The verdict

October 5, 2010 1:33:07 PM PDT
The verdict is hardly stunning, but it's news nonetheless. Steven Hayes - guilty on 16 of the 17 counts in the brutal rape and murder trial of a mother and her two daughters in Cheshire, Connecticut.

The father of the family - beaten but alive, and watching the trial. It was a painful experience, this courtroom procedure. The outcome wasn't so much in doubt, given that the man convicted today - and his pal who will be tried in a few months - have admitted the crime. But the question of whether they will be given the death penalty has been in doubt.

Now, that phase will begin.

Those against the death penalty have been challenged by this case. The crime was so heinous, so horrific, that it makes even opponents question whether there should be an exception made for the Petit family murderers.

We'll have reaction to the verdict, tonight at 11.

Also at 11, we'll have the latest on the terror alert. Coincidental to the Al Qaeda alerts in Europe, the NYPD today had a previously scheduled security meeting, and Amtrak had an already scheduled terror drill.

And we're in Greenwich Village with the investigation into last night's attack against several gay men. This latest bias crime has people scared and asking tough questions about police protection and about the increased violence against gays.

And we'll take a look at the new White House plan to install solar energy panels at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. Pres. Obama has made a big deal out of promoting alternative energy sources, and now he's investing in the White House. The first solar panels were put up by Jimmy Carter, but removed by Ronald Reagan. Pres. George W. Bush put up some, mostly to heat water. Now, Mr. Obama wants the new system to provide electricity from the sun.

Full disclosure: I'm a big believer in this, and I've installed panels on my house, as have my two closest neighbors.

And finally, we take a look at the new credit card reforms that were supposed to end abusive practices by credit card companies. Supposed to.

First, the good news - the average credit card balance in America is now about $3,800 - that's down $1,100 from last year. Clearly, Americans are spending less.

Now the bad news - some credit card companies are still charging huge interest rates on unpaid balances. Tonight, Consumer Reports shows us how to protect yourself.

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Lee Goldberg's AccuWeather forecast, and Scott Clark with the night's sports. I hope you can join Liz Cho and me, tonight at 11.

BILL RITTER

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