Return to Transcripts main page
Child Rescued from Kidnapper in Alabama; American Skier Injured; Jodi Arias Takes the Stand; Dell Goes Private; Washington Top "Worst Traffic" List
Aired February 5, 2013 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, ANCHOR, "CNN NEWSROOM": Nice to have you in the "Newsroom" with us. And we begin with a story of a 5-year-old Alabama boy, a boy named Ethan, who woke up in a hospital this morning with his mom and his favorite dinosaur toy.
This after a week of being locked away with a ruthless killer in an underground bunker before a dramatic SWAT-like rescue, in which he saw two grown men shot dead right before his eyes, his bus driver a week before and his captor just yesterday.
This is so hard to imagine how a young mind will ever recover from an ordeal like this, and, earlier on CNN, we heard from Alicia Kozakiewicz, herself a kidnapping victim as a teenager who now runs a victim support group.
Here is her advice.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALICIA KOZAKIEWICZ, KIDNAPPING VICTIM: You have to try to keep things normal. And that's what we have to do for this little boy is keep certain things as normal as possible.
BROOKE BALDWIN, HOST, CNN'S "STARTING POINT": Like what?
KOZAKIEWICZ: Things like just basic routines he had done before. His favorite games, his favorite movies, his favorite food. Just try to keep an anchor in the before and really not equate him with this happening to him.
This happened to him. It is not who he is.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BANFIELD: The rescue of little Ethan was a joint-tactical operation involving local authorities right on up to the secretary of defense.
Joining me now is CNN Pentagon correspondent Chris Lawrence to talk about the tactics and the military and how the military may have helped the police spy on this killer despite him hiding underground.
Also with us, Victor Blackwell, who's in Midland City in Alabama watching all of this unfold.
Victor, first, let me start with you. The standoff stretched for seven days and ended in just a mere matter of minutes.
Are we getting any more information from officials on why they decided to go in, how they decided to go in and how they pulled this off?
VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Exactly. And this is a blend of both military science and social science. I'll leave the military end up to Chris, but I'll tell you about the other element.
We've reached out to the FBI contact we've been speaking to this week, Alabama state police, some sources who were close to the situation. And we know this came down to the last 24 hours.
And the FBI hostage rescue team, it's more than just the guys who go in to pull the child out. There are behavioral scientists. There are tactical technicians. There's the FBI SWAT. There are the negotiators.
They're all here at the same time and we know in the last 24 hours the communications with Jimmy Lee Dykes became agitated. He continued to talk, but as it went on and on, he became less willing to negotiate, we heard from Alabama state police this morning.
Then they noticed he had a gun. How, I'll leave that to Chris. But they said when you add the agitation with this weapon, they -- from the sources we've spoken with -- said it came down to three options.
Either he was going to shoot himself, he was going to shoot himself and Ethan, or he was going to do something to force them to come in and shoot him, so they decided at about 3:00 local time, 4:00 Eastern yesterday, they had to go in.
They pulled him out, and we know that Jimmy Lee Dykes was dead when it was all over.
BANFIELD: All right. Hold for a second, Victor.
I want to bring in Chris Lawrence. With this Pentagon connection, Chris, it's just unbelievable to see how high up the chain the help came from, the defense secretary himself offering help.
Can you list out for us as best you can, knowing we still have a lot of information to come, what kind of gear did the Pentagon provide to help those authorities on the ground?
CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: They are not being extremely specific on that, Ashleigh.
What we have been told, it was detection equipment and technology that would allow the people up top to get a better handle on what was happening below. That could include sound detection equipment, which would be key in a situation like that, to hear what was being said.
But from what we understand, the police there and the FBI had a lot of technology at their disposal. This was a request from the FBI to the Pentagon and to the defense secretary to see what assets, perhaps, could help. We know the military has used a lot of detection equipment over the years. They've been refining that in their search for IEDs in Iraq and Afghanistan.
BANFIELD: And I just want to scoot back out to Victor Blackwell for a moment about that because I know, Victor, you were talking to the FBI about this and, understandably, they have been cagey about the kind of work that they were doing alongside the military and what kind of equipment.
How did they qualify it to you?
BLACKWELL: Well, you know, there was that report from people here, that boom, the explosion. We wanted to know if there were explosives inside the bunker or if that was used as a diversion.
So, I reached out to the FBI, I want to read what the response was.
"Sorry. Those tactical questions are something that we are very sensitive about discussing.
"I know that there's a huge interest, but we may never be able to answer all of the questions that are out there about how we did it.
"It's important to protect these so that they are effective the next time we have to use them."
I can tell you some other details of what's happening here today. We've seen crews walk up that hill toward the area where the bunker was several times today.
The FBI has confirmed that bomb technicians are here, working on-site. They've also told us that a shooting review board from D.C. will be en route to this location to kind of fill out the photograph for us about what happened in the final hours of the standoff, Ashleigh.
BANFIELD: And then just to wrap it up and button it up for us, if you would, Victor, the authorities there have said that they can't tell us much yet, although there is so much more people want to know about the video, what things look like underground, how they were surviving for the week.
But they're saying that this investigation continues. Jimmy Lee Dykes is dead. How much more is there needed to investigate?
BLACKWELL: Well, the question is, was there other involvement with someone else, or some other group?
We know that this is a large scene, we're told by the Alabama state police. From the animation we have shown, a description based on what we've spoken with neighbors about, there's a mobile home where Jimmy Lee Dykes lived.
They've got to look through those papers and determine what was happening and why this happened, the red storage unit, the bunker. And one other element. There's going to be a news conference here in about 25 minutes. The superintendent of Dale County schools, Mr. Donny Bynum, will speak about having this kid back home and the death of that school bus driver that started all of this about a week ago, Ashleigh.
BANFIELD: Chris Lawrence and Victor Blackwell for us this morning on this incredible story, thank you to both of you.
And now that the standoff is over, what about Ethan, the little boy? Tonight, John Walsh is going to join Anderson Cooper to share his experience on what they might be doing to try to cope with the kind of trauma that entire family and what they are going through. That's tonight, 8:00 Eastern right here on CNN.
And now I want to take you to Austria, breaking news. American skier Lindsey Vonn is said to have suffered a, quote, "complex knee injury" in a very bad crash on the slopes during a race there.
It happened in the opening day of the Super-G event at the fifth Alpine Ski World Championships.
And joining me from London is Christina Macfarlane, who's host of CNN's Alpine Edge. I'm also joined on the telephone by John Meyer, who is a sports columnist with the "Denver Post" and also a collaborator on Lindsey Vonn's blog.
Christina, let me start with you. The nuts and bolts about this race and exactly what happened on the slopes that had her being taken away by helicopter.
CHRISTINA MACFARLANE, HOST, CNN'S "ALPINE EDGE": That's right, Ashleigh.
I actually managed to see the video of her fall about half an hour ago, and I can tell you it looked pretty nasty. Her right knee seemed to buckle underneath her as she went down in the Super-G competition.
Which is such a shame. I mean, this athlete -- this is the fourth -- Lindsey Vonn has won this Super-G competition four times in a row, so she would have been very confident going into today.
And the video I saw earlier, it looked like a very serious crash. The athletes who were waiting for her at the bottom of the run were astounded, looking up and watching this unfold on the top of the course.
As you say, she was airlifted to hospital and, as you say, it's been reported that she has a complex knee injury.
But this is really bad news for an athlete who is the biggest name in skiing. She is the Tiger Woods of the ski world, and it could be damaging for the sport, at least this season, if this injury takes her out for the rest of the Alpine World Cup season, Ashleigh.
BANFIELD: And, Christina, we're looking at video from the Olympic games in Vancouver just three years ago where she medaled there, and she's a huge hopeful for the Olympics next year in Russia, as well, to medal, too.
John Meyer, I want to bring you in. As a collaborator with Lindsey on her blog, I'm assuming that you're close to her and her people, not to suggest for a moment you've had an opportunity this soon to talk to anybody whose connected to her, but do you know anything more about how bad this injury is and what this means for this season, and maybe more importantly next season, Olympic season?
JOHN MEYER, LINDSEY VONN'S CO-BLOGGER (via telephone): OK, well, this is true speculation, obviously, but it looked, as your other contributor just said, it looked like her knee buckled and that she has a severe knee injury.
So, that would take her out of the rest of the World Cup season and, obviously, the world championships. I want to make it clear. World championships happen every two years, so it's a major event as opposed to the World Cup which is sort of your weekly regular season event, if you will.
So, basically, if all of our assumptions are correct, she will go have her knee reconstruction, and then she will have to go through a very difficult rehab, and the clock starts ticking right now for her bid to defend her gold medal in the downhill at the Olympics.
Now, that's not to say she can't do it. If you remember, in 1998, Picabo Street the winner won the World -- the Olympics' Super-G in Nagano and that was about 15 months after she had a severe knee injury and went through the same sort of things, a reconstruction and rehab and all of that.
So, it can be done. I would -- certainly wouldn't tell your viewers that she's out of the Olympics for next year, but now she goes from being the monumental favorite in that race to someone with a big comeback story.
BANFIELD: Well, we are certainly hoping for the best for Lindsey Vonn as she recovers in the hospital there in Austria.
John Meyer with the "Denver Post" and Christina Macfarlane, CNN, thank you for your reporting on this. We'll continue to watch the story.
And we're going to take a short break.
BANFIELD: I want to tell you a little tale about a very strange murder, and the elaborate stories of an alleged murderess.
First, she had no idea, wasn't there, didn't know. Later, she was there, but two intruders did the killing. She ran away. Later still, she said she did it, but that it was self defense.
This may sound like a tale, but it's true. It's Jodi Arias's story, seen here with the on-again, off-again boyfriend who turned up very, very dead in the shower of his Arizona home back in June of '08.
Arias has been on trial for more than a month now, but like most defendants, she hadn't made a peep in court until this dramatic moment. It happened yesterday, and it was a stunner.
She took the witness stand. And she pretty much fessed up, in a way, to the death of her boyfriend, Travis Alexander.
And before I play you the testimony, a little background for you from HLN's Christi Paul to bring you up to speed.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRISTI PAUL, HLN (voiceover): The prosecution's laid out a timeline detailing how Jodi Arias killed Travis Alexander.
At 5:29 p.m., Arias takes a picture of Alexander alive in the shower. Moments later, she stabs him in the chest.
Prosecutors believe he was still alive and Arias followed him down the hall to the bedroom where she slashed his throat then dragged his body back to the bathroom, accidentally taking pictures all along the way.
Investigators believe, once Arias got Alexander back to the bathroom, she shot him in the forehead.
Based on the location of the shell casing, they believe that happened near the sink and that then his body was stuffed in the shower.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BANFIELD: Those pictures may be grisly, but they are critical. Four years and eight months later, the accused is giving her side of those grisly pictures and her ex's grisly demise.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you kill Travis Alexander on June 4th, 2008?
JODI ARIAS, MURDER DEFENDANT: Yes, I did.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why?
ARIAS: The simple answer is that he attacked me and I defended myself.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BANFIELD: Jodi Arias is due back on the stand in just a couple hours, and Beth Karas has had a front-row seat to this story. She's with our sister network, "In Session," my former colleague at Court TV.
All right, Beth, you and I have been through this a million times. A courtroom and a defendant, and they don't take the stand. And there's Jodi Arias walking right up and opening her mouth.
Why is she doing this?
BETH KARAS, CORRESPONDENT, "IN SESSION" on TRU TV: Because she is asserting self defense, Ashleigh, and in a self defense case, almost always a defendant needs to get on the stand to explain what was going on at the minute of the attack.
She's admitting she did it. Oh, yes, I killed him, but don't hold me criminally responsible, because I was justified in doing it. And now she needs to explain why she was justified in slicing and dicing and shooting him, stabbing him in the heart and slitting his throat from ear to ear.
BANFIELD: Yeah, because self defense can be ugly at times, but a lot of times it's not necessarily overkill. Sometimes it is.
Are they getting into those like awful details, and if so, how is the jury handling this stuff?
KARAS: Well, you know, she's barely begun. She's only talked about the first 20 years of her life. She was 27 when she killed Travis Alexander.
So, I think that in the next few hours, as she gets back on the stand, we will get into the relationship and presumably into the killing later today. And she's going to have to describe in detail what went on.
She has amazing recall, Ashleigh, about her elementary school days, so let's hope she has the same recall when it comes to talking about what happened in that master bathroom on that afternoon.
BANFIELD: Yeah, because there's no gun that anyone has been able to find and, so far, we're not getting any questions about weapons.
But one of the questions, and I love this one, the lawyer asked about a very cocky sound byte, that was going to eventually make its way into this courtroom, an interview, which is something you should never do if you're accused of a crime, but nonetheless she gave an interview to "Inside Edition," and let's just hear what she had to say before I ask you about it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ARIAS: No jury is going to convict me.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why not?
ARIAS: Because I'm innocent and you can mark my words on that one. No jury will convict me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BANFIELD: You know, I've heard that before, Beth. No jury's going to convict me.
And when you hear those things in court, jurors don't tend to like to be told what they might and might not do.
KARAS: Absolutely. And, in fact, the prosecution used those words against her in her opening statement. He showed the jury her dare.
That interview was a few months after she was arrested in 2008. At that point, she was still maintaining that two intruders had killed Travis Alexander, and she was able to escape.
Of course, she never told the police that intruders were in there killing him. And she subsequently, two years after that interview with "Inside Edition," changed her defense to self defense.
Of course, the jury doesn't know that it was two years later. Her explanation now is I said that because I was planning to kill myself.
BANFIELD: Oh, Beth, if I had a penny for every time that someone who's under interrogation changes his or her story when confronted with really compelling and damning evidence, I could take you on a year long trip around the world on my expensive yacht.
My friend ...
KARAS: I'm sure.
BANFIELD: I know. Gosh, we've been at this rodeo a few times, haven't we?
Beth Karas, keep an eye on this case for us because it is getting more and more intriguing by the day, and we'll check in with you on it.
KARAS: My pleasure.
BANFIELD: The computer maker Dell is not the company it once was, and that is an understatement.
Dell's founder and namesake has announced the plans and gone ahead with them to take the company private and buy up all of the shares now held by investors large and small. That's you and me and all of the biggies.
This is a deal that is a whopper. Michael Dell will not be doing it alone. A private equity firm is chipping in, as is Microsoft.
The upside for Dell is not having to answer shareholders who demand profits quarter after quarter. Dell lost a third of its market share last year alone.
I don't know if you have been to a gas station lately. If you have, your reaction was likely like mine, ouch.
The average price for a gallon of gas has skyrocketed from a week ago. Man, it's up 17 cents just over a week standing at about $3.53 right now. That's a huge jump in a week.
CNN's Paul Vercammen is at a gas station in Los Angeles. And I'm wondering what the reaction is from the people that you're seeing pulling in, and they may not have filled up their tank in a week. They're seeing this massive jump.
PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They are having the sort of same reaction that you are, Ashleigh. You say ouch. They say, I want a band-aid.
Look at this price right here. Now, this is an extreme example. It's over $5 a gallon at this station in downtown Los Angeles. Believe it or not, there are not that many stations in downtown Los Angeles. That's why it is so expensive here.
And you're saying, what are people saying? Well, one young man pulled in and I said, are you are going to buy gas here at more than $5 a gallon? He said, no way. I'm buying cigarettes.
California has such high prices because we have the second -- yes -- highest taxes on gas in the country, about 67 cents a gallon. That's driving it.
By the way, you in New York, worse, you're at 69 cents a gallon. That's that tax.
Back to you, Ashleigh.
BANFIELD: Hey, Vercammen, I think the cigarettes are more expensive here, too. Your friend who was buying cigarettes should think twice he's probably wasting a whole lot of money that he could be spending on his gas.
Paul Vercammen, thank you for keeping an eye on those numbers for us.
So, if you are out there and you think all of the gas that you are buying is expensive, it is. And it turns out you're wasting a ton of it in traffic.
I know you know that you spend time in traffic, but on average, we've got something that might surprise you. The gridlock is costing you an average of $818 a year. I said $818. That's more than the average amount people spend on Christmas.
But are you ready for this? The traffic that you're sitting in is a sign that the economy is improving. So you can be happy about that.
Christine Romans is here with me. She's smiling, too. It's one of those good news/bad news stories. But, you know, really, on your personal economy, and you always tell me your business is a business of one, an economy of one. That's some painful statistics.
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: It is. And it's a week worth of your life wasted trying to get to work.
But it is a sign of a strengthening economy because it means you are driving to work more. People are driving to work. It means more deliveries are being taken by truck on the roads.
And it also means that bridges are being fixed. Some of those are delays because of infrastructure work being done.
So, in 2005, you spent 43 hours in the car every year. 2010, dropped to 34 hours. Now, we are back up to 38 hours. That is enough wasted gasoline sitting in traffic, costs you 818 bucks a year, as much gas as could fill the Superdome four times, Ashleigh.
What cities are the worst? D.C., which actually has a growing economy. D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York -- we all know that -- and Boston, those are cities with the worst traffic. This from Texas A&M.
BANFIELD: Now, I know that everybody is different, and everybody has a different commute and that sort of thing, but on average, what is the family budget that goes towards gasoline in America?
ROMANS: It's four percent, and that is a four year high. Four percent of your household budget going for gas.
What is that on average a year? About $2,900 per family spent on fuel per year.
Gas prices are rising. Your budget isn't. That's why more of your budget is going for gas prices.
And gas prices last year, the average for the year was a high. Gas prices rising, gas prices are up 17 or 18 cents over the past week.
Gas prices are rising because of a whole bunch of fundamental factors, and that's something that's hitting you on the bottom line.
BANFIELD: And that's when I smell a rat. When you tell me that it's 17 cents in one week, I smell a rat because it can't have been crude jumped that fast that far in that few days.
ROMANS: A couple different things. Usually it's because you are having slower intake in the New York Gulf area, in the New York harbor.
It can also be because you had refinery stuff. Could be more demand, a little bit more demand ticking up.
BANFIELD: In a week?
ROMANS: You know, some people are telling me they expect it to go down a little bit in the near term then come back up again when they do some seasonal changeovers of gasoline in the spring.
But, yeah, it was a quick move. Eighteen cents, a lot of people are feeling it.
BANFIELD: Take the bus.
Christine Romans, thank you. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)