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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Wintry Weather on Thanksgiving; More Details on Sandy Hook Shooter; President Obama Heckled; Iran Nuclear Secret Talks; New Charges In Steubenville Rape Case Grand Jury; Morning-After Pill And Weight Worries; The President G.W. Bush Christmas Ornament; Adoptive Parents Sentenced In Girl's Death Had Copy Of Christian Book "To Train Up A Child" In Their Home; Major Storm Steaming Toward East Coast; Holiday Travel Tips For A Smooth Thanksgiving Trip
Aired November 25, 2013 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Erin, thanks.
I'm Wolf Blitzer, in for Anderson Cooper.
We begin tonight with a blast of wintry weather right before Thanksgiving. That if you're traveling over the next couple of days threatens to make the experience nothing short of miserable.
Already, hundreds of flights have been canceled and the inevitable ripple effect is only just beginning. At street level, the situation isn't much better. Sleet and freezing rain in the Southern Plains and Southern Rockies. In Oklahoma City, an SUV slides on the icy road and flips over, all caught on video. Meanwhile, up to eight inches of snow forecast for New Mexico. Heavy rain from Texas to Georgia.
In a moment we'll get the latest on the flight situation and you're going to find out what to expect over the next few days. But it isn't just inconvenience we're talking about. Already there have been 12 deaths blamed on this storm.
Jason Carroll reports.
JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The killer storm started in California where it claimed its first life. A 52- year-old woman north of Sacramento was killed when a tree fell on her car.
It continued its deadly march across the country. Flooding in Arizona. Heavy snow in Colorado. And in New Mexico, wind gusts up to 50 miles an hour, producing blinding sleet and snow.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just stings your skin to be outside.
CARROLL: Two people died in New Mexico. One, a 4-year-old girl when the car she was riding in slid off the road. In Texas, five people were killed on the road, three of them in this pile-up on Interstate 40, including one man who got out of his car to try and help and was hit by another vehicle. In eastern Texas, country star Willie Nelson's tour bus plowed into a bridge pillar sending three of his band members to the hospital.
The storm caused hundreds of crashes throughout the country, including this driver in Oklahoma, whose car skidded off the road and then flipped. Amazingly he walked away from the crash. Others have not been so lucky. Four died in the state.
Beyond severe conditions on the roads, hundreds of flights have been canceled with many more expected as the storm lumbers on towards population centers in the east. The south is getting heavy rains before the storm turns toward the northeast.
(On camera): And that is what has many people in this region bracing for the worst this Thanksgiving week with an estimated 43 million people who are expected to travel during the holiday. Many are weighing their options, trying to balance safety with seeing their loved ones,
Jason Carroll, CNN, New York.
BLITZER: And joining us now with the latest, Nick Valencia, he's over at the Dallas/Ft. Worth International Airport, and in the CNN Weather Center, our meteorologist, Chad Myers.
Chad, the storm seems to only just getting started right now. What can we expect over the next couple of days?
CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes, we're in a lull. As it came over the Rocky Mountains and spread that ice over Texas last night it's kind of stalled a little bit. It's kind of just gone down to the Gulf of Mexico, picking up some moisture and it's going to run itself off the East Coast.
What we're going to expect, Wolf, is that if you're on this side of the storm which most people will be here, from New York down to D.C., down to Raleigh, that's all rain. A long the low, that will be some ice. And behind it that's where the snow will be. Cold, middle, warm. So that's the issue. It depends on where you're going, how far you're traveling.
If you're driving a lot of these Interstates are going to be a mess, as the lull comes out of the gulf, brings a lot of rain up with it, a lot of moisture, and then all of a sudden, it encounters all the cold air that's already there. It's already cold in Buffalo, it's already cold in Pittsburgh, in Cleveland, down into Columbus, Ohio, and then that rain and the cold are going to mix together, they'll go into that freezing rain sleet, and on the back side, snow.
I don't think snow is going to be the really big problem with this. Sure, there could be a foot in some in spots. Not in places like (INAUDIBLE), like Buffalo, Rochester, Watertown, and even four to six inches in Pittsburgh and parts of Ohio. That'll be a problem, but it's the ice. Just east of this area right through here. That's where the ice is going to be and that's why we have all of these watches and warnings already posted -- Wolf.
BLITZER: You're going to be a busy guy, Chad. Thanks very much. Let's go back to Nick.
You've seen hundreds of cancellations over the last couple of days at the Dallas airport. Looks like things are beginning, at least where you are, to get back on track?
NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That is right, Wolf, but it did have a hard impact across the country. As you know, Dallas is a main hub, a lot of flights come into this airport and leave this airport. Over the court of the last two days, we've had about 480 flights canceled. Now airport officials do tell us it's because they're trying to preempt a lot of passengers being stranded here in the airport. They do tell us, though, Wolf, that the worst has passed. But thousands of passengers that are expecting to get on their flights have been affected -- Wolf.
BLITZER: How are people reacting to obviously a stressful trip right now?
VALENCIA: Well, it's a mixed reaction. The passengers we've spoken to, some feel that they didn't get enough of a forewarning from the airlines. Others, though, having said that, they think that they did get enough communication and that the airlines did give them enough of a heads-up.
American Airlines is the airlines -- the carrier with the most cancellations. Some good news, though, to report just a little while ago, CNN heard from Delta. And those traveling on that airline, they should not expect cancellations, no cancellations on Tuesday, though anyone traveling over the course of the next couple of days, they should expect delays -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Let me quickly go back to Chad. Hold on for a moment, Chad. Looking beyond Thanksgiving. People have to travel back home over the course of the weekend. What do we anticipate?
MYERS: It will be a problem, Wolf. I think we're going to see just wind and no other issues after that -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Just a lot of wind, you're saying, Friday, Saturday, Sunday?
MYERS: Yes. It could have some airport delays because of the wind, but otherwise we're in good shape. So is Nick.
BLITZER: All right. Well, a lot of people are going to be traveling and -- really will be sad, a lot of people will be sad if families can't be reunited at least on Thanksgiving.
All right, Nick Valencia, Chad Myers, thanks to both of you.
It's just a few weeks shy of a tragic and solemn anniversary in Newtown. And tonight a report has been released covering the day that no one will forget. On December 14th, 20-year-old Adam Lanza killed his mother in their home and then stormed Sandy Hook Elementary School, killing 20 first graders and six adults before killing himself.
Today, authorities in Connecticut released their summary of the investigation that went on for almost a year.
Susan Candiotti reports on their findings.
SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Among the evidence released publicly for the first time dozens of photos of Sandy Hook Elementary School. And of gunman Adam Lanza's nearby home.
Here, the shattered glass at the entrance to the school. Lanza blasted through a window to bypass the locked door and begin his shooting spree.
We see the Bushmaster gun used to kill 20 sixth graders and six adults in less than 11 minutes. Found in the same classroom as the shooter's body, and the Gloc handgun he used to kill himself, all bought legally by his mother.
DR. JEFF GARDERE, ASSISTANT PROFESSOR, TOURO COLLEGE OF MEDICINE: She may have thought this was a way to control him or get through to him because she seemed to have a fascination with guns and shooting herself, so a way for them to connect. But absolutely the wrong way to do it.
CANDIOTTI: One question that remains unanswered, why? The 44-page Connecticut state's attorney report concludes, "The evidence clearly shows that the shooter plans his actions. But there is no clear indication why he did so." Or why Adam Lanza targeted Sandy Hook, a school where he used to go. What emerges is a picture of a deeply troubled 20-year-old, a loner, obsessed with mass murder.
He spent hours a day playing video and computer games. Many violent, including "Call of Duty." another called "School Shootings." The report also references a video not shown to the public. A five-second dramatization of children being shot. And images of Lanza pointing guns to his head. And surprisingly he seemed fixated on the game, "Dance, Dance Revolution" with a dance pad at home and spending up to 10 hours a day playing it in a theater down the street.
His computer hard drive was smashed making it nearly impossible to retrieve information. But investigators found a spread sheet detailing mass murders, including this "New York Times" 1891 article about a Catholic school shooting in upstate New York. The report said that Lanza not only suffered from Asperger's syndrome, he was also undoubtedly afflicted with mental problems.
Plagued with odd habits, changing his clothes several times a day, obsessed about how his food was arranged on his plate. He wouldn't allow his mother in his room, even to clean it.
GARDERE: It seemed like as time was going on, was starting to decompensate more towards a psychotic behavior, as well, you see some obsessive compulsive disorder traits, paranoia going on, and paints a picture of someone who was extremely difficult to manage.
CANDIOTTI: His bedroom is covered with black garbage bags. Lanza hated birthdays, Christmas and holidays, and even after superstorm Sandy, refused to stay at a hotel. He also did not like being touched.
BLITZER: Susan Candiotti is joining us now live.
Susan, how are the victims' families reacting to this report?
CANDIOTTI: Well, Wolf, first, I can tell you that they were all briefed or read the report before it was released to the public. And one family in particular, the family of Victoria Soto, she's one of the brave teachers who died trying to protect her children, her family says after reading the report they can't make sense of what happened and they doubt, they said, if anyone else ever will -- Wolf.
BLITZER: All right, Susan. Thank you.
Let us know what you think. Follow us on Twitter, tweet using the hash tag, ac360.
Coming up, President Obama heckled during a speech on immigration reform. What he heckler said and how the president handled it.
Plus the president today also defended this weekend's historic deal to limit Iran's nuclear program, that is next.
And later, more indictments in the rape of a 16-year-old girl in Steubenville, Ohio, allegations of a cover-up at the high school. Four employees accused of everything from evidence tampering to obstruction of justice.
BLITZER: In "Raw Politics," some unscripted moments for President Obama today. The president was in San Francisco speaking about immigration reform when he was interrupted by an audience member who asked him to stop deportations. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Will strengthen our families, and most importantly we will --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Obama, I need your help.
OBAMA: Most importantly we will live up --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The families are separated for Thanksgiving. I need your help. There are thousands of --
OBAMA: That's -- that's exactly what we're talking about here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Torn apart every single day.
OBAMA: That's why we're here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, please use your executive order to halt deportations for all. You have a power to stop deportations on all undocumented --
OBAMA: Actually I don't.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) in this country.
OBAMA: And that's why we're here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I need your help.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, we can.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stop deportation.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stop deportation.
OBAMA: Thank you. All right. What I'd like to do -- no, no, don't worry about it, guys.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stop deportation.
OBAMA: OK, let me finish.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, we can.
OBAMA: Let me -- let me --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stop deportation.
OBAMA: How about -- these guys don't need to go. Let me finish. No, no, no, let -- you can stay there. Let me --
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
OBAMA: Hold on a second. Hold on a second. So -- you know, I respect the passion of these young people. Because they feel deeply about the concerns for their families.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: All right, let's bring in our senior White House correspondent, Jim Acosta. He's joining us from the White House right now.
Pretty unusual to be heckled by the people who are supposedly vetted to stand behind the president.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Right.
BLITZER: I used to cover the White House. I've seen a lot of these events. I've heard presidents heckled, of course, usually from the audience, but not from the people handpicked to stand behind him.
ACOSTA: That is right, Wolf. Usually the people standing behind the president are placed there very carefully by the White House stage crafters to hammer home the president's message. That was not so much the case today, but it does turn out, we -- actually our crew in San Francisco had a chance to catch up with this student.
His name is 24-year-old Ju Hong. He's a student at San Francisco State University. And he told reporters afterwards that he got an invitation to this event, Wolf, so it's not like he snuck in.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stop deportation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: You know, the -- I was going to say the president -- you know, he didn't have the hecklers thrown out. He actually, as we say, turned around, he engaged them, had a little conversation with them. He's done this before. But once again, I say, usually they're from the audience when he deals with this. It's not what people who are standing behind him.
ACOSTA: That's right. Well, and I think that this young man, Ju Hong, he felts very passionate about this issue. And we actually found out after the event, Wolf, he is undocumented himself. That's what he told reporters that he's originally from South Korea, and because of his undocumented status he can't go back and visit his sick grandmother. He said his grandmother is sick, he can't visit his family back in South Korea.
So he sort of feels stuck here. And he wanted to speak out on behalf of all undocumented students across the country, he said, and he said that the president should use his executive order powers to basically legalize all of those undocumented immigrants out there, stop the deportations, get the legalization process going, and as the president explained at that event he just can't do that.
BLITZER: You know, before I let you go, Jim, let me raise another issue the president addressed at that same event. The U.S. deal with Iran on its nuclear program.
What more are we learning about this historic deal, as it came about including secret talks that the U.S. was having with Iran at a high level order in Oman? Give us a little bit more of what we've learned.
ACOSTA: Yes, Wolf, we did pick up as this deal was reached on Saturday night as that senior administration officials were telling us that yes, in the months leading up to this agreement senior U.S. officials were meeting with Iranian officials, secretly. This was not known, of course, to the public around the world that these talks were going on.
But in addition to that, Wolf, two years prior to all of this getting going, Secretary of State John Kerry, when he was Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman, John Kerry was making trips out to Oman to start the process of seeing if the Omanis were interested in being conduits for this sort of agreement. And apparently they gave him the green light to set up these talks that were being taken -- that were taking place in Oman in the last several months.
So Secretary Kerry's work, even before he was secretary of state, that really helped to facilitate this deal, and kind of got it off the ground in terms of finding a secret locations for where these officials could have these unknown talks. It was a big part of this deal -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Yes, very important. Jim Acosta, thanks very much.
I spoke earlier with Mike Rogers, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. He was deeply irritated. He had not been informed about these secret talks in Oman over the past year or so.
Let's discuss what's going on with Mike Doran of the Brookings Institution's Saban Center for Middle East Policy and the New American Foundation President Anne-Marie Slaughter, she's the former director of policy planning at the State Department.
Anne-Marie, you think this is -- this deal is a good step forward. But what about all the skepticism in Washington and abroad that Iran simply cannot be trusted?
ANNE-MARIE SLAUGHTER, PRESIDENT, NEW AMERICA FOUNDATION: Well, Wolf, the first thing to say is, it's not a final deal. It's an interim agreement that gives us six months of breathing space, where Iran -- its nuclear program is halted and indeed, actually pushed back a little to give us time to see if we can get to a final conclusion.
And I think you have to understand it against the backdrop of three basic options. I mean, either we do nothing and Iran continues to move toward a nuclear weapon, or we get a verifiable agreement that actually stops that progress, or there is a military strike against Iran. So against that backdrop, this seems to me, a real step forward.
BLITZER: Yes, and you're familiar with the fact the State Department still to this day considers Iran a state sponsor of terrorism. But we now know that over the past year or so, high-ranking State Department officials were meeting secretly with the high-ranking Iranian officials in Oman. And you believe this is extraordinary. Tell us why.
SLAUGHTER: Well, I mean, it is extraordinary because as you know the hostages were taken when I was a junior in college. And that was some time ago. You know, there's been over 30 of total enmity between us and Iran. And when President Obama did come to power, when he became president he said, you know, we will extend our hand if you will unclench your fists.
And now, finally, through diplomacy we are at least making some progress, which could be not only hugely important on the nuclear question, but also for a final settlement in Afghanistan and even possibly for Syria.
BLITZER: Mike, you're pessimistic about this six-month interim deal, but isn't six months of maybe testing Iranian intentions better than maybe the military option, if you will?
MICHAEL DORAN, SABAN CENTER FOR MIDDLE EAST POLICY, BROOKINGS INSTITUTION: Well, I wouldn't put it that way because the fact is we've already made major concessions up front. We've already given them the right to enrich. We've basically shredded six Security Council resolutions that say that they shouldn't enrich or reprocess uranium. And we gave them those concessions upfront in return for basically a commitment that they won't go nuclear for six months.
So we bought six months of talks. We're paying them to negotiate with us and we're paying a very, very, very heavy price.
BLITZER: When you say the U.S. is paying a very heavy price, administration officials say it's a relatively modest price, a relatively modest easing of sanctions in order to make sure Iran doesn't go forward and accelerate its production, potentially, of a nuclear bomb.
DORAN: Well, you know, like I said, there were six U.N. Security Council resolutions, I mean, resolutions that Russia and China voted for. Those were very hard -- very hard to achieve. And they gave us the legitimacy for the sanctions. So we've shredded those. And we're creating a lobby now, an international economic lobby that's going to be dedicated to eroding the sanctions that exist.
It's very -- it's very difficult to ratchet in a different direction. We've started ratcheting down and we haven't gotten anything for that.
BLITZER: Ann-Marie, you're shaking your head. You clearly disagree. Go ahead.
SLAUGHTER: Well, I do. I mean, in the first place, we're giving them about $6 billion to $7 billion worth of relief on sanctions. And that's things like car parts and the ability to pay tuition for students overseas. The big money is in oil. And their oil reserves have gone down from $100 billion -- the money on the reserves to $35 billion.
They're going to move -- they're going to lose more in one month from the sanctions than the relief we're giving them. So this is a very limited, targeted reversible relief. And what we get for it is not only six months where they're not going to enrich, but actually this is going to make it harder for them to break out. It actually -- it actually makes it a longer time for them to break out toward a nuclear weapon if that's something that they were to choose to do. So we're getting a goal --
BLITZER: Yes, and so Mike -- let me just let Mike wrap this up, very quickly, because the argument is made if the Iranians cheat and lie, don't honor what they've committed themselves to right now the architecture is there to resume those sanctions and even to tighten them further.
DORAN: Very hard to put the toothpaste back into the tube. And the fact of the matter is that we have -- we have effectively given them the right to enrich. We gave that up front. We can't take that back.
BLITZER: Mike Doran, Anne-Marie Slaughter, thanks to both of you very much for coming in.
For more on this story, by the way, go to CNN.com.
Just ahead there are new charges in the Steubenville rape case.
Plus, important news about the morning-after pill. A new study showing it stops working when a woman reaches a certain weight.
BLITZER: In "Crime and Punishment," a grand jury has indicted four more people in connection with the 2012 rape of a 16-year-old girl in Steubenville, Ohio. Photos and videos of the incident made their way at the social media and attracted national attention. This past March, two football players at the local high school were convicted of the rape.
The case is still rocking the small eastern Ohio community of Steubenville. All of the adults indicted today are school employees, including the school superintendent who now faces three felony counts.
One question many people are asking tonight, what took so long for these new indictments to be handed up?
CNN correspondent Jean Casarez is joining us now.
Jean, what about? Why did these indictments take so long?
JEAN CASAREZ, CNN LEGAL CORRESPONDENT: You know, I think, Wolf, we need to look at the timeline. First of all, as you just said, the football players were convicted in March of raping a 16-year-old high school girl.
The grand jury, then, convened in April, and remember grand juries are for adults. And that grand jury heard from 123 witnesses, there were 18 days of testimony. The grand jury doesn't meet every single day. And during that time investigators had to investigate.
And as we learned today from the attorney general and as we knew this case is all about text messages, e-mails, photographs, video, and they had to look through hundreds of things to find that needle in the haystack that would become evident. And if you're talking about obstructing justice, trying to hide the fact that crimes may have occurred, you're going to be deleting things. So that only made it, I think, more difficult for the investigators.
But ultimately, I think the question many people have is why only four people were charged. And the answer to that from the attorney general is that the grand jury spoke. They heard from many people. They could have indicted others. But they chose to say that only four people, probable cause to commit a crime, that that was in the hands of four.
BLITZER: And explain exactly what these school employees are charged with?
CASAREZ: Well, the superintendent of schools is the most serious, because there are three felonies, tampering with evidence, obstructing justice, two counts, and then falsification, obstructing an official proceeding. So they're trying to show that the superintendent was trying to hide that crimes were committed.
As far as assistant football coach and an assistant wrestling coach, they were charged with things varying from failure to report the child abuse had occurred because that is the duty of a school administrator or teacher. And with the assistant football coach, very interesting, his father owned the home, his parents did, he lived there, but apparently one of the parties was at the house because he was charged with allowing minors to drink and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. And that is the first charge we've seen of this type in this case.
BLITZER: That elementary school principal, you spoke with her attorney. What did you learn?
CASAREZ: Well, this is interesting because she is charged with failure to report child abuse but he wants it very clear. It is not in regard to the Steubenville rape case, as we know it. It is in regard to an alleged rape that happened before August of 2012, a rape that has never been prosecuted. A rape that he says never happened because there is no victim.
She failed to report that instance of child abuse and he says that she is innocent, a 30-year educator, a great person, and what he is concerned about is that she could lose her teaching credential, her administrator credential, something that is unwarranted because she didn't commit a crime, he says.
BLITZER: All right, Jean Casarez, thanks very much. Jean Casarez reporting. Let's get caught up on other stories. Susan Hendricks has a 360 News and Business Bulletin - Susan.
SUSAN HENDRICKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, the contractor who oversaw a botched building demolition in Philadelphia is charged with murder, involuntary manslaughter and reckless endangerment. Six people were killed in the June building collapse, 13 others were injured.
An Italian prosecutor is urging an appeals court to reinstate the guilty verdict against Amanda Knox for the 2007 murder of her roommate. The American was convicted in 2009 and then freed on appeal two years later. The FDA is reviewing whether morning-after contraceptive pills lose effectiveness in women weighing more than 165 pounds. This comes after a new study shows the drug stopped working when women reached the weight. And a European manufacturer of a pill similar to that one, to Plan B One Step has announced it is adding a warning label about the weight concerns.
And for less than $30, here is your chance to own artwork by former President George W. Bush. The Bush Center is selling this limited edition Christmas ornament featuring a cardinal, as you see, he is known to be a pretty good artist, not bad - Wolf.
BLITZER: Yes, I have seen some of his work lately. I must say it is pretty good. Have you seen that?
HENDRICKS: I have the dog that he painted.
BLITZER: It's a whole new life. I saw that after being president.
BLITZER: Pretty cool. All right, Susan, thank you very much.
Just ahead, Hannah Williams' adoptive parents will spend decades in prison for her death. But the authors of a popular Christian parenting book that promotes spanking and other strict discipline were not even charged in this case, why not?
Plus, the latest on the nasty weather that is on track to turn Thanksgiving weather treacherous.
BLITZER: Tonight, a 360 follow-up, about a parenting book embraced by some fundamentalist Christian. It's called "To Train Up a Child." and it advises parents to raise their children to obey without question by spanking them from the time they are babies.
Co-authors, Michael and Debbie Pearl instruct parents to use switches, belts and even tubing when giving spankings. Gary Tuchman asked Mr. Pearl to show him exactly what they mean.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That hurts, and I'm a 50. OK -- you know --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Any marks on you?
TUCHMAN: You would hit a 5-year-old like this?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: A number of deaths now have been linked to the Pearl's book, including the death of 13-year-old Hanna Williams. Her adoptive parents were recently convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to nearly 30 years in prison. Gary caught up with Hanna's parents before their trial and also talked to the Pearls. Here is his report.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): Larry Williams is the husband, Carri Williams, the wife. Together, they were parents of eight, but now it is seven. The daughter they adopted from Ethiopia is dead. Some say they're the parents from hell.
(on camera): Can I just ask you, did you love this child? Can you just answer that question, did you love this child?
(voice-over): The question is did Hanna die in the name of God? The Williams lived in a large piece of secluded land in the investigators found Hanna face down outside the house with mud in her mouth and not breathing. But there is so very mash she left out.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The day of her death was not the first day she was struck.
TUCHMAN: Here is what the affidavit said, Hanna had a large lump on her head and several fresh red bloody markings on her hips, knees, elbows and face. And when doctors performed Hanna's autopsy, they declared the 13-year-old was abnormally thin. On the forehead was a hematoma, swollen bruise.
There were abrasions on the right and left upper pelvis area, bruises on the legs, prosecutors questioned whether those beatings came because of biblical teachings. The other children who implicate their parents in the affidavit told investigators Hanna was often left outside in the cold as discipline because she wa rebellious.
Hanna was so weakened from the discipline hours in the bone chilling cold was more than she could take according to the authorities. But listen to the 911 call from the mother to the police. Look who she blames for her child's death.
UNIDENTIFIED OPERATOR: What is your emergency?
CARRI WILLIAMS: Yes, I think my daughter just killed herself.
UNIDENTIFIED OPERATOR: Why do you say that?
WILLIAMS: She is really rebellious and she has been outside refusing to come in. And she has been throwing herself all around and then she collapsed.
RICH WEYRICH, SKAGIT COUNTY PROSECUTOR: If you didn't stand exactly where you were supposed to stand, that would be considered rebellious, and you could be punished for that.
TUCHMAN: In the affidavit, Hanna's 9-year-old brother told detectives that people like his dead sister got spankings for lying and going to the fires of hell. Detectives say Larry Williams made his son stopped talking to authorities after that. We met Larry Williams with his attorney in court during a motion hearing.
(on camera): Mr. Williams, tell us what happened to your daughter. What do you think God thinks about this case, sir.
(voice-over): Among the evidence found in the house, a variety of books and videotapes by well-known fundamentalist Christian authors, Michael and Debbi Pearl, including the book called "To Train Up A Child," which is a bestselling book which advocates corporal punishment for children from infant on up. The authors of the book say the writings are guided by the teachings in the bible.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It says that if you spare the rod, you hate your child. But if you love him you chasten him timely.
TUCHMAN: I interviewed the Pearls because of a chillingly similar case, Kenneth and Elizabeth Shots are now in prison after pleading guilty to killing their daughter, Lydia, also adopted from Africa. Taken from their home as evidence, "To Train Up a Child." Michael Ramsey is the DA who prosecuted the Shot's.
(on camera): What do you think influenced the Shots to beat, terrorize and torment them?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The book by Mr. Pearl. There is no doubt about it.
TUCHMAN (on camera): Let's say a 7-year-old slugs his sister?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You explain to him that what he's done is violent, not acceptable in society or in our home. And I would take him somewhere in his bedroom and I would tell him I'm going to give him 15 licks.
TUCHMAN: With what?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Probably a belt, a kid that big, a boy, i would probably use a belt that would be handy. I might use a wooden spoon or -- a piece of like -- plumbing supply line.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): A plumbing supply line, one of the pieces of evidence Larry Williams gave the sheriff's deputies in Washington State after authorities said he acknowledged he and his wife used it to strike their children.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have no comments today.
TUCHMAN (on camera): Can you tell us what happened to your daughter, though, do you still say she killed herself? Excuse me, sir?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No comment today.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): Larry and Carri Williams pled not guilty and were out on bond. They were ordered not to talk to their surviving children, who were put in foster homes. Prosecutors say they have no plans to pursue charges against Michael and Debbie Pearl.
When I talked to the authors about the death of Lydia Shots in California, they say their book rejects parents losing control and acting out of anger. (on camera): So you're not accepting any blame?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Absolutely not.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): And it is the same sentiment they have regarding the death of Hanna Williams in Washington. The Pearls released a statement on their Facebook page, which says we share in the sadness over the tragic death of Hanna Williams, what her parents did is diametrically opposed to what is taught in the book "To Train Up A Child."
And it continues in part, the alleged presence of the book makes it no more responsible for Hanna's death than the presence of a weight loss book in the home of an overweight person is responsible for their obesity.
Prosecutors read "To Train Up A Child" cover to cover as they prepare for the trial and were able to convince a jury that Hanna Williams died because of the parents who adopted her. Gary Tuchman, CNN, Skagit County, Washington.
BLITZER: Let's dig deeper right now with our senior legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin, and also joining us attorney and children advocate, Areva Martin. Jeff, the parents are facing justice. The authors of the book where the parents based their method of discipline, no legal responsibility here at all, is that right?
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: I think none at all. For two reasons, first, you can't really prove causation of a book or a movie or a video game, and the crime. This comes up often. We talked about the movie, "Natural Born Killers" years ago, talking about violent video games, music, Marilyn Manson.
It's just never -- the proof is never good enough in a court of law. Also, even if you were to try to do it there is a real first amendment, freedom of speech here. Prosecuting a book author for complicity in a murder, I just don't see how it could be done in any circumstances.
BLITZER: Areva is there no point at which the Pearls would be held criminally liable because of the teachings? Is there nothing the government can do or should do about that?
AREVA MARTIN, ATTORNEY AND CHILDREN'S ADVOCATE: Well, you know, Wolf, I think one of the issues here is the knowledge of the crime. As Jeffrey said, there is obviously information here in the book guiding the parents on what to do to punish or discipline their child. But there is no evidence they have any knowledge with what is going on with any particular parents.
They didn't know what the Williams would do in regard to the child. But there are civil cases, where book publishers have been sued by, you know, individuals who have suffered losses civilly. They have had to pay large settlements and books have actually been called off the shelf.
So i don't think we should just focus on the criminal liability because I think there should be a potential here for some civil liability and these children, whoever become the guardians of these children may be able to recover in a civil lawsuit.
BLITZER: Do you agree with that, Jeffrey?
TOOBIN: Well, that is news to me if there has been actual civil judgments against book authors, I have never heard of it. I just think it is very difficult even in a civil context where you don't have to use proof beyond a reasonable doubt that a book caused an offense like this.
In fairness to the Pearls, they don't say kill the child. They say discipline the child. And a lot of people in this country use some form of corporal punishment, whether it is spanking or hitting even with an object. That is pretty different from something that causes the death of a child. And I am at least unaware of any court that has ordered a judgment like that?
BLITZER: You want to respond --
MARTIN: Yes, let me respond to that, Wolf. There is an opinion, an appellate court decision in 1997 involving the book "Hit Man," where there was a lawsuit filed against the publisher, and there was an out of court settlement. The first amendment said this book didn't apply because this book was used to cause a triple murder of some individuals.
So there is a precedent out there. There is an appellate court decision, and there is some sound legal law. There is some sound law out there that can support a judgment in this case, I think against the Pearls.
BLITZER: You know, Jeffrey, the Williams' defense attorneys told the jury that questionable parenting practices don't just amount to a crime. This was not questionable parenting practices. These people ended up with a dead child because of what they did, right?
TOOBIN: Again, this often unfortunately comes up with religious parents who claim some sort of religious defense for how they mistreat their children. Religion is not an excuse for child abuse, period. And whether it is neglect, whether it is you know, not feeding a child, whether it is not getting medical care for a child, or actively hitting them, religion is never going to be a defense and that is why these people are in prison, where they should be.
BLITZER: Jeffrey Toobin, Areva Martin, guys, thanks very much. Up next, we'll have the latest on the storm that could impact holiday travel plans for millions of people. We are going to get an update from Chad Myers and also talk to a travel expert about what you need to know if you are flying over the next few days.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BLITZER: Let's get back to the top story tonight, the wild, wintry weather causing a big headache for millions of people traveling just before Thanksgiving, from coast to coast, there are many problems, snow, sleet, heavy rainfall, a dozen deaths are blamed on the brutal weather across several states. Let's get an update right now. Our meteorologist, Chad Myers is standing by with the latest -- Chad.
CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: You know, airplanes and airlines say they're not canceling flights for tomorrow, Wolf, just yet. That is like the superintendent of schools saying we are not going to cancel school the night before. We'll wait to see what happens when we wake up. We still have 4,600 planes in the sky at this hour right now, which tells me still that airlines are trying to catch up from the back log they had earlier.
Here is the problem, D.C., you wake up at 4:34, and if you get anywhere west of Vienna, you could be 32 and all of a sudden it starts to rain, we have watches and warnings all the way from Canada to parts of Virginia. We have winter storm advisories even into the upstate of South Carolina, the potential for ice.
Ice is probably the big problem with the storm. Here are the snow totals we can talk about. Five inches for Buffalo, Syracuse, Rochester, you know, growing up in Buffalo we never even canceled school for five inches of snow, Wolf, and 4.6 in Erie.
The issue is that some of these spots in here are not showing up a lot of snow because the freezing rain will keep that total down, but freezing rain is a whole lot worse than snow to drive on. You know that.
BLITZER: We never canceled school in Buffalo because we were well prepared. Chad, thanks very much. The ugly weather could impact up to 43 million Americans expected to travel this holiday week. As we mentioned, hundreds of flights were canceled at the Dallas/Fort Worth airport today. As the weather moves east, more cancellations and delays are likely.
But there are things you can do to ease the pain, let's get some travel tips from Scott McCartney, the travel journalist for the "Wall Street Journal." He knows what he is talking about. Scott, the travel season can be rather trying, you say you can help yourself out by knowing the weather not only where you are, but where you're going, but also where you may be connecting. Explain.
SCOTT MCCARTNEY, TRAVEL COLUMNIST, "THE WALL STREET JOURNAL": Yes, where you're connecting could be the most important factor in your trip. If you know the weather will be bad in Charlotte, even though you're going from say Florida to California and the weather is fine in both places you may be suffering big-time delays. The quicker you figure that out, call the airlines. See if you can re-route through a hub in Houston or Dallas or someplace that no longer is affected by this storm.
BLITZER: You also say sign up for those flight alert services. They could really help, right? MCCARTNEY: Yes, they really can. And not just from your airline, but also a service like flightstats.com, and flightaware.com. Flightstats gets information from FAA computers as well as from airlines and airports. Often, you can be standing at the gate and get information from the flight service long before the agent figures out your flight has been canceled.
You get a little jump on everybody else and you will be first in line for booking, or get that early alert of gate changes. It really gives you peace of mind that you will get help with your particular flight.
BLITZER: Scott, this goes against what I would have thought. But you say if you need to re-book a flight, do that at the airport and not over the phone, why?
MCCARTNEY: Because the airport agents can be much more effective than the telephone agents especially when so many airlines have outsourced telephone service. You can face very long waits on the phone, and not get great service. If the airport is convenient to you, go to the airport.
If you're able to go early for your trip, you know, if you could travel tomorrow and avoid Wednesday, I think that would be really prudent. Go to the airport, some people may be canceling their trips. There may be open seats. So if you're there and you get a helpful agent, you can grab something a whole lot better than what you get just sitting back and waiting.
BLITZER: Yes, you might be speaking to somebody in a call center. All right, that is good advice, Scott. Thanks very much. Scott McCartney helping us. And don't forget CNN is staying on top of the weather all of this holiday week. This is the place, we'll get you all the information you need to know. We'll be right back.
BLITZER: Fifty years ago today, on one of the saddest days in American history, President John F. Kennedy was laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery, three days after he was assassinated in Dallas, Texas. Some historians say it was the first time the nation mourned this way together watching television.
It was a day full of iconic moments from the broken note of a bugler playing taps, to JFK Jr. saluting his father's coffin. As one story goes he had been practicing the salute since Veteran's Day, and got it right. It will live on in the American collective memory. Tonight, much more on the 50-year anniversary, tune in one hour from now 10 p.m. Eastern for the CNN special, "The Assassination Of President Kennedy."
That does it for this edition of 360. Thanks for watching. "PIERS MORGAN LIVE" starts right now.