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tv   NBC Nightly News  NBC  October 19, 2013 3:30pm-4:01pm PDT

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on this saturday night, man hunt. now a nationwide search for two convicted killers who bluffed their way out of prison. the family of one makes a plea -- turn yourself in. police want to know if they were helped from the inside. taking aim. the fbi appeals for help in stopping an epidemic of dangerous attacks in the sky. laser pointers aimed at pilots. center stage. hillary clinton back on the campaign trail helping a friend. are we really seeing her opening act for 2016? out of control. thousands evacuated. hundreds of homes destroyed by dozens of wildfires that show no signs of letting up. and striking a chord. it's broken beyond repair. that didn't stop a buyer from paying a fortune for the violin last played on "the titanic."
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good evening. two convicted killers remain on the run after being released from prison early by mistake. charles walker and joseph jenkins used false release forms to break out of jail before heading home to orlando. their manhunt has gone nationwide, neighborhoods are on edge and investigators are asking if they had help from within the justice system. sarah is in orlando. good evening. >> reporter: good evening, carl. another bizarre chapter in the story. as we learn more about the days following the men's escape. they made no effort to hide, reuniting with parents, grandparents, even going to church. a show of force outside the orange county sheriff's office. family members of charles walker and joseph jenkins urged the men to turn themselves in. walker's mother made an
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emotional plea to her son. >> we love you. we believe in the you. we just want you to surrender yourself to someone who you trust who will bring you back in safely. >> on behalf of our family, i am asking that you, joseph jenkins, turn yourself in to the nearest appropriate authorities. >> reporter: walker and jenkins walked out of prison 11 days apart after forged documents ordered their immediate release. both had been serving life sentences for murder. family members thought their prayers had been answered when prison officials called to tell them their loved ones were free to go. >> to confirm that the information was correct she called back to the prison facility twice and was provided the same information both times. >> reporter: authorities are looking into who filed the false paper wurk, including a judge's forged signature. >> my first thought was how did
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my signature get there. >> our investigation is looking into how and why these documents entered the system. >> reporter: the documents contained detailed information including addresses, names and inmate numbers. former profiler clint van zandt. >> there could have been insider support in pulling this off. >> reporter: the ruse has been attempted before. in 2011 paperwork was filed requesting a reduced sentence for jenkins. it didn't work. as authorities examine how it happened the hunt for two killers pushes into another night. already changes are being made to policy. a judge must now sign off when a sentence is being reduced or modified. carl, back to you. >> sarah dell in orlando starting us off tonight. thanks. another hunt is intensifying tonight for people who have been pointing lasers at planes
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presenting a potentially dangerous situation for pilots. the problem is getting worse and the fbi is involved. we have more from kristen dahlgren. >> reporter: pilots on approach to new york's laguardia airport this week reported seeing something like this -- lasers lighting up the cockpit, blinding them during critical moments in flight. >> you're causing him to look away from the very instruments and line-up outside of the window he should be looking at. >> reporter: now the government is cracking down, launching an anti-terrorism task force to combat the growing threat. in 2004 there were just 46 laser incidents reported to the faa. last year, more than 3,400. the agency predicts this year the total will top 4,000. since january the fbi reports several commercial pilots suffered significant injury, including a burned retina. pilot steve robertson describes it. >> it was instant pain and burning. i was blinded instantly for a
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good 15 to 20 seconds. >> reporter: the lasers are easy to buy at office supply stores. >> the most powerful laser you can legally owned. >> reporter: and higher powered versions are a click away. in las vegas last december -- >> someone's shining a green laser at the aircraft. looks like just below my position. >> reporter: the beam just 1/25 of an inch at origin can be two to three feet when it reaches an approaching aircraft. >> the proliferation of laser pointers, increasingly powerful lasers in the hands of the public is a catastrophe waiting to happen. >> reporter: in 2012 pointing a laser at an aircraft became a federal offense. since then people have been charged and can face up to five year s in prison for incidents like this one caught on dallas police chopper video. the government making it clear this is no game, especially for the pilot and passengers on board.
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kristen dahlgren, nbc news, new york. we turn to politics on a day when a once and possibly future presidential candidate reemerged. we are talking about hillary clinton hitting the campaign trail for a friend as a leading republican got a hero's welcome in his state. kristen welker is at the white house tonight. good evening. >> reporter: carl, good evening to you. hillary clinton was this the swing state of virginia today. senator ted cruz was on home turf in texas. while it is too early to know whether either will make a bid for the white house, the optics were unmistakable. [ cheers and applause ] >> reporter: off the sidelines and back on the political stage, hillary clinton appeared at her first public campaign event since leaving her post as secretary of state. >> i have been in a lot of elections. [ laughter ] >> reporter: officially endorsing long-time friend terry mcauliffe for virginia's next governor but looking like a canada dad herself she tapped into the frustration about the
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government shutdown and took aim at the tea party. >> we have seen examples of the wrong kind of leadership. when politicians choose scorched earth over common ground. >> reporter: ted cruz, the tea party star who led the crusade to defund the president's health care law, spoke at events in his home state of texas today, shoring up his base and appearing every bit a potential 2016 contender. >> obama care isn't working. not only isn't it working, it is not working badly. >> reporter: cruz got a rousing reception at home. polls show the tea party took a beating after the government shutdown with a majority of americans blaming republicans for the mess. back at home in illinois, adam kinsinger said he's hearing from frustrated constituents. >> i'm a conservative. i was elected to represent over 700,000 people. some folks you hear criticism
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from. >> reporter: nbc news spoke with people who live in his district and expressed anger with washington. >> they are not doing their job. >> i'm embarrassed. i'm very embarrassed that we have politicians acting the way they are. >> reporter: still, analysts say it is the republican party that faces the largest hurdle ahead of 2016. >> the big question is whether the republican brand recovers and if it does how strong it becomes. >> reporter: of course, up next the 2014 mid-term elections. there is no indication that tea party house members will lose their seats. in fact, case in point, a super pac headed by jim demint recorded its best fund-raising month ever. carl? >> kristen welker at the white house. thank you. now to an issue many americans have been dealing with for two weeks now -- trying to sign up for health insurance under the affordable care act only to find problems with the government website. congress will have hearings on the issue and although health and human services secretary
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kathleen sebelius faced widespread criticism over the problems, administration officials say she is not available to testify at the hearings. while there are signs of improvement, there are big concerns as we hear from nbc's tom costello. >> reporter: near houston, the tara sidenberg spent more than two weeks trying to sign up for insurance online. her multiple sclerosis meds alone cost $4,400 a month. finally on friday, progress. >> i think i'm making headway. i want to see the options. see what's available. so i have yet to reach that point. >> reporter: while more people are now successfully navigating health insurance companieses are reporting problems. priority health in michigan received only two dozen applications so far, many filled with errors. >> definitely lower than anticipated. maybe more of a trickle than a rush. but it's early in the process. >> reporter: now concerned technical glitches will
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discourage healthy young people from signing up. like 24-year-old opera singer ira barth. >> there is not enough money to go around to pay for insurance, too, right now. >> reporter: for the program to work, many people like ira must sign up. >> i think in order for it to be successful financially, healthy people have to buy into health care whether they are young or old. and stay insured. >> reporter: technical snafus pose a threat to the program. jack lew in an interview with david gregory for sunday's "meet the press." >> i think no one is more frustrated than the president at the difficulty in the website. >> reporter: already republican members of congress have scheduled hearings demanding answers. >> if you can't do the simple sign-ups, how will you ever pay the providers and physicians when, in fact, those people need to get reimbursed after taking care of people that are in need across the country.
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>> reporter: the clock is ticking. december 15th is the deadline to enroll for insurance january 1st. jp morgan chase agreed to pay a $13 billion fine over mortgage practices that led to the financial crisis. it is the largest amount ever paid by a u.s. company but doesn't prevent the company from pursuing criminal charges. the fine includes $4 billion in relief for struggling homeowners. overseas an attack in syria. evidence that extremist groups may be stepping up activity near damascus. a suicide car bomber attacked a checkpoint during a rebel assault killing at least 16 soldiers. the assault was led by a group linked to al qaeda. the syrian government called it a terrorist attack. in australia an epic battle waged against some of the first wildfires the country has seen. does more than 1500 firefighters
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battled dangerous condition cans. gabrielle boyle from 7 network has more on this tonight. she's at a rural fire service command center outside sydney. >> reporter: carl, we are at the headquarters, the control center, the nerve room where the operation and response to fires across new south wales is being coordinated. it is a massive operation. this is a major fire event. we currently have 65 fires burning across new south wales. they classify 18 of those as uncontained or uncontrolled. the worst is in the blue mountains, 90 minutes' drive from sydney. the local mayor is concerned. >> this is a tragic fire. the impact on our community is enormous. >> >> reporter: in the last 24 hours we have had calmer conditions which allowed firefighters to get into many of
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the worst hit areas to try to bring the blazes under control. it is expected to get hotter and drier today. they are bracing for difficult conditions. we have had confirmation already more than 200 homes were lost. just devastating for so many residents. >> all the hard work you put into everything for all those years and it's just gone. >> reporter: total fire bands remain in place across much of new south wales with temperatures expected to increase over the next few hours. this operation is far from over. >> gabrielle, thanks. when "nightly news" continues on this saturday, a teenager and her family speaking out about an alleged rape they say should have been prosecuted. later, though it will never be played again, the violin that was sold today for a fortune. [ male announcer ] this is brad.
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we are back with a disturbing case that's come back to haunt a small town in missouri where a teenager and her family are speaking out about an alleged rape by a former member of the high school football team. their appeal for justice went viral forcing the local prosecutor to re-examine the evidence. katy tur has our report. >> reporter: 90 minutes north of kansas city, maryville, missouri, population 12,000 could be any small mid western town. here one person's life can become everyone's business. >> it really did feel like it was me against the world.
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it was a hard battle. >> reporter: daisy coleman's battle began almost two years ago when the then 14-year-old and her 13-year-old friend snuck out to party with a popular football player. >> they had me drink from a cup. oh, maybe she can take all this, you know. like a competition. that's basically all i remember. >> reporter: her mom said she found the daisy the next morning passed out and freezing on the front lawn in a t-shirt and sweat pants. she had been there for three hours. >> if i hadn't woken up, she had frostbite on her feet. she probably would have died. >> reporter: melinda immediately noticed marks on daisy's body and teak her to the hospital where doctors did a rape kit. her blood alcohol level was 0.13. >> it felt like a dream, like it was surreal. i was hoping it didn't happen and that i would wake up any second. >> reporter: the boy she went to meet, 17-year-old matthew barnett told police the sex was consensual. daisy said it was rape. police quickly filed sexual
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assault and child endangerment charges but within weeks the charges were dropped. prosecutor robert rice cited not enough evidence and the colemans' refusal to cooperate. melinda believes it was a favor since barnett's grandfather was a police officer and politician. this week the kansas city star published the seven-month investigation into daisy's story. after outcry online, rice defended himself but called for a special investigator to again review the facts. >> i stand by my choice based on the evidence that i had and what transpired during the investigation. and everything that happened after a ward. >> reporter: the past two years haven't been easy for the colemans. daisy was bullied online and at school and attempted suicide twice. melinda was fired. last august they moved to a town 45 minutes away. this spring the home they owned in maryville mysteriously burned down, the cause unclear. will you get justice?
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>> i don't know if we'll get everything that i feel we need or we want. but just the start is really good. >> reporter: do you think he should go to jail? >> i think he should. >> reporter: matthew barnett is now in college in missouri. in a statement his lawyer cited inconsistencies in daisy's statement and doubt about the felony charge including whether she was incapacitated writing since a legal conviction was not possible it appears some would like to try the case in the court of public opinion. the barnett family since received numerous threats and would request you respect their privacy. meanwhile for the first time in two years, daisy said she finally feels some relief. >> i might still have the whole town of maryville against me. but at least i have half of the world with me. >> reporter: katy tur, nbc news, albany, missouri. when we come back, a first of its kind in college football. what you won't be able to buy here. raised their hand
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officials say the nba legend was detained at seattle tacoma international airport after a loaded gun was found in his carry-on luggage. the .38 caliber smith & wesson contained six rounds. russell had a permit but carried it in a prohibited area. the gun 'cause confiscated and 79-year-old russell was released. the former boston celtics star could face fines and criminal charges. in evanston, illinois something was missing at the game between northwestern and the university of minnesota. northwestern declared it a peanut-free day to accommodate people who were allergic to the popular snack. before the game workers power washed the stadium's almost 50,000 seats to remove any peanut residue. for the second time in a week a strange creature from the deep washed up on the shores of southern california. they are called ora fish. they live at depths of 3,000 feet and were once believed to
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be sea serpents. this one measured 13 1/2 feet long. last sunday a bigger one turned up measuring 18 feet. required a small army of people to carry it ashore for a snapshot. next another tale from the sea. an object from "titanic" that broke a record today. the front of my body. and the pain from it was- it was excruciating. i did not want anyone to brush into me to cause me more pain than i was already enduring. i wanted to just crawl up in a ball and just, just wait till it passed. i don't miss out... you sat out most of our game yesterday! asthma doesn't affect my job... you were out sick last week. my asthma doesn't bother my family... you coughed all through our date night!
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finally tonight a remarkable event in england today -- the sale of a piece of history that connects us to one of the most famous tragedies of all time,
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the sinking of "titanic." >> reporter: of all the stories to emerge from the "titanic," one endured the test of time. >> nice and cheery so there is no panic. ♪ >> reporter: a legend captured in the movie that amid the panic and chaos, the band kept on playing as the ocean liner slipped into the north atlantic. >> come on. let's play. >> reporter: the men were led in music and courage by wallace heartily and his trusty violin. no longer playable and cracked. >> 110, 120, 130. >> reporter: today at auction. buyers desperate to own what's become the most icon nick piece of memorabilia from "titanic." >> wallace hartley was an a-lister, one of the most famous individuals associated with the ship. >> reporter: it's believed the sly violin was found 14 days after the disaster in wallace's suitcase which was strapped to his body. >> it really is incredible to be
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holding something from the "titanic." it's in such good condition. there is one detail here that makes the story extra poignant. >> reporter: on the rust any metal plate the words "for wallace on the occasion of our engagement the from maria." the violin has under gone years of tests to prove its authenticity. there was no doubt to the instrument's worth. it sold for three times its expected price. >> at $900,000, going. [ applause ] >> reporter: $1.4 million. >> it just went on and on. we were all here. we couldn't believe it. >> reporter: a world record amount for a "titanic" artifact on which hartley is believed to have played his final hymn, "nearer my god to thee" as passengers boarded and the
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"titanic" slowly sank into the ocean. >> that is "nbc nightly news" for this saturday. i'm carl quintanilla from new york. for all of us at nbc news, good night. -- captions by vitac -- into an easy dinner with crescent dogs. just separate, add hot dogs, cheese, roll 'em up, and bake. lookin' hot, c-dog. pillsbury crescents. make dinner pop. delicious, but say i press a few out flat, add some beef, sloppy joe sauce and cheese, fold it all up and boom! delicious unsloppy joes perfect for a school night. pillsbury grands biscuits.
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make dinner pop. you're watching an nbc bay area news special. "covered california." >> you have these marketplaces where they'll offer you a better deal because of choice in competition. >> we look at how health care and health insurance is changing for millions of californians under the affordable care act. >> this is historic. millions can get access to affordable health care they didn't get before. >> we'll show you how to crunch the numbers so you can figure out what you'll pay. >> people will get health care they can afford. >> and what preventable services are provided for free. >> you don't have to worry about going bankrupt to get access to high quality care.