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CNN SUNDAY NIGHT
Texas Death Row Inmate Charles Victor Thompson Captured; Tornado Rips Through Indiana
Aired November 6, 2005 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CAROL LIN, CNN ANCHOR: This is CNN SUNDAY NIGHT. Terror in the middle of the night. A monster tornado wipes out parts of Evansville, Indiana. More than 20 people died. Right now, rescuers are digging for survivors. Others are telling their harrowing stories.
And violence right now spreading from the French suburbs into the heart of Paris. Tourists beware, the State Department has issued a travel warning. CNN's Chris Burns will show us what's happening right now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I would give him my life because (INAUDIBLE) life.
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LIN: A mother's gratitude after a miraculous rescue. The amazing story of a family's survival after a freak accident. These stories and a lot more next on CNN SUNDAY NIGHT.
You have seen the pictures and they are hard to believe. The word most people are using right now "shocking." The speed, the surprise, and the power and the devastation. Tornados spun out of a line of thunderstorms. And in the dark of night, wiped out entire neighborhoods. 22 people caught completely off guard are dead.
Good evening, I'm Carol Lin. It is America's deadliest day of tornados in more than seven years. A small area straddling Kentucky and the Indiana line. That is where this twister destroyed or damaged hundreds of homes while most people slept.
Now in just a moment, I'm going to take you live to the scene of a dramatic night time rescue operation with CNN's Ed Lavandera.
But also here, CNN's severe weather expert Chad Myers with details on how the storm is currently threatening New England. Plus, our vast network of CNN affiliate stations are sending us the latest information and images from the tornado zone.
But first to Evansville and CNN's Ed Lavandera. Ed, what's going on right now?
ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Carol. If you look behind me, you might be able to see - make out the lights where the search and rescue teams continue to work right now using dogs and listening devices to comb through the wreckage. We're told now that those search and rescue efforts will probably wrap up within the hour.
The only bit of good news, there was the last bit of good news we've heard was a young child that was rescued from the debris, found alive wrapped in debris, but that has been the very little good news we've heard so far today in what has been a painful day.
ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Using their bare hands to peel away the debris and the door as a stretcher, rescue workers pull a woman from her destroyed home. A tornado drops from the darkness, unleashing a surprised trail of devastation as this city slept. At 2:00 in the morning, most people only have nightmares about scenes like this, but it was very real.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was downstairs. I heard the tree hit my window. All I could see was the opening to the sky. And I just screamed.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There was just glass and wood debris just flying all around my head. So I head to pull my covers over my head for about 45 seconds to a minute.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I felt rain in my face. And I got up and my ceiling fell on my bed just where I got up. I'm alive.
LAVANDERA: But not everyone was as lucky as this woman. Search and rescue efforts continue for survivors and victims. Crews have brought in dogs to search through destroyed homes. Heavy machinery will move chunks of rooftops and walls.
And there are people still looking for loved ones, like Steve Hale, who's still holding out hope that a friend's six-year old granddaughter will be found alive.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's terrible. You know, how do you hold up in a situation like this? I think for a lot of it, you know, it hasn't sunk in.
LAVANDERA: Tornado sirens didn't fire off until 30 minutes before the twister touched down. Officials say the siren probably wasn't loud enough to wake people up anyway.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The thing that really hurt us the most on this is the fact that this storm happened in the middle of the night. Most people were asleep, did not have communication on. All they were woke to was their roof being peeled off. And so, that I think, is probably what's going to make our numbers of injured and dead claim a factor in this.
LAVANDERA: The tornado's destructive path stretched across 20 miles of southern Indiana. Residents who escaped serious injury, like Casey Lockhart, are still stunned by the experience.
CASEY LOCKHART, RESIDENT: Back window blew out. Then all the debris and stuff from the back room come in on top of me. And then I was swirled around inside the house on my bed. No way I should live through that. Absolutely no way.
I can show you the spot where I was at. And if you believe a man would live through that, just no way you could do it.
LAVANDERA: And that is a sentiment that a lot of survivors are probably sharing tonight. You can take a - this picture that we're showing you now, a little bit closer vantage point of the search and rescue efforts that continue right now. And as I mentioned, Carol, they're using dogs and listening devices to go through all of this wreckage. There's quite a bit, 350 homes back here.
Within the hour, they will wrap up this search and rescue effort for the night. But I'm told by officials here that they will come back again in the morning to do one kind of more cursory search. And they think that everything will be wrapped up here by then.
The one quick update we can offer you to - just moments ago before coming on the air, the gentleman, Steve Hale in the piece who had - we had mentioned that was waiting to hear about the news about his friend's granddaughter, we've just found out that that young girl was found dead today - Carol?
LIN: Oh, Ed, I'm so sorry about that. We all were hoping for the best, as news was traveling tonight. And I know you've been on top of this rescue situation all night long. Ed, thank you so much.
Can you imagine, this killer hit at 2:00 in the morning? And it really is impossible to convey the absolute terror of a tornado strike. If you haven't seen one firsthand, those who survive this disaster consider themselves very lucky tonight.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When it all started, it was five after 2:00. And we heard like they said a train coming.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This tornado is much worse than the storm we had a year and a half ago. The story a year and a half ago was only an F-2. This is definitely going to be way more. We've got a lot more damage. It was just a very eerie feeling when the tornado sirens went off. And then the very still, quiet calm outside. And then the hail and then the freight train sound.
So I mean, it was personally very scary for me and my family.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was downstairs. I heard the tree hit my window. All I could see was the open sky. And I just screamed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LIN: Now we just heard from Ed Lavandera that the rescue operation's going to wrap up just for the night. They're going to come back at the crack of dawn tonight. Stay with CNN SUNDAY NIGHT because I'm going to be talking with one of those rescue workers to see what they are hearing, what they are finding, and what they are hoping for. So stay tuned for that. We're not done with this story just yet.
The bad weather also is now moving east to the east coast. Severe weather expert Chad Myers standing by the CNN Weather Center.
Chad, what's going on with this thing?
CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Carol, the storm is moving almost 60 miles per hour. Came through Evansville, just south of Evansville about 2:00, 2:10 a.m. yesterday. This sound right here may be the big - best sound you'll ever hear in your life. This is a weather radio, a NOAA weather radio. You need to own one of these. Absolutely, if you can't hear the siren, or if you're away from the city, you need to get one of those. Holiday season's coming up. This might be the best Christmas present you ever bought yourself.
That would have went off 15 minutes before the storm hit. Now if you're in a mobile home, I'm not sure exactly still what you do. You're supposed to get out and get to a safer shelter, but that's still very difficult to do at that time of night.
The storm is moving to the east now. The severe thunderstorm watch in that box there moving in from the west now. There is this storm in Evansville. This backs you up until 2:00 in the morning. So what is that? 20 hours ago.
This storm then raced across in toward Louisville. And this storm is continuing to move now. The whole line of weather, not the tornado itself, but the whole line of weather is moving into the eastern part of the country. Just had a pretty strong squall through New York City. We can zoom you into a couple more spots on Long Island. Some big weather here just moved through west Islip, now moving up toward the Hamptons. And then the heavier showers now moving into the Boston area.
There still could be some wind damage tonight. Thousands of people without power tonight because of the wind damage that occurred. 220 reports of damage so far. And we're still getting them in this evening - Carol?
LIN: All right, a powerful storm. Chad, thank you very much.
MYERS: You're welcome.
LIN: Now you can stay up on the latest information on the tornados at cnn.com. And you can also read about the 10 deadliest tornados here in the United States.
Meanwhile, overseas, France is engulfed in an 11th straight night of riots with no end in sight. Today, schools, a church, and hundreds of vehicles across the country were torched. Chris Burns is in Paris, where the violence spread this weekend. Chris? CHRIS BURNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Carol, the number of vehicles at this point torched overnight, some 700. The night is not quite over yet. More than 30 police injured, two of them seriously. In the worst case in a town just south of Paris, police were attacked by - reportedly by shots from a pellet gun. In the Houa (ph) suburb in Normandy, a car was used as a battering ram against a police station.
This after President Jacques Chirac promised "absolute priority is reestablishment of security and public order." The president had met and held a security meeting with key members of his cabinet, including interior, defense, education and so forth. And the priority right now is to restore order before in trying to deal with some of the underlying issues.
But even after what Chirac said, we're seeing more violence. What you could point out, though, is that there - at this point, about half as many vehicles torched as the night before. So you might call that progress, Carol.
LIN: Hard to say because it's been 11 days since two African- American teenagers were killed, electrocuted during a police chase, which prompted all of this.
Chris, there has been a travel warning issued by the U.S. State Department for American tourists. What are the most dangerous spots for them? How fast is this thing spreading?
BURNS: Well, Carol, it's not just the Americans. It's the Brits. It's Canada. It's the Russians even to stay out of certain areas. Now these areas are the suburbs outside of Paris, mainly to the north and east and other suburbs in many, many other cities across the country.
But you can still visit the Eiffel Tower safely, Carol.
LIN: All right, Chris Burns, thank you very much. Chris Burns covering this developing story. An 11th night of rioting in Paris.
Now a U.S. Marine was shot to death by an insurgent today during Operation Steel Curtain. That is the offensive in northwestern Iraq, near the Syrian border, where the U.S. insists foreign fighters are entering Iraq. The Marines say at least 60 insurgents have been killed.
An archaeologist uncovered what may be the oldest church in the holy land. And that's saying a lot. Perhaps the oldest church even in the world. A memorial and a mosaic referencing Christ were found on the grounds of a maximum security prison in Israel. Pottery fragments dating to the third century were also discovered.
In Somalia, attackers threw grenades at the prime minister's convoy, killing five bodyguards. The prime minister was not hurt. Now such attacks are fairly common in Somalia, where there is no functioning government or even rule of law.
Now that attempt on the prime minister's life and this weekend's pirate attack are pretty good examples of the complete anarchy on the horn of Africa. A luxury ship got away from a band of armed pirates off the coast of Somalia. It was only one of a dozen or dozens actually of attacks on ships off Somalia this year.
One crew member received a minor injury. Every one else was just rattled from the experience.
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MIKE ROGERS, PASSENGER: The firing went on for a while. And the captain asked everyone to assemble in the dining room. And on the way out of the suite, we saw a lady who was in the suite across from us on the opposite side of the boat. And one of the grenades had gone right through her window, narrowly missing her while she was sitting on the coach and destroyed her liquor cabinet above the television set. But fortunately, it appears it didn't explode.
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LIN: Wow. Now another witness said the attackers fired on the ship for more than an hour. The cruise liner, no surprise, is reconsidering its routes for future trips to that region.
All right, we've got another story that is in the category of the amazing because this family is so lucky to be alive. It happened in Tampa, Florida. And this family is counting their blessings after this harrowing accident. They had a tire blow out. Their SUV blew that tire and it flipped off a bridge into the water. And what happened next some are calling a miraculous rescue.
LIN (voice-over): Amira Jakupovic and her husband haven't even met the good Samaritans who dove off a highway bridge to save her family Saturday.
AMIRA JAKUPOVIC, ACCIDENT SURVIVOR: And I want to thank them. I owe them my life.
LIN: The couple and their two sons were traveling on an interstate bridge over Tampa Bay, when their tire blew out.
LT. ALLAN CARTER, FLORIDA HIGHWAY PATROL: They lost control, hit the outer or hit the inside wall. Then spun across the highway, hit the outside wall, and went over the wall and went into the water.
LIN: The SUV flipped over as it plunged. The roof of the vehicle hitting the water first. Amira described being overcome by total darkness and sinking quickly to the bottom of the bay.
She was able to grab her 13-year old son and pull him to the surface. But her husband was trapped. And she could not see their seven-year old son, Amar.
The captain of a small fishing boat came to help. From the bridge, a passer-by, Carrie Reardon, stopped his car and jumped in. JAKUPOVIC: The next thing I remember is that the - was the guy who jumped from the bridge. And 30 seconds later, he got my boy.
LIN: Reardon swam down nine feet and unhooked Amar's seatbelt. Seconds later, an off duty nurse, Kelly Earl, followed Reardon into the water, administering CPR once the boy was pulled into the boat.
JAKUPOVIC: The other girl, she was jumping from a bridge, too. And I guess she was a nurse. That's what they told me.
LIN: The family is recovering at a nearby hospital. Doctors say they're alive today because of the quick thinking of strangers and because they were wearing their seatbelts.
JAKUPOVIC: I would give them my life because they saved my son's life.
LIN: We have word from the Associated Press that the escaped death row inmate Charles Victor Thompson has been captured in Shreveport, Louisiana. This according to the U.S. marshals service, telling the Associated Press.
We are working on this story right now to confirm it ourselves. But as you know, this man tricked the deputies at the Houston jail, walked out after getting dressed in civilian clothes, and using a phony state badge, and set himself off in a journey freedom.
But now the Associated Press saying that Charles Victor Thompson has been captured in Shreveport, Louisiana.
All right, right now, we've got Devon Donnahy, who is the brother of the girlfriend of the - the former girlfriend of Charles Thompson, whom he murdered.
Devon Donnahy was here tonight to react to the escape, but now we've got him right now. Devon, you've just heard the breaking news. It looks like Charles Thompson...
DEVON DONNAHY, BROTHER OF MURDERED GIRLFRIEND: Yes, I did.
LIN: ...has been captured.
DONNAHY: Fantastic. I'd like to know that no one else was hurt in doing this.
LIN: Now Shreveport, Louisiana, is there any...
DONNAHY: Do we know that?
LIN: We don't know anything other than the Associated Press is reporting that he has been captured, but we're working on this story right now, Devon.
Do you have any idea of why he would have been in Shreveport? DONNAHY: One more time, I'm sorry.
LIN: Do you know why he would have been in Shreveport?
DONNAHY: I have no knowledge of that whatsoever. I don't even know that he has any family in Shreveport.
LIN: All right. Perhaps this man just on the run. This has got to come as such a relief to you. Your mother, I understand, has been living in fear and in hiding?
DONNAHY: Her and my brother.
LIN: What has the last few days been like for your family?
DONNAHY: I don't know if I'm allowed to say this, but a living hell. Just the question of where he's at, what he's doing, and what is his intentions? Not knowing his intentions is the scariest part of it. We didn't know if, you know, his idea - it was to run or to go get even.
He's made it very clear that while he was in jail, that he wanted to - you know, it had been pointed out that he had taken - offered hits - offered money to have my brother and other people killed while he was in jail.
LIN: Really? Now this was - was this recently or was this several years ago after he had been tried and convicted?
DONNAHY: Well, my understanding, a - it was the original one for sure. But I've been told that he also did it prior to this last appeal.
LIN: Because you said that - you've said to us before that he actually drew a map?
DONNAHY: Yes, he drew a map to my brother's house. He drew a map to - my understanding, where my brother worked, which was - my brother's a postal carrier, and had also drawn a map of where he had thrown the gun.
So the gun would be used by, you know, if he has a new assailant. So it would be like he was not involved with it. It was, you know, somebody trying to get even with that group.
So he actually drew a map of where he threw the gun. And that's how the police recovered the gun itself.
LIN: So that's why your family was convinced that he might try to kill again?
DONNAHY: Well, reason being is without the testimony of my brother and this other lady, Diane, which I don't know the whole story of, he had went to her house after the shooting and I - my understanding had told her the whole story. And before his trial, he wanted those two eliminated because without their testimony, they really had nothing against him that he actually did that.
Other than the fact that they had a fight, there was a fight prior that evening between him and Darren...
LIN: Your sister's boyfriend, who was also murdered?
DONNAHY: Yes, there. And I want to take this moment, and I don't mean to break your time, but to Darren's parents, Darren is my hero. I mean, he - the only reason he went - was with my sister that night was because my sister had asked him to come over because she was afraid that Chuck would show up.
DONNAHY: So his only purpose there was to protect my sister. And unfortunately, he didn't even know Chuck or Charles or whatever.
He didn't even know him. So he died...
LIN: Defending your sister.
DONNAHY: ...trying to help my sister. So...
LIN: Devon, what was your reaction when you found out that he escaped, that Charles Thompson escaped, walked out?
DONNAHY: Total disbelief. It's - my dogs had just had puppies. And when I came home from work, I learned it from my wife. My wife said Chuck had just escaped.
And I thought she was making a joke about one of my puppies had gotten out.
LIN: You weren't even thinking about this guy?
DONNAHY: That was the last concept that would have entered my mind, that they were talking about Charles Thompson, a man on death row, you know, just walking out of a jail.
And then, of course, the second question is, you know, how many people did they have to shoot? Or you know, I mean, what kind of wall did he have to go through to get out?
LIN: Right. And then you found out that he just bluffed his way out.
DONNAHY: Houdini himself I don't think could have pulled that one off. And that's the most amazing part about all this. And I think that the sheriff's department really has quite a bit to explain.
Well, not necessarily explain, but maybe to reevaluate their procedures. LIN: Oh, absolutely, because even after this, Devon, I mean, they have accepted 100 percent responsibility. And there's an investigation going on, but not a single person as far as we know has been suspended or reprimanded.
DONNAHY: Well, you know, they're talking about how they've accepted 100 percent of the responsibility. But you know, my family that has gone into hiding has had to pay for their own hotel rooms, their own food, their everything. My family is, you know, they're losing work. They can't go to their jobs. I mean, they're having to pay for all of that.
LIN: Oh, this has to be...
DONNAHY: That is absolutely ridiculous.
DONNAHY: You know.
LIN: ...this has to be, though, a sigh of relief. This has to be complete...
DONNAHY: Oh, I just heard. I heard over - just when they put the earpiece in my ear.
DONNAHY: I had just heard the news. And I mean, it was a mountain lifted off my shoulders. The fear wasn't so much all just for my family. My fear was for the safety of anybody.
DONNAHY: Because with him, you know, he has nothing to gain to come back.
DONNAHY: So I didn't think that he'd come back alive. I figured he would either take a hostage or there would be a shootout of some sort. I did not see any way positive he would take that alive.
LIN: All right, Devon, I just want to let you know that CNN has confirmed that Charles Thompson is in custody in Shreveport, Louisiana. You can rest assured right now. He is. And hopefully, will stay behind bars.
Listen, Devon, I want you to stay with us. I want our crew out there to give you a phone. And you get on the line with your mother and your brother. And you give them this good news, OK? Stay with us because we want to come back to you. All right?
LIN: But I want to give you a chance to go talk to your family and tell them to rest assured that for now they're safe, OK?
DONNAHY: OK. Well, I've only got the number to my brother. My mother's number has been - I've - it's been hard to get in touch with our family because they've been bounced around so much.
DONNAHY: At this point, I have no way of getting in touch with my mother. She calls me on my cellphone.
LIN: OK. Well, hopefully, Devon, she might be watching. She might be watching, all right?
DONNAHY: I hope she is. And Charles, you know, this is a terrible thing to say, but when you find a dog that's rabid, you put it to death. You don't put it in a holding cage for seven to 10 years to find out if it changes.
LIN: That's right.
DONNAHY: And I don't understand. His whole (INAUDIBLE) process gets to start over again. So he's got another seven to 10 years to plan his next escape. That's ridiculous. He's been proven twice by two different juries now and given the death penalty.
I question the state of Texas of why that he is given any more time than tomorrow to live.
DONNAHY: More especially after this.
LIN: ...that is the way the wheels of justice are turning right now, but it's the same system that's caught him in Shreveport. So keep your fingers crossed. Get in touch with your family. Stay with us. We want to come back to you. And we're going to bring you the news as soon as we get it. Any more news about his condition or how it happened, you're going to hear it directly from me. So stay right there with our camera position and try and get in touch with your family.
Right now, I want to bring in Don Clark. He is a veteran, a former FBI investigator. He has worked a number of serial killer cases. He has been our consultant on this case. He's on the telephone with me right now out of Austin, Texas.
Don, you heard the good news that Charles Thompson in custody in Shreveport, Louisiana.
DON CLARK, FORMER FBI AGENT: Yes, I did hear that, Carol. And that is good news. It's good for people, where it's good for the criminal justice system. Certainly for the family and the people around Houston.
But more - equally as important, Carol, is that this didn't happen through osmosis. I mean, clearly, the law enforcement community has to be able to respond to the information that they've got, expand upon it, and move quickly with it. And apparently, this has taken place. And you can see what the results are.
LIN: Right. So what are they going to do with him now?
CLARK: Well, you know, now there's an additional charge. Because now there's an escape charge. And I'm pretty certain that that's going to be filed against him.
But I think the first think that's going to happen is that he's going to be secure some place in somebody's maximum security jail until they can get him transported back to Texas, perhaps even back to Harris County area, because that's where he escaped from. Maybe even back to the Texas Department of Corrections, depending on where they can be pretty much guaranteed that there is a facility that will keep this man in.
LIN: Right. Well, I was just talking with the murder victim's brother. All right, he just got the news from us right here on our air on CNN, Don. And his question is, look, here's a guy who's been tried twice, convicted twice, given the death sentence twice. All right, you're saying he now gets an escape charge. But this is a man who's just going to spend the next 10 years in trials at tax dollar's expense?
CLARK: You know, Carol, I understand that. And I certainly understand the pain that the victims have to go through with this. But we do have a pretty decent justice system. And we've got to follow through with that. And we just can't move it and make it pliable as we think it's appropriate to do.
I mean, the charges have to be filed. And the system of justice has to roll along, but at a point in time once appeals and things are exhausted. And we know from living here in Texas state that has the death penalty, that it takes a long time to get these things through.
And there's still some confrontations about whether or not everything's justified in getting them done. But nonetheless, it takes place. And by and large, that it's going to happen, I'm sure, at some point in time, but I think we'd rather that the wheels of justice turn and continue in that right direction until it happens.
LIN: Now you're suggesting that he's going to be placed in some sort of maximum security facility. How is that going to be different than the Harris County jail, which had four separate checkpoints that this guy managed to get through?
CLARK: Well, I could tell you right now, if this guy comes back to Harris County, I feel very comfortable that he will not experience the same types of treatment that he experienced before.
LIN: How's it going to... CLARK: Because everybody's eyes are going to be open to who he is. And there are maximum facilities available in these jails, Carol. And I certainly can't explain what happened, but hopefully Harris County will in due course now that they can focus on what happened.
LIN: Right. Well, what's considered maximum security?
CLARK: Well, in many jail facilities, for people who are on death row, they're not mixed with other inmates. You know, they're not allowed some of the other privileges that some of the other inmates might have in terms of having bunk mates and being able to move at certain places under a lesser degree of security, that they are pretty much by themselves, 24/7 and very well guarded as they move from point A to point B.
And obviously, that didn't take place here.
LIN: Well, I just want to update our viewers who may be just joining us right now. Don, I'm talking with Don Clark, who's a veteran FBI investigator. He's been helping us with this escaped inmate story. And we have just learned and confirmed that Charles Thompson, the inmate who walked out of the Harris County Jail, has been captured in Shreveport, Louisiana. He is right now in police custody. Don Clark on the telephone with me from Austin, Texas.
He's very familiar with the Harris County Jail from where Charles Thompson escaped. Don, so how long do you think it's going to take for them to get him back from Shreveport? Is he going to leave tonight? Is there going to be some legal process in Shreveport they've got to go through?
CLARK: You know, it's not going to take a long time for them to get him back. In usual situations is that once a fugitive has been apprehended out of the jurisdiction from which the warrant has been issued, once they verify that, the area, the jurisdiction which arrested him is pretty eager to get that person out of their territory and get him back.
And I'm sure that the Gulf Coast Task Force here in Houston that's run with marshals and people from other agencies there are going to immediately want to send someone to Shreveport, Louisiana, and get this person, and bring him back into the jurisdiction, so we can get back here, and the wheels of justice regarding his other activities can continue to turn.
LIN: Right, because of course the question still remains: How did he get out? I mean, it seems determined -- investigators determined that he did have some kind of help, because they found his civilian clothes, and a phony badge that he used to get out of the jail nearby, the jail facility. So it suggests that someone may have picked him up and driven him. So that's the other part of the story. We don't know he got away, or who helped him.
CLARK: Well, that is the other part of the story, but now, Carol, what can take place is that now, the law enforcement officials, the internal affairs officials that's going to be working this can focus their time on what really happened in there, and find out if there were other co-conspirators involved with him. And it certainly appears that there were other people that was working in concert with him. So that's their task at hand right now, and I (INAUDIBLE), Carol, that there's no way that they can take this lightly, that they're going to have to get a task force on this immediately and try to find out if there are in fact guilty parties inside or outside that need to be brought to justice in this matter.
LIN: Right. I'm just reading the latest wire too on this, Don, that it is confirmed now, the wires are reporting, as well as what we are reporting now, that Charles Thompson in custody. We don't have any details about how he was captured in Shreveport, Louisiana. This killer, who has been convicted twice, given the death sentence, in the murder of his ex-girlfriend and her new boyfriend.
Don, I was just talking...
LIN: Go ahead. Go ahead.
CLARK: Yes, I'll hang on as long as I can.
LIN: OK, I appreciate it, because this is a developing story, and we're expecting shortly, I hope, to get more details on this capture. But Don, throughout the authorities in Harris County have been saying that they were getting some tips. They seemed to be reliable tips. Translate that for me. What does that mean? How detailed were those tips, and do you think they led to the arrest?
CLARK: Well, I think that, yes, they would have had to have led to the arrest, Carol. And they have not been -- and I know these task forces and I know how they work -- and they would not be just sitting there, waiting on telephone calls, because they automatically had a large amount of information in terms of perhaps contacts and in terms of people that he has contacted recently, maybe visitors that's come in, types of notes, letters, all types of information that would have been available to them. So they've been scurrying through this, if you will, trying to figure out who might get in touch with these people.
And also, Carol, as we talked about earlier today, there were millions of eyes and ears out there, as well, and perhaps some of those could have been in Shreveport, where he's just been arrested.
LIN: Let's just hope.
Don, I hope you can hang on the phone as long as you possibly can. I don't mean to inconvenience you, but we are in breaking news mode, and we want to get your reaction as we get information in.
But right now, I want to go back to the brother of the young woman whom this man murdered. Devin Donaghey, you've had a chance to talk with your family, which has been in hiding. What did they have to say? What was the reaction? DEVIN DONAGHEY, BROTHER OF THOMPSON'S VICTIM: They're relieved. Quite obviously, they're relived, you know, the weight is off the shoulders. You know, when you're driving down the freeway and you're looking into every car, wondering if he's in that car next to you. I mean, I've been doing that for the last three days; my brother has been doing that for the last three days. You just never know. Or you're looking in your rearview mirror to see if you're being followed by someone. It's a lot of relief. And more especially, you know, it's a big relief to know that at least to my knowledge -- no one has said anything differently -- that nobody else was harmed or hurt...
LIN: Right, we would have heard that by now.
D. DONAGHEY: .. In his capture.
LIN: We would heard that by now, Devin, so I'm pretty sure that this went down pretty smoothly, and a surprise, even to the attorney who was representing Charles Thompson. And he was afraid that this was going to end in a hail of bullets.
D. DONAGHEY: Oh, I heard him also say at one point that it was just a crime of passion, and that, you know, he was a big pussycat, and he wasn't out to hurt anybody. This is a guy who killed two people and tried to have four other people killed. I just don't, you know, a lot of this stuff that's in the papers, in the newspapers and on the media, you know, it's been crossed over so many different times in so many different ways, versions of it's been said, that this guy is smooth as ice. And people ask him, they go, what kind of person is he? I mean, you're talking about a guy who just walked out of a jail cell. You know, you've got to consider him pretty slick, and pretty nervy.
LIN: You remember him being -- yes, I was going to say, you remember him being this charming, that he could convince these deputies that he was a state employee?
D. DONAGHEY: He had a side to him that, you know, was very average. He was very nice. He was, you know, we didn't like him, because of, one, the age difference between him and my sister, and two, the fact that he never carried a job the whole he dated her. My sister basically supported him. You know, other than that, you know, my family is kind of all stayed out of relationship problems. We don't get involved as well. We don't approve of her or don't approve of him, you know. If my brother -- you know, who has a great wife, by the way, he has the best in the family -- you know, we -- opinions are never really brought out, you know, you should not be seeing him.
D. DONAGHEY: You know, so we kind of kept our opinions to ourselves on him. But you could tell, he was -- he was a slickster. That's the -- I want to use a different word, but I can't use that on camera, but he was very slick. He knew what to say and how to say it to get into good -- people's good graces, or to at least get people to like him or accept him. But on the other hand, then there's another side to him that was withheld from me, where he had hit my sister a couple of times, or had abused her physically. That was never brought to my attention, to the family. I don't know necessarily that they were aware of it. Some of her co-workers were. But I was never aware of it. As you see, I'm a pretty big boy, and anybody that's ever hit my sister, I would have done something about way before.
LIN: I know you two (ph) were very close.
D. DONAGHEY: We -- the thing I miss most is the jokes. You know, my sister would call me up with a joke every day almost. She was a beautician. So that was our big thing, you know. We'd hear a good joke, and I would share with her, or she would share with me, and that was our biggest communication time, we were telling each other the newest jokes. And that was -- for the first year, I guess, every time I heard a joke, I mean, it didn't seem quite as funny, because I didn't have her to share it with.
LIN: Yeah, I can understand that.
D. DONAGHEY: That's a silly fact, but I mean, really, that's really one of the closest points between me and my sister.
LIN: No, it's not silly at all, Devin. You loved Denise very much, and I know you still do. What did you tell your brother? When you called, what did you tell your brother tonight? Because he's still in hiding.
D. DONAGHEY: My brother is watching as we're speaking right now. He was watching the broadcast as it started, so he immediately heard it the same time I did, I guess, or realized it by my expression, I'm not sure. As you can tell, there is a smile on my face versus what was there coming here.
D. DONAGHEY: I do want to make the point that I don't hold the whole sheriff's department responsible for this. I think that a few people -- two officers more than dropped the ball. It's not the whole sheriff's department's fault, but I mean, there's definitely -- there's more to this than what's being let out, because what happened should have been virtually impossible, and it should have never happened in the first place.
If I got one minute, you know, to explain it -- the night of the murder, there was a fistfight four hours prior that the three of them were involved with. One of them should have went to jail then, and if one of them would have went to jail -- and the sheriff's department was there that night, let all three of them go -- and if they wouldn't have let all three of them go that night and just had one of them for a 24-hour cooling off period, you know, my sister and Darren would still be alive today, I feel.
So I mean, this isn't the first mistake the sheriff's department made, but you know, at this point in time, I'm glad to know that no one else was harmed. I'm glad to know that he's back in custody. I think it's a joke, what the officer said on the phone earlier, how additional charges are going to be added to this. What other -- what else can you do to a man on death row? You know? Kill him twice? What, give him an extra year in prison...
LIN: It's just one more trial. It's just one more trial, Devin.
D. DONAGHEY: ... before you kill him, you know.
LIN: One more reason to bring him back to Harris County.
D. DONAGHEY: Oh, yeah, give him another opportunity to walk right back out of here.
LIN: Well, let's hope not. I mean, they do have tighter security, and a lot of apologies that they owe to your family. But the department had told me that they were in direct contact with you about this. So did they indicate to you that they suspected it might be an inside job, that there was somebody inside the department who helped Charles Thompson escape?
D. DONAGHEY: Not at all. And as far as them being in contact with us, that is a total lie. They were with my brother some; me, very rarely, and all the contact I had, I had to contact them, and they wouldn't -- they didn't answer any of my questions. They evaded them -- which, to a point, I understand. They didn't want to give out any kind of leads or methods that they were using to try to find him.
LIN: Right. And it was also probably for your own protection too, Devin. I mean, this story has been so public, and you know, there is so much they can tell you, because frankly, I don't think they knew very much at all.
Devin, I want to thank you for your time.
D. DONAGHEY: Thank you.
LIN: I want to, you know, if we get some more information, stay close to our camera position. There's a lot that's going to be happening this hour. Devin Donaghey, who is the brother of the murder victim, Denise Hayslip, who was killed by Charles Thompson in cold blood.
I want to let everybody know that we're following this breaking news story. We don't have any more exact details about how Charles Thompson was captured. We do know that Shreveport police have confirmed that this escaped convict, this death row inmate from Harris County, Texas, Charles Thompson, has been captured tonight in Shreveport, Louisiana.
We are going to learn more this hour or within the hour from the U.S. Marshals Service, which is going to be holding a news conference out of Harris County tonight, to talk about the details of the capture and what happens next. So please, stay right there. We're bringing it to you as we get it. We'll be right back.
LIN: Welcome back to our breaking news coverage. In case you are just tuning in, the death row inmate who slipped out of a Harris County, Texas jail in civilian clothes has been captured in Shreveport, Louisiana. Charles Thompson is now in the custody of Shreveport police.
With me on the telephone right now is Marianne Matus. She is with the U.S. Marshals Office in Harris County in Texas. Marianne, can you tell us what happened? How was he captured?
MARIANNE MATUS, U.S. MARSHALS SERVICE: Well, over the weekend, we received numerous tips, and today in particular, we've received several credible tips, pinpointing him in the Louisiana, Shreveport area. So we immediately notified our counterparts in Shreveport, the U.S. marshals who are part of the Western Louisiana Fugitive Task Force, and they were able to spot him at a particular location there in Shreveport.
LIN: A particular location? What kind of location?
MATUS: He was actually found at 226 West Sebedia (ph) Street, in front of a liquor store. He appeared to be intoxicated. The officers actually walked up to him and asked him what his name was. He said, "you know who I am." They asked him again, "what is your name?" And he said, "Charles Thompson."
So at that time, they took him into custody.
LIN: So was he armed? Was he with anyone?
MATUS: No. He was alone. Again, he appeared to be intoxicated. He was by himself. And that was about 8:00 this evening.
LIN: Did he have a car?
MATUS: No. He actually had a bicycle near him. It appeared to be what he was using for transportation.
LIN: What was his state of mind? What was his appearance like?
MATUS: Well, again, he, like I said, he was intoxicated. I don't think he was uncooperative. They did take him into custody. We have not interviewed him yet. He is in Shreveport Police Department's custody, and will later this evening be transferred to the Caddo Parish jail, and he'll be there until he goes through any extradition hearings that are set.
LIN: You know, as you know, Marianne, there is some question about whether he got help. Are they questioning him about this, and do you expect that there will be another arrest imminent, if not tonight?
MATUS: I don't think it would be anything tonight, I don't have any information on that, but yes, definitely when he is interviewed, once he's no longer intoxicated, those are definitely questions that we will be asking him, how did he get out, was there any assistance and things of that nature.
LIN: All right, so you're saying he's too drunk to answer questions right now?
MATUS: It appeared to be from the officers that made the arrest.
LIN: OK. You know, Marianne, it's funny, because this is not exactly how a lot of people who knew this man expected this arrest to go down. I mean, we were expecting something far more dramatic than a drunk in front of a liquor store.
MATUS: Exactly. I don't think I've ever arrested a fugitive that was drunk, in front of a liquor store, after this kind of media hype. But I credit it very much to the media exposure and the photographs that were out there, because as I say, we did get numerous calls. Not all of them panned out, but luckily, several of them did, had good information, so that assisted us greatly.
LIN: What was he doing in Shreveport, do you know?
MATUS: I do not know. As far as I know, no one has interviewed him to ask him those kinds of questions yet, and we don't have that information here in Houston. We do anticipate interviewing him tomorrow, though.
LIN: All right. Is there special security around him?
MATUS: I would assume so. I'm not there, but yes, I would assume that they would treat him as a high-risk, high-threat prisoner.
LIN: OK. Marianne Matus with the U.S. Marshals Office, thank you very much.
MATUS: Thank you.
LIN: Marianne, I think we're expecting a news conference, though, perhaps with more detail, do you think?
MATUS: Probably a few more details. There will be a press conference here within the hour here in Houston.
MATUS: In front of the jail.
LIN: And when do you expect him to return to Harris County?
MATUS: Well, it all depends on whether he tries to fight extradition through the state lines.
LIN: Why would he? Is there an advantage to being in Louisiana?
LIN: There is no death penalty?
LIN: Is there any advantage for him to fight extradition and stay in Louisiana?
All right, I think we've lost the connection with Marianne Matus. Marianne Matus with the U.S. Marshals Office, giving us great, incredible detail about how this arrest went down. Several credible tips -- I wanted to ask her about who was going to get the $10,000 reward -- but several tips came into the U.S. Marshals hotline. So you out there are credited with this man's arrest. They found him standing outside a liquor store in Shreveport, Louisiana, and according to the U.S. Marshals Office -- I just spoke with them -- he's too drunk to be interviewed. So they can't ask him any questions until tomorrow when he sobers up.
All right, right now, I'm just getting some word from our producers that I have Wynona Donaghey on the telephone with me right now. Mrs. Donaghey, you're the mother of Denise Hayslip, right?
WYNONA DONAGHEY, VICTIM'S MOTHER: Yes, ma'am, I am.
LIN: The murder victim.
W. DONAGHEY: Uh-huh.
LIN: You have been living what has to be described as a nightmare for the last 72 hours. How are you doing? What's your reaction to Charles Thompson's capture?
W. DONAGHEY: Really, really relieved. You know, our lives have just been in absolute turmoil, and I was, myself and everybody I know was just praying that he didn't hurt anybody else before they got him, because he's a very dangerous individual. Even though he doesn't sound like a drunk in front of a liquor store, it's still typical Chuck, the way he did things.
LIN: Mrs. Donaghey, why do you think after all these years, it's been what now, six years?
W. DONAGHEY: No, ma'am, eight years.
LIN: Eight years since your daughter's murder. Why do you think after all this time that he would come back -- he would come after you?
W. DONAGHEY: Anybody -- nothing that Chuck ever did was his fault. It was always somebody else's fault. And it was our fault that he was on death row. It was my daughter's fault that she got killed, in his opinion. And it's -- oh, that's just the way he does things. And somebody has to pay when goes wrong in Chuck's life. That's just the way he operated. And all the way through this, this is all I ever heard. You know, was how the world just did him wrong, even when he was, I guess when he was in juvenile, that was his excuse then. You know, it was somebody else, it wasn't him.
LIN: So he never showed any remorse for the murder of your daughter?
W. DONAGHEY: Never. LIN: He never apologized.
W. DONAGHEY: No, no, not once. Not once did he say he was sorry. God bless him, his family, and it was, you know, they were just devastated him, and they apologized, you know, for what their son did to my family, but Chuck never did. I have prayed as much for the Thompson family as I did my own through this, because I knew what it was doing to them, too.
LIN: Oh, that is -- you know, Mrs. Donaghey, that is incredibly big of you to do that for his family. Where have you been these last few days? Where did you go?
W. DONAGHEY: Staying with friends, you know, away from my home, and you know, where the only way you could get me was by cell, and I had to close down my business, because I didn't want to take a chance on something happening there, you know, because I run an antique shop, and it would -- you just don't expose your customers to something like that. So...
LIN: And he would know where to find you.
W. DONAGHEY: Yes, he would, yes, because I was subpoenaed to testify, and all of that is part of court records, how to contact people.
LIN: And according to your son Devin, Charles Thompson had made a map to your other son's house, with potentially a plot to kill him.
W. DONAGHEY: That's right, and my son definitely left very early this -- by 4:00, they were gone from their home, Thursday afternoon, and they have not been back.
LIN: How did you find out that he escaped?
W. DONAGHEY: On the news, and somebody called me that's seen it on the news, and because of the trial had just ended the week previous to that, when the verdict came in on Friday, and it was the following Thursday. So every -- all of my friends knew where I had been the week before, at that trial all week, and so they asked -- they called and asked me, was that his name? And I said yes. And they said, he escaped. And I said, that's the sickest joke I ever heard, that's not even funny. I just couldn't believe it, you know.
LIN: Did the sheriff's department ever call you directly?
W. DONAGHEY: No, but the local Tombo (ph) police did.
LIN: And what did they tell you?
W. DONAGHEY: And I have been under their protection, and I guarantee you, I was very well protected. I felt very secure.
LIN: How many officers did you have around you?
W. DONAGHEY: They put in electronic stuff for me here at the house, you know. And plus, I had plenty of officers if I needed them. But I am a very lucky individual. I live in a small town with a very good police department. And they're also friends of mine, so -- and I never felt that I was in danger, just by listening to what they told me to do, you know. So I felt very secure here in Tombo (ph). I didn't have any problems.
LIN: What did they tell you to do? What did they tell you to do? The precautions you would have to take while this guy was on the loose?
W. DONAGHEY: Just not be too visible, you know, stay pretty close, and then they gave us those instant panic things that go direct to the patrol cars, so in case anything came up, I, you know, it wouldn't even go through dispatch; it went directly to the cars.
LIN: Mrs. Donaghey, you were living like a fugitive these past 72 hours.
W. DONAGHEY: Yes, ma'am, I definitely have been. Afraid to go around my friends because I didn't want to endanger anybody, and not able to operate my business. And I felt like, you know, I was afraid to be around people because I think they felt funny being around me. You know, they kept looking across my shoulder. So I kind of kept well just by myself, you know, as much as I possibly could, and then doing as many interviews on TV and radio as I could possibly -- and newspapers, anything I could do that felt like I could help.
LIN: Right, right.
W. DONAGHEY: To try to get him. And everybody told me, don't do that either, that I would just be, you know, spotlighting myself, and I said, I don't care. If one person hears me and thinks to look at that picture, it would be worth it.
LIN: You mean, yeah, the picture of Charles Thompson.
W. DONAGHEY: Right. Or listen to me tell them, you know, if you're trying to help him, don't. He'll hurt you.
LIN: Wynona Donaghey, you know what, your daughter would be so proud of you. You and your courage and the fact that you can stand up to this guy, you can talk to the media, you can get the word out, and because you know now that it was public information -- somebody called the tip line, and tipped off police, and they managed to locate him and get him under arrest. He is going to be behind bars, and the U.S. Marshals Office says that there would be extra security, you can be assured tonight, you can sleep well tonight.
W. DONAGHEY: No, yes, ma'am. I definitely am for the first time in four nights be able to get some sleep, and I thank you guys for helping me as much as you were letting me on the air, as much as you did.
LIN: Well, we want the killer behind bars as much as anybody. Wynona Donaghey, thank you so much. You take really good care of yourself, all right? W. DONAGHEY: I will. And thank you.
LIN: You're very welcome.
We have much more ahead on this breaking news story, so stay right there.
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