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Common App Glitches; Boy Scout Leaders Topple Boulder; Obama Nominates Johnson for Homeland Security; MacNeill Murder Trial; CNN Hero Dale Beatty Builds Houses for Vets; Saber-Tooth Whale Beached in California; New Lamborghini; White House Tours to Resume Soon

Aired October 18, 2013 - 15:30   ET


ALINA MACHADO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Common App is supposed to simplify the college application process by allowing students like Voss to use the same form to apply to several schools at once.

Harvard, the California Institute of Technology, and Georgia Tech are among the more than 500 colleges and universities that use the nonprofit service.

Just last year, Common App says it processed hundreds of thousands of applications. This year, the site has been plagued with technical glitches that are leaving some high school seniors desperate for answers.

LINDSEY DEAN, DIRECTOR OF COLLEGE COUNSELING, HOLY SPIRIT PREP: There should be struggle when it comes to putting four years on a piece of paper, but to struggle with technical issues is somewhat difficult to explain to them.

MACHADO: Comments about the technical problems have flooded Common App's Facebook page.

On Twitter, users are venting. One person tweeted, I'm never going to be able to apply to college and included this image of the Common App site.

Several universities are trying to ease anxiety by changing their early admissions deadlines. In Atlanta, Georgia Tech moved its early action deadline from October 15th to October 21st after being flooded with calls from concerned students.

RICK CLARK, DIRECTOR OF ADMISSIONS, GEORGIA TECH: We're not going to let technology punish a student for something that's outside of their control. If that means extending a deadline, we're going do that.

MACHADO: On its Facebook page, Common App attributed some of the issues to, quote, "a spike in activity."

The organization said it is working to fix the glitches and offers suggestions for users having trouble.

VOSS: It just worked. Oh, I guess you guys are good luck.

MACHADO: Back in Atlanta, Voss was eventually able to log on in front of us, getting one step closer to submitting her college applications.

What do you think that moment is going to be like?

VOSS: Relief. Relief.


BROOKE BALDWIN: Relief, the feeling of going to the mail box, wanting the big envelope, I remember it well.

Question for you, we're hearing from students, you're hearing from students they're having problems with the Common App application.

What about colleges and universities? The same?

MACHADO: We have heard of some issues. Georgia Tech said they have seen some problems with data transfer from Common App.

They had instances where names are mismatched with essays as well as applications with multiple names on them.

They're working to make sure the issues are caught early on, and they're working with Common App to fix the issues.

BALDWIN: Not fun for these kids and schools.

MACHADO: Not at all.

BALDWIN: Alina, thank you very much.

Some men in Utah said they were taking steps to protect kids, but now they're facing criminal charges.

You have to see this video here that prosecutors say really is the smoking gun here in this case.

We'll show it to you, next.


BALDWIN: Three Boy Scout leaders are in some big, big trouble. They're now under investigation after toppling this boulder that was around basically since the dinosaurs walked this earth.

OK, they're slapping some high fives, having a good laugh and dance over this. These three men knocked over a rock formation at a state park in Utah.

The formations are from the Jurassic era, millions and millions of years old, and park officials say it's against the law to deface them. No kicking these things over.

The men were on a church camp out a week ago when they filmed themselves pushing over the boulder. One of the accused had this defense.


DAVE HALL, ACCUSED VANDAL: That thing wobbled. I looked at that mean path and that mean walkway and thought, one gust of wind and a family is dead.

I don't regret it one bit.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would you do it again?

HALL: Absolutely.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dude, that's crazy, held up just by that little bit of dirt.

Some little kid was about to walk down here and die, and Glenn (ph) saved his life by getting the boulder out of the way.


BALDWIN: OK. Hi, Joey Jackson -


BALDWIN: -- HLN's legal analyst, Joey Jackson.

There are no charges filed yet, but you know, we see the video, you see them kicking this over. There's this whole confession.

What do you do as a prosecutor?

JACKSON: You exercise your discretion to do what is right. They're going to look at the first thing, the first of which is intent. Was it their intent indeed to prevent a public safety emergency if a family was there, or were they engaging in devious and mischievous events?

And then ignorance of law, never a defense, but it could explain why they're doing it, are they guilty of it, and what punishment should be made of it.

I think prosecutors will look at all of that, and if they conclude they're wrong, are they wrong criminally, and of course, should they be felons or criminal as a result of this conduct?

Those are all of the things and criteria a prosecutor will balance moving forward and in deciding on moving forward.

BALDWIN: On the flip side, you heard the one guy's defense, saying hey, we saved people because it was wiggly, my word, because it wasn't staying in place.

So do you think that you would take the case all the way to trial or cut a deal?

JACKSON: I think some deal will be cut. Wiser minds will prevail. You shouldn't be defiling or defacing any type of property without permission or authority to do it. But the question becomes, do you criminalize it and if so, to what degree? Should they continue to be Boy Scouts? Should it affect their livelihood and future?

A deal will be cut to strike an appropriate balance to do what is right and in the public's interest.

BALDWIN: Joey Jackson, I appreciate it. Have a good weekend.

JACKSON: Don't mess with rocks and boulders.

BALDWIN: Another case we're following, conflicting testimony in the case of a Utah doctor charged with killing his wife, he said his wife fell into the bathtub where she was found dead.

Today, one of the neighbors took the stand and did not exactly firm up the story. Nancy Grace, live from Utah, she joins me on the trial, next.


BALDWIN: I hope you saw this moment right here with us on CNN, the president making a major personnel announcement today. He announced career lawyer Jeh Johnson as his choice to head the Department of Homeland Security.

Johnson is 56-years-old, began as a federal prosecutor and then a partner at a prestigious firm in New York.

Then from 2009 to 2012, he served as Pentagon general counsel. In that job, he wrote legal justifications for drone strikes against terrorists and for allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military.

And speaking of drones here, "THE LEAD" with Jake Tapper is coming up next with a fascinating look at our not-too-distant future.

What are we talking about?

JAKE TAPPER, CNN CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Drone use in the U.S., we're not talking about the kinds that kill people like Jeh Johnson was talking about.

We're talking about ones that can be used potentially for commercial use, although right now, it's just hobbyists.

We're talking about small, remote control. They're like airplanes, and we actually used one to shoot a little promotion, specifically for you, Brooke, so take a look.


TAPPER: Drones aren't just used for killing or surveillance. There's potentially an unlimited amount of uses for drones.

Coming up next on "THE LEAD" -- (END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: Get out of here. Nice work, Tapper. I like that.

TAPPER: I have to admit, it was a little scary because it's coming right at you. And, you know, earlier this year, somebody was using these drones at an event, and it actually went into the crowd and hurt some people.

So there are really some, in addition to, there are obviously some great uses for it, photography, surveilling land, especially during natural disasters and other things.

There's questions of surveillance, but there are also some serious safety issues. I was negotiating one and it's a lot more difficult than you might think.

BALDWIN: What kind of negotiator are you?

TAPPER: I'm not a particularly good negotiator, Brooke. I fold on pretty much everything.

BALDWIN: Good to know.

We'll be watching "THE LEAD" with Jake Tapper starting in 15 minutes from now. We will stay right here for you, Jake. Thank you very much.

TAPPER: Thanks, Brooke.

BALDWIN: Coming up next, the trial of this Utah doctor is heating up today. He's charged with killing his wife. He claims his wife fell into the bathtub where she was found dead.

But one of their neighbors took the stand today, and that's not the same story he told.

Nancy Grace, live from Utah just outside this courthouse, next.


BALDWIN: Did a doctor kill his beauty queen wife to live happily ever after with the nanny, or did heart problems cause its wife's death? That's what a jury will decide here in the case of Martin MacNeill.

Prosecutors say, six years ago, MacNeill drugged and drowned his wife. Why? So he could live this new life with their nanny.

Today, jurors heard the frantic 911 call that MacNeill made after seeing his wife's lifeless body in this bathtub.

He said she had, and I'm quoting him, "fallen in the tub" and tried CPR to no avail.


MARTIN MACNEILL, ACCUSED OF MURDERING WIFE: My wife's fallen in the bathtub.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Who is in the bathtub? Who's in the bathtub?

MACNEILL: My wife.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How old is your wife?

MACNEILL: My wife is 50-years-old. She just had surgery a week ago.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What kind of surgery did she have?

MACNEILL: She had a facelift.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She had a facelift?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK, do you know how to do CPR?

MACNEILL: I'm doing it!


BALDWIN: That was the voice of the man you're looking at here, but about the falling into the tub issue, just a short time ago, this neighbor who saw Michele MacNeill's body the day she died was asked if he saw it that way.

Here is his response.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did it look to you that she had fallen into the tub?

DOUG DANIELS, MACNEILL'S NEIGHBOR: No, she looked lifeless and collapsed, kind of slumped down in the bottom of the tub, not necessarily fallen, no.


BALDWIN: Nancy Grace, following the trial for us, talk about this neighbor here.

This is where I want to begin because he said, based upon the way she was lying there, it didn't look like she had fallen.

What is your take?

NANCY GRACE, HOST, HLN'S "NANCY GRACE": Well, here's the way I see it. Practically every witness has had a different view or a different rendition of what they saw when they went into that bathroom.

Here's the significance. What matters the most to me is what the little girl, 6-year-old she says her mother was lying in red water fully clothed, face up, eyes open with her hair going back down the drain.

MacNeill says, who came in following Ada, that she was slumped over the side of the tub as if you would slump over to wash your hair under the faucet. The neighbors see her, the water has been drained and she's still in the tub.

Here's my question. Why did he lie on the 911 call? There's no way he could have performed CPR with her in water in the bottom of that tub. It's a very high tub, the kind you crawl into.

You know, for CPR, somebody's got to be lying flat on the floor, so why did he lie that he was doing CPR? He didn't even get her out of the tub. His wife was lying in the water. He didn't even get her out.

He would have some people believe he had cancer and/or M.S. that's what he was telling people at the time. He had neither.

BALDWIN: Here's another question, because apparently there was some kind of discrepancy when MacNeill was giving the wrong address to the 911 operator. Was that cleared up today?

GRACE: I think it was cleared up. What happened on the 911 call is MacNeill was screaming so much and talking so quickly the 911 operator couldn't hear what he was saying, but she was familiar -- nobody could make it out. It wasn't just her.

She was familiar with the area so she dispatched ambulances, rightly so. When it was played in slow-mo, you could hear him give the address.

I blame the prosecutors for that. I prosecuted for my entire legal career, so that's hard for me to say.

It was their duty to get this straight and, if there had been a mistake, if someone had mistakenly thought he gave the wrong address, and that was stated, that should have been cleared up by the state, not for the defense to come in and go, ah-ha, like it was a really big deal.

BALDWIN: OK. What about as we know in trials past when you put a medical examiner on the stand, a lot of information comes from a medical examiner. In this case, what should we expect that person to reveal?

GRACE: Well, actually, the medical examiner in this case is dead. She died years ago of breast cancer, so we're not going to be hearing from her.

Here's the problem with her autopsy report. She was not privy to the facts surrounding the case that we are and, medical examiners, they have a whole fleet of detectives. Why? To investigate the death.

She didn't know all the facts that we know. She ruled the death natural. Later, medical examiners have ruled this was not a natural death. This was a death by drowning. As a matter of fact, when they finally did get her out of the tub, no thanks to Dr. MacNeill, they started CPR, frothy pink water came out of her chest and nose. As Dr. Joshua Perper will say, because she was drowned.

BALDWIN: Nancy Grace, we know we'll be watching with you this trial playing out in Utah.

GRACE: Thank you.

BALDWIN: You can watch Nancy, each and every night, 8:00 p.m. Eastern on our sister station, HLN.

Coming up next, a soldier who lost his legs on the battlefield now has a new mission to help others.

He is one of the top 10 CNN Heroes of the Year. You will understand why when you hear his remarkable story.


BALDWIN: We here at CNN are shining a spotlight on the top 10 Heroes of 2013 and so today's nominee is Dale Beatty.

He's making life easier, safer, better for fellow veterans.


DALE BEATTY, CNN HERO: I'm a combat wounded Iraq veteran. As I was recovering at Walter Reed, my community approached me and said they wanted to help build a home for my return.

People would come and work on my project just because they respected the sacrifice that I had gone through.

All veterans have been taught to be responsible for the guy to your left and the guy to your right.

Other veterans haven't had it as easy as I have, so I sat down with my battle buddy, John, and we decided to level the playing field.

I'm Dale Beatty, and it's now my mission to help other veterans with the support and the homes that they deserve from their communities.

There's thousands of veterans right here in our midst. People don't realize the need that's out there.

Purple Heart Homes can help any service disabled veteran regardless of their age or war.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the young man why we're all here today.

BEATTY: It's just getting the community engaged to get a ramp built or foreclosed home remodeled or an entire house built from the ground up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Narrow doorways that I couldn't get through, I had to crawl in on my hands and knees. To have them build a whole new bathroom was unbelievable.

BEATTY: We want to make their life easier, safer, just better. Their emotions are being rehabbed as well.

Regardless of when you serve, we're all the same. They just need to know that somebody does care about them.


BALDWIN: Dale is just one of our top ten honorees, one of whom will become CNN's Hero of the Year and receive $250,000 to further their work.

And you help decide who will win. Go to on the Internet, hop on your mobile device to vote and you can share your vote both on Facebook and Twitter.

Now, before I let you go, some of the hottest stories in a flash. Roll it.

Take a look with me at this rare sea beast. This is a Stejneger's beaked whale, washed ashore here on the California coast. It is better known as the saber-tooth whale because of its fangs.

The whales usually live in cold Alaskan waters and are so, so rare they are almost never seen in the wild.

And something else you probably won't see too many of. Take a look at this bad boy. This is the Lamborghini new open-roofed roadster.

Car lovers, here's the deal. It is a 6.5 liter, V-12 engine. It can go 221-miles-an-hour. They are making nine of them this year, twice as many with the hard top. The price tag, drum roll, please, $4.5 million.

And just in to us here at CNN, the White House announcing it is resuming tours in a couple weeks, on November 5th, to be precise. The tours were originally canceled back in the spring because of forced spending cuts.

That's it for me. Have a wonderful weekend. I'm Brooke Baldwin.

"THE LEAD" with Jake Tapper starts now.