Return to Transcripts main page

CNN Newsroom

University of South Carolina Mourns Seven Students Killed in Fire; Controversy Continues Over New York Driver's Licenses For Illegal Immigrants

Aired October 29, 2007 - 15:00   ET


KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: A deadly fire at a beach house early yesterday, a candlelight vigil on a college campus tonight. The University of South Carolina is one of two campuses mourning seven students killed on what should have been a perfect weekend.
T.J. HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: Also, 10 years for teen sex? Many thought the sentence itself was a crime. Now, though, Genarlow Wilson is a free man, and sharing his ordeal with CNN's Rick Sanchez. And Rick joins us live in the NEWSROOM this hour.

Hello to you all. I'm T.J. Holmes, sitting in today for Don Lemon here at the CNN Center in Atlanta, Georgia.

PHILLIPS: And I'm Kyra Phillips. You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.

Five-alarm fire, 10 fire departments on the scene, it's a massive explosion that's taken place in Des Moines, Iowa. Live picture coming to us from KCCI Television, our affiliate out there.

This is Barton Solvents. They make industrial chemicals, like paint thinner, household cleaners, hydraulic oil, a lot of flammable substances in that company. Explosion one against Des Moines, Iowa, five-alarm fire, 10 fire departments on the scene. We're working it for it. We will you bring you information as we get it.

HOLMES: An outpouring of support today at two grieving campus in South Carolina. Six University of South Carolina died when flames engulfed this North Carolina beach house yesterday. A seventh student from Clemson University also died in that fire. Six other South Carolina students escaped with their lives.

Many of the victims were affiliated with the school's Greek communities. The sorority and fraternity chapter presidents offered words of comfort a short time ago.


LAUREN HODGE, CHAPTER PRESIDENT, DELTA DELTA DELTA: We have ministers and counselors coming in throughout the week. And our chapter house is open to anyone who feels as if they want to come in and talk to a counselor or a minister. We have certain times scheduled that they will be at the house.

JAY LAURA, CHAPTER PRESIDENT, SIGMA ALPHA EPSILON: Most of my mind is currently dominated with grief, despair, and sympathy for the victims' families. But there's a small part of my soul that is smiling today, as I witness the spirit of our community as it comes together to support all those in need. This is the same spirit that brought these students together at Ocean Isle, one of love, caring, fellowship and a shared sense of belonging.


HOLMES: Grief counselors are with students today. A candlelight vigil is scheduled for this evening.

PHILLIPS: No new job for FEMA's former P.R. chief, all because of the fake news conference that FEMA held last week on the California wildfires.

John Pat Philbin was supposed to start today as chief spokesperson for the national intelligence director. Now we're hearing that's not going to happen. The fake news conference featured FEMA staffers, not reporters, lobbing softball questions.

Meantime, arson investigators in Southern California need your help. They made an appeal just a short time ago.

CNN's Ted Rowlands joins us with the latest now from Orange County -- Ted.

TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kyra, we're at the base camp here, the communications center for the Santiago fire. The good news, the fire is almost completely out or at least contained. They're still looking at this arson investigation, and now they're coming back as you mentioned to the public for some more help. We heard about that Ford pickup truck -- we will talk about that in a bit -- that they were first asking about.

Now, within the area, they're asking the public for some specific information. And it has to do with a canyon area where there was an outlook where you could see this fire when it first started. It's the Blackstar Canyon area, Blackstar Canyon Road and Silverado Canyon Road.

What they're looking for is anyone who took photographs or video between the hours of 5:55 p.m. and 6:10 p.m., only a 15-minute window. They believe that there were about 20 to 30 people basically assembled on this ridge as this fire was gaining intensity.

And they desperately want to get anybody's video or still photographs of the fire, but more importantly any pan-offs of the people that were watching the fire. Clearly, they're getting this information from tips and clearly they're hoping that the suspected arsonist may be in some of those images.

Here's a little bit more about what they're asking the public's help for.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CHIEF CHIP PRATHER, ORANGE COUNTY FIRE AUTHORITY: We believe there were 30 to 40 people along Blackstar Canyon Road near the time that this fire started that may have been taking some photographs or video of the fire.

And so I would ask that you assist us in getting out the information to those people, that, if they were in that area and have video of or footage, film footage, of the fire between 5:55 and 6:15 that day, that film of people at that area, in other words, other photographers or people observing the fire, or of the fire, to please contact our arson tip line.


ROWLANDS: Clearly, in a lot of arson cases, arsonists come back to view their work. And it seems as if though this is what they're hoping in this case, that they have some reason to believe that any individuals that may be responsible could have been in this group of people, so they're hoping for some help there.

They're also still hoping for help on this Ford F-150 pickup truck. They say they have been getting hundreds of leads into the tip line. There's a $250,000 reward on the table here. Investigators are working around the clock, following up on those tips.

At this point, they won't comment if they have filed any search warrants. And they're being close-lipped -- tight-lipped about the investigation itself, except that they are continuing to ask for the public's help.

And with so much money on the table, Kyra, the hope is that somebody knows this person and will turn them in. Clearly, it's a full-court press. They want to find out who is responsible for this fire.

PHILLIPS: Sure. We all do.

Ted Rowlands, thanks so much.

HOLMES: We are going to head back to this explosion we have been telling you about and we have been keeping an eye on in Des Moines.

These are different pictures, updated pictures now live, we're seeing from -- this is the Barton Solvents building. This is just outside of Des Moines, where there were explosions reported a short time ago and now a fire is happening at this building.

Now, this is a huge mess on the hands for firefighters there, because, of course, this building, a solvent buildings company here has flammable materials in it, has plenty of industrial chemicals and things you do not want to be mixing with fire and flames.

Now, we also know this is a five-alarm five at this time. Now, of course, with the chemicals and the smoke, could be hazardous stuff going up into the air. Right now, we know of no evacuations that are taking place. We don't have any word on possible injuries. Also, 10 different fire departments have responded to this thing.

And, as a result of this fire and this smoke, as you can imagine, causing problems, two major highways have been shut down, I-80 and I- 35 shut down in both directions at this time. This again a live picture coming to us from our affiliate KCCI at this point.

But it gives a different perspective of this fire. Again, we're going to keep an eye on it and going to keep an eye out for word -- going to keep an ear out for word of any possible injuries affiliated with this fire, but we are on top of it, bring you the updates as it warrants.

PHILLIPS: A U.S. Army general is being treating for wounds that he suffered today in Iraq. Pentagon sources tells us that Brigadier General Jeffrey Dorko was hit by shrapnel when an improvised explosive device blew up near his vehicle. It happened in north Baghdad.

Dorko is flown to Germany for treatment. He's believed to be the highest ranking U.S. military officer wounded in the war so far.

The security of Karbala province, just south of Baghdad, is back in Iraqi hands. The Iraqi military assumed responsibility in an elaborate ceremony with the U.S. commander there, saying that his troops are only a phone call away, if needed.

Karbala, which is primarily Shiite, is the eighth province officially turned back over to the Iraqis; 10 others are still under U.S. control. Basra is set to be handed over next, just before Christmas.


PHILLIPS: Children beaten, threatened and forced to work long hours without pay. Now the Gap is making a fashion statement. That's ahead -- straight ahead from the CNN NEWSROOM.

HOLMES: Also, he says he stayed in prison on principle. A newly freed Genarlow Wilson talking freely to CNN -- his plan for the future ahead.


PHILLIPS: Ten fire departments on the scene. It's a five-alarm fire at the Barton Solvents company in Des Moines, Iowa. Live pictures coming to us now from KCCI out of Des Moines, Iowa, one of our CNN affiliates.

We can tell you that firefighters are on the scene. I-80 and I- 35 east and westbound are closed because of this fire. We're told that there are -- there have been no evacuations. This is mostly an industrial area. We don't have a status on the 150 employees that work at Barton Solvents right now. Apparently, Polk County Sheriff's Department, Saylorville Fire Department and possibly nine additional fire department agencies are on the scene trying to work this.

Not quite sure how this happened. We can tell you that they make industrial chemicals, like paint thinner, household cleaners, hydraulic oil, obviously a number of flammable solvents made there at this company. We're getting a number of angles there, live pictures from our affiliate KCCI.

We're working details. We will bring you more as we get it; 3:14 Eastern time, here's some other stories we're working on the CNN NEWSROOM.

A house in flames and a campus is mourning. Students will gather tonight on the University of South Carolina campus to mourn six classmates killed in this beach fire from yesterday. No word on what caused it yet. A Clemson University student also died in this fire.

California arson investigators want the public's help to find out who set the massive Santiago fire. They have got amateur video and photos of the blaze from October 21, and they want it. Meantime, firefighters have contained most of the fires in Southern California, but winds could pick up this week.

The armed robbery case against O.J. Simpson is growing. Another co-defendant is flipping. Michael McClinton has now agreed to plead guilty and testify against Simpson. McClinton allegedly brandished a gun during the incident in a Las Vegas hotel.

HOLMES: Children as young as 10 years old working up to 16 hours a day without pay, beaten if they cry, those are the shocking allegations against a company that makes clothes for the Gap -- first reported in the British newspaper "The Observer."

Dan McDougall is a freelance journalist with that paper and saw the sweatshop in New Delhi firsthand. He joins us now from our London bureau.

Dan, we appreciate you being with us.

Tell me, how difficult was it to find this so-called sweatshop in the first place?

DAN MCDOUGALL, "THE OBSERVER": Investigating sweatshops is very difficult. You have to rely on local informers. And my informer used to operate a sweatshop himself, and he's now kind of crossed over to the other side, if you like.

And he tipped me off that there was a sweatshop on four stories in the Shahpur Jat area of Delhi. And we entered it last week. It's quite a dangerous business, entering sweatshops. I have been beaten up before in a number of investigations. In this instance, we managed to walk straight in. We got to the third floor, and we found children making clothes for the Gap.

HOLMES: Now, how -- did you know before you went in there -- and, again, we want to let our viewers know these pictures you're seeing are the pictures we're just getting. And we're getting a look at these, some of these for the first time ourselves. These are brand-new pictures of this sweatshop we're talking about. Did you know, going in, that this was a spot where Gap clothes were being made, or did you discover that after you went in there and saw the labels?

MCDOUGALL: No, we didn't have a clue. I was actually surprised that we uncovered Gap, because obviously Gap have a very responsible social policy in terms of subcontracting and contracting. Well, obviously, it's failed in this instance. So, when we discovered children making clothes for the Gap, I was very surprised.

HOLMES: So, you have done this kind of work, you have been doing this work for a while. So, like you say, a reputable company like that, is it impossible sometimes just for them to monitor?

I know they have a lot of things in place to try to prevent things like this from happening, but is it almost impossible, when you deal with contractors and subcontractors and sub-subcontractors, to keep an eye on everybody and make sure things like this aren't happening?

MCDOUGALL: It all comes down to profits and margins.

And I think the reality is, if you send huge orders to the developing world, as soon as those orders reach the developing world, you are going to lose an element of control. And it's the nature of business in India or Pakistan or Bangladesh or Nepal is that you receive an order and you subcontract, and you subcontract again.

And sometimes have four or five tiers away from the original order. And each time the contractor is removed from the vendor, you lose more and more control. And that's what happened in this instance. And that's why Gap have admitted it. They said, well, you know, look, our auditing systems failed.

HOLMES: Well, Dan, where do these children come from in the first place? How do they end up in these so-called sweatshops?

MCDOUGALL: Most of the children in New Delhi, for example, come from the Bihar, which is one of the poorest Indian states. And, obviously, there's a lot of large families in Bihar.

And it's very common for parents to sell one of their children or even two of their children into labor, effectively bonded labor. The children are then trafficked to Delhi or Calcutta or Mumbai, and then effectively work for free. They're called shagrits (ph), which basically means they're students. So, they are told they're on probation.

I mean, I have seen children in sweatshops who have been on probation for two years. So, they're not getting paid. They're just being abused. I mean, it's a crime. These sweatshops are operated by criminal gangs. It's a very dangerous business now, you know?

HOLMES: Last couple things here, Dan.

Tell us. You were in there. What kind of spirits are these children in, in these sweatshops? We see the pictures. They don't tell the whole story to us, I guess. But just what kind of mood, what kind of spirits are these kids in working in there?

MCDOUGALL: Well, they almost seem quite desensitized to it, because the work is very repetitive. And they're just -- they're doing the same thing for, you know, 14, 16 hours a day. So, they just seem like robots.

There's no real -- and I have been in sweatshops before with -- and not in this instance, it has to be said, but I have been in sweatshops where I have found children's toys. So, children will basically work 16-hour days and then, in the spare time they have, they will sit in a corner and play with their toys.

So, it's almost like they revert to being children again, you know? So, they're acting like adults, working these horrendous hours, and then they revert to being children before they go to sleep. I mean, this is one of the most tragic things that is going on at the moment in business.

HOLMES: All right.

And last thing, a lot of people who are watching this have Gap clothes in their closets. And they shop at the Gap. And we're seeing these pictures of these horrible conditions. And they don't look very clean, but all people see is what they see when they walk in the store, and they get it all the rack and this is nice and lovely, this and that.

And has this happened often, that some of these clothes that people think are really nice and clean, and we see them in the Gap stores, but they're put together in just some, I don't know, little -- dirty little shacks almost? Is this kind of common practice; the places look like this?

MCDOUGALL: This investigation is not about Gap bashing, because Gap have probably the best social responsibility records amongst all the major retailers.

What this is -- it's indicative of a wider problem. All the major retailers in the U.S. and in U.K. and in Europe subcontract and contract in the developing world. And that's where the problems begin.

And there needs to be more auditing. There needs to be more people on the ground. And the social responsibility programs need to be improved. The sweatshops are shocking, but Gap are not the only ones that have been caught, historically. And, in the future, I'm sure other companies will be caught as well.

HOLMES: All right.

Well, Dan McDougall, we appreciate you coming on and sharing these pictures with us. Appreciate you exposing what you saw there.

(CROSSTALK) HOLMES: Again, Dan McDougall, freelance journalist with "The Observer," the paper who has found these pictures and putting this article out, sir, we appreciate your time.

And do want folks to know as well that the Gap, the president has come out and apologized and fired the subcontractor involved in this. So, they have certainly got all over this and are doing their part.

Dan, thanks again.

PHILLIPS: He says he stayed in prison on principle, a newly freed Genarlow Wilson talking freely to CNN, his plans for future -- straight ahead from the CNN NEWSROOM.


PHILLIPS: We continue to follow that explosion out of Des Moines, Iowa, live pictures coming from our affiliate KCCI.

Wow. First time we have been able to get really up close and personal to this explosion that took place at the Barton Solvents, firefighters trying desperately to get a hand on this, nine, possibly 10 departments on the scene, we're told, five-alarm fire.

They make industrial chemicals, like paint thinner, household cleaners, hydraulic oil. Don't know how the explosion happened. Do not know the status of the 150 employees that work at Barton Solvents.

All we can tell you is, there's about 10 fire departments on the scene trying to work this five-alarm fire in Des Moines, Iowa at Barton Solvents.

We're following the information as we get it. And we will keep bringing it to you.


PHILLIPS: Driver's licenses for illegal immigrants in New York, some believe they're a license to law-break. Others think the governor sold them out.

We will have that story straight ahead in the NEWSROOM.


PHILLIPS: We're still following that explosion out of Des Moines, Iowa. KCCI bringing us these live pictures -- our affiliate there out of Des Moines, Iowa.

This is the Barton Solvents plant. They make industrial chemicals like paint thinner, household cleaners. A Five alarm fire. Ten fire departments, we're told, on the scene right now battling this blaze.

Eric Hanson of our affiliate KCCI just filed this report.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) ERIC HANSON, KCCI CORRESPONDENT: This is a fire. There goes another ball of flames. We don't exactly know what's in the building that is on fire, but obviously this is a solvent and a chemical company, so it is something that's very serious. You can see a lot of different trucks and cars. Personal vehicles are now coming out of the property, getting away from the area. These are employees that continue to be pushed back a little bit, because, again we aren't exactly sure -- and we're not exactly sure if the emergency management crews know exactly what is on fire in all of these individual buildings.

As we said, every few minutes, explosion -- ball of fire -- goes up in the air. The thick plumes of smoke continue to go up in the air and then drift their way to the north.

There goes another one right there. You can see the flames inside that thick black smoke and another pillowy puff of black smoke goes into the air.

The good news is this is moving away from the Des Moines metro area, up toward the Northeast Mixmaster. But as you said, "that Northeast Mixmaster is less than a mime away from this fire scene. All of this smoke and stuff goes up into the air and goes past that.

As we said, we still...


PHILLIPS: And just imagine the toxins in the air right now.

Live pictures. KCCI of Des Moines, Iowa.

We're following this explosion at the Barton Solvents. They make industrial chemicals. A five alarm fire. Ten fire departments on the scene battling that. If you want to see more live coverage of this, you can, of course, go to, where it's streaming right now -- T.J. .

HOLMES: Well, no new job for FEMA's former P.R. chief all because of that fake news conference FEMA held last week on the California wildfires. John Pat Philbin was supposed to start today as chief spokesman for the National Intelligence director. Now, we're hearing that is not going to happen. The fake news conference featured FEMA staffers -- not reporters -- lobbing underhand, softball questions at the FEMA folks.

Well, one couple lost everything to the fires in San Diego County, except a hope and a sense of humor. Meet Jim and Carol Wahl of Rancho Bernardo.

Their story now, in their own words.


JIM WAHL: There's some wires over here, so watch that.

CAROL WAHL: Well, Monday night we it on TV. We could see my car sitting in front of the house, but no house behind it.

J. WAHL: When we saw it, I mean we both cried because it was, you know, that was -- everything that we had is just gone in smoke, literally. There's so many neighbors around here, they've lost a lot of things, too. So we wanted to do something that was just going to lighten everybody up and just turn everybody around, if we could.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, it just caught my eye. It caught my attention.

J. WAHL: I'm Jim Wahl (ph).

C. WAHL: I'm Carol Wahl (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was trying to figure out where were they coming from.

J. WAHL: Knock, knock.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They got a big bold sign.

J. AND C. WAHL: Finally, no termites!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was expecting the sign to say "keep out."

J. WAHL: We were try to lighten the neighborhood up. We were trying to inspire people, let them know that this is not the end of the world.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Finally, no termites. Well, you know, it just really shows that some people have a sense of humor in all of this despair.

J. WAHL: Here's -- the living room was is this side and the family room is on that side.

C. WAHL: Yes.

J. WAHL: And the upstairs is downstairs.

C. WAHL: Is right here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At least it's a little humor in the face of something so bad like this.

J. WAHL: We've been battling termites for years. And so finally -- finally all 132 million of them are gone.


HOLMES: In a span of three days, his highest hopes and dreams have gone from leaving prison to getting into college with an eye on helping others.

Here's Genarlow Wilson on Friday -- walking to freedom. Today he's looking a bit further down the road now. He's 21-one-years-old. He served two plus years of a much debated 10-year term for aggravated child molestation. But given the case's notoriety, you probably know by now it was consensual oral sex with a girl who was 15 years old when Wilson himself was 17 years old, at the time.

Our Rick Sanchez has been covering this Wilson case from start to finish. He's airing an interview tonight with Genarlow.

Rick joins us now with a preview live from New York -- Rick, good to see you, as always, my man.

He is out of prison now.

Now, can you imagine?

A lot of people would, after all this, this might be an angry young man at this point.

Is he?

RICK SANCHEZ, HOST, "OUT IN THE OPEN": No, as a matter of fact, he's not. Look, T.J. , I started telling this young man's story about a year-and-a-half ago. And I myself was consumed by the idea that, as you just stated moments ago -- and I think the viewers get it. I think most Americans get it. I mean nobody is saying what he did was right. Nobody is saying that what he did wouldn't be something that would embarrass most people. Certainly it would embarrass me if it was my teenage son involved in something like this.

But is it the state's responsibility to get involved in something like this?

Remember, teen sex -- it's a 17-year-old with a 15-year-old. And, as a result of their act, he's going to get 10 years in prison -- prison, hard time -- with rapists, with murders. And he gets to continue to be a sexual offenders -- essentially a child molester -- for the rest of his life?

It just seems -- it just seems, on its face, like it's not just. It just seems like it's prosecutorial over reaching.

So we did story after story after story, waiting to see if there was someone who would take a look at this thing. And, finally, the Supreme Court in the State of Georgia has taken a look at this.

And, T.J. , they decided this is cruel and unusual punishment for a 17-year-old to be treated like this. And it's interesting, because I talked to Genarlow a lot along the way. You know, I went to visit him in his jail cell. I talked to his attorneys, a lot of the players, some of the people who were against him, as well.

But when I finally asked Genarlow if, in this case, he was bitter about this, he says he wasn't bitter.

When I asked him, look, man, why didn't you take a deal?

Because the prosecutors did come to him, T.J. , and they said look, why don't you go ahead and cop to something, that way you can get out of prison.

And he said no, I wouldn't -- I was not willing to do that on principle -- this is a young man saying this -- because, you know what?

I have a little sister. And if I would have gotten out of prison and had to stipulate that I'm a child molester, I would never even be able to be with her.

Here, let's listen to what he has to say when he talks to me in this interview.


SANCHEZ: You were willing to stay in a maximum security prison with rapists and with murders for principle?

GENARLOW WILSON: Of course, I was.

SANCHEZ: And the principle was?

WILSON: I feel like it was a good cause.

SANCHEZ: You didn't want to be -- you didn't want to be branded?

WILSON: I did not. And I felt like they didn't intend for this to happen to, you know, to people like myself. And, come to find out, we were correct because they changed the law. They just didn't make it retroactive. So we just, you know, we went through the right court procedures and, you know, we got it done.

SANCHEZ: You would have been able to get out and walk as a free man and the only thing is you would have carried with you this label of sexual offender.

WILSON: Exactly. But I might have had lesser time, but then again, I would have nowhere to go, because I would have no home. I wouldn't be able to stay with my mother because I have a little sister. You know, when you're a sex offender, you can't be around kids. Basically that's like I can't even have kids myself, you know?

So what is the point of life?


SANCHEZ: You know, it's interesting, because when you listen to him, that's very forward thinking. I think many others -- many of us, perhaps, in that same predicament would say just get me out of prison. Get me -- I mean get me a get out of jail free card. I don't care what I have to stipulate to.

But he was forward thinking enough to say, no. I'm not willing to go out under those conditions and I'm willing to wait to see if the Supreme Court of the State of Georgia is willing to see it my way. And, in this case, 4-3, T.J. , they did.

HOLMES: Rick, does he want at all to get involved in the politics of this whole fight?

Does he want to at all be some kind of a public face and go out there and talk to other young men?

Or does he just want to be left alone and go, really, start his life?

SANCHEZ: Well, there's a two part question to that.

Does he want to be a public face?

No. This guy is -- he's an unassuming guy. He's got a quiet nature about him. He doesn't really want to even want to be in front of the cameras. I think he's a little uncomfortable doing so. He does want to go back to college. He wants to study sociology. I think he's learned an awful lot from this experience. I've seen him change in the time that I've known his story and interviewed him.

Does he want to help others?


I asked him point blank, I said, did you know as a 17-year-old, by receiving oral sex from a 15-year-old, you could be tried as an adult and you could go through all this rigmarole?

He said, I never knew that.

I said did any of your friends ever know that?

He goes, no, of course, not.

So, you know, his frustration is that there's laws on the books that many of the people his age and many kids in high school today don't know about. And he says he's going to use his situation to try and get others to learn those laws, as well, so that they can protect themselves so they don't have to go through what he went through.

HOLMES: Well, we are looking forward to finally, finally hearing from him. And we know you'll have that tonight.

We'll be watching.

Rick Sanchez, always good to see you.

Thanks so much.

SANCHEZ: Thanks, man.

HOLMES: And, folks, we want to let you know, you can see that entire interview with Genarlow Wilson. That's on "OUT IN THE OPEN". That airs at 8:00 Eastern, 5:00 Pacific, right here on CNN.

PHILLIPS: Driver's licenses for illegal immigrants in New York -- some believe that they are a license to law break. Others think the governor just sold them out. We'll have that story straight ahead in THE NEWSROOM.


HOLMES: Police in Minnesota say an online job offer may have led to a murder. They're investigating the death of a young woman who apparently answered an ad for a nanny. The job was posted on the popular Internet bulletin board, Craigslist. Investigators say Katherine Olson's friends law saw her on Thursday, when she went to meet someone about the ad. The next day, her body was found in the trunk of her car. Police have arrested a 19-year-old suspect. Formal charges expected tomorrow.


NANCY OLSON, VICTIM'S MOTHER: She found things online and we would wring our hands and say have you checked these people out?

SARAH RICHTER, VICTIM'S SISTER: It seemed kind of fishy, but she was just going to check it out and meet them.

ROLF OLSON, VICTIM'S FATHER: If it didn't work, she assumed that she would be able to turn around and leave and come home. And it didn't work out that way.


HOLMES: No word right now on how Wilson was killed. KARE-TV talked with the founder of Craigslist. That's Craig Newmark. He said he thinks Olson's death is the first ever linked to his site in its 12 years online.

PHILLIPS: It's a different kind of identity theft than we're used to. Authorities in Texas are on the lookout for a man David Sauceda. That murder suspect -- an alleged Mexican mafia member -- walked out of jail early yesterday after he recited the information of his cell mate, who was being released on bond. Sauceda is considered armed and dangerous and the Bexar County sheriff is considered pretty ticked off.


SHERIFF ROLAND TAFOLLA, BEXAR COUNTY, TEXAS: There were several errors made here by our personnel, which we, of course, are looking into and we will correct. There will be some disciplinary action. What it will be at this point, I can't say.


PHILLIPS: Sauceda had a six hour head start before authorities even realized that he had escaped. The Bexar County judge calls the whole thing a big time screw-up.

HOLMES: Their jobs are to fight fires, not to start fires. Well, the firefighters are in trouble now -- charged with arson. This is in New York City. Two firefighters accused of starting at another firehouse. One investigator calls it a prank gone bad. The city's fire commissioner not laughing at all. He calls it, "an outrageous, depraved act" and says the two should be fired if they're convicted. Right now, the firefighters are suspended without pay.

PHILLIPS: It's as complicated as it is controversial -- a plan to let illegal immigrants in New York State get driver's license -- sort of. But it won't be soon and it's not sitting well -- even with the people that it's supposed to help.

CNN's Jason Carroll takes a look.


JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was a controversial plan, created by New York's governor, Elliot Spitzer. He said illegal immigrants in his state should get driver's licenses. Immigrant groups liked the idea. The Department of Homeland Security did not -- calling it a security risk.

Now, a compromise for all licensed drivers in New York, whether illegal or not.

GOV. ELLIOT SPITZER (D), NEW YORK: In sum, this will be the most secure licensing system in the country.

CARROLL: Spitzer and DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff announced there will be three driver's licenses in New York. One will be for illegal immigrants. It requires they prove their state residence, it cannot be used to board planes or cross borders and it will be marked "not for U.S. government purposes."

The second license is for U.S. citizens and will be similar to the existing one, except it will be harder to forge, since it takes advantage of a DHS security program called Real I.D.

The third license will be available only to us citizens who live in Upstate New York and will allow them to cross the Canadian border without a passport.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do we want one single license for all New Yorkers?


Do we want three different complicated driver's license?


CARROLL: Immigrant rights groups say Spitzer betrayed them and say asking illegal immigrants to prove state residency in order to get a license will discourage many from applying.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Today New Yorkers are outraged at you're flip- flopping and New Yorkers are ashamed to have someone like you as our governor!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's time for us to stand up for sanity. New York has accepted our labor. It is time to recognize our humanity.

CARROLL: Those on the other side of the immigration debate aren't satisfied either.

JAMES CARAFANO, HERITAGE FOUNDATION: And I'm not sure what New York is doing, quite frankly. I'm not sure what the governor has intended. But to actually come out to try to say we need to craft a way to incentivize people to live illegally in the United States, that just doesn't pass the common sense test.

CARROLL (on camera): The debate is not over, but those licenses are coming anyway -- expected in New York sometime late next year.

Jason Carroll, CNN, New York.


HOLMES: Pulling a prank on the news anchors -- it's a Halloween prank. It's all in good spirit, good fun, though.

Check it out.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good morning at News 10 (INAUDIBLE)



HOLMES: That's entirely too early in the morning to be messing with folks like this. Keep it here. We'll tell you what happened.


PHILLIPS: Live pictures once again out of Des Moines, Iowa. These pictures coming to us from our affiliate KCCI out of Des Moines. This is an explosion at Barton Solvents. They make industrial chemicals. A five alarm fire. Ten departments on the scene. We're not quite sure about the status of the employees. A hundred and fifty employees work there. We do know that I-80 and I-35 east and westbound have been closed down. No evacuations, we're told, in that area. It's mostly an industrial area. We're trying to find out what the status is of those employees as we follow the firefighters battling those flames in Des Moines, Iowa at Barton Solvents.

We're working it for you. We'll bring you more information if we get it.

HOLMES: A U.S. Navy warship is in Somali waters in hot pursuit of a merchant ship hijacked by pirates. Somali's government approved the incursion after the merchant ship sent out an SOS last night. Complicating matters here, the hijacked boat is carrying the chemical benzene, which is highly flammable. Piracy a major problem in these waters. More than two dozen ships have been attacked this year. PHILLIPS: The Space Shuttle Discovery may stay in space an extra day. Space station managers want to get a closer look at a rotary joint on the new solar panels. This happened after astronaut Dan Tani found metal shavings inside that joint, which controls the solar panel wings on the right side of the Space Station.

He talked about it just a few moments ago.


DAN TANI, STATION FLIGHT ENGINEER: Since this type of problem is relatively new to us -- we had only heard about it a few days before launch -- and the task itself was only given to us about a day before the EVA, I have not had the chance to see a sarge (ph) in a pristine condition. So I wasn't positive what to expect when I opened it up. I've seen a lot of machinery before, but not this exact sarge (ph).

So when I opened the panel, it was quite obvious to me that it was not what you would think of as typical space hardware. It was not shiny, clean everywhere. There was dust debris that I noticed and it was quite evident. So I was quite sure that there was something anomalous with the mechanism.

From what I saw, it was an area of -- I hesitate to call it damage, because I don't want to give it my opinion -- but discoloration and an area that did not look exactly right.


PHILLIPS: Well, NASA is trying not to move the joint too much to prevent any permanent damage. The Space Station carries spare parts for the joint just in case. You can go to if you want more on the Space Shuttle; also that explosion in Des Moines, Iowa.

HOLMES: Did you understand all that about the shuttle?

PHILLIPS: Absolutely not.

HOLMES: I was trying to follow him. OK.

PHILLIPS: I was trying to make sense.

Miles O'Brien has been working very hard to educate me on the details of the space joints.


PHILLIPS: I'm trying.

HOLMES: All right. A pretty good job.

PHILLIPS: All right.

HOLMES: I'm sorry.

PHILLIPS: I'll bet Wolf knows all about it. HOLMES: Wolf knows all about it.

PHILLIPS: He knows everything.

WOLF BLITZER, HOST, "THE SITUATION ROOM": I want Kyra to be a journalist up in that space shuttle.

Kyra, are you ready to go?

PHILLIPS: I'm always ready to go, you know that, Wolf.

BLITZER: I know you. I know you are. Kyra has no fear whatsoever, guys.

Coming up at the top of the hour, Mitt Romney on a roll in two places that matter most -- New Hampshire and Iowa. Coming up, we have a new poll -- some new poll numbers.

What's behind his most recent success?

President Ford told him write it when I'm gone. Now, reporter Tom DeFrank is making his secret conversations public. Coming up, what President Ford thought about Bill Clinton, Rudy Giuliani and why he thought Dick Cheney should have been dumped as the vice presidential nominee.

Controversy in Barack Obama's run for the White House. Gay rights advocates are angry about a campaign concert over the weekend. You're going to see why.

Those stories and a lot more coming up in "THE SITUATION ROOM" -- back to you.

PHILLIPS: Thanks, wolf.

HOLMES: Well, the closing bell and a wrap of the action on Wall Street, straight ahead.


PHILLIPS: Hopefully this is not going to happen to us here at CNN. Some producers at a Sacramento TV station thought they'd get into the Halloween spirit by giving their anchors a bit of a scare live on the air.

Take a look.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good morning at News 10 (INAUDIBLE).



(END VIDEO CLIP) PHILLIPS: I love how the one on the end just kind of takes off.

HOLMES: She -- she runs, slo-mo.

PHILLIPS: Yes, she leaves the other anchors just hanging there. She's like I'm out of here. The ghouls actually work for a local haunted house, believe it or not. And it appears they do a pretty good job of scaring the H.E. (ph) double hockey sticks right out of -- right out of people.

HOLMES: The other girl ducks under the desk.

PHILLIPS: Classic.

HOLMES: Come on, people.

PHILLIPS: I never did well with those haunted houses.

How about you -- Susan Lisovicz?

SUSAN LISOVICZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I don't think, you know, I don't think any of us scare that easily.


LISOVICZ: I don't know why that is, what that means, really, but I just don't think we'd have the same reaction.

HOLMES: We've seen a lot. We've been through a lot.

LISOVICZ: Road tested?

HOLMES: Kyra, they're going to have to do a lot more to you than throw some ghoul in this newsroom to scare Kyra Phillips.

PHILLIPS: Don't you know?

HOLMES: Come on.

PHILLIPS: The next thing you know, I'll bet pulling out all the weapons.

LISOVICZ: Hey listen...



LISOVICZ: Hey, you know, you guys, you know what was really frightful was what happened in Denver over the weekend for Rockies fans.

HOLMES: Oh, yes.

LISOVICZ: The Boston Red Sox sweeping the Rockies to win the World Series for the second time since '04. And now, one Red Sox player will appear on a special commemorative box of Wheaties.

Can you guess which one?

HOLMES: Let's go with "Big Papi".

LISOVICZ: It's Josh Beckett.


LISOVICZ: No. He's already been there.