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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Colorado Murder Investigation Continues; Supreme Court Looks at Same-Sex Marriage
Aired March 25, 2013 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, everyone. It's 10:00 here on the East Coast.
And tonight only on 360, exclusive images of the alleged doorstep killing long before the killing, the chase and the shoot-out. As you will see and hear, though, a deadly violent picture was already taking shape a decade ago.
Also tonight, Amanda Knox convicted of murder by an Italian court, acquitted on appeal, now yet another court weighs her fate. Is it possible she might have to return to Italy to face a trial again.
And, later, with public opinion and political forces undergoing a seismic shift on same-sex marriage, the Supreme Court is now just hours away from taking up two cases on that question that could make history or stop it cold.
We begin tonight only on 360 with how the son of a well- respected, well-connected Colorado family went off the rails and allegedly became a murderer. These are exclusive images, Evan Ebel more than 10 years ago at a camp for troubled youth in Samoa. Here he is with his friends and here he is in front of a hut at that camp that he and some of his friends burned down, torched.
A hut mate joins us momentarily talk about all of the early signs of violence that he saw in Ebel. And he says there were a lot of them.
This, meantime, is the memorial service today for Colorado prison chief Tom Clements, who Ebel is suspected of killing on his doorstep, in addition, possibly, to a pizza deliveryman earlier.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LISA CLEMENTS, WIDOW OF SLAIN PRISON CHIEF: Last Tuesday night, Tom and I were watching TV and our doorbell rang. And my life was forever changed.
But I want to start a little earlier and talk about when our story really started. I was 19 years old, and I fell in love with a guy who sat on the front row of my juvenile delinquency class.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Tom Clements wife and daughters today in Colorado Springs.
Evan Ebel went out in a blaze of gunfire two states away in Texas, where ever since investigators have been poring over physical evidence. Tonight, they have some answers and they look pretty solid.
Casey Wian joins us now.
What's the latest in this investigation, Casey?
CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's right, Anderson. It is probably the most solid piece of evidence that they have uncovered in this investigation.
The El Paso County, Colorado, Sheriff's Department confirming that ballistics tests provide a conclusive match between the gun that was used to kill Tom Clements on Tuesday in Colorado and the gun that was being fired by Evan Ebel during that shoot-out that resulted in his death in Texas two days later.
Now the investigation, it is clear, moves to an inquiry into whether anyone else was involved in this murder. El Paso County Sheriff's say they have no evidence yet that anyone else was, but they are clearly looking into that possibility -- Anderson.
COOPER: Now, I know there was a shuffle in the prison system about a month ago, 211 gang members, the same gang that Ebel was a member of, were moved to a different prison. Do we know, was that shakeup somehow related to Clements' murder?
WIAN: Well, there's been a lot of speculation that it might be, but we spoke with the Department of Corrections. They say those types of shakeups happen routinely, moving gang members from one prison to another. We also spoke today with the Reverend Leon Kelly, who works in gang intervention programs here in Colorado. He confirmed that these are these types of movements are routine.
He denies -- or doesn't believe that that is what this murder is linked to, but investigators say they are investigating every possibility. They have not ruled that out, Anderson.
COOPER: And members of Ebel's family have spoken out. What did they say?
WIAN: Well, his father did release a statement, Jack Ebel, who as we have reported and has been widely acknowledged, is a longtime friend of Colorado's Governor John Hickenlooper.
His statement says: "I am profoundly saddened by the recent events involving my son Evan Ebel and offer my most sincere condolences to all of those individuals and families who have suffered from his actions."
Also, Evan Ebel's mom, who is divorced from his father, posted on a blog in the last couple of days sort of a timeline as to what set him, to use your words earlier, off the rails. His younger sister was killed in an automobile accident at the age of 16. Although Evan Ebel, the mom said, was in trouble before that, that is what really began a very dark, dark period in his life and he ended up in prison not long after the death of his sister -- Anderson.
COOPER: Casey, appreciate the latest on the investigation.
We're more now on this guy's troubled youth. You just heard from Casey a little bit about it and these exclusive images that were taken when he was at a boot camp in Samoa, where he was reportedly among the most troubled kids there. You will only see these pictures here on 360.
The camp, Pacific Coast Academy, and others like it became very controversial. We reported on such boot camps over the years and the allegations of abuse sometimes surrounding them.
Kurt Frey was at Pacific Coast with Evan Ebel and he joins us tonight.
Now, as we know now, Ebel was part of a white supremacist gang, the 211 Crew. Did he give you any indication back then that he was racist or into white supremacy?
KURT FREY, ATTENDED BOOT CAMP WITH EVAN EBEL: Yes.
He was very proud of his Sicilian heritage and he always talked about wanting to kill so many people that, he would make Hitler jealous. That was one of his better things that he liked to talk about with me in particular.
COOPER: He actually brought up Hitler to you?
FREY: Yes. He said he wants to do so many killings that he will make Hitler jealous.
COOPER: What did you think when he said that?
FREY: I thought he was crazy to say that.
He really -- he really was racist, but at the same time, he did hang around with African-Americans at the camp. So it was very contradictory when he said that.
COOPER: And he told you he used to carry a gun?
FREY: He said he used to carry a gun with him. This is when he was before the camps, so we're talking early teens, 15, 16 years old.
And when he actually did arrive at the camp, we did find a knife on him when he first arrived during a strip search. So he was prone to carrying weapons.
COOPER: The videos that we have, have authorities asked for them at all?
FREY: No, they haven't. I have tried to submit them before and they have said that because it was in Samoa, they really have no authority to do anything.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
EVAN EBEL, CAMP MEMBER: I don't remember what I did wrong. I think I might have thrown a rock at some kid. I don't know.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: In terms of the people who are investigating the murder, have they asked for any of these tapes?
FREY: No. No, they haven't. You are the first.
COOPER: What kind of person was he when you knew him?
FREY: When I knew him, he was quite an angry and violent person. And just his general attitude towards authority was always, I don't care. He's gone through so many bad things in his life that, really, it just didn't surprise me that he ended up being killed in a shoot- out with police.
COOPER: How old was he when you guys were at this camp?
FREY: About 16, 17 age, maybe 15.
COOPER: And the -- how was he treated by the other young people at this boot camp?
FREY: Most everybody there avoided him. He was quite a scary individual, especially by the end of the time. He had engaged in several fights with other students. One in particular, he beat up with a broomstick, a broken broomstick, and bloodied him up really bad in the face and he even hit me a couple times in the face with that same broomstick.
So most everybody avoided him and generally tried not to talk with him.
COOPER: Did you get a sense of what he was angry about, I mean, where this came from?
FREY: He had a lot of anger towards authority. He never liked being told what to do. And his time in isolation really only compacted that.
He not only was being told what to do, but every single aspect of his life, including when to eat, how to eat, and where to go, when to wake up, everything was dictated down to the minute, and that really frustrated him.
COOPER: It's interesting to me, because a lot of times after somebody has committed a crime and you talk to people who know them, they all say I'm so surprised, this is not the person I knew. You're saying the exact opposite. You're saying this doesn't surprise me. When I heard this, you know, it made sense to me. FREY: No. Yes. No, it really did make sense to me. After knowing him the whole time in the program and then several times I have contacted him over the years after he got out, he hadn't changed at all for the better. He was really bad.
And he just got so bad at the end, so violent toward everybody that really when I got sent the link that he was killed in a shoot-out with police, I was really like, that's Evan for you.
Kurt, I appreciate you talking to us. Kurt Frey, Thank you.
FREY: You're welcome. Thank you.
COOPER: Let us know what you think about this case. Follow me on Twitter right now @AndersonCooper.
Coming up next, the Supreme Court and same-sex marriage, two cases, nine justices, incredibly high stakes for millions of people and the millions who love them. The question is, will growing social and political acceptance sway the court? We will talk to Jeff Toobin and California's attorney general, Kamala Harris, who is fighting to overturn her state's marriage ban.
Later, we will take you to Italy where a court is deciding on Amanda Knox's fate. You might be asking, wasn't her murder conviction already overturned? Yes, it was. We are going to show you why what sounded like the last word really wasn't the final say in her future.
COOPER: Well, early tomorrow morning, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments in case number 12-144, Hollingsworth v. Perry, better known as history in the making.
The crowds outside the court tonight certainly know that. Hollingsworth v. Perry challenges California's Proposition 8 ban on same-sex marriage. Now, Wednesday, the court takes on the federal law, the so-called Defense of Marriage Act. People have already come out in force in search of seats in the gallery at the Supreme Court or just trying to make their voices heard.
However, that is just part of the backdrop. Today, Senator Mark Warner became the third U.S. senator to voice support for the right to marry in just the last few days. Public opinion too is shifting. Our new polling shows 53 percent support for recognizing same-sex marriage, and that's up 13 percentage points from just six years ago. So's the willingness to recognize gay friends and family; 57 percent of people now say they have a family member or close friend who is gay, 12 percentage points higher than in 2007.
Tomorrow, though, the only survey that really counts will have a sample size of nine, nine Supreme Court justices and among the nine perhaps only one pivotal voice when the decisions are read most likely in June. Let's talk about it tonight with senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin and California Attorney General Kamala Harris.
So, Jeff, tomorrow, the justices will be dealing with whether or not Americans have a constitutional right to same-sex marriage and they are looking at the constitutionality of Proposition 8. What's at the core of the argument for each side?
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Really, a simple question. The issue is, can a government, state government, federal government put gay people and straight people into separate categories, and give rights to one group, straight people, and withhold them from the other?
That's the issue. And on the other side, the defenders of Proposition 8 will be saying, look, the voters spoke on this issue. This is a political question. The court should stay out of it. If gay people want the right to vote, they should organize and do it through the political system, not through judges.
COOPER: Attorney General Harris, supporters in your state, California, of the ban there say that the issue is evolving in the public domain, the Supreme Court shouldn't step in now and short- circuit the democratic process and impose a 50-state solution. To that, you say?
KAMALA HARRIS, CALIFORNIA ATTORNEY GENERAL: That there is a significance to the passage of time and no more time should pass on this issue.
The reality is 61 percent of Californians are in favor of same- sex marriage. The United States Supreme Court since the 1880s has found 14 times that marriage is a fundamental right. And for all of those reasons, we should allow same-sex couples to be treated as anyone else and allow them to marry.
COOPER: But, Attorney General Harris, you're talking about polls. What about the voters in your state who voted twice for the ban? What do you say to them? Because It sounds like you're talking about lawmaking and law enforcement on polls.
HARRIS: No. And you're exactly right, Anderson, and, frankly, I think instead of reading the polls what we should be doing is reading the Constitution, which says that marriage and describes marriage as a fundamental right, deserving of the highest levels of protection.
The bottom line here is that like Loving vs. Virginia, a case that was decided by the United States Supreme Court in 1967, we don't want to have to wait until everyone catches up -- everyone catches up with what the Constitution requires. The time is now to be true to the Constitution and to treat equally situated people as equals.
COOPER: Jeff, it's interesting, though. Some people have cited Justice Ginsburg's observation that the court had gone too far ahead of public opinion with Roe vs. Wade, saying it would have been better to let the legislative process work its will. Could that influence how she rules, how others rule here?
The real tension here is between -- even among supporters of same-sex marriage. Attorney General Harris just mentioned Loving vs. Virginia. That's the case that said in 1967, states can no longer ban racial intermarriage. The court did much the same thing about abortion in Roe v. Wade. They said, we don't care if Texas or any other state wants to ban abortion. We're not going to let you do it.
The political process had already run its course with Loving vs. Virginia. No state wanted to go back at that issue. Abortion, it didn't settle that question. So the issue is, is same-sex marriage today more like racial intermarriage in 1967 or is it more like abortion in 1973? I think a lot of justices are going to be struggling with that question.
COOPER: But, Attorney General, it's hard to overstate the precedent that this could be setting, that the court could be setting.
But, again, Anderson, it gets back to -- it is about establishing what the court has established 14 times since the 1800s. Marriage is a fundamental right.
And I would suggest to you that unlike some other issues that may still remain controversial in this country, same-sex marriage is a different -- is of a different nature. We have the president of the United States weighing in on this. We have over 100 Republican leaders weighing in on this in favor of same-sex marriage. The majority of Americans, the majority of Californians, if I can speak for California, the majority of Catholics in this country support same-sex marriage.
COOPER: Jeff, I'm wondering about the personality and the personal lives of some of these justices and how that may weigh in on this. The ability to have kids for some supporters of Proposition 8, that's at the root of the argument. They say same-sex couples shouldn't be allowed to marry because they can't have children, that marriage is based on the idea of procreation.
Defendants say, that's not fair, that you would then have to apply that to opposite-sex couples as well. And some people on the Supreme Court cannot have kids or do not have kids.
TOOBIN: Right. That's true. And there are two divorced people on the Supreme Court. Sonia Sotomayor and Clarence Thomas have both been divorced. Justice Thomas remarried. Elena Kagan has never been married.
The others are married, although Ruth Bader Ginsburg is widowed now.
(CROSSTALK) COOPER: And some don't have biological children. Justice Roberts doesn't have biological children.
TOOBIN: He has two adopted children.
And also a fascinating story in "The L.A. Times" today came out about how John Roberts' cousin, who is an out lesbian woman from San Francisco who wants to marry her partner, will be Chief Justice Roberts' guest at the argument.
Now, I don't think that suggests exactly how he's going to vote, but John Roberts comes from a very conservative Catholic family in northern Indiana, and he has a close gay relative. I just think that is indicative of how much the country has changed over the years.
COOPER: All right.
Jeff Toobin, Attorney General Harris, thank you so much.
HARRIS: Thank you.
COOPER: So, remember, the arguments are going to be heard tomorrow and Wednesday as well, but a decision is not expected until June.
For more on the story, you can go to CNN.com right now.
Up next, an anxious night for Amanda Knox. Italy's Supreme Court will decide if she is to be retried for the murder of her college roommate in Perugia, Italy, back 2007. Can they actually do that? We will talk to Amanda Knox's attorney ahead.
And from the Rockies to the East Coast, winter will not release its cold, snowy, windy grip, despite the fact that it's been spring for about a week now. Details on the storms ahead.
COOPER: "Crime & Punishment" tonight: Will Amanda Knox face retrial for murder in Italy?
We're expecting to hear the answer to that question tomorrow. The judges on Italy's Supreme Court heard arguments in the case today. As you know, Knox and her former boyfriend were convicted for the 2007 murder of Meredith Kercher, her college roommate in Perugia, Italy. They spent four years in prison until an Italian appeals court overturned their convictions in 2011.
Amanda Knox, who always maintained her innocence, then returned home to the United States. Now, despite the appellate court's ruling, prosecutors do want to try them again.
Earlier tonight, I spoke with CNN's Ben Wedeman, who was at the court in Rome for today's hearing, and Barbie Latza Nadeau, correspondent for The Daily Beast.
COOPER: Ben, many expected there was going to be a ruling tonight. And now it looks like it won't come down until tomorrow morning, is that correct?
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's correct.
We were told earlier today that we should be expecting some sort of announcement regarding this verdict at 9:00 p.m. However, at 9:00 p.m., a judge came out of the Supreme Court building behind me and announced we would hear the announcement at 10:00 tomorrow morning. That's 5:00 a.m. your time.
COOPER: Barbara, you say we shouldn't read too much into that delay.
BARBIE LATZA NADEAU, THE DAILY BEAST: No, I don't think we should read too much into it.
This appellate court today heard 14 cases, of which the Knox case was certainly the most high-profile, but it wasn't the most complicated, and you know the head of this court is 76 years old. It's 9:30 at night. Maybe he just needed a good night of sleep.
And the fact they're going to announce it at 10:00 tomorrow morning I think gives us an indication that they do, sort of are honing in on their idea of what they are going to do with this case, because otherwise they wouldn't have given us a time. Likely, they will meet about 7:30, 8:00 to start deliberations again one more time, talk it over and then give us the verdict at 10:00 local time.
COOPER: And, Ben, if the court overturns the acquittal, what exactly does that mean? Does Amanda Knox have to return to Italy?
WEDEMAN: Not yet.
We're being told that they will hold another appeal court trial in Florence this time, and then they will decide whether they should have a retrial or not. And, of course, then the Italian government would have to request that Amanda Knox be expatriated, brought back to Italy. And, of course, the United States we understand wasn't really happy the way the trial was conducted the first time around, so there's no guarantee that they will agree to extradite her to Italy.
COOPER: And, Barbie, do you have any sense of how the court may actually rule? In these kind of cases, is it common for them to reverse acquittals, send things back to the lower court?
LATZA NADEAU: You know, at the second level of appeal, which is when she was acquitted of this crime, 50 percent of all cases are changed in one way or another.
At the high court level, lots of cases are changed, but not 50 percent by any means. Generally, you would see maybe a reduction in a fine and a fee. Sending a case back to retrial is not generally how they answer these cases. You know, generally, they are upheld, the verdict in the appellate case. This, of course, is a high-profile case, it's complicated.
We have got Rudy Guede, the man from the Ivory Coast, who is serving 16 years right now for the murder, who was tried in an entirely separate case. So, this is not a run-of-the-mill case. It's complicated. You have got Raffaele Sollecito, who has got one of the best, most high-profile lawyers in Italy defending him. You have got factors like that that whether they should or not, I think, all weigh into this mix in the behind-the-scenes aspect of this case.
COOPER: All right, Barbie, appreciate it, Ben Wedeman as well. Thanks so much.
I'm joined now by Ted Simon, an expert in international law who represents Amanda Knox.
Ted, thanks for being with us.
How confident are you that this Italian court will not overturn your client's acquittal?
TED SIMON, ATTORNEY FOR AMANDA KNOX: Well, we're not in the business of prejudging any court's ruling, but I think you have to understand what the legal landscape is and the procedural posture we're actually in.
The appellate court jury had the authority and the jurisdiction to review whether or not the trial court committed any legal error, but they also had the authority and the jurisdiction to re-evaluate the facts and determine what the true facts were. And when they did that, they acted within their authority when they reopened, reinvestigated, re-evaluated and ultimately re-determined what the true facts were.
And when they did that, whether it was regard to prosecution witness testimony, physical evidence or prosecution forensic conclusions, they ultimately determined that either it was absent, nonexistent, inaccurate, unreliable or simply wrong. And that's why they reversed. And that's why we're here today.
So all the -- the supreme court has a much narrower scope of review. All they're supposed to do is to look and see whether or not the appellate court jury acted within its jurisdiction and according to the proper rules. It does not re-litigate or it does not reconsider or re-evaluate or reopen the facts. And that's why everyone remains reasonably hopeful without prejudging what they will do.
COOPER: OK, I got that. Now if -- but is there any way that there could be any ruling that would require Amanda Knox to return to Italy?
SIMON: Well, you know, once again, we have to look at, you know, what's in -- on the legal landscape. Right now, we only have to await what the supreme court will do. We're hopeful that they'll just affirm the appellate court.
Now, to the extent they would not, then it would depend on what their directions are. If they remanded the case for further hearings, that may or may not require Amanda's appearance. Most likely it does not.
And then, if another trial resumed, most likely it does not require Amanda's appearance. Whether she would return for some specific reason or not is not on the legal landscape. It's not even in the legal telescope.
So all this discussion, really, about extradition is not nearly in play.
And the other thing you should know, that you know, while we are hopeful that they will simply affirm this prior wrongful conviction, you know, there is nothing that would lead anyone to believe in any of the evidence that there would be any other verdict but one of not guilty. Because there simply is an absence of evidence in this case.
COOPER: Right. I mean, the fact that it got this far in the trial, that she was convicted at first, I mean, it's stunning when you actually look at what evidence there was, because as you said, there really wasn't. As a practical matter, is this case over as far as your client is concerned? I mean, she's living in Seattle. She's a student at the University of Washington. Is she watching these proceedings at all?
SIMON: Well, I've spoken to Amanda a number of times today, and she, as well as her family, have acted with the, you know, utmost courage, persistence, patience, grace, dignity throughout all these proceedings. But like everyone else, they are waiting, and they are waiting for what the decision will be, as anyone would.
So I'm hopeful. We all are hopeful that this supreme court will recognize that the appellate court jury brightly illuminated that this case originally was prefaced on wholly inaccurate and unreliable information, just the way the independent examiners determined. And therefore, they should conclude, as we believe, it was a monumental wrongful conviction and hopefully, you know, they will rule that way.
COOPER: Well, Ted Simon, listen, I appreciate you taking the time to talk to us tonight. Thank you.
Still ahead tonight, convicted child rapist Jerry Sandusky is talking, even laughing at times, about some of the graphic testimony that helped put him behind bars.
Also ahead, the spring storm that has people in more than a dozen states digging out from several feet of snow again. Will this winter ever end? We'll look at the forecast, ahead.
COOPER: Convicted child rapist Jerry Sandusky talks and actually laughs about the case against him. Hear for yourself ahead on 360. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
COOPER: We're almost a week into spring. You would never know it based on the weather in a big portion of the country right now. March is obviously supposed to come in like a lion, go out like a lamb, but cold, snow, wind and rain are making for a late March mess in more than a dozen states. Martin Savidge reports.
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): From Denver to D.C., if you're looking for signs of spring, you'll need a shovel. The late winter storm that marched across the Midwest over the weekend pushed eastward Monday, weakening as it went, but still bringing misery to many.
In most areas, the wet snow was measured in inches, but some places saw a foot or more. St. Louis got 12.4 inches, its snowiest March day ever. In Colorado, the going wasn't just tough, it was terrifying, as this wreck involving a semi and several cars on I-25 shows.
Farther east in Dayton, Ohio, the morning rush was more like the morning mush. The snow only made Monday's commute even more of a downer.
In Pittsburgh, they forecast up to about a half a foot, but thanks to milder temperatures, rain kept the snow to about one to three inches of slush.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wet, heavy. So that was surprising. That shocked me. I didn't think it was going to be heavy. I thought it was going to be a lot lighter.
SAVIDGE: Airline passengers found slow or no going, as well. In the last 24 hours, more than 1,400 flights have been canceled due to weather.
In the south, the same system was more fury than flakes, triggering powerful thunderstorms packing hurricane-force winds. Strong enough to send this jet liner into a hangar and giant trees tumbling.
The good news is forecasters say the snow should melt away quickly, so get out and enjoy it. It won't be long before we're all complaining about how hot it is.
COOPER: Got to complain about something. Martin Savidge joins me now, live from Pittsburgh.
You say it's supposed to end quickly. How long is this extreme weather supposed to go on for?
SAVIDGE: Well, you know, we're in rain right now, so a lot of the snow that fell today has gone away, but the temperature's changing over. More snow is expected tonight. In fact, snow is expected here at least for the next couple of days.
Season opener for baseball, by the way, is one week from today, so a lot of people are really starting to think this is a winter without end.
We should point out that you get your heaviest snowfalls in the month of March, so this shouldn't be too surprising to a lot of people, but in Pittsburgh, the latest they have ever had snow, May 31. Hopefully that record won't be broken this year, Anderson.
COOPER: Hope not. Martin, thanks a lot.
There's a lot more happening tonight. Deborah Feyerick joins us with a "360 Bulletin" -- Deborah.
DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Thanks, Anderson.
Former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky is speaking out about his conviction on child sexual abuse. In a taped prison phone call with a documentary filmmaker, Sandusky questioned the credibility of another former coach, Mike McQueary.
You may recall McQueary testified that he saw Sandusky raping a child in 2001 in the locker room showers. Sandusky disputing McQueary's testimony.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JERRY SANDUSKY, CONVICTED OF CHILD ABUSE (via phone): I don't understand how anybody walked into that locker room from where he was and heard sounds and associated that was sex going on. You know, like he said that could have been -- I mean, that would have been the last thing I would have thought about. I would have thought maybe fooling around or something like that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FEYERICK: In Brunswick, Georgia, two teenagers accused of shooting to death a 13-month-old baby boy, they appeared in court. Neither the 15-year-old or 17-year-old suspect entered a plea. The baby's mother said the shooting happened during an attempted robbery.
A "360 Follow" in that deadly gas explosion that leveled a restaurant last month in Kansas City. Six employees are suing the local utility and four other companies in connection with the blast that killed a woman and left more than a dozen injured.
And a man named Pedro Quezada says he is the one who bought Saturday's winning $338 million Powerball ticket. It was purchased at a liquor store in Passaic, New Jersey. The store owner says Quezada presented the ticket earlier today. No confirmation, though, from state lottery officials -- Anderson.
COOPER: Deb, thanks. Up next, why is the Obama administration spending billions of dollars on high-speed rail projects that aren't high-speed at all? Tonight, we investigate an upgrade to the line that shaved travel time by only a few minutes. Nothing high-speed there, except the price tag. We're "Keeping Them Honest."
COOPER: A high-speed rail is a key component of President Obama's domestic policy. Now four years ago, he announced to great fanfare that his administration was using 8 point -- eight, excuse me, $8 billion in stimulus funds as seed money to get high-speed rail projects off the ground. An additional billion dollars would then be spent annually.
The president even mentioned high-speed rail again in the State of the Union address just last month, saying that it should be part of a -- a key part of repairing America's aging infrastructure.
Keep in mind, billions of federal tax dollars have been spent so far with very little to show for it. 360's been investigating these projects, like the billion spent in California without one shovel being put into the ground. Or the tens of millions spent on high- speed rail in mountainous Vermont, where very few people ride trains to begin with.
Tonight, our investigation focuses on a project in the Pacific Northwest that cost a lot. You can decide if that expenditure was worth it. Here's Drew Griffin.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So now, for one of his last speeches in this position, the secretary of transportation, Ray LaHood.
DREW GRIFFIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In a half-filled conference room, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood tried to rally hope that his dream and the president's dream of high-speed rail would become a reality. But that dream, shared by those here who stand to make money from high-speed rail, is turning into a pipe dream.
RAY LAHOOD, TRANSPORTATION SECRETARY: This has been an extraordinary four years for high-speed rail.
GRIFFIN: What is extraordinary is just how much money federal taxpayers have dumped into high-speed rail while the trains are still slow.
(on camera): Four years and $12 billion after that pledge to bring high-speed rail across America, the slow trains are just moving a little faster. And one of the greater examples of that is what happened in Washington state.
PAULA HAMMOND, WASHINGTON STATE TRANSPORTATION SECRETARY: Yes, we received in our state $800 million. GRIFFIN (voice-over): Paula Hammond was the state's transportation secretary until recently retiring. Washington state got $800 million from the federal government. That's your tax money, mainly for improving the track between Seattle and Portland.
And what did you get for it? Over a three hour and 40 minute ride, the trip has been reduced by ten minutes.
HAMMOND: Ten minutes doesn't sound like a lot of time, but when you think about the fact that you have more options for more round trips, that you know that the train will come and go reliably and on time, that to us is what our passengers tell us is the most important thing.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All aboard!
GRIFFIN: In fact, ten minutes isn't a lot of time. And Paula Hammond says, despite promises of high-speed rail from Washington, D.C., it was never Washington state's intention of bringing high-speed rail, like the bullet trains of Japan and Europe, to this section of the country. The top speed here is now 79 miles an hour. Average speed is in the low 50s.
HAMMOND: I don't know whether we'll ever want high-speed rail. high, high-speed rail. What we want in our state and in our West Coast region between Oregon and Washington, we want the ability of our communities to be connected so that we can provide good travel, a daily business trip between Seattle and Portland, and the opportunity not to have to fight traffic.
GRIFFIN: That is a far cry from the vision of high-speed rail announced by the president, the vice president and the secretary of transportation back in 2009, when Americans were told Japanese- and European-style trains would connect our cities.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: What we're talking about is a vision for high-speed rail in America.
GRIFFIN: Well, a billion dollars later, that vision has churned out 134 scattered projects across the country that have mostly made slow trains a little faster.
"Keeping Them Honest," we wanted to know why. After his speech to the High-Speed Rail Association, we were given a brief interview with outgoing secretary of transportation, Ray LaHood.
(on camera): I'm wondering after four years and $12 billion spent, if you're disappointed at where high-speed rail is. Where is the high-speed rail?
LAHOOD: The high-speed rail in four years, we've invested $12 billion. That's just the federal money.
GRIFFIN: But so much of the money has been spent really making the old trains go a little bit faster. Seattle to Portland...
LAHOOD: I think 110 is pretty fast.
Reporter: But Seattle to Portland, you spent $800 million, and the trip time has been reduced by ten minutes.
LAHOOD: Well, I think people like the investments we're making. There's so much enthusiasm in America for high-speed rail. We've been at it four years. We have invested $12 billion. We've seen these investments get trains to higher speeds. We've seen these investments improve service. We've seen these investments improve on-time service to the point where now Amtrak is at an all-time ridership high. Without these investments, I don't think that would have happened.
GRIFFIN: But you want true high-speed rail, right?
LAHOOD: In some parts of the country.
GRIFFIN: You don't want these trains going a little bit faster.
LAHOOD: In some parts of the country, we're going to have trains going 200 miles an hour.
LAHOOD: As soon as we can get the kind of work that needs to be done started.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): What that is exactly is unclear.
There is only one true high-speed rail line actually envisioned in the entire united states. It's the California plan to bring a 200- mile-an-hour train from San Francisco to Los Angeles. It's been in the planning stages for nearly ten years, and not a single piece of rail has been laid.
Back in Seattle, one day they do hope to reach speeds of perhaps 110 miles an hour in some sections of the track, but at what price? What we do know, this year, federal taxpayers will send out another $1 billion for high-speed rail.
COOPER: Drew Griffin joins us. So the secretary of transportation kept talking about the goal of high-speed rail in the future. What is the goal, if not to build high-speed rail now?
GRIFFIN: Anderson, he talks about high-speed rail in terms of the interstate highway system in the '50s, saying what they are doing now with high-speed rail is similar to that system which it started in bits and pieces and chunks and eventually after decades tied together.
Now, what critics will say both for and against this high-speed rail, we're not building pieces of high-speed rail. We're just wasting high-speed rail money fixing up old slow rail.
COOPER: It's one thing, I mean, if you just set out and said, "You know what? We want to make, you know, a 60 mile-an-hour train go 70 miles an hour. We want to cut ten minutes off this time." And then that's -- people could judge whether that's, you know, worth it for the $800 million.
But if you're selling it as high-speed rail, that seems almost misleading. I mean, people are still riding trains. People still like trains. As the guy said, Amtrak use is up.
GRIFFIN: True, but is it wise?
And getting to your point, Anderson, this was sold as high-speed rail. People thought they were getting high-speed rail. The bullet trains. That's what they're selling. That's what they're showing to us.
But if you look at what was happening in Washington state, you know, right now after $800 million, it's still cheaper and many times faster to take the Greyhound bus from Seattle to Portland.
So what was that investment all about? It wasn't about high- speed rail. It was just about fixing up Amtrak, fixing up the low- speed rail and really making freight trains move a little better. But not high-speed rail.
COOPER: As we mentioned in the introduction, this is the third piece you've done in this -- on this issue. After the last one we got thousands of e-mails, basically e-mail bomb. Who's behind that? They were very critical.
GRIFFIN: They are very critical. And we reached out to them and talked, there's a network of people who really do believe deep down, they're rail enthusiasts, they believe in the idea of bringing the Japanese or the European-style trains here to the U.S.
But as we have explained to them, even after we got e-mail bombed, look, you're not getting high-speed rail. And they will admit it. They will admit that this administration is not investing in the actual bullet trains like the ones that they believe, they believe will bring us into the future of transportation. It's not what we're getting, Anderson.
COOPER: All right. Drew, appreciate it.
Coming up, if there's one place teenagers love to hang out it's in old-time bingo parlors. The "RidicuList" is next.
COOPER: Time now for "The RidicuList." And tonight, we have the story of an 18-year-old man who tarnished the heretofore pristine bingo scene of Covington, Kentucky.
So this young man, named Austin, walks into a bingo parlor, because really, what teenager can possibly resist the forbidden allure of senior citizens and numbered Ping-Pong balls, and just yells out "Bingo!" That's what he does. He yells out "Bingo!" A kerfuffle ensues. Everyone thought they'd lost when, of course, he wasn't even playing. The game was disrupted for several minutes, and the players were said to be visibly alarmed.
So an off-duty police officer was there working security. Do we really need security at bingo games? Apparently we do. Here's how Austin described what happened next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Instantly he grabbed my hand, handcuffs me and then takes me to the back of his cruiser.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: That's right. Handcuffs. For yelling "Bingo!" Not only that, he was cited for second-degree disorderly conduct.
The judge apparently has a sense of humor because he sentenced him to, wait for it, to not say the word "bingo" for six months. So being a resourceful young man, Austin has developed some work-arounds.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I kind of try to say it backwards, like o- bingo, or something along the lines of that. Old McDonald had a farm. Ee-ai-ee-ai-o. Ringo was his name-o.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Oops. As you might imagine, this crime has turned the town of Covington, Kentucky upside-down, with residents running scared, afraid some other young hooligan teenager might yell "bingo" at any moment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's insane. This's hilarious. That's what the law came down to.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, all right. Maybe he wasn't so concerned.
The good news is Austin has learned a very important lesson from all of this. A lesson he's kind enough to share with his fellow youth of America.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Kids out there, don't say "mingo" in a "mingo" hall.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: These kids today, with their video games and their MP3 players and their unbridled love of bingo halls. They think they're so clever. I'm telling you, back in my day, there was more respect. Sure, a bunch of us would occasionally sneak into a bridge game, maybe a canasta tournament here and there, but really, what teen hasn't done that? But we didn't just yell things out, all higgledy-piggledy, willy-nilly. I guess those days are gone, but certainly not forgotten on "The RidicuList."
That's it for us. Thanks for watching. "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts now.