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Facebook Trading Starts Today; Arrest In Mississippi Highway Murders; Remembering The "Queen Of Disco"; New Photos Of Zimmerman's Injuries; Farewell to Disco Queen; Facebook Trading Starts Today; New Photos Of Zimmerman's Injuries

Aired May 18, 2012 - 05:59   ET


ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: Happy Friday. Good morning and welcome to EARLY START. I'm Zoraida Sambolin.

ALI VELSHI, CNN ANCHOR: Happy, it's sort of mixed. I'm not with you next week. So --

SAMBOLIN: I know. I'm sad about that.

VELSHI: Little sad about that.

But we've got Facebook. We've got a lot of stuff.

SAMBOLIN: I'm going to invite you back.

VELSHI: I hope so. I'm Ali Velshi. Ashleigh Banfield is on assignment. It's 6:00 a.m. in the east. Just a couple of hours, a historic offering on Wall Street. Facebook for sale on NASDAQ. Do not expect to pay that $38 IPO price we've been telling you about.

SAMBOLIN: Why not? I'm just kidding. I'm just kidding.

VELSHI: People are still asking on social media. We're going to talk to Christine Romans about that in just a moment.

SAMBOLIN: And we have breaking news in those deadly highway shootings in Mississippi folks. Police making an arrest in the case after a chaotic day of chasing suspects. We're going to have a live report for you.

And evidence is released in the Trayvon Martin murder, including this video of him taken just moments before he died. We're breaking down all of the evidence with our John Zarrella.

VELSHI: All right. Let's begin with Facebook, though. In just a few hours, Ticker symbol FB will appear on the NASDAQ and on whatever online trading platform you use. It will be a publicly traded company for the first time. The social network has set its final IPO price at $38 a share, which would value Facebook at just over $100 billion, making it the most valuable company ever at the time of its initial public offering.

The first time a private company gets offered to the public so that they can buy shares. Let's bring in Christine Romans to talk about what we know about what's going on at Facebook headquarters right now. It's not nervous anxiety. It's entirely different.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: No, they're not all sleeping in and getting ready for the big opening bell of the NASDAQ, which will actually ring from California. No. They're having an all-night hack- a-thon, the 31st. This is how Facebook gets excited about things. They spend the night. There's pictures from last night, and right now, they spend the night hacking, and what is hacking? It's programming.

It's investing things. This is how they came up with the "like" button with the timeline. They all sit around. Usually, they break out into groups, two engineers and a project manager, they have catered dinner, then they ordered Chinese food. They have a snack attack at 1:00 a.m. and all night long they invent things. Hacker you think it's a negative term, but it's really a positive thing in programming. Listen to what Mark Zuckerberg how he explained it to "60 Minutes."


MARK ZUCKERBERG, FACEBOOK FOUNDER AND CEO: When we say hacker, there is that whole definition that engineers have for themselves, where it's very much a compliment when you call someone a hacker, to hack something means to build something very quickly, in one night, you can sit down and you could churn out a lot of code and at the end have a product.


ROMANS: Yes, pretty amazing stuff. When you look at the hoodies they're all wearing it's an interesting little cult there at Facebook, the hoodie, Mark Zuckerburg wears his all the time and he was criticized for wearing it to meet with big bankers. The hoodie, he never takes it off.

ALI VELSHI, CNN ANCHOR: Except perhaps to shower.

ROMANS: I bet you don't know this about the famous hoodie. I want you to listen to this sound.


ZUCKERBERG: It's a company hoodie. We print our mission on the inside.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What? The inside of the hoodie, everybody. Take a look. What is it?

ZUCKERBERG: Making the world more open and connected.


ROMANS: Can you believe it? Isn't that cool? Making the world more open and connected so it's a company-issued hoodie. They all get them, he wears it and inside closest to him all the time is the mission of Facebook. That's a little bit about Mark Zuckerberg.

SAMBOLIN: I actually like that now, right? I mean, because he needs to do that.

ROMANS: Everyone's got them.

VELSHI: I'm keeping an eye on Facebook and Twitter and have a billion questions. Let's make one thing clear, the IPO price is not the price that most people will be able to buy that stock at.

But any human in the world with a trading account, if you want it badly enough, can buy Facebook today at whatever the market dictates the price is going to be.

ROMANS: Absolutely. You can go and place your order today. I'm not even sure you might be able to get a trade done today to be quite honest.

VELSHI: That's just because of volume and all that.

ROMANS: The first price we're going to see on Facebook I'm expecting it's going to be around 11:00, we really just don't know. There's a lot of demand for this. It was trading the stock privately trading hands among people who got it already.

You know, the employees, people given shares, the pre-public shares, those were trading around $44 a share before, $38 is what has been priced. Ryan Mack from Optimum Capital Management thought it would go to 90 today, which would be twice what it was trading on the insiders before so keep that in mind.

We keep talk about a limit order. If you think the stock is worth 50, this is just a random number, 50 then you put in a limit order for 50. If you put in a market order for the stock you could pay sky high and it could come down in a few days.

VELSHI: Good advice.

SAMBOLIN: Thank you.

We have breaking news at this hour. We're hearing there has been an arrest in connection to two highway murders last week in Mississippi. Ed Lavandera is live in Dallas. I know you have been working the story hard. What have you found out?

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We've been able to clear up all the confusion we had a little while ago. Authorities in northwest Mississippi are announcing that they have made an arrest in those two deadly shootings that were made last week.

And later today, they will announce the arrest of a man by the name of James Willy, 28 years old and authorities, Mississippi state officials and local officials in the town of Tunica, Mississippi, which is very close to where this happened, say on Tuesday afternoon they were called to a disturbance at an apartment complex in Mississippi.

And when they arrived there, a woman was alleging that James Willy had raped her while they took him into custody and searched him, they found a .9 millimeter handgun and ballistics tests were done on the handgun.

And authorities in Mississippi say that has tied that gun and this suspect to those murders and shootings that happened last week in Mississippi, a great deal, a great number of people in the Mississippi area frightened by all this.

Authorities in Mississippi had said the suspect was perhaps impersonating a police officer and that's why they pulled over in the early morning hours in the darkness and that's when the shootings happened.

But the big news here and the big development here is that Mississippi officials say 28-year-old James Willy has been arrested. He will be charged with murder. More information to come throughout the day as officials in Mississippi plan a press conference for later today to explain more details on this developing story -- Zoraida.

SAMBOLIN: All right, Ed Lavandera, thank you for all of those details. We really appreciate it.

VELSHI: Well, the music world is mourning the loss of disco's original queen, Donna Summer. She died yesterday after a long battle with cancer. She was 63 years old, just 63.

Summer had a string of mega hits in the '70s and '80s. Can't believe I have to say them. They're just so familiar to us, "Last Dance," "Love To Love You Baby." Fellow artists say she'll be missed.


JOHN LEGEND, SINGER: We really lost somebody who was great and such an important artist of her time and of a particular type of music that was so important of America's pop cultural history.


VELSHI: Donna Summer's family say she was a woman of many gifts, the greatest one being her faith. We're going to have more on Donna Summer's life and legacy coming up 6:20 a.m. Eastern Time. "The Wall Street Journal's" Christopher Farley joins us.

SAMBOLIN: A little less than 24 hours away from the launch from the first commercial rocket headed to the International Space Station, it's set to lift off from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 4:5 a.m. Saturday. It's a major first step in NASA's plan to turn over space station missions to commercial enterprises.

VELSHI: Well, a team that barely made it into the playoffs is one win away from a Stanley Cup final, the L.A. Kings --

SAMBOLIN: Can you believe that? VELSHI: I can't. The L.A. Kings beat the Phoenix Coyotes last night 2-1 to take a 3-0 lead in the western conference final. The Kings trying to make the Stanley Cup final for the first time since Wayne Gretzky led the team in 1993. I'm from Toronto so we just always hope that 1967 won't be the last year that we win the Stanley Cup.

SAMBOLIN: All right, ahead on EARLY START we have new evidence in the Trayvon Martin case. We will show you what George Zimmerman's head looked like right after he shot Martin.

Also surveillance video of a Florida teen's final moments alive.

VELSHI: And entirely unrelated, but moments of terror caught on tape, listen to the gunfire in the background, people running for their lives. This isn't a movie set, it is real. A gun battle rages on a crowded city street. We've got more video and the story behind it when we return with EARLY START. Don't change the channel.


VELSHI: Dramatic developments to tell you about in the Trayvon Martin case, now that the state of Florida has released new evidence to the public, like this surveillance video of the Florida teenager just moments before he died, buying skittles and a drink at a nearby 7-11.

And the official autopsy on Martin showing he had drugs in his system. Police reports reveal two weeks after the tragedy, officers in Sanford, Florida, concluded that Martin's death was ultimately avoidable.

Only Zimmerman, if he had stayed in his car like 9/11 dispatchers had requested. These newly released photos, these police photos of George Zimmerman showing an injury to his nose, as well as bloody lacerations to his scalp in the hours after his deadly encounter with Trayvon Martin, who was unarmed.

CNN's John Zarrella is live from Miami, poring over the evidence that's come out. Any game changers so far, John?

JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Ali, ultimately the attorneys are going to spin it, put their own mold to it, and mold it the way they want it and that's why you go to trial and ultimately it's going to be up to a jury to decide what game changers there were or weren't.

One of the things that's interesting, and I looked over about 200 pages that came out and looking at some of the witness statements, they're all pretty consistent, that they heard the yells for help.

They heard the gunshots but none of them actually saw what actually transpired. Now, one of the witnesses says that they saw someone on top of the other punching the man on the ground, call police, run upstairs, hear the gunshot.

When they get upstairs, look out the window upstairs, the man who was on top doing the punching according to this witness is now the person who is lying dead on the ground. You have that in the witness statement.

You have the autopsy report that says that the gunshot entered the left chest and then hit the right ventricle. There was no exit wound. You referenced the marijuana, the THC, in the blood. Experts say don't read too much into that, because in the blood, the THC can linger for up to a week after its use.

But in some states that allow medical marijuana to be used, they're saying that the level that was in his blood is equivalent to what would be considered somewhat impaired for driving. Now, we talked on the Piers Morgan last night, who spoke with the attorneys representing both sides to get their take on the evidence.


MARK O'MARA, ATTORNEY FOR GEORGE ZIMMERMAN: Whether it's an autopsy report or a medical record or some video or even a picture, it's what becomes the people's focus, but it's only one small sliver and then they make the decision on the sliver, and that pre-judging the facts carries through to the next fact and it's just not appropriate.

BENJAMIN CRUMP, ATTORNEY FOR MARTIN FAMILY: Again, you have to put it in context, Piers. George Zimmerman pursued and confronted Trayvon Martin, after he profiled him, and initiated an altercation. We believe Trayvon Martin went to his grave not knowing who this strange man was, that was confronting him.


ZARRELLA: A lot had been made of the 911 recording where George Zimmerman had supposedly uttering some racial epithet, you know, a slur, but the FBI analysis that was released also yesterday said that it was inconclusive, that the poor quality of the recording made it impossible to determine exactly what was being said on that recording.

VELSHI: And John, while you're talking about not knowing what was being said on the recording there was a 911 recording that Trayvon's mother said sounded like him calling for help. Trayvon's father heard the recording and was less certain it was Trayvon?

ZARRELLA: Yes, the same thing there from the FBI, that could not determine who it was, and neither could the witnesses that were quoted in all of the witness statements could not determine exactly who was calling for help.

VELSHI: John Zarrella, thanks very much. I know you'll continue to pore over any of that stuff and if anything develops from it. John Zarrella in Miami.

SAMBOLIN: A lot of details to go over there. All right, one crime scene, two separate deadly shootings during a bloody afternoon in Louisville. This is incredible video. Police responding to a shooting that left two men dead, about 90 minutes after that incident, more shots rang out.

That's incredible. You hear that in the background all the shots. It was a terrifying scene outside a university hospital. Here's a look at it from a different angle.

That's just incredible. Look at all the people around and officers with their guns pulled, in the crowd of witnesses, one woman pulled out a gun and fatally shot another woman and a police officer shot and wounded her. In all, three people were killed and three others wounded. Police are piecing together possible motives here.

VELSHI: Really remarkable.

All right. Fifteen minutes after the hour. Let's get you up- to-date.

Here's Christine Romans.

ROMANS: Good morning you two.

In just a few hours, Facebook will be a publicly traded company, ticker symbol FB will hit the NASDAQ today. Initial offering price $38 a share, although who knows what you'll pay by the time it hits the open market when you can buy shares today.

Breaking news in those deadly highway shootings in Mississippi. Police made an arrest in just the past hour. CNN learning 28-year-old James Willie has been charged. This is a mug shot of him. Police linked his gun to the two separate shootings that left a man and a woman dead and terrified people driving in that state.

Willy was actually caught Tuesday after allegedly raping a woman. That's where people were able to find the gun, test it and link it to the murders.

John Edwards' fate is in the hands of a jury. They'll begin deliberating this morning whether the former North Carolina is guilty of six counts of campaign fraud and conspiracy. He's accused of using campaign cash to cover up his affair. Edward's lawyers asking jurors to find him not guilty yesterday, urging them to separate sin from criminal behavior.

"I'll Have Another" going for the second leg of the Triple Crown at the 137th Preakness. Bodemeister is the favorite going into the race tomorrow, even though "I'll Have Another" ran him down and beat him in the final 500 yards at the Kentucky Derby two weeks ago.

If you're leaving the house right now, you can watch us any time on your desktop or your mobile phone, just go to

VELSHI: I don't get the horse names. You like them.

SAMBOLIN: I love them. That's how I pick my horses.

ROMANS: "I'll Have Another".

VELSHI: I keep listening to you guys say this, what are you talking about? Oh, it's horse racing, OK.

SAMBOLIN: Bodemeister, you didn't watch it in.

VELSHI: Bodemeister sounds like something. "I'll Have Another" sounds like stuff I'll say at the bar.


VELSHI: Indeed. Moving on.

It's easy to forget that decade depth of the disco era how Donna Summer meant to popular music -- actually, it's not easy to forget. This woman influenced all of us. She paved the way for everyone, from Madonna to Rihanna. More on her life and legacy coming up.


SAMBOLIN: Was that your favorite? That is Donna Summer. They're singing "Last Dance." The disco legend died of lung cancer yesterday at the age of 63. Summer had 14 top ten singles in the United States, three number one albums in a row and she won five Grammys.

President Obama released a statement on her passing writing, quote, "Her voice was unforgettable and the music industry has lost a legend far too soon."

Christopher Farley is a senior editorial director of digital features at "The Wall Street Journal" and he is joining us this morning.

Thank you so much.

CHRISTOPHER JOHN FARLEY, WALL STREET JOURNAL: Thanks for having me. Appreciate it.

SAMBOLIN: When I read this, it came across the e-mail I thought, wow. It was a surprise to me. Do you think it was a surprise to a lot of her fans, not knowing she was ill?

FARLEY: Well, reportedly she had been fighting cancer for some time so I think to her close friends, this didn't come to a surprise. But to her fans obviously, it did come as a surprise. She hadn't been in the public eye for a while. She hadn't released an album since 2008. And that was her first studio album in years.

So, she hadn't been front and center. But now she is, people remember her music and what made her so fame to us begin with.

SAMBOLIN: We were listening to her first hit "Love to Love You Baby" launched her as an artist and as a sex symbol and she went through a lot of different phases.

What do you think her legacy will be?

FARLEY: Well, I think her legacy really will be helping to create the whole disco era and the disco sound but more than that bringing in electronic music field to dance music and showing that innovation and dance music don't have to be incompatible. I mean, she actually helped create the electronic music dance craze.

SAMBOLIN: Was it a particular song she did?

FARLEY: Yes, "I Feel Love," 1977 hit. It was a first main stream song with a synthesized backing track. Completely synthesized backing track. It was a game danger. David Bowie wrote how it affected him, Britney Spears sampled it, Madonna has performed it, Beyonce sampled it on her first solo album.

This song changed the game for a lot of female singers showing you can make music in a different, creative way, make disco sounds futuristic and we still hear echoes of it with people like Rihanna.

SAMBOLIN: I grew up with Donna Summer and trying to figure out which is my favorite song of hers.

Lot of people saw her as a sex symbol. Was she comfortable with that?

FARLEY: She wasn't always comfortable with that. Of course, that first song, it sounds like she's reaching climax again and again and again in that song.

SAMBOLIN: Tell me how that song was recorded because I thought that was interesting.

FARLEY: What's fascinating about she co-wrote -- to me, the most interesting part is the fact that she-wrote the song. Lot of the disco divas receive songs, people give them songs, but she's someone who was a collaborator. And the way she envisioned the song thought of herself as Marilyn Monroe in a play acting a part and wasn't just trying to do something dirty on record.

SAMBOLIN: And which song in that was particular?

FARLEY: "Love to Love You Baby."

SAMBOLIN: The first one for you here.

All right. Let's listen to one of her 1977 hits "I Feel Love" again for a minute.


FARLEY: I just want to dance right now.

SAMBOLIN: Yes, and this is the one that you were talking. I just want to end here with the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame, because yesterday came out with a statement. It was John Landau. And he believes that "there is absolutely no doubt that the extraordinary Donna Summer belongs in the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame. Regrettably despite being nominated on a number of occasions, our voting group has failed to recognize her, an error I can only hope is finally and permanently rectified next year."

I never thought of her as somebody who would be in the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame.

FARLEY: She should be there. She's an innovator, took three double albums to number one in a row. She's somebody with a series of concept albums, one album is all about music of the past and the future, those kinds of concerts of that album. Another album is all about love, another album all about the seasons.

She always tried to push the boundaries of the art and stood out among the disposable disco queens of her age. We're still talking about her today. She's still being covered on shows like "American Idol." She's someone who should be on the Hall.

It's strange that she's not and maybe as John Landau says, they'll change that in the future.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Christopher John Farley -- thank you for joining us with your perspective. I think we'll agree that we love her music.

FARLEY: I think so.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Ali, back to you.

VELSHI: I loved the fact he referred to double albums, that alone takes me back to another day. Yes, we all love her music.

SAMBOLIN: I know. Back in the day.

VELSHI: All right. Here's an interesting story, second grader raises a raucous at school. Take a look at why he's got black face on -- boy, brings back memories. He says there's a good reason for it. Judge for yourself if he should have gotten in trouble when you hear him in his own words when we come back.


VELSHI: Welcome back to EARLY START. I'm Ali Velshi, in for Ashleigh Banfield.

SAMBOLIN: And I'm Zoraida Sambolin.

Here is what is happening at half last the hour.

In just a few hours, you can own a share of Facebook. The social network begins trading on the NASDAQ after the opening bell this morning. While it is listed at $38, we're talking with Christine Romans about what price it will really land on when it hits the boards.

VELSHI: And we're getting a look at just released evidence in the Trayvon Martin case, includes police photos of shooter George Zimmerman's injuries and 7-Eleven surveillance video of Trayvon taken moments before he was killed.

SAMBOLIN: And breaking this hour: an arrest in Mississippi in connection to two fatal highway shootings last week. Police say they will charge 28-year-old James Willie with the murders. Authorities have said the suspected shooter was impersonating a police officer.

VELSHI: Let's start with Facebook, though. Today is the day when you decide whether to buy all the hype. Facebook is going public in just a few hours from now. It's an historic IPO..

Let's bring Alison Kosik who is at the NASDAQ market site this morning, which is where all of the action is going to be -- Alison.

ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: You know what, Ali? This is kind of Super Bowl of market events happening right here at the NASDAQ. Now, although Facebook executives aren't going to be here in person to ring the opening bell, they're going to be ringing the open bell remotely from Menlo Park, where Facebook is located.

And yes, the price is going to open at $38. Behind me, it will start trading, you'll see the numbers behind me where the unchanged is, is where you'll see the difference in price from $38, whether it drops, whether it goes up. It's going to be traded under the ticker symbol FB -- Ali.

VELSHI: All right. Alison, bottom line, is anybody can buy it but you may not see that unchanged, you may not see that $38 changed right at 9:30, may not see it at 10:30, might be 11:00 before you see a price.

KOSIK: Exactly. What often happens is these IPOs, they kind of want to have their own sort of coming out, they want to have their own time to sort of start trading.

Also, there's a practical factor in this. You know, last night, after the market closed, a lot of buy orders have been going in. It takes time for all that to come in for those institutional investors, for the underwriters, to get their first shot at that $38 price. So, when the market opens, which could be around 11:00 Eastern Time, even 11:30, yes, it's going to start at $38.

But you know what? We're in an age of electronic trading and you know what's going to happen? The buyers and sellers in nanoseconds are going to be trading the stock so before the average person can get in, chances are the stock is definitely going to be bid higher.

VELSHI: Right. But everybody can get in. There's some rumors and misconceptions that today, regular can't trade.

KOSIK: You can get in.

VELSHI: You can.

Alison will be standing there. I'll be at the NASDAQ a little later. Once you see that number starts trading, that means you can get onto your online account, if you want to, and don't take it from us that you should. But if you want to, that's when you can start.

Alison, I'll see you there in about an hour and a half.

KOSIK: See you soon.

VELSHI: All right.

SAMBOLIN: Thirty-two minutes past the hour.

Two congressmen are going after Facebook cofounder Eduardo Saverin for his efforts to dodge paying tens of millions of dollars in taxes. That's what they say. Saverin used his life savings, $30,000 to fund Mark Zuckerberg plan for a social networking Web site. He may be worth now close to $3 billion now that Facebook is going public.

But Saverin moved to Singapore, denouncing U.S. citizenship -- a move that could save him $67 million in taxes. Enter New York Senator Chuck Schumer. He believes Saverin's decision to leave America was nothing more than a tax dodge. He is introducing new legislation now that would impose a big capital gains tax on people like Saverin and forbidding them from ever entering the country again.


SEN. CHARLES SCHUMER (D), NEW YORK: This tax avoidance scheme is outrageous. Eduardo Saverin wants to defriend the United States of America just to avoid paying taxes and we aren't going to let him get away with it.


SAMBOLIN: Saverin says his decision to move to Singapore was personal and not a tax dodge, insisting he plans to meet all non- citizen tax obligations that the U.S. requires. "The Wall Street Journal" is saying in an op-ed piece this morning, quote, "The way to continue to be a magnate for the best and brightest is not to impose Soviet-style exit taxes to punish people who want to leave the country. That is what oppressive and demagoguic -- I'm sorry, demagogic regimes and it's humiliating to see U.S. senators posture in such fashion -- excuse me for that.

VELSHI: I don't think I would have to say demagogic or demagogic. Perhaps people quoting shouldn't have to use that language.

The one thing is interesting is what he said was that he will obey any U.S. laws while he was a U.S. citizen. So, he put this little thing at the end of the sentence which basically said, since I'm not going to be a U.S. citizen I don't have to do it.

SAMBOLIN: He's already denounced it, right?

VELSHI: Therein lies the rub. He turns, I'll obey all the tax laws while I was a citizen. That's going to be tricky. Everybody's looking for a piece of the action.

SAMBOLIN: Can they retro that?

VELSHI: I think that's what Schumer wants to imply. Reforming the tax code is a complicated matter.

All right. A second grader in Colorado gets in trouble for wearing blackface to school. Eight-year-old Sean King dressed up as Martin Luther King Jr. for a school project and donned black face paint as part of his costume.

Now, school officials asked him to wash it off saying it was offending other students and faculty. King refused saying he didn't mean to insult anybody.


SEAN KING: They thought it was inappropriate and it would be disrespectful to black people but I say that it's not. I like black people. I don't want to be mean to them. It's just a costume. I don't want to insult anybody.


VELSHI: His parents didn't want him to remove the makeup either. They pulled him out of school instead. You know black face has historically been used by white performers to mock black people in offensive ways.

School officials say wearing the face paint goes against school policy. It's a complex issue particularly since what's the opportunity to teach the kid something about history and context? The issue is context.

SAMBOLIN: We were having a really good conversation about this off camera and it's a matter of what you understand versus what you don't understand. You are arguing that perhaps the family doesn't know this could be offensive.

VELSHI: Yes, that there's a whole historical context behind black face that isn't dressing up by someone.

SAMBOLIN: Yes. But my arguments become that at the end of the day, even my 13-year-old is studying this in school. So I don't think it's that far removed from people's memories.

VELSHI: This is the opportunity to bring the students together?


VELSHI: And say, look maybe the kid was trying to do something to honor Martin Luther King but still recent enough in memory that some people see as mocking, not honoring.

SAMBOLIN: Absolutely, could be offended.

All right. Thirty-six minutes past the hour.

Now, a killer's mom starts a Web site to raise money, claiming racism at the workplace led her son to commit the worst mass shooting ever in one state, co-workers are fuming. We will be speaking to them coming up next.

VELSHI: All right. But, first, a quick check on your travel forecast with our man, Rob Marciano.

ROB MARCIANO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Good morning, guys. Hey, listen, if you're traveling out west to see these solar eclipse this Sunday, looking good, especially to a place you want to go to, Lubbock, to Reno, up towards Reading, California, as well.

Here's the weather forecast map. Looking good across the Northeast, down across the southeast looking at showers, warm conditions in through the Midwest and the Northern Plains, the fire threat continues out west.

Eighty-five degrees expected in Denver, 72 degrees, good looking day in New York City, and weather should hold in Maryland as well, down the stretch they come for the Preakness, temperatures in the 70s and a dry, fast track expected.

You're up to date weather-wise. EARLY START is coming right back.


VELSHI: It's a beautiful picture of New York City with the sun rising, 55 degrees right now, 72 degrees later. We're looking north up the Hudson River, that's the George Washington bridge, looks really calm and quiet right now. You know there are thousands of people trying to get across that river one way or the other going to work this morning.

The mother of a man who killed eight employees, co-workers and himself at a Connecticut beer distribution warehouse in 2010 has found herself at the center of controversy, after starting a Web site that she says is a memorial to her son. She's been using the Web site to, quote, "raise awareness about racism."

The shooter, Omar re Thornton, said he committed the crime because of the racist treatment he experienced at the warehouse. Police investigation found no evidence to support that claim.

So, joining me is Omar Thornton's mother, Lillie Holliday.

Lillie, thank you for being with us.

This is -- this is two years ago. It still hurts you like it just happened.


VELSHI: What hurts you about it?

HOLLIDAY: The pain of missing my son. Also I'm waiting for, I haven't seen any evidence of anything that they found that happened. I know something went wrong.

VELSHI: But you accept that he did kill his co-workers.

HOLLIDAY: I accept the fact that he did that. I accept the fact that that happened, but I believe that he was stressed. I saw a change in him before this happened, and he went through a lot of different changes on the job, and I believe at the end, that's what pushed him over.

VELSHI: He said -- why did you come to believe this might have been caused by racism?

HOLLIDAY: Because he would, I believe it was racism, bullying, disrespect -- just a combination of different things from what he would say when he was complaining, we would tell me, he said to me a man hit him in the back of his leg with a crane is what you call it, and he had to get treatments for it, he reported it and then they came in, he said that he reported it and they had a conversation about it and the next day he came in, the man laughed at him, and that they didn't do anything to discipline the man.

And then you know, we would tell me things from time to time that was going on with him.

VELSHI: You couldn't, from what I've seen that you've written and said, you just could never envision your son killing anyone. You said he was just a kind, generous man.

HOLLIDAY: Yes, he was a very kind person, generous, always wanted to help people, and just a nice person, and intelligent person.

VELSHI: So, what do you think happened? I mean, could have been racism that did this, but that doesn't generally cause somebody to kill people.

HOLLIDAY: I believe that it was constantly things that they did. He went there, they hired him as a truck driver, and they put him in the shipping and receiving or something department and they kept him there for a year and a half. He started writing letters, him and his girlfriend, to them, to try to get them to give him the driving position.

Well, one day, they got him out to drive for the first time, to my understanding, according to what he told me, and it was a snowstorm and he drove the truck and the deliveries and after that they put him back into the shipping or basement or whatever it is that they do there, and they didn't allow him to drive.

So he started writing and kept writing letters to them to get the driving position that they originally hired him for, so it took them a year and a half to actually give him the driving position.

VELSHI: So you started up the Web site. And you have a statement says what it's for, it says the Omar Sharif Thornton memorial fund is a means to provide continuing educational programs that bring awareness to the evils of racism. Your financial contribution will assist in shaping a safer environment for our families and loved ones.

Have you raised any money?

HOLLIDAY: I haven't raised any money yet. There are certain papers I'm supposed to turn that I haven't turned in. As a matter of fact, today I would do that. I found out people were able to make donations to the account, but I was telling people that they couldn't make donations to the account because I hadn't turned in the papers to the secretary of state.

VELSHI: You've been at the center of controversy. The Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection said they've been receiving complaints or they've received a complaint and they're investigating the site. Have you heard that?

HOLLIDAY: I heard that just yesterday. That's the first time I heard anything about it.

VELSHI: Do you know what it's about? Have they contacted you?

HOLLIDAY: No, they haven't contacted me.

VELSHI: What would they find out if they called you and asked you, what are you going to use the money for?

HOLLIDAY: I would tell them that the money is going to be used to bring awareness to unfair treatment in the workplace. And I would tell them that I want to do my own investigation to find out what happened leading up to 8/3/2010.

VELSHI: How do you, as a grieving mother, respond to the families of the other victims who say you're kind of making this about your son and not remembering them. They didn't deserve to die.

HOLLIDAY: I didn't do this to try to open any wounds or hurt anyone. I mean I'm trying to find out what happened, what led up to 8/3/2010. And I would hope that the families would want to know, too, so that we can prevent this from happening to any other family. We're all hurting, we're all going through pain.

VELSHI: And I know you're trying to deal with that pain. If you found out that this was causing a lot of pain to those families and they asked you to take it down, what would you say?

HOLLIDAY: I would hope that they would not ask me to take it down. I would hope that they would want to find out what really happened also, because it's not something that we need to fight to take it down. I'm not trying to hurt anybody. We need to fight to work together to make this not happen again. My son was bullied, unfairly treated, and he went through a lot of different changes, and he went through a lot of pain.

VELSHI: Lillie Holliday, thank you for joining us.

HOLLIDAY: Thank you.

VELSHI: All right -- Zoraida.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Brooke Baldwin is in for Soledad O'Brien today, and she joins us now with the look of what is ahead on "Starting Point."


SAMBOLIN: Happy Friday.

BALDWIN: Still ahead this morning, you guys have been all over this morning. We're talking the IPO, Initial Public Offering, when it comes to Facebook. We're all over the story. Big day, obviously, for the Menlo Park folks in California. We're going to take you live to NASDAQ as trading begins.

Also, Facebook's Wall Street debut attracting the government's attention as well. Do you this guy's story? His co-founder, Eduardo Saverin, he has been alleged to be cheating the U.S. out of something between $67 million and $100 million in taxes? Is that case? What is this ex-patriot bill?

Also ahead, I love this show. Inside the actors studio. James Lipton, himself, will be in studio offering acting advice or as he phrases it, how to act human to Mitt Romney. We'll get his two cents on President Obama as well, and I'm just kind of curious as to how in the world he gets to all those blue cards, apparently, hours and hours of interviewing and work on his show. We'll get the back story for you this morning.

Also, teen idol, David Cassidy, you know the song (SINGING)

SAMBOLIN: She sings, too.

BALDWIN: Oh, I don't sing so well. Please don't turn the channel. I apologize. We're going to talk about that song. We're also going to get his thoughts on the passing of disco icon, Donna Summer, and he is very much so a voice now for Alzheimer's because his mother suffered severe dementia. She's 88 years old. We'll get his thoughts on that.

And don't forget, watch us -- Ali Velshi, I see you. Watch us, CNN live on your computer, look at him peeking out, mobile phone, The evil Velshi lurking around the corner.



SAMBOLIN: Fifty-one minutes past the hour. Let's get you up to date again. Christine Romans, good morning.



ROMANS (voice-over): Breaking news in those deadly highway shootings in Mississippi. Police have made an arrest this hour. In just the past hour, CNN learning 28-year-old James Willy (ph) has been charged. This is his mug shot. Police say they've linked Willy's gun to those two separate shootings that left a man and woman dead after -- and terrified people driving, frankly, in that state.

Willy was actually caught Tuesday after allegedly raping a woman. That's how police were able to find the gun and link it to the murders.

New evidence made public in the Trayvon Martin case. It includes police photos of shooter, George Zimmerman, with an injury to his nose and lacerations on the back of his head in the hours after the deadly confrontation with the Florida teen.

And there's surveillance video of Martin in the moments before he died, making a purchase at a nearby 7-11. And the official autopsy on Martin showing he had traces of marijuana in his system.

Supreme Court justice, Stephen Breyer, robbed for the second time this year. This time, no one was home, thankfully. Officials say earlier this month, a housekeeper discovered Breyer's Washington home have been broken into and burglarized. Back in February, Breyer was robbed by a man carrying a machete at his vacation home in the Caribbean.


ROMANS (on-camera): All right. Today's best advice comes from the late Steve Jobs in his now legendary commencement speech at Stanford University in 2005.


STEVE JOBS, APPLE FOUNDER: Again, you can't connect the dots looking forward. You can only connect them looking backwards. So, you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.

You have to trust in something, your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever, because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leads you off the well-worn path, and that will make all the difference.

(END VIDEO CLIP) ROMANS: Gosh! And I chose that one, you guys, because he is such an innovator and someone who a lot of people are comparing Mark Zuckerberg to and the Facebook experience to. Another one of my heroes is Thomas Edison, the wizard of Menlo Park. Menlo Park, New Jersey. Today all eyes will be on Menlo Park, California and the new wizard, Mark Zuckerberg.

VELSHI: What Steve Jobs had to that commencement address, though, was the wisdom of many years, including some big failure, which we haven't seen Mark Zuckerberg have. And I think there are a lot of investors who are hoping that the failure doesn't come on their watch once they become investors in the company.


VELSHI: All right. Christine, thanks a lot.

ROMANS: You're welcome.

VELSHI: Heads or tails, they'll make that choice very carefully in Texas today because of the future of one community, it's going to depend on a coin toss. We'll have that story next.


SAMBOLIN: Fifty-seven minutes past the hour. Time for "Early Read."

A toss-up in Texas literally here. This afternoon, voters in the city of deciding their city council election with a coin flip. Affiliate, KJTV, says weekend voting ended in a draw with both candidates snagging 118 votes. So, the men decided to save the taxpayers a cost of a runoff by agreeing to a coin toss.

VELSHI: That's actually how we decide whether who's reading the next story.


VELSHI: That's 236 people cast ballots. I just don't understand how expensive another election could have been.

SAMBOLIN: But how inexpensive it is to just toss a coin, right?

VELSHI: That's responsibility. Both of them should win. They should share the job.

Unbelievable story from our Kentucky affiliate, WLEX, a summer Santa. I love this story. A businessman in Clark County buys out a K-Mart that's closing down. That's the guy, 76-year-old Rankin Paynter (ph), purchased everything in the store, donated all of it to charity. The estimated cost of all of it is $200,000.

Paynter (ph) is even paying rent for a building to store all the stuff while a non-profit makes plans to distribute it. And, here's the great part, 90 percent of it is winter clothing. Paynter says, quote, "I just figured that my family isn't going to go cold and hungry this winter, but this was something I could do to help a lot of people." Wasn't that great?

SAMBOLIN: Yes. Yes. Human kindness. It's been a joy to have you this week.

VELSHI: I've (ph) enjoyed being with you.

SAMBOLIN: This guy brings a lot of energy to the table.


VELSHI: We will work again another time. Thank you for hosting me here. That's it for EARLY START from "A" to "Z." I'm Ali Velshi.

SAMBOLIN: And I'm Zoraida Sambolin. "STARTING POINT" with Brooke Baldwin starts right now.