Skip to main content
Internet Archive's 25th Anniversary Logo

tv   Anderson Cooper 360  CNN  August 19, 2011 7:00pm-8:00pm PDT

7:00 pm
>> as far as our east african emergency response, we intend to reach many more thousands of children and we'll do that as funds allow us to. >> many more thousands of children to be supported by an organization already feeng half a million children daily in 16 impoverished countries. >> it's so much about the will of people to share a little of what they have in order that these children can be fed. >> you can get more information on cnn and that's it for us tonight. now "anderson cooper 360." . it's 10:00 here on the east coast. we begin tonight with breaking news. libya's muammar gadhafi on the brink of defeat which is good to hear but possibly will go planning a big final offensive against libyan civilians. the prospect of an unpredictable, perhaps even mentally unstable dictator lashing out. cnn's barbara starr broke the story. one u.s. official telling her
7:01 pm
"he could be planning for a last stand". another saying it could put civilians in the cross hairs. both officials say they don't know what form a final offensive might take. recent nato air strikes are clearly upping the ante. our people there telling us they are under way again tonight, loud explosions being heard in tripoli within the past hour. opposition forces telling us they're making use of the air attacks to try to make progress on the ground. those forces now in the middle of a major push on zawhi, the keyport city on tripoli's doorstep. fierce artillery fire could be heard today. opposition fighters telling our sara sidener they could become moving on the capital within a matter of days. that could just be optimistic talk on their part. meantime the opposition says a form libyan prime minister has defected, fleeing tripoli with his family. no sign, though, that his former boss, muammar gadhafi, is going anywhere. and that's the potential problem. a potentially very violent and
7:02 pm
bloody problem. joining us now, sara sidner with opposition forces, matthew chance in tripoli and from aspen, colorado, retired allied commander wesley clark. sir, you've been with the opposition forces. how close are they to tripoli, and how much trouble is gadhafi in right now? >> reporter: anderson, they're just 30 miles from tripoli. we're talking about nothing, basically. but what we are seeing in the city of zawhi very strategically important, there is an oil refinery that rebels now have a hold of. they gave us a tour of the refinery. it's in perfect condition. it's one of the only functioning refineries left in the country. and for them it's very important that they're able to cut off that oil supply to tripoli. so they're very happy about that. and they say they have now gotten control of 8 of 0%, 80% of the city, but they are still battling it out in 20% of the city. we've heard heavy, heavy
7:03 pm
gunfire, mortars, artillery rounds, going on in just 20% of the city. they feel like we're going to end this thing in the next day or so, and then they tell us they plan on pushing forward to tripoli which is just about a 40-minute drive away. >> so sara, are they in control of zawhi? >> reporter: they're not in complete control. we were in the middle of the fire fight today. we got so close and suddenly we found ourselves having to run out of the area because of all of the mortarses that were coming in and the shelling that was happening. we made it out safely. the fire fight was continuing to go on throughout the day. so 20% of that city is still being battled over. but they did take control of 80% of the city. you can see that city is mostly abandoned but there are still a few residents around who have decided to stick it out. what you're seeing is rebel tanks, tanks that they have taken from gadhafi forces, they're now using against gadhafi forces in the city. >> matthew chance, what's it
7:04 pm
like there now. does it feel like a city preparing for the worst? >> reporter: well, it feels like they're a city which is under pretty intensive air strikes by the nato war planes that have been circling the skies above tripoli for the past several hours, particularly but over the past several days as well we've seen an intensification of the strikes. there's also i think when you speak to residents in the city a sense that they're very much under siege. the fact that zawhi is here for the most part fallen to the rebels and the road to the west tripoli to tunisia has been cut off by that military action has had a big psychological impact on the people here. they really have taken on this siege mentality. it's been compounded by the fact that we're hearing air strikes every couple of minutes now, perhaps every half an hour or so, in the libyan capital, anderson. >> general clark, if gadhafi does make his last stand in
7:05 pm
tripoli, doesn't try to escape somewhere else or flee or give up, knowing what we know about him, his military capabilities and the potential for urban fighting, what could a last stand there look like? >> well, if he has disciplined forces and ammunition, it could be ugly there. and it could go on for days just like the fighting in the sarato went on for days and days. but my guess is that's unlikely to happen. i if i if muammar gadhafi goes into tripoli and pulls in there as soon as it starts to go against him he's going to be struggling for a way out. once he goes into tripoli, there's no -- other than just saying, okay, we surrender. we lay down our arms and give us some kind of a political solution, he's lost his bargaining position by going into tripoli. so my guess, he's not going in. and b, if he does, that it's not
7:06 pm
going to end up in a months-long combat. >> if gadhafi decides to make a stand in tripoli, what do you think it would look like? do you think he has those loyal organized forces, or do you think as many have hoped for all along his inner circle might turn on him in the final push? >> reporter: yes, anderson, i think what's most likely is those force that is remain around him will melt away. and in fact, i think something that i learned from a very senior western european intelligence official is indication that gadhafi is preparing for the last stand. we had heard reports that he had some plan to flee to tunisia, and this senior intelligence official with first-hand knowledge said to me, no, that's not right. this was his -- the women and friends were seeking permission to land a plane in tunisia. why a plane? because rebel forces have that western border, they couldn't travel by land.
7:07 pm
tunisia denied permission to bring a plane in with his family. i think he is wants his family out, because he's prepared to have that last stand, to have that battle there and to die there. he's said that he will become a martyr and let his blood flow on libyan soil. and i think that's in his mind if he's got to go, that's his plan. >> sara, in terms of the opposition forces, for so long they were completely disorganized. we talked about this the other night. you said they have made some improvements. but in terms of -- i mean, how much of a disciplined fighting force do they have? do we know of what percentage of the forces are actually have actual training, have actual experience, and in a fight, in a city would be able to fight effectively if it came to that? >> reporter: that's a really hard question to answer but a very good question, anderson. i can tell you from what we have seen of the few months that we've been inside of this country, what we've seen is
7:08 pm
there was continuing and is continuing to be training. and so there is something like a boot camp, i guess you could say, in places like benghazi and here in the western mountains where people who have never held a gun before will go, they will get intensive training for example a week or two weeks' time. but because the force isn't that big, what you're seeing is sometimes people coming in that have very little knowledge of how to deal with this. never mind strategically trying to figure out what the right thing to do is. just like you mentioned, when you talk about urban warfare, you really need to be trained. . it's one of the most dangerous kinds of warfare that there is. because something could be just around the corner and you have to be trained for these things and have the right equipment. and i can't say that they do. but i can tell you this. when we asked them, are you planning to push into tripoli, and if so what is the plan? is there a plan that has been set out for coordination for all of these different groups and brigades that are coming in? and the answer was, well, we have a plan. and i said what is it?
7:09 pm
he goes, well, we have a plan sort of. so if that is what's going on, this will be a very, very difficult fight. and if gadhafi decides that he really wants to make a last stand, this could get really, really bloody, aernz aernlz. >> the other question is how many forces loyal to the opposition may still be in tripoli laying low in the event that opposition forces did enter tripoli whether they would be joined by people who are actually living there. a lot we don't know. matthew chance, appreciate it. stay safe. sara sidner as well, general clark thank you. fran townsend. let us know what you think. we're on facebook. i'm on twitter @ anderson cooper next a deadly day in the streets of syria. it has been yet another deadly day. government protestors targeting -- government forces targeting protestors later three young men convicted of murdering a second grader. the crime drew natural attention, so did developments today. the west memphis three they've
7:10 pm
been known as. all three are out of prison today. one was on death row. were they wrongly convicted or wrongly freed? crime and punishment the west memphis three tonight. first isha sesay. >> reporter: you have to see it to believe it, and even then a baby in a sfroeler in the back of a pickup. and wait until you hear what the babysitter said about it. that and much more when 360 continues. [ waves crashing ] [ martin luther king jr. ] i still have a dream that one day on the red hills of georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood. i have a dream today! [ male announcer ] chevrolet is honored to celebrate the unveiling of the washington, d.c., martin luther king jr. memorial.
7:11 pm
take your seat at the table on august 28th. [ male announcer ] they'll see you...before you see them. cops are cracking down on drinking and riding.
7:12 pm
drive sober, or get pulled over.
7:13 pm
syria today, 23 killings today alone. in a moment you'll hear from a top syrian diplomat who says that security forces are there to protect protestors, not mo them down with gunfire. he says we have it all wrong tharkts world has it all wrong. we're keeping them honest tonight the best possible way with a first-hand account from somebody who says syrian authorities are hunting us like animals. he spent the day not in hiding but in this. [ screaming ] [ gunfire ]
7:14 pm
>> just as you see it here. wave after wave of gunfire directed at people chanting "god is great "and throwing rocks shouting "unbeliever" the people target them. syrian state tv says armed men opened fire on friday worshippers with peacekeeping forces and were arrested. that's been the standard story. the protesters are armed sunni muslim fa nat ticks the government says. but the people look to be ordinary syrians. the protesters themselves say that's what they are. the only weapons you see, and you rarely see them anywhere, are stones. the weaponry you hear belongs to syrian authorities. in other new video also posted today, also apparently taken today shows what these so-called protecters are actually doing to people. the beating not unusual. we've seen people clubbed, people stuffed into the trunks of cars. we've seen victims of all ages
7:15 pm
gunned down, murdered, some of them only children. like this little girl 2 years old, shot through the eye, shot down as she and her family were reportedly trying to flee a neighborhood under attack by government forces. as always what you see here cannot be independently verified. we're not allowed to see it for ourself. every day, though, fresh evidence arrives posted on youtube by people risking their freedom and their lives to document what they are seeing, what they are experiencing. again, the syrian government has a very different explanation for what you just saw and what we've all been seeing for months now. last night we played a portion of my interview with bashar ja'afari ambassador for the united nations. >> the government allows peaceful demonstration toss take to the street, and they are protected by the police. >> sir, that's not true. you know that's not true. you're a very educated man. you simply know that is not true. when people were asking for children to be released you're telling me they weren't fired upon, they weren't killed?
7:16 pm
>> you don't know all the faces of the story, anderson. >> you're not allowing us in. you're not allowing reporters to actually go to the frontlines and see. this you're restricting reporters. so it's a little disingenuous to say you don't know the truth when you're not allowing the international community to seat truth. >> this is wrong, too. we have allowed three big delegations of journalists and reporters to enter the country. >> and you keep them in damascus or control them very carefully. >> no, we don't control anybody. we are there to protect them from the armed groups. >> sir, i reported in damascus. and i had a minder with me who watched everything i did and every single person i talked. to and that was at a time when you didn't allegedly have armed groups going around. so to say that you're allowing free rein for reporters is simply not true. >> anderson, you are biased and taking sides. and you shouldn't do that because you are a seasoned reporter. >> i think what you're saying, you have not offered any proof. >> this is not the truth.
7:17 pm
i am afraid this is not the truth. you are reporting what somebody told you. this shouldn't be done on cnn. >> sir, i'm reporting what i have seen with my own eyes and i have seen the corpses of little children with their penises cut off, broken, battered bodies and protesters trying to get the dead bodies and wounded bodies of their friends and family members and complete strangers and people being shot at while they're trying to retrieve bodies. >> you wouldn't be more sorry than us seeing these victims. they are our own people. >> is there anything that you would say that your government has done wrong in the last five months in terms how they have dealt with your own citizens? >> you know what? in all military and police operations, all over the world, it happens that sometimes there are some mistakes. and the president himself acknowledged that there were some mistakes at the beginning. because we were not prepared, i mean our forces of police were not prepared for such an
7:18 pm
unexpected situation. so some people may have made some mistakes, anderson. we are not talking about the peaceful demonstrators. the peaceful demonstrators are aloud in syria according to the law. they have the police protection. >> that's untrue. >> this is your opinion. this is your opinion. >> i have talked to many -- i have talked to protestors. i've talked to human rights activists inside syria who say this is not true. a woman whose husband was arrested and kidnapped, taken away and held for weeks and weeks without her having any knowledge of what happened to him. i've talked to these people. >> you may have talked to one or three or ten or 100. but syria is 23 million. you would have to be more objective, more genuine in your approach in analyzing what's going on in syria. but please hear the syrian official point of view also. i'm not saying that you shouldn't listen to the other side. continue listening to the other side. but please reflect the syrian official point of view, and here i'm telling you, we have had 500 officers and soldiers killed so
7:19 pm
far. plus, of course, almost 1,000 civilian lives. >> the u.n. says that about 2,000 civilians have been killed by your government. about 2,000. and thousands more are being held in detention. >> this is wrong, anderson. this is wrong. the same way i am denying here with categorically unequivocally that other war ships shelled -- >> would you allow the international red cross, red crescent to go into your prisons? i've heard from many protesters whose loved ones get injured or shot, they can't go to hospitals because your security forces are inside the hospitals and will arrest anybody who's taken in. >> this is another lie, anderson. this is wrong. >> if that's a lie it means that virtually everyone except the assad regime itself is lying. u.n. lying, amnesty international lying, aliers, state department, u.s., britain,
7:20 pm
france, e.u., turkey, saudi arabia. is it possible? anything's possible. is it likely? you can ask yourself that. then having seen what you have seen tonight and night after night, ask yourself if your own eyes are lying, too. are they lying about this? well, the ambassador enjoys his diplomatic posting here in new york, a dissident who we're calling alexander to protect his identity is in damascus seeing it all up coast. he was in the crowds today as security forces opened fire. we spoke shortly afterwards. >> so alexander, what happened today after you attended friday prayers? what did you see? >> we were in the midan area in central damascus and a protest actually erupted inside the mosque, which is in the midan area. at least 2,000 to 2,500 people took part in the protest as it left the mosque. just as we were coming out of the mosque and pouring into the main street, suddenly the gunfire started. it was coming from different directions, really. but we did see the shooting coming from a certain direction where there were security forces
7:21 pm
and basically armed men in plain clothes. they were taking cover behind some transport buses. and the protesters actually defied them. what we did the second it started we started running away, but then we realized that some people stood still and actually got in a rock fight with the people who were armed and shooting at them. >> the syrian ambassador to the united nations told me that the government of syria, the regime in syria actually is protecting peaceful protestors, that they're not shooting at them, they're not killing them, they're protecting them. was that case today? has that ever been the case in any protest you have seen? >> that wasn't the case today. and that's, no, that's never been the case. that's just total nonsense. what the government is actually doing to these peaceful protestors is they're cracking down on them. they're chasing them down in the streets, hunting them like animals. they are detaining them and then torturing them for days on end. these people leave the security branchs frightened to death, not able to take to the street again
7:22 pm
because of what they've done to them. . they've humiliated them. they've killed people in the streets, women, children, just to stop the protest movement. and everything that's happening now in syria is obvious. anyone who comes and cease can see for themselves, they're basically slaughtering the protest movement. and not allowing anyone to take part in these protests. >> alexander, why is it that you are doing this? why is it so important for you to go out in the streets, to stand up, to use your voice and to call for change? why is it important for you to risk your life to demonstrate and also to talk to us? >> well, it's been 41 years that syria has witnessed this fascish regime that just treats people like dirt. and the syrian people want change. the syrian people want a different sort of life. a democratic life. where people respect each other. and that's what happened on the
7:23 pm
15th of march in syria when people took to the streets, they decided that they will not take this anymore. and that's why this has happened. and i actually do my part by talking to international media, because i know we have to bridge that. i know that the people outside the country have to see what's happening. these are peaceful people, civil people who just want their universal right to have a democratic country where all civilians respect each other. >> alexander, stay safe. thank you for talking to us. >> thank you. thank you. still ahead, an american woman missing for weeks in aruba now but the prime suspect in the disappearance of robyn gardner is just beginning to talk. the new details he's sharing with police and a glimpse of his life behind bars also a gruesome crime revisited. the west memphis three convicted just when they were teenagers. you may remember the case with the brutal murders of three little boys in arkansas. today after nearly two decades behind bars they walked free. why they were released and the startling reaction from one victim's father when we continue. [ male announcer ] how can power consumption in china,
7:24 pm
impact wool exports from new zealand, textile production in spain, and the use of medical technology in the u.s.? at t. rowe price, we understand the connections of a complex, global economy. it's just one reason over 75% of our mutual funds beat their 10-year lipper average. t. rowe price. invest with confidence. request a prospectus or summary prospectus with investment information, risks, fees and expenses to read and consider carefully before investing. [ pneumatic wrench buzzing ] [ slap! slap! slap! ] [ male announcer ] your favorite foods fighting you? fight back fast with tums. calcium rich tums goes to work in seconds. nothing works faster. ♪ tum tum tum tum tums
7:25 pm
7:26 pm
7:27 pm
in crime and punishment tonight, the mystery in aruba. after days of silence, suspect gary giordano is offering details about his vacation with robyn gardner. giordano was arrested three days later. his story was the woman disappeared while snorkeling in rough waters. he said he lost track of her and
7:28 pm
she suddenly was gone. police say the seas were calm that day. what about those travel insurance policies he bought just before their trip, one for him, one for her, each valued at $1.5 million? that is harder to explain. here with the latest is martin savidge joining us from aruba. just after robbin gardner disappeared giordano cooperated with police but once they arrested him he went silent. now he's talking again. what's he saying? >> reporter: well, that's right. a couple of days ago authorities said he wasn't cooperating and he wasn't talking. now he is talking. only sort of. because here's the way authorities describe it. he's picking and choosing what answers he wants to give. if they're going over new questions, new material, he gifts them an answer. but if they're going back over old stuff he just says i've answered that before. they say that's his tactic to try to avoid their tactic, which of course police like to ask you to repeat your story over several days to see if there are any inconsistencies. he's apparently figured that out and that's why he's saying i already answered that.
7:29 pm
i also asked him what's his attitude during these interrogations. the police used one word, belligerent. >> what's the latest on the travel insurance policies? who did giordano list as his beneficiary? do we know who was listed as her beneficiary? >> reporter: well, for the first time authorities are now admitting that there are two policies, one for him, one for her, both $1.5 million each. we know from the documents that cnn obtained that gary giordano named his mother as the beneficiary. when it comes to robyn gardner as to who the beneficiary is there, they won't say. we don't know. there has been some speculation. at this point, though, we did have a conversation with american express. and they said, you know what, you can't just take out a policy on somebody else and list yourself as the beneficiary. they would in fact say, robbin would have to sign a document that says yes, i make gary giordano my beneficiary. did she do that?
7:30 pm
could she have been fooled into doing that? we're still digging on that. >> he's been in jail two weeks now. do we know where he's being held and what his conditions are? >> reporter: well, he's at the prison, kia prison. what's interesting about that is the authorities say oh, yeah, he's living a lot better than he was when he was stuck in the local jail. apparently it's a much bigger room he's. in 33 x 33 feet. he's got to share it with other men but gets to move around during the day, interact with other prisoners. he's got visiting days twice a week. although authorities say no one has visited him. he does not have access to the immediate. why so that's where he is for the time being. >> an obviously it's possible that he's telling truth, that this is all some terrible traged tragedy. >> reporter: and that's exactly right. i mean, and it probably hasn't been said enough, that yeah, he could be telling the truth. however, there are three things that are sort of stacked against him, two of which are his own doing. number one, he did take out a hefty insurance policy on a
7:31 pm
woman who's now missing and he did it just days before she vanished. number two his track record when it comes to dealing with other women and the accusations they've made against him is not very good. then number three, this is arue parks the island where six years ago natalie holloway vanished without a trace and many americans still believe that case was bungled. so the last thing areuben authorities want is to be perceived as being soft on another american case. however that said. a lot of legal experts on the island say unless they come up with something better than just an insurance policy, in two weeks it is quite possible that gary giordano will go home free. >> interesting. martin savidge, appreciate it. thanks still ahead tonight, the three men convicted in the tin famous west memphis three murder out of prison tonight. a complicated legal proceeding set them free. we'll have the full story ahead. first isha sesay. >> reporter: wall street ends an awful week with another awful day. the dow jones tumbled 173 points, losing 1.6% of its
7:32 pm
value. the nasdaq and the s & p 500 recorded steep declines as well, all due to fierce about the u.s. economy and europe's debt crisis. a court hearing today over a lawsuit filed by the trustee appointed to recover billions of dollars from bernard madoff's ponzi scheme. he's suing the owner of the new york mets for $1 billion, claiming they invested with madoff and turned a blind eye to his scheme. they argue they knew nothing about it. and a 61-year-old lifeguard is suing the new york state parks department for age discrimination because it won't let him wear lycra shorts that stretch to his knees. he's required to wear boxers, briefs or board shorts but doesn't feel that clothing is appropriate for a man of his age. anderson, he says the older you get you should show less skin. >> but he likes the lycra. >> he likes the lycra. they're called jammers. >> really? >> apparently so. >> i did not know that. before we get to tonight's shot,
7:33 pm
about french actor gerard depardieu was put on the ridiculist for paying publicly aboard a plane. a friend says he has prostate problems and was trying to discreetly urinate into a bottle and was humiliated but others said he was drunk. i started laughing. that gave stephen colbert yet another reason to take me to task in our ever-growing feud on his comedy central show. >> sorry. this has actually never happened to me [ laughter ] >> all right. >> i am shocked. i am shocked at this behavior from the award-winning journalist who stays poised while reporting during a hurricane, visiting an earthquake-ravaged hell scape, fending off rioters in tahrir square, being attacked by an
7:34 pm
hipogriff and riding his surfboard through space. >> he's very funny. >> he called you anderson poorp. what are you going to do about it? >> i haven't heard that one before. he didn't get discover pooper-scooper. that would be the other one that was big in the late 70s i would say when i was about seven. >> take the flight to colbert. that's what i say. >> it's on. it is on. >> team popper we're ready. >> i don't know how i'm going to respond but we'll get him. >> i've got your back. >> appreciate that. still ahead serious stuff including stirring reversal in the west memphis three case. teens convicted in the brutal slaying of three second graders three decades ago suddenly released despiting admitting their guilt back then. a new twist in the tragedy of the indiana state fair. saturday stage collapse claims yet another victim. more when we continue.
7:35 pm
every time a local business opens its doors or creates another laptop bag or hires another employee, it's not just good for business -- it's good for the entire community. at bank of america, we know the impact that local businesses have on communities, so we're helping them with advice from local business experts and extending $18 billion in credit last year. that's how we're helping set opportunity in motion. but not in my neighborhood.
7:36 pm
♪ [ female announcer ] we're throwing away misperceptions about natural gas vehicles. more of the vehicles that fuel our lives use clean american natural gas today. it costs about 40 percent less than gasoline, so why aren't we using it even more? start a conversation about using more natural gas vehicles in your community.
7:37 pm
7:38 pm
crime and punishment tonight, a big development in the so-called west memphis three murder case. three young men who were convicted of murdering three 8-year-old boys in west memphis, arkansas back in 1993 walked out of prison this afternoon. how they got out involves a tricky legal maneuver which i'll explain. but 18 years ago you may remember the bodies of three second graders were found in a watery ditch, mutilated, hog tide with their own shoe laces. three men, teenagers at the time from left to right on the screen, jason baldwin, damien echols and jessie misskelley
7:39 pm
were convicted and sent to prison. baldwin and misskelly were -- there have always been questions about the convictions. the three men have argued that no direct evidence linked them ever to the murders. now to the rare legal deal that set them free. it's known as the alford plea which claims though they say they're not innocent but they acknowledge the state has enough evidence to convict them. here's what jason baldwin said after he was released. >> this was not justice. in the beginning we told them nothing but the truth that we were innocent. and they sent us to prison for the rest of our lives for it. then we had to come here. the only thing that state would do for us was to say, hey, we'll let you go only if you admit guilt. and that's not justice no matter how you look at it. >> investigations to the case leading up to today's plea deal, spoke to damien echols during his incarceration. here's her report.
7:40 pm
>> west memphis, arkansas, 1994. an awkward-looking teenager with coal black hair and a far-away gaze stands trial, accused of killing three 8-year-old boys. best friends, badly beaten, hog tide and hidden in the watery bayou in the woods where they played. >> the first verdict reads as follows. >> reporter: at trial, prosecutors call is a satanic cult, a demonic ritual fuelling the town's blood luft with descriptions of sexual torture and mutilation. >> we the jury find damien echols guilty of capital murder in the death of stevie branch. >> reporter: damien echols was sentenced to die by lethal injection. his two friends and accused coconspirators got life in prison, in part because of a confession by misskelly that defense lawyers say was not only ridded with inconsistencies but was coerced. fast forward to today. and now many in the small midwestern town, including parents of two of the three victims, have the uneasy feeling
7:41 pm
the verdicts may have been wrong. one is john mark byers, haunted by his son christopher's death. >> if i met you in may of 1993, how convinced would you have been of the guilt of the three teenagers? >> 100%. >> so now, do you believe that three men in prison are guilty? >> no, ma'am. they're 100% innocent. we needed someone to hate to survive because our child was dead. >> we meet damien echols at the super max prison, an hour's drive south of little rock. his hair is still coal black, but now his gaze is sharp. >> you were asked at the trialers did you kill christopher byers. your answer then was -- >> no. absolutely no. >> your answer now is? >> absolutely not. >> michael? >> absolutely not. even though it's been 20 years, you don't get used to being asked that. it's the kind of thing that
7:42 pm
screws with your head for the rest of your life. to have people to constantly have to answer that question or constantly have people asking you that, it's like being kicked in the stomach over and over and over again. >> these sort of sterile images of those little boys down by the creek, how did those images affect you? >> i didn't see those. all the way up until i was -- it was during the trial. so it was still sort of abstract to me. they were just names. that's when it really hit me. and it does something to you when you see something like that. it cracks you inside. >> >> reporter: after the boys were discovered here, police searched the area. yet they found no physical evidence linking damien echols and his two friends to the crime scene. there was no dna, no fingerprints, nothing even suggesting a satanic ritual which prosecutors allege was the motive for the murders. >> why would police come to you? what was your alibi? >> i didn't fit in the town where i lived. i only dressed in black.
7:43 pm
i had pretty outrageous hair styles. at the time that police say the murders took place, i was actually on the phone with three different people. the problem was the attorneys i had at the time, the public defenders, never even called them to the witness stand. never even asked them about this kind of stuff. >> reporter: west memphis prosecutors and police stand by their case, as do the parents of the third victim who all believe the right people are in prison. for damien echols, life or death could come down to a single hair. not his, but a strand found in the shoe laces used to tie up one of the boys. dna testing that did not exist two decades ago suggests the hair could belong to the stepfather of another victim, stevie branch. the stepfather, terri hobbs, has denied involvement. police have closed the case, and did not consider him a suspect. also new, forensic evaluations for the defense that show cuts, gashes, and sexual mutilation
7:44 pm
which prosecutors said were signs of sigh tannic ritual were likely inflicted by animals after the boys were killed. >> is it just enough for you to be found innocent, or do you need for somebody to be found guilty? >> i guess i don't absolutely need it. i'll survive without them finally putting someone else on trial for this. but it would be a tremendous sense of closure for me. if they don't, then you're always going to have people looking at you, wondering. who knows what? it's hard to describe. >> it's a loose end. >> yeah, it is. >> reporter: debra fayrick, cnn, west memphis, arkansas. >> cnn's david mattingly has also been following the case for a long time. he joins us from jonesboro, arkansas. david, so these men had to plead guilty to crimes they say they didn't commit in order to go free. how does that work exactly and can they now later try to get that reversed?
7:45 pm
>> reporter: what they can do now is walk out of that courtroom and proclaim their innocence. in order to do that they had to admit to the state of arkansas, yes, you have evidence that if we go back to court, go back and try this again, you could possibly convict us with that information. they had to admit that. the prosecutors take that as a guilty plea. so they can say, we've got our killers. this is case closed. well, the defense can also go out and say, well, they would never let these guys go if the state really thought they were guilty. you could look at it in a way as sort of a win-win that really doesn't make either side fully happy. >> yeah. clearly not for the former defendants. they've been in jail now for 18 years. why is this happening now? why did it happened to? >> reporter: it's been very slow coming. you've had a big groundswell of support that has just been building year after year after year. people continually beating the drums saying that it was emotion
7:46 pm
and fear that convicted these three young men and not the facts. over time, people have examined these facts and say that there was nothing really linking them to the victims, to the crime scene, or to the crime itself. so the last thing that court saw before today was a new round of dna testing funded by supporters of the west memphis three. that dna testing didn't place them at the crime scene at all. so now the court had this dilemma here, the prosecution possibly not being able to win the case if they go back for another trial, and then the defense possibly not being able to protect their clients one more time for another round through court. so they felt like this was the best deal that they could come up with the way they have it now. >> i mean, i think everyone who was around during this time remembers damien echols the way he looked and there was so much kind of emphasis on the photographs of him and that he seemed different in that town. you've interviewed him. what kind of a person is he?
7:47 pm
>> reporter: well, he is very intellectual. he seems very smart, very articulate. and a lot of people argue that he has a certain charisma that's really elevated the profile of this case. if he was just a typical poor kid from arkansas with no personality, he might have disappeared on death row. and so would these other two young men. but instead, there was something about him that fascinated people. they kept coming back, kept talking to him. this case stayed alive. and now he and those other two are free men ready to start building a life that they wish they'd been able to do 18 years ago. >> david, i appreciate the reporting. then and now. still ahead, a florida babysitter's unbelievably bad call. she strapped an infant into a stroller and took him on a joy ride in the back of a pickup truck. and wait until you hear her excuse. and sexless in the city, the city that never sleeps might as well. tonight's ridiculist when we continue.
7:48 pm
] welcome back, jogging stroller. you've been stuck in the garage, while my sneezing and my itchy eyes took refuge from the dust in here and the pollen outside. but with 24-hour zyrtec®, i get prescription strength relief from my worst allergy symptoms. it's the brand allergists recommend most. ♪ lily and i are back on the road again. where we belong. with zyrtec®, i can love the air®. [ male announcer ] get ready for the left lane. the volkswagen autobahn for all event is back. right now, get a great deal on new volkswagen models, including the jetta, awarded a top safety pick by the iihs. that's the power of german engineering. hurry in and lease the jetta s for just $179 a month. ♪ visit today.
7:49 pm
[ male announcer ] you never know when a moment might turn into something more. and when it does men with erectile dysfunction can be more confident in their ability to be ready with cialis for daily use. cialis for daily use is a clinically proven low-dose tablet you take every day, so you can be ready anytime the moment's right. ♪ [ man ] tell your doctor about all your medical conditions and medications and ask if your heart is healthy enough for sexual activity. don't take cialis if you take nitrates for chest pain as this may cause an unsafe drop in blood pressure. [ man ] do not drink alcohol in excess with cialis. side effects may include headache, upset stomach, delayed backache or muscle ache. to avoid long-term injury seek immediate medical help for an erection lasting more than 4 hours.
7:50 pm
if you have any sudden decrease or loss in hearing or vision, stop taking cialis and call your doctor right away. [ male announcer ] ask your doctor if cialis for daily use is right for you. for a 30-tablet free trial offer, go to [ male announcer ] they'll see you...before you see them. cops are cracking down on drinking and riding. drive sober, or get pulled over.
7:51 pm
try capzasin-hp. it penetrates deep to block pain signals for hours of relief. capzasin-hp. take the pain out of arthritis. i'm isha sesay. back to anderson in a moment. first a 3 0 bulletin. a new tropical storm has form in the caribbean. tropical storm harvey is expected to move across the coast of belize tomorrow afternoon or night. according to the hurricane center, harvey has maximum sustained winds of 50 miles per hour and is expected to strengthen before it reaches
7:52 pm
belize. in afghanistan, new details on the suicide bombing we told you about last night. five taliban insurgents attacked the british con sell in kabul on friday detonating explosives and waging a gun battle as british and afghan forces tried to drive them out. at least eight people were killed an emotional day in norway. the families of last month's shooting victims visited the crime scene. 69 people died on otuya island where hundreds of young people were gathered for summer camp. a sixth person now dead following saturday's stage collapse at the indiana state fair. 22-year-old jennifer haskell died early this morning. the stage collapsed when the storm hit right before the band sugarland was to take the stage. and a florida babysitter is charged with child neglect after she put an infant in a stroller in the bed of a pickup truck. 23-year-old keona davis said she didn't know it was wrong "it's
7:53 pm
not like they give you a handbook or anything". now back to anderson. >> up next, they say if you can make it here you can make it anywhere. tonight my hometown, new york city, made it, well, made its way onto our ridiculist. find out why. now get an incredible offer on the powerful c300 sport sedan. but hurry before this opportunity...disappears. the mercedes-benz summer event ends august 31st. i don't always have time to eat like i should. that's why i like glucerna shakes. they have slowly digestible carbs to help minimize blood sugar spikes, which can help lower a1c. [ male announcer ] glucerna. helping people with diabetes find balance. [ male announcer ] glucerna. or creates another laptop bag or hires another employee, it's not just good for business -- it's good for the entire community. at bank of america, we know the impact that local businesses have on communities, so we're helping them
7:54 pm
with advice from local business experts and extending $18 billion in credit last year. that's how we're helping set opportunity in motion. especially behind the wheel. nothing wrong with that. in fact, allstate gives them a bonus -- twice a year -- for being safe drivers. dollar for dollar, nobody protects you like allstate. [ male announcer ] they'll see you...before you see them. cops are cracking down on drinking and riding. drive sober, or get pulled over. we take it on ours. this summer put your family in an exceptionally engineered mercedes-benz now for an exceptional price during the summer event. but hurry, this offer ends august 31st.
7:55 pm
7:56 pm
7:57 pm
tonight we're adding my favorite city in the world, new york city. because the list of america's promiscuous cities is out and new york city didn't crack the top ten. it seems the naked city may not be that naked after all. okay couped compiled the list. in it number one, portland, oregon, most promiscuous. seattle, pittsburgh.
7:58 pm
really? pittsburgh? miami. okay, it's warm. everybody is in a bathing suit all the time. san francisco, dallas, san bernardino dino, denver, san diego, and finally houston. hello. where's new york? if you can make it here you can make it anywhere? i find it hard to believe that more people are making it in san bernardino. this is just completely counter intuitive. new york city is the city that doesn't sleep. the positions are right. the bars here stay open until 4:00 in the morning. they give out new york city condoms for free. derek jeter lives here, for crying out loud. but there's someone else i'm thinking of who clearly should be making our casual sex numbers trend higher. kathy griffith. she doesn't live here but she visits a lot. and i know she comes to get down. >> we're still like four minutes away. and we're going to be live all the way through -- all the way through the new year, the playing -- all the traditional stuff that we love. new york, new york. what is going on? >> i'm taking your clothes off.
7:59 pm
it's for america. i love america. >> watching that makes me sweat. pretty sure kathy doesn't bee they've way in portland. what's up with portland, anyway? how'd they get to be number one? is gossip girl set in portland? no, that would be new york. did they make sex and the city in portland? no, because no one would buy the concept of samantha wears an oversized flannel shirt and working as a barrista. clearly everything i learned about portland i learned from fred ormiston. >> remember when people were unambitious, slept until 11:00 and hung out with their friends? maybe working a couple hours a week at a coffee shop? >> i thought that died out a long time ago. >> not in portland. portland is a city where young people go to retire. ♪ >> new york, i like that. new york sort of has it own version of portland. it's a magical place called