November 19th, 2009
08:52 PM ET

Wal-Mart scuffle prompts racism claims

Heather Ellis entering court this morning in Kennett, MO.

Gary Tuchman and Dave Mattingly

This much isn't in dispute: Heather Ellis cut in line at a Wal-Mart nearly three years ago.

But the accounts of what happened next vary, depending on whom you ask - and has divided this economically struggling Missouri town of 11,000 along racial lines.

Ellis, then a college student with no criminal history, said some white patrons shoved and hurled racial slurs at her when she switched checkout lines at Wal-Mart in January 2007.

Store employees refused to give her back her change and called police, she said.

And when she was taken outside to the parking lot, an officer allegedly told her to "Go back to the ghetto." Another roughed her up, she said.

Keep Reading...

Filed under: David Mattingly • Gary Tuchman • Wal-Mart
September 22nd, 2009
10:09 AM ET

Update: Flooding in Atlanta

David Mattingly | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

It doesn’t look like it in this photograph but the water is moving enough to make it hard for me to keep my footing. These muddy waters are very deceptive. Some of the deaths in Georgia are the result of people being swept away as they attempted to drive through flood waters.

There’s more rain in the Atlanta forecast today making it less likely to see the water retreat.

More from David Mattingly on AC360° tonight at 10 p.m. ET.

Filed under: David Mattingly • Weather
September 11th, 2009
05:37 PM ET

Flight 93: In my thoughts each time I board a plane

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/05/29/flight.dispute/art.flight93land.cnn.jpg caption="This plot of land is scheduled to house the permanent Flight 93 memorial."]

David Mattingly | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

To me, the most powerful image of 9/11 will always be the large, blackened pit outside Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

I was vacationing in Altoona, Pa. at my mother-in-law's house when the attacks happened. When the reports first came in of a plane crash in Shanksville, I remember the immediate confusion I felt and the questions that came to mind: Was the crash a coincidence? How could it be part of the attack? Why Shanksville?

Details came in slowly that day but it soon became clear that the passengers of Flight 93 fought back against their hijackers. Their bravery prevented the jet from reaching it's apparent destination to a target in Washington, DC.

Knowing this, it was almost overwhelming to see the crash site for the first time. All I could see were some small pieces of debris scattered around the impact crater. The destruction was so complete there was nothing I could identify as a piece of an aircraft.

Like many frequent flyers, the Flight 93 passengers' actions touched me deeply. The thought of how easily that could have happened to me still resonates. I've never stopped wondering if I have what it takes to rise up in the face of death they way they did. I still think about them every time I board a plane.

August 21st, 2009
10:00 PM ET

Pathologist's work raises questions

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/08/21/art.crime.scene.tyler1.jpg caption="Tyler Edmonds at home in Columbus, M.S. with a dog he adopted from an animal shelter."]

Joneil Adriano
AC360° Producer

When other boys were playing football, learning to drive and chasing girls, Tyler Edmonds was a child locked up with adults, serving a life sentence in a Mississippi prison for a crime he didn’t commit.

Today, Edmonds is a free man. But he still holds a lot of resentment toward the state expert who helped to convict him of murder.

“I think that he’s the dirt of the Earth, the scum of the Earth,” Edmonds, 20, told CNN. “If anybody deserves to be in jail, it’s him.”

The target of Edmond’s scorn is Dr. Steven Hayne, a Mississippi forensic pathologist who testified at Edmonds’ 2004 trial. Edmonds, then only 14, was accused of murdering his brother-in-law, Joey Fulgham, who had been shot in the head with a single bullet.

Dr. Hayne performed the autopsy on Fulgham and concluded that “within reasonable medical certainty,” two people had likely fired the murder weapon. Dr. Hayne based his findings on his examination of the gunshot wound.


August 21st, 2009
03:11 PM ET

After wrongful conviction, young man shares '10 things I've learned'

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/08/21/art.vert.mattingly.tyler.jpg caption="David Mattingly talks to Tyler Edmonds, who adopted his dog from an animal shelter." width=292 height=320]

David Mattingly | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

When other 14-year-old boys were playing football, learning to drive and chasing girls, Tyler Edmonds was locked up with adults serving a life sentence in a Mississippi prison for a murder he didn't commit.

Now a free man after winning a new trial and an acquittal, Tyler comes across as an easy-going 20-year-old. But he carries a lot of resentment toward the state's expert witness whose testimony helped put him away for nearly four years.

It only took a few questions from me for it all to come spilling out.

For more details please see my story about Tyler on AC360° tonight. For now, I thought it was best to share something from Tyler that shows what a strong and thoughtful person he has struggled to become.

These are Tyler's "10 Things I've Learned" ...enjoy.


July 8th, 2009
09:28 PM ET

Fans gather to remember McNair

Program Note: Tune in tonight to hear more from David Mattingly on AC360° at 10 p.m. ET.

CNN's David Mattingly outside LP Field in Nashville.

David Mattingly | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

If LP Field in Nashville had a roof on it, then Steve McNair would have blown it off. I walked through the stadium talking to fans who had gathered to remember him after his scandalous death.

Everyone told me they are saddened by the lurid details of his personal life, but want to remember him as the star quarterback who took them to a Super Bowl.

Some memories can't be tainted.

June 26th, 2009
02:15 PM ET

Heating up in South Carolina?

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/06/23/south.carolina.governor.hiking/art.mark.sanford.gi.jpg caption="Gov. Mark Sanford, who admitted having an extramarital affair, apologized to his Cabinet."]

David Mattingly
AC360° Correspondent

It's hot in here.

It's day two since Governor Mark Sanford emerged from a secret trip to Argentina to announce he had been having an affair with a woman there.

We're in a conference room built for about 30 people, but it might be holding more than double that number as the governor tells his cabinet to continue with their duties.

He apologized to all his cabinet members in a brief opening comment then he got down to state business.

All indications seem to suggest that Sanford is looking for a way to salvage his political career. I wonder if he is feeling the heat?

Voices on both sides of the aisle are calling for his resignation.

June 24th, 2009
09:47 PM ET

A governor's tears – and legacy

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/06/24/south.carolina.governor/art.gov.sanford.scetv.jpg caption="South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford chokes up on Wednesday as he admits to having an affair."]

David Mattingly | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

There were tears in his eyes and no ring on his finger. Governor Mark Sanford stood in front of the cameras to explain his year-long affair with a woman from Argentina.

His wife released a statement saying she asked him to leave two weeks ago and now believes Sanford has "earned a chance to resurrect our marriage."

The people of South Carolina may not be so forgiving. Sanford left the country, misled his staff about his whereabouts and was unreachable for almost five days. His many critics will not let this transgression go.

Filed under: 360° Radar • David Mattingly
June 23rd, 2009
05:44 PM ET

Update: Searching for a governor...

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/06/23/art.mattingly.governor.jpg caption="David Mattingly stands at the end of the driveway to Gov. Sanford's beach house."]

David Mattingly
AC360° Correspondent

Our waiting paid off. About 3:30pm the wife of South Carolina's "missing" governor rode up the long driveway of the family's beach house and promptly asked me to leave.

Jenny Sanford seemed under stress and upset as she stepped out of the family's SUV with her young boys. She quickly ordered her children not to say anything to me.

I only had time to ask one question before she went inside: "Have you heard from your husband?"

She surprised me with an answer: "I am being a mom today. I have not heard from my husband. I am taking care of my children."

June 23rd, 2009
01:16 PM ET

Searching for a governor

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/06/23/art.mattingly.governor.jpg caption="David Mattingly stands at the end of the driveway to Gov. Sanford's beach house. Nobody is home."]

David Mattingly | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

Like most people in South Carolina today I'm looking for the Governor.

His staff says Governor Mark Sanford left the state to go hiking on the Appalachian Trail. State officials say he went alone. No Security, no family.

He didn't even tell his wife where he was going. That was Thursday.

Today I went to the Sanford family's house on Sullivan's Island and knocked on the door. I wanted to know if Mrs. Sanford had heard from her husband.

No surprises here...no one was home except a big happy lab running around in the yard. Heading back to Columbia now where the Governor is supposed to be back at work tomorrow.

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