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PAULA ZAHN NOW
Two Duke University Lacrosse Players Charged With Rape; President Bush Defends Donald Rumsfeld
Aired April 18, 2006 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: Thank you all for joining us tonight. Welcome. We have got a great show -- show -- that would be great show for you. I'm trying to talk too fast there.
But, first, we are going to bring you up to date on what is happening at this very moment.
Sky-high gas prices are catching the president's eye. He says, he is concerned about them, but it's mostly a matter of supply and demand. Democrats, meanwhile, are calling for a price-gouging investigation.
Tom Cruise, Katie Holmes have a brand-new baby girl. She was born just a few hours ago. They have named her Suri. She came in at 7 pounds, 7 ounces. We are going to have a live report with more details coming up.
And the head of the world's largest country meets the world's richest man tomorrow. China's President Hu is in Seattle to meet with Microsoft chairman Bill Gates, all part of a four-day tour that includes a summit with the president.
Tonight, two Duke University lacrosse stars are out on bail. At dawn, the two athletes walked in handcuffs, under arrest, charged with first-degree sexual assault, first-degree forcible rape, and first- degree kidnapping. They happen to be graduates of elite Catholic prep schools near New York City, now accused of raping an exotic dancer at an off-campus party at Duke University.
Jason Carroll has been working the story all day long. He joins me now with tonight's "Outside the Law."
Jason, what have you learned?
JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And -- and, Paula, the defense attorneys that I spoke to told me that they were stunned that these two young men were named in the indictment. They say that the prosecution does not have a case, and they say they have the evidence to prove it.
CARROLL (voice-over): As two Duke University lacrosse players turned themselves in to authorities early this morning to face charges they raped a young woman during a team party, defense attorneys were at work, developing a timeline of evidence they say will show neither Collin Finnerty, nor Reade Seligmann belong in jail.
The defense's claim: The two players could not have raped the exotic dancer, as she claims, because they had left the party before the alleged assault took place.
KIRK OSBORN, ATTORNEY FOR READE SELIGMANN: Hard to put in words the -- the unfairness and the injustice of this indictment. We look forward to showing that he is absolutely innocent as soon as we can.
CARROLL: According to a statement given to defense investigators from a neighbor who lives next door to the home rented by the lacrosse team members and according to defense lawyers' description of a series of time-stamped photos taken by players, the two dancers arrived about midnight, performed for just a few minutes, and decided to leave, because prosecutors say, the players were using racial slurs and were too rowdy.
Prosecutors say the women left. But, once outside, the alleged victim headed back to the house, around 12:30. The next-door neighbor confirms that time, saying, he heard her say she wanted to retrieve her shoe. The prosecution says the young woman was assaulted in the bathroom, after she reentered the home.
But two sources close to the defense say they have documented evidence showing Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann were already gone by that time. They also claim a cab driver can testify he remembers driving one of the accused players to an ATM around that time. They add, bank records will verify it.
They also allege, the other player was at a restaurant and that eyewitnesses and a credit card receipt will confirm that detail.
District attorney Michael Nifong was not answering questions about his case, but has said, in the past, it is based on strong evidence, including a hospital examination indicating the young woman was sexually assaulted. In a statement today, he said he's still looking to identify and charge a third suspect.
ZAHN: So, Jason, if these explosive charges that the defense team are making about these men, what does it say about the police investigation? Were these 46 team members never asked where they were that night?
CARROLL: That's an interesting question.
And I posed that question to at least two defense attorneys that we spoke to today. They tell us that the three captains of the lacrosse team were interviewed by police detectives. But the majority of the other team members were not interviewed by the detectives, in terms of where their whereabouts were the night that the alleged assault took place.
And we do know that, even up until Sunday, Saturday, this past weekend, Friday as well, investigators were still trying to reach out to some of these team members, still trying to find out exactly where they were you know, when that alleged assault took place.
ZAHN: But, come on, Jason.
ZAHN: That's a -- a pretty obvious key question to ask during an investigation. Does anybody have any answer to why that wasn't done?
CARROLL: You know, I heard someone say it's -- it's sort of like CSI 101. You ask anyone who is -- who might be involved in a case, where were you when the alleged crime took place?
What we're hearing is that there was a point during this whole investigation where some of the defense attorneys were actually going to get some of these players together and offer them up to the district attorney, so he would have an opportunity to ask them, and they would have an opportunity to tell the DA, look, you know, some of us weren't even here when this alleged crime took place.
That offer somehow fell apart. We were hearing that the DA wasn't interested, at least at that point, in hearing what some of these team members had to say.
ZAHN: Jason Carroll, thanks so much for the update. Appreciate it.
The two star athletes accused of rape came to Duke from upscale suburbs in New York City and elite private schools. They live in Essex Fells, New Jersey, and Garden City, Long Island. Reporters who tried to speak with family members got no answer at their homes today. But neighbors say they're both good kids.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's just a shame that this is happening. And it really breaks my heart. This should not be an issue. He's a good kid. We know them, the family, well. And they have been around for a long time. And, just, we have never seen anything bad about them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAHN: So, what's the feeling today at Duke about the two members of the lacrosse team?
Seyward Darby, the editor of the Duke University student newspaper, has been covering this story since it broke. She joins me now.
So, Seyward, what can you tell me about these two men who were arrested today?
SEYWARD DARBY, EDITOR, "THE CHRONICLE": First of all, I hate to do this. My name is Seyward, not "Suward." It's OK. Everybody mispronounces it. But, in terms of what has been going on today, I -- I was at the jail this morning, when the two young men were brought in. And, since then, we have been trying to piece together who these young men are. And we know very little at this time. We do know that Collin Finnerty has faced assault charges before in the D.C. area.
And we have also heard reports from friends and people who knew him that Reade is a very nice guy. So, at this point, we have kind of heard mixed opinions on whether or not these kids might have been capable of it.
The campus, however, is responding, overall, very evenhandedly. Students are saying, we're not particularly surprised. Based on the events up until this point, it seemed like the DA was going to be moving forward with it. But there has been some surprise expressed that it was these two players.
People kind of expected it might be the people that lived in the house, some of the captains.
ZAHN: And, yet, you just mentioned Collin Finnerty's record. He apparently was charged recently with an unrelated assault involving gay slurs. Are there any more details available on that?
DARBY: We know that it occurred in the D.C. area. We have read some of the reports in the newspapers up there, but we haven't been able to get, certainly, Collin's side of the story, because the lacrosse players have been so tightlipped generally about the story, the entire situation up until now.
We have had two lacrosse players go on the record throughout this entire situation, Ryan McFadyen on the record with us, prior to the e- mail being recovered from his account that said that he wanted to murder strippers. Of course, there is some debate about whether or not that was a joke. He essentially denied the charges.
And the only other player to go on the record is Matt Danowski, a junior, who also denied them. So, again, it's very hard to piece together much about these players, because...
DARBY: ... they are being so quiet.
ZAHN: Seyward, finally tonight, you mentioned that the campus seems to be reacting in an evenhanded manner, even as the defense is out there saying, repeatedly, that the investigators got the wrong two guys. Are people, then, not buying that at all?
DARBY: Well, you know, at this point, this entire situation is just a lot of levels of mystery. It began with this report coming out of a sexual assault, and there being this supposed other side of the story that people have been piecing together, based on photographs and 911 calls.
But nobody else on the lacrosse team or anybody else at the party has come forward to say anything. And, then, that mystery was just enhanced with the DA saying, "I'm going to move forward, despite the negative DNA results," and then the sealed indictments, and, then, today, these two arrests, and one side saying, absolutely, we're sure that they did not do this, and the other side saying, no, we have evidence that has not been made public yet of -- of their guilt.
So, at this point, students are just saying, we're so confused. We're very curious. We would like to see this come to a very just resolution. But, at this point, people are just saying, we are going to have to wait and see.
ZAHN: Seyward Darby -- nice name, Seyward, by the way.
DARBY: Thank you very much.
ZAHN: I will get it right every single time in the future, because I have a feeling we will be talking to you a lot in the months to come. Thanks again.
DARBY: Thank you very much.
ZAHN: Now we move on to our countdown on the top 10 stories on CNN.com, about 17 million of you logging in today.
At number 10, in Israel, funerals for victims of yesterday's deadly suicide bombing in Tel Aviv -- nine people killed when the attacker blew himself up outside a restaurant. Israel's leaders blame Hamas for the attack, but have decided against launching a major military response.
Number nine -- in Texas, another day of very warm weather means state power suppliers are asking people to cut back on electricity usage. Yesterday, power companies imposed rolling blackouts because of electricity shortages.
We will have numbers eight and seven in just a little bit. Please stay with us.
ZAHN (voice-over): The president has to defend his secretary of defense. After a month of bitter criticism from retired generals, how did it come to this?
And former sex offenders listed online -- names, addresses in nearly every state. Now two of them are tracked down and shot dead. Vigilante justice? We will tell you all about it -- all that and more when PAULA ZAHN NOW continues.
ZAHN: Still ahead tonight, you recognize those two, Tom and Katie -- the very latest live from Hollywood about a new life in Hollywood, the birth of a baby girl to that twosome.
Now we move on to the "Security Watch" tonight. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld may be under fire, facing calls for his resignation, but the commander in chief himself has got his back.
President Bush made that really loud and clear today with a ringing vote of confidence. And a very confident Rumsfeld sparred with reporters on camera and with military analysts behind closed doors.
The controversy surrounding the defense secretary is number eight on our CNN.com countdown.
And senior Pentagon correspondent Jamie McIntyre has been covering this story, and has just filed this report.
JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN SENIOR MILITARY AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): Armed with a fresh endorsement from his boss, the president, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld confidently faced the Pentagon press corps, and made it clear he won't be offering to resign again, as he did two years ago, in the wake of the Abu Ghraib scandal.
QUESTION: Why in one case and not the other?
DONALD RUMSFELD, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: Oh, just call it idiosyncratic.
MCINTYRE: Asked if he was dismissive or contemptuous of military advice, Rumsfeld took the leadoff question and ran with it, rattling off a list of his accomplishments, and refusing to take another question for a full 10 minutes.
RUMSFELD: Just a minute. Just a minute. Just a minute. I was asked a question, and I'm going to take all the time I want.
MCINTYRE: Joint Chiefs Chairman General Pete Pace was anxious to defend his civilian boss.
GENERAL PETER PACE, CHAIRMAN, JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF: There are multiple opportunities for all of us, who have whatever opinions we have, to put them on the table. And all the opinions are put on the table. But, at the end of the day, after we have given our best military advice, somebody has to make a decision.
RUMSFELD: And the person who is appointed by the president, who is elected by the people and then confirmed by the Senate as secretary of defense, has to make those kinds of decisions. And, when you make a decision, you make a choice, somebody is not going to like it.
MCINTYRE: It was the same message Rumsfeld gave to a group of 15 military analysts who were invited to a two-hour private briefing on Iraq and Afghanistan -- among the retired military, CNN's own Don Shepperd.
MAJOR GENERAL DONALD SHEPPERD (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: And he's clearly distracted by this. He also, though, basically said, openly: Look, this is going to pass. This is one issue. We have had good times and bad. This is a bad time. There will be good times again.
MCINTYRE: And Rumsfeld brushed aside questions about being hard to work for.
(on camera): In this "Wall Street Journal" opinion piece that was written yesterday by a number of retired generals, it was said that some feel that you have been unfair, arrogant and autocratic. And this was from your supporters...
MCINTYRE: How much do you think this is about your management style and...
RUMSFELD: No idea.
MCINTYRE: Are you arrogant and autocratic?
RUMSFELD: You know me.
MCINTYRE: I do know the secretary to be decisive and, at times, dismissive. He's also determined not to be driven from office by generals he sees as resistant to change.
Jamie McIntyre, CNN, the Pentagon.
ZAHN: And I want to turn to one of the retired military officers who was at the closed-door briefing that Jamie McIntyre just mentioned.
CNN military analyst Major General Don Shepperd joins me now.
So, General, behind closed doors, did the defense secretary show any kind of anger about calls for his resignation, or did he appear at all defensive about the criticism heaped upon him?
SHEPPERD: No anger whatsoever, Paula.
I was surprised. I thought the focus of this meeting would be on the generals controversy -- controversy. It was not. It was about Iraq, and the things going on there, and the things that they would like to see happen in the future.
He -- he seemed very much as he did in the television press conference that we just saw there. He was in a good mood. He did not seem embattled, but he did seem concerned. And he -- he made the statement that: Yes, and I will tell you what. This is distracting. And it distracts us from -- from other things, but this too shall pass.
That was kind of the message.
ZAHN: Did any of you generals challenge the secretary today about what his plan, in effect, is doing in Iraq?
SHEPPERD: Yes, exactly. We did.
And, basically, we offered some -- some thoughts of our own there. And -- and there was a lot of listening that went on between he and General Pace.
If I could say one other thing about the session, I -- I honestly believe that the secretary and the chairman were both puzzled by this reaction from the generals. They didn't expect it. They don't know why. General Pace laid out all of the meetings that -- that the various high-level generals responsible for the war plans attended.
They went back and forth, a series of 40, 50, 60 meetings, before they made decisions. They went over all of that. So, I -- I think they were -- they were puzzled about this.
We didn't challenge him from the standpoint, but we did say, look, it is very clear, in the American -- the eyes of the American people, that the impression is, this war is not going well. Your -- your message is not getting out. What are you going to do to change the message? What is the next visible thing that Americans are going to see that can give them some confidence?
ZAHN: And that's something we are going to talk about in -- in a couple minutes, as we go into greater detail.
General Shepperd, thank you for taking us behind closed doors tonight.
SHEPPERD: My pleasure.
ZAHN: And forget about the Terminator -- a new superhero joined the battle over Secretary Rumsfeld today. He called himself the decider. Well, he happens to be the president. And he made it very clear, he has the last word.
But just what set off this latest firestorm over Rumsfeld's leadership?
Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr takes us now "Beyond the Headlines." (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Once more, President Bush has had to make it clear he wants the month-long firestorm over Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to be over. The secretary is staying.
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: So, I hear the voices, and I read the front page, and I know the speculation. But I'm the decider. And I decide what is best. And what's best is for Don Rumsfeld to remain as the secretary of defense.
RUMSFELD: And that I will well and faithfully discharge...
STARR: Since he moved into the Pentagon five years ago, Donald Rumsfeld has been controversial. He began to remake the military into a leaner fighting force. When the U.S. went to war in Afghanistan and then Iraq, the Rumsfeld policy was to do with it with minimal troop levels.
But, now, after more than four years of conflict, strong public criticism from high-ranking military professionals, and the question rarely raised in this country: When can the military disagree with its civilian bosses?
(on camera): The critics are retired generals. Two of them commanded combat divisions in Iraq. One after the other, they are publicly calling for Rumsfeld to resign. And they are not backing down.
(voice-over): The former commander of the 1st Infantry Division:
MAJOR GENERAL JOHN BATISTE (RET.), U.S. ARMY: It's a matter of accountability and competency.
STARR: The former commander of the 82nd Airborne Division:
MAJOR GENERAL CHARLES SWANNACK (RET.), U.S. ARMY: I feel that he has micromanaged the generals who are leading our forces there.
STARR: The current bitterness was set off by a "New York Times" op-ed piece by retired Major General Paul Eaton, who ran the effort to train Iraqi troops. Eaton wrote that Rumsfeld "has shown himself incompetent, strategically, operationally and tactically."
Many of the generals feel Rumsfeld failed to listen to their advice about attacking and then administering Iraq. Before he retired, Lieutenant General Gregory Newbold was involved in the initial planning. Now, he says, "The commitment of our forces to this fight was done with a casualness and swagger that are the special province of those who have never had to execute these missions or bury the result."
After a month of that kind of blistering criticism, Rumsfeld's political operatives have swung into full crisis mode to try to build support, even putting out a fact sheet about how often he meets with commanders, which, of course, is an integral part of the secretary's job.
But, in the end, the only opinion that matters belongs to President Bush. For now, Don Rumsfeld is the U.S. secretary of defense.
Barbara Starr, CNN, the Pentagon.
ZAHN: My next guest is one of the six retired generals who have criticized the secretary of defense. Army Major General John Batiste is an Iraq war veteran who served as a division commander there.
Thank you so much for being with us tonight, sir. So...
BATISTE: Paula, thank you.
ZAHN: ... the president made it quite clear he is standing by his man. Do you think it's a lost cause, trying to urge the resignation of Donald Rumsfeld?
BATISTE: Paula, with all due respect, we have yet to address the issues. And, in my mind, first and foremost is accountability.
ZAHN: You might think that these issues haven't been addressed, but Mr. Rumsfeld said over and over again in the news conference that this storm that these retired generals have created has passed, and it is time to move on.
BATISTE: Paula, I -- I also heard that today. I saw the transcript.
And I felt like I had been dismissed. We have some serious issues here with accountability. It has to do with the going to war with the wrong war plan, with setting the conditions for Abu Ghraib, and for disbanding the Iraqi military, at a point in time when it was the last thing we should have done.
We have got great military in Iraq. The soldiers, the sailors, Marines, the airmen, and their families back home are incredible. They're making it happen. But, at the strategic level, we need to address these issues before we can move on. We have got a long, protracted war. It's going to go on for years.
And my question is this: Do we want to ride the architect of all these mistakes? Is -- is he going to be the leader as we go forward into the future?
ZAHN: Well, doesn't it appear, based on what the president had to say today, he is going to be going forward?
BATISTE: The president is certainly the president.
ZAHN: All right, let me ask you this.
You now have four retired generals out there saying that what you are doing, along with some fellow generals, is inappropriate. They say that it is unfair to publicly criticize the defense secretary's performance during wartime, that it emboldens the enemy, and that it confuses and demoralizes our troops.
Why is this criticism, in your judgment, appropriate?
BATISTE: It's not appropriate. I put up my uniform, but I never put down my American citizenship.
I have a right to speak. It would be un-American, unpatriotic not to speak. Again, we have a long, protracted war in front of us. And I think the American people deserve the very best leader that they can possibly have at the head of the Department of Defense.
ZAHN: Very quickly, in closing, so, you plan to continue with these kinds of attacks on General (sic) Rumsfeld, when the president made it quite clear he's not budging him?
BATISTE: I have -- I have yet to determine if I will do that or not.
ZAHN: All right. We will stay in touch with you, General John Batiste. Thank you so much for your time tonight.
And we have a lot more ahead tonight: famed journalist Sebastian Junger on his family's strange encounter with the Boston Strangler; and shocking video you have to see to believe. Look at this. What led a mob to brutally beat a man outside a Las Vegas casino?
Right now, number seven on our CNN.com countdown -- Julia Roberts' move to the Broadway stage becomes official tomorrow night, when she opens in "Three Days of Rain." The play's run ends on June 18.
Stay with us -- numbers six and five right after this. We will be right back.
ZAHN: So, how would you feel if you found out that, when you were a child, someone who worked in your home was one of the most notorious serial killers in this country's history and that a murder happened in your neighborhood on a day he happened to be at your house?
Well, that chilling thought is a reality for journalist Sebastian Junger. You might remember him from the best-seller "The Perfect Storm." Junger was just a baby when his family hired Albert DeSalvo to work on their home, two years before he confessed to being the Boston Strangler.
Junger has written it about in a new book, "A Death in Belmont," and the focus of a special hour of "ANDERSON COOPER 360" tonight.
Here is a look ahead at Anderson's report.
ANDERSON COOPER, HOST, "ANDERSON COOPER 360" (voice-over): The story begins in 1963. Sebastian Junger was barely a toddler then. John F. Kennedy was president, and race relations were at a boiling point in the country, especially in Irish Catholic Boston. But Boston was also paralyzed by fear. The serial killer who came to be known as the Boston Strangler was still at large and still killing women.
SEBASTIAN JUNGER, AUTHOR, "A DEATH IN BELMONT": There were ghastly murders, sexual murders. I mean, it really was a time of terror in Boston.
COOPER: On March 11, 1963, all these events would collide in the quiet Boston suburb of Belmont, when a man named Israel Goldberg came home from work to discover his wife, Bessie, dead. She had been raped and strangled with her own stocking.
JUNGER: "Bessie Goldberg was lying on her back with her skirt and apron pulled back and her legs exposed. One of her stockings had been wound around her neck. And her eyes were open. And there was a little bit of blood on her lip. The first thought that went through Israel Goldberg's mind was that he had never seen his wife wearing a scarf before."
Her killing was so similar, virtually identical to many of the other Boston stranglings, that the -- the press and the police immediately assumed it was the Boston Strangler.
COOPER: But, this time, police had a suspect. When Bessie Goldberg's 24-year-old daughter, Leah, arrived at the house, she found something police had missed, a note from an employment agency.
LEAH GOLDBERG, DAUGHTER OF BESSIE GOLDBERG: That slip of paper had the name of the agency, and it had the name of the -- the person who had -- they -- they had sent, and that the name of the person was Roy Smith.
COOPER: Roy Smith was sent to clean the Goldbergs's house that day. He would be first and only suspect. A few hours after the murder at her home a mile away, Sebastian Junger's mother got a call with the news. She immediately went to tell her handyman, Al.
ELLEN JUNGER, SEBASTIAN JUNGER'S MOTHER: I put the phone down, and I went out to the studio and Al was up on the ladder. And I said, Al, something so horrible. He said what?
JUNGER: She said to Al, Al, you won't believe it. The Boston Strangler just killed someone in Belmont just across town. I can't believe it, it's so terrible.
COOPER: In an almost unbelievable turn of events the Jungers would learn, to their horror, that Al, the handyman was Albert DeSalvo, who two years later confessed to being the Boston Strangler.
JUNGER: He essentially said to the authorities, you got me on rape, but you have no idea the things I've done. I'm the Boston Strangler, I killed 13 women, and I want to make a confession with a tape recorder about these crimes.
COOPER: During 50 hour of confessions no one ever mentioned the name Bessie Goldberg.
F. LEE BAILEY, ALBERT DESALVO ATTORNEY: I never asked the name. I never heard of Bessie Goldberg at the time. The police never asked him about it in 50 hours of interrogation. And the panic to convict somebody probably sent Roy Smith directly to prison.
COOPER: So the question is, did Roy Smith in fact kill Bessie Goldberg or was Bessie Goldberg the victim of the Boston Strangler? That's what Sebastian Junger's book investigates. He spent the last three years looking into this case. He looks at all sides of it. And we'll be examining that at 10:00 tonight.
ZAHN: You had the opportunity, Anderson, to talk with some members of the victims' family. Do they think the right man was put in jail for murder?
COOPER: They do. Leah Goldberg, the daughter, is convinced that Roy Smith killed her mother. And she's very upset at Sebastian Junger's book. She's been very vocal in her criticism of it. We talk to her a lot tonight in the special. We try to look at all sides of this and let the viewers decide who they think really did kill her.
ZAHN: This has got to have opened up some really painful wounds for this family, but continues to fascinate all of us this many years later. See you at 10:00. Look forward to the special.
ZAHN: Still ahead, we're going to take you live to Hollywood where there is some big happy news tonight for Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes.
Plus we'll change our focus once again. Sex offender registries under scrutiny tonight after police say a man tracked down and killed two men listed as sex criminals in Maine.
And then what led to a shocking crime caught on tape in Las Vegas as a mob outside a casino swarms all over a man and beats him brutally. Before we get to all that, number six on our CNN.com countdown. A wild chase in downtown Boston ends with police surrounding and shooting a driver who fled from a traffic stop.
Police say he struck several cars including a police cruiser before he was stopped. That driver is in the hospital tonight.
Number five, authorities in Aruba say the 19 year old Dutch man detained in connection with the disappearance of Natalee Holloway also is also being held on drug charges. Holloway was last seen on May 30th of 2005. Number four when we come back.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) ZAHN: Some big news out of Los Angeles tonight. Tom Cruise and his fiancee Katie Holmes have a brand new baby girl named Suri. She was born just a couple of hours ago. We're going to get all the details now from entertainment correspondent Sibila Vargas. Are you being told much at all?
SIBILA VARGAS, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT: This is absolutely crazy. This is one of the biggest moments right now for entertainment. We've been on pins and needles waiting for this story to break. Tomcat finally having their baby just moments ago.
We spoke to the publicist for Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes and they confirm that indeed they are new parents. Here are some of the details that we have so far. Little Suri, that's her name, entered the world weighing at seven pounds, seven ounces, 20 inches long.
According to the couple, in a statement Suri has its origins in the Hebrew which means princess or in Persian it means red rose. How apropos. Very nice. This is the first child for Katie Holmes. This is the third child for Tom Cruise who has two children with Nicole Kidman, two adopted children with her.
Now the couple has yet to wed. But Tom Cruise says that they will marry some time perhaps in the summer. But when it comes to Tom and Katie and other Hollywood marriages or the Hollywood elite keeping things -- they're trying to keep things, well, let's just say anything but traditional these days.
(voice-over): Tom and Katie, Brad and Angelina, Heath and Michelle. Some of Hollywood's hottest couples just had or are expecting babies. Another thing they have in common. None of these new parents is married.
KEN BAKER, US WEEKLY: I think there's a lot of burnout, a lot of fear. A lot of suspicion among celebrities that if we get married, wait, they always end up getting divorced.
VARGAS: Tom Cruise has been down that road before with Nicole Kidman and so has Brad Pitt with Jennifer Aniston. When it comes to lasting love in Hollywood, sometimes what works best is staying away from the traditional script.
BAKER: You look at people like Goldie Hawn, Susan Sarandon. They've had long-term relationships that are basically marriages but not on paper. And they're very, very happy.
VARGAS (on camera): Hollywood may just be reflecting a trend. All across the country more and more people are choosing not to tie the knot. According to a 2005 study by the National Marriage Project, the marriage rate in the U.S. has dropped nearly 50 percent since 1970.
(voice-over): Then there are individual celebrities who are making a clean break with custom and adopting children on their own. Sharon Stone, Calista Flockhart and Angelina Jolie did it. Jessica Simpson recently said she wants to adopt. The Christian group Concerned Women for America says those wealthy stars might be sending the wrong message to their fans.
DR. JANICE CROUSE, CONCERNED WOMEN FOR AMERICA: It is very detrimental to particularly the young women who look and say, well, I don't need a ring on my finger, I don't need a husband. I can do it all by myself. And they learn the hard way that they cannot.
VARGAS: They think that celebrities should be leading the charge when it comes to getting married.
CROUSE: It is really cool today to not be traditional. And I think that somebody has to take the lead. One of our celebrities has to start going back to the traditional values.
VARGAS: Some star watchers say expecting celebrities to conform to an ideal notion of love and family is unrealistic.
BAKER: They're famous for pretending to be other people on the big screen and the small screen. They're not politicians. We did not vote for them and expect them to hold some higher standard. They aren't public servants. They are celebrities.
VARGAS: When you consider that in the United States now more than one-third of all children are born to unmarried parents and that 50 percent of all children who live in a single parent home at some point in their lives, what's happening these days in Hollywood seems just about normal.
But of course the attention surrounding Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes has been anything but normal. There's still a lot of questions, certainly Diane Sawyer found out that Tom Cruise, when he spoke to her he said that Katie Holmes had indeed converted to Scientology, and that they were planning on rearing the child as Scientologists.
But we still don't know -- I'm sure we're going to get a lot more information coming up as to whether she had a silent birth, which is what they do, a lot of Scientologists do, and whether she took drugs during her labor and how that went. So we'll probably get a lot more information tomorrow.
But for now, we're through with Tom and Katie in a way. And now I guess we have to look forward to Brad and Angelina. That's the big -- that's the next big story coming up.
ZAHN: Yes, but you've got all the, you know, kindergarten stuff to look forward to, high school graduation, and then we follow them on to college. Sibila Vargas, thanks so much.
Coming up next, we change our focus. Caught on videotape. A shocking crime outside a casino as a man is brutally beaten by a mob. First, number four in our cnn.com countdown. Mexican authorities say they now know that excessive speed -- or at least they think they know, as well as mechanical problems -- may have caused yesterday's deadly crash in Vera Cruz. You might remember that 57 people were killed, three -- only three survived. Investigators also say the bus happened to be overcrowded. Number three on our countdown when we come back.
ZAHN: And welcome back. Here's what's happening at this moment. Mental health experts say Zacarias Moussaoui, the only man tried in connection with the 9/11 attacks, is a paranoid schizophrenic who suffers from delusions. Those defense experts testified today in his sentencing trial.
Meanwhile in St. Louis, police are trying to unravel a shooting rampage. They think that simmering anger over child support led a man to kill a woman, then shoot two co-workers before he killed himself.
And in Caribou, Maine, the official end of a church poisoning mystery. Tonight, police know it was one man acting alone who put arsenic in the coffee at a Lutheran church in New Sweden, Maine back in April of 2003. One person died; 15 got very sick. The man committed suicide five days later.
There is late word from Las Vegas tonight. The first of what may be a handful of arrests in the brutal beating of a hotel worker. And it's all because of an incredible video that captured the entire event. It was taken around 2:00 in the morning, and as you're about to see, it shows a mob of people swarming down on one man in a vicious and terrifying attack. Here's Ted Rowlands.
TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Surveillance video from a parking garage near the back of the MGM Grand hotel in Las Vegas shows a group of teenagers walking past a security guard in a golf cart. After someone takes the guard's radio, watch as the guard, now out of the cart, starts to make a phone call. The attack starts with a young man in a baseball cap sneaking around the front of the cart. Within seconds, the guard is getting punched and kicked by the group. He tries to run, but they chase him down and keep hitting him. This person actually starts whipping him with a chain or a belt.
CAPT. DAVE O'LEARY, LAS VEGAS POLICE DEPARTMENT: This is truly egregious. This is something that, again, as a community, none of us should tolerate.
ROWLANDS: Las Vegas police are asking for help identifying the suspects. They believe the group had just left the nearby movie theater, and the thought is that they are teenagers or young adults.
The video is obviously disturbing, and police say they want those involved identified.
O'LEARY: Those folks deserve to be identified. Those folks deserve to be brought to justice.
ROWLANDS: Near the end of the attack, one of the suspects, the one in the dark jacket, reaches down and steals the guard's cell phone, and then, after one last kick, the group leaves the guard laying in the street.
O'LEARY: I think the videotape speaks for itself. I don't think anybody in this community would tolerate that type of behavior anywhere.
ROWLANDS: In the end, the security guard was able to get up and walk away. Police say besides numerous bruises, he suffered a broken jaw and collarbone.
Ted Rowlands, CNN, Los Angeles.
ZAHN: Lucky man it wasn't any more serious than that.
Time now for Erica Hill with the HEADLINE NEWS business break.
ZAHN: Still ahead, two former sex offenders listed online are tracked down and shot dead. Is this vigilante justice? Before that, number three in our cnn.com countdown. Neil Young says he's recorded a protest album called "Living With War." It features anti-Iraq war songs and one called "Let's Impeach the President." Right now, there's no word on when it might be released. Number two on our list right out of the break.
ZAHN: Tonight police are guarding a laptop computer that could solve a deadly mystery. Why a man used an online sex offender registry to methodically stalk and kill two former offenders he apparently didn't even know. The killer then shot himself to death, as police closed in on him carrying his grudge to the grave. It's a riddle that investigators are trying to solve tonight. Keith Oppenheim has more.
KEITH OPPENHEIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Milo is a small town in the middle of the state of Maine. At 3:00 in the morning on Easter Sunday, Janice Gray didn't expect any visitors and saw someone outside her door.
JANICE GRAY, WIDOW: All I noticed a black jacket and I realized someone was standing there.
OPPENHEIM: Police believe that someone was Steven Marshall, a 20-year-old from Nova Scotia. Janice Gray says her husband Joseph was lying on the couch.
GRAY: I said Joe, somebody's out there. He stood up and I saw the spark right outside the window and he was shot. He sat back down on the couch, told me to call an ambulance and I saw another spark and he was shot again.
OPPENHEIM: Joseph Gray died. Then five hours later, 30 miles away in the small town of Corinth, it happened again. Police say Steven Marshall came to this mobile home, shot and killed 24 year old William Elliott.
CARL MITCHELL, CORINTH RESIDENT: There's got to be something wrong to have somebody come here in your house and shoot you, you know? We ain't used to that kind of stuff around here.
OPPENHEIM: Gray and Elliott had something in common. They were both registered sex offenders. Gray was convicted of a rape of a minor in 1992. Elliott convicted of sexual abuse in 2002. Their names and addresses were listed online on Maine's sex offender registry.
Police say electronic records indicate Steven Marshall had recently looked at 34 names on this registry. Investigators believe he targeted two of them, but don't know why.
Police say the plan started when Marshall visited his father in Northern Maine, stole a pickup and three guns.
(on camera): And then here at a bus station in Bangor, a major clue surfaced. Police tell us that a maintenance man noticed that a toilet in the men's room kept running. He looked inside the tank and found a bunch of 22 caliber bullets, a caliber that matched a gun taken by Marshall.
Police then got a description of a man matching Steven Marshall boarding a bus to Boston.
(voice-over): By Sunday evening, authorities in Boston pulled over this Vermont Bus Lines coach. Police say as officers approached, Steven Marshall pulled out a handgun and fatally shot himself. This is not the first time sex offenders on a public registry have been targeted.
STATE REP. MICHAEL VAUGHAN, MAINE: It sets them up. It makes them sitting ducks. They have their name and their face on the Internet.
OPPENHEIM: Still, police in Maine say the online registry gives the public important information. For Janice Gray, the attack has left bullet holes in her window and an emptier home.
GRAY: We lived for each other. He was my protector. They took my husband.
OPPENHEIM: And left her without a clear understanding as to why Steven Marshall ended three lives. Keith Oppenheim, CNN, Milo, Maine.
ZAHN: And the state of Maine sex offender Web site is up and running again. It had been shut down immediately after those two shootings.
At the top of the hour, Larry King welcomes the always controversial Oscar winning actress Jane Fonda. Right now, though, number two on our countdown, a Colorado driver who decided to take traffic into his own hands and give himself the green light just about all the time. He actually used a device to change traffic signals so he wouldn't be late for work. Police eventually got on to his little devious plot there, spotted him on surveillance video. And he ended up being fined $50.
Ahead, what is the big campus scandal that's the top story on CNN.com. You'll find out when we come back.
ZAHN: Another gorgeous Spring night out there tonight in Columbus Circle. Front yard to our Time Warner headquarters here. We return to the top story on CNN.com now. Our lead story tonight, the arrest of two members of the Duke University Lacrosse team in connection with rape allegations made by a woman who had been hired to dance at an off campus party.
Both player say they are innocent. They both have been freed on bond and their attorneys say they will be able to prove, through a series of pictures and receipts, that the men weren't even at the house where this alleged rape was committed. Lots of new details coming out, it seems, every day on that case and we will keep you posted as we can confirm them.
That wraps it up for all of us here tonight. Tomorrow night, you may know it as the baby blues, but postpartum depression affects a majority of new mothers. Some new information we're going to share with you tomorrow night about how you can protect yourself.
"LARRY KING LIVE" is up next. Thanks again for joining us tonight.
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