tv ABC World News With David Muir ABC August 13, 2015 6:30pm-7:01pm EDT
tonight, breaking news in a case that shocked the country. the mother and daughter's tortured and killed in their own home, the house set on fire. tonight the killer's lives have now been spared. reaction coming in moments ago. the massive explosions and tonight the deadly aftermath. hundreds of injuries miles away, and now the mysterious cause. bob woodruff takes us to the scene in china. two horrific accidents here at home tonight, the school bus straight into a building and the rigs colliding during a commute, the driver right there on fire, the samaritans who run to rescue him. the big move by donald trump tonight, republicans trying to catch up. also tonight, a blast from the past, could al gore be considering a run. the lightning struck hitting nearly a dozen people in the
east and a warning about a, quote, godzilla el nino on the way. good evening and it's great to have you with us tonight. we begin with the case that horrified this country and a major decision today by the supreme court of connecticut. you'll remember the petit family, the home invasion, the mother, their two daughters tortured and killed, the home then set on fire. only the father would survive. two men convicted of the horrendous crime sentenced to die, but tonight a stunning reversal of fortune. those two men given the death penalty, their lives now spared os the court bans the death penalty in that state. the husband reacts. >> reporter: with tonight's ruling, the convicted killers of three members of this family will have their lives spared along with those of nine other death row inmates in connecticut. >> this is a solemn day in connecticut. >> reporter: it was a case that
captivated and horrified the country. the wife and two daughters of dr. william petit, sexually assaulted and murdered in their own home. the intruders severely beat dr. petit who narrowly managed to escape before they set fire to the house. steven hayes and joshua come sar jeff ski sentenced to death. dr. petit was interviewed in 2010 by oprah winfrey. >> i think forgiving the essence of evil is not appropriate. >> reporter: but today the state supreme court ruled this state's death p penalty no longer comports with contemporary standards of decency and no longer serves any peenlogical purpose. tonight the doctor staying it disregarded the key stones of our governmental structure. connecticut had not actually executed anybody since 2005.
while 30 other states have capital punishment, in recent years seven states have moved to ban it. >> ron, thank you. we're going to turn to the other developing story at this hour, the race against time in china. tonight they are still franticly digging an urgent search for survivors after those powerful explosions felt miles away, the blinding white light and the boom. as we've been showing you in the last 24 hours, entire neighborhoods went up in flames, at least 50 now dead, hundreds injured. 24 hours later, the rubble still smoldering. a parking lot incinerated, only their shells remain there. officials testing the air for deadly chemicals and abc's bob woodruff in china taking us right to the scene. >> reporter: the explosions hit like an earthquake, and today the view from above shows fires still burning, row upon row of burned out cars, piles of crumpled shipping containers.
>> there's still smoke. it's still burning. there's flames in there. >> reporter: whole buildings reduced to twisted metal. these are people's homes. this is where they live. look at this, this is the fan, their room. >> reporter: we passed exhausted firefighters, searching for the dozens much people still missing tonight. more than 50 are dead and 70 wounded. the blast sending neighbors into the streets in just night gowns. american michael doherty watching from his window. >> the big one hit and that was rattling the whole building and it was, you know, first thought earthquake. thought the whole building was coming down. >> reporter: the force as strong as 21 tons of tnt. >> i would say we're probably almost a mile away and look at that power of that blast. >> reporter: tonight patients pack hospital hallways, long lines of people wait for clothes, and as battered cars drive empty highways, still a sense of danger, soldiers telling us to move. he thinks that the bridge is going to come down. at the hazardous chemical
storage facility where the fire began, teams in hazmat suits are testing the air. many people on the streets today wear face masks. tonight students light candles for all who were lost. david, you can see that the sun is now rising here in tianjin and you can see the smoke coming from this site. of those 50 that were killed, 17 were firefighters and among them the youngest of all, just 17 years old. >> bob woodruff with us again from china tonight, bob, thank you. we're going to turn now to the race for 2016, donald trump taking a decisive lead in the polls in iowa now and making a decisive move on the ground in some early voting states as we get word of a possible curveball for hillary clinton. could al gore be getting ready to run again. abc's chief white house correspondent jonathan karl tonight. >> reporter: donald trump plans to take iowa by storm this weekend, taking the trump helicopter right to the state fair, even promising free helicopter rides for kids.
>> ladies and gentlemen, president of the united states, donald trump! >> reporter: tonight abc news has learned trump is beefing up his campaign, hiring ten staffers in iowa, several more in new hampshire and south carolina and more coming in nevada. he's also facing new attacks from his rivals, the latest rand paul using trump's own past statements to suggest he's not really a republican. >> i probably identify more as a democrat. and it just seems that the economy does better under the democrats. liberal on healthcare. we have to take care of people who are sick. hillary clinton is a terrific woman. i'm biased because i've known her for years. >> the reason i tell women they're ugly is because i'm so good looking. everybody knows that, right? >> reporter: trump is shrugging it all off. >> i said, rand, i've had you up
to here. >> jon karl with us live. we're also getting late word that hillary clinton will be getting some new competition? >> reporter: here's what we know. former vice-president al gore, some of his former advisors have begun meeting to discuss the fees ith of a gore presidential campaign. these are preliminary discussions i am told, david. gore has taken no concrete steps towards running but he is definitely not ruling it out. >> this could get very interesting. jon, thanks. we are also following new headlines of what's being called a godzilla el nino that could directly affect the weather across this country. the images coming in from california. 100 miles north of san francisco, 150 people evacuated tonight, homes threatened, that street sign in flames. this image from los angeles tonight, those are called shade balls, millions being released into a drinking water reservoir, a new effort to keep that water from vevaporatinevaporating.
california in the middle of a drought. >> set up for dry weather, heat and wind. red flag warnings are posted for the north and west and heat warnings to the south of some of these numbers are staggering. 98 in burbank, 107 in vegas. 114 in palm springs. >> we wanted to get to that thermal map. this is what's being called a godzilla el nino that could spun severe weather for the united states. >> this is significant and strengthening, likely to peek late fall and that's important because that's when california normally gets its rain, hasn't gotten it the past two seasons but we should see a strong southern jet that will bring the storms into southern california, cool wet weather for the northeast. certainly all eyes will be on the west coast where they're hoping for big things this next six months. >> rob, thank you. from georgia this evening, a powerful lightning strike
sending 40 army ranger trainees to the hospital. these images of that group last week in the swamps during grueling ranger school. all were treated and released in the last 24 hours and back in the field tonight. new details out of colorado this evening. that river contaminated with 3 million gallons of toxic chemicals. the epa now saying the water is safe. tonight the agency facing possible lawsuits. this new image, the governor of colorado 2349 last 24 hours drinking the water from the animas river to prove it is safe. next to the video of a terrifying ride to school for children on a bus today, a surveillance camera catching this, the bus clipping that suv and slamming into a store. 11 children on that bus have been rushed to the hospital tonight. here's abc's gio benitez. >> reporter: tonight watch the startling video. that's a school bus slamming right into a liquor store just after 8:00 a.m. watch again, it runs into an suv
before that final stop against concrete. >> one is a school bus with several students on it. we're taking count of the injuries right now. >> reporter: this man owns the store right across the street and rushed to help, seeing the 11 kids in that bus. >> they couldn't walk. they had to carry the kids out of the bus and put them on the sidewalks. >> what about the school bus driver? did you see her at all? s >> yeah, she said, oh, my god, the brakes went out on me. >> reporter: the driver also injur injured. >> your heart must have been breaking for those little kids. >> i was like, oh, my god, i was scared for these kids. >> reporter: you can still see some of the damage right there. thankfully none of the injuries are life threatening but some of the children are still recovering in the hospital tonight. >> thank you. an alarming development overseas tonight. we turn to iraq where u.s. officials this evening are now saying they believe isis used chemical weapons in an attack
there earlier this week. at this hour there's no word where those chemical weapons came from. we'll stay on it. back here at home tonight to south carolina now, fresh outrage over the shooting death of a teenager by a police officer. the officer claiming the boy was about to run him over in his car. but an autopsy appearing to contradict that story, tonight his heartbroken family is now demanding answers, saying police shootings have to stop. here's steve osunsami. >> he murdered our son. >> this time the grieving family of an unarmed teen gunned down in a controversial police shooting are these white parents. >> i mean, this is over a little bit of marijuana. you don't kill people over marijuana. >> reporter: paul and angie hammond's 19-year-old son zachary was shot to death in his car in a parking lot in south carolina where police were running a drug sting. >> our kids are getting killed. sure, you know, they make mistakes, but you can't just kill them for it.
>> reporter: tonight the u.s. department of justice is investigating. >> i would like to see the officer charged with murder. >> reporter: lawyers for officer mark tiller say he felt threatened when they claim that hammond tried to crash into the officer with his car. if not for his quick reflexes and his ability to push off the car, they write, lieutenant tiller would have been run over. but an autopsy shows that the 19-year-old's gunshot wounds entered the back of his shoulder and his side and they ask police to explain that. they said us they break down when they see news reports of young people killed by police like christian tailor in texas. >> we cried when we saw it on the news. our trust is shaken. >> reporter: in south carolina authorities report they're up to 31 police shootings this year. a newspaper investigate finds that police fire their guns at someone every ten days. police in this case aren't commenting tonight. the family believes they have dash cam video, and if so, would like them to release it. david?
>> steve osunsami with us again tonight. steve, thanks. we're following new developments in ge flat gate. tom brady 24 hours ago walking into court, fighting to get that suspension lifted. tonight we have learned that talks did continue today amid a firestorm about something else, too. the courtroom sketches of tom brady. here's abc's ryan smith. >> reporter: tonight the patriots gearing up to take the field for the first preseason game against the packers. but will their star quarterback play? meanwhile, team brady locked in tough negotiations towards a deal that can land him back for the regular season before his suspension ends october 18th. the judge putting the nfl on the defensive this week, pressing for any direct evidence implicating brady in deflate-gate. >> go get 'em, tom! >> reporter: cheers for brady outside federal court, a stark contrast to the boos for commissioner roger goodell. the league acknowledging there may not be a smoking gun, but insisting there is evidence of
culpability, a sign of just how much attention this showdown is getting. those unflattering court sketches going viral, spawning comparisons to the mona lisa, american gothic and e.t. that court artist is now apologizing, saying she's even gotten hate mail from patriots fans. as for brady's future, if the two sides can't reach a deal, they will be back in court to continue the case. brady tweeting, good to be home. we turn to the sudden surge in gas prices for millions of americans in at least one part of the country tonight expected to jump by as much as 50 cents in a week, possibly up to a dollar. in the last 24 hours in fact jumping from $2.99 a gone to $3.29 a gallon. who's in for it and why? let's bring in rebecca jarvis. >> reporter: the hardist hit in
the middle of the country. just today in ft. wayne, indiana, prices spiked 55 cents. why is this happening? the biggest refinery in the midwest which supplies most of the gasoline to the area is partially closed for maintenance and will be for a number of weeks. there is a silver lining and that is the national average for gasoline prices, $2.63 tonight which is almost a dollar less than it was this time last year, david. >> rebecca jarvis with us tonight, thank you. there's still much more ahead this thursday, you'll see a fiery collision, two tractor-trailers colliding, triggering a series of explosions. you then see the driver on fire and the good samaritans who run to him. we also have a major break tonight in the mystery of baby doe, this police sketch of a little girl found on a beach. tonight tests revealing an important new lead in the case. and then the headline that had a lot of people scratching
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today her doctor has her on a bayer aspirin regimen to help reduce the risk of another one. if you've had a heart attack be sure to talk to your doctor before you begin an aspirin regimen. we're going to turn next tonight to that fiery crash on a major highway in the middle of rush hour. two rigs colliding, erupting into flames. you're about to see the driver of one of those trucks emerging on fire and the good samaritans who rush in to rescue him. here's abc's mara schiavocampo. >> reporter: commute collision, a massive fireball erupting on the new jersey turnpike, two tractor-trailers slamming into one another. drivers and onlookers horrified. >> oh, my god. that's a -- look at that! did you see the explosion? >> reporter: then more horror, a driver emerging from a truck with his clothes on fire. a couple visiting the u.s. running to his aid. tourists from australia.
>> i think he was in shock. we tried to get his jeans off and get the fire out and tried to get him away from the truck. >> reporter: thanks to their heroic actions, the driver miraculously suffering only minor injuries. a day later the charred shels of the trucks still smoldering. one of the trucks involved in the accident was carrying paper, the other medical gas. an explosive combination. mara schiavocampo, abc's, new york. we're getting word of a deadly roller coaster accident. we'll have that in a moment. when we come back, can you guess the new longest flight in the world. and the question that had millions checking out that sketch, who is baby doe? the whale in trouble tonight, what they did on this boat, the before and after next. ♪ sfx: crowd cheering sfx: crowd booing
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finally tonight here, the big change for "sesame street" soon on hbo? >> reporter: we searched the archives and why not let the muppets tell the story. >> today's letter is the letter h. the letter o. >> but that round like cookie! >> reporter: cookie monster still a little confused because after more than 45 years tonight "sesame street" is adding a new second home. hbo. ♪ sunny days >> reporter: they reveal today new episodes of the iconic children's program will air on hbo first, reruns months later on pbs. sesame workshop saying the deal helps provide critical funding, keeping the show going and preserving its original home,
too. turns out the must be ets have parodied it already. turning boardwalk empire into their own bird walk. >> you want me to show 'em who's boss? >> i'll handle this, capone. >> reporter: many having a field day asking is this the new cast of true detective? is this the new game of thrones? will the be the new girls. no matter where they are, kids will come, even central park with us. a fist bump with the muppets on the move tonight. >> we're staying put. we'll see you right back here tomorrow night. until then, good night.
this is the "jeopardy! tournament of champions." here are our three finalists -- a 20-time "jeopardy" champion from kenilworth, illinois... a compliance analyst, voice-over artist, and blogger from broadview heights, ohio... and an i.t. consultant, originally from florence, south carolina... and now here is the host of "jeopardy!" -- alex trebek! thank you, johnny. thank you, ladies and gentlemen. ben was not mouthing, "i love you" to me. that was for someone else.