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Evel Knievel Dead at 69; New Hampshire Standoff at Clinton Campaign Headquarters Ends Without Violence; Four Arrested in Sean Taylor Murder

Aired November 30, 2007 - 22:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: You were talking about Evel Knievel. We're going to have much more about the life and legend of Evel Knievel later on in the program.
But, tonight, a very heavy night of breaking news here in New Hampshire, as well as down in South Florida. We are going to late developments on the hostage drama that ended peacefully earlier tonight just two blocks from where I'm standing at Hillary Clinton's campaign headquarters here in town.

We are awaiting a news conference from Senator Clinton that's going to be happening any moment now. We will bring that to you live.

Also tonight, four people now in custody in the killing of NFL star Sean Taylor. And, tonight, all four are officially suspects. Police tonight laying out their theory of what went down, some shocking information ahead.

As I said, a very sad day for the daredevil that lives inside us all. Evel Knievel, who could leap nearly anything in a single bound -- or it certainly seemed like it -- has died. We're going to take you back to those thrilling days of yesteryear.

But we begin today with the hostage crisis which unfolded here throughout the day just a few blocks from where I am, the address, 28 North Main Street, one of a string of Clinton storefronts throughout New Hampshire.


COOPER (voice-over): It began at about 1:00 p.m. when a man walked into the Clinton campaign office claiming to have a bomb strapped to his chest. The device was wrapped in duct tape. Reports say he ordered an unknown number of hostages to lie on the floor.

He asked to talk to Hillary Clinton. He also released a woman and her baby. That woman went into a nearby door and said, call 911. Within minutes, word of the standoff spread.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My husband called me and asked me what I was doing. So I told him I was working.

And he told me that I needed to leave the building immediately, and I didn't understand why. He told me that there was something about a bomb. So I immediately grabbed my jacket and ran out the door.

COOPER: Then CNN's Washington bureau received a call from one of the hostages, a woman who was very upset. She talked to a CNN staffer and then put the suspect on the phone. He old us that he had mental problems and couldn't get anyone to help him.

After he hung up, CNN notified police. Throughout the afternoon, the hostage and the suspect called back several times, talking to other CNN staffers. By 2:00 p.m., police started arriving in droves. The SWAT team took up nearby positions. An armored vehicle appeared. And much of this town was on lockdown, including the schools.

CAPTAIN PAUL CALLAGHAN, ROCHESTER, NEW HAMPSHIRE POLICE DEPARTMENT: There is a large perimeter of Rochester that is blocked off. It's probably about four or five square blocks, the area. And, no -- and residents are not allowed back into that area.

COOPER: Around 3:30, another hostage was set free, a woman wearing a green top. You can see her led away by police.

SAREENA DALLA, CNN POLITICAL PRODUCER: She looked visibly distressed. She avoided eye contact with us, though. She just kept her head to the ground.

COOPER: As the day went on, we began to learn more about the suspect. His name is Leeland Eisenberg. He lives in the area. He's well known to police and reportedly says he's angry he couldn't get mental health care at a reasonable cost. And he's angry at the mental health care situation in the country. Authorities were not sure if he was armed with a bomb, but they weren't taking any chances.

DAN COULSON, FORMER MEMBER, FBI HOSTAGE RESCUE TEAM: He's the one that said, I have a bomb. And, if he starts to -- to come out of there and approach their perimeter, then, in my view, they have no choice but to neutralize him at that point.

COOPER: The hostage situation was about to enter its sixth hour when it came to a sudden and dramatic ending. And, then, live on television, Leeland Eisenberg slowly emerged with his hands raised from the Clinton campaign office.

Following the instructions of police, he kneeled and then lay on the ground. He was handcuffed and taken into custody. Around the same time, the fourth and final hostage was seen running from the scene. None of the victims was hurt. And this terrifying ordeal finally came to a peaceful end.


COOPER: It was the best possible ending that anything could have hoped for.

As we said at the top, we are expecting to hear from Senator Clinton live at any moment in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, nor far from here. She first spoke with reporters earlier tonight back in Washington. And here's what she said. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D-NY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I am very grateful that this difficult day has ended so well. All of my campaign staff and volunteers are safe. I want to thank them for their extraordinary courage and coolness under some very difficult pressures and dangerous situations.

I was in touch during the day with the families of those who were held hostage, and I really commend their extraordinary courage under, again, very difficult circumstances.

Every four years, extraordinary young people come to places like New Hampshire because they want to change our country. They believe in our future. They work around the clock. They are so committed to their cause.

And I just want to commend every one of them.


COOPER: Senator Clinton is holding her press conference.

Let's listen.


CLINTON: Everybody, come on in. Come on. Sure, come on here.

Attorney General, come on up.

Behind me are the leaders of the team that was so successful today in resolving the hostage situation in Rochester, with the safe release of all of the hostages and with the hostage-taker brought into custody.

And I want to thank them for their professionalism and their extraordinary work today.

We have Attorney General Ayotte. We have the lead hostage negotiator, Karen Terry (ph). And we have got the colonel of the New Hampshire State Police, who was very helpful to me today, Colonel Booth, the chief of Rochester Police Department, David Dubois, who was extraordinarily communicative in providing information to me and others about what was going on, Rochester Police Captain Paul Callaghan, who was the spokesman for the department, Chief of Homicide Jeffrey Strausen (ph), Deputy Chief of Rochester Police Mike Allen, who, again, was very personally helpful to me.

We also have Lieutenant of the State Police Robert Quinn (ph), Major Michael Hambrooke (ph), Sergeant Kevin Duffy (ph), who was the SWAT commander.

First, I want to thank them for the work they did securing Rochester. At the beginning of this incident, it was not at all clear what the full extent of the potential danger might be and the impact that that could have on the surrounding community.

Schools, businesses were evacuated in a very careful and thorough and expeditious manner. And I really appreciate that, because that was an important part of putting together what needed to be done in order to focus on the immediate danger posed by the hostage-taker.

I also want to thank all of the other levels of law enforcement who were present and supportive, certainly all the other local communities that sent help, the county, the state, which was very much involved in supervising what was going on.

And then we had additional help from the FBI and the Secret Service.

I also want to thank Governor Lynch, with whom I first spoke about eight minutes after I learned of this incident, and stayed in touch with throughout the hours that followed, and his entire team that was involved.

This was obviously a very difficult situation. I just met with the hostages and a number of their families, and a lot of relief, a lot of gratitude, particularly for the people behind me and the teams that they represent.

And it was, for me and my campaign, an especially tense and difficult day. These young people who come to work in campaigns here in New Hampshire are devoted. They're enthusiastic. They deeply care. And we had a lot of concern that we felt about them and their personal safety.

I spoke with their families throughout the day to provide whatever information I had. And I know I -- I was bugging a lot of these people on a -- it felt like a minute-by-minute basis, trying to make sure that I knew everything that was going on, so that I was in a position to tell the families, to tell my campaign, and to be available to do anything that they asked of me.

I made it clear from the very first conversations that I had that I would take their direction, that they were the professionals; they were in charge of this situation; whatever they asked me or my campaign to do is what we would do.

And, so, we're immensely relieved that this has ended peacefully. But it is with a great sense of gratitude that I came here tonight, both to see the people who were directly held hostage and their families, and to thank the New Hampshire professionals, who made this day turn out as well as it did.

I'm extremely grateful to each and every one of them. And I would be glad to take your questions. And, if any of them have information that they want to step forward and provide, obviously, they're welcome to do that.

QUESTION: Senator, do you know Mr. Eisenberg? Do you anything about this man and (OFF-MIKE) What can you tell us to shed any light on it? CLINTON: You know, I cannot. He was someone that was not known to my campaign headquarters until he walked in the door today. Insofar as I'm aware, we had no contact with him.

QUESTION: Do you know what he wanted?

CLINTON: We really are going to wait until the investigation unfolds to try to piece it all together, to find out what his motive was, what his concerns were.

It -- it appears that he is someone who was in need of help and sought attention in absolutely the wrong way.

QUESTION: Senator, what was your reaction when you (OFF-MIKE) the situation?

CLINTON: Well, it was grave concern about what I was told, and then immediately turning on and following it in the media.

It affected me, not only because these were my staff members and volunteers, but, as a mother, it was just a horrible sense of, you know, just bewilderment, confusion, outrage, frustration, anger, I mean, everything at the same time.

But I was, you know, very grateful to have the -- the calm and extremely professional support that I found in talking to the people here in New Hampshire.

QUESTION: Senator Clinton, do you feel that your campaign office was targeted specifically by this man, or could he have just as easily targeted Senator Barack Obama's office just down the street?

CLINTON: Well, I believe that he was seeking help and came to my office because he thought that he might get some kind of relief from his own pain and suffering. However, that's to be defined and identified later. But we don't know anything more than that.

QUESTION: Senator, will this change the dynamic of your campaign? And what is your schedule here in New Hampshire tomorrow?

CLINTON: Well, actually, I'm going to be in Iowa tomorrow.


CLINTON: I'm going back to my campaign schedule. And I will be back in New Hampshire in the very near future.

But my schedule has been mapped out for the next really week or two weeks. And I had always intended to be in Iowa tomorrow. And I will be there.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Last question, guys.


QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) about their experiences today? Were they scared? Were they threatened?

CLINTON: Well, I'm not going to speak for them. I am very proud of them. They showed extraordinary courage.

They were calm and -- and collected under enormous pressure. They obviously understood that they could be in grave danger, but handled themselves and the situation extraordinarily well.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you, guys. Thank you, guys.




So, maybe the chief would want to say something?

QUESTION: Chief, step up.

And can you shed some light? Who is this guy? What did he want? Did he threaten the senator? I mean, what...


CLINTON: Come over here, Chief.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have some local history on the gentleman.

I'm not at liberty to define that any further with you at this time because of an ongoing criminal investigation. That will -- it right now involves state charges. That could possibly rise to the level of felony charges. And I have to work closely with prosecuting officials before divulging any more information than that.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can't get into any motivations, other than what the senator has already done. He went into her office for personal reasons. Our concerns became public safety and, quite frankly, his safety also. And that's what we're still focused on now, is making sure everybody stays safe.


QUESTION: Are you recommending that the candidates change their security procedures in New Hampshire or elsewhere?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think the candidates all have security teams that are well-equipped to answer that question much better than I.

But we're in place in local communities to respond to these types of incidents, wherever they happen. And we appreciate all the support that we have gotten. QUESTION: Senator -- on that point, Senator, are we past the point where you and other candidates can sort of walk around freely and shake hands? I know you have a Secret Service detail, and Senator Obama does as well.

But are we past that? Does this make that hard to have...




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... campaign offices?


I mean, one of the TV stations said that there was a somewhat comparable incident back in 1980 with then-candidate, later to be President Reagan. You know, these -- these incidents, unfortunately, occur from time to time. And you work with law enforcement. You trust the professionals to deal with whatever the threat might be. And I have full confidence in them.

So, I don't see any changes in my schedule, in my campaign. I'm going to continue to do what I have been doing. I love being in New Hampshire. I look forward to a lot more campaigning between now and the primary. I don't think it's in any way going to impact on me.

Thank you all very much.


QUESTION: Senator, will you reopen your office? (OFF-MIKE)

CLINTON: Well, there is an ongoing criminal investigation. So, we're going to be guided by the police when it comes to what we can or can't do with what is a crime scene.

COOPER: Well, here we, at the scene of the crime, about two blocks away.

Behind the scenes today, as the hostage crisis was unfolding, the police were talking to Leeland Eisenberg's stepson. He reportedly told them his stepfather had asked him last night where he could buy traffic flares. He also said Eisenberg told him to be sure to watch him today on television.

By the time police handcuffed the hostage-taker, just after 6:00 p.m. tonight, they had learned a lot about him, including his history of mental problems.

And, in the past couple of hours, yet another piece of the picture seems to have come into focus.

CNN's Jason Carroll has been working the story hard. He joins me now.

What have you learned?

JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, what's really coming forward is a profile of a troubled 47-year-old man.

As you know, throughout this entire ordeal, he had called CNN several times, explaining that he was a mental patient. Of course, we did not reveal this, for security reasons. He told CNN that he needed help, that help would cost thousands and thousands of dollars, money he didn't have. He was extremely frustrated about that.

He also asked to be put in touch with Senator Clinton. Of course, CNN did not do that.

This was a man who was also very well known to local police here. Apparently, back in March, local police had some sort of a campaign where they were putting flyers into cars, you know, trying to tell people, you know, to leave their cars locked.

Apparently, Eisenberg had one of these flyers, became extremely upset over that, claiming that it had somehow violated his rights. Back in March, this is -- that's when that all took place.

Also, in terms of his personal problems. He had many problems, allegedly, with his wife. Today, in fact, at 1:30, he was supposed to appear for a domestic violence hearing with his wife, obviously did not show up for that. It turns out that his wife had filed, back in November, divorce proceedings against him, citing irreconcilable differences, basically saying that he had an alcohol problem, that he had a drug problem.

There were also allegations that he had threatened her in many ways. And, then, just recently, Anderson, we learned that, back in 2002, a civil lawsuit was filed by a Leeland Eisenberg against the Archdiocese of Boston. Now, it's unclear at this point if we're dealing with the same Leeland Eisenberg, but...

COOPER: And that was a lawsuit alleging sexual abuse?

CARROLL: Absolutely, alleging that, back when he was 21 years old, when he was a homeless alcoholic, apparently, during that time, he went to his local parish, looking for help. He said that a local priest there, instead of giving him help, sexually abused him.

COOPER: Jason Carroll working the story. We will continue to follow that story,

Jason, thank you for that.

We're going to continue to find out more, no doubt, about Leeland Eisenberg over the next 24 hours. We will hear from neighbors tonight, though, in this hour about the Leeland Eisenberg they know.

And we will talk to mental health experts about what kind of people hold other people hostage. Later: tonight's big new developments in the Sean Taylor murder mystery, police saying it is no longer a mystery to them; it is murder, and they think they have got the killers. They have four people in custody -- that and more right after this.


COOPER: Well, Leeland Eisenberg is clearly a man with a very troubled past. What is still unclear tonight is what exactly drove him to such extremes today. We're digging deeper on that angle.

Joining me now is Dr. Jeffrey Lieberman, the chief of psychiatry at New York Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center, and Pete Earley, a former "Washington Post" reporter and author of "Crazy: A Father's Search Through America's Mental Health Madness." Ironically, he was recently in Rochester giving a speech on mental health issues.

Dr. Lieberman, what do you think happened tonight? I mean, what drives someone to take hostages? Is it simply in this case seeking attention?

DR. JEFFREY LIEBERMAN, PSYCHIATRIST IN CHIEF, NEW YORK PRESBYTERIAN HOSPITAL: Well, when these things happen, as they, unfortunately, repeatedly do, it can occur for several reasons, generally.

One is, somebody is dismissed from their job, or they lose benefits, and they have a grudge, and they want to take it out. We have seen that happen in the postal service repeatedly over the years.

A second is, is that somebody is really down on their luck, having hard times, and they are driven to the brink, and they don't know how to deal with it, and they just simply lash out in some public way.

And the third is that somebody suffers from a mental illness which drives them to it, because they have crazy, strange ideas that they seek to act on. In this case, it appears that this is a man who had a longstanding history of mental instability, complicated, possibly, by alcohol and drug use, and he sought to express his frustration at not getting the help he thought he needed by walking into the campaign office of a candidate who might be the next president of the United States to call attention to himself.

He wasn't going to do anything violent, because he didn't have a fireman, and he had highway flares, not actual explosives. So, this was really an expression of desperation and a way to communicate.

COOPER: Pete, Eisenberg called CNN, told one of our staffers that he had mental problems, that he couldn't get anyone to help. Does it surprise you to hear someone complain about the system like that, I mean, a situation like that?

PETE EARLEY, AUTHOR, "CRAZY: A FATHER'S SEARCH THROUGH AMERICA'S MENTAL HEALTH MADNESS": Absolutely not. It's very difficult for loved ones to get help for their mentally ill loved ones. And, look, I was in New Hampshire last month. And the chief justice of the New Hampshire Supreme Court talked before I did. And he talked about his son, who has a mental illness, and how he tried to get him help, and how his son attacked him, and how his son was arrested, and is now in the criminal justice system.

If the chief justice of the New Hampshire Supreme Court can't get his son help, what does that tell you about our system?

COOPER: Dr. Lieberman, what about that? What is the problem with the system? I mean, if -- if you have a family member, a loved one, who needs help, is not willing to help themselves, it's very difficult to -- to get that help for them.

LIEBERMAN: Well, treatment for mental illnesses is available. It's abundant in a variety of places in our health care system.

The problem is, there's not enough of it, and the reimbursement, the insurance or financial coverage for it, is not comparable to that that we have for other medical illnesses. So, as a result, people don't necessarily know where to go. And, if they do go, they may not have coverage, and they have to pay out of pocket.

The other thing which frequently happens is that people who are affected by illnesses like depression, like schizophrenia, like psychotic disorders, they often don't realize that their brain is dysfunctioning and that they're mentally disturbed. And they don't think they need help, which then places the burden on their loved ones to get them treatment.

And our society, because it prides itself on free expression and individual autonomy, does not allow the imposition of treatment against people's will. And, thus, people suffer from their illness which is treatable because treatment can't be given to them.

COOPER: And not until they become violent do they actually get the help or get put into the criminal justice system.

Peter Early, appreciate you being with us.

And, Dr. Lieberman, thank you very much.

Joining us now is CNN's Jim Acosta, who spent the evening talking with neighbors at the trailer park in nearby Somersworth, where Leeland Eisenberg lives.

Jim, what are the neighbors saying about him?

JIM ACOSTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, they clearly saw some early signs.

They say that Lee Eisenberg had problems with alcohol. They say he had a quick temper, and, on more than one occasion, they overheard loud arguments inside of his trailer that were going on between he and presumably his wife. And these neighbors say that, quite often, they saw Lee Eisenberg intoxicated, that he made frequent trips to the liquor store almost on a daily basis.

And they say that this was just something that was only a matter of time before something serious were to happen.

Here's some of what they had to say.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He would walk over to the filling station right up the street every day, and always get either a 12-pack or something like that. This is every day, an everyday occurrence.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To haul him away for domestic violence, yes. I don't know what happened. I -- I was coming in from work, and they were hauling him in the cruiser.


ACOSTA: And, Anderson, I can't forget what one person told us tonight, one of those neighbors at that trailer park told us tonight. And that is that they believe that this was a cry for help from Lee Eisenberg and that they wonder whether he was medicating his mental illness with alcohol.

COOPER: Interesting.

Jim Acosta, thanks very much.

ACOSTA: You bet.

COOPER: We heard from his stepson, telling a waitress in a nearby restaurant that his father had been drinking for some 72 hours. That's according to her. She was on our program at 8:00 tonight.

Up next: one of other big stories that we have been following. Police say they have got their men in the murder of Sean Taylor. I say men. There are four of them now in custody. You will hear how they think it happened and why they have now arrested these four men in connection with the crime.

And later: remembering a life that I sure wanted to live when I was a kid. Pretty sure I wasn't alone. Remembering Evel Knievel and the amazing things he did -- when 360 continues.



ROBERT PARKER, MIAMI-DADE COUNTY POLICE DIRECTOR: We're here to tell you about who we have arrested in this case. It involves four individuals ranging in age from 17 to 20.

(END VIDEO CLIP) COOPER: That was the director of the Miami-Dade Police Department a short time ago announcing a major break in the Sean Taylor case.

The 24-year-old Washington Redskins safety was killed on Tuesday, a -- well, a day after he was shot. He actually was shot on Monday. He died on Tuesday, apparently, a burglary occurring at his Miami home. His longtime girlfriend and 18-month-old baby were with him at the time. Neither of them was injured.

Now, in -- in the past three days, police have learned a lot about that night.

Here's what else they had to say tonight.


PARKER: We know that these individuals, on the night of occurrence, entered the residence. We know that, once that they were in the residence, they encountered Mr. Taylor. We know that Mr. Taylor was mortally wounded by a single gunshot. We know that these individuals then exited the residence and fled in a waiting vehicle.

We are certainly looking into the prospect that one or more of these individuals, these subjects, previously visited the victim's residence.

Our investigation also revealed that these individuals were under the assumption that the residence was vacant and that Mr. Taylor or no one else was in the residence. In other words, that they were under the assumption that it was unoccupied.

As this investigation proceeds and further investigation -- further leads are developed, additional arrests are certainly possible.


COOPER: CNN's John Zarrella standing by in Ft. Myers, Florida.

John, all week people having been asking, was Sean Taylor himself targeted? It seems, according to police, at least, if what their -- they, the information they have is correct, the answer to that is no, but these people did know it was Sean Taylor's house?

JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right. Exactly, Anderson, that Taylor himself was not targeted. But clearly they knew that Sean Taylor, the NFL football star, lived there. And as Director Parker said, they probably did not know that he was going to be home and that that took them by surprise.

We know that for the better part of the day here in Ft. Myers behind me, Florida Department of Law Enforcement officers, as well as Florida Highway Patrol to the better part of the day the four individuals were questioned here. They are all four young men, ages 17 to 20 years old, their lives very much now in a very, very deep, deep, dark place as they face the possibility, very likely, of murder charges against them. They will make a first appearance in the Lee County courthouse tomorrow.

Now, we do suspect that those -- that after that they will then be transported at some point back to Miami-Dade County, but Director Parker did say and reiterated that he really does believe that they did not think that Sean Taylor would be home.


PARKER: They were certainly not looking to go there and kill anyone. They were expecting a residence that was not occupied. So murder or shooting someone was not their initial motive. Their initial motive, though I can't deny that they knew the fact that Jason [sic] Taylor lived there, their obvious motive was to go there and steal the contents of the house.


ZARRELLA: Now, in a very, very dramatic incident, about an hour ago, a little over an hour ago, an emotional moment, the mother of Jason Mitchell and a couple of other relatives came here. And as she approached, running up to the building, she was banging on the sides of the door. She wanted to get in to see her son. She had no idea how to get in to see her son.

Eventually, she was allowed entry into the building to see her son, Jason Mitchell.

We also had the opportunity, while she was in there, to talk very briefly with Millie Hendricks, and that is Jason Mitchell's grandmother.



MILLIE HENDRICKS, JASON MITCHELL'S GRANDMOTHER: But I know he was home Monday. I don't know nothing about Sunday, now, but I know he was there Monday. Because when I get in my house I shut my door and I don't know what goes on on the outside. Because I do not work and I go to bed at night, and that's what I'm supposed to do.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Does he live near you, ma'am?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you hear them say they will be charged with murder? Did you hear that?

HENDRICKS: No, I don't.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They will be charged with murder. Do you have a comment?

HENDRICKS: There's nothing I can say. (END VIDEO CLIP)

ZARRELLA: Now, Hendricks was saying there, of course, that she saw her grandson Monday but did not know where he was on Sunday. Now, all four of these individuals, Anderson, have criminal records. We've looked in that, everything from marijuana, possession and sale to vehicle theft, to possession, unlawful possession of a firearm by a minor to trafficking in amphetamines and -- and methamphetamines.

So they are not strangers to the police over here in Fort Myers -- Anderson.

COOPER: John, do we know of any connections any of these four may have had with Sean Taylor?

ZARRELLA: Well, here's what police are saying. They are looking into the possibility that there may have been some connection. But they're saying at this point they are steering us away from any connections.

But now the "Miami Herald" is reporting that they had spoken with one of the suspects, in fact Jason Mitchell's brother, who told them that Mitchell and another one attended a party of one of Sean Taylor's sisters.

Now, that's totally unconfirmed by police and, again, they had been steering us away from that. But the "Miami Herald" reporting tonight that they had talked with Mitchell's twin brother, who says that, in fact, they had attended this party with on of Jason [sic] Taylor's sisters and that possible connection -- Anderson.

COOPER: All right. We'll continue to follow that. Appreciate it, John.

Just ahead we're going to hear from Sean Taylor's lawyer. She's also a long-time friend of the NFL star. Coming up, her take on today's arrests and how she is coping with the loss of her friend.

And the loss of a legend. Evel Knievel, the daredevil who thrilled us with his stunts, died today. We'll talk to one of his closest friends about the life of a legend. Next on 360.


COOPER: We are digging deeper tonight in the big break in the Sean Taylor case. These four men are in custody tonight in Fort Myers, Florida, all of them suspects in the sheeting death of the 24- year-old NFL star. The Washington Redskins safety died Tuesday a day after being shot during an apparent burglary at his Miami home. He will be buried on Monday.

Joining me now on the phone is his lawyer and long-time friend, Janice Burton Sharpstein.

And Janice, I'm sorry to be talking to you under these circumstances. Your thoughts on hearing of the arrest of these four young men?

JANICE BURTON SHARPSTEIN, ATTORNEY FOR SEAN TAYLOR: Well, obviously, we're all very happy that the police department has worked very hard in trying to find the people who were involved in this.

Unfortunately, it will do nothing to bring back someone who was a terrific treasure to everyone who knew him.

COOPER: Police are investigating and the "Miami Herald" has reported there may be some connection, that one of these young men's brother may have dated a sister of Sean Taylor's. Do you recognize any of their names? Do you know of any possible connection?

SHARPSTEIN: I do not recognize any of their names. I know there's been a lot of speculation that there is some sort of relationship between them and some member or some -- either some memory of Sean's family or some friend that he may have known.

However, there is clearly no connection between Sean and any of these individuals that has been uncovered at this time.

COOPER: Did Sean...

SHARPSTEIN: So, while it is clear there may be an indirect connection, it is not a direct connection with Sean Taylor.

COOPER: Did Sean fear for his safety? There was -- there had been, it seems like, some attempt of a break-in a few weeks before, maybe involving one of these four young men, we are learning tonight. The reports say he had a machete under his bed when these burglars came in. Was he concerned about his physical safety?

SHARPSTEIN: Well, I think he, unfortunately, like many people who exist in sort of the world of celebrity status, understand that they have, unfortunately, a special exposure to being targeted.

You know, here he was, a person known not only within the community, but throughout the United States as an individual who was successful, not only in his chosen field, but in a field which was very lucrative.

There were a lot of people that knew that, knew where he lived; it was not a secret. And because of that status, he was someone who was subject to a greater target. And like individuals who are in that position, while in places like Miami, there is a danger to everyone, there is a particular danger to someone who has a status and is as well known, as Sean Taylor was.

COOPER: And again, Janice, I know it's a difficult time for you and all the friends and family of Sean Taylor, and I appreciate you coming on to talk about your thoughts tonight. Janice Burton Sharpstein, thank you.

As you heard Robert Parker say a bit earlier, the youngest suspect arrested in the killing of Sean Taylor is just 17 years old.

Joining me to talk about that and more, CNN senior legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin.

Jeffrey, authorities said the suspects were not looking to kill anyone, did not even realize that Sean Taylor would be in the home. The intent -- how much was intent matter in a case like this?

TOOBIN: Well, it could matter in what degree of homicide it is. But homicide is homicide. And if you kill someone in the course of a robbery, it can be called felony murder. That is, murder in the course of committing another felony, which could make the relevant parties eligible for the death penalty.

Now the two 17-year-olds could not be eligible for the death penalty, because the Supreme Court has said juveniles who commit murder are off-limits for the death penalty.

But, if in fact, the 18-year-old and the 20-year-old are found to have committed felony murder, they could be eligible for the death penalty.

COOPER: What is the next step in the process?

TOOBIN: Well, the -- the suspects will be arraigned and then the district attorney's office in Dade County will decide what the formal charges are. There will also be the issue of how the 17-year-olds are tried. Are they tried as adults or as juveniles?

Given the fact that they're 17 and almost -- almost adults, and how awful this crime is, I am certain that they will move -- the prosecutors will move to try them as adults.

COOPER: They also apparently have at least one confession in the case thus far.

TOOBIN: You know, it does happen that there are false confessions, sometimes, but the overwhelming majority of cases, confessions end the case.

And confessions often lead to evidence that corroborates the confessions, because once you have someone say, "Well, you know, we did it," you go to their house and you get DNA evidence that connects to the crime scene, or you get fingerprint evidence. So the -- a confession is hugely beneficial to the prosecution, barring some extremely unforeseen circumstances.

COOPER: The fact that the suspects, or according to police, knew it was Sean Taylor's house, does that factor in the case at all?

TOOBIN: Well, it does because, as the prosecutor said in the press conference, they didn't think they went to kill Sean Taylor, but it is rational, if you can ascribe that to criminal behavior, to say, "Look, some rich guy lives there. Let's go rob the house."

And that appears to be what the prosecution is saying was the motive here. They knew Sean Taylor, a very rich football player, lived in this house. He probably had something valuable there. So they -- the four of them go there to rob the house. It turns out, to their surprise, he's there. There's a fight. He gets murdered. But, you know, it explains why they went to go there if, in fact, this is true that they knew he lived there, that they just wanted to steal a rich man's belongings.

COOPER: Yes. It seems so senseless. Jeffrey, appreciate your expertise. Jeff Toobin.

Next on 360, saying goodbye to Evel Knievel. He broke almost every bone in his body, and he kept on going. We'll look back at the daredevil with one of his old buddies and our own Larry King, who knew him well. Stay tuned.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Whoa it looks like a good one. Whoa, Evel stays on the burn (ph). There's been a mistake. He looks like he's going into the canyon. The ship's going down. It's going down.

EVEL KNIEVEL, DAREDEVIL: As the vehicle is going down, the wind is blowing me back into the canyon wall. I'm fighting trying to get out of it. People didn't realize it, but I was trying to cut myself free. I was tied in that thing. If that would have gone in the river, I would have absolutely drowned. I was a dead man.

I waited seven years and then had an engineering mistake, made a malfunction. The parachute blew out on takeoff because of an electrical malfunction. How I ever made it, how I ever lived is just a miracle.


COOPER: Evel Knievel discussing the jump that failed.

The jumps with the motorcycle. Those absurdly dangerous jumps like that disastrous one over the Snake River Canyon. Well, that was Evel Knievel. He was a superstar among daredevils and an icon of the '70s.

Evel Knievel died today at 69. For years, he defied death with thrill-seeking stunts involving sharks and cars, a rocket, you name it. Knievel was certainly one of a kind, and he would be the first to say so.

In a moment we're going to talk to Larry King, who knew him well. But first, Randi Kaye looks back at his life.


RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Trucks, sharks, even Idaho's Snake River Pass. If it could be jumped, Evel Knievel wanted to try it.

KNIEVEL: My name is Evel Knievel. I'm a professional daredevil. KAYE: Clad in red, white and blue, Knievel thrilled audiences for decades. Still, with so much success, he may be best known for his greatest failures: the 1974 attempt to jump idea Idaho's Snake River Canyon on a rocket-powered cycle, and an unforgettable crash in Las Vegas while trying to jump the fountains at Caesar's Palace.

Knievel always walked away. But more often than he liked, with a pretty good limp. Before he retired in 1980, he suffered 40 broken bones.

KNIEVEL: Teddy Roosevelt said one time that it's better to try and win glorious triumphs and victories, even though you're checkered by failure and fate, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy victory or defeat, because they've lived in such a great twilight that they've never tried either one.

KAYE: Knievel was born Robert Craig Knievel in Butte, Montana, and raised by his grandparents. He traced his career back to the first daredevil show he ever saw. He was just -- he was a ski jumper and ice hockey player in high school, then went on to work in Montana's copper mines.

He served in the Army, even sold insurance. But he was happiest in the seat of his bike.

KNIEVEL: I was the luckiest guy in the world.

KAYE: In 1999, Knievel married his long-time girlfriend in Vegas. They later divorced.

It was his granddaughter who confirmed his death. His health had been deteriorating for years. He suffered from diabetes and pulmonary fibrosis.

The Associated Press quotes longtime friend and promoter Billy Rundel, who said Knievel had trouble breathing at his Florida home and died before an ambulance could get him to the hospital.

Rundel told the A.P., "You just don't expect it. Superman just doesn't die, right?"

Knievel's death comes just two days after he settled a federal lawsuit with rapper Kanye West over the use of his trademark image in a popular music video.

Evel Knievel was 69.

Randy Kaye, CNN, New York.


COOPER: One person who got to know Evel Knievel well was our own Larry King. He interviewed him many times. Larry joins me now on the phone to talk about the daredevil.

Larry, what kind of a guy was he? LARRY KING, HOST, "LARRY KING LIVE": He was a heck of a guy. What you saw on that piece, and that was an excellent piece, was just what he was. He defied logic often. He loved challenges. He -- he appreciated facing death.

This is what Loretta said to me today when she called to tell me that he died. Evel Knievel is not supposed to die in a hospital or in an ambulance on the way to the hospital, or dead in a house. He was supposed to crash somewhere. That's what he wanted. I think he didn't want to go on this way.

He was an easy guy to like. You would have liked him, Anderson. He's a very affable, easy guy to like. His son took after him, too. His son did a lot of jumping and daredevil.

COOPER: Robbie Knievel.

KING: You look at daredevil in the dictionary, you get his picture.

COOPER: I remember as a kid, I mean, looking up to Evel Knievel, watching all those jumps, wanting to have a motorcycle. That was one thing I was never allowed to have as a kid. The only rule I had was I couldn't have a bike.

But, I mean, back in the day, Evel Knievel was a household name.

KING: People forget that. He was on the front cover of "TIME," front cover of "Sports Illustrated." He was -- I guess he was -- he certainly was an athlete. He didn't compete against anyone but himself.

He invented his own tricks. You know, "I'm going to jump the Snake River. I will jump over the fountains of Caesar's Palace." And he liked doing that. He liked thinking of things. And he would ask his friends. He would say to them -- I finished an interview with him. He says, "What do you think I ought to do? Should I jump 27 trucks in a motorcycle? What should I do?"

He was Herculean. He was -- they won't have his likes again.

COOPER: He also coupled stunts with entertainment. I mean he knew how to entertain. He knew the value of, you know, a snazzy name, an interesting name. You know, those Elvis red, white and blue suits.

KING: Well put, Anderson. He was not only a great athlete, and he was a athlete. He was an entertainer. The clothes he wore, the colors, the suits. The promotion, he was the world's greatest self promoter.

He got himself into that Caesar's Palace things by calling up the head of Caesar's Palace, using false names, to ask them if they had heard about this guy Evel Knievel, who was going to jump at Caesar's Palace. And he wound up being invited to jump. And of course, they paid him pretty good money to do that jump, and they got worldwide attention. He was a promoter, an entertainer and an athlete. And he defied that. And 69 was too young for him to die.

I don't know how many bones he broke. You just did it in the piece.

COOPER: Yes, I think it was 40 bones -- I think it was 40 bones overall but probably hundreds of bruises and gashes and goodness knows what else. It's hard to think of him as gone, but, man, you know, those jumps live on, and that name will live on for an awfully long time.

Larry, appreciate you coming on to talk. Thanks.

KING: My pleasure. Thanks.

COOPER: Take care.

More news when we come back, some of it causing a global outcry, including this, the woman sentenced to jail for naming a teddy bear Mohamed. Thousands -- for the crime thousands called for the ultimate punishment, almost a riot calling for this woman's murder. That's next on 360.


COOPER: The latest on the hostage crisis. Earlier today at Hillary Clinton's campaign office here in Rochester, New Hampshire, in a moment. But first our Randi Kaye joins us again with a 360 bulletin -- Randi.

KAYE: Hi there, Anderson.

The case of the British teacher jailed for naming a teddy bear Mohamed is taking a new turn tonight. "TIME" magazine says the British government is trying to persuade Sudanese officials to release her from custody. A meeting between representatives from both nations is set for Saturday.

Earlier today, demonstrators in Sudan called for her murder.

An important Democrat has had a partial change of heart on Iraq. Pennsylvania Congressman John Murtha says the U.S. troop surge is working. He adds that Congress may be close to making a deal with the administration to provide more money for military operations.

However, Murtha is still very critical of Iraq's government, telling CNN the Iraqi leaders are not stepping up to unit and rebuild the country.

A train collision on Chicago's South Side sent dozens of people to area hospitals. An Amtrak passenger train ran into a freight train. Two crew members were seriously hurt. The tracks are expected to reopen sometime tonight.

And in Aruba, a judge has ruled that two of the three suspects in the Natalee Holloway disappearance should be released from jail. The two brothers, Deepak and Satish Kalpoe, were rearrested last week in connection with Holloway's disappearance in May of 2005. A third man, Joran Van Der Sloot, is still behind bars -- Anderson.

COOPER: Randi, thanks very much. I appreciate your help tonight.

That does it for this special edition of 360. It has been quite a dramatic day. At 1 p.m. today, Lee Eisenberg, Leland Eisenberg, walked into Hillary Clinton's office, said he had a bomb strapped around his body, and for the next five hours, much of the country watched as police waited and tried to get the hostages out, one by one.

They successfully did that. Mr. Isenberg came out, was arrested and is now in custody tonight.

If there's a lot going on around the world to tell you about tonight. A world away, Russians are getting ready to go to the polls. That story is coming up next. The question, though, is what kind of democracy are they living in? That's the central question in a CNN special "Czar Putin." It's hosted by CNN's Christiane Amanpour, and that is coming up next.

I'll see you Monday night.