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Aurora Shooting Hearing; Alabama Rolls to Victory over Notre Dame; Consumer Electronics Show Kicks Off in Vegas; Giant Squid Captured on Tape

Aired January 8, 2013 - 06:30   ET



ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: Relaxed and detached. A new chilling account of the accused Aurora shooter's demeanor right after the massacre.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: For the first time in the history of the world ever, pictures of a giant squid alive in its natural habitat.

SAMBOLIN: Way, way, way below the sea.

What goes up, well, it shouldn't necessarily come down. A camera captures the chaotic first moments of a bizarre escalator malfunction.

Welcome back to EARLY START. We are happy are you with us this morning. I'm Zoraida Sambolin.

BERMAN: And I'm John Berman. It is 30 minutes after the hour on January 8th.

And 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. Details are coming out at a preliminary hearing for James Holmes. Other officers described chaos and confusion at the scene as they tried to help the victims.

One officer saying he thought Holmes was wearing a helmet and a gas mask was a fellow cop.

SAMBOLIN: And more witnesses will take the stand today. The hearing will ultimately determine whether there is probable cause for a trial.

Criminal defense attorney Joey Jackson joins us to talk about the latest developments.

So, yesterday's testimony focused on the aftermath of the shooting, and the police account of what they saw, what they witnessed. The officers described Holmes as very calm and moving with purpose they say. Another says said it was like there weren't normal emotional responses. He also said that Holmes stirred off and he seemed very detached from what was happening around him.

Both sides want to establish frames -- Holmes' state of mind. What do you think we'll get from the accounts?

JOEY JACKSON, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Sure. What happened, Zoraida, is initially you want first responders to testify, because you want to know what they observed, what happened. What was the scene like, and you want that description.

Remember what the ultimate goal is, right? It's a probable cause hearing before a judge. And as a result of that, the judge has to determine whether it's probable cause to continue to detain and, of course, to prosecute bringing him to trial.

And so, as we move forward, I would expect a continuation of the additional evidence they have, I think it will become even more compelling as to what his acts were, atrocities, he committed and victims there, and just the entirety of that scene to establish the requisite probable cause so that the judge is satisfied that this can go to trial.

BERMAN: There are a lot of people watching Holmes inside that courtroom yesterday, including the families of the victims from this horrible shooting. A lot of people said he seemed detached and quiet, didn't speak at all during this hearing.

But there was a father of a victim who had this to say. Let's listen.

I'm sorry. Well, he said he smiled occasionally and he seemed to laugh and then would catch himself and try to act sort of calm and reserved again. What is the judge looking at?

JACKSON: You know, John, I saw the clip you were talking about from the father, and he seems to be saying, that father, that he's feigning mental illness. That it's not really true and that he's gaming the system. I think that's something certainly in these cases that you want to look out for.

But what will happen, John, is he'll be evaluated. Should they go that way, and I think they will go that way, meaning, seeking to have his mental illness at issue, I think what you're going to find is an evaluation of him. They'll be notes and anything that he's done in prior history that speaks to his mental capacity will be valuated to determine whether it's legit or an act.

SAMBOLIN: I want to get your opinion on something. We're being told that there are be two mystery witnesses that have been subpoenaed to testify for the defense. What do you make of that? What do you think is happening there?

JACKSON: Right. It's hard to tell, Zoraida. I would think that the defense here, remember, this is about his mental state, right? How do you act?

Whenever are you talking about a crime, did you act with the requisite intention, right? And if you're a from defense perspective, what you want to show was that he was insane, he was not lucid. So, I would have to believe that these mystery witnesses have to do with mental health issues. SAMBOLIN: Do you think the psychiatrist that we talked about really early on, Dr. Lynn Felton (ph), who expressed concerned about his behavior while he was enrolled in school, perhaps she could be one of the mystery witnesses?

JACKSON: Perhaps she could, Zoraida, and remember, also, the letter that he mailed to her, that Holmes mailed to that psychiatric professional, what is contained, what does it show about his state of mind? That's yet to be seen. But I would certainly expect at some point, we're going to find it out.

SAMBOLIN: And I asked you earlier, and I just want to end with this again if you don't mind. And that is whether or not do you think we'll go to trial? This community is going to have to relive so much.

JACKSON: Zoraida, it's horrible. And that's what the instances do, right? Just reliving the tragedy, it's got to be horrible for these families.

I would think he certainly would be well-advised on the compelling nature of this evidence, to accept the plea, particularly if he's trying to save his life, which is the defense attorney's goal I think in this case.

BERMAN: Joey Jackson, criminal defense attorney -- thanks very much. Interesting case. A lot of people watching right now.

SAMBOLIN: All right. So, the controversial subject of violence in the movies was talked about on the red carpet last night in Hollywood at a big premiere of the new film, "Gangster Squad." It has an all- star cast led by Sean Penn. In the wake of the massacres in Aurora, Colorado, and Newtown, Connecticut, the actors were asked if Hollywood has a responsibility to tone down the violence that we see on the big screen.


GIOVANNA RIBISI, "GANGSTER SQUAD" ACTOR: I think it's a shame people use Hollywood as a scapegoat, when there are so many different factors that have evolved in the last 20 years that could possibly contribute and are being overlooked.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're story tellers. I mean, we just do stories based on events, real-life events. And this is one of them.


SAMBOLIN: The actors also said they were horrified by the mass shootings, but pointed out that violence on the screen is part of a history of filmmaking and storytelling.

The superintendent of a school district near Seattle is facing heavy criticism of her proposal to disarm all officers throughout the district, thereby making every school a gun-free zone. Even teachers union is against this idea.

Despite the pressure, the Highline superintendent Sue Enfield, is not backing down. The local board will ultimately vote on the proposal.

BERMAN: All right. Taking a look at top CNN trends this morning.

The medical examiner has ruled the death of a Chicago lottery winner was a homicide. Officials say Urooj Khan had a lethal amount of cyanide in him. Khan won $1 million with a scratch-off lottery ticket back in June but he never had a chance to spend the money. He died on July 20th, one day after receiving a check for his winnings.

SAMBOLIN: They ruled this a death of natural causes initially. And a family member said look a little more closely.

So, up the down staircase, or is it down up staircase? Check out what happens when a jam-packed escalator at a New Jersey commuter train system suddenly changed directions. Some panic riders jumped off the escalator, five people suffered minor injuries in all of that chaos.

BERMAN: A lot of people very, very confused.

All right. The luck of the Irish ran out last night and ran out fast. Alabama rolled to victory over Notre Dame in a BCS national championship game. The Crimson Tide scored 21 points the first three times they touched the ball. You can't do better than that.

They lead 28-0 in halftime. It wasn't even that close. They beat the Irish 42-14. This is Alabama's second straight college title, third in four years, that "d" is for dynasty.

SAMBOLIN: Good for them.

British authorities out with a second investigation into the death of Amy Winehouse. What coroners found this time around, coming up.

BERMAN: Plus, release the Kraken. It's not big for the Loch Ness Monster, but it really is a big next thing. A camera shy sea beast recorded in its natural habitat for the first time ever.


SAMBOLIN: Forty minutes past the hour. The rain just won't quit in Texas.

Meteorologist Alexandra Steele with more on the threat of flooding that they're facing. Good morning.


Yes, the rain has started. The lightning in abundance, take a look at this. And there's also here the potential for severe weather today.

So, today and tomorrow, when central and east Texas, kind of a barrage of rain, winds and the potential for severe weather. But this area of low pressure, the storm system will move, and impact millions around the country.

So, I will show you where. As we head through Thursday, here is a look where the heaviest rain will be and how much we're expecting. Here's the legend, between four and six inches, even from six plus inches.

So, again, east Texas, and then as we head from Wednesday and into Thursday, it gets into Louisiana and it becomes a really lot of rain for them. Again today, heavy rain, winds, the potential for even tornadoes there. And as we head toward tomorrow, the severe weather threat with all that moisture coming from the South, that energy from the low pressure brings the severe weather threat Wednesday here. Moving in a little farther eastward along I-10 toward New Orleans.

So, here's what will happen with this thing. Area of low pressure in Texas. Here is the time stamp. Wednesday to Thursday and even Friday.

But it becomes a storm that's not white, but wet, even for places like Chicago on Thursday. Temperatures on Thursday in the Chicago will be on the 40s and mid 50s Friday and Saturday. So, certainly not a lot of snow with this. Just a rainmaker for so many around the country.

Here's the forecast for today. Warmer temperatures, guys, than we've seen in quite some time. Temperatures continue to warm another 10 degrees or so, maybe four to five days.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Thank you very much.


BERMAN: All right. Forty-two minutes after the hour right now. A search and recovery under way in Peru after a deadly helicopter crash. At least two American victims are among the seven who were killed in central Peru.

Police say the chopper went down just after takeoff. Three bodies found away from the crash site. Four remain do trapped inside the wreckage.

SAMBOLIN: One of the teens on the video mocking the girl at the center of an Ohio rape case regrets his behavior and he regrets his comments. Eighteen-year-old Michael Nodianos' attorney said he did something dumb but did not commit a crime.


DENNIS MCNAMARA, ATTORNEY: Michael was very callously talking about the sexual assaults that he had been told about by others. There is no excuse or justification for the comments and jokes Michael made on the video. And with some sober reflection, he is ashamed and embarrassed to hear them himself.


SAMBOLIN: Two 16-year-old members of the town's powerhouse high school football team are charged with sexually assaulting the girl after a series of parties. This was back in August. They are expected to face trial in a juvenile court next month. BERMAN: So, new this morning, a second inquest into Amy Winehouse's death confirms she died of accidental alcohol poisoning. The original results showed the same result, but had to be thrown out because the coroner lacked the right qualification.

Winehouse died in July of 2011 at the age 27.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is backing away from his controversial comments about the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina. Reid said he simply misspoke while taking lawmakers to task last Friday for not approving Superstorm Sandy relief sooner. Reid said Katrina was nothing in comparison to Sandy. In fact, Katrina was responsible for more than 1,800 deaths, while Sandy has claimed at least 113 lives.

SAMBOLIN: A Texas coach stepping down after admitting an affair with an athlete. The attorney for track coach Bev Kearney says she was negotiating a salary increase and a new five-year contract with the University of Texas when a former athlete told school officials about the romantic relationship. The 30-year-old was involved with Kearney about 10 years ago. University officials forced Kearney to step down after hearing about their relationship.

Kearney's attorney, Derek Howard, says he had questions about the timing of when the former student athlete chose to come forward. We're going to hear from Coach Kearney coming up at 8:30 on "STARTING POINT"

BERMAN: Starting today, tech companies will show off their slickest and most innovative gadgets at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. So far, the big buzz surrounds ultra HD TVs, which have four times the resolution of regular HD TVs. What do you do about that resolution?

Of course, another big buzz creator, connected cars which let you turn their engines on using your smartphone.

SAMBOLIN: I love that.

BERMAN: Some other cool things to talk about here.


BERMAN: The traditional gallery for children's artwork is the family refrigerator, but a new company is changing all that.

SAMBOLIN: Look at how cool this is.

BERMAN: Crayon Features is turning those sketches into 3D sculptures. It costs about $130. The company takes a child's drawing, runs it through a computer modeling software, and then produces sculptures using a 3D printer.

SAMBOLIN: A little pricy, but how cool, huh, to have your child's artwork display like that? See, when you get in your car for working this morning, imagine a giant quid twice the size of your car. And for the first time in history, we have video of that sea monster in its natural habitat. The wicked pictures, coming up after the break.

BERMAN: Squid.


SAMBOLIN: Release the Kraken. Check out these amazing pictures. It is the thing of myths and legends. The giant squid captured on film on its natural habitat for the first time ever.

BERMAN: This is from the Discovery Channel and Japanese public broadcaster, NHK. Now, this squid is believed to be up to 26 feet long and was found in the Pacific Ocean some 3,000 feet below the surface.

So, we want to bring in Richard Ellis. He's a research associate at the American Museum of Natural History. He is the author of "The Search for the Giant Squid."

All right. This thing is big, as in really big. Now, we knew that these giant squid existed before, but still, this is being seen as something special, as a breakthrough. Explain to me why.

RICHARD ELLIS, AUTHOR, "THE SEARCH FOR THE GIANT SQUID": Because no one has ever seen one alive before. This is absolutely the first time anyone has ever seen these things alive. People have been searching for them for hundreds of years, literally -- not with the technology of today. But they wash ashore and people know that they exist, but no one's ever seen an alive one. They're always dead when they wash ashore.

SAMBOLIN: Well, and also in its natural habitat, that's what make this so unique and so different, because we have video back from 2006. The squid was alive, but it was hooked and on the surface. In this case, it's in the abyss. You traveled a long distance to see this in its natural habitat. What are we going to learn from this particular footage that we would not able to learn before?

ELLIS: We can learn how this thing moves, how it swims, what it does with its arms when it swims. You can't tell either from one washed ashore or from the one that was hooked. By the way, the guy who hooked it is the same guy who saw it under the ocean.

SAMBOLIN: What an exciting discovery for him.

BERMAN: So, we said huge. I mean, these things are just simply enormous. They're like what, like, four Kobe Bryant stacked on top of each other.

SAMBOLIN: We have a comparison here for you guys so that you can see exactly what this thing looks like.

BERMAN: So, four Kobe Bryants, a school bus, and that's a 26-foot squid. They can get even bigger than that.

ELLIS: They can get to be 60 feet long. That's a lot of school buss.

BERMAN: I mean, what do we know about them? Solitary things? Live, you know, in the vast, deep sea.

ELLIS: They live at great depths. We know that. We've always known that, because no one ever sees them except when they're dying at the surface. What we know about them is that they are a very, very exaggerated version of smaller squid. I mean, there's a lot of different kinds of squid. This one just happens to be the biggest, and because it's the first time anybody's ever seen one alive, it is an enormous breakthrough for science and for mythology, of all things, because for a long time, people didn't even think they existed.

SAMBOLIN: And talk about that -- about the importance of that, because this is like legends, right, and myths. That's normally what we equate to this giant squid.

ELLIS: Originally, people thought there was something called a kraken, which was a giant octopus-like creature that grabs ships and ate people and did horrible things. But until we actually see one alive, we're not really sure what they can do.

Now, we know what this actual animal can do. We've seen it at work. We've seen it attacking something. And it changes everything. It changes everything about deep sea biology. It changes everything about what we know about these large cephalopods.

BERMAN: We've seen so many sketches of these giant squids attacking ocean-going vessels from hundreds of years ago. Obviously, it seems like that might be a little bit far fetched, but this thing is so big. And the pictures we're seeing of this, it's missing two of its arms or tentacles, right?

ELLIS: It has eight arms and two very, very long tentacles which it uses it to grasp its prey, uses the two tentacles for that, then it wraps it up in its arms, brings it back to its mouth. It has a beak like that of a parrot, only a whole lot larger. And it takes bites out of the prey with that beak. But until we saw one alive, we never knew how this whole operation worked.

We knew what it looked like it was dead. This as a big blob with long arms that lived somewhere in the ocean and then washes ashore, but this is so exciting for those of us. I wrote a whole book called "The Search for the Giant Squid." In the whole book, we didn't find one. It's all about how we were looking for this animal. And now, my book is a little bit obsolete, but still, it's an exciting, exciting discovery.

BERMAN: Richard Ellis, you have us all excited. There's a giant squid, and now we can see video of it.

ELLIS: Hooray!

SAMBOLIN: Congratulations. We're delighted you came to share your experience with us. Appreciate it.

ELLIS: Thank you.

BERMAN: All right. It is 53 minutes after the hour right now and plenty of people who planned on going to the Inaugural Ball will instead have to watch from home. Find out why, coming up.

SAMBOLIN: And a little later on "STARTING POINT", Soledad is talking to Crimson Tide players about their big victory in last night's BCS championship. And also, to the host of ESPN's "Mike & Mike in the Morning."


SAMBOLIN: Welcome back. Fifty-six minutes past the hour. Time for your "Early Reads." It is your local news as making national headline.

A report in the "San Francisco Chronicle" says an $8.5 billion settlement reached with ten major banks. It won't bring much relief to millions of homeowners were victimized already by mishandled foreclosures and loan modifications. Some of the funds will go directly to people who lost their homes, however. But the report points out the banks cost community trillions of dollars and the $8.5 billion settlement negotiated by federal regulators will leave most victims less than hope.

BERMAN: All right. So, there's an explanation for last night's drubbing by Alabama over Notre Dame in the BCS title game, at least, according to the "New York Daily News." The "Daily News" says the Irish woke up from their dream season in a cold sweat because they finally played a team with superior coaching, superior talent, and superior mental and physical toughness. That about sums it up.

A lot of critics have not the Irish for playing a soft regular season schedule. A lot of people are tweeting. They said the same thing. The report concludes Alabama players and fans can now use the "D" word for dynasty after winning their third national championship in four years.

SAMBOLIN: Except the coach. He says don't call it a dynasty.

So, you can forget about landing tickets to this year's Inaugural Ball. "The Washington Post" reporting on a foul up at Ticketmaster that left thousands of people who signed up for ticket shut out. On Sunday morning, Ticketmaster sent out an e-mail informing everyone that they would be receiving another e-mail on Monday with a special link to purchase tickets to an official Inaugural Ball with President Obama and the First Lady attending.

But just four hours later, the tickets went on sale and they sold out in a hurry. Everyone who was waiting for that Monday morning e-mail got shut out. All they got, instead, was an e-mail from Ticketmaster acknowledging that, yes, indeed, we made a mistake.

BERMAN: Bummer for you, but you know, you can watch it from the comfort of your own home, right here on CNN.

SAMBOLIN: Yes, you can. For an extended look at all our top stories, head to our blog, You can also follow us on Twitter and on Facebook. Just search for "Early Start CNN".

BERMAN: So, the inauguration, of course, coming up in a little bit over a week. The public swearing in will happen on Monday, January 21st. That's because January 20th falls on a Sunday, but the president will have a private swearing in which will be -- there will be pictures of that. That will happen on Sunday. And CNN is going to have all kinds of stuff all weekend there Saturday, Sunday, and into Monday.

SAMBOLIN: It will have all the coverage. We'll be there as well. So, we will bring you -- for all of those poor folks who attempted to get these from Ticketmaster, that has got to be really awful. But at the end of the day, I suppose that they can sit around and watch it on television.

BERMAN: You know, and again --

SAMBOLIN: Small consolation --

BERMAN: Small consolation.

SAMBOLIN: And listen, I'm going to say congratulations, because you won. I lost, BCS, not that you put any money on it.

BERMAN: Repeat that one more time.

SAMBOLIN: Yes, you won, I lost.

BERMAN: That's right. Alabama, the Crimson Tide, they are the big winners.

SAMBOLIN: Everybody knows this. Everybody knows this already. Done with the story.

BERMAN: Three out of four titles. And yes, I called it. And that's all from EARLY START. I'm John Berman.

SAMBOLIN: And I'm Zoraida Sambolin. "STARTING POINT" with Soledad O'Brien starts right now.