new details about the murder investigation, including how police say they used the suspect's cell phone to place him near the scene of the crime. It's a type of tracking called pinging. We will tell you more about it ahead.
We are also going to take a look at the case from a very different angle. It's about the media's obsession with crime stories where the victims are a certain type of woman.
We begin, however, tonight with the start of tornado season, a deadly and punishing start, by the looks of it, at least 10 people dead, hundreds of homes destroyed -- new tornadoes reported tonight in Alabama, and as many as 113 twisters reported yesterday in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma, as well as Illinois, where we find CNN's David Mattingly. He's coming to us tonight from Springfield, after getting a tornado's-eye view of the destruction -- David.
DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, about the only way to really get a perspective on the path of this storm was to retrace the steps of one of Sunday's most destructive tornadoes. And, needless to say, it was quite an eye-opener.
MATTINGLY (voice-over): People on the ground describe the moment the tornado hit their homes as an explosion. And, viewing the aftermath from the air, that's exactly what it looks like.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have never seen a -- just a line of trees completely uprooted and laid on their sides.
MATTINGLY: Veteran Missouri pilot Clark Thomas (ph) is our guide to an area outside of a small town of Renick, where a tornado blasted through homes, killing four people.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, a very strong storm, very isolated.
MATTINGLY: The damage and the violence it represents is jarring. Homes were torn in thousands of pieces. An old school bus was rolled upside-down, and a row of old hardwood trees was pulled it by its roots.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, this tornado just stayed on the ground, apparently, for miles.
MATTINGLY: The scattered debris seems endless. Ponds filled up with pieces of lumber and siding, tree lines and fences wrapped with sheet metal. But the tornado didn't stop here.
Turning to the northeast, we find much more.
(on camera): As we follow this storm's path, it is so easy to see where this tornado was heading. It was almost in a straight line, going for miles. At times, the path of destruction is more than several football fields across. And, at its worst points, there's not a single tree that was not left shredded, not a single building that wasn't left in pieces.
(voice-over): Six miles into the vast farming country, insulation fills the treetops. Ten miles out, another home is destroyed -- fifteen miles, to the town of Middle Grove, more of the same. The winds from this tornado left little standing, and this is one early spring storm that will be remembered for some time.
MATTINGLY: Ultimately, the path of destruction after that particular tornado ended after 20 long miles, Anderson. And, all the time, we were thinking how much worse this could have been, if this had not been such a sparsely-populated area.
COOPER: And -- and, David, where -- in terms of the weather there now, how are things?
MATTINGLY: Very windy, and the temperature's dropping quite a bit, something you would expect after a big cold front like that coming through, but no severe weather to report tonight.
COOPER: All right, David Mattingly, thank you very much.
On to another kind of storm, and, sadly, another record -- wildfires covering more territory, nearly three-quarters-of-a-million acres in Oklahoma and Texas, than anyone has ever seen.
Reporting for us tonight from a very hot corner of Texas, CNN's Ed Lavandera.
ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The west Texas wildfires have scorched so much land, that it's like watching more than half of Rhode Island burn. The charred terrain stretches as far as the eye can see. Even weathered firefighters are amazed.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Biggest one I have ever seen.
LAVANDERA: Battling the blaze in the remote, rugged terrain of the Texas Panhandle can be a lonely job.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's coming up over the hill, coming right at me.
LAVANDERA: Wade Bruce (ph) and a small group of firefighters are working along a ridge on the northern edge of Miami, a speck of a town along Highway 60. These men are all that stand between the town and the fire.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We come up here and tried to stop it right here, because if it hops over this canyon, and it goes down into the bottom, we can't fight it, until it gets to the bottom. And, by that time, you're pretty much in Miami.
LAVANDERA: Just in case, some residents have set sprinklers on rooftops. The high winds can instantly ignite a flame.
(on camera): We're standing on top of a ridge here. And, all of a sudden, we started hearing the crackling sound of a flame that just erupted from down there. You can't even see the flames anymore through the smoke. But this is something that firefighters are concerned about at this very moment, because these fires, with the wind blowing behind it and coming uphill, they say that this is exactly the kind of situation that can really make these fires move very quickly.
(voice-over): The firefighters extinguish these outbreaks, but the threat is not over. These fires have a mind of their own.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's hard to fight, because it branches off so much that you don't know which way to go.
LAVANDERA: The wildfires fanned over a 1,000-square-mile section of the Panhandle that stretches from close to the Oklahoma state line, down past Interstate 40. Seven people have died. Almost 2,000 people in seven counties had to be evacuated.
Some local officials suspect a spark from a power line might have started one of the fires, but there is still no official cause. Wade Bruce (ph) and these firefighters have beat back the flames, and the small town of Miami is still standing.
But he's not convinced the battle is over. So, he waits for the fire to try again.
Ed Lavandera, CNN, Miami, Texas.
COOPER: Well, now to another developing story.
And it's disturbing, especially when you first hear about it, the return of mad cow disease to the U.S. Today, it surfaced in America's South. Now, mad cow has already seriously hurt the meat industry. Tonight, no hype, just facts -- what you need to know about this disease.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) COOPER (voice-over): It started with the telltale signs, a beef cow from a herd in Alabama struggling to stand and walk, like the cow seen here. The cow was destroyed. And, today, the USDA announced, a tissue sample tested positive for mad cow disease. State officials acted quickly to calm fears.
RON SPARKS, COMMISSIONER, ALABAMA DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE: There is no threat to human health. This particular animal has been disposed of, and it did not enter the food chain in Alabama or this country in any way.
COOPER: Here's what else we know about the animal. The U.S. Agriculture Department says it was at least 10 years old and on the Alabama farm for roughly a year. What they have to determine now is where the cow was born and raised. This is the third animal in the United States to test positive for mad cow in the last 27 months.
In December 2003, a dairy cow brought from Canada to Washington state was found to have mad cow. And, in June 2005, a cow in Texas also tested positive. Mad cow is a fatal brain disease that spreads from tainted cattle feed to cattle. And, in rare occasions, it can infect and kill humans. Worldwide, as many as 150 people have died from eating mad cow-tainted meat products.
COOPER: Only about 650,000 of the nation's estimated 95 million cattle have actually been tested for mad cow. But officials say, there is no reason to worry.
And, tonight, we wanted to separate fear from fact, so we talked earlier with 360 M.D. Sanjay Gupta.
COOPER: So, Sanjay, the third case of mad cow in the United States, how concerned should someone at home be?
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, the short answer is probably not concerned at all, really, Anderson.
It's -- it's kind of interesting. On one hand, we used to say, here in the United States, mad cow disease was a disease of other countries, didn't worry about it. But after December of 2003, we had three cases in three years now. So, I think people are -- their -- their guard is up, for sure.
But, as far as the basic idea of -- of worrying about what you eat, worrying about your meat, there really is no concern at all, because this animal could not and did not get into the food supply chain.
COOPER: How is mad cow disease transferred to humans, if at all?
GUPTA: Well, you know, what's interesting is that the -- this is a disease of prions. The -- it's not a virus; it's not a bacteria.
Mad cow disease is actually called by something known as a prion. And that actually exists mainly in the nervous system, either in the brain or the spinal cord.
So, you know, here in the United States, we don't typically eat that sort of food as part of the overall meat. But, in many countries, they do, or it's part of the feed that they feed to other animals. Since '97, we -- there has been a ban on that sort of feed, so that animals shouldn't eat that. And we, as humans, don't eat that either. So, it's really unlikely that we would get it at all.
COOPER: So, people eating meat should not be concerned?
You know, eating regular meat, you're probably not going to come in contact with these prions, this -- this -- these disease-containing particles. And, if you cook it using a meat thermometer, it should kill off whatever infectious agents there are anyway, so, really, really very little concern. There has never been a case of the human form of mad cow disease, known as CJD -- there has never been a case of it in this country.
COOPER: How does someone know if they do have mad cow disease?
GUPTA: You know, that's the interesting thing, Anderson. It can be about 10 to 15 years before you would actually develop any symptoms from -- from the human form of mad cow disease.
So, it's really hard to go back and try and figure out where it came from. And you probably can't remember what you had for dinner last night, let alone 10 to 15 years ago. So, it would be very unusual.
But the same sort of symptoms occur in the humans. You could have some confusion. You could have some difficulties with walking, that sort of thing -- but a very, very rare disease, for sure.
COOPER: Well, this is a certainly blow to -- to the export of meat overseas. I know a lot of people are concerned about that. But, certainly, for people at home, good to hear that it really won't have much of an impact.
GUPTA: Thank you.
COOPER: Tonight, a New York man is suspected of committing one of the most brutal murders in recent memory -- coming up, a look at the case against the bouncer-turned-murder-suspect Darryl Littlejohn. And we will talk to his attorney.
Also, police on the case have their eyes on something just about all of us now carry around. It has made it a lot easier for the police to find us. That's good, if they're tracking a wanted criminal, but, otherwise, well, you can decide for yourself.
Also tonight, a war that began with smart bombs is being fought now with the dumbest bombs at all, homemade explosive pieces that have killed hundreds of American troops -- a report on the cheap, easy way to make reliable, fatal IEDs, and their damage in Iraq.
This is 360.
COOPER: One in a trillion, those are the odds, according to the New York police commission, that DNA and traces of blood on a set of plastic ties do not belong to Darryl Littlejohn.
The ties were used to bind the hands of Imette St. Guillen, who was raped and murdered and dumped along a local highway. Mr. Littlejohn is the prime suspect in her murder. A grand jury is hearing the evidence against him -- sources telling us it could hand up indictments by week's end. We're going to hear from Darryl Littlejohn's attorney and his neighbors in just a moment.
First, CNN's Rick Sanchez brings us up to speed in the case.
RAYMOND KELLY, NEW YORK CITY POLICE COMMISSIONER: Littlejohn is the prime suspect in this case.
RICK SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Two weeks after the murder of Imette St. Guillen, New York City police now say they have their man, this man, 41-year-old Darryl Littlejohn.
It all started here, at The Falls bar in SoHo, in the early- morning hours of February 25. It was closing time, 4:00 a.m. Littlejohn told police he saw Imette leave the bar on her own. A week later, though, police say the bar's manager admitted, he asked Littlejohn to escort Imette out.
(on camera): And now, for the very first time, police are saying they know of people who were here in this general vicinity and saw Imette leaving with Littlejohn about 4:00 in the morning.
KELLY: Well, there are witnesses that put the victim in the company of Mr. Littlejohn when she left the bar that evening.
SANCHEZ (voice-over): Police are investigating to see whether Littlejohn brought Imette here, to his home in Queens. They have searched the house and carried out countless bags of possible evidence. How much physical evidence is there? Experts close to the case say they may have only scratched the surface.
DR. LAWRENCE KOBILINSKY, FORENSIC SCIENTIST, JOHN JAY COLLEGE OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE: We have the sock that was forced down Imette's throat. We have the carpet fibers that are present on the tape that covers Imette's mouth.
We have shoelaces that were, presumably, handled by the assailant. There may be other trace evidence, perhaps in the form of saliva or semen, on or in the body that really has not been revealed as yet.
SANCHEZ: Police also confiscated this van, which was parked near Littlejohn's house. They say it may have been used to transport Imette's body to the place where she was found just one day after she left The Falls.
(on camera): That's the Brooklyn Bridge, which leads you to the very place where Imette's body was found. Did Littlejohn end up in that same area where they found her body on the same night they found her body? Police are saying they suspect yes, and the reason they say so is, they have traced his cell phone.
KELLY: There is evidence, telephone evidence, telephone records that put the -- the telephone that Mr. Littlejohn had in his possession in the vicinity, the immediate vicinity, of where the -- the body was located, and also a route to that location.
SANCHEZ: But the most damaging evidence so far, according to police, involves Littlejohn's own blood and one of these. This is a plastic tie that's often use by police as a makeshift handcuff. Police are saying the murderer used one of these to tie Imette's hands behind her back.
KELLY: Darryl Littlejohn's blood was found on plastic ties that we use to bind Imette's hands behind her back. And a DNA match to Littlejohn was made.
KOBILINSKY: When you get a match, it is not a maybe. It is not a guess, perhaps one in 100 people would have such a -- a genetic profile. No, it's one in trillions. This is an absolute identification. There is no question that that blood on the plastic tie is from Mr. Littlejohn.
SANCHEZ (voice-over): Long odds, and odds that may only get worse for Darryl Littlejohn, if more of the evidence now being tested in police labs ties him even more closely to Imette St. Guillen's murder.
COOPER: Rick, how did police know to go to The Falls right away?
SANCHEZ: That's an interesting question.
What police usually do in cases like this, as in the case with missing persons, is, they try and find out what record that person may have left behind. In this case, we understand they did a track of her credit cards. The last place that she made a purchase with a credit card was The Falls bar you see right there behind me.
They came to The Falls. They started asking questions. Unfortunately, some of the questions that they had asked didn't get answered, at least correctly, until four or five days, which is something, by the way, that has police here in New York extremely frustrated to this very moment -- Anderson.
COOPER: All right, Rick Sanchez, thanks very much, reporting for us from New York tonight.
More on the St. Guillen murder investigation coming up, including an interview with the suspect's attorney.
First, Erica Hill from Headline News has some of the other top stories -- Erica.
ERICA HILL, HEADLINE NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Anderson. Good to see you tonight.
We are starting off with a big shift in U.S. military operations in Afghanistan. The mission to bring civil order there is now being shifted to a multinational force under NATO's command. And it's going to mark the first time, actually, since World War II that U.S. troops are under foreign command in a combat situation. Still, the U.S. here is expected to operate a separate counterinsurgency force in the country, hunting for Taliban and al Qaeda operatives.
Meantime, a stunner today in the trial of Zacarias Moussaoui, the suspected al Qaeda conspirator -- Moussaoui now facing the death penalty, after pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy. But here is what happened today. The judge, citing government misconduct, may actually now put the trial on hold and could rule out that death penalty entirely. We are going to have more on this coming up for you tonight on 360.
And wait until you hear the numbers on this one. This is a wild story -- Sweetwater, Texas, holding the world's largest rattlesnake roundup over the weekend. Since 1958, the roundup has brought in more than 130 tons of the reptiles.
And get this. Researchers say the roundup only pulls in about 1 percent of the state's western diamondback population. The other 99 percent, oh, just out there looking for you, looking...
COOPER: Well, you know...
HILL: ... looking for...
COOPER: ... actually, as a kid, I desperately wanted to go to the -- the rattlesnake roundup in Sweetwater, Texas.
COOPER: Yes, I really did. I used to collect snakes as a kid.
But I can see your rattlesnake roundup...
COOPER: ... and raise you a wrestling bear -- a man wrestling a bear. Yes. It...
HILL: Why would any man in his right mind wrestle a bear, Anderson?
COOPER: Well, it -- it -- it's a 650-pound black bear. It's -- it's an Ohio state wrestling champ wrestling the bear at the 69th annual Cleveland Sport, Travel and Outdoor Show. It happened this weekend, apparently. Don't know who won, nor do I really care. But there's the video.
HILL: You just like the -- it is good video. So...
HILL: All right, you win that one. But we're not done yet.
COOPER: All right.
Remember, don't try that at home, Erica Hill.
COOPER: We have got a lot rougher tough when we come back, unfortunately -- more on the bouncer-turned-murder-suspect Darryl Littlejohn, a career criminal. The question is, does he really fit the profile of a killer? An expert weighs in. And we will also talk with his attorney.
Plus, how they track their suspects' movements and how they could track your movements -- they, of course, the government. New technology makes it almost impossible for anyone with a cell phone to hide. Chances are, you're walking around with that cell phone that could track you -- when 360 returns.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KELLY: Littlejohn is the prime suspect in this case. And his indictment will be sought for the murder of Imette St. Guillen.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: That was Police Commissioner Ray Kelly yesterday.
Now, thanks to the -- his very thick police record, a lot of things are known about the man suspected in the murder of Imette St. Guillen. One thing isn't known, not yet, anyway. If the accusations are true -- and it is a big if -- what would have turned the kind of criminal he was into the murderer he is now accused of being?
CNN's Randi Kaye looks into it.
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Darryl Littlejohn is a career criminal, seven felony convictions, five prison stints for armed robbery, assault, drug dealing, weapons possession. But missing from his record is sexual assault and murder. So, if he killed Imette St. Guillen, what could have turned him into a killer? Why her and why now?
Criminal profiler James Fox.
JAMES FOX, CRIMINAL PROFILER, NORTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY: If a man is a -- is confronted with a woman who is inebriated, he may view her differently. That devalues her, in his eyes. He may feel, that is an excuse, a -- an invitation for him to do things that he wouldn't do.
KAYE: Still, how could this man, who says he's innocent, and whose aunt describes him as gentle...
ADDIE HARRIS, AUNT OF DARRYL LITTLEJOHN: He has never displayed any violence, not in -- to me, not in my presence.
KAYE: ... make the leap from convicted felon out on parole to the front page of a police blotter? Neighbors describe Littlejohn as quiet, a loaner, often dressed in fatigues and black SWAT team uniforms.
NORMA SANDY, NEIGHBOR OF DARRYL LITTLEJOHN: Just normal, just normal -- look like somebody that work out, and that's it, just normal.
KAYE: But violent criminals often have two personalities.
FOX: With friends and families, they're loving, and kind, and generous. But with people who are strangers, they're very different. Those people don't matter. People are very able to compartmentalize the world. They -- they act one way to the -- to those who matter to them. And, to everyone else, well, they're expendable.
KAYE: Could it be that St. Guillen was expendable in Littlejohn's eyes? Fox says, the most dangerous thing about career criminals is how well they blend in, how ordinary they appear.
Take the infamous BTK killer from Wichita, Kansas, a family man and church president who killed 10 people. And what about John Wayne Gacy? He entertained children dressed as a clown, but killed at least 30 people, burying most of them beneath his house.
FOX: Part of their succession is their image, the facade of being someone who's very safe and -- and -- and not violent. You never suspect them. Their victims certainly don't.
KAYE: So, what happened the night St. Guillen died? If Littlejohn killed her, did he simply snap?
FOX: Well, this is not a matter of someone who snaps. These tend to be fairly well-planned.
KAYE: If it turns out he did do this, could it be, she wasn't the first?
FOX: First-timers tend to be rather tentative and not that comfortable with killing. But, when you see this tremendous amount of -- of sadism and -- and barbarism, a victim who is raped in every way possible, someone who's tied up, someone whose hair is caught off, and who perhaps is tortured, that suggests someone who is so comfortable with what they're doing, that they have done it before.
KAYE: There is no doubt she died a brutal death, suffocating underneath the plastic, tortured at the hands of a violent attacker, raped and mutilated by someone Fox calls a sexual sadist.
FOX: Someone who is very much obsessed with power and control. And when he's taking life, taking a human life, it's not just a matter of -- of killing them, because that can be done easily with a gunshot.
It's making them suffer, enjoying the whole experience of seeing their victims beg and plead and feel pain and suffering. It's not enough to kill. It's to feel like you hold life and death in your hands.
KAYE: Perhaps that need, that power, was the force that led to St. Guillen's death.
Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.
COOPER: Kevin O'Donnell joins us now. He is Darryl Littlejohn's attorney.
Thanks for being with us.
First of all, you talked to your client today. How is he?
KEVIN O'DONNELL, ATTORNEY FOR DARRYL LITTLEJOHN: He is very concerned about the new allegations, Anderson.
His concern is that he's not being treated fairly. He has had the same concern since the beginning of the case, where he was implicated in the murder.
COOPER: He -- he thinks he's being railroaded by the system and also by the media?
O'DONNELL: He's definitely being railroaded by the media, but the cause of that are the police leaks.
COOPER: And you're saying the police are selectively leaking damning information, leaving out other things?
O'DONNELL: Well, I -- I believe so. We're not hearing anything about when they strip-searched him. From what I heard, there was blood found on these handcuffs. The police did search him. They strip-searched him. And they strip -- strip-searched -- strip-searched everybody else in the bar, but they didn't find any cut whatsoever on Mr. Littlejohn.
COOPER: But the -- the police now have said -- I mean, you heard Ray Kelly say that, you know, there's a trillion-to-one chance that the blood on these -- these cuffs is not Darryl Littlejohn's, that -- that -- that, by all statistical measurements, that is his blood on these cuffs. How can you defend against that?
O'DONNELL: Well, I heard that, too, Anderson, but the timing of that release concerns me.
First of all, why did it take two weeks to come to that conclusion? What were they doing for those two weeks? I would guess that one of the first items that they looked at to examine for DNA would have been those flex cuffs.
COOPER: So, you're saying they could have had the DNA evidence faster?
O'DONNELL: They should have had it.
The -- I -- it's my understanding that that result could come back in 24 hours. Now, what I want to know is where the evidence was taken, who took it, what was done with it once it was taken, who examined it. What's the chain of custody? Did it need to be retested? If it did, why did it need to be retested?
COOPER: So, you're going to be looking at things like chain of custody? You're going to be basically putting the police department on trial?
O'DONNELL: No. I'm going to enforce any client's right.
This is about due process. And because of all of these leaks by the media -- leaks into the media by the police department, my client's right to a fair trial has been violated.
COOPER: It -- it's not your client's obligation, or your obligation, to prove your client's innocence. It is the prosecution's obligation to -- to prove you're client's guilt. Does your client have an -- an alibi for -- for the time frame that Imette St. Guillen was missing and then found?
O'DONNELL: No, I'm not going to get into any kind of a defense right now, Anderson.
There's a 30,000-member police force that are gathering evidence against my client. And there's only one person representing him. And that's me. And my job is to defend him, and question the evidence, and put the people to their burden of proving his case beyond a reasonable doubt. And I am going to treat this case like I treat every other case. I'm... COOPER: Why are you taking this case? I mean, you -- this is not -- this -- you were court-appointed for this police lineup last week. You didn't have to take this case.
O'DONNELL: No. It was my choice.
But I believe, as an officer of the court and as a -- as a defense attorney, that people who are charged, especially people who are in financial situations like my client, deserve proper representation. And I believe I can give him that.
COOPER: What is he like? I mean, what kind of guy is he?
O'DONNELL: Believe it or not, Anderson, our conversations have been incredibly cordial. He's been very cooperative with us. He understands that right now I'm the person that's between him and the entire country that's portrayed him to be a monster.
Now, I can understand why people are saying that he's a career criminal. His record speaks for itself. However, to me, he's my client.
COOPER: And to you it is significant that in his past criminal behavior, which there is plenty of, there is not a killing, there's not a violence against women? To you that's very significant?
O'DONNELL: He's never been accused of as much as pushing a woman. And that is significant. I think it's unusual for somebody with this type of modus operandi to start at the age of 42 to go from robberies and drug -- drug-related convictions all of a sudden to violence against women.
COOPER: You've taken on the case. Your life is going to change, I'm sure, a lot for the next couple months. I appreciate you joining us.
Thanks very much, Kevin O'Donnell.
O'DONNELL: My pleasure.
COOPER: How might this case play out in court? Coming up, a panel of legal experts and a forensic scientist weigh in on the legal troubles that Darryl Littlejohn is facing and perhaps the police department is facing as well.
Later, the cat-and-mouse battle between bomb makers in Iraq and the troops who are trying to make it home in one piece. The Pentagon now spending billions of dollars to make sure that they do.
Fighting IEDs when 360 continues.
COOPER: Well, as it stands tonight, a grand jury is hearing evidence against Darryl Littlejohn in the abduction, rape and murder of Imette St. Guillen. Now, we've already heard about the DNA testing that police say links him to his crime, and we've heard his attorneys answer to it.
With us now, forensic science Lawrence Kobilinsky of John Jay College of Criminal Justice, right here in New York where Ms. St. Guillen was studying, also Court TV's Lisa Bloom, and Jami Floyd, as well, from Court TV.
Good to see all of you.
Lisa, let me start with you. Does a DNA match make this an ironclad case for the prosecution?
LISA BLOOM, COURT TV ANCHOR: It may, Anderson. I think it's certainly enough to charge him at this point.
It reminds me of the David Westerfield case. He was the man who was convicted and sentenced to death for the abduction, rape and murder of little Danielle Van Dam several years ago. And it was one drop of her blood on his jacket that really did him in. He never had an explanation for it.
It's powerful evidence, Anderson, because it's not just Littlejohn's blood on her. It's on the plastic ties that were around her. There doesn't seem to be an explanation, an innocent explanation for that.
COOPER: Well, that according to the police department.
You now heard -- Jami, you've heard Mr. O'Donnell saying he's going to be questioning the chain of evidence, why it took so long to get this evidence, where this evidence may have been laying for this last week or two.
How damaging is that blood on the ties for the defense?
JAMI FLOYD, COURT TV ANCHOR: I think -- I think, of course, any defense attorney realizes that this is a bit of a setback, but I think the presumption of innocence is as strong today as it was on Friday. We are talking a small amount of blood. There is a possible innocent explanation, and that is that Mr. Littlejohn worked in the bar where the ties, police say, originated.
So he may have had access to those ties at some other point in time. And that's before you even get to the questions of chain of custody, why so long before we heard about this blood.
And then even if the police are to be thought honest, which I know Ray Kelly and I think he's an upstanding citizen and a wonderful commissioner, but there's always the possibility that analysis was done improperly. The DNA analysis is only as good as the person who is conducting that analysis. And we know that there are hundreds of cases in this country, Anderson, that are now being called into question because of faulty DNA analysis.
COOPER: Professor Kobilinsky?
LAWRENCE KOBILINSKY, JOHN JAY COLLEGE OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE: You know, if you see me squirming here, it's listening to this. This is nonsense.
The DNA is a critical piece of evidence. It is the -- it is the gold standard of forensic science. And, in fact, in rape cases and in homicide cases, this kind of evidence alone will not only get an indictment, it will get a conviction.
COOPER: But is it possible that -- you know, you have talked about the skin underneath the fingernails at this point being inconclusive. If it is -- remains inconclusive, and there are more extensive tests that could be done, does that sort of put some reasonable doubt in there?
KOBILINSKY: Not at all. I think when they do further testing, they will determine whether there is male DNA present and whether it is Mr. Littlejohn's, or maybe it's somebody else. We still haven't ruled out whether or not there is another person involved here.
But let's face it, there's a lot of evidence that's not just the DNA on the ties. There's the sock, there's the shoe laces, there's the seats that have been removed from the Windstar. There's a whole bunch of physical evidence that we haven't heard about yet because it's just too early in the investigation.
COOPER: Lisa, what about this? I mean, we have heard an awful lot about this investigation. I assume the leaks are coming from the police department or the -- you know, the prosecutor's office. How hard is it going to be to find an untainted jury pool?
BLOOM: Well, that assumes that the only good juror is an ignorant juror, completely ignorant of the facts. And I don't believe that. I think there's nothing wrong with jurors knowing some of the facts of what's going on. And jurors take an oath, and generally I think they uphold it, and I don't think it's going to be a problem.
But I want to add to what Dr. Kobilinsky said. By the way, we had fibers from his carpet that were under the tape on her face.
FLOYD: No, that's not accurate.
BLOOM: We have his cell phone records...
FLOYD: That's not accurate, Lisa.
BLOOM: ... near the home. I mean, we have a mountain of evidence at this point. And now we have the DNA that's really the clincher.
COOPER: Jami, you're saying that's not accurate?
FLOYD: We do not have fibers. This has been repeatedly misreported. We do not have fibers from his carpet on the tape that was on her body.
We have fibers consistent with what was on her body. And that is very different.
COOPER: And you're saying -- you're saying it's a very common form of carpet?
BLOOM: Well, it's a red carpet. He's got red carpet. And he confirmed that.
FLOYD: But to say that we have...
BLOOM: Yes, there's one in a couple thousand chance that it might be somebody else's. It's not as good as...
FLOYD: There are other...
BLOOM: And again, you've got to put it all together, Anderson. It's like a puzzle.
FLOYD: Lisa, there are other explanations. There are consensual relations that may have happened. I think everybody is rushing to judgment.
BLOOM: With a red carpet, the same color as his? I mean, what are the odds of that and the DNA and the cell phone, they're just all false?
COOPER: Jami, go ahead.
FLOYD: Perhaps with him, Lisa. We don't know precisely what went on that night.
The only person who knows is this horrible perpetrator. And of course we want to find the right perpetrator. We don't want to rush to judgment on the wrong perpetrator, while, indeed, as Dr. Kobilinsky suggests, someone else who participated may be out there.
COOPER: Jami, do you think it's fair that all these leaks are coming out? I mean, how easy is it to find an unbiased juror when you -- you know, you read the front page of any paper in New York and you see this man's mug shot and, you know, it is very hard to -- to -- to resist forming an opinion about this case?
I mean, on this show we don't believe in -- you know, we believe in presenting facts, and I'm not forming an opinion about this man's guilt or innocence. How hard do you think it is going to be to find a jury?
FLOYD: I think it's going to be incredibly difficult. And I agree, this program and some others have gone out of the way to be unbiased, but when you see the man's face every day on the front of the tabloids -- and it's not just in this -- in this city, of course. It's been across the state and across the country. So even a change of venue to another part of New York may not correct the problem. And this is a continued problem in this country when we prosecute people in the press. COOPER: Dr. Kobilinsky, just very briefly, Mr. O'Donnell, the attorney for Littlejohn, said he was suspicious about why it took two weeks to get the blood evidence.
KOBILINSKY: Well, he shouldn't be. The actual testing doesn't take that long. It's a matter of a couple of days. However, there's a huge pile of paperwork that has to be done.
It's part of quality control, quality assurance. You've got to dot the I's and cross the Ts. It's a lot of work.
There's a huge amount of effort, and believe me, two weeks is short. We haven't seen even the beginning of it yet.
COOPER: Dr. Kobilinsky, always good to have you on.
Jami Floyd, as well.
And Lisa Bloom, as well.
Thanks very much.
BLOOM: Thank you.
COOPER: Looking at the story from many different angles tonight.
Still more on how police say they connected Darryl Littlejohn to the crime. You probably didn't know about this, using his cell phone. It's called pinging. We're going to explain how it works. The cell phone doesn't actually have to be in use.
And later, a very strange affair. A man who once had the president's ear now accused of shoplifting on a major league scale.
You're watching 360.
COOPER: So to indict Darryl Littlejohn for the murder of Imette St. Guillen, prosecutors must establish probable cause. And to do that in this case they need the evidence that puts him at the crime scene. And it's not just the forensics they'll be looking at. They'll also use his cell phone, even if he wasn't using it. It's a process called pinging.
CNN's Daniel Sieberg explains.
DANIEL SIEBERG, CNN TECHNOLOGY CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Consider your cell phone your own personal tracking device, like it or not.
BRUCE SCHNEIER, SECURITY EXPERT, COUNTERPANE: The cell phone network is tracking you whenever your phone is on. Whether there's a human being receiving some data saying where your phone is you have no idea because the phone company has that data and it's what they're doing with it afterwards.
SIEBERG: Authorities must have a court's permission to track anyone through cell phone locations, but once that access is granted, it's nearly foolproof.
(on camera): So how exactly does it work? Well, here's the easiest way to think of cell phone tracking. In order to make or receive a call on your cell phone, your wireless provider has to know where you are.
You see this flashing little light up here? You can think of that as your personal locator beacon. In a sense, it's communicating with the cell towers that are all around you all the time as you move around. And they can find you a few different ways.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The cell phone always has to know what cell it's in. Otherwise, it can't send phone calls. Your average phone when it's walking around is in view of two or three different cells. And what the phone company can do, and this is very easy, is to compare relative signal strengths and figure out where the phone is probably to a couple hundred feet. They triangulate from the radio signal.
The third thing is satellite positioning system. And phones that are equipped with that system can be pinpointed within a few feet.
SIEBERG (voice over): It's that ability to be so exact that's made it such an invaluable tool for law enforcement. Following last year's failed suicide bombings in London, British investigators used cell phone tracking to find a suspect who fled to Italy.
LARRY KING, HOST, "LARRY KING LIVE": Simpson, the passenger in the car, has a gun at his head.
SIEBERG: It was used to track O.J. Simpson's car phone while he was avoiding police along the L.A. freeways.
And it was even used as far back as 1993, when police shot and killed drug lord Pablo Escobar in Colombia.
But as productive as cell phone tracking can be, privacy advocates are concerned about how all this data is accessed.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think there's a substantial worry that location information about cell phone users is being released without a court order. This is actually an open legal controversy.
SIEBERG (on camera): If you don't like the idea of being tracked with your cell phone, well, you really only have a few choices. If you use Verizon or Sprint phones, in some cases you can set the GPS chip so it only works when you use 911. If you use Cingular or T- Mobile, you're out of luck because they use the triangulation system.
Or you can just turn your phone off.
Daniel Sieberg, CNN, Atlanta. (END VIDEOTAPE)
COOPER: Well, in Iraq, a deadly type of technology is making headlines. In one sense, the U.S. war there has become a war against IEDs, improvised explosive devices. Tonight, a look at the new effort to beat the insurgents' weapon of choice, the single biggest killer of the U.S. troops.
And living through Iraq's endless hell. We'll look behind the latest blood shed for a reality check and a sense of what may be ahead.
You're watching 360.
COOPER: Well, the war that began with smart bombs three years ago this week is now being fought with homemade dumb bombs, IEDs, improvised explosive devices. Now, these things have done a lot of damage, and they've hurt the presidential approval ratings as well.
Take a look at the new numbers.
In the latest CNN-"USA-Today"-Gallup poll, only 36 percent of those asked thought that President Bush was doing a good job. His lowest number ever, 60 percent, disapprove of the way he's handling things.
And where the war itself is concerned, it's about the same. Thirty-eight percent of those polled think it is going well. Sixty percent think it's going poorly.
The president addressed his Iraq problem head on today and the problem of IEDs.
CNN's Barbara Starr reports.
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Three years ago when the war in Iraq began, it was a phrase most Americans never heard of -- IED, improvised explosive device. Now these roadside bombs are the largest single killer of U.S. troops in Iraq. More than 930 troops have died, more than 9,600 wounded.
President Bush says there are signs of progress.
BUSH: Today, nearly half the IEDs in Iraq are found and disabled before they can be detonated. In the past 18 months, we've cut the casualty rate per IED attack in half.
STARR: But Iraqis are suffering as well. In just 11 days at the end of February, there were 40 vehicle-borne IEDs causing 290 casualties. IED attacks are on the rise, officials confirm, but they won't give exact numbers due to security concerns. The Pentagon is spending more than $3 billion a year developing classified technologies to detect IEDs. Some systems already are in Iraq.
The Buffalo armored vehicle uses a front claw to find roadside bombs. Robots are used to detonate devices. And electronic jammers keep IEDs from exploding. But in this lethal game, insurgents constantly are changing tactics, improvising with everything from washing machine timers to garage door openers as detonators, and adjusting to U.S. efforts all the time.
(on camera): President Bush said just one news article about new IED detection technology was so quickly read by insurgents that just five days later they posted measures on the Internet on how to counter the U.S. effort.
Barbara Starr, CNN, the Pentagon.
COOPER: It is a deadly game of cat and mouse.
Erica Hill from HEADLINE NEWS joins us right now with some of the business stories we're following.
COOPER: We want to thank our international viewers for watching as well. But ahead on 360, a lot more to cover.
The day there were almost too many tornadoes to count, a day the Midwest will not soon forget. A 360 report on the aftermath.
Also, the media storms that got stirred up by some murders, but not all murders. Why young, beautiful, white victims seem to get all the headlines.
And a major twist in the trial of al Qaeda plotter Zacarias Moussaoui. A twist that could spare him the death penalty. That story coming up on 360.
COOPER: Good evening again.
In the Midwest, more than 100 tornadoes in 24 hours kill at least 10 people and leave dozens of communities in ruins.
ANNOUNCER: Killer tornadoes wreak havoc in the Midwest.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All of a sudden, I heard this freight train sound and the crashing. And I told the wife we need to head to the basement as soon as possible.
ANNOUNCER: More twister warnings tonight.
While Texas fires continue to blaze across dangerously dry areas, when will the deadly weather end?
From top adviser to the commander in chief to charges of felony theft at D.C. department stores. If convicted, what could have driven someone so successful to lead a secret life as a shoplifter? Tonight, 360 investigates.
And a major breakthrough in the murder investigation of Imette St. Guillen.
RAY KELLY, NYC POLICE COMMISSIONER: Littlejohn is the prime suspect in this case.
ANNOUNCER: Tonight, potentially damaging evidence connects an ex-con to the murder scene.
ANNOUNCER: From across the U.S. and around the world, this is ANDERSON COOPER 360.
Live from the CNN studios in New York, here's Anderson Cooper.
COOPER: We've got a lot to get to in the next hour.
We begin, however, with the terror that only Mother Nature can bring. Tonight, reports of tornadoes in Alabama, and across the Midwest more tornadoes.
And in the Texas panhandle, yesterday was the kind of infernal day where being in the wrong place at the wrong time could bring a fiery death.
We have reports tonight from CNN's Rob Marciano, David Mattingly and Ed Lavandera on the damage already done and the dangers still ahead.
We begin in the Midwest, where from Oklahoma and Kansas, clear into Indiana, a record number of tornadoes, as many as 113, swept across the region today. Those are the views in various locales. At least 10 people were killed, reducing homes and businesses to rubble and terrifying everyone in their path.
Here's CNN's Rob Marciano.
ROB MARCIANO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): For Lee Starks (ph) and many others in Missouri, Kansas, Arkansas, and Oklahoma, this weekend was anything but normal. In a month that typically sees 54 tornadoes, 113 were reported yesterday alone, like this one in Sedalia, Missouri.
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