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tv   Nightline  ABC  June 27, 2015 12:37am-1:08am EDT

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this is "nightline." >> tonight -- man down. fugitive murderer richard matt shot dead by authorities as the massive manhunt continues for fellow prison escapee david sweat. the two convicted killers out of prison and on the loose for 21 days and two prison guards charged in their escape. now how police tracked matt. where they think sweat is tonight. >> giant ascent. nobody ever climbed the giant red woods. one of the world's best rock climbers wants to try. tonight our epic adventure with chris sharma can he make it? to the towering tree top? >> and that historic decision from the supreme court, despite strong dissent from within.
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same-sex marriage legal across the country and the instant reaction. rst the "nightline" five. >> there is something out there, a highly contagious disease. it can be especially serious or fatal to infants. unfortunately many people who spread it may not know they have it. 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 vaccination today. >> number one in just 60 seconds.
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good evening. major developments in the prison manhunt in upstate new york. border police shot and killed convicted murderer richard matt after he tried to carjack an rv.
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his accomplice david sweat still on the run. as more than 1,000 officers tighten the search perimeter. abc's correspondent is on the scene with new details on how authorities tracked down the fugitives. >> reporter: a tactical team from customs and border protection met up with matt in the woods, challenged him, and he was shot dead. >> reporter: tonight the hunt is over for richard matt. one of the escaped fugitives that has kept much of upstate new york and the rest of the nation on pins and needles. >> there was a gunshot that was fired at a camping trailer. >> reporter: helicopters and backup was called and matt was located in the area. >> i can tell you they verbally challenged him told him to put up his hands. at that time he was shot when he didn't comply. >> reporter: he was shot dead found with a 20 gauge shotgun on him. david sweat, the other prison escapee remains at large. >> sweat is still out there. he is considered dangerous.
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we're going to continue to look for him and search just as hard until we find him. please any kind of sightings don't approach. please dial 911 or our tip line and please let us know about it. >> reporter: authorities followed some 2,300 leads over the past 21 days to hunt down the dangerous convicted killers. matt was serving 25 years to life for killing his ex-boss. tonight governor cuomo reminding the public just how dangerous sweat its. >> mr. sweat and his accomplices hit the sheriff's deputy with the car, got out and shot him 22 times and then ran over him. >> reporter: we now know the two men had help inside the clinton correctional facility to help them escape. joyce tillie mitchell a supervisor was arrested and charged with assisting the two break free. >> what did she give them? >> hacksaw blades. drill bits. a p tool. and a couple pairs of eyeglasses
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that have lights on them. she later provided batteries. >> joyce pleaded not guilty to her arraignment. prosecutors say mitchell and convicts alleged leap discussed a plot to kill her husband of 14 years and that sweat and matt planned the escape for five months. mitchell allegedly smuggling in tools and hamburger meat into the two convicts. according to authorities, she was supposed to be the driver of the getaway car on the outside but was hospitalized instead due to panic attacks. >> she advised us she had taken the hacksaw blade, some of the other tool the screwdriver bit, placed them into hamburger and then a correction officer would come and collect it and then bring it into inmate matt. in a block. >> reporter: then another officer gene palmer, first suspended then arrested. >> did you have haeng toanything to dupe with their escape? >> no comment at this time. i am here on my own free will to
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assist. >> he had no knowledge that joyce mitchell had hidden contraband inside the meat. >> reporter: palmer has not yet entered a plea. the massive manhunt began june 6 when the two convicted killers were first reported missing at a bed check. they left this note behind. reading "have a nice day." in their empty beds clothing was aranged to make it look like some one was sleeping. police say sweat and matt used power tools to drill through a wall and work their way down four stories shimmying through 24-inch pipes. after climbing through a series of catwalks and pipes, they walked three to four 400 yard down a tunnel coming to a manhole they sawed open with their tools. >> what its the most troubling fact is that they needed power tools to do what they actually did. and they were heard. they had to be heard. >> reporter: the manhole where the two men surfaced seen here on google earth was one block from the prison walls. just after 12:30 a.m. a local resident tells us he saw the two convicts in his backyard.
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my colleague gio benitez spoke with the couple that spotted the prisoners. >> what did you stay? you yelled something at him? >> i first came around the side of the building of my house. and saw the shadow running away from me. i went around to see who they were, because i want to know who was in my backyard. so i go look at him. and i see him, i ask him what the hell are you doing in my yard? get the hell out of here. >> he was like sorry i didn't know where i was. i am on the wrong street. >> over the past 21 days more than 1,000 law enforcement officials combed the rugged terrain for hundred of miles. the two were atted to u.s. marshals most wanted list. rewards were set at $50,000 apiece. posters of the two men were distributed on both the canadian and mexican border. the clinton correctional facility has a notorious past that included gangster lucky lucciano rapper tupac shakur and sweat, who killed a police
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officer and matt in jail for dismembering his boss' body. >> cop killer is one thing. dismembering somebody it's really out there. i kind of just like he is one of the guys you keep in front of you. you don't turn your back on. >> reporter: eric jensen was an inmate at the same time. he says he knew both of them. whatever their differences each behaved well enough to get placed in the so-called honor block which meant special privileges. >> the honor block you are allowed out majority of the day. >> the escaped inmates lived next door to each other in the prison. the da says that wasn't always the case. >> sweat was located in a different area cell of the honor block. there was a request they be placed next to each other. somebody in the prison granted their request to be put next to each other? >> that's what i understand. >> was that gene palmer? >> that i don't know. >> he loaded it. he is ready. >> reporter: amidst the manhunt, disturbing video emerged of matt seen here in exclusive abc news video that was shot in 1997 on 8
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millimeter film. this chilling video shows how dangerous he was. holding a blow dart gun. >> this is my friend ricky matt a freaking crazy lunatic maniac. >> at one point even getting it fired at his arm. >> we are about to shoot the dart into ricky's arm. then on monday focus shifted back upstate. a definitive clue in a cabin just 20 miles from the prison walls. >> confirmed lead for us. we are going to run this to the ground. >> john stockwall at the hunting ground saturday with his dog discovered signs of people inside the shack that afternoon. he says he saw at least one man running away. >> evidence from that camp was collected. and by members of the new york state police. that has ben brought down to the new york state police lab. there was a pz tiffositive a match for matt and sweat. >> looks like they're together. >> they're together. they haven't separated based on that finding as most recently as
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saturday. >> reporter: more than 1,000 officers from multiple agencies searched an area about 10 miles south of the canadian border as helicopters searched from above the thick canopy heavily armed officers flooded the terrain setting of check points using a tv's to comb the dense woods and looking through cabins in the search zone for new lead. we also want to renew our call to those who have trail cameras set up around the region to let us know if you have captured footage of any suspicious activity. no lead is too small for us to investigate. >> several corrections officers from different prisons in the area are members of the hunting club that uses the cabin. they're all being questioned. it wasn't until earlier today that law enforcement caught a break. and was able to track down the fugitives to this small ham let in upstate new york. police shot and killed richard matt the hunt for david sweat continues. >> remain vigilant. because sweat is still out there. he is considered dangerous. we are going to continue to look
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for him and search just as hard until we find him. but please any kind of sightings don't approach. please dial 911 or our tip line. >> for "nightline," phillip mena malone new york. >> up next -- this park is known for its natural wonders. but tonight you'll spot a man made wonder too. can he climb -- free climb a california redwood? and celebration tempered with dissent for today's landmark supreme court ruling on same-sex marriage.
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you know most of us who visit the california redwood are content to look up and marvel from the ground.
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but not rock climbing inging legend chris sharma a guy that sees anything giant and thinks i have got to climb up there. >> reporter: climbing a pacific coast redwood tree is a feat no one has ever attempted. which is part of the allure. for a guy who conquers mountains with his fingertips. >> definitely climbing but definitely not rock climbing. >> reporter: chris sharma kidded considered one of the world's best rock climbers. are you nervous? >> a little nervous, yeah. >> reporter: a journey a year in the making taking him from spain to his roots in california where he used to climb as a kid. but each climb comes with its own set of challenges. what did your family and colleagues say, when you told them you will climb a tree? >> everyone is like huh, such a different tactic than rock
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climbing. from all the experience i have, i feel like a total beginner in the redwood forest. >> reporter: chips of bark, 250 feet straight up. chris shows me just what he is up against. >> these trees are so big that it is actually like you are on the side of a cliff. >> reporter: to my amateur eyes all i see is something to grab on to vertically. >> nothing to stand on pull on. all about opposition and squegz squeezing hard as i can. >> reporter: time to ditch the ropes. chris sharma begins the daunting free climb from the very bottom. to assure no harm comes to the tree he designed special footwear. >> soft wraparound all right edges and avoid damaging the dark at all too, so. i kind of have this moment where it was just kind of this blank stare at the wall trying to find the hand holds. i couldn't focus on anything
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there is nothing to stand on. nothing to pull on. >> but halfway he starts to lose his footing. >> buddy, got to go for it. >> this was the tree i set my sights on. and it is an amazing tree. it's just the bark is solid. everything is there. but it is a really challenging climb. i'm not 100% confident that i can do it in three day's time. >> the pressure is on. he is not alone. chris is out here in the wood with tree biologist from u.c. berkeley studying the impact of california's historic drought on these endangered species. >> every tree has a limit. every species has a limit. we want to know how are the trees responding and how might they respond if droughts continue in the future in california. >> reporter: they will be putting chris' climbing skills to work collecting samples from the very top to study the health of the redwoods. there is even a full production crew from red bull here to
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capture this record setting attempt. they rigged 2,000 feet of rope mounted seven cameras and built a cable cam to swing from an adjacent tree. >> the closer we are to the action the more you can see. you can see the expressions on his face his fingers gripping the bark. >> that looks perfect. >> how in the world is he going to climb this tree? >> just from watching chris climb on this thing so far it's shaping up to be the level of difficulty that very very few people could actually pull off. >> want to just look around and look at some options. >> after careful consideration chris and his team make a drastic decision. >> this tree for example, that one with all the structure up there. they set out on foot in search of another tree that may prove sy tire climb. >> at least the lower part. >> it does look kind of in between those. >> it is humbling, you know. i guess i didn't thing it would be that hard. >> eventually, they decide
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switching trees is too much of a risk. now chris is more determined to climb the original giant he set out for. go get them brother. it's team to try it once again. >> bit by bit. start to piece it together. you start to find this flow. and it is amazing. this amazing thing that requires so much effort, so much precision. >> reporter: he is following a line he made in chalk. like a giant endurance puzzle he begins to piece the climb together. >> like a sprint the whole way. just moving up the wall nonstop. i need to know exactly where each hand and each foot goes the whole way through. >> got about 100 more feet to go. the higher chris climbs he faces the same challenge as last time. the bark just becomes too hard to grip. >> bummer. >> one tiny mistake, man. >> reporter: it is a humbling experience. but chris decide to continue the climb in sections. picking up where he left off.
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finally able to wedge his way up to its majestic canopy. >> yeah man. >> it ended up being a lot more difficult than i thought. in the end we are able to climb all the sequences and just a huge reminder of how all powerful nature is. >> crazy up here huh. >> awesome, man. >> woo! >> mind officially blown. chris sharma a red bull sponsored climber. up next outpouring of emotion after same-sex marriage is legal itdz. not everybody is toasting the decision.
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the images will be indelibly
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etched in many of our minds. rainbows sprougt ss sprouting up on buildings, corporate logos and social media. not to mention couples racing to make it official after same-sex marriage was legalized in all 50 states. among the justices weighing in all was not quite so harmonious. here's abc's terry moran. >> reporter: the news hitting the crowd outside the supreme court like a wildfire and spreading across the cubountry. in michigan one of the couples that brought the case getting word they won. along with so many others eager to be bound together by love and law for the first time. from ohio to texas. >> it's amazing. i'm so happy. i scant believe this is happening. >> in san francisco, a new kind of pride. >> i feel like i am part of the american dream now actually. >> justice anthony kennedy, a long time champion of gay rights on the wrote the opinion, informing a marital union two
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people become something greater than once they were. we met melissa and stacy and their son nico together for seven years they waited for this day. what does today mean for nico? >> it means that he will grow up in a country where his family is equal to every other family. >> reporter: jim obergefell the lead plaintiff carrying a picture of his part next, john arthur ohio refusing to recognize their legal marriage taking a call on the plaza from president obama in the oval office. >> not only have you been a great example for people but you are going to bring about lasting change in this country. >> thank you, sir, that means an incredible amount to me. >> reporter: four justices dissented. justice scalia scorning the opinion as little more than a fortune cookie. president obama spoke of the history of this moment.
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tonight the white house covered in a rainbow of lights. for "nightline," i'm terry moran in washington, d.c. >> truly a momentous day in our country's history. thank you for watching abc news. we leave you with another stirring event from charleston today. where funerals began for the victims of alleged mass murderer dillonylann roof president obama giving a moving tribute and then surprising the crowd with this soulful rendition of "amazing grace." ♪ amazing grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me ♪
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♪ i once was lost ♪ hey, is this a good movie? [spapanish accent] no! no señor, no.
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this is a girlie flick. too much talking. not enough shooting. are you hungry señor navel? sí! all right, here youo, buddy. mmm, good. ray, i'm this close to crackin' you across the chops. hey. is this a bad time? oh, no. come on. look, robert's here. let's shut the movie off. no, no, i don't want to interrupt. that's ok. ray's just talking to his bellybutton. señor navel?l? you know him? i named him. you're lkin' pretty spiffy there. you got a hot date? uh, nah. i was over at the holiday inn. they have swing dancin' on thursdays. oh, that sounds like fun. oh, it could have been but before you dance


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