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Questions over Tactics at Dorner Standoff; Mothers Talk About Girls Stuck on Dirty Disabled Cruise Ship; Jodi Arias' Raunchy Call Played in Court; Living in a Former Meth Lab.

Aired February 13, 2013 - 11:30   ET


TOM FUENTES, CNN CONTRIBUTOR & FORMER FBI ASSISTANT DIRECTOR (voice- over): No, I didn't -- I didn't hear that term in the coverage yesterday, and I didn't use it. What I said was that some of the devices used in a tactical -- especially when they're going to assault the location and attempt to either apprehend or, if it's hostages, rescue hostages, if they used what's termed a flash bang, which is a grenade simulator, it makes a tremendous noise. It makes a lot of smoke. And it's to disorient the subject long enough to give the tactical team a one-second advantage while he is stunned.

The other aspect is that tear gas canisters, if they're injected in there, some are not incendiary devices, but there are still some tear gas in use by SWAT teams which are an incendiary. In other words, tear gas is a misnomer. It's not a gas. It's actually little tiny particles that irritate the membranes of the human body. Those particles are made airborne by smoke. The smoke is created by the fire in the -- in the grenade. So, the grenade goes in, ignites, creates smoke. The smoke carries the pepper or the irritant --


FUENTES: -- if you will, to disable or at least severely cause discomfort to the subject that's inside there. So, some of those devices will create a fire. Some will not.


FUENTES: I don't know what device or type of device was in use by the sheriff, SWAT team during this assault.

BANFIELD: Which is critically important information, that there may have been tactical devices that could cause a fire, a collateral situation.

But I just want to read for you a few more comments that were made by one of the officers on the scene, and I want to just get your take on whether that might make a difference, because there's definitely a different tone, a different tenor. And most of the words I can't say, so I'm going to have to make my way through this. "Burn that smoke grenade out. Burn that "f'ing" house down. Going to burn it down. Get it going right now. "F'ing" burn this mother f'er."

Does that change the dynamic here, Tom? FUENTES: It just sounds terrible, you know. I'll admit that. And we don't know everything that was going on at that specific moment. And we don't know who's saying this. And I think that's the key to this, is who is yelling this out, because there are other officers. It's unprofessional. It's unprofessional to use language like that. I don't understand if it's tactical teams talking to each other or their commander talking to them. Those conversations should be on encrypted radio frequencies. They shouldn't be out, open for widespread recording. And even if they are on encrypted channels that no one else can hear, it still sounds that the person was very excited and basically, you know, lost their poise, lost their personal disciplinary control or self-control. And that's just not common. SWAT teams deal with these issues all the time, SWAT leaders. They practice. They train. They would have experience in dealing with this. I'm very -- even though an officer's been killed, I know, and emotions are high, they're professionals and need to contain their emotions and do what they have to do professionally.

BANFIELD: And I want to add here, I'm just getting a live note as I'm speaking from you from one of our producers, Rosa Arsi (ph), who says that she overheard on the scanner the term "burner" being used, and it was at the same time they were also discussing green smoke. And so whatever that ends up lending to this conversation, to these questions, I think there are still a lot of questions to be answered.

Tom Fuentes, from Vancouver, Canada, thank you for joining us and helping us sort through these very, very disturbing questions. Do appreciate it, Tom.

FUENTES: Thank you.

BANFIELD: All right, moving on. Stuck at sea and living in filth, it's a reality for more than 4,000 people on board a ship called the Carnival "Triumph." we're talking about sewage that is sloshing around in the hallways, a fire that paralyzed the ship on Sunday, and now that ship moving very, very slowly back to port. But it's going to take another 24 hours at least. It's scheduled to arrive in Mobile, Alabama, tomorrow afternoon.

And after the break, two mothers of two young girls who are on board that ship. They've been hearing first hand from their daughters about just how bad it is and how scared they are.


BANFIELD: 4,000 people, who are currently on board the stranded Carnival "Triumph" cruise ship in the Gulf of Mexico, which is inching its way at a snail's pace towards the shores of Mobile, Alabama, are desperate to reach those shores, but perhaps not as desperate as two moms who are waiting for that ship, because that's where their two daughters have been for the last week.

Joining me now, Kim McKerreghan and Mary Poret, who are at the Gulfport of Mobile, Alabama.

Ladies, you must be beside yourselves waiting for your daughters' return. When was the last chance you had to speak with them?

MARY PORET, DAUGHTER ABOARD STRANDED CRUISE SHIP: The last chance we spoke with our daughters was on Monday. Monday afternoon around 1:00 --


BANFIELD: And the only thing --


PORET: -- we spoke with them.

BANFIELD: What did they tell you about the conditions that they're currently enduring on board?

PORET: The main thing my daughter told me was that they slept on the floor the first night outside in the hall.

KIM MCKERREGHAN, DAUGHTER STRANDED ON CRUISE SHIP: They're just crying and crying, "Mommy, I want you, I want you to come get me, mom. Come get me."

PORET: My daughter was so scared she was crying saying that she was so scared that she would never see me again --

BANFIELD: Now, they --

PORET: -- because of the conditions that she was under.

BANFIELD: And the conditions -- just want to make sure that the audience knows -- they're with their dad. But tell me about some of the reports that have made it of the ship. Reports that, you know, some of the passengers are being asked to use bags to go to the bathroom and that there's sewage sloshing in the hallways. What do your daughters say are the conditions that they've witnessed?

MCKERREGHAN: Yes, ma'am. I spoke with my daughter. I got her to get her dad on the phone. And when her dad got on the phone, he told me that they were awoken by the alarms and they were very lucky to be alive, that the fire did not reach the gas tanks or there would have been an explosion. And that 10 hours basically after it happened is that they were asking for them to use plastic bags to use the restrooms in, and that they had eaten onion sandwiches for dinner that night. And it just -- it's just getting worse. So, that was the last time we talked to them. And there's just no telling what the conditions are right now. We're just -- we can't imagine.

BANFIELD: Did they also confirm these details, that there is literally sewage on the walls and on the floors and that it's backing up throughout the ship?

MCKERREGHAN: At that time, all he said was that the sewer was coming up through the showers.

PORET: Right. MCKERREGHAN: And that the toilets were filling up very, very fast. And you were able to use your bathroom if somebody hasn't already used it. So, that was on Monday. So, I'm sure it's at those conditions now.

BANFIELD: And what --

MCKERREGHAN: They were not able to sleep in the hallway.

BANFIELD: Because it was so filthy. What about the report that people are hoarding food and that it's difficult for passengers to get food?

PORET: Yes. I had heard that people had been standing in line for four hours to get a hamburger. I cannot imagine my 12-year-old daughter and her dad and the people in their group standing in line for four hours to get something to eat.

BANFIELD: And was it --

PORET: I can't imagine.

BANFIELD: -- Kim, what it you that you drove from Texas and you brought antibiotics with you so the minute your daughter gets off the ship you can treat her?

MCKERREGHAN: Yes, ma'am. Before I left I called our family doctor and I told him the condition that was going on and I said just give me a broad-spectrum antibiotic that's going to be good for the bacteria of what's probably in that ship of what's going on.

BANFIELD: Has Carnival spoken --


MCKERREGHAN: -- and they went ahead and called me one in and --


BANFIELD: I'm sorry to interrupt. Has Carnival spoke to you at all about the conditions your daughters are in? Have they said anything to you about this?


PORET: Absolutely not.

MCKERREGHAN: They didn't put us down as the emergency contact. We would call Carnival Cruise Lines and we would ask them for information and it sounds like they are reading from paragraph "A" whenever we ask a question. And we'll ask a different question and they'll read from another paragraph. And we'll ask a different question and it's a repeated paragraph. And it's the same broad-spectrum answer for everything.

BANFIELD: I am so sorry for what you -- (CROSSTALK)

BANFIELD: I'm just so sorry for what you both have --


BANFIELD: Murder cases are never pretty, but the Jodi Arias trial unfolding in an Arizona courtroom is downright filthy, and the graphic details are playing right into the pretty defendant's case. Arias has been on the stand for nearly a week, spilling testimony about a sordid relationship that she had with her ex-boyfriend before she admittedly stabbed him, slashed him, and shot him to death, she says, in self- defense. And the latest from the stand, a dirty phone sex conversation in which Arias says she was debased by Travis Alexander, and yet still enjoyed it.


JODI ARIAS, ACCUSED OF MURDER: We kind of got -- reached a point during our relationship that we just began sleeping together without any boundaries or limitations.


BANFIELD: Seems there's no boundaries or limitations to what she'll say on the stand either. But how does the twisted sex life actually play into the murder defense? We are talking about a man who's no longer with us.

To talk about this now, our best legal brains, Sunny Hostin, who is a former federal prosecutor; and also Paul Callan, CNN legal contributor and criminal defense attorney.

Paul, let me start with you.

As dirty as it is, it's critical and it's significant, and she and her defense attorney planned this like a book. Why?

PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL CONTRIBUTOR: Well, they did because she's facing the death penalty. And frankly, she's in a totally untenable position. I mean, they have the goods on her. They know she killed him. She shot him in the head and stabbed him 27 times.

What's amazing, in this defense, though, is they're trying to come up with the act of misconduct by the victim for each of the 27 stab wounds. They say he's a pedophile. They say he's a pervert. They say he's a creep. I've never seen a victim so smeared in a criminal trial.

But she's fighting the death penalty, and the deck is stacked against her. So, you know, this is the Hail Mary pass by the defense attorneys.

BANFIELD: And, Sunny, that's often what we see, the victim get smeared in a murder case, especially when it's death penalty, because the defendant's fighting for her life here. But I'm still confused. The phone sex tape that was so graphic, I have to say -- we can't even play it on this program. The phone sex tape was so graphic, it seemed that she was a big part of it, really into it. And I don't understand how that tells me that she was a victim of someone who was overbearing, someone who she didn't, you know, she feared, ultimately had to kill because she was in fear for her life. How does this help her?

SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: You know, that makes two of us. If you're confused, Ashleigh, I'm confused as well.

You know, I think Paul is right, that they are throwing the sort of Hail Mary pass because the prosecution's case is very strong. They have the goods on her. She's lied so many times. And so they are using this strategy of, you know, let's blame the victim, he was such a terrible person. But if you listen to that tape, I don't know, she does sound like a willing participant. She almost sort of furthers the conversation many times when he tries to almost switch the conversation. He just doesn't sound like the bad guy who was in complete control of their sexual relationship. So, I don't know that it helped her very much, quite frankly. I think it hurt her. I think it was a disaster for --


BANFIELD: Paul Callan, 10 seconds left. I need to know -- 10 seconds is all I have left -- but will the jurors potentially be so put off by all of the filth they've heard, that it could really turn against her, too?

CALLAN: The one thing that may help her is the pedophilia allegation against him. There is an allegation he was looking at pictures of little boys and all kind of bad things. That's so negative that you don't know how it could affect a jury. I think, in the end, it won't help, but that's one thing I would worry about if I were a prosecutor.

BANFIELD: She's still on the stand and we're getting the slow march to the murder.

So, Sunny Hostin and Paul Callan, thank you both for your excellent insight. And I'm sorry I had to put you through listening to all that testimony.

And by the way, it is fascinating and it is a unique approach to a murder case.

If you want to watch the testimony, we have it on our sister station, HLN, and "In Session." You can also go to


BANFIELD: You know that your home is probably the biggest purchase that you're ever going to make in your lifetime, right? Let's assume you buy the House and then you find out it used to be a meth lab. And then you find out that what the meth lab leaves behind is really toxic and you could get really sick. Let's get to the bottom of this. Turns out, it's not just a little thing. It's a big thing.

Host of "Your Bottom Line," Christine Romans, is here.

I thought it was the story of one person but this is going into the millions. There are millions of people who are finding out that the homes they bought are poisoned.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT & HOST, YOUR BOTTOM LINE: Yes, there are thousands and thousands of these homes. Look, you buy a home, you do an inspection, you sign the deed, what you didn't realize is someone used it to cook drugs and there are chemicals in literally every surface.

It happened to this woman.


JAIMEE ALKINANI, HOME WAS FORMER METH LAB: Right away, we started kind of getting sick. We didn't really know what it was from. The baby was constantly, constantly sick, low birth weight. He had RSV, numerous times, stopped breathing.


ROMANS: That's Jaimee Alkinani. Her family bought a house in Utah in 2006. Later found out it was a meth lab from a neighbor who knew this.

Each year, thousands of these former meth labs are sold to unsuspecting buyers. Since 2004, more than 85,000 meth labs have been seized and this happens all over the country, most often in the heartland. But you can go to an interactive version of this map to see how your county compares. 84,000 meth labs, some of these are in the home, some are in the garage, some of them are in the car or the van in the garage, some are in sheds.

But think about the insulation, the carpeting, the walls. You can clean it up. You can clean it up, you buy a house empty usually --


BANFIELD: Not if you're renting it.

ROMANS: That's true.

BANFIELD: You rent it, your furniture's toast, as well.

This has breaking bad written all over it, doesn't it?

ROMANS: It does.


BANFIELD: Christine Romans there with the business and the issue. And then there's the law. What are your rights? If you bought the house and you spent all that money, do you have any recourse? Can you sue someone? Can you dump the piece of dirt that you just got? You're going to find out some bad information in a moment.


BANFIELD: In a story straight out of breaking bad, shout out to my cousin Michelle, who directs it.

Listen, this is true. This is really happening. People are buying houses only to find out -- and sometimes renting them -- only to find out they were previously meth labs. And all of those poisons that are released into the atmosphere after meth labs cook up their junk, they get into the carpets, into the walls, they get into insulation and they make you very, very sick. And there you are with your biggest purchase of your life.

Paul Callan is here with us, Sunny Hostin, and also Jeffrey Toobin, to talk about the legal ramifications.

Jeff Toobin, let me start with you. Are you stuck with it?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Not necessarily. I mean, when you close on a house, you sign lots of papers. Some of those papers are representations that the seller makes. The seller has clear title to the house, the seller is delivering to you a house that is habitable. If they turn -- if the house turns out to be uninhabitable, you have certain rights. It's a pain in the neck to try to exercise those rights. What you want is a clean, decent house. But legally, you do have some recourse against both the seller and, perhaps, the mortgage company that have done the due diligence.

BANFIELD: I'm reading all about these cases where people are left stuck and they feel like they're on the hook for paying for the cleanup, at the same time, paying for a rental because they've got to move out, their babies are getting sick, and they have to pay the mortgage.

CALLAN: I was just looking down at my notes about the breaking bad series. Because Walter White's lawyer, Saul Goodman, and you need him in this situation. Walter White is the owner of the house. The lesson is, never move into a house that he owned.


Ultimately, there's an immunity --


There's an immunity statute here that protects, of course, the city. Because they're afraid they'll put the city out of business if every single person sues because they moved into a crack house. And, I guess, the argument is, hey, they knew it was a crack house. They should have been more careful in the inspection. They probably got it for a lower price.

BANFIELD: Well, and you know what? Some of these houses are low priced because they were in foreclosure at one point.

And, Sunny, there's the old expression that we all have to employ when we're on eBay and anywhere else, and that's buyer beware.


HOSTIN: Buyer beware.

BANFIELD: Does that fall into place here?

HOSTIN: I think it depends on the situation. Some states require disclosure, some states don't.

And to Jeff's point, which was a good one, you know, you do have a lot of rights, I think, when you buy these homes. But to enforce those rights sometimes may be difficult. Unfortunately, in our world, he who has the best lawyer often wins, right? And so other than buyer beware, I think you've got to have a good lawyer on your side.

CALLAN: And a good building inspector, you know. In the northeast, we inspect for underground tanks and radon. And, I guess, --


CALLAN: -- in Arizona and Utah, you better be looking for meth, as well.

Jeffrey Toobin, last quick comment.

TOOBIN: Nobody wants to file a lawsuit. You just want a clean house. And the problem is if you live in a house like this, the first thing you'll do is hire somebody to clean it up. And then you have to deal with the money situation, and it takes a long time, and lawyers are expensive and --


BANFIELD: Well, a little bit of "Breaking Bad" on CNN this morning.


Thanks all three of you, Jeffrey Toobin, Sunny Hostin and Paul Callan. Thanks for the advice.


BANFIELD: There is a lot more to find out about this, places to call, to check. Just a wealth of information. And it all starts at

And we are just moments away from the president speaking in Asheville, North Carolina. The president is going to be pushing his domestic agenda here. We'll bring his remarks to you live. You can see that the podium is ready for him. The advance crew has been there. It's hopefully safe and secure. And those will come to you live as soon as they happen. Thank you, everyone, for being with us during this edition of NEWSROOM. NEWSROOM INTERNATIONAL is next.