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PAULA ZAHN NOW

Murder at New Orleans Hospital?; Safely Deep-Frying the Christmas Turkey; Protecting Kids From Internet Dangers; Miami Police Search For Escaped Prisoner; Bizarre Twist in Case of Murdered Soldier in North Carolina

Aired December 21, 2005 - 20:00   ET

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


KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, everyone. Thanks for joining us. Paula has the night off.
Tonight, the latest in a stunning controversy -- life and death inside the walls of a hurricane-battered New Orleans hospital.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PHILLIPS (voice-over): Was it murder at Memorial Hospital? The latest on our CNN investigation. What's behind the shocking allegations about patient deaths in the days after Katrina?

DR. BRYANT KING, FORMER CONTRACT PHYSICIAN AT MEMORIAL HOSPITAL: Somewhere in the teens on one day to over 40 dead bodies the next day. The numbers just didn't add up.

PHILLIPS: Tonight, exclusive new details.

And tonight's "Eye Opener": up in flames. How can you avoid the spectacular dangers that could flare up when you deep-fry your Christmas turkey?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The flames are 20 feet high. There's black smoke in the air.

JOHN DRENGENBERG, MANAGER OF CONSUMER AFFAIRS, UNDERWRITERS LABORATORIES: We don't believe it's safe enough for people to use.

PHILLIPS: Common mistakes, scorching results -- what you need to know to keep your family safe.

And lured online. He's a typical teen, just like the ones you know, spending hours on the Internet. How did he get trapped in a dangerous world few have heard of?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You are letting the pedophiles into your kids' bedroom.

PHILLIPS: Tonight, what every parent should know, especially if there's a Webcam at home.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

PHILLIPS: We begin with new details, new allegations, and CNN's continuing investigation into whether medical professionals may have resorted to euthanasia at a New Orleans hospital in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

If you recall, after the storm, there were more than 100 deaths at New Orleans-area hospitals and nursing homes. Louisiana authorities are investigating all of them.

One investigation is focused on allegations that patients were intentionally killed at New Orleans' Memorial Hospital. And now CNN has learned that more than one medical professional is under scrutiny as a possible person of interest.

Drew Griffin has our exclusive report.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DREW GRIFFIN, CNN INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Louisiana Attorney General Charles Foti has told, CNN allegations of possible euthanasia at New Orleans Memorial Hospital are -- quote -- "credible and worth investigating" -- end quote. But that is all he will say.

And while Foti will not provide any details of his investigation, a source familiar with it, who did not want to be identified publicly, told CNN that more than one person is being actively scrutinized as a possible person of interest for crimes related to euthanasia there.

(on camera): If it happened, why would people trained to save lives suddenly and deliberately end them? CNN has learned, the investigation is focusing on the possibility that medical personnel inside this hospital were afraid, afraid of the anarchy surrounding the city, afraid that they would be the next targets of violence, and that they were simply tired of the horrendous conditions inside.

(voice-over): On Thursday morning, four days after Katrina, medical staffers say evacuations were still unpredictable. The patients who were left were primarily bedridden, not necessarily near death, several sources told us, just difficult to evacuate.

Thirty-three-year-old chef David Matherne was inside the hospital with his sick father during Katrina. He stayed to help evacuate patients. On Thursday, he says, the inconvenience and fear came to a breaking point, and the mood inside Memorial changed.

DAVID MATHERNE, MEMORIAL HOSPITAL VOLUNTEER: Between the volunteers and the staff, a big mood had changed. It was, we are getting out, come hell or high water, today.

GRIFFIN (on camera): Thursday?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thursday. It was like, no. Done. We're getting out.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): During the storm, Memorial Hospital was a refuge for as many as 2,000 people, patients, staff and their families. But, by Thursday, despair was setting in. The hospital was surrounded by floodwater. There was no power, no water. And the heat was stifling.

Nurses had to fan patients by hand. And, outside the hospital windows, nurses tell CNN they saw looters breaking into this credit union. Up on the seventh floor, Angela McManus was with her critically ill mother. Thursday, she noticed a change, too. Nurses, she says, were now discussing, for the first time, which patients would have to stay behind.

ANGELA MCMANUS, MOTHER DIED AT MEMORIAL HOSPITAL: I mean, these were grown men that were buckling down to their knees, because they were like, they couldn't believe that FEMA was making them stay there and watch the people die. They had decided not to evacuate the DNR patients.

GRIFFIN (on camera): That's when you heard for the first time...

MCMANUS: Right.

GRIFFIN: ... your mom was not going to get out.

MCMANUS: The first time.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): Angela McManus's had a DNR, a do-not- resuscitate order, but was alert. Her daughter says Wilda (ph) McManus did not make it out. She wants to believe her mother died peacefully from her illness, but now doesn't know.

On her death certificate lists the first cause of death merely as hurricane-related.

MCMANUS: I think she died from the infection. I don't know. I really don't know. And, you know, hearing -- this doctor was saying about euthanasia -- euthanasia at the hospital, I just don't know where to go.

GRIFFIN: That doctor is Dr. Bryant King, who was a contract physician at Memorial. In October, he told CNN, in an exclusive interview, doctors and nurses had openly discussed putting patients out of their misery. Now Dr. Bryant King has given us details about what he saw.

On the morning of Thursday, September 1, King says a doctor approached him, saying a hospital administrator wanted to know what he thought about putting patients out of their misery. He thought it was just talk. Then, three hours later, on the second floor, around noon, Dr. Bryant King says the area where the remaining patients were housed became eerily silent.

DR. BRYANT KING, FORMER CONTRACT PHYSICIAN AT MEMORIAL HOSPITAL: ... and realized, there were no more fanners; there were no more nurses adminis -- checking blood sugars or blood pressures. They were all pushed out.

And then there were -- there were people standing at the -- the -- the ramp at the Claire (ph) garage. There were people standing over by where the morgue were -- the chapel that we were using as the morgue. There were people standing at the entrance way to where the -- the -- the emergency room led up to the second-floor area.

So, it was kind of just being blocked off. And that didn't make sense to me. It didn't make sense why would we stop what we had been doing, especially given the fact that we are evacuating patients.

GRIFFIN: Dr. King said another hospital administrator asked if he and two other remaining doctors should pray. King says, one of those doctors, Dr. Anna Pou, had a handful of syringes.

B. KING: This is on the second floor in the lobby. This -- and across that walkway, there's a group of patients. And Anna is standing over there with a handful of syringes.

GRIFFIN (on camera): Dr. Anna Pou.

B. KING: Talking to a patient. And the -- the words that I heard her say were, "I'm going to give you something to make you feel better."

And she had a handful of syringes. I don't -- and that was strange on a lot of -- on a lot of different levels. For one, we don't give medications. The nurses give medications. We almost never give medications ourselves, unless it's something critical. It's in the middle of a code or -- even in the middle of a code, the nurses give medications.

Nobody -- nobody walks around with a handful of syringes and goes and gives the same thing to each patient. That -- that's just not how we do it.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): Dr. King had no way of knowing what was in those syringes. He left the hospital. He says he personally did not witness any acts of euthanasia.

Right after evacuating Memorial Hospital, Dr. Anna Pou had this to say to a Baton Rouge television station.

DR. ANNA POU, MEMORIAL HOSPITAL PHYSICIAN: There were some patients there that -- who were critically ill, and, regardless of the storm, were -- had the orders of, do not resuscitate, in other words, that if they died, to allow them to die naturally and not to use any heroic methods to resuscitate them.

We all did everything within our power to give the best treatment that we could to the patients in the hospital, to make them comfortable.

GRIFFIN: Dr. Pou talked to CNN in several phone calls in the days after the evacuation. She would not comment on the euthanasia allegations and has since hired an attorney.

Dr. Pou's attorney, Rick Simmons (ph), sent this statement to CNN on behalf of his client.

It reads: "The physicians and staff responsible for the care of patients, many of whom were gravely ill, faced loss of generator power, the absence of routine medical equipment to sustain life, lack of water and sanitation facilities, extreme heat, in excess of 100 degrees, all occurring," says the statement, "in an environment of deteriorating security, apparent social unrest, and the absence of governmental authority. Dr. Pou and other medical personnel," it reads, "at Memorial Hospital worked tirelessly for five days to save and evacuate patients, none of whom were abandoned. We feel confident that the facts will reveal heroic efforts by the physicians and the staff in a desperate situation."

As part of its investigation, the attorney general's office has sent tissue samples of the bodies recovered from Memorial to a private lab for testing. The Orleans parish coroner, Frank Minyard, confirms to CNN, one of the tests is to determine if fatal doses of the painkiller morphine were in the bodies of any of the dead. How many deaths might be involved is still under investigation.

But David Matherne, who was helping with the evacuations, says patient body counts and patient evacuees were not adding up.

MATHERNE: I have been on the roof. I have been downstairs. I have been everywhere. So, I'm pretty tired at this point. And I hear a stretcher count. And they are, like, OK, we have got 22 left inside. I'm like, cool. We didn't take 22 people out, though. We didn't take 22 people upstairs. I know that. It's -- what happened? I don't know.

GRIFFIN: Matherne says he did not see anything, but he suspects that something wrong happened.

Dr. Bryant King says that, while he knows there were people already dead of natural causes at Memorial, the final number of deaths does not make sense to him either.

B. KING: We went from somewhere in the teens on one day to over 40 dead bodies the next day. And the numbers just didn't add up to me. They really did not add up.

GRIFFIN: King says he regret he's didn't stay, didn't protect the patients who were left, and is haunted, he says, that colleagues he worked with to save lives may have taken them.

B. KING: The way -- the fabric of what we are -- what we are built on just kind of crumbled. And it's scary to think that it takes three days, three or four days, and people aren't people that they used to be. And that's scary.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

GRIFFIN: No charges have been filed in this investigation. Two companies are involved with patient care at Memorial Hospital. Tenet Healthcare runs the hospital itself. LifeCare of New Orleans leases space to care for long-term patients on the seventh floor.

Both companies have declined to be interviewed, citing the ongoing investigation. But both also say their employees acted heroically under difficult conditions, and both say they are cooperating with the attorney general's investigation.

PHILLIPS: Now, investigators, do they feel pretty confident about whether these patients were near death or they could have survived these conditions?

GRIFFIN: What we are being told by sources close to this investigation is that it is more than just patients near death, patients put out of their misery, that even the do-not-resuscitate orders does not necessarily mean these patients were near death.

And many of the people we talk to inside that hospital say the patients that were left were not -- they keep telling us -- not necessarily near death. They may have been bedridden. They may have been hard to move around, but not near death.

PHILLIPS: Now, the morphine -- how many bodies are we talking about, and how do they go forward, investigators, with regard to trying to figure out how much morphine could have been in these bodies?

GRIFFIN: It's going to be difficult. There's 45 bodies there. But we think the number that they are investigating for possible euthanasia, if that took place, is much smaller than that. But the drug is morphine, and that is a painkiller that is commonly used, especially for very sick patients, Kyra.

And it's going to be difficult to prove, if ever, whether a fatal dose was administered, because, again, those bodies didn't come out and be autopsied until days later, after they had been in that hospital, decaying in the heat, for several, several days.

PHILLIPS: I know you have been working on this story for a long time. It's pretty chilling. Thanks, Drew.

Well, straight ahead, Saddam Hussein actually showed up for his trial today and made a pretty startling accusation. He says he and all of his co-defendants have been tortured by their American captors.

Coming up, could that possibly be true?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRISTOPHER KING, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Christopher King.

A man accused of raping seven victims escapes from jail. Now a Miami neighborhood wants to know just how he got out. I will have the details.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PHILLIPS: And, later in this hour, a holiday warning -- a frightening demonstration of what can go wrong if you mishandle a turkey fryer. What you see could save your home and maybe your life.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) PHILLIPS: Right now, there's a desperate search on for the man suspected of raping seven girls and women in Miami. And authorities there have a lot of answering to do, because they had the man in custody behind bars, until he escaped yesterday.

Let's go live to Miami now for the very latest on the story outside the law.

Christopher King joins me live.

C. KING: Good evening, Kyra.

Reynaldo Rapalo is accused of raping seven victims in Miami's Shenandoah neighborhood. They say -- now, police say he broke out of his jail cell last night. Now, people here want to know, just how could this have happened?

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

C. KING: The hunt is on for Reynaldo Elias Rapalo, the man police call the Shenandoah rapist. Last night, Rapalo, who has not yet been tried on any of the charges from the series of attacks, escaped from his cell in the maximum security wing of a county jail just outside Miami. Police say the 5'4'' Rapalo tied together bed sheets and repelled to the ground, after crawling through an air duct to get outside.

VICTORIA SHAW, RESIDENT OF MIAMI, FLORIDA: That should not be happening. I mean, I'm absolutely shocked. What -- what are these people doing? Where are they? I mean, I'm appalled.

C. KING: Police say they believe he has a handgun. Dade County prosecutor Katherine Fernandez-Rundle is outraged.

KATHERINE FERNANDEZ-RUNDLE, MIAMI-DADE STATE ATTORNEY: We're all so angry. This is a person that avoided the police and justice, did not want to face his victims, did not want to be held accountable for his vicious and vile crimes.

C. KING: Police have launched a massive manhunt, combing the streets, handing out flyers, and monitoring airports and bus terminals. They have also posted police officers outside the homes of Rapalo's alleged victims.

Police Chief John Timoney says he is certain someone has information on Rapalo's whereabouts.

JOHN TIMONEY, MIAMI POLICE CHIEF: I am convinced -- I am convinced at least a person, and probably persons, know where he is and what he's up to.

C. KING: Police allege, Rapalo raped seven girls and women, ages 11 to 79, from 2002 through December of '03 in Miami's Shenandoah community. He as awaiting trial scheduled for February.

At a news conference, Corrections Chief Charles McRay fielded tough questions about how a prisoner could escape so easily from a maximum-security facility. Did he have inside help?

CHARLES MCRAY, MIAMI-DADE CORRECTION DEPARTMENT CHIEF: Believe me, we are looking at every avenue of how we can fix this problem. This inmate was able to manipulate the system and was able to actually escape. But it's not as simple as just somebody tying sheets and climbing down the building.

C. KING: McRay says a guard stands watch over the 48 prisoners in the wing where Rapalo was held. But even though it's supposed to be maximum security, the cells in the wing are dormitory style, with no bars.

Now people who live in the community where the rapist struck are worried about their safety.

CONNIE ESCALLON, RESIDENT OF MIAMI, FLORIDA: It's very difficult to walk around your own neighborhood. It's very unsettling.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

C. KING: Now another man tried to escape with Rapalo. His name is Idanio Bravo, age 38. Police say he broke his leg as he tried to escape, but he was caught. But Rapalo is still, of course, on the loose -- Kyra.

PHILLIPS: Christopher King, thanks so much.

Now, Miami authorities have two big problems on their hands tonight, finding Reynaldo Rapalo and finding out what went wrong with security at the jail.

Joining me now, Miami Police Lieutenant Bill Schwartz.

Lieutenant Schwartz, I want to ask you, first of all, this is somebody who you actually said was one of the most wanted criminals in the history of your department, and he was behind bars. What went wrong and how did he get out?

LIEUTENANT BILL SCHWARTZ, MIAMI POLICE DEPARTMENT: Well, those questions really have to be answered by the Dade County Corrections Department, how he got out.

But it's -- it's true. From September of 2002 to September 2003, he was our number-one criminal. We wanted him more than we wanted anybody else. And, then, to find out today that he is out there again, it's heartbreaking.

PHILLIPS: How did he actually get out? I -- I was reading that he actually tied sheets together and -- and threw it out through a -- a vent?

SCHWARTZ: Yes, it was almost like a Hollywood movie.

He pushed a vent in his ceiling of his cell up, somehow climbed up in there, had a saw, cut through some bars, and then went through some air-conditioning vents and then used sheets, several sheets tied together, to climb down, sort of like "Escape From Alcatraz," except, clearly, this was clearly no Alcatraz and he was no Clint Eastwood.

PHILLIPS: Lieutenant Schwartz, we're talking about victims from the ages of 11 to 79. Are you worried about those victims? Are you adding -- giving them any extra protection? And are you afraid he might go after his victims?

SCHWARTZ: Yes. We can only imagine how they are feeling today.

And, yes, we are giving them extra protection. We are watching them, and we are watching a lot of things at this time. We have cops all over the place, a lot of undercover cops. And we have a task force of several different agencies, from state and federal, as well as local police. And we're watching airports, train stations, bus terminals. We're looking for this guy.

PHILLIPS: Now, this man that tried to escape with him, he's back in custody. Has he given you any leads? Do you know if Reynaldo said anything to him about this escape or where he might be going?

SCHWARTZ: Well, we're questioning him, of course. Now, he's seriously injured, so it may take a couple of days to get a straight answer.

But I think that's a very good point, in that anyone who wants to harbor the Shenandoah rapist should figure that he's not to be trusted, because his last partner, this Bravo character, trusted him. And he either fell or was pushed off the roof of the jail.

PHILLIPS: Lieutenant Bill Schwartz, we will stay on top of the investigation. Thank you for your time.

Now on to Iraq and another surprising bombshell in the trial of Saddam Hussein. Again today, the former dictator's day in court began calmly, until a sudden outburst and an outrageous set of new demands.

Aneesh Raman begins with the calm before the storm in Baghdad.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANEESH RAMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): He sat in court deceivingly sedate, at one moment, praying quietly as a witness testified. But, by the end of the session, the old Saddam Hussein, the one who has fought for control of this trial, resurfaced,with startling allegations.

SADDAM HUSSEIN, FORMER IRAQI PRESIDENT (through translator): I would like to say, yes, we were beaten by the Americans. And we were tortured, every one of us.

RAMAN: Saddam's life these days is cloaked with immense secrecy. The only image of him in custody surfaced in a British tabloid earlier this year. It showed him in his underwear.

But, today, wearing his usual gray suit, an angry Saddam once again tried to put the court and the United States on the defensive, once again tried to force the focus away from the crimes he's accused of committing. The session began with a testimony of Ali Haidari, who, in front of the cameras, detailed torture he says he endured at the age of 14 -- Ali repeating what he told me in Dujail some weeks ago, that his family suffered greatly after his brother's involvement in the failed assassination attempt on Saddam back in 1982.

ALI HASSAN MOHAMMED AL-HAIDARI, WITNESS (through translator): If I said I had a headache, I would be kicked on my head. If I said my abdomen, we would be hit on the abdomen. This is not exaggeration. I'm not exaggerating.

RAMAN: Later witnesses spoke of their skin being peeled back, liquid plastic thrown on their wounds, hidden behind a blue curtain, their identities disguised. And their words clearly had an effect, sparking outrage and the allegations of torture from a dictator- turned-defendant.

(on camera): The Pentagon says Saddam's claims are -- quote -- "simply untrue." The White House calls them preposterous.

But, if this trial goes on as it has, with Saddam speaking at will and in detail about his detention, it may not be the first time the U.S. is forced to make a denial.

Aneesh Raman, CNN, Baghdad.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

PHILLIPS: And there's this. If you are hoping for a quick trial of Saddam, don't hold your breath. The judge had hoped to hear from five witnesses today. Saddam's bombshell caused an abrupt adjournment after only three. And, so, justice drags on tomorrow.

Thinking of frying your Christmas turkey? Coming up, a vivid reminder of why you absolutely have to follow the instructions when you use a turkey fryer. Don't get burned by your turkey. We are going to look into the potential dangers of these turkey fryers and then how to get it right.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Mary Snow with a story of a Navy reservist home from the Middle East for a holiday break. He was gunned down in his hometown. His wife and two teenagers are suspects.

I will have that story when PAULA ZAHN NOW continues.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PHILLIPS: Also, does your teenager have one of those cheap cameras that broadcasts live pictures over the Internet? You will be shocked to learn that some pedophiles are paying teens to expose themselves over Webcams.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) PHILLIPS: Thousands, maybe even millions of Americans, will be frying their Christmas turkeys on Sunday. And, if you are among them, you will want to see this report first, because ever since frying turkeys caught on a couple of years ago, there's been dozens of devastating fires related to them.

Just watch what our consumer correspondent, Greg Hunter, has learned in tonight's "Eye Opener."

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GREG HUNTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): At an apartment complex in Tucson, Arizona, Christmas Eve, 2002, ended with this fire investigators say was caused by a turkey fryer.

K.D. PREBLE, HOMEOWNER: My dad and two sisters ran out the door, and I had to jump out my bedroom window.

HUNTER: Incidents of fires or burns have happened at least 112 times in the last seven years, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, attributed to people around the country improperly using

One industry group estimates there are 10 million propane fryers in use today. People who cook with them say they work fast and the turkey's delicious, most of the time.

Thanksgiving Day, 2003, at the Moon home in Aloha, Oregon, described by a couple of terrified neighbors.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There's a house on fire.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Where?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't know. Sarala, up 170th.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's -- the flames are 20 feet high. There's black smoke in the air. It's a whole back side. It started on the deck.

HUNTER: Doctor Stephen Moon says he had been cooking the family feast with a turkey fryer.

STEPHEN MOON, FIRE VICTIM: I thought, well, if something happens I've got a fire extinguisher. That will take care of it. And it was like spitting into the wind. It was nothing compared to this fire that was going on.

HUNTER: The fire raged on. And eventually the fire department had to come put it out, but not before it caused more than $100,000 in damages.

Underwriters Laboratories in North Brook, Illinois, a world recognized product testing organization says frying a turkey can be hazardous. Spokesman John Drengenberg says that's why U.L. will not put its seal of approval on any turkey fryer. JOHN DRENGENBERG, UNDERWRITERS LABORATORIES: There have been safety improvements on turkey fryers, but it's still not at that point where U.L. will authorize the use of its mark.

HUNTER (on camera): It's not safe?

DRENGENBERG: Because we don't believe it is safe enough for people to use.

HUNTER (voice-over): U.L. has been testing turkey fryers for the past three years. In this company video they show how easily fires can get out of control when typical consumer mistakes are made, like dropping a partially frozen bird into a pot of overheated oil.

The industry says over the last few years they've corrected many problems. In 2002, the Canadian Standards Association, a U.L. consumer testing competitor, began certifying some turkey fryers as safe. The stands are sturdier and the tanks are better marked so consumers won't overfill.

Manufacturers have also decreased the intensity of the flame, so the oil won't overheat as quickly. And fryers come with pages of explicit cautions. One booklet contains at least 15 specific warnings on the dangers of frying a turkey.

Industry group The Hearth Patio and Barbecue Association suggested we talk to a Don and John McLemore, who own Masterbuilt, one of the biggest makers of turkey fryers.

JOHN MCLEMORE, CO-OWNER, MASTERBUILT: If you don't drive your car attentive and like you should, automobiles can be dangerous. So turkey frying is the same way. If you use it, follow the instructions and do what we say in our instructions, it's a perfectly safe product to use.

HUNTER: Simple instructions like making sure the fryer is outside, away from all buildings, on level ground, and is watched at all times.

(on camera) The industry has warnings on their products. Isn't it consumer's fault that they don't listen to the warnings?

DRENGENBERG: Well, the industry has added a lot of warnings to these turkey fryers. But the fact is the construction has to be improved to the level of safety that U.L. would demand for such a product.

HUNTER (voice-over): U.L. says it wants a device that will automatically limit the temperature of the oil in a gas turkey fryer, because it's not practical to expect consumers to watch a turkey fryer every minute, especially around the holidays.

The McLemore brothers point out they already make an electric fryer with a control to keep the oil at the correct temperature, but it will take time to develop one for their gas fryer that's safe.

DON MCLEMORE, CO-OWNER, MASTERBUILT: It's got to be done right. Can't be done overnight and thrown in the marketplace. That could be a worse mistake than not having one at all.

HUNTER: Until a thermostat is developed, overheating oil is Underwriters Laboratories' main concern. U.L. set up a demonstration for CNN.

(on camera) One thing you need to be careful of when using a turkey fryer is something called the oil flashpoint. That's where if you leave this unattended too long and the oil gets too hot, it can ignite without even touching a flame. Watch.

(voice-over) As you can see, even putting the lid on doesn't stop the fire. And within seconds, flames are leaping four feet over the fryer. Within 2 1/2 minutes, the demonstration wall catches fire. This shows how quickly one of these fires can get out of control.

And when U.L.'s firefighters take the lid off to extinguish the fire, watch what happens. They spray foam on the fire, but even in this controlled situation, it's not easy to put out.

To see how to works in the real world we went to this house, waiting demolition, near Chicago. With the help of Frankfurt, Illinois, firefighters we set up a turkey fryer with the kind of mistakes assistant chief Larry Rouck (ph) he sees all the time.

(on camera) This looks like a dangerous setup. By the back door, you got the leaves around there. It might be a little bit above the "full" line. Is that how some people would treat this?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. Yes.

HUNTER: Not surprising?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not surprising at all.

HUNTER: Homeowners make mistake when using a turkey fryer. For example, this one is way too close to the house. It's too full of oil and too hot. On top of that, we're going to put a semi frozen bird right into the fryer to show you what can happen.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Target!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Target!

HUNTER (voice-over): We had firefighters standing by to make sure this didn't get out of control, because as Dr. Stephen Moon will tell you, turkey fryer fires can get out of control in a hurry.

(on camera) Would you fry one here at your house again?

MOON: Not at my house, no.

HUNTER: For those who will, follow the instructions carefully, or risk a holiday dinner tragedy.

Greg Hunter, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

PHILLIPS: And there's this on what you can do to fry a turkey safely. Underwriters Laboratories has some important tips. Always use turkey fryers outdoors, well away from buildings, cars and trees, never in the garage. Do not overfill the fryer with oil. Never leave the fryer unattended. That means watch it all the time and use a good thermometer to make sure the oil doesn't get too hot.

Next, a reservist makes it back safely from the Middle East, only to be killed in his own hometown.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

DISPATCHER: Who is that I hear in the background?

WOMAN: My husband.

DISPATCHER: What is he -- has he been shot?

WOMAN: Yes.

DISPATCHER: Who shot him?

WOMAN: I don't know.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

PHILLIPS: Next, you won't believe who is accused in this killing.

And later, a teen who says he made hundreds of thousands of dollars by exposing himself in his own room so sexual predators could watch. It's a story every parent needs to see before leaving your child alone with a Web cam.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PHILLIPS: You've heard tragic stories like this before. A soldier returns safe from battle, only to die on the streets of his own hometown. But the story you're about to see next is even more shocking. It's about a Navy reservist enjoying the holidays with his wife, when the two were shot in what might have been a hold-up attempt. He died. She was wounded. But that's where the investigation takes a bizarre twist. Mary Snow has been looking into the case that is sending shockwaves through the military community.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DISPATCHER: Who is that I hear in the background?

MONIQUE BERKLEY: My husband.

DISPATCHER: What is he -- has he been shot?

BERKLEY: Yes.

DISPATCHER: Who shot him?

BERKLEY: I don't know.

SNOW: Police now believe she did know and they've released the 911 tapes. Monique's husband, 46-year-old Navy Reservist Paul Berkley, had just returned home to North Carolina after an eight-month tour of duty in Bahrain.

The day before he was murdered, an unsuspecting Berkley wrote about the comforts of home on his blog. "I have been home a few days now, shopping and hanging out with the family."

But family life appeared to have changed while he was away. His young wife Monique had allegedly become romantically involved with 18- year-old Andrew Canty. Andrew had a friend, 18-year-old Lawton Johnson. All three have been charged with murder.

They made a brief appearance in court and were appointed public defense lawyers who had no comment on the case. Also tight lipped are police from Raleigh, North Carolina, who responded to Monique Berkley's call early Sunday morning from a park, where she said someone fired on her and her husband.

DISPATCHER: Did you see them?

BERKLEY: No, there was two people, though.

DISPATCHER: There was two people? How old are you?

BERKLEY: I'm 26.

SNOW: The call went on for several minutes until police finally found the husband and wife.

911 POLICE OFFICER: Which way did they go? Are they still near here?

ANOTHER OFFICER: Where did they go?

BERKLEY: No, I think they left. They're not here.

SNOW: Police say Paul Berkley was shot in the head and died about 15 hours later. Monique was shot in the shoulder and taken to the hospital. Exactly what happened is still unknown.

Police would not comment on whether Paul Berkley was conscious and speaking before he died. By Sunday afternoon, police started putting together more of the story, arresting the two teens. And a day later, Monique Berkeley was taken from the hospital and charged. She's been held without bail. As for Paul Berkley, the Navy will hold a memorial service in Bahrain. Mary Snow, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE) PHILLIPS: And one more thing. All three suspects in the killing of Paul Berkley: his wife, her alleged lover and his daughter's boyfriend have a court date next month, leaving the Berkley's teenage son and daughter to deal with this tragedy. It's a story we'll continue to follow in the new year.

Your money may be affected by today's news about the economy. FedEx and Apple computer. Erica Hill has today's "Headline News Biz Break."

(BUSINESS REPORT)

PHILLIPS: Well, we do all that we can to keep our children safe from sexual predators. But are you overlooking something that's right on your computer? It's called a Web cam.

JUSTIN BERRY, WEB CAM PORN VICTIM: Throw it in the trash as fast as you can.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why?

BERRY: Because you are letting the pedophiles into your kids' bedrooms.

PHILLIPS: You may not even be aware of the dangers of Web cams. Stay with us for a shocking story of sex, money and the corruption of innocence.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PHILLIPS: I want to warn you about our next story. You won't want young children to see it. It's about a corner of the Internet where nobody in their right mind would want to go. But it's populated by thousands of people, including sexual predators and the teenagers are their prey. Teenagers like Justin Berry. You may have seen this story, his story in "The New York Times," which provided us with these images.

Justin was only 13-years-old when he bought his first Web cam. He says he was lonely and he hoped to make new friends online. But within 12 minutes of hooking up his camera, Justin says he was contacted by a grown man looking for more than just friendship.

The man eventually offered to send Justin $50 on an Internet money service to take off his shirt on camera. It wasn't long before Justin was agreeing to get completely naked and perform sex acts live in front of his Web cam. For the next five years Justin says he made hundred of thousands of dollars from peeping pedophiles who in the language of cyberspace, helped this naive teenager become a cam-whore. A "New York Times" investigation has revealed of the identity of some of Justin's viewers. He was shocked at who was watching: doctors, lawyers and teachers.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BERRY: There were people who were watching me do these things on the Web site. And then I looked and saw who they were in real life and realized most of them were around kids. And it kind of scared me.

I didn't like it. I wasn't comfortable with it, because I saw the way they talked to me on the Internet and then I related that with their field or their interest or who they really were.

PHILLIPS: Now five years after get his first web camera, Justin is cooperating with an FBI investigation. He's warning parents about the potential dangers of web cams.

BERRY: Throw it in the trash as fast as you can.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why?

BERRY: Because you are letting the pedophiles into your kids' bedrooms.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PHILLIPS: The man who tracked down Justin Berry and convinced him to tell his story is Kurt Eichenwald, a senior reporter for The New York Times. He joins me now live. How is Justin doing?

KURT EICHENWALD, NEW YORK TIMES.COM: He is doing very well. He's been out of the business for six months. He has been off drugs for six months. He has actually dedicated himself to alerting parents, alerting all of us, about how awful this world really is to make sure that other children are protected.

PHILLIPS: Kurt, it's pretty amazing how you came in touch with him and convinced him to do this and come forward. What did he tell you about how it began and how it ended. It started with just taking off his shirt and then he was having sex with prostitutes.

EICHENWALD: Well, there was a very long path from step one to step 45. The thing about the way this worked, you should know, Justin is not the only one. I've spoken to a lot of kids who were doing this. And it's always the same story. The pedophiles come to them. They approach them in a very coordinated way. I've seen the conversations among the pedophiles.

They actually conspire on what is the next thing we're going to do to get this kid further down the path. They focus on very lonely kids. They focus on kids who have a troubled family life. And ultimately are able to convince them that their real friends are these people online and people do what their friends want them to do.

The money comes in, the money is a benefit, but the money isn't always necessary. There are kids who are doing it simply for attention. There are kids who are doing it simply to -- because they think they have friends. And they don't want to lose them.

So they go further and further and further down this path until eventually you have children who are, in fact, porn stars on the Internet.

PHILLIPS: How could Justin's parents not know what was going on? He was bringing in hundreds of thousands of dollars.

EICHENWALD: The -- kids are not very good liars. And when they try to lie, you know, usually parents can figure it out. Now take that same kid and give him 1500 adult advisers, 1500 exceptionally manipulative people who are dedicated to making sure that he continues to stay on camera.

To use one of the more horrific examples, there was a point where Justin began to get concerned that he was going to be found out, that his mom was going to recognize what was going on in his room.

So one of the pedophiles actually came from Nevada, I believe it was, to California, where Justin lived, rented him an apartment down the street from his house, set that apartment up for Internet, paid for the Internet, and then Justin had a studio, a place he could go to perform to get his money to get -- to give his friends what they wanted, and his mother would be none the wiser.

He'd tell her he was going off to see friends and he'd go down the street to his apartment.

PHILLIPS: Obviously parents need to be in tune with what's going on with their kids. But investigators, who are they going after, what are they going after? Is it the Internet providers? Is it the kids? Who can be held accountable for this, Kurt?

EICHENWALD: Well, truthfully, all of us. I mean, when you -- not criminally, but when you look at the fact that we are giving our children, who we already knew were being threatened with e-mail, we are giving them the ability to broadcast their image across the world by buying them a web cam, and don't think about the fact that that is exactly what the pedophiles were hoping for us to do.

Now in terms of criminal responsibility, there is, in fact, an entire infrastructure of businesses that have built up around these for-pay Web sites. There are credit card processors who know what they are doing. There are credit card processors who are unwitting. There are companies that provide web hosting who know what's going on. There are companies that provide streaming video who know what's going on.

So there are an array of companies, some of which are criminally liable, some of which are unwitting dupes whose technology is being used for illicit purposes. Those are very high on the list. And also, within that group are those pedophiles who currently have children within their reach, currently have children somehow under their control.

There were a number of those who turned up in the course of this investigation which was a primary motivating factor behind Justin becoming a federal witness.

PHILLIPS: Not only was this a strong investigation on your part. Incredible writing and investigating. It looks like you saved this young man's life. Kurt Eichenwald, New York Times, thanks for your time. EICHENWALD: Thank you.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PHILLIPS: That's all time we have tonight. Thanks for joining us. "LARRY KING LIVE" starts right now.

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