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Nine Dead, Including Shooter, in Troubled Teen's Rampage; Help for Homeowners

Aired December 06, 2007 - 14:00   ET


DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: He lost his job, lost his girl, and couldn't get into the Army, but that's just part of Robert Hawkins' horror story, horrors now shared by his victims in Omaha, Nebraska.
Violent crime and mental illness in the CNN NEWSROOM this hour

KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: How much do you know about Mormonism? Would it sway your vote for president? As a Mormon candidate bares his soul. We look deeper at faith ant faith in general in 21st century politics.

Hello, everyone. I'm Kyra Phillips at the CNN world headquarters in Atlanta

LEMON: And I'm Don Lemon.

You're in the CNN NEWSROOM.

He said he'd be famous, and today his name is on TV, but Robert Hawkins is not really famous. He's infamous as a young man who killed eight people at a shopping mall in Nebraska and then died himself.

CNN's Sean Callebs is outside the Westroads Mall in Omaha -- Sean.

SEAN CALLEBS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Don, we're hearing from his landlady that she describes him as basically a forlorn puppy that no one seemed to want. The mayor of Omaha said he's a coward.

We are getting a much more clear picture of Robert Hawkins, and he's clearly, even though he's 19 years old, someone who struggled with mental illness for some time. We know he had been treated for depression. He was taking medication. And also, during this holiday time, apparently his girlfriend had just dumped him and he just got fired from his job from McDonald's.


CALLEBS (voice over): Horror in a middle America mall as a teenager armed with an SKS assault rifle gunned down holiday shoppers in a tight-knit community

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yesterday our community suffered one of the most horrific tragedies ever to occur in the state of Nebraska. Today we are still reeling from the events that few could have ever imagined would take place here in Omaha

CALLEBS: Police believe the shooter, 19-year-old Robert Hawkins, acted alone. They also believe the attack was planned in advance because of a suicide note he allegedly left for family and friends.

Debora Kovac took the troubled teen into her home more than a year ago. She was the first to read his letter.

DEBORA KOVAC, LANDLORD: He just said how sorry he was for everything. He didn't want to be a burden to people, and he was a piece of (EXPLETIVE DELETED) all his life and now he'll be famous.

CALLEBS: Police spent much of the night searching Kovac's home and the home of Hawkin's mother, where boxes and rifles were removed.

A friend of the shooter says he knew Hawkins was a hunter but never thought he was capable of carnage like this

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Robbie (ph) I knew, you know, is a lot like me. And I just never thought he'd do something like that. He was the one guy, you know, if people were getting into a fight he would be wanting to try to break it up.


CALLEBS: And police say they also believe that Hawkins stole the assault rifle from his stepfather.

We have a much better picture of a timeline, exactly how events played out here yesterday. Authorities say that Hawkins apparently went into the Von Maur department store for just a few minutes, left, and when he came back in he was hiding something under a hooded sweatshirt.

He got on an elevator on the second floor, went to the third floor, and as soon as the elevator doors opened, Don, police say he started firing, killing a number of employees, as well as holiday shoppers

LEMON: All right. Sean Callebs.

Sean, thank you.

PHILLIPS: And just to update you on a developing story out of Charlotte, North Carolina, these are pictures coming to us from our affiliate, WSOC. This is a bridge -- or a parking deck collapse that took place this morning at SouthPark Mall. It's a shopping mall there in downtown Charlotte, North Carolina. One person reported dead at this time.

We had a chance to talk to the Charlotte Fire Department captain, Rob Brisley (ph). When we had talked to him about 20 minutes ago they had not made contact with the deceased yet. But you can see one car here up top, two on the bottom. And apparently the vehicle had collided with the garage. That's how that individual was killed, not necessarily from the collapse. Still trying to figure out what exactly that means. They're hammering out the specifics, but -- and still don't know, too, how this happened, what exactly took place within the structure. But we're working on those details for you. We'll bring you more as we get it

LEMON: And we're also getting more information now on another parking garage collapse. This one coming to us from Jacksonville, Florida.

If you're looking right there, this one was still under construction. People there, witnesses, say they heard a crack and then it just crumbled, a construction worker -- a construction worker describes the collapse of this unfinished parking garage by saying that.

Here's the very latest. We're hearing that 13 people, 13 workers were taken to the hospital. Two of them are still in very serious condition. Another one is believed to be missing, and what they are saying about him is that they are not exactly sure if the worker was trapped or escaped after the collapse.

It happened about 6:00 a.m. this morning. Thirteen people taken to the hospital, two were in serious condition. Ten people in good condition and one in fair condition. And some of those in good condition have left the hospital.

But this garage happening Jacksonville, Florida. We're on top of it.

PHILLIPS: White House hopeful Mitt Romney says he's a man of faith. What he's not, he says, is a spokesman for his Mormon beliefs. As you may have heard live here on CNN, Romney told an audience in Texas the Mormon Church would never dictate his decisions as president.


MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Let me assure you that no authorities of my church, or of any other church, for that matter, will ever exert influence on presidential decisions. Their authority is theirs within the province of church affairs, and it ends where the affairs of the nation begin.

As governor, I tried to do right as best I knew it, serving the law and answer to the Constitution. I did not confuse the particular teachings of my church with the obligations of the office and of the Constitution. And, of course, I would not do so as president.


PHILLIPS: A Recent CNN/Opinion Research poll found 19 percent of Americans said they are less likely to vote for a Mormon for president. Seventy-seven percent said it just wouldn't matter.

Later this hour we're going to take a closer look at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with the author of the book "Mormon America."

LEMON: Help is on the way for some homeowners. The White House has brokered a deal with the mortgage industry that could provide some breathing room for thousands of homeowners who face rising mortgages in the coming months. The president says the plan is not a perfect solution and is not a bailout.

Here's how he views the various ways he says a homeowner can be helped.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Hope (ph) now is an example of government bringing together members of the private sector to voluntarily address a national challenge without taxpayer subsidies or without government mandates. I'm pleased to announce that our efforts have yielded a promising new source of relief for American homeowners


LEMON: And the president also urged homeowners in trouble to call a new hotline. Here's the toll-free number for you: 1-888-995- HOPE.

Gerri Willis -- Gerri's our personal finance editor.

And you've been following the spike in foreclosures for months now


LEMON: How is this plan going to help, Gerri?

WILLIS: Well, Don, the centerpiece of this plan is freezing the rate for some subprime mortgage holders for five years. That's the heart of the plan. This would give people breathing room if they were having trouble with a new adjusted mortgage rate which will be necessarily higher, maybe doubling their payments.

Now, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson just spoke publicly, describing some of the details of this plan. It will fast-track some borrowers to new mortgages. As many as 1.2 million borrowers will be eligible for consideration for new mortgages. That doesn't mean they're going to get them, but they will be eligible for consideration.

An important thing to consider now, this is a voluntary move by the industry. Nobody is holding their feet to the fire here. The treasury secretary making it clear that they are hopeful that most servicers, most lenders will be involved in this, but, you know, they can't force them to do it. Interesting, he says there's going to be a monthly report describing the success they're having in the marketplace getting these new mortgages to people -- Don.

LEMON: And you know what, Gerri? I think I know the answer to this next question. I'm not sure though, but considering how much you've been covering it, this is clearly not a fix-all for the mortgage crisis, is it?

WILLIS: Well, no. And, you know, a lot of experts out there expect that this will help a small number, a small proportion of the people with subprime mortgages out there.

They say tens of thousands of people might be helped. Remember, we had 1.7 million people go into foreclosure this year, another two million are expected to go possibly next year as they face resets on subprime mortgages. So, at the end of the day, it could be a small group of people who actually get new mortgages under this program.


WILLIS: Now, you may be wondering who qualifies for this.

LEMON: Right. Right.

WILLIS: You know, here is the group of people who could get help under this program. If you have a subprime mortgage with a resetting rate higher, you're current on your payments now, you've been doing well so far, but you can't afford the mortgage reset, the payment reset. If you have no other financing options, you could get some help here.

But look, if you couldn't afford the mortgage in the first place, or if you have enough money that you can afford the mortgage reset, you're not part of this group that's going to get help. Or, if you've already gone into foreclosure you won't get help either.

Now, I don't want to dissuade people from calling the phone number or from calling their lenders directly to ask for help. You should absolutely do that. Call the HOPE line, ask for help. Talk to your lender directly or your servicer, because now is the time to start making requests.

You know, there's a lot of concern out there that possibly, you know, there could be lawsuits in the wake of this. It sorts of opens a Pandora's box. The treasury secretary expressed a lot of confidence that that will be manageable and that this program can come off successfully

LEMON: Yes. And also, the president, you know, expressing the same thing, a lot of confidence in the economy, saying that it's resilient enough to get through this.

But not everybody is happy about this plan, right, Gerri?

WILLIS: You know, there's complaints, criticisms from the left and the right. There are folks that say it's a bailout, it shouldn't be done. Of course, the president, the treasury secretary saying there won't be public dollars going to this.

And then people also saying that not enough is being done, that so many people are being hurt that they need more help than is being offered right now. So you can't win for losing on this topic. Lots of criticism and lots of suggestions out there.

What we have right now is a patchwork of solutions.

LEMON: Yes. And that was just a sort of concise edition, Gerri, of all of this.

And Gerri, thank you very much

WILLIS: My pleasure.

LEMON: And if you want to know more about this, Gerri will have a special "Mortgage Meltdown" edition to "OPEN HOUSE." That will be this weekend. That's Saturday morning at 9:30 Eastern, as well as Saturday and Sunday afternoons at 3:30 Eastern, right here on CNN.

PHILLIPS: A Midwestern city is in shock after a holiday tragedy at a shopping mall. What was the gunman thinking? We're going to ask an expert.

LEMON: Republican Mitt Romney discusses his Mormon beliefs. We'll take a closer look at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with the author of the book "Mormon America."

PHILLIPS: And advertising seems to be everywhere these days, but you won't believe where ads for McDonald's are turning up now.

You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.



LEMON: I think it's probably safe to say that anyone who kills eight people in a mall, then commits suicide, it's not a mentally balanced person. But could anything have been done to stop Robert Hawkins before he snapped?

Joining me now is Pete Earley. He's a journalist and he's an author with a strong personal interest in what he calls America's mental health madness. Pete Earley joins us now.

And welcome.

Tell us why you are -- it's a very interesting story -- really qualified to give us some perspective on this, Mr. Earley

PETE EARLEY, JOURNALIST, AUTHOR: Well, I'm a parent of a son with a severe mental illness and I tried to get him help. He was in New York, he became psychotic. He wandered around Manhattan for five days without sleeping. He was convinced God had him on a special mission.

I raced there, I got him, I picked him up, I ran him home to Virginia where I live. I took him to a hospital. He had been threatening to kill himself, and I was told he wasn't sick enough

LEMON: Yes. How old was your son?

EARLEY: Twenty-two at the time.

LEMON: So how did -- and what do you do in that instance? Because he's a grown man with his own rights and privileges.

EARLEY: That's right.

LEMON: How do you do -- what do you do in that instance? Are the laws in place for that?

EARLEY: I was told that I had to wait until he either tried to kill me or hurt someone like himself. And that's part of the problem, is we have laws that were set up to protect civil rights which are good, but waiting until a person become dangerous is just foolhardy. We should look at other things besides dangerousness.

You know, my son has a history mental illness. He's been hospitalized four times. Why should I have to wait when he's sitting in front of a TV with tinfoil around his head hearing voices? Why should I have to wait until he hurts someone before I can get him help and care?

And, you know, the Virginia gunman who killed 33 people, including himself at Virginia Tech, fell through a crack in the system, even when they recognized that he had a serious mental illness. And we'll have to wait and see if that's what happened in this case, too

LEMON: We also want to talk to -- Eisenberg as well, the person who went into Hillary Clinton's campaign headquarters in New Hampshire and took people hostage there. Admittedly, he said that he had mental problems, and tried to get help but couldn't afford it. And also, when you look at this gunman yesterday, the same sort of situation. Everyone saw it

EARLEY: You know, in my home state of Virginia there are 1,400 people right now who are waiting for mental health care. And a report just came out that said 475 people, 475 people, who are going to be in crisis, who meet the imminent danger criteria, will be turned out on the streets because we can't get them into services.

I live in one of the wealthiest counties in the United States, Fairfax County. There's a two-week wait to get any kind of help if you call up in crisis. And that's our situation.

The New Freedom Commission which President Bush commissioned to look at mental health care called our system in shambles, and yet we spend $71 billion on mental healthcare. We need to get better services for that kind of money

LEMON: Do eight people, do you think, obviously have to die before something is done about this?

EARLEY: It's going to -- you know, look, with 33 dead at Virginia Tech, last week could have ended in a tragedy with the man at the Clinton headquarters, this. And I can tell you, next week there will be another story. The Treatment Advocacy Center claims three people a week are killed because of someone with untreated mental illness.

LEMON: And when you hear something like this, when you hear about what happened last week and then you hear about the mall situation, does it bring it all back, right back to you?

EARLEY: As a parent you are terrified. You know, the last time my son got sick I called the police, and they ended up tasering him. Do you know what that does to a father to see your son get tasered? And yet, I couldn't get him any kind of help. That was my last resort.

That's wrong

LEMON: Pete Earley, we appreciate you joining us here in the CNN NEWSROOM and adding some personal perspective to this story.

EARLEY: Thank you.




LEMON: Take a look at this. This is very serious. If you think this looks like a man who has hanged himself, you are not alone. Police in Grand Rapids, Michigan, got a bunch of phone calls from distressed passersby, but as Sarah Sell of CNN affiliate WZZM reports, things aren't always what they seem.


SARAH SELL, REPORTER, WZZM (voice over): As it dangled from the roof of the trade center building, passersby pointed and stared. They didn't know what to think. Some of them thought it was a suicide and called 911, and emergency crews responded to the scene. They soon realized that it was just a sculpture

ZORA CARRIER, ART GALLERY DIRECTOR: This whole folder is about the sculpture and, you know, we did follow the procedure.

SELL: Zora Carrier is the director of the art gallery displaying the sculpture called "Man Hanging Out." She says they notified several people about their plans.

CARRIER: Well, we did send e-mails outside with a press release and we did notify press, and we did notify -- we did notify police as well.

SELL: The gallery also received approval from the city commission and the historical commission. A Czech sculpture created the contemporary art piece, and it has already been displayed on buildings in Chicago and London UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They have to have a sign down on the street level before you look up.


SELL: The figure is a life-sized sculpture of psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud. He's holding on to a 10-foot pole with one hand. The art gallery says it's supposed to send a message of hope.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's hanging in there, so I guess the message is very positive and give us -- make us stronger, give us hope and give us the power to go on with our everyday struggle.

SELL: The sculpture will continue to draw attention. As one person looks up, others seem to follow. The bronze man will hang out high above the city until spring.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's kind of weird. I think it's cool, though. I mean, and it's kind of creating a lot of hype, so that's always good.


LEMON: That was Sarah Sell from our affiliate WZZM reporting there. And as Sarah did in her report, perhaps we should paraphrase a statement popularly attributed to Sigmund Freud -- sometimes a sculpture is just a sculpture.

PHILLIPS: Well, he says he wants to be president, not a spokesman for his faith. Hear what Mitt Romney has to say about politics and religion in America.


PHILLIPS: Hello, everyone. I'm Kyra Phillips live at the CNN World Headquarters in Atlanta

LEMON: And I'm Don Lemon. You're in the CNN NEWSROOM.

PHILLIPS: Mitt Romney says he's a man of faith, but he also says his Mormon beliefs shouldn't be the reason Americans vote for him, or against him. In a speech that you may have heard live today on CNN, Romney tried to explain his views on religion in American life. He assured his audience that his first duty as president would be to serve all the American people.


MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: As governor I tried to do the right as best I knew it, serving the law and answering to the Constitution. I did not confuse the particular teachings of my church with the obligations of the office and of the Constitution. And, of course, I would not do so as president. I will put no doctrine of any church above the plain duties of the office and the sovereign authority law.


Romney's decision to open up has a lot of people comparing him to the then candidate John F. Kennedy, a Catholic, who delivered a groundbreaking speech in the final months of the 1960 campaign.


JOHN F. KENNEDY, FMR. PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I do not speak for my church on public matters, and the church does not speak for me. Whatever issue that may come before me as president, if I should be elected on birth control, divorce, censorship, gambling or any other subject, I will make my decision in accordance with these views, in accordance with what my conscience tells me to be in the national interest, and without regard to outside religious pressure or dictates.


PHILLIPS: Let's talk more about Kennedy then, Romney now, and the comparisons between the two. Richard Osling joins me now, from New York, the co-author of the book, "Mormon America."

Dick, great to see you. I have to tell you, you listen to the two speeches and you think, OK, Romney's speech writers definitely read the JFK speech.

RICHARD OSLING, AUTHOR, "MORMON AMERICA": Oh, I've got to believe so. That was an historic moment. Indeed, I think today was also an historic moment for Mormons.

PHILLIPS: Tell me why. Why do you think the speech was so successful? And is it due to the success of the JFK speech, and the fact that it's pretty obvious they were sort of melded together here?

OSLING: It's interesting. Romney had a trickier job than Kennedy in one respect and that is today Republican voters want to hear from the candidate that faith is important to me, that I'm trying to express my values in public office. Today we hear a separation of church and state. The Romney doctrine today is separation of theology and values. He's saying on the one hand we may have different theologies, different doctrines, and so on, but we agree on essential American values. And all religions can unite behind that.

You may say he left out secularists and the agnostics but that's his view. And the quote that you ran, and also the one at the top of the hour, make this very important point. I'm not going to take orders from Salt Lake City. When I put my hand on the Bible and take my oath, I'm defending the Constitution of the United States and that's my duty. And he said it's a religious duty before God.

PHILLIPS: Let me ask you the fact that Romney is definitely a player in this election, does that tell us that Mormonism is becoming more of an accepted part of American life?

OSLING: Oh, yes. I think that's why today was so important for the Mormon people. Historically the church has been very vigorously persecuted, back in the 19th century. And today they are becoming more normalized in the normal run of American life. For instance, Harry Reid the Senate majority leader, with very different views on politics of Mitt Romney is a devout Mormon, as well. He doesn't get as much attention as Mitt Romney.

PHILLIPS: Let me ask you about what Mitt Romney is not saying because he's been asked are you a Christian? And he says yes, I'm a Christian, Jesus Christ is our Savior. But at the same time don't Mormons say but it's our Christianity that's the correct Christianity. And he's not going to go there, right?

OSLING: Right. Just to underscore the point, and my own personal view, somebody's theology does not qualify or disqualify them from being president. And that's the operative point, but yes, there's no doubt that Mormons view Protestants, Catholics, Eastern Orthodox as misguided on a number of doctrinal things, and the other side returns the compliment. They say Mormons are not fully Christian as we understand it in terms of our own religious tradition.

PHILLIPS: All right. Let's take a listen to part of Romney's speech where he's downplaying the differences between Mormons and other Christians.



ROMNEY: Perhaps the most important question to ask a person of faith, who seeks a political office, is this: Does he share these American values, the equality of humankind, the obligation to serve one another, and a steadfast commitment to liberty? They are not unique to any one denomination. They belong to the great moral inheritance we hold in common, they are the firm ground on which Americans of different faiths meet and stand as a nation united.


PHILLIPS: But Dick, there really are a lot of differences between the Mormon religion and other Christian faiths.

OSLING: Yes, absolutely. And notice what he's doing there is what I was referring to. He's saying OK, we have different doctrines, but we can unite behind these cultural, American moral values. That's the case he's trying to make and I think he made it quite successfully, but there's no argument that there are a lot of differences between the Mormon Church and the Protestant, Catholic, Eastern Orthodox Christians.

PHILLIPS: And you can't forget the controversially that surrounds the Mormon religion as well. A lot of people think it's a cult, look at life of Joseph Smith, his background, and say this man was corrupt and he was killed by a mob. He was involved in all kinds of horrible activities. Polygamy was once accepted. Black men were not allowed to be priests in this church. Is that even playing a role here? OSLING: Well, I think all those things lurk. For instance, the sectarian groups that have broken from Mitt Romney's main Mormon Church and practice polygamy to this day continues to be in the newspapers, and it might confuse some people.

You mentioned the black issue. I personally believe that when George Romney was running for president, there was a real religious question because black Mormons were not allowed to have full lay membership the way other male Mormons, who had entered the priesthood. That is seems to me is a very question that would have afflicted George Romney if he had continued his run for president. But that's 30 years ago. That is ancient history. Mitt Romney is living a different era.

PHILLIPS: Interesting to talk about it and monitor. Co-author of the book "Mormon America", Richard Osling, always good to see you and talk to you.

OSLING: Glad to be here.

PHILLIPS: Want the most up-to-the-minute political news available anywhere? Go to It's your one-stop shop. America's premiere destination for political news.

LEMON: Planned, but random. Police in Nebraska say Robert Hawkins was bent on killing at Westroads Mall but had no specific victims in mind, except for himself.


CHIEF THOMAS WARREN, NEBRASKA POLICE DEPT.: It appeared that the shooting victims were randomly selected. It didn't appear as if anyone was specifically targeted. There are several people who fled immediately once the shots were being fired. Unfortunately, many of the store employees kind of remained in the area, and as he proceeded to the rear of the store that's where he encountered individuals by the customer service area.


LEMON: The whole deadly rampage that ended with the gunman's suicide lasted only a matter of minutes, but when it was over eight people, including six store employees were dead. Police released their names today, five women and three men. They ranged in age from 24 to 66. Five other people were hurt in yesterday's rampage.

We're expecting a news conference with health officials in the next hour of the NEWSROOM. We'll bring that to you live from Omaha. That will happen at the top of the hour.

One minute they were holiday shopping and the next minute they were running for their lives. These people are afraid and rightly so. A man walked into their mall and started shooting, but short of airport-like security measures can malls and the other large public places be made relatively safe? One expert says definitely.


LOU PALUMBO, DIRECTOR, ELITE SECURITY: The other issue is not just having armed personnel who have law enforcement backgrounds but to know how to position them to minimize the exposure to the shoppers. And do you that by posting up what we call points of ingress and egress. You start to observe the people coming into the mall area. To let them in your door and then try figure out what they are doing, you know, it's not as effective as catching them as they are coming in the door.

And a lot of these people -- this young man came in with what they call and SKS assault rifle, which is made in Russia and some of the Eastern European bloc countries. And I just want to know how he got in there without anybody seeing the thing, first of all. But a trained professional probably would have picked something up here. If we had a dozen points of ingress in the shopping mall, which is a lot, if you staff them with the right personnel and then have them layered with additional personnel, you can probably put this problem to -- not completely to rest, but you'll reduce the propensity to come to these areas and carry out these acts dramatically.

The mall shooter, 19-year-old Robert Hawkins, killed himself after shooting 12 people. It is not known whether he talked to anyone or was approached by anyone in that mall.

PHILLIPS: Could this be the picture that sinks the so-called canoe man's story? We'll have the latest.


LEMON: A bomb went off today at a law office in Paris. A woman had opened a package that had just been delivered by courier was killed when it exploded. A lawyer standing nearby was badly hurt. It's not clear whom the bomb was meant for. The building also houses a former legal firm of French President Nicolas Sarkozy and a foundation that does research on the holocaust.

PHILLIPS: England's so-called canoe man may be up the creek without a paddle and his wife, too. Their story began unraveling with this picture and their sons now say they are devastating. CNN's Paula Hancocks ties it all together for us.


PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): This is the picture that has changed the course of an entire investigation. John and Ann Darwin appear to have been photographed in Panama last year at a time when John was thought to be dead and his wife was thought to be grieving

Their two sons say on Thursday they fear they have been victims of a huge scam by their own parents. British tabloids claim Ann confessed to knowing her husband was alive when confronted with the picture in Panama City. Her sons say they knew nothing.

A statement of anger and confusion from Anthony Darwin talking of the emotional roller coaster he and his brother have been through. From the height of elation of finding him to be alive, to the depth of despair at the recent stories of fraud and these latest pictures.

John Darwin was thought to have died at sea in March 2002 until he turned up at a London police station Saturday claiming amnesia. The sons say, "We have not spoken to either of our parents since our dad's arrest and at this present time we want to no further contact with them."

The police now need to piece together what happened over the past five and a half years. Where was John Darwin? And did he have amnesia as he claims? Or was it an elaborate ploy to fraudulently claim his own life insurance?

(On camera): John Darwin has been declared medically fit for questioning, and that questioning started Thursday afternoon at this police station. As for Ann Darwin, she has reportedly said she will return to Britain. If not, the police have the time-consuming option of seeking her extradition from Panama if they see fit. Paula Hancocks, CNN, Redcar, Northern England.



Nominations for 50th Annual Grammy Awards were just announced today. Did your favorite artist top the list? I'll have that plus a few surprises straight ahead in the NEWSROOM.


LEMON: You know, just weeks after his mother's death rapper Kanye West leads the pack of Grammy contenders with eight nominations. CNN's Kareen Wynter joins us now live from Los Angeles with more.

Pulling for him, but you know what my favorite album of the year is Amy Winehouse. I love that.

WYNTER: Oh, gosh.

LEMON: She's doing some crazy stuff right now, but really love that album. She very talented.

WYNTER: She's fantastic. And you know -- you know, Don, despite her personal problems, it didn't really affect at all the nominations this morning. She fared quite well. Other artist, Jay Z, the Foo Fighters and Justin Timberlake, they walked away with about a handful of nominations each, but the morning, again, belonged to these next two artists.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Kanye West for "Graduation".

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And Amy Winehouse for "Rehab." WYNTER: The 50th Annual Grammy nominations brought welcome news to a pair of artists who could use it the most. Rapper Kanye West earned a leading eight nominations including album of the year for his CD "Graduation." The word came less than a month after his mother, Donda, died following a plastic surgery procedure.

Amy Winehouse's personal problems didn't keep her from being nominated for her best album for her debut disc, "Back to Black." The British retro soul singer who recently cancel concerts under doctor's orders also earned nominations for best new artist. And in the coveted song of the year, and record of the year category.

Comedian George Lopez who helped make the nomination announcement alluded to her travails.

GEORGE LOPEZ, COMEDIAN: She makes Lindsay Lohan look cool. That ain't normal.

WYNTER: Surprisingly absent from the best album nominations was Bruce Springsteen, considered a shoo-in for recognition. Instead the Recording Academy reached out to artists with less mainstream commercial success. Nominating Vince Gill for "These Days" and jazz artist Herbie Hancock was nominated for his Joni Mitchell tribute album, powerhouse rock band Foo Fighters was nominated for "Echoes, Silence, Patience and Grace."

(on camera): Album and record of the year.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Got it, for sure.

WYNTER: Rock star.


WYNTER: Rock album.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Going to take that one, too, of course.

WYNTER: Hard rock performance.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know it, we bring it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who else is in there?

WYNTER (voice over): Competing with Winehouse for best new artist is Feist, Paramore, little-known New Orleans native Ledisi, and country newcomer Taylor Swift, who turns 18 next week.



WYNTER: She got hugs from the presenters after her name was announced.

Under the umbrella of record of the year is the song "Umbrella" performed by Rihanna. It going up against another of the other catchiest tunes of the year Beyonce's "Irreplaceable" along with Winehouse's "Rehab", Foo Fighters, The Pretender, and Justin Timberlake's "What Goes Around Comes Around". Song of the year, an award which goes to the songwriter features "Rehab", country tune, "Before He Cheats" "hey there, Delilah," by the White Ts, "Like a Star" by Corrine Bailey Rae and "Umbrella" by a host of songwriters including Sean Carter, better known as Jay Z.

The 50th Annual Grammy Awards will be presented in Los Angeles on February 10.


WYNTER: And you just saw Carrie Underwood of "American Idol" fame. She's been nominated for two, in two categories, as well as Chris Daughtry, with his band Daughtry, for four.

So, you know, Don, you always have to seek an "American Idol" because they are just rocking the whole music world.

I want to go back quickly to George Lopez.


WYNTER: He was just fantastic this morning. You know, you have to leave it to him with the humor, but on a serious note -- well, kind of serious, he's actually nominated. That's why he was there, as well, not just announcing, in the best comedy album category for "American Mexican." We'll see if he wins.

LEMON: Good for him. And it's good this year, Kareen, because you know what there's talented people who can actually sing this year, rather than people backed up by the computers and studios.

WYNTER: It's so diverse.

LEMON: So, it's very good this year. Thank you.

WYNTER: Thanks.

PHILLIPS: First daughter calls home and she's got some eavesdroppers, a national television audience.


PHILLIPS: Most dads love it when their daughters call home just to talk, but when it's the first daughter calling home unexpectedly, well, on live TV, our Jeanne Moos just had to listen in.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): It's normal for a daughter to call home to daddy, but not when this is home and this is daddy.

ELLEN DEGENERES, TALK SHOW HOST: Could you just pick up the phone like right now and call him?



J. BUSH: He's going to kill me though.

MOOS: At 7:30 the other night a phone rang in the White House.


J. BUSH: I'm not going to get anything I ask for, for Christmas.

MOOS: Ellen DeGeneres is always surprising regular folks.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, my God! Oh, my God!

MOOS: At least she didn't send Jenna Bush with a camera crew unannounced to the door of the White House.

DEGENERES: We are not like barging in there, and they're in their pajamas or something.

MOOS (on camera): No, no, no, we're sure the Bushes were fully dressed, visiting with a friend in the Treaty Room when they're daughter called.

J. BUSH: Just a hello.


J. BUSH: Hi, Mom.

L. BUSH: I'm just sitting here with Daddy.

DEGENERES: Oh, hey! It's Ellen and I wanted to say hi to Daddy!

L. BUSH: Yes. Anyone can say hi.


MOOS: And to think that just a few hours earlier Daddy was answering questions about Iran's nuclear program.


J. BUSH: I'm not going anywhere. Hi, Dad.

G. BUSH: Love you.

DEGENERES: Hello, President Bush, how are you?

J. BUSH: This is the "Ellen DeGeneres Show".

G. BUSH: That's great. DEGENERES: Hey!

J. BUSH: Dad?

G. BUSH: Yes, Baby.

J. BUSH: Are you mad?

G. BUSH: No! Not at all, I'm glad to talk to you.


G. BUSH: I'm glad to talk to Ellen.

DEGENERES: All right. Look, we're showing a picture of you holding your daughters when they were just born. That's beautiful.

J. BUSH: The best day of your life, remember, Dad?


MOOS: Ellen doesn't always get through on the first try. There's the time she tried to call CNN's Wolf Blitzer, but got a producer.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He'd love to talk to you as soon as the show is over, and that's in 25 minutes.

DEGENERES: I'll be at home having a drink by then.

MOOS: And sometimes, when a call comes in at an inopportune time, for instance, when Rudy Giuliani's wife called during a speech, it ends up as fodder for comedians like Bill Maher.

RUDY GIULIANI: Hello, dear.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Rudy? Osama. What are you doing?

GIULIANI: I'm talking to the members of the NRA right now. Would you like to say hello.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. Tell them death to America.


MOOS: Watch out, Mr. President.

G. BUSH: I wanted to tell my little girl I love her.

J. BUSH: I love you too, daddy.

MOOS: Those comedy writers sure know how to turn sweet nothings into nothing sweet.

GIULIANI: I love you and I'll give you a call as soon as I'm finished, OK? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Rudy, where do we keep the coffee filters?

GIULIANI: OK, have a safe trip, bye-bye.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But the coffee...

GIULIANI: Talk to you later, dear. I love you.


MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.