tv ABC World News With David Muir ABC August 28, 2015 6:30pm-7:01pm EDT
tonight, the verdict is in. that dramatic moment in court. the former student breaking down, accused of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old girl. whose story did the jury believe? and erika strikes. florida on alert. causing flash floods, destroying buildings. dozens feared dead or missing. point of attack. the gunman that killed two journalists on air. we take you inside his home. plus, the lone survivor describes the ambush. and the gunman possibly taking aim on drivers on an american highway. and an abc news exclusive. the americans that took down a
terror suspect returning home to the u.s. telling us about that life or death moment. good evening, i'm tom llamas in for david. great to have you with us. we begin with the bombshell verdict in the case that has captured national attention. emerging from court, the former student accuse of raping a classmate. a jury, nine men, three women, finding him not guilty of the most serious charges. but then collapsing as he learns his fate, guilty of one felony and other charges. sparking a conversation about teens and sex. first, gio benitez, who was inside the courthouse.
>> reporter: the face as he was acquitted that he forcibly raped his 15-year-old schoolmate in the science building. she testified that she said no. sobbing in court today as the verdict was read. the jury were not convinced. but also rejected la brie's claim that that didn't have sex at all. they convicted him on charges of having sex with a minor, and using a computer to entice her to the senior salute. >> there's something i want to share with you. >> reporter: prosecutors
claiming the flowery language that he and his friends were competing to "slay" the most girls before graduation. >> by the defendant's own words, older students take great pride in taking the virginity of the younger students. >> reporter: what does this tell you? >> these were two teenagers getting together for a consensual encounter. >> reporter: a spokesperson for the family saying they were betrayed by the school. >> we trusted the school to protect her. and it failed us. >> reporter: tom, today, the school sent a letter to parents praising the girl's unwaferiveu
commitment to the truth. tom? >> and dan, did they believe him? >> well, they didn't believe him on the crimes related to age. in terms of rape, they said they didn't think the prosecution could prove within a reasonable doubt that it wasn't consensual. >> will he face up to 11 years in prison? >> he could be facing two to three years, but because the world is watching, i think you'll see a tougher sentence. probably more like five to ten years, and perhaps more important, he will have to register as a sex offender for life. and to the state of emergency in florida.
tropical storm erika, barreling through the atlantic. on the ground tonight, lines at gas stations, empty shelves at stores. at least four people killed in the caribbean. this church demolished by the water. rob marciano, reporting from florida. >> reporter: tonight, high winds from tropical storm erika barreling through the dominican republic, taking aim at florida. lori gordoin punta cana. >> the winds are picking up and the rain is starting. >> reporter: the storms hammered nearby dominica, leaving behind mud caked graveyards of cars, washing out roads and bridges, at least 31 feared dead. at least 200,000 without power in puerto rico. across florida, long lines at gas stations and grocery stores. >> you have to think, if the
worst happens, are you ready? >> reporter: here in miami, there are a lot of new buildings with a lot of glass. engineers opening the floodgates, the governor calling erika a severe threat. >> and there's so many people who've moved here since we've had a hurricane, so i think that's one of our biggest risks. >> rob, what's the latest on erika? >> right now, it's hitting the dominican republic hard. it's going to go across haiti and scoot towards cuba. and it will be difficult for it to strengthen into a significant storm. and the entire peninsula of florida will be under the gun here. and hurricane ignacio, tracking towards hawaii. it's within that cone of uncertainty, so we'll be watching that one as well. >> rob, thank you. we turn to major
developments in the tragedy on live television. stunning new details from the third victim. how she survived, curling up in a ball. and chilling new images from the gunman's apartment. jim avila, covering it all. >> reporter: the refrigerator adorned with modeling shots. while at the crime scene, the blood-stained boards now replaced. as the first personal account of what happened here emerges. >> he waited until they were live on the air. >> reporter: only one person survived, vicki gardner. >> they never knew he was coming until shots were fired.
>> reporter: vicki says the lights were shining in their eyes. they couldn't see him at all. >> allison was the initial target. >> reporter: adam was hit next. and then -- >> he shot three times at my wife. missed twice, she dove to the ground, and he shot her in the back. pulled the trigger several times, only fired once. >> reporter: he fired 17 rounds. the gun empty, he fled. and remarkably, vicki got to her feet. >> she says, if i'm going to get up, i'm going to get up. and walked to the ambulance. >> reporter: she called her husband to say she was alive and to meet her at the hospital. doctors expect a full recovery. >> and we'll have more tonight
on "20/20" at 10:00 p.m. central. and hillary clinton facing a new firestorm over her husband's e-mails. asking for the green light to give speeches tied to some of the most brutal regimes in the world for big bucks. jon karl is on the story tonight. >> reporter: with its vast army, nuclear weapons, and the world's most notorious dictator, north korea would seem an unlikely place for a former president to make a buck. but e-mails obtained by abc news show bill clinton tried to get approval to give a north korea speech while hillary was secretary of state. the request coming from one of his top aides to mrs. clinton's chief of staff, cheryl mills. mills' terse reply -- "decline it." but the former president's aide asked for an explanation. mills wrote back to tell bill clinton -- "if he needs more, let him know his wife knows and i am happy to call him." the e-mails came to light because of a lawsuit by the
conservative group citizens united. today, mrs. clinton acknowledged her husband asked for approval to give this speech and many others. >> there was some unusual requests, but they all went through the process to try to make sure that the state department conducted its independent review. >> reporter: another unusual request -- a speech for $650,000 in the congo attended by two of africa's most notorious dictators. clinton's own speaking agency recommended declining the invite, noting, "the prevalence and intensity of sexual violence against women in eastern congo is widely described as the worst in the world." but mr. clinton did not want to take no for an answer. his aide asking if he could do the speech if all the money went to the clinton foundation, instead of to clinton directly. neither of those speeches happened, because the state
department didn't approve either of them. but all told, clinton made $48 million giving speeches while hillary was secretary of state. and a possible sniper on the loose, taking aim at drivers. and authorities want to know, is the same gunman behind them all? alex perez with the story. >> reporter: tonight, michigan authorities warning drivers near two major highways to be on high alert -- a possible sniper targeting motorists. >> we want to put an end to it before somebody gets hurt. >> reporter: the nightmare unfolding on i-94 and i-69 in rural areas near battle creek, michigan. investigators say since late july, as many as six vehicles driving along the highways have been damaged. sniper cases can be difficult to solve. >> i'm on the highway right now, and somebody just hit me, and i'm bleeding from my neck and i'm scared. >> reporter: this spring, 20-year-old cori romero was shot driving north of denver. the bullet went in one side of
her neck and out the other. a trio of nearby shootings there, still under investigation. back in michigan, investigators working round the clock, even flying up above, looking for any clues that might lead to the shooter. >> it's like a big jigsaw puzzle, trying to put all the pieces together. >> reporter: and investigators say if you believe your car was hit while moving, do not stop. instead, take note of the area, get somewhere safe, and then call 911. tom? >> thank you. we want to head to new orleans now, on the eve of a solemn anniversary. ten years ago, hurricane katrina hit. the city underwater, residents stranded. the cry for help on that roof. the superdome, families huddled inside. and bob woodruff was there ten years ago, and tonight he's back.
bearing witness to one city's strength, and one survivor's journey back. >> reporter: ten years ago, the worst about to come. the next morning, the water bursting through the levees, first burying the ninth ward. this was then. today, new orleans is back. ten years ago, the convention center, surrounded by desperation. now, the economy is booming. katrina is considered the single most catastrophic natural disaster in u.s. history. more than 1,800 dead. i never forgot this 10-year-old girl i met. are you getting water and food? >> i'm not drinking that water. >> reporter: fled with her mother to houston, and never
returned. this week, we found her. can you believe we traced you down? after living through foster care and family tragedies, now she's thriving. planning to become a minister. >> i can help so many other people in ways that others can't, because of what i had to go through, experience, and overcome. >> reporter: tomorrow, there will be mourning for those that were lost, and a huge parade that ends in a street party. tom? >> thank you. we move on to a story that was captivating as the images were coming in. a stunt plane, going down during a rehearsal for an upcoming air show. a trail of smoke. the traail of plane, also gone. the pilot died, no one on the
ground injured. still to come, the menace in the sky. tonight, we ride with the drone hunters. a police unit tracking them down. and, have treasure hunters uncovered the mysterious nazi gold train? and we'll hear from one of the heroes from the train attack, tonight. toe tucking. to the root of r kerydin may cause irritation at the treated site. most common side effects include skin peeling... ...ingrown toenail, redness, itching, and swelling. tell your doctor if you have any side effect that bothers you or does not go away. stop toe tucking... and get the drop on toenail fungus. ask your doctor today about kerydin. every auto insurance policy has a number.
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it's a case adding to the tripling of the number of sightings compared to last year, as police try to crack down. the nypd aviation unit got the call, a drone sighting. we went along. in the country's busiest airspace -- >> it was a white or silver drone. >> reporter: these pilots try to spot drones flying illegally. the batteries on these drones last 15 to 20 minutes, so the helicopter has to get on station very quickly if they have any chance of finding a drone flying in these pathways into the new york airports. nypd is pushing for prosecutions. you see this problem getting worse before it gets better? >> absolutely. it's a huge spike in the drone encounters. you're talking a 737 coming in, they had to alter their course to avoid these things, so that's how serious it is. >> reporter: last year, only four arrests. this year, so far, only two in new york. on our call, scanning the tree tops, no sign of the drone, which is often the case. david kerley, abc news, new york.
when we come back, the new report. how much does it cost to raise a family in america? one of the great mysteries of world war ii. have treasure hunters finally discovered the nazi gold rain? and stunning sites from one of the world's most active volcanos. it's called whooping cough. and the cdc recommends everyone, including those around babies, make sure their whooping cough vaccination is up to date. understand the danger your new grandchild faces. talk to your doctor or pharmacist about you and your family getting a whooping cough vaccination today.
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finally tonight, our persons of the week. three american heroes celebrated around the world, working together to save lives. linsey davis on one of the emotional homecomings. >> reporter: a hero's welcome as the first of the three americans praised for their quick, life-saving actions on that paris-bound train returns to u.s. soil. today, abc's robin roberts spoke exclusively with army national guard specialist alek skarlatos. >> what was going through your mind when you first saw the guy on the train and the fact that he was armed? >> well, i mean, i immediately recognized what s happening and i just thought there's just no way. >> reporter: what happened landed the trio on the cover of "people" magazine. one week ago, what was supposed to be a european vacation for three childhood friends was upended by a man armed with an
ak-47 appearing on their train. >> alek hit me on the shoulder and said, let's go. ran down and tackled him. >> reporter: alek skarlatos, along with his buddies spencer stone and anthony sadler, becoming international icons, receiving france's highest medal. >> it was pretty much a gut reaction, just acting on adrenaline, doing what we had to do to survive. >> reporter: thanks to that gut reaction, an untold number of lives saved. and these three, now in the history books as heroes. >> three heroes, our persons of the week. thank you for watching. i'm tom llamas. good night.
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