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Five Killed in Gym Shooting; American Journalists Freed; How the Deal Went Down; Slur & Suspension; Manson Family Killers: Then & Now

Aired August 4, 2009 - 23:00   ET



ERICA HILL, CNN GUEST ANCHOR: Breaking news on several fronts. And we are going to continue that.

The first sadly is a horror story unfolding at this hour in western Pennsylvania. Gunfire and fatalities at a health club at a mall in Collier Township, it's about a half an hour's drive southwest of Pittsburgh.

Here is what we know at this hour. Local officials telling us five people are dead including the gunman. As many as 15 people wounded in this attack. "The Pittsburgh Post Gazette" provides some more details quoting witnesses who saw a man carrying a duffel bag walk in the back door of an exercise class then opened fire.

One witness says she saw people flying off treadmills, hitting the ground before she and others managed to flee through a fire escape. Witnesses also telling our affiliate WTAE a man unrecognized by gym staff, walked in, turned off the lights and begin shooting at a class in the aerobics center.

This is a live picture coming to you right now of the scene out side of that health club. It is an L.A. Fitness, again, in Colliers Township in western Pennsylvania, just a little bit south of Pittsburgh, these pictures from our affiliate WTAE. We are going to continue to follow this. And bring you all the latest updates as they come in to us here at CNN.

But there is also more breaking news that we are on top of for you tonight. At this moment Euna Lee and Laura Ling are airborne. You are about to see them -- here we see them boarding the plane, former President Bill Clinton's private jet. Here they are on the tarmac in Pyongyang. After almost five months in North Korean captivity, finally they are on their way home.

They are due back on U.S. soil tomorrow morning. Their release and pardon secured by the former president today. His trip and talks with North Korean dictator, Kim Jong-Il described as a private humanitarian mission.

But there are reports that it actually involved weeks of secret preparation, consultation with both the White House and the State Department. In fact, one Korea expert says bluntly quote, "Mr. Clinton did not go to negotiate this. He went to reap the fruits of the negotiation."

Well, as for what was said in today's talks that is still unknown. The White House equally quiet on the developments. The North Koreans claim Mr. Clinton apologized and also brought a message from President Obama. The White House denies it.

So what, if anything, was offered beyond a photo-op or two for the dear leader in dispute? We'll keep digging on that for you.

In the meantime, as we try to learn more about just went -- what went into the story, it is a welcome chapter that is starting to be -- to be written that is. Euna and Laura, as we mentioned, now somewhere over the Pacific, they are headed to their families in Los Angeles.

That is where Randi Kaye joins us with the latest. Hi Randi.


Tonight we are in Santa Monica, just outside the apartment building of Lisa Ling. She is the sister of Laura Ling. We are not sure if this is where the family will be reunited. But we came here just in case. As you know, the women were arrested in March. They were sentenced in June to 12 years of hard labor in one of North Korea's prison camps.

So the family of course, hoping that this day would come but never knowing for sure if it actually would. But as you said, the women are on the plane heading back here to California with former president Bill Clinton. They should be landing sometime tomorrow morning. They have to refuel on the way.

But the family, of course, has been waiting now about 140 days. Laura Ling's father, Doug Ling, spoke to reporters today. He actually said that he learned the news that his daughter had been pardoned and that she would be freed on CNN.

He said, he was watching CNN and all of the sudden the breaking news came across and he was ecstatic. Here is a little bit more of what he had to say to reporters today.


DOUG LING, FATHER OF LAURA LING: Of course, I'm elated. And this is one of the happiest days of my life. So I'm going to go down there and see my little girl. I knew something positive was going to happen. And it happened.

And I'm so glad and I'm so thankful for all the people that -- with their prayers and thoughts. I'm very thankful to the State Department. I'm very thankful to the government for doing what -- all they can to gain their release.


KAYE: Of course this has been a very tough time for the family. Euna Lee's husband, Michael, told 360 a few weeks back that their daughter, Hannah, who is just 4 years old was starting to draw pictures just showing herself Hannah, at age 4 and her father showing that her mother Euna was no longer in the picture, which was very difficult for this 4-year-old and her father to really handle.

So the family, of course, had asked for mercy from the North Korean government and they had said that it was really just a mistake that the women had crossed from China into North Korea.

The family did release a statement tonight. I want to share that with you. It reads, "We are grateful to our government, President Obama, Secretary Clinton and the U.S. State Department for their dedication and hard work on behalf of American citizens. We especially want to thank President Bill Clinton for taking on such an arduous mission and Vice President Al Gore for his tireless efforts to bring Laura and Euna home."

It goes on to thank people for their support and says that they can't wait to hold Euna and Laura in their arms. Also tonight, Al Gore's company who the women work for released a statement, Current Media saying thank you to the Obama administration, praising Bill Clinton saying that their thoughts are with the families who have shown remarkable courage during these 140 days.

So once again, Erica, families should be back here, the women should be back here sometime early tomorrow morning. We are not sure if they're going to reunite here.

We're told that they're flying actually into Burbank. That's what Doug Ling was saying in his interview with reporters today. So we'll just have to see and try and catch up with them at some point.

HILL: I imagine there is not going to be a lot of sleep for either the Ling or Lee families tonight.

Randi, do you know the last time that they actually heard from either of these women? When was that?

KAYE: Doug Ling said today that the last time he heard from his daughter, Laura, was ten days ago. And imagine this; there she is captive in North Korea. She calls him and he missed the call but he did get the message. He played it on the answering machine. He said it was a very emotional message. He didn't say what she said. But imagine missing that phone call.

HILL: I'll tell you, he's not going to have to worry about missing her tomorrow morning. That's the good news tonight. Randi Kaye in Los Angeles.

Aboard the former president's jet again expected to land early tomorrow morning or at Santa Monica more accurately. Safe to say we're going to be learning a lot more when that jet does touch down. Because there are still so many questions tonight including how the women were treated, how they fell into North Korean hands in the first place. And what was done to win their release.

In that sense, of course, this story is far from over. But here is a look of what we do know from the beginning. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

HILL: March 17th, American journalists Laura Ling and Euna Lee are near the border between China and North Korea working on a story for Current TV when they're suddenly arrested, possibly after crossing into North Korea, accused of being spies and imprisoned, while back home two shattered families plea for their release including Laura's sister fellow journalist, Lisa Ling.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: What's been the hardest part for you?

LISA LING, LAURA LING'S SISTER: For me, my sister is my best friend in the world. And not having her to talk to every single day multiple times a day has been so, so hard.

HILL: For Euna's husband Michael, emotions overflow when talk turns to the couple's 4-year-old daughter.

COOPER: And she drew a picture recently.

MICHAEL SALDATE, EUNA LEE'S HUSBAND: Yes. Yes. Normally the old pictures that she'd always draw were always my wife in the center. And I would be kind of aside and smaller and that would be all three of us. And she drew a picture and I was the center and it was just her and I.

And I don't even know what to say. I started to say thank you, Hannah that's a beautiful picture. But deep down inside she didn't include her mother which really made me sad.

HILL: In Washington a push for diplomacy begins almost immediately, becoming more public as a trial for the two women approaches.

HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON, SECRETARY OF STATE: We are engaged in all possible ways through every possible channel to secure their release. And we once again urge North Korea to grant their immediate release on humanitarian grounds.

HILL: Instead North Korea holds a secret trial and on June 8th, the women are sentenced to 12 years in a labor camp for what are described as hostile acts and for entering the country illegally.

Were they being used as pawns between the White House and a regime seeking nuclear weapons? Here is what Lisa Ling told Anderson Cooper back in June.

L. LING: It's crazy to think about the fact that right now there is a nuclear standoff going on and Laura and Euna are in the middle of it. And so what we are hoping is that our two countries keep these issues totally separate.

HILL: North Korea had begun firing more missiles since the women were arrested; launching rockets in April, May, even the Fourth of July, adding to the concerns for two families in California still grappling with the fact that their loved ones were in a North Korean prison.

Laura's husband Iain Clayton described his reaction when he heard that news.

IAIN CLAYTON, LAURA LING'S HUSBAND: I was actually writing a letter to Laura to -- as I do every day and you know, the idea -- that these three months have been the worst three months of my life.

COOPER: Michael, how are you doing? How is your daughter Hannah doing?

SALDATE: My daughter is still being hopeful. And she just asks that is mommy coming home soon? And I just said, "Just keep your hope up."

HILL: And then, late Monday night, word former president Bill Clinton was en route to Pyongyang; a trip most experts say he wouldn't make if he didn't think Laura and Euna would be coming back with him.

Tonight all three are on a plane while their families count the seconds to hold Laura and Euna in our arms.


HILL: We will, of course, continue to follow our other breaking news for you tonight; that shooting in a gym outside of Pittsburgh.

And as always you can join the live chat underway right now at I'm about to log on.

Up next though, the Clinton connection: what we're learning tonight, about the former president's role in this flight to freedom.

And a little bit later, two birthdays at the White House today. We'll show you what you've got to do to get the President of the United States to serenade you and bring cupcakes.

That and more tonight on 360.


HILL: More for you now on tonight's breaking news.

Journalists Laura Ling and Euna Lee headed home. Three simple words their families have been waiting almost five months to hear. The two women at this moment are in the air, onboard former president Bill Clinton's private jet.

They took off from Pyongyang just hours ago and are expected to touch down in Los Angeles tomorrow morning. Ling and Lee were arrested in March near North Korea's border with China and sentenced in June to 12 years hard labor.

Today, President Clinton secured a pardon for the women and of course, their release; his secret mission to secure their freedom lasting less than 24 hours.

Tom Foreman has the details.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Officially it was all unofficial. But when a former president and spouse of the current Secretary of State comes calling the official overtones are unmistakable. And that is why Kim Jong-Il was smiling according to Jack Pritchard a former Special U.S. Envoy to the region and now head of the Korea Economic Institute.

JACK PRITCHARD, KOREA ECONOMIC INSTITUTE: As you know for the last year, Kim Jong-Il has been plagued by health problems. There's been speculations that he's not going to survive very long.

FOREMAN: So a visit like this makes him look strong?

PRITCHARD: It looks and makes him look strong. He looks healthy and he looks happy in that picture. It puts to rest a lot of the speculation both internally and externally about his health and his command of authority in North Korea.

FOREMAN: So how was the deal done? First, through Sweden, the United States has no formal relations with North Korea but Sweden does. The Swedish Ambassador in Pyongyang, Mats Foyer, has been there since 2005 and he saw the captives repeatedly, keeping back door communications flowing there and at the United Nations in New York.

By all accounts the State Department worked tirelessly through those channels. The White House has not disclosed details.

ROBERT GIBBS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: This obviously is a very sensitive topic.

FOREMAN: But foreign affairs analysts believe the private talks drove public positions, the second key. For example, Secretary Clinton initially suggested the charges against the pair were baseless.

PRITCHARD: And Secretary Clinton indicated that this was somewhat of a sham trial and she disparaged the North Koreans' legal system. The North Koreans were furious over that.

FOREMAN: Then suddenly last month a much more conciliatory tone.

CLINTON: The two journalists and their families have expressed great remorse for this incident and I think everyone is very sorry that it happened.

FOREMAN: The third key, when the Obama administration responded to North Korea's latest missile test by pressing for sharper international sanctions, Pritchard says Kim Jong-Il needed to turn down the heat.

PRITCHARD: And this is a way, a very face-saving way for them to recalibrate their relationship with the United States.

FOREMAN: And the final key, Bill Clinton himself.

(END VIDEOTAPE) FOREMAN: Kim Jong-Il had wanted then President Clinton to visit North Korea back in 2000. It did not happen but analysts say he never gave up on the idea and in the end that's what sealed the deal. A visit from about the biggest unofficial official America could send -- Erica.

HILL: Tom thanks.

More now on the "Raw Politics" with David Gergen who in addition to being our senior political analyst is also a crisis management veteran inside the White House. Also, joining us tonight here in New York, Gordon Chang, "Forbes" columnist and author of "Nuclear Showdown: North Korea Takes on the World."

It's good to have both of you with us.

Gordon, there is this belief that has been stated I think numerous times today across the board really, that President Clinton would not have made this trip without some sort of assurance that he was going to be coming home with these two women.

How much of this deal was brokered or hammered out before he even got on the plane?

GORDON CHANG, AUTHOR, "NUCLEAR SHOWDOWN": I think about 99.5 percent. I mean, clearly, someone of Clinton's stature could not go to Pyongyang without having everything worked out in advance.

And everyone sort of thought this was going to happen in the sense because the negotiations over the last week, week and a half were very intense in Washington.

HILL: The White House, David Gergen, has called this trip a solely private mission. How private though, could it be? And we were hearing the rumblings of what was going on at the Department of State where of course his wife is the Secretary of State.

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think the White House and the Secretary of State have been very carefully trying to describe this as a private mission, a humanitarian mission. Not one undertaking at the request of President Obama, not one done for the Obama administration in order to separate out the question over the release of these two women from the question of nuclear talks.

The White House does not want to be seen in a position of we want to -- in exchange for the women we'll take a softer line on nuclear talks. They want to keep the two separated. And I think they are doing that successfully.

All indications are that the signals actually came from the North Koreans through the families that if Bill Clinton were to come that would be enough to trigger it. And that helped to set this off.

But clearly, there has been a lot of negotiating but also a lot of choreography behind the scenes in order to keep the emphasis on this as a private humanitarian mission. HILL: And to keep that focus on these two women.

Gordon, you are nodding your head as David is saying. And you also said to me earlier, these women were actually becoming a liability for the regime.

CHANG: Oh certainly. Because the longer that the regime held them, the more and more people looked at the legal system in North Korea. And the North Koreans didn't like that. And the longer that they held those women, the more mean and vindictive Kim Jong-Il looked. And certainly they didn't like that.

So they wanted to off-load these two women. So yes, it was a gesture of friendship. But also, it was in their self-interest to do this.

HILL: Of course, but not everybody is behind this. We should point out a really interesting points being made in the "Washington Post" today, by former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton. He likens this basically saying Mr. Clinton paid a quote, "Form of political ransom."

And this really stuck out to me, he writes, "The Clinton trip is a significant propaganda victory for North Korea whether or not he carried an official message from President Obama. Despite decades of bipartisan U.S. rhetoric about not negotiating with terrorists for the release of hostages, it seems the Obama administration not only chose to negotiate but to send a former president to do so."

Making North Korea out to be terrorists...

GERGEN: Right.

HILL: ...these women to be hostages and saying, quite frankly that this is a bad move.

CHANG: Well, you know North Korea has not engaged in a major terrorist act for about two decades. But you know, they've done some pretty awful things in that time.

And look at last -- what happened since last April. They had the long range missile test. They had the nuclear test. The renunciation of the Korean War Armistice, Cyber attacks against South Korea. I could go on and...

HILL: They've been busy.

CHANG: They have been very busy. And then we send an emissary. That doesn't look too good.

So maybe Bolton's words were not quite right but I get the general drift and I think he has put his finger on something.

HILL: So they did win a little bit here...

CHANG: Oh, they won a lot...

HILL: can't deny that. David Gergen, he went on to write that these reporters were pawns in a larger game of enhancing the regime's legitimacy and gaining direct access to important U.S. figures. Is this really going to give them better access and help them dictate where the conversation flows in the future?

GERGEN: I think that's nonsense and heartless. As much as I respect John Bolton for some of his views, I just sharply disagree here. Listen, the United States gave nothing away.

Bill Clinton went in the capacity of a private citizen. That's why the emphasis on privacy is so important. And beyond that, if Josh Bolton had his way these two women would still be in prison.

And finally, I must say, we ought to take a moment here to say how exemplary Bill Clinton's behavior has been since his wife became Secretary of State. A lot of people thought he would be a loose cannon. He has been totally supportive. He has been quiet and on this occasion he did something good for the country. I think people ought to have a higher level of respect for him after this trip and thank him for doing what he did.

HILL: David Gergen and Gordon Chang, we thank you for being with us and offering your insight.

GERGEN: Thank you.

HILL: Just ahead, one of Charles Manson's deadly followers and her unlikely supporter. We'll speak with filmmaker John Waters about his friend, former Manson family accomplice, Leslie van Houten.

And later, two milestones at the White House, two birthdays, spanning half-a-dozen presidents.


HILL: Just ahead on 360, the Manson killers then and now. Forty years ago they slaughtered seven people in a crime that stunned the nation. So what do they have to say for themselves today?

First though, Tom Foreman joins us with the "360 Bulletin." Hi Tom.

FOREMAN: Hi there Erica.

Updating the breaking news we're following in western Pennsylvania tonight: a blood bath at a health club just outside of Pittsburg. Police say five people are confirmed dead including the gunman and as many as 15 people injured; all of this unfolding at the L.A. Fitness Center in the suburb of Collier. Witnesses tell of -- say that the gunman came in carrying a duffle bag, walked through the back door of the gym and then opened fire.

Iran has confirmed the arrest of three American hikers who apparently crossed into the country from an Iraqi Kurdish region on Friday. Iranian media reports say, the hikers have been charged with illegal entry. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Swiss diplomats in Iran had urged Iran to provide information on the missing Americans.

Now, authorities today said toxicology reports found a deadly wrong- way driver had high levels of marijuana in her system when she crashed her minivan and more than twice the legal amount of alcohol. Police said a bottle of Vodka was found in the wreckage. Thirty-six-year-old Diane Schuler killed herself, her daughter, three nieces and three others in the head on wreck last week north of New York City.

In the White House Press Room President Obama shared his birthday spotlight with White House Correspondent Helen Thomas who turned 89 today; president Obama, marking his 48th year. He served the cupcakes up with a plug for his health care reform plan.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Helen wished for world peace, no prejudice, but she and I also had a common birthday wish. She said she hopes for a real health care reform bill.

I will leave it up to you, Helen, how you want to distribute the cupcakes.


FOREMAN: The president is closing in on another important anniversary here. His 200th day in office and we are really going to be looking at that with a big special here, as you know Erica.

Thursday night at 8:00 Eastern time, we will have our national report card for the second 100 days of the Obama administration. And this is something you can really get involved in yourself if you want to.

We have a way now you can go to our Web site, the political section and you can actually vote for how you think the president is doing.

For example, question number two is on health care reform; and purple I will tell you is not a particularly good thing. So if those are all of the votes coming in that's not good.

HILL: That's a great no.

FOREMAN: But we're going to collect these all the way through this special. We're going to let you actually tell us what you think about the president not only about him but also about Congress, about the Republicans, about how you think things are being to be handled by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton who probably got a boost from this latest news today.

HILL: Yes.

FOREMAN: Nonetheless, it's a great chance for you to interact with your democracy.

HILL: It is. There you go. And interact with your favorite network, CNN. I've been checking it out actually Tom. You can also grade the media. So I hope you give us a great grade.

If you go to, here's what you'll find. These are the questions Tom was talking about the economy, question number two is health care reform. Click on that. It is as easy as heading up here to the grades.

You can give it an A, A-, A+, B, C; all the way on down the line and then once you give a grade you can actually see some of the other results -- also see what people are saying on Facebook about it.

It is your chance to be heard and to weigh in on the president's second 100 days. Again, at; your chance to have your voice heard. And again, that show -- special will be on Thursday at 8:00 p.m.

Just ahead on 360 tonight, is he a racist cop or a victim of discrimination? Our interview with the Boston police officer suspended for his explosive remarks about Professor Henry Louis Gates.

Now he is suing the city, the police department, even the Mayor of Boston. Why? We'll get his side of the story ahead.

And a bit later: a famous filmmaker defending one of the Manson's family killers. John Waters, tells us why he believes one of them should be released.


JOHN WATERS, FILMAKER: She's a lovely person that could be at a dinner party and no one would ever imagine that this was this person.



HILL: The so-called beer summit is over but the battle over a white officer's arrest of a black Harvard professor continues to make news. And it still has many Americans talking.

A new CNN Opinion Research Poll shows the controversy divided along racial lines. According to the survey, nearly 60 percent of African- Americans agree with President Obama's assessment that officer James Crowley, quote, "acted stupidly" in his arrest of Henry Louis Gates. But just 29 percent of white respondents felt that way.

Meantime there is more news from another Boston cop, suspended for making what many consider to be racist comments about Professor Gates. Tonight he says he is the victim.

Joe Johns reports.


JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): First he fired off a racially offensive e-mail to the "Boston Globe." Then when it got him suspended he fired off a lawsuit against the city of Boston claiming his civil rights were violated.

Officer Justin Barrett's e-mail complained about a column sympathetic to Harvard professor, Henry Louis Gates recently arrested by the Cambridge police. The e-mail got him suspended from the police department.

Should the e-mail be enough to cost him his badge? You be the judge.

(on camera): He wrote, "If I was the officer he verbally assaulted like a banana-eating jungle monkey, I would have sprayed him in the face with OC" -- apparently a reference to police issued pepper spray. Barrett called part of the writer's column jungle-monkey gibberish. In closing, Barrett said Gates had quote, "transcended back to a bumbling jungle monkey" and told the writer her column should have been title called "Conduct Unbecoming a Jungle Monkey Back to One's Roots."

(voice-over): Barrett did assert in the e-mail he is not a racist and went on TV to apologize.

JUSTINE BARRETT, SUSPENDED BOSTON POLICE: I am not a racist. I did not intend racial bigotry, harm or prejudice in my words.

JOHNS: But once the e-mail made the rounds, the higher ups in Beantown erupted. The mayor was quoted as saying, "Barrett is gone, g-o-n-e." The police chief put Barrett on administrative leave.

EDWARD DAVIS, BOSTON POLICE COMMISSIONER: Barrett's e-mail was racist and inflammatory. These racist opinions and feelings have no place in this department or in our society and will not be tolerated.

Barrett's lawsuit claims he was effectively terminated without due process or equal protection of the law, among other things; that his contract rights were violated and accused the city of intentional infliction of emotional distress.

But CNN legal analyst and former civil rights lawyer Lisa Bloom doesn't see much merit to the suit.

LISA BLOOM, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Officer Barrett's comments in writing are extreme and beyond the pale that his continued presence on the police force would be a disruption and a distraction. And I think he has to go.

I think he is entitled to a hearing. That is one thing he asks for in the lawsuit. He is probably entitled to the hearing but at that hearing he is going to lose.

JOHNS: Some might say his words speak for themselves.

Joe Johns, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE) HILL: "Digging Deeper" now, we are joined by Justin Barrett and his attorney Peter Marano, joining us tonight from Boston. Gentlemen, thank you both for being with us.


BARRETT: Good evening.

HILL: In the complaint that you filed, and I'm quoting here, you alleged the mayor and commissioner's actions caused quote, "pain and suffering, mental anguish, emotional distress, post traumatic stress, sleeplessness, indignities and embarrassment, degradation, injury to reputation and restrictions on personal freedom."

Justin though, in many ways didn't you actually bring this on yourself with that e-mail that you sent on July 22nd?

BARRETT: Erica, I don't think so. I composed the e-mail. I did not mean it to be offensive. I apologized.

I have served my country. I volunteered to go to Iraq. I served my city of Boston. If I'm charged with a crime I want a chance to answer. I want the chance for a fair hearing. That is why I got my attorney.

MARANO: Justin in numerous conversations with myself has regretted the choice of words. The choice of words were poor; but they weren't meant to characterize Professor Gates as a banana-eating jungle monkey. They were meant in a response to behavior and characterizing the behavior. Not the person as a whole.

HILL: So what do you believe the mayor and the police commissioner did wrong? Why should they be paying damages to Justin Barrett?

MARANO: The damages to Justin Barrett are that he has been fired. He's been fired...

HILL: But he has been suspended. He hasn't been fired yet. He's been suspended and ...

MARANO: He actually has been fired.

HILL: He was suspended with pay.

When did that happen?

MARANO: The mayor of the city got on TV and said and spelled it out, "He is gone. G-o-n-e." Gone.

HILL: When I talked to the police department this afternoon they didn't tell me he was fired. He was suspended and they are waiting to set that hearing date. He hasn't officially been fired, correct?

MARANO: Well, in our opinion he has been officially fired.

HILL: I just want to be clear for everybody at home because it sounds like we are talking about different things. He has been suspended and suspended with pay. You claim that the mayor fired him on TV but yet no one has come to you and officially told you that your client has been fired?

MARANO: My client -- it is our position he has been fired. Whether we get a formal letter in the mail or we have Tom Menino on television telling an audience that he is fired.

He is the man who is supposed to sit and listen to my client's explanation about his actions. He is supposed to be afforded a fair hearing before anyone says he's gone or before anyone says he is a cancer that needs to be cut out.

HILL: When you are a police officer as with so many other jobs in this country, specifically public servants, aren't you held to a higher standard whether you are on duty wearing the uniform or whether you're off duty sitting at home? There are certain things that are expected of police officers. Did your client violate that trust the public has with him?

MARANO: My client authored a response that was expressing his opinion as a private citizen. Is he held to a higher standard? Absolutely. But the problem becomes being held to a higher standard shouldn't eradicate his right under the first amendment for free speech. That is part and parcel of the lawsuit.

HILL: If you are reinstated do you feel that you could continue to do your job effectively?

BARRETT: I would stand up and perform my duties every day like I have done. I have been working since I was 12 years old. I worked every day of my life. I'm a hard worker, I'm honest and I can perform my duties.

HILL: Well, we'll continue to follow the case. Justin Barrett, Peter Marano -- We appreciate your time. Thanks for being with us tonight.

BARRETT: Thank you, Erica.

MARANO: Thank you.

HILL: Tomorrow night we will take you deep inside the war next door; Michael Ware uncovering the most ruthless cartels known as Las Zetas. This is their latest work.

Check this out. A death squad descended on this home with guns and grenades; it happened pre-dawn. Inside, a police commander, his wife and four children killed; the youngest victim just 6 years old.

The DEA calls them the most technologically advanced, sophisticated and violent of the cartels. And they already have a stronghold north of the border and it turns out they are getting stronger.

You don't want to miss Michael Ware's report coming up tomorrow night on 360 right here. Still ahead tonight on 360 the Manson killers have been locked away for decades for the grisly murders they committed. Their crimes stunned the nation. Tonight, you'll hear from one of the killers, why she believes she deserves to be set free.

Plus an update on our breaking news out of Pennsylvania, a deadly shooting at a gym near Pittsburgh; reports that the gunman turned off the lights before opening fire. We have the latest.


HILL: This week we are taking a look back at one of the shocking crimes of the 20th century when a madman named Charles Manson and his so-called family butchered seven people over two nights. This Sunday marks the 40th anniversary of those murders.

Last night we brought you back to the crime scenes. Tonight we profile the Manson killers -- then and now.

Ted Rowlands reports.


TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They shocked the world; young, good looking American kids in their 20s, laughing about butchering their innocent victims.

The Manson killers are now in their 60s: Tex Watson, Leslie Van Houten, Patricia Krenwinkle, and Susan Atkins; all disciples of a madman who turned them into monsters.

(on camera): Watson and Krenwinkle took part in all seven murders; five at the home of actress Sharon Tate in Beverly Hills. Then, the next day they came to this house with Van Houten, about 10 miles away, where they tortured and killed Leno and Rosemary LaBianca.

VAN HOUTEN: I stood in that hallway and looked into a blank room that was like a den. And I stood there until Tex turned me around and handed me a knife, and he said, "Do something."

I went back in the bedroom and Mrs. La Bianca was laying on the floor on her stomach, and I stabbed her numerous times in the back.

ROWLANDS (voice-over): Atkins was with Watson and Krenwinkle during the Tate murders, holding down 8 1/2-month pregnant actress Sharon Tate as she pleaded for her and her child's life.

SUSAN ATKINS, CONVICTED MURDERER: She asked me to let her baby live.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What'd you say to her?

ATKINS: I told her that I didn't have any mercy.

ROWLANDS: How Manson convinced his flock to kill and torture without remorse baffled the world. Manson family members say it was a combination of charisma, drugs and Manson's knack for recruiting the right group of vulnerable followers.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was us, like little birds with our mouths open: feed us. And he would be saying the things we had been thinking. We thought that he had an in to our very thoughts and our very hearts.

ROWLANDS: Atkins, Krenwinkle and Van Houten say they left broken homes. Watson would turn out to be Manson's right-hand man.

The faces of the Manson killers have gotten older, the courthouse smiles and giggles replaced with pleas for forgiveness.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm appalled that I could even have been involved with something like that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's terribly difficult to deal with this. I admit I made a mistake, because I feel terrible about it. But I cannot change it, no matter what I do. I cannot change one minute of my life.

TEX WATSON, CONVICTED MURDERER: Granted, I have committed one of the most heinous crimes in the history of mankind. I realize that, and I'm very remorseful for that and would give anything if I could pay for it.

ROWLANDS: First sentenced to death, the Manson killers were given life sentences when the death penalty was abolished by the state Supreme Court. Charles Manson remains in prison and has over the years attended his parole hearings.

Susan Atkins has terminal brain cancer. Last year her request for compassionate release was denied. But she's scheduled for a parole hearing next month.

Krenwinkle and Watson have parole hearings before the end of the year; Van Houten is not expected to have a hearing until 2010.

Forty years later, all four claim they're remorseful. But the family of Sharon Tate doesn't believe any of them deserve the mercy that Sharon and her unborn child never saw.

Ted Rowlands, CNN, Los Angeles.


HILL: Leslie Van Houten was 19 year old when she and other followers of Manson went on their infamous killing spree. Forty years later, Van Houten remains in prison. She's been denied parole more than a dozen times yet still continues to plead for her release.

LESLIE VAN HOUTEN, CONVICTED MURDERER: I was raised to be a decent human being. I turned into a monster, and I have spent these years going back to a decent human being. And I just don't know what else to say.

HILL: Van Houten wants her freedom. And she has her supporters, including well-known filmmaker John Waters. Waters discusses his friendship with Van Houten in his upcoming book, "Role Models." It's out next year, but you can actually read the first chapter right now on the Huffington Post.

John Waters joins us now.

Good to have you with us.


HILL: A lot of people may be surprised to learn that you two have actually become friends, that you were inspired in your early days, really, by Charles Manson in many ways.

WATERS: Well, I certainly was -- it was amazing. We were making movies that were trying to shock the world, and they did.

But certainly, I've learned, too, over the years how irresponsible I was in kind of being a punk rocker for Charlie Manson and all that, when I've seen the terrible things that happened, not only to the victims and their families, but to the families of Leslie Van Houten and what she has gone through. And, as I feel, has been in jail 40 years and has taken full responsibility for her part in the acts.

HILL: What is it specifically, though, about Leslie Van Houten that tells you this woman should be out, free on the street?

WATERS: Because she doesn't -- she takes full blame. She doesn't just say, "Charlie Manson made me do it. LSD makes me do it." She said, "I take full responsibility for everything that happened in the La Bianca home."

I think, actually, she should be the poster girl for the prison system, because she went in a complete lunatic and ended up someone, a very sober person who -- who really takes responsibility and wants to lead a quiet life if she ever gets out.

HILL: That would be, though, I would imagine, a very tough pill for any of the victims' families to swallow, to know that she was, in fact, free, whether or not she had been rehabilitated. Have you spoken with any of the victims' families?

WATERS: No, I haven't. But nothing they can say is wrong. I am -- they are speaking from a personal thing, and they have every bit -- and I address in my piece all the most devastating things they have said against Leslie. And I have quoted them, I think, the best things they've said.

HILL: You have quoted them extensively in this -- in this book. Put in a number of the things that they said. And you understand where they're coming from. And yet, still you're pushing for her to be released.

Have they ever contacted you and said, "You know what, Mr. Waters? We get where you're coming from, but please back off?" WATERS: No, they haven't. But they would have every right to do that. And I'm speaking because -- for what society does. If there are rules for parole -- and I do believe that there are some people that can be rehabilitated and deserve a second chance.

HILL: Why do you think it is that Leslie Van Houten has not been granted parole? Is it simply because of the notoriety of these murders?

WATERS: Yes. I think, basically, Charlie Manson has become Freddie Kruger. He's a Halloween outfit now. And -- and people don't know the whole story, and they look at it, and they just think it's like a horror movie.

And Leslie has tried everything. As she said, "I've spent 40 years trying to become the person I would have been if I hadn't met him." And I think she actually has.

HILL: And what about the other convicted murderers here who are also still in jail? Do you believe that they should be released, as well?

WATERS: I can't -- I'm not here to talk about them. You know? It doesn't matter what I think about them. Leslie is my friend.

HILL: It is a fascinating tale. Understandably, one that really could leave people feeling very divided. John Waters, thanks for your time tonight.

WATERS: Thank you.

HILL: There is, of course, the other side; the families of the victims. Alice LaBianca is the ex-wife of Leno LaBianca and the Leslie Van Houten and the other Manson Killers murdered him in 1969.

Alice LaBianca read a letter at her 1998 parole hearing. Here is what she said. "Leslie Van Houten chose her own path. She chose to follow the instructions of Charles Manson. She chose drug crazed killers as her family and she became one of them.

But what about my family? When do we get our parole? When does Leno get his parole? Sympathy for these killers and especially this one is misplaced."

We also want to update you at this hour on the breaking news out of western Pennsylvania.

New and frankly chilling details are emerging from the shooting at a health club south of Pittsburgh where five are reported dead, including the gunman who apparently killed himself, according to local authorities. Fifteen people are wounded.

Witnesses tell local station, CNN affiliate WTAE that a man with a duffel bag walked into an exercise room and turned off the lights before opening fire. Police described a scene of utter terror, some of it lit only by the flash of a muzzle.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was in a spinning class. I -- the class was over with. I was in the locker room getting my items, and I was on my way out. I stopped, I guess to wash my hands. And at that point I heard gun fire, what I thought to be gunfire.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Which you were not expecting, so...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That was right. That was the furthest thing from the truth -- like I actually kind of talked myself out of it: "Surely that's not gunfire in the gym."

I would probably say a few seconds later a guy came running into the locker room, and I said, "What's going on?"

He said, "Someone's shooting."

So at that point, myself and him and some other guys who -- that rented the locker room, we made our way out the back door through the pool exit.

We get outside, and all of a sudden I hear a couple of guys saying, "We've got some girls shot over here." I turned around there was one girl shot in the thigh. And there was another girl shot in the back.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What happened was is they were -- they were in a Pilates class or something like that, and they turned the lights out, and all of a sudden, the shooting started. So she said she saw one of the guys had a black hat on. And that's all she knew.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He shut the lights off in the aerobic room. And by the time I realized what was going on, I looked over at the aerobics room, and I could see flashes in the dark. That's when I realized that someone was actually using a firearm inside of there.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I took my headphones off, because I had my headphones on. And then I heard a loud banging noise repeatedly, like three or four. And that's when I kind of knew what was going on, you know, that someone was shooting the place up with a firearm.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And how shocking was that?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was pretty intense.


HILL: There is no word yet on the killer's identity nor an apparent motive. But we will, of course, bring you any information we learn as soon as it comes in to us.

Up next on 360, a ban against Facebook and other social networking sites; who is no longer allowed to use them? And why others may soon face the same restriction.

And a bit later, reunited: after years away, a best friend returns -- a "360 Follow." (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HILL: Tom Foreman back with us now for the "360 Bulletin."

Hi, Tom.

FOREMAN: Hi, Erica.

The top U.S. commander in Iraq disagrees with the colonel's call for the U.S. to declare victory and leave the country earlier than planned. General Ray Odierno said today the U.S. is needed in Iraq until the end of 2011. But last week a memo written by an adviser, Colonel Timothy Reese, was leaked, in which he called for U.S. withdrawal next August.

A new study suggests people as young as 40 with borderline or high cholesterol levels are at greater disease for developing Alzheimer's disease or vascular dementia. Researchers with Kaiser Permanente tracked 10,000 people over four decades to find this link.

The Pentagon is reviewing its policy on access to social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter for all military personnel. The move comes one day after the Marine Corps issued a ban on those sites on its own computer network for security reason. Marines can still access Facebook and similar sites on their own personal computers, however.

And a "360 Follow-up:" Nine years after an Australian family saw their dog vanish, they're all reunited. As we mentioned last week, Muff was found 1,200 miles from home, thanks to a micro chip embedded in her neck. Today, she was reunited with her owners, who were happy to have her back.

HILL: Look at that sweet face.

FOREMAN: Nice. Everybody's so happy.

HILL: Is your dog chipped, Tom Foreman?

FOREMAN: My dog -- our dog is chipped.

HILL: So is mine.

FOREMAN: And our dog stays under our control at all times. So hopefully, she'll never be 1,200 miles away.

HILL: But just in case, you're prepared.

FOREMAN: Just in case we make a mistake.

HILL: That's good to know.

FOREMAN: She's a lovely dog and that looks like Muff is a lovely dog.

HILL: I think you're right. I think Muff probably is. We're not done, of course. Still ahead, we have more. We're going to bring you the latest on that breaking news out of North Korea. Our American journalists Laura Ling and Euna Lee in the air at this very moment, on their way home to their families, pardoned by North Korea's leader.

So what exactly did former President Clinton do and say to secure their release?


HILL: We continue with our coverage of our breaking news on the release and pardon of journalists Laura Ling and Euna Lee from North Korea. White House correspondent Dan Lothian is standing by tonight at the White House with some late-breaking details on what has happened with this private mission, as it is being called today -- Dan.

DAN LOTHIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I just got off of a phone call briefing with some senior administration officials, and some highlights from that phone call.

First of all, we found that President Obama did reach out to the family members of both the journalists, calling them between 8:30 and 9:30 tonight to congratulate them.

We also learned that this whole meeting between the former President Clinton going to North Korea started by a phone call from the two journalists to their family members in July. And they mentioned that the people in North Korea who are holding them had said, "We would be willing to grant you amnesty if you can get a high level envoy like President Clinton to come here and gain your release."

That is how it all started. Officials saying that President Clinton said he was willing to do this, if he could ensure that his mission would be successful. They got that guarantee. He decided to go.

That's the very latest from the White House. Now back to you.

HILL: Dan Lothian thanks.

That does it for this edition of 360. Thanks for watching.

"Larry King" starts right now.