Skip to main content


Return to Transcripts main page


American Tourists Killed in Chile; Iraqi Hostages Freed; Wounded Warriors

Aired March 23, 2006 - 09:00   ET


SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. I'm Soledad O'Brien.
JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm John Roberts, in for Miles O'Brien this week.

Good Thursday morning to you.

O'BRIEN: Three Western aid workers rescued in a successful raid in Iraq after four months in captivity.

Meanwhile, more than 30 are dead in Baghdad following a series of suicide attacks.

ROBERTS: Twelve American tourists killed during a side trip from their cruise vacation. At this hour, we're waiting for a news conference from the cruise company.

And how much sleep do your children really need? We'll try to answer that question for you in our continuing series, "Sleepless in America."

O'BRIEN: Welcome back, everybody.

We're awaiting a news conference by officials from Celebrity cruise lines on the 12 American tourists who were killed in Chile while they were on vacation there. Two other Americans survived that tour bus crash down the side of a steep hillside. They were on a day trip from the cruise ship Millennium.

CNN's John Zarrella is standing by in Miami for that cruise line news conference.

John, good morning.


We are here outside the headquarters of Celebrity cruise lines in downtown Miami, actually at the Port of Miami. And, of course, we expect to hear a little bit more on the conditions, certainly, of the survivors of this terrible accident.

The reports, of course, that we have gotten out of -- out of Chile is that the accident occurred when this bus, a tour bus, went off the -- a narrow road, a winding mountain road down into a canyon, killing those 12 Americans. Two others were injured, along with two Chileans, we believe, at this point. Now, Celebrity says -- and says that this was an independent tour. You know if you've taken cruises that the cruise lines offer what they call shore excursions that you can purchase on board the ship before your ship makes its port of call.

This was not, according to the company, one of those. It was a private, independent tour that these people had taken into the Andes mountains.

The bus was returning when it fell off the side of that cliff. According to the report that we are getting, that the driver who did survive says that he had swerved to avoid an oncoming truck in this very, very narrow road.

Now, the cruise line is sending a special assistance team down to the ship, the Millennium, which holds just under 2,000 people. The ship is still in port in the northern town of Arica, and it had set sail on the 19th from Valparaiso in Chile, in southern Chile, and was making a 14-day cruise on the Pacific side, then up over to the Atlantic and then eventually docking here in Fort Lauderdale -- Soledad.

O'BRIEN: John Zarrella for us this morning.

We're going to continue to monitor this press conference, as we mentioned, we are expecting any moment from the Celebrity cruise lines. You're looking at a live picture at the Port of Miami, as John pointed out, waiting for this news conference with some representatives from the cruise line and also a medical director of the trauma center there as well.

Thanks, John -- John.

ROBERTS: Three Western hostages are celebrating freedom this morning. Multinational forces acting on a tip located and freed one British and two Canadian Christian aid workers today. American Tom Fox, who was kidnapped along with them in November, was found dead two weeks ago, just days after this video was released.

CNN Senior International Correspondent Nic Robertson is live in Baghdad and joins us now.

Good morning to you, Nic.


A statement from the British embassy, the -- the British hostage Norman Kember is said to have said, "It's good to be free. I'm looking forward to getting back to the U.K." But in the last few minutes we've been hearing new details of how his -- how he came by his freedom.

It appears, according to U.S. military spokesmen here, that very recent and active intelligence had led to their freedom.


MAJ. GEN. RICK LYNCH, U.S. ARMY: The key point is, it was intelligence-led, and it was information provided by a detainee. We talk all of the time about our detention operations, and a effect of the detention operations, be able to gather actionable intelligence. In this particular case of those two detainees, one knew where the hostages were and provided that information.


ROBERTSON: And incredibly, these two detainees were picked up last night. The information gathered from them was used only a few hours later, when British and U.S. Special Forces arrived at the house in Baghdad where the three were being held. No shots were fired. Indeed, their captors weren't even around -- John.

ROBERTS: Nic, what did General Lynch have to say about Jill Carroll, the American journalist who has been held hostage for so long now?

ROBERTSON: Very interesting. There are several things.

He was asked specifically what could he say about Jill Carroll, who's now been held in captivity for 76 days. He said there was nothing that he could say at this time.

What he did say was that they were developing information from going through the house where the three men were being held. He didn't say what that information might lead to. And he said that there were still ongoing operations.

He didn't -- he didn't link those operations to Jill Carroll, but very much gave the impression that they would gather information from this house and perhaps that could help them. But he was releasing nothing specific -- John.

ROBERTS: But it would be great if that did lead them somewhere.

Also, deadly car bombings rocking the capital there this morning. What's the latest?

ROBERTSON: Four car bombs, 33 people killed, 61 wounded. The deadliest bomb attacking a police headquarters, a major crimes unit in the center of Baghdad. Twenty-three people killed, more than 30 wounded when a suicide car bomber drove his car through -- tried to get through the barricade outside that headquarters. Police and civilians among the dead and injured there -- John.

ROBERTS: All right. Nic Robertson for us live from Baghdad this morning.

Nic, thanks very much.

O'BRIEN: It's now been more than four days and the search for two missing boys in Milwaukee is getting even more desperate. Twelve- year-old Quadrevion Henning, known as "Dre," and 11-year-old Purvis Parker have not been seen since Sunday afternoon.

Melanie Stout of our affiliate WTMJ is covering the story from Milwaukee.


MELANIE STOUT, REPORTER, WTMJ: The search for these boys has intensified. The FBI and local law enforcement agencies are helping Milwaukee police in this case. Also, a large number of volunteers are helping as the search for these boys expands.

Now, the family members of the boys say they're simply not the type to just wander away. They've never run away before.

Divers have gone as far as to search sewers, and they've searched the state park north of where the boys have disappeared. So far, there have been no signs of those little boys.

Now, also, police tell us that the family of the boys, both families, have been very helpful and cooperative in this investigation.


O'BRIEN: That was Melanie Stout of our affiliate, WTMJ, reporting from Milwaukee.

Other stories making news. For a look at those we go to Carol. She's in the newsroom.

Hey, Carol.

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, Soledad.

Good morning to all of you.

Four weeks after the body of a grad student was found bound, gagged and raped in New York City, Darryl Littlejohn has been formally charged. He appeared in court just a short time ago. Imette St. Guillen was last seen alive leaving a bar in New York's Soho neighborhood four weeks ago. Littlejohn denies any connection with her murder.

Zacarias Moussaoui's defense could have its turn today. The government wrapping up the first phase of the sentencing trial. That means the defense could begin presenting its witnesses this afternoon. Still no word on if Moussaoui will take the stand.

The latest word on antidepressants seems to be, if at first you don't succeed, try, try another. Researchers say initial antidepressant drugs fail for nearly half of all patients. It's the most extensive study so far on people undergoing multiple treatments for depression. Details appear in the "New England Journal of Medicine."

And more problems with SAT scores. We told you about last month's scoring snafu. It affected thousands of students. It turns out another 375 students now being told they, too, were given lower scores. The bottom line, more than 4,400 students got wrong scores this year.

And here's one for all of you who thought diamond-studded cell phone cases were over the top. Well, these are jewel-encrusted cockroaches. They are the newest creation from a Utah clothing designer. They cost between $40 and $80. And if you're crazy enough to want one -- you're crazy enough to want one, they come with little leashes so they won't get away.

Why? That's all I have to say is, why?

O'BRIEN: They don't pay that model enough money. Whatever they're paying her to stand there looking cute with cockroaches crawling up her shirt, it's not enough.

COSTELLO: Yes, but why the idea?

ROBERTS: Well, you know what I can't figure out is why a New York designer here in the cockroach capital of America didn't think of this first.

O'BRIEN: Exactly, because you spend enough time with them. You don't want to wear them, too.

COSTELLO: They couldn't catch them, just like the coyote. They can't catch the roaches here either.

O'BRIEN: Oh, it's just nasty.

ROBERTS: Yes, when they're basically your housemates you don't need to wear them. But they are a novelty in Utah, obviously.

O'BRIEN: That's just nasty.

ROBERTS: Well, from bejeweled bugs to the weather forecast, Chad Myers is off this week. Reynolds Wolf is at the CNN Center. He's got the latest on the forecast for us.

Good morning, Reynolds.

REYNOLDS WOLF, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Good morning. That is a nightmare, isn't it? Some of the nastiest stuff -- the bugs. I mean, to heck with the jewels on them. It's still a bug, and a nasty one at that. Good gosh.


WOLF: The bugs, I'm just -- I'm just not getting it. Back to you guys.

ROBERTS: No, I can't get it either. Most of fashion goes right over my head, anyway.

WOLF: Me too. ROBERTS: Thanks very much, Reynolds.

Speaking of Los Angeles, want to know what a model employee really looks like? Well, take a look at Arthur Winston. He's finally retiring after more than 76 years on the job for the Los Angeles Transit Authority. He turned 100 years old yesterday. The city threw him a big birthday retirement party.


ARTHUR WINSTON, RETIRING AT 100: I don't know what to say today. I'm just so excited about this whole thing. So I appreciate everybody who came here today to join me in this retirement. I thank everybody. So -- I'm so nervous, I don't know what the hell I'm saying.

Thank you.


ROBERTS: Now, Arthur is a model employee not only because he worked to the age of 100, but almost more amazing that his length of service was the consistency. He was never late for work, never called in sick since the day he started on the job back in 1934.

O'BRIEN: Wow, that is pretty remarkable.

ROBERTS: Unbelievable, isn't it.

O'BRIEN: And a nice guy, yes.

ROBERTS: Yes, he is a terrific guy.

O'BRIEN: A hundred years old. Good for him.

Hey, you know, we were tell you about this, Celebrity Cruises holding a press conference. Let's take you there right now.

It's a news conference in response to, of course, that tour bus accident that took place in Chile. Twelve Americans were killed.

Let's listen in.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We'll begin today with a brief statement from Mr. Hanrahan, which will be followed by additional remarks by Dr. Lynn (ph), and then we'll open it up for questions and answers. Please keep in mind that we're in the very early stages of this situation, so our responses will be brief and we'll continue to provide you with updates -- Dan.

DAN HANRAHAN, PRESIDENT, CELEBRITY CRUISES: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen.

It is my sad duty today to report that a significant and tragic incident involving guests from Celebrity Cruises Millennium occurred yesterday at approximately 4:30 p.m. local time, 3:30 p.m. Eastern, in a remote area about 20 miles northeast of Arica, Chile.

Before I begin, let me assure everyone watching and listening today that all of us at Celebrity Cruises are doing everything possible to assist guests and family members affected by this terrible event. Although the situation continues to evolve, we will now share with you what we have been able to confirm at this point. Let me also assure you that we will continue to provide you updates as additional facts become known.

Now, here's what we do know at this time.

Fourteen guests from Celebrity Cruises Millennium who were riding a bus operated by an independent tour operator not affiliated with our cruise line were involved in an accident about 28 miles northeast of Arica, Chile. According to reports, the guests were returning from Lauca National Park on an independent private tour they had arranged.

We understand at this time in which they were -- the bus in which they were riding swerved to avoid an approaching truck on a rugged mountain highway. The bus apparently ran off the road and plunged 300 feet down a mountainside.

Twelve guests on the bus were killed and two other guests were injured in the accident. Reports indicate that the Chilean driver of the bus and the tour guide also were injured.

The guests who were involved in this accident are part of a larger 64-person B'nai Brith group. Celebrity Cruises is consulting with a rabbi to advise us on how to best support the families.

Responders to the accident scene transported the injured to the Arica Juan Noe hospital for treatment. It is my understanding that the two injured guests are now in stable condition and had been moved to an ICU unit as a precautionary measure.

In a few moments, Dr. Lynn (ph) can address any questions you have about their condition.

Upon learning of the accident, Millennium's captain dispatched a physician, nurse and concierge to the hospital to assist the injured and local medical personnel. Celebrity Cruises also notified the U.S. consulate, U.S. Coast Guard and Bahamian authorities. The company is now working in close coordination with those entities, as well as Chilean authorities to assist the injured and the families of those killed or injured in the accident.

I want to assure everyone that all of us at Celebrity Cruises are doing whatever we can to assist the investigation now under way. And we will continue to do so as that investigation continues to unfold.

Millennium departed Valparaiso, Chile, March 19 on a 14-night sailing that is scheduled to conclude in Fort Lauderdale on April 2. Yesterday's accident occurred on the fourth day of the cruise and at the first port of call. Millennium was carrying 1,536 guests and 920 crew members on this particular sailing. Millennium was scheduled to leave Arica last night at 7:00 p.m. local time for its next port of call at Lima, Peru, on Friday. In an effort to assist authorities and allow any guests who wish to depart, we have postponed Millennium's departure from Arica until about 9:00 a.m. local time today.

This morning the ship will conduct (INAUDIBLE) for guests who wish to pay their respects to those involved in the accident. We also have opened all phone lines and Internet access to guests on board Millennium so they can communicate with their friends and loved ones to apprise them of their safety.

The ship's physician, nurse and concierge dispatched to the hospital last night will remain in Arica to assist Chilean medical personnel, as well as family members of those guests involved in the accident.

Celebrity Cruises has established two toll-free telephone lines for family members of guests sailing on Millennium for this cruise. Please let me emphasize that these phone numbers are for family members only.

Callers in North America should dial 1-888-829-4050. Again, that's 1-888-829-4050.

Callers from outside North America should call the following number collect: 305-539-4050. Again, this is for callers outside of North America, and that number is 305-539-4050.

Let me repeat, please, that these numbers are for family members only, and we are requesting that the general public not call them. This will allow families of those on board Millennium to receive the information they need in a timely manner.

O'BRIEN: That's Dan Hanrahan, the president of Celebrity Cruises, as he updates what we've been reporting all morning about this terrible accident that killed -- took the life of 12 Americans who were on a private tour. They were on the Millennium, the cruise ship, the Celebrity cruise ship, but then left the cruise ship in order to take a privately-arranged tour, and then ended up really -- their tour bus losing its way on the road and then tumbling off the hillside.

Twelve Americans dead. Four people are still injured. The extent of their injuries we still do not know and have not updated. We're going to continue to follow this story for you as well.

ROBERTS: Still to come on AMERICAN MORNING, our special series, "Sleepless in America." Today, why America's children may be on the verge of a health crisis because they aren't getting enough sleep.

Stay with us.


Early to bed, early to rise. Teenagers would do well to follow the famous words of Benjamin Franklin. This morning in our weeklong series, "Sleepless in America," Dr. Sanjay Gupta tells us that children and teenagers need more sleep than we old folks. And too often, they're just not getting it.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK, kiddo. Do you want anything for breakfast?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN SR. MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): It's not even 6:00 a.m., but for this 15-year-old Christina Petrick, it's already time to get up. She needs to make it to class on time. The high school sophomore usually gets to bed by 11:00 p.m., so getting up at the crack of dawn isn't always easy.

CHRISTINA PETRICK, HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT: It's not fun. I mean, especially with, like, studying that night and just with extra curriculars, it's hard.

GUPTA: Sleep specialists say more and more children, especially teenagers, are suffering from sleep deprivation.

DR. DANNY LEWIN, CHILDREN'S NATIONAL MEDICAL CENTER: We're looking at potentially a real health crisis, both in terms of creating problems with behavior, having negative, long-term health outcomes, and an impact on children's ability to learn and function well in school.

GUPTA: And for teens there's actually a biological shift in the time of day that they sleep that's different from the rest of us.

LEWIN: Around the time of puberty, adolescents' clocks starts to run a little bit more slowly. That means that they don't get tired until later and they want to sleep later.

GUPTA: The National Sleep Foundation says on average kids age five to 12 need 10 to 11 hours of sleep each night. Adolescents need nine hours or more, but are getting only seven and a half or less. And there are serious repercussions when they don't get it.

LEWIN: Insufficient sleep, too little sleep on a nightly basis, can cause inattention, can cause hyperactivity and impulsivity and other problems in decision-making.

GUPTA: So parents, watch for signs of inadequate sleep, difficulty waking up in the morning, unplanned naps during the day, irritability and snoring. They could all be signs that your child is sleep-deprived.

Lewin says parents of younger children should set earlier bedtime routines and regular bedtimes. Also, eliminate caffeinated beverages. And for teens, help prioritize their activities and don't let them stay up too late into the night.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN, New York.


ROBERTS: Tomorrow, in the final part of our "Sleepless in America" series, just how far will some of you go for some solid shut eye? Five hundred dollar sheets? A bed worth thousands? We'll take a look at the lengths that some will go to for a good night's sleep.

And this Sunday night, stay up late, 10:00 Eastern. Be sure to catch Sanjay's primetime special on sleep right here on CNN, and be sure to get up early on Monday morning so you know what it's like to be "Sleepless in America."

Still to come on AMERICAN MORNING, another new book details slugger Barry Bonds' alleged steroid use, but this time another baseball star is under the microscope along with him.

And next, a special program that's helping wounded warriors start their lives over through the power of the written word.

Stay with us.


ROBERTS: When disabled veterans return from Iraq and Afghanistan, restoring their physical ability is often the first priority. But what about nurturing their creative or intellectual sides? That's the concern of a New York theatrical work shop which has set out to do something that it hasn't done before.

AMERICAN MORNING'S Kelly Wallace joins us with that story.

Good morning, Kelly.

KELLY WALLACE, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, John. Great to see you.

You know, this is a story that really demonstrates the power of the human spirit, because this fall, this group, the National Theatrical Workshop of the Handicapped, will often for the first time a writing program for disabled veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan. And what the group is trying to do now is get the message out to veterans all across the country. And to do that, it is showcasing one of its own, an extraordinary man who hopes vets will follow his lead and step into a world that could change their lives.


WALLACE (voice over): Mike Ricci of Gilford, Connecticut, didn't give up 22 years ago when a car accident changed his life forever.

MIKE RICCI, AMPUTEE SINCE 1984: When I put my prosthesis on, I took the first step. It was probably one of the most beautiful things I ever did.

WALLACE: He lost his left leg after an elderly driver lost control during a snowstorm. Mike still feels bad, but not for himself, for the man who hit him. RICCI: I pray that he sees this and that he would know, because I never said to him, it's all right. It's OK. I mean, things will go on, life goes on.

WALLACE: His life has gone on, even flourished, without a hint of anger. But the 47-year-old knows that's probable not the case for the men and women who lost limbs and arms on the battlefields of Iraq.

RICCI: I just can't imagine coming back from a place where people are angry at you and they feel like they failed by only having losing a limb.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So you'll just stand.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right. That's fine.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're going to -- this is going to be up stage.

WALLACE: Mike's now trying to encourage wounded warriors to join the first of its kind free writing program for disabled veterans. It's sponsored by the National Theater Workshop of the Handicapped. Brother Rick Curry, a Jesuit priest who is the group's founder, came up with the idea after meeting some recently disabled vets from Iraq.

BROTHER RICK CURRY, NATIONAL THEATER WORKSHOP OF HANDICAPPED: One of the young men asked to see me. And I took him over to a table and he held my hand. And he said, "I don't know where I am." And I said, "My god, he's lost his center. How can we restore his center?"

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Two, three and one.

WALLACE: Their message? That while the disabled focus on their physical rehabilitation, they can also benefit by focusing on the soul. That is something Mike learned shortly after September 11. A former iron worker, he headed to Ground Zero to help. One night he saw something, a woman's shoe.

RICCI: I just realized that five days ago there was a foot in that shoe and a person. And I kind of stepped back for a second and I was like, you know -- looked around, I was like, "Life's just too short."

I'm alive. And I was so lucky to be alive.

WALLACE: He decided to do something he always wanted to do, perform on stage. It wasn't easy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Guys on the street that was more afraid to go to stage than amputation I think.

WALLACE: Almost two decades after his accident, he learned through acting he was still dealing with loss.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I thought the healing process was over.

WALLACE: And now he hopes disable the vets can overcome their fears and take a chance like he did.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But it's a leap taking out prosthesis and putting them on the first time. It's a leap when you put those crutches on and take that first step. It's a leap.


WALLACE: And Mike told us the unconditional support and love from his family, friends and his wife gave him the strength and confidence to take that leap a few years ago.

Now to find out more about the Wounded Warriors Writer's program, which will take place this summer up in Maine or to donate to the program, you can go to the National Theater Workshop of the Handicapped Web site, at, or call 212-206-7789.

ROBERTS: What a great story, Kelly.

WALLACE: I know, really a great program, and they really want to get the message out, because so far, John, they haven't heard from too many veterans, and they think a lot of people are afraid, so they're hoping through Mike's story they can encourage people to sort of pick up the phone and do this.

ROBERTS: So you said that he took the leap with the love and support of his family, but how difficult was it for them to get up there on stage? He said in your piece that he was more afraid of getting up on stage and performing than he was about amputation.

WALLACE: Which is incredible. You know, he says he says he comes from a rough background, sort of the Italian ghetto in Connecticut. He's a former iron worker. So people play football, baseball, they don't go on stage and do the theater. So he said it was really, really hard. But, again, he said that moment after September 11th, when he thought, God, life could be going like this, that gave him the confidence to do it, and he said, having friends, his family, his wife behind him, and he hopes, John, that the veterans coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan have that same backing behind them as well.

ROBERTS: Does this theater group have any experience of working with war veterans in the past, Vietnam, first Gulf War?

WALLACE: You know, the first Gulf War a little bit, and brother Curry told that he saw some vets coming back, and -- from the Gulf War, coming, young men and women, who, you know, they're physically impaired, so they came to the theater hoping to help restore their physical abilities, and what they found is this was helping their spiritual side, and so that's what they're hoping here, and they say they feel like the Vietnam Veteran generation was a bit of a lost generation, and they don't want that to happen here.

ROBERTS: Great confidence builder, it really is.

WALLACE: It is. Yes. exactly.

ROBERTS: Kelly Wallace, thanks very much -- Soledad.

WALLACE: Thank you, John.

O'BRIEN: We've got some new details this morning on how military officials were able to find and then rescue three hostages in Iraq. We're going to talk you live to the Pentagon for that story. Plus, another book detailing Barry Bonds' alleged steroid use. This time, though, new information on another star slugger's alleged cheating. That's ahead.

Stay with us.


O'BRIEN: A quick response to new information, that's what the American military is saying about a rescue operation earlier this morning that freed three hostages in Iraq.

CNN's Barbara Starr is at Pentagon this morning.

Hey, Barbara, good morning.


Some unexpected military details coming out of the news briefing in Baghdad just a little while ago about the rescue of the three Christian aid workers, two Canadians and a British gentleman, rescued early today by coalition forces. Major General Rick Lynch briefing news reporters on the remarkable details of what happened.


MAJ. GEN. RICK LYNCH, U.S. ARMY: Late last night, coalition forces conducted operations and came up with two detainees. These two detainees provided actual intelligence about the location of the Christian Peacemaker team hostages. We got that information at 8:00 this morning, and we conducted that operation. It was a coalition operation. We moved to the location in western Baghdad that was reported for the location of the Christian Peacemaker team. We conducted an assault on the house, and inside the house we found the three hostages in good condition.


STARR: General Lynch indicated, Soledad, that basically it was something like eight hours between the time they got the intelligence and were able to mount this operation. They believe that these men were being held by a kidnapping cell operating in Baghdad that was also responsible for other kidnappings. They found them inside the house bound by ropes, but no kidnappers there. They were by themselves.

Now it still really remains to be seen as to some of the details about this, which the military is not talking about. These are very delicate matters when hostages are rescued. Many times in the past, there had been, essentially, negotiations. Money had been paid in the past. We don't know exactly what happened here, but these three men were rescued, and, of course, we do recall that the American hostage, Tom Fox, a member of this group, was found earlier this month in Baghdad, dead. His body showing signs of torture. So the families of these three are very happy and looking forward to getting their loved ones back -- Soledad.

O'BRIEN: That's good news, but still a very tough story to be talking about.

One thing the military is talking about is the fact that it's a multinational operation. Give me some of the details of that.

STARR: Well, behind the scenes there were hints that it was British special forces, indeed, that may have done much of the heavy lifting, if you will, going into this operation, conducting the assault.

For the record, they're saying it's coalition. And British special forces, of course, perhaps even more secretive than U.S. special forces, but there are indications this morning that it was British special forces who played a major role in this hostage rescue -- Soledad.

O'BRIEN: Barbara star at the Pentagon for us. Barbara, thanks -- John.

ROBERTS: The latest now on a case that's been stirring powerful emotions in New York City. The Brooklyn district attorney has charged nightclub bouncer Darryl Littlejohn with first-degree murder in connection with the death of graduate student Imette St. Guillen.

Allan Chernoff is live outside the courthouse for us this morning.

Good morning, Allan.


Police fingered Darryl Littlejohn as the prime suspect in the case about two weeks ago, but not until yesterday afternoon did a grand jury actually hand up an indictment against Mr. Littlejohn, charging him with murder one and the murder two, murder in the first and second degrees.

And later today, Mr. Littlejohn will be arraigned here at Brooklyn Supreme Court in the murder of Imette St. Guillen.


CHERNOFF (voice-over): It was 4:00 in the morning Saturday, February 25th, closing time at the Falls Bar in Manhattan. Police say witnesses saw bouncer Darryl Litlejohn escort grad student Imette St. Guillen out of the bar. The student of criminal justice was only months away from graduating. Seventeen hours later police found her body laying here in an isolated lot in Brooklyn. St. Guillen had been raped and strangled. Her face was covered with strips of packing tape, and her hands and legs bound with plastic ties.

MAUREEN ST. GUILLEN, IMETTE'S MOTHER: She was a beautiful girl, I mean, beautiful inside also. She was kind. She was loving. She wouldn't hurt anyone.

CHERNOFF: Forensic scientists here at the New York medical examiner's office found a small quantity of blood on the ties around St. Guillen's wrists. Their DNA analysis identified the blood as Darryl Littlejohn's.

COMM. RAYMOND KELLY, NYC POLICE: While this is a very significant development, when we talk about DNA here, we're talking about the certainty of one in a trillion. So it is a very important piece of evidence for us.

CHERNOFF: More evidence: Hours before the body was found in eastern Brooklyn, cell phone transmission towers tracked Littlejohn's mobile phone to that immediate vicinity. All facts that made Litlejohn a prime suspect. Littlejohn showed no emotion as he denied killing Imette St. Guillen in his first interview since the murder.

DARRYL LITTLEJOHN, MURDER SUSPECT: I'm a likely suspect, because I have a criminal background and I wasn't supposed to be there working.

CHERNOFF: Littlejohn, an ex-con, has no history of sexual assault. Some criminal justice experts say that could present a challenge in convicting the former bouncer, because the evidence, they say, points to someone with experience in sexual attacks.

N.G. BERRILL, PROFESSOR, JOHN JAY COLLEGE: It's clear that this crime was enacted in a fairly methodical manner. There was a bunch of supplies involved. There were step-by-step progressions, I'm sure, beginning with fear, then torture, and sex abuse, then death.


CHERNOFF: Littlejohn has a long criminal record, including three convicts for armed robbery. He spent nearly 19 of his 41 years in prison, and now he faces charges that could put him in prison for the rest of his life -- John.

ROBERTS: Allan Chernoff, thanks very much for that report.



ROBERTS: Coming up from the boardroom to the strip club. We'll tell you about a pretty risque trend in "Minding Your Business," just ahead.

O'BRIEN: And Chef returns to "South Park" as the show gets in a few more digs at the former star and his religion.

Stay with us. Back in a moment. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)


O'BRIEN: The creators of "South Park," at it again. Coming up, a popular character returns. Oh, but there's more controversy over Scientology to share with you. That's ahead. Stay with us.


O'BRIEN: The "South Park" guys are at it again. The tenth season started with a backhanded slap at Scientology and a missing cast member, too.

CNN entertainment correspondent Brooke Anderson has our story this morning.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hi, everybody, Chef's back!

BROOKE ANDERSON, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was titled "The Return of Chef," the first new episode R & B singer and Scientologist Isaac Hayes quit the show after voicing the character for nearly a decade.

ISAAC HAYES, VOICE OF "CHEF": That's right. Thank you! Goodbye, everybody.

ANDERSON: But this Chef wasn't quite the same. Hayes' voice appeared to be cobbled together from previous episodes.

CRAIG TOMASHOFF, TV GUIDE: You could hear how it was spliced together and it was clearly disjointed.

ANDERSON: "TV Guide"'s Craig Tomashoff and I watched show the together.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Chef has been and still is a pedophile. .

HAYES (singing): I'm going to make love to the children!

ANDERSON: In the episode, Chef had fallen under the influence of a club of pedophiles. In what appeared to be a swipe at Scientology, the club's tenets seemed intended to parallel those of the controversial religion.

TOMASHOFF: This is their revenge, again, against everybody, against the church.

ANDERSON: Last week, Hayes abruptly announced he wanted out of the show, complaining that "South Park"'s frequent religious satires were going too far.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Great news, Dan, the Vatican is burning down! ANDERSON: But "South Park" creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone told David Letterman Hayes never objected until they ridiculed Scientology.

TREY PARKER, CO-CREATOR, "SOUTH PARK": We did a show last season about Scientology and Isaac Hayes is a Scientologist.

DAVID LETTERMAN, "LATE SHOW": He's a Scientologist.

PARK: And we knew -- we're, like, boy, you know, Isaac might quit over this and sure enough, he did.

ANDERSON: It wasn't exactly a fond farewell to Hayes. Despite the grisly death, the eulogy doesn't place blame on Chef or by extension, Hayes; but rather, his beliefs.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We shouldn't be mad at Chef for leaving us. We should be mad at that fruity little club for scrambling his brains.

ANDERSON: In the end, Chef was resurrected at Darth Chef, leaving the possibility Chef could be part of future "South Park" episodes.

HAYES: Hello there, children.

ANDERSON: Brooke Anderson, CNN, Hollywood.


O'BRIEN: A New Zealand television network now apologizing for their airing of another religious-themed "South Park" episode. Members of the Roman Catholic Church there upset over the airing of the episode which is called "Bloody Mary" and centered around alcoholism and a bleeding statue of the Virgin Mary. As we've said before, they try to offend everybody. Short break. We're back in a moment.


O'BRIEN: That's it for us this morning. Daryn Kagan's at the CNN Center -- easy for me to say. Going to take you through the next couple of hours on CNN LIVE TODAY. Good morning, Daryn.

ROBERTS: Good morning, Daryn.


© 2007 Cable News Network.
A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines. Contact us. Site Map.
Offsite Icon External sites open in new window; not endorsed by
Pipeline Icon Pay service with live and archived video. Learn more
Radio News Icon Download audio news  |  RSS Feed Add RSS headlines