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LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES

Police Release Sole Suspect in Murder

Aired July 10, 2003 - 19:04   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: The latest on the high-profile murder investigation now that we have been following for days. The case has taken an unexpected turn today. The sole suspect has been released because of what police call evidentiary issues.
David Mattingly has the latest.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Just over 48 hours after one of the city's worst homicides and Bakersfield, California, police go before the cameras with some explaining to do.

CAPT. NEIL MAHAN, BAKERSFIELD POLICE: I can guarantee you we're frustrated. Clearly, we would like to be able to, you know, wrap this case up tomorrow. We have five people dead in our community. But that's not going to be the case.

MATTINGLY: But it did seem to be the case yesterday with the arrest of 41-year-old Vincent Brothers in North Carolina. The Bakersfield Elementary School vice principal is the only suspect, according to authorities, in the murders of his wife, their three children and his mother-in-law.

But less than 12 hours after turning himself in, Brothers was a free man.

FRANK PARRISH, PASQUOTANK COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY: It is, I would say have to say, in the scheme of things, a rare event, but I think the important thing to remember so far as I'm aware, the investigation is not concluded and it's still, in fact, the work in progress.

MATTINGLY: Citing new leads coming from authorities in Ohio, Bakersfield police felt they didn't have enough evidence to keep Brothers in jail.

CHIEF ERIC MATLOCK, BAKERSFIELD POLICE: But I want to make sure that we get this thing right.

MATTINGLY: Bakersfield Police Chief Eric Matlock asking investigators to slow things down.

Acknowledging the deep emotions stirred in the community when someone shot and killed Joni Harper, her mother and her three children, ages 4, 2 and 6 weeks. (END VIDEOTAPE)

Police will also be contacting Brothers' attorney, hoping to convince Brothers to change his mind and answer their questions, something that police say could go a long way in helping diminish the suspicions they now have about him -- Anderson.

COOPER: David, thanks. Such a strange case. There's so many unanswered questions. Obviously, police would like to talk to him very much. David Mattingly, thanks for the report.

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