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New Details On Aurora Shooting; Alabama Wins BCS Championship, Defeats Notre Dame; Consumer Electronics Show Kicks Off Today

Aired January 8, 2013 - 05:30   ET



JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Relaxed and detached. A new chilly account of the accused Aurora shooter's demeanor right after the massacre.

ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: Technology, the next generation. Tomorrow's gadgets unveiled today at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

BERMAN: And what goes up should not have come down. A camera captures the first chaotic moments of a bizarre escalator malfunction. That just looks bad.


BERMAN: All right. Welcome back to EARLY START, everyone. I'm John Berman.

SAMBOLIN: And I'm Zoraida Sambolin. It is January 8th. Thirty minutes past the hour here. We have new details this morning about the immediate aftermath of the Aurora theater shooting massacre. A police officer testifying that the alleged shooter seemed very detached from it all.

The details are coming out at a preliminary hearing for James Holmes. Other officers described the chaos and all the confusion at the scene as they tried to help victims. One officer saying he thought Holmes, who was wearing a helmet and a gas mask, was a fellow cop.

BERMAN: Now, more witnesses will take the stand today. This hearing will ultimately determine whether there is probable cause for trial. Criminal defense attorney, Joey Jackson, joins us this morning to talk about all the latest developments. And Joey, yesterday's testimony focused really on the immediate aftermath of the shooting.

And we heard from police officers who came upon James Holmes first. And this is how they describe him. They called him "very calm and moving with purpose." Another officer said, "It was like there weren't normal emotional responses." It seems, like I said, a lot of this that's going on in court right now, trying to frame his mental state. What do these statements from the cops tell you about his mental state?

JOEY JACKSON, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I think they certainly will be an issue, John. I think, in this case, obviously, I think the defense ultimately will move towards the insanity plea, right? And interesting about this, though, is insanity, we have to know, in Colorado, much different from other jurisdictions. Why? Because in other jurisdictions, the burden is on the defense, right?

To establish that there's insanity. In Colorado, John, it's a little bit different than that, right? Because the prosecution has to establish sanity, the burden's on them. So, of course, you know, that hasn't been played out yet. I presume it will. That's where this is going. But when it does, that's what makes it interesting, the burden of proof being on the prosecution.

SAMBOLIN: And Joey, Holmes' demeanor in court, very much the way that these police officers described it when they first came upon him. He didn't speak during the hearing. He displayed absolutely no emotion while listening to the chilling testimony. Does this help or hurt the case?

JACKSON: I think, ultimately, from a defense perspective, it goes to show that he was insane, right, Zoraida? Something was amiss. When you have an incident like this and the police officers, first responders, testifying as to him being detached, as to him just smirking at them, as to him just having -- being emotionless in something like this, what does it tell you?

It tells you that a normal person would be very anxious, very responsive, very nervous, just distressed. This person, Zoraida, is standing by a car with his hands on the car.

SAMBOLIN: At the scene of the crime, right?

JACKSON: Just you know, with no emotion.


JACKSON: It's just -- it's bad.

BERMAN: We're hearing different accounts from victims' families, some of whom were in the room, some were watching on a monitor nearby in the courtroom yesterday. We heard from the father of one of the shooting victims, Tom Teves. Let's listen to what he said.


TOM TEVES, FATHER OF A SHOOTING VICTIM: I never stopped watching him in the courtroom. As soon as he saw different things happen and he smiled a couple times, very quickly because he caught himself because he's really pretending to be crazy. That guy's evil, but there's no way that guy's crazy.


BERMAN: So, what's interesting to me about this was this was someone in the room. And these are the types of things you usually hear later in a trial, during a jury trial.

JACKSON: Right. BERMAN: Right now, it's just a judge. What is he looking at?

JACKSON: Well, here's what happens. You know, According to our constitution, of course, a person is entitled to a preliminary hearing. What does that mean? It means is there probable cause to detain you further and to move forward to trial?

And so, what the judge is examining is all of the evidence to determine whether or not that evidence meets the standard of having him legally held and, of course, having the trial move forward. Of course, I think the judge will make that determination, then, it will move forward to that trial. And, that's when there'll be fireworks.

BERMAN: Does he watch the demeanor, though, of the defendant the way that a jury might?

JACKSON: I think that it's different. I think the judge is valuing the evidence at this particular point. I think a jury is always watching, John. The jury is watching the lawyers, the jury is watching the defendant, himself. And it was an interesting point the father made as to whether or not that illness is being feigned.

State doctors in the event there is an insanity defense will evaluate him, and every medical piece of evidence about him and psychiatric history, that's going to come out because the prosecution has a right to know what his mental state was.

SAMBOLIN: Well, there are a couple of tidbits of information that came out that make you wonder about premeditation, right? So, I want to talk a little bit about that. He purchased a ticket, Holmes did, for that movie on July 8th. It was 12 days before the shooting actually occurred. Surveillance video also shows him dressed in dark trousers, a light-colored shirt with a T-shirt underneath and a ski cap covering his hair when he scanned the ticket off of his cell phone.

So, that was before he went back and changed and came back into the movie theater. What does that tell a judge?

JACKSON: I think what it will tell a judge and ultimately, Zoraida, what it will tell a jury is what you just said, that it was premeditated, that was intent. Whenever you look at crimes, you have to establish an emotional state. What was your mental state? Did you mean to do it? Were you acting with the requisite intention that the law requires?

Prosecutors will play that up to go to show that he was lucid, he was logical, he was focused, he had a mission, and he carried out that mission. Of course, the defense will say, you know what? He wasn't lucid as it appears, and as a result of that, he deserves to be declared insane.

SAMBOLIN: Last question, do you think there'll be a plea deal, or do you think it goes to trial?

JACKSON: You know, I think with this mounting evidence, Zoraida, it would be incumbent upon the defense team to contemplate a plea deal, particularly, if they're looking to save his life which might be something that would entice them to say I'm guilty. It would also save that community and everybody else the tragedy of reliving this.

SAMBOLIN: You're absolutely right. Joey Jackson, criminal defense attorney, thank you so much for joining us.

JACKSON: Pleasure.

BERMAN: A lot to talk about there.

There is word this morning that the Connecticut school shooter, Adam Lanza, was wearing earplugs during his murderous rampage.

"The Hartford Courant" reports that investigators are trying to determine significance of these earplugs. Lanza killed 26 people or was accused of killing 26 people, including 20 children.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Mark your calendar. A coalition of gun rights activists designating January 19th Gun Appreciation Day. They are asking people to visit gun stores, gun shows, gun ranges on that day as a protest against plans for tougher firearms laws. It comes just two days before President Obama's inauguration as well.

BERMAN: And New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a strong advocate for stricter gun laws, is now advising Vice President Biden's task force to curb gun violence. Bloomberg says he's pushing for criminal background checks on all gun sales, not just in gun dealers. He's also called for a renewal of federal assault weapons ban similar to the one enacted in 1994 that has since expired.

SAMBOLIN: Going up? Maybe not. An escalator to New Jersey commuter train station abruptly reversed direction sending people into complete panic. Commuters were riding the escalator up in the Jersey City station, listen, when suddenly they weren't. The malfunction sent a stampede of people down the moving staircase. Five people suffered cuts, scrapes, and bruises in all that crazy confusion.

BERMAN: That just looks awful. Can you imagine being on that escalator?

SAMBOLIN: No, and little kids, you know? If you have little kids on there.

BERMAN: All right. So it was billed as dynasty versus destiny, but in the end, man, it was just a blowout. We're talking Alabama's dominant display in front of the entire nation. It happened last night. We'll tell you all about it coming up.


BERMAN: So, at the end of the day, Irish eyes were not smiling. Not one bit. The Alabama Crimson Tide, they crushed Notre Dame's fighting Irish in last night's BCS championship game. They just owned the game. It was 42-14. And from the very first drive, it was tied dominance. This was Nick Saban, the Alabama's coach fourth national title, winning one at LSU. He now has three at Alabama. He gave credit for the win, though, to the players, the university, and the fans.


COACH NICK SABAN, ALABAMA, BCS CHAMPIONS: This is not about me. It's really about seeing all those people being happy and being proud of what this team was able to accomplish. You know, that's the thing that makes me happy. You know, whether I look it or not, I'm happy as hell.



BERMAN: Can you imagine what he would look like if he lost? I mean, the guy would just be bawling. All right. Coy Wire is a player formerly with the Atlanta Falcons and the Buffalo Bills. He's been talking to us all week about the national title implications here. Now, Coy, we have to be honest here, you suggested that Notre Dame was going to win this game.

But rather than rub it in, because I did say Alabama was going to win, rather than rub it in, let me ask you this. What went wrong for Notre Dame? Why was it so one-sided? What did you see on that field?

COY WIRE, FORMER ATLANTA FALCONS PLAYER: What went wrong? Just about everything went wrong. The four-leaf clovers were four-leaf clobbered. Notre Dame is now Notre done. It was not a pretty night for the Irish. I actually felt sorry for them, watching that game. I think they were just so emotionally overhyped coming into it that they got off to a rough start.

The opening drive that we're watching here, they just didn't stand a chance, making mental mistakes, penalties, and giving up big plays. And from there it was just a snowball effect. This game quickly became a game in which the only story line was that A.J. McCarron's girlfriend was in the stadium, and she went from 500 Twitter followers to 112,000. Amazing.

BERMAN: Was this just a vast difference in talent? Was that what decided this game?

WIRE: There's no question about it. The thing that was going to give Notre Dame a chance was going to be their defense. And they were outmaneuvered. They were outmuscled and overmatched. They just didn't stand a chance against A.J. McCarron who came out and played a phenomenal game.

The guy now has won three national titles. He's the only quarterback ever in college football to win two national titles for the BCS. You know, and on top of that, he's got the most popular girlfriend in all of the twitterverse.

BERMAN: What happened to Manti Te'o? I mean, Notre Dame's, you know, linebacker was supposed to be one of the best players in the country last night. He did not look dominant in any way on that field.

WIRE: Well, Manti Te'o is still a phenomenal player. What happened to him last night was the offensive line of Alabama. I mean, they're just a dominant force there, the best offensive line arguably in the entire nation this year. And then, as we talked about yesterday, remember, I said to watch out for Eddie Lacey.

He was too much for Notre Dame to handle. The guy had 140 yards and was running through arm tackles, too many missed tackles by the Irish on the night.

BERMAN: You sure did say to look after him, and he was fantastic last night. Let's talk about the "D" word, dynasty. It's not a word that Nick Saban likes to use. Let's listen to what he said about that.


SABAN: I don't think words like "Dynasty" are really words that I'm much interested in. You know, we're interested in accomplishment and consistency and performance. And we want to continue to try to do that in the future. So, those are for other people to talk about.


BERMAN: And my thing to Nick Saban is sorry, Nick, you're a dynasty. You've won three out of the last four titles including two in a row here. Can we look for more from Alabama and Nick Saban in the coming years?

WIRE: I think so, John. The scary part is just about every single person who's touched the ball for Alabama this year on offense is returning next year. And we know they're going to put up a good defense. So, the elephants are for real. Unfortunately, for Zoraida and I, the leprechauns remain just myths.

They were outmatched in every phase of the game. Even the fans of Alabama were better than Notre Dame last night.


WIRE: There was one fan, in particular, that was spotted, you can see here.


WIRE: This guy --

BERMAN: There we go.

WIRE: I mean, they were just absolutely phenomenal across the board from their fans to the football players to the football coaches. Alabama, roll tide.

BERMAN: That is such an accurate likeness. I have to say, although --


BERMAN: Although, I don't generally wear pants quite that tight. But otherwise, very impressive there. Coy, let me get one last question in about RGIII. Let's talk the pro-game for one second. He had his knee an MRI last night or yesterday. It looks like there is some damage in there, some torn ligaments.

They may not even know for sure because he had so much damage when he was in college. What does that say to you?

WIRE: Well, it says to me that a guy, unfortunately, despite trying to go out and give his heart and soul for his team and for his city, further injured a knee that was already problematic. The positive side of this is that we know this guy, based on his appearance in that game, is an uber competitor.

And if anyone can come back from this, it's going to be a guy like him. We saw Adrian Peterson this year come back and almost break the all-time single-season rushing record after an ACL surgery. So, we'll see what happens to RGIII. Our thoughts and prayers are with him as he begins his comeback road to victory here.

BERMAN: All right. Coy Wire, thank you for being with us and thanks for bringing pictures with you and visual aids. Always nice to talk to you here in the morning.

WIRE: Thanks for having me, guys.

SAMBOLIN: Doctoring it up quite a bit, I might add. You know what I don't get about these NFL players? You know, he's got this injury and then he insists on being in the game. And this could cost him his career. So, I don't understand the mentality.

BERMAN: I can understand RGIII wanting to play. I can understand and when you are a player, always wanting to be on the field no matter what.

SAMBOLIN: I can understand that, but it's just not a wise decision at that moment, right, because your career could be over.

BERMAN: But I think it's the coach's job to take care of you and to take care of the team.

SAMBOLIN: That's true. That's a good point.

All right. Forty-six minutes past the hour. Turn on household appliances and even start your car without getting out of bed? That and more will be shown of at the Consumer Electronics Show starting today. Boy, that would be the ultimate for me. We have a preview for you coming up.

Plus, one mother's horror of waking up to see a snake wrapped around her daughter's arm.

BERMAN: Snakes and squids on EARLY START.



SAMBOLIN: Welcome back. Forty-nine minutes past the hour. Let's get you up to date. Christine Romans with the top stories.


At least two Americans have died in a helicopter crash in Central Peru. Police say seven people in all were on board when this chopper crashed and burned just after takeoff yesterday afternoon. Three of the victims were recovered away from the crash site. Four bodies remain trapped in the wreckage.

More trouble for the Dreamliner. A fire broke out yesterday inside a Japan airline 787 Dreamliner at Logan Airport in Boston just minutes after passengers left the plane. A fire official said a battery pack exploded and caught fire. The plane was brand new, was delivered only last month. There've been series of problems with the 787 since Boeing introduced them in 2011.

Attorneys for Casey Anthony will be in a Florida courtroom today. Anthony is appealing four convictions for lying to law enforcement after her daughter, Caylee, was first reported missing in 2008. She was acquitted of murdering her two-year-old daughter back in 2011. Casey Anthony is not expected to attend today's hearing.

Imagine being a young mother, you wake up in the middle of the night to see a python wrapped around the arm of your two-year-old daughter who is sleeping next to you. It happened to a mother in Australia who woke up from the hissing of her cat. The snake already had sunk its teeth into the child's left hand, but the mom managed to pry it loose.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: After we went to the hospital, and techs came, they found the snake sort of down behind the bedside table and in between the wall. But I don't doubt that he was under the bed for days.


ROMANS: She knew something was wrong because her cat was jumpy and nervous for a few days. It apparently knew the snake was in the house.

SAMBOLIN: Oh, my goodness!

BERMAN: I mean, I guess the good news is the snake didn't eat her baby, but the bad news is that, like --

SAMBOLIN: Or choke the baby to death. Oh, my gosh!

BERMAN: Crazy.

ROMANS: That cat is going to get whatever it wants to eat for however long it wants to eat.

SAMBOLIN: For the rest of his nine lives.

Wow! That's a crazy story. Imagine that Christine, waking up to that. What would you do?

ROMANS: I hate starting the morning with snake stories.


SAMBOLIN: All right. Thank you for that.

It is 51 minutes past the hour. It's that time of year, tech companies are showing off their slickest, edgiest, most innovative gadgets at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. It kicks off today in Silicon Valley.

Correspondent Dan Simon, has an early look for us.


DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's a January tradition here in Las Vegas as crews work furiously to get the booths and exhibits ready for the start of the Consumer Electronics Show. More than 150,000 people are expected to roam these vast halls over the next couple of days to get a glimpse of the technologies that might hit the store shelves in the coming year.

TVs are always the biggest crowd draw at CES. Last couple of years, the companies were pushing 3D TVs. It didn't really rake off the consumers this year. They're hoping the technology called ultra HD will win over consumers. These are 3Ds that have four times the resolution as a typical HD TV, but they're expensive. Some of these sets cost as much as a car.

And speaking of cars, they're becoming a bigger deal every year at CES. This year, you'll hear the term connected car a lot. That means using your smartphone for a lot of different things including using the phone to start the car on those especially cold winter days. Another big theme, home automation. Run your home from wherever you are.

This category used to be for people who were really wealthy. Now, these products are a lot more affordable. And it's about being able to control your lights, your thermostat, your appliances while on the go. And of course, look for the latest innovations in PCs, tablets and cameras. More than 3,000 companies are on display here. All of them really vying for one thing, attention.

Dan Simon, CNN, Las Vegas.


BERMAN: It's like geek paradise. There's no question about that.

SAMBOLIN: It's fantastic. And you can play tricks on people. So, if you have that little device and somebody's staying in your home, you can turn on the music and turn it off without anybody knowing, and then, they start wondering what's going on. Turn on the lights. Turn them off.


BERMAN: You know how to have fun. You really do. You're crazy!


BERMAN: So, some of the other cool things we've seen in display, some mini-tablets. We know about them, but what about mega-tablets? Lenovo is introducing this 27-inch tabletop tablet called the Idea Center Horizon 27. CNN says it comes with air hockey paddles, joysticks, and a big six-sided dye (ph). It looks like, you know, the Galaga (ph) thing used to play in the pizza shop, you know?

SAMBOLIN: That looks like fun. I would love that.

All right. Check out this no-frills phone. End the gadget reports Square One Plus promises a 15-year battery life from a single AA battery. Its makers say it isn't meant to replace your smartphone but could be added to a first aid kit, perhaps, or tucked away in your car if you have an emergency.

BERMAN: Fifteen years.

SAMBOLIN: That is crazy!

BERMAN: It's fueled by magic.


BERMAN: All right. We have a packed hour straight ahead on EARLY START, including the first look at a deep sea monster. A giant squid. What a morning. A giant squid alive in its natural habitat 3,000 feet below the surface. We're going to get reaction from the man who wrote the search for the giant squid.

SAMBOLIN: Plus, off the fridge and into your living room. Child art getting the 3D printing treatment. And these sculptures do not stay within the lines.

BERMAN: Plus, all the buzz about the Alabama beauty queen. She stole the spotlight from her quarterback boyfriend last night in Miami. We'll have this rather interesting story coming up next.


SAMBOLIN: Welcome back. Let's take a look at the top CNN Trends this morning.

BERMAN: All right. So, the big winner last night's BCS title game, not the winning quarterback, A.J. McCarron, it was his girlfriend. Katherine Webb, the reigning Miss Alabama, says she gained close to 100,000 Twitter followers during last night's game. Well, why? ESPN repeatedly cut to her during the broadcast. And of course, Brent Musburger had some rather words (ph) about --

SAMBOLIN: Yes. Remember the contraband cat we told you about yesterday? The one prison officials in Brazil caught with breakout tools including a cell phone, batteries and saws taped to its body. The story just won't go away. In fact, you could say the cat caper had nine lives on late-night.


JAY LENO, HOST, "THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO": Police in Brazil have apprehended a cat that had been traveling in and out of a men's prison with various escape tools like saw blades and drill bits and stuff like that, taped to its body. The cat was smuggling objects in and out of the prison. And the judge was pretty harsh, stated the cat receive nine life sentences.


DAVID LETTERMAN, HOST, "THE LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN": The cat -- don't kid yourself, it's all different in South America -- the cat is in real trouble.


LETTERMAN: -- has already hired a lawyer and a real weasel.


LETTERMAN: I'll call for -- I was going to call for the weasel. Not a sleazy guy, an actual weasel. See, that's where it was supposed to go. What are you going to do? My fault for coming out here.


SAMBOLIN: EARLY START continues right now.