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Obama, GOP Clash On Forced Spending Cuts; Police: Man Raped Woman He Met On Dating Site; Biden: "Buy A Shotgun"

Aired February 19, 2013 - 19:00   ET


ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: OUTFRONT next, President Obama comes out today blasting the forced spending cuts also known as "The Sequester." He called it a meat cleaver. So why are some people cheering?

Plus, Olympic runner Oscar Pistorius tells his side of the story in court today. Some parts of it, pretty amazing. We're going to read it to you.

New details emerge about how Sandy Hook shooter Adam Lanza spent his time leading up to that horrific massacre. It was an obsession with certain people overlooked. Let's go OUTFRONT.

At this hour, the U.S. Supreme Court has denied a stay of execution for Warren Lee Hill. Hill is the convicted murder set to be executed at this very moment, 7:00 Eastern Standard Time, by lethal injection. He was found guilty of the 1990 killing of Joseph Hanspike, another inmate in a Georgia State Prison.

Hill's defenders argue that his IQ of 70 means he should be deemed mentally disabled. They want him declared mentally disabled because of a 2002 Supreme Court case, which barred the execution of mentally disabled inmates. At this moment, though, looks like it's about to go forward and we're going to update you as we learn more.

Good evening, everyone. I am Erin Burnett. Tonight, the countdown is on again. We are now just 10 days away from Washington's latest deadline for forced spending cuts, otherwise known by the distinctly unsexy and misused word, "Sequester." Today, President Obama said again something must be done.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: So these cuts are not smart. They are not fair. They will hurt our economy. They will add hundreds of thousands of Americans to the unemployment rolls. This is not an abstraction. People will lose their jobs.


BURNETT: So there are two solutions. Number one, lawmakers find another way to punt, i.e., delay the cuts for another few months or two, actually come up with a major plan to slash the debt in this country. All right, number two is not going to happen. The punt, I kind of like. Anyway, that won't happen. Number one though has a decent chance, but number one has failed, too. After all, the feared forced cuts are only 2.5 percent of projected total federal spending.

Daniel Altman is an economics professor at NYU. Doug Holtz Eakin is the former director of the Congressional Budget Office. All right, Daniel, at this point, are the cuts inevitable? I mean, why is the president still talking about it?

DANIEL ALTMAN, ADJUNCT ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR, NYU'S STERN SCHOOL OF BUSINESS: Well, you know, we're 10days away and it seems like the Republicans really don't want to do anything to fend off this crisis. You know, you said sequester is an odd word.

In a lot of languages, sequester means kidnap. It is sort of a kidnap situation because the economy is kidnapped, fearing that we might lose maybe 0.6 of a percentage point off GDP while the politicians do nothing and just try to score political points.

BURNETT: But isn't it pretty sad if we have a problem with debt, there are all kinds of ways to get there, you can cut, you can raise taxes, but taking aside the debate on how you get there. The fact that we can't even deal with 2.5 percent of the budget is pretty sad.

ALTMAN: Yes. Well, what's interesting here is that it is a very small percentage of the budget. It's actually been covered already by the reduction in projections of health care costs into the future. Medicare and Medicaid are actually going to cost us a lot less than we thought.

The $200 billion a year less starting around 2020, with some earlier reductions before that and that would cover basically what we're looking at in sequester. It just shows you how small it is and how we need a much bigger deal.

BURNETT: All right, so Dough, speaking of that, Simpson-Bowles, the infamous couple were out today and they were saying look, this is true, by the way, what we were saying was a heck of a lot bigger than what they're talking about now with the forced cuts and what we were saying is far short of what we need to do. But you know what I love about Simpson (sic)? You know what, he calls B.S. here he is with "Politico's" Michael Allen.


MICHAEL ALLEN, POLITICO: Mr. Bowles, you referred to them as dumb --


ALLEN: Three times you used that word.

BOWLES: They are dumb and they are stupid, stupid, stupid. They're stupid because first of all -- they are inane. Look, there's no business in the country that makes its cuts across the board. You go in there and try to cut those things that have the least adverse effect on productivity. Second, they're cutting those areas where we actually need to invest, education, infrastructure, research.


BURNETT: All right, Doug, what do you say? That was Erskine Bowles. What do you say? I mean, stupid, stupid, stupid, so maybe a small percentage of the budgets, but done in a terrible way. Is it worth it at this point doing another deal where we punt it another few months or do you just take the pain?

DOUGLAS HOLTZ EAKIN, PRESIDENT, AMERICAN ACTION FORUM: Quite frankly, "The Sequester" is a bad idea whose time has come. The reality is that we have to cut spending. There are smarter ways to cut spending. There's no question. I'm not as charming as either of those gentlemen but it's still stupid.

But it would be better, for example, for the president rather than to wave his finger at everyone, to actually put forward a single proposal to replace these cuts with targeted cuts that accomplish something. Quite frankly, I admire Mr. Simpson, Mr. Bowles for their tenacity in going after a real problem that faces our economy.

But if you look inside their plan today, it relies on doubling down on cutting exactly the same parts of the budget. The infrastructure, the education, the basic research, the national security, that "The Sequester" is going to cut so we need for someone besides the House Republicans to pass a bill that cuts something else and makes some progress. So far, that just hasn't happened.

BURNETT: Well, you know, sorry I'm a cynic, but it hasn't happened because, you know, "The Sequester" is easy. You can say someone else wanted to do it, the cuts are bad, then the alternative is to actually tell somebody that voted for you that you will take away something that they want. Then the other alternatives are something like what else the president said. Let me play this quickly.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If they can't get such a budget agreement done by next Friday, the day these harmful cuts begin to take effect, then at minimum, Congress should pass a smaller package of spending cuts and tax reforms that would prevent these harmful cuts not to kick the can down the road. But to give them time to work together on a plan that finishes the job of deficit reduction in a sensible way.


BURNETT: look, he's trying. You know what, that is kicking the can down the road. It's been 19 months since the "Super Committee" came out with this. Every time we hit a deadline, somebody says give us more time. Time is not the problem.

ALTMAN: It's true. The problem here is this right now is not the time for a big sharp budget cut because we still are in a fairly fragile recovery. If you want to make cuts then phase them in over a longer time period. You can phase in larger cuts, but we don't need them to start right now when the recovery is still fragile.

The problem is that these politicians don't have a long time horizon for their decision making. They're thinking about the next election less than two years away and they're not credible because how many of them can actually commit to keeping these cuts in place when they take place six or eight years down the road.

EAKIN: If I could, first of all, I think the drama over these cuts. We got to get past this. This is $85 billion in a $3.6 trillion budget and $16 trillion economy. The notion that this somehow will crater our recovery is badly misplaced.

It would take a multiplier effect of seven to drive GDP to zero. If we had multipliers of seven the stimulus would have produced $5.6 trillion in GDP. That's just a red herring. We need to get serious about controlling the debt, period. It's a spending problem.

ALTMAN: No one's saying there's going to be a recession.

EAKIN: You're saying -- hear me out. Hear me out. You're saying we can't cut now. We haven't cut at all. Quite frankly, the so-called budget caps and all that, we heard $1.2 trillion, none of that's happened.

All those are promises that somewhere really in the future, we'll cut. Nothing's happened so far. The spending is the problem and we haven't done any of it yet. "The Sequester" is the first chance to actually do it.

ALTMAN: To be honest, this is actually a good time to spend because we can borrow at such a low rate for 30 years. Why aren't we investing in our future? We could put some things and invest in others that are going to pay for themselves.

BURNETT: Half of our debt right now is due in two and a half years at very low rates. We need to keep borrowing that money. Once rates go up we have to will roll it over and pay a heck of a lot more.

ALTMAN: It depends how you borrow and what your debt service is as well as how big the debt is. There's a big composition question here that gets lost, two points.

BURNETT: I've got to hit pause here. I'm sorry, Doug. I promise we will have you all back for a take two.

Still to come, new developments in the murder case of Olympian Oscar Pistorius. What our legal expert thinks of his action in court today.

Plus, did a man use a Christian dating site to meet a woman he later raped?

And gun makers take aim at a new target, women. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The one that I have right here is actually meant to put into your bra.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This one goes on your bra?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This one goes into your bra. It actually clips underneath and hides right into your cup.



BURNETT: Our second story, OUTFRONT, preying on Christian mingle users. So a California man has been accused of raping a woman that he met on what you're probably aware of, probably seen it advertised on TV, a very popular dating site called

The man is 37-year-old Sean Banks. He could have used different online aliases basically to arrange meetings with women. Miguel Marquez has been following the story and joins me now. So Miguel, how did -- there is obviously a specific victim here. How did she get into this situation?

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. This was a tough one. Police won't say how long the two had been chatting online, but they do say she made a no-no when it comes to online dating.

She invited him to her house on their first date. She didn't know his real name and what they say was aggressive sexual behavior led to rape. Now, Mr. Banks has pled not guilty to all the charges so far -- Erin.

BURNETT: Do they suspect that there could have been other victims out there? I know he denies it but do they think she was the only one?

MARQUEZ: Yes, this is what police -- this is why they're putting so much of this out. Not only did he have several different profiles on, but he also operated in several different states. The names he went by were Raridy, Ryland Harbaugh, Ryland Butterwood and he also operated probably in the I.T. world in the states of Virginia, Texas, North Carolina, South Carolina, Michigan and Colorado -- Erin.

BURNETT: So does Christian Mingle share any responsibility? I mean, obviously, it's been difficult to watch TV over the past few months without seeing an advertisement for that site.

MARQUEZ: Look, they say that they take every precaution that they can to protect their clientele. They say right off the top they don't perform background checks on any members or subscribers, but they do say they have people who manually go through, look at every profile and they also have automated systems that try to ferret out any sort of anything going on -- Erin. BURNETT: All right, Miguel, thank you. Now take a look at this. Vice President Joe Biden, the president's point man on gun control, as you probably aware, is telling people to buy shotguns. He made that recommendation at a town hall meeting today in response to a question about whether gun regulation would make law-abiding American citizens more vulnerable to crime.


JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: If you want to protect yourself, get a double barrel shotgun, have the shells, 12-gauge shotgun and I promise you, as I told my wife, we live in an area that's wooded and somewhat secluded.

I said, Jill, if there's ever a problem, just walk out on the balcony here, walk out, put that double barrel shotgun and fire two blasts outside the house. I promise you, whoever's coming in is not going -- you don't need an AR-15. It's harder to aim, it's harder to use, and in fact, you don't need 30 rounds to protect yourself. Buy a shotgun. Buy a shotgun.


BURNETT: Oops. Joe Biden being Joe Biden. Even if Americans don't take his advice, gun sales are already soaring. That's a fact. The FBI reports there have been 2.5 million gun background checks in January. That's up 80 percent from a year ago. Those applicants didn't all go ahead and actually buy a gun, but many who did are women.

This is an amazing story. Ed Lavandera reports why women are feeling more at home on the range.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When I got my gun out of my holster it's right there.

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: On this Texas gun range, Prada and bling meet bullets and pistol grips.


LAVANDERA: It's time for the good old boys to move over and make room for the newest sharpshooters in town, like Renee Blaine.

RENEE BLAINE, AUSTIN HOT SHOTS: When I tell people I'm a firearms instructor, they're like -- I said don't let the hair and nails fool you. We will break down drawing from the holster.

LAVANDERA: Blaine specializes in training women how to handle and shoot firearms. She runs a school called Austin Hot Shots.

BLAINE: It is huge. It is huge. The movement towards women and guns is something unlike I've ever seen before.


LAVANDERA: Surveys suggest the number of female gun owners was stable in the 20 years leading up to 2010. But in the last few years, gun retailers report a surge in female customers.

BLAINE: Get as high up as you can on the gun.

LAVANDERA: Cindy Greenwood is a new shooter. She won this handgun in a charity raffle.

CINDY GREENWOOD, FIREARM STUDENT: It's exhilarating. It's empowering, I think, for a woman. I like it. Makes you feel good.

BLAINE: I'm going to be aggressive, reach out and shoot that thing.


LAVANDERA: Learning gun safety and technique can be daunting, but these women say learning alongside other women offers a sense of comfort.

You've been in classes where it's just full of men. How is this different?

BLAINE: You know, women have a little different learning ability, let's just say. I don't really know how else to say it. Women listen.

NIKI JONES, FOUNDER, AUSTIN SURE SHOTS: It's like a book club with ammunition.

LAVANDERA: Niki Jones started the Austin Sure Shots club because she couldn't find any girlfriends at the shooting range. Less than three years later, the club has more than 300 members, all women.

JONES: More women are getting involved in firearms because there's kind of a societal shift. There's not a stigma attached to owning a gun, and I think women who decide they want to own a gun want training, they want to be safe, they want to train safely. And that's what we are all about. So they come here and they have the support of other women.

LAVANDERA: The gun industry is developing an arsenal of weapons and merchandise targeting women. There are guns and rifles with bright colors, animal print patterns, even holsters that can make a man blush.

KRISTAL REDEL, PISTOL CLUB MEMBER: The one I have right here is actually meant to put into your bra.

LAVANDERA: This one goes on your bra?

REDEL: This goes into your bra. So, it actually clips underneath and hides right into your cup.

LAVANDERA: They are actually called flash bang holsters.


REDEL: That is the flash bang.

LAVANDERA: Oh, really? Someone's coming after you, you distract them.

REDEL: Exactly.

LAVANDERA: Gimmicks aside, recent gun tragedies have, if anything, spurred more women to buy and learn to use firearms. Krystal Redel started shooting guns just six months ago. She now owns four handguns and two rifles. For these ladies, diamonds aren't always a girl's best friend.

Ed Lavandera, CNN, Williamson County, Texas.


BURNETT: All right. We want to show you this picture right now. This is a live picture out of Kansas City. And this is a gas explosion. That is the latest that we can tell you right now. As you can see, there's a significant fire, and lots of police and fire presence right there. You can actually watch right there, the firemen trying to put this blaze out. A huge fire in Kansas City, Missouri tonight.

We'll get more information on this. But as you can see, it's a gas explosion but there are buildings nearby. It looks like a parking garage perhaps to the left and a building to the right. This is obviously in Kansas City proper and a significant gas explosion. We'll have more details on that in just a couple moments, but I wanted to show it to you right now the minute we got that footage. We'll have the latest on that.

Plus, we have new details today about the Sandy Hook shooter. A source tells us Adam Lanza was obsessed with certain people.

Plus, there was a daring heist in Belgium. Thieves made off with $50 million in uncut diamonds. And police are saying they might never get them back. We'll talk about the heist.

And Kate Middleton shows off her baby bump. Why her appearance has set off a firestorm.


BURNETT: Now our third story OUTFRONT. The baby bump. Kate Middleton, the duchess of Cambridge showed off her growing baby bump during a public appearance in London this morning. And as expected, it set off a media firestorm.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Visibly pregnant.





BURNETT: Of course, it wasn't the only story about Kate's appearance today. There are millions every day. The British author Hillary Mantell found herself in the middle of a huge controversy when one of her lectures about Kate was published by the London Review of Books. The lecture included comments like this. Quote, "Kate Middleton as she was, appeared to have been designed by a committee and built by craftsman with a perfect plastic smile and the spindles of her limbs hand-turned and gloss varnished -- without quirks, without oddities, without the risk of the emergence of character."

Taken with no context, pretty harsh stuff. And lot of people jumped all over Hillary Mantell for saying it. The British prime minister, David Cameron, called it misguided. And newspapers, magazines and blogs called Mantell's comments cutting, venomous, bizarre and creepy.

Where the media wanted to know did Hillary Mantell get the idea that Kate Middleton is nothing more than a quote, "shop window mannequin entirely defined by what she wore"? Um, maybe here.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everyone's going to get a first look at her taste in maternity wear.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The question on all fashionista's minds, what will she wear?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How she's dressing the royal baby bump?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Every detail of Kate's singular star scrutinized in an astonishing compendium of facts and figures in the brand new British Vogue.


BURNETT: Truth of the matter is we have all contributed to this image of Kate Middleton as Caroline Webber, author of a book on Marie Antoinette told OUTFRONT today, quote, "the media construes Kate's role in decorative and reproductive terms alone." There's a truth to the accusation that we have created and celebrated a shallow idea of what a princess or even woman should be. And I don't think Hillary Mantell actually intended to offend Kate Middleton. Just lsten to the last portion of her comments. She says, "it may be that the whole phenomenon of monarchy is irrational. But that doesn't mean that when we look at it, we should behave like spectators at bedlam. We don't cut off the heads of royal ladies these days, but we do sacrifice them. But it doesn't have to repeat itself."

BURNETT: Still to come, Olympic blade runner Oscar Pistorius gives his side of the story at a bail hearing today. Why he says he shot his girlfriend.

Plus, we're still following this breaking news story in Kansas City. There has been a massive gas explosion, as you can see, right in the center of the city. You see the giant flames right now. We'll be right back.


BURNETT: All right. We have breaking news as we continue to -- the U.S. Supreme Court has denied the -- the U.S. Supreme Court has denied a stay of execution. Now, though, Warren Lee Hill has received a stay of execution from a federal appeals court. As I indicated, the Supreme Court has said they weren't going to hear this, but it was the federal appeals court which decided at the last moment that they would put a stay of execution on Warren Lee Hill. He was set to be executed at 7:00 Eastern Time by lethal injection.

Now, he has an I.Q. of 70 and his lawyers had argued that that meant he should be deemed mentally disabled and spared under a 2002 Supreme Court decision that bars the execution of mentally disabled inmates. Obviously, we don't know the exact reason for this stay of execution from the federal appeals court, but they have given him a stay.

Well, we have more breaking news. We are continuing to monitor a massive gas explosion in Kansas City.

Our affiliate KSHB is reporting a car hit a gas line, sparking the fire. So, we now know what caused it. Five people have been injured. In case you're familiar with the area, we're told this is in a country club plaza in that part of Kansas City. This is a live picture of what you're seeing now, gives you a sense of the incredible scale of the fire we're seeing in Kansas City.

We are making phone calls to try to get you more information. But as we can say, our affiliate is reporting a car hit a gas line and five people are reported injured at this time.

We are also learning more tonight about Christopher Dorner, the rogue ex-cop that authorities say killed four. Today, Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck said Dorner did a lot of homework and indicated he may have been conducting surveillance on his potential targets. Now, Beck also discussed that million dollar reward which as you know has not been given out. He says it's a complicated process and they want to be sure it's doled out fairly to the proper recipients. Well, a new report out today by an American cyber security firm says a group of hackers behind some major hacking attacks in the United States is tied to the Chinese army. The report my Mandiant details how they tracked the group of hackers known as the, quote- unquote, "Comment Crew" back to the headquarters of a secret division of China's military in Shanghai.

They found a group stole data from at least 141 organizations across 20 industries worldwide in just the past six years.

We spoke to Kevin Mandia, the CEO of Mandiant, earlier, and he told us this is just the tip of the iceberg.


KEVIN MANDIA, FOUNDER & CEO, MANDIANT: This is just one group. Mandiant tracks over 20 advanced persistent threat groups that we believe are all emanating from China. APT1, we came forward with it just because they're so pronounced. We only know the lower bounds of what they've done and we know 141 victim companies.


BURNETT: He went on to say that this group really only focused on companies but there's no doubt there are Chinese intruders actively pursuing access to public sector networks. The Chinese foreign ministry spokesman dismissed the claims as baseless accusations.

Well, it's been 565 days since the United States lost its top credit rating. What are we doing to get it back?

Well, not doing anything in Washington. But stocks continue to climb higher. The NASDAQ closed at levels not seen since November of the year 2000.

And now our fourth story OUTFRONT: Oscar Pistorius tells his side of the story.

It was an emotional bail hearing today in the South African Olympian's attorney read a statement saying that Pistorius thought his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, was a burglar when he opened fire. And that she died in his arms. But the prosecution is laying out a very different version of events. They contend the killing was premeditated murder.

CNN's Robyn Curnow is OUTFRONT in Johannesburg with more.


ROBYN CURNOW, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As Oscar Pistorius arrived for his bail hearing, his brother and family joined him to give him support.

Journalists jostled to get inside the small courtroom and officials seemed unable to cope with the huge media interest. And outside, a group of protesters are calling for an end to violence against women. But inside the court, the state argued and persuaded the magistrate that Pistorius should be charged with premeditated murder.

And with our iPhone and snatches of footage taken after the magistrate had left the court, we can show you how startled, scared, and lonely Oscar Pistorius looked. He cried or sobbed throughout the bail hearing, despite the presence of his family.

Pistorius looked so different from this confident athlete who broke stereotypes to run in the Olympics, despite being a double amputee. He continued, though, to breakdown when his legal team read out an affidavit.

This was a shortened version of Pistorius' version of the story: "I woke up went to the balcony to get the fan and close the sliding doors. I heard a noise in the bathroom. I felt a sense of terror rushing over me. There were no burglar bars across the bathroom window and I knew that contractors had left ladders outside. I did not have my prosthetic legs on. I grabbed my 9 millimeter pistol from underneath my bed.

I screamed to get out of my house and for Reeva to phone the police. It was pitch dark in the bedroom and I thought Reeva was in the bed. I fired shots at the toilet door and shouted to Reeva to phone the police. She did not respond. When I reached the bed, I realized Reeva was not in the bed.

That's when it dawned on me that it could have been Reeva who was in the toilet. I found the key and opened the bathroom door. Reeva was slumped over but alive."

Later in the affidavit, Pistorius says, "She died in my arms."

REEVA STEENKAMP, MODEL: I love you very, very much.

CURNOW: Reeva's last moments will no doubt be further examined on Wednesday, during the second day of the bail hearing, as the state will try to reinforce why they don't believe his version of events and why Oscar Pistorius should be kept in jail until a trial.

(on camera): Now, don't forget, this tragedy played out with two families across this country today. Oscar Pistorius' family supported him in that magistrate's court as he faces premeditated murder charges. But in a little seaside town called Port Elizabeth, Reeva Steenkamp's family laid her to rest. They called her an angel, as they said goodbye.

Back to you, Erin.


BURNETT: And as Robyn mentioned, earlier today, family members and friends of Reeva gathered in her hometown for an emotional funeral. Many mourners were overcome with grief, others with anger over her alleged murder by Oscar Pistorius.

OUTFRONT, Rahima Essop, she's a journalist working for "Eyewitness News" in Cape Town. She was covering Reeva's funeral today.

And, Rahima, I know you had a chance to speak with Reeva's brother as well as her uncle. What did they tell you about Reeva and about her relationship with Oscar Pistorius, which as I understand it, was still a relatively new relationship.

RAHIMA ESSOP, EYEWITNESS NEWS IN CAPE TOWN: Yes, Erin, it was a relatively new relationship. It started around November last year. Reeva's family had really shied away from talking about Oscar Pistorius. They say that Reeva seemed very happy at the time.

There was no -- there were no signs of trouble.

BURNETT: And Reeva's uncle spoke to reporters at the funeral, Rahima, and I want to play a little of what he said. I know you were there.

Here he is.


MIKE STEENKAMP, REEVA STEENKAMP'S UNCLE: We are here today as a family. There's only one thing missing, it's Reeva. And the statement she stood for, about abuse against women.


BURNETT: Rahima, abuse against women was something very important to Reeva. The day before she was killed, she tweeted a message by a South African singer that, "Read wear black this Friday in support against rape and women abuse, black Friday."

Why was this such an important cause for her?

ESSOP: I was standing next to Mike Steenkamp when he broke down, when he was speaking about how much he missed Reeva Steenkamp, and he said that she was committed to empowering women, that this was a cause very close to her heart.

BURNETT: And one final question, when you talk of the family not wanting to weigh in on the guilt or innocence of Oscar Pistorius at this time and they really wanted to talk about Reeva and her life, you know, we have all around the world now seen pictures of her and obviously, she's beautiful and we know she was a model and we know she was in that reality show.

But what else did her family want people to know about her? Beyond what we all see physically?

ESSOP: She was a bubbly, vibrant person. Those were some of the descriptions that have been given to me. Having spoken to some of the people who grew up with Reeva here in Port Elizabeth, they described her as a girl who was going places, someone who was destined for great things.

BURNETT: All right. Rahima, thank you very much for taking the time. We appreciate it.

ESSOP: Thank you very much.

BURNETT: Oscar Pistorius' affidavit may have answered some questions about the death of his girlfriend, but it raises a lot of other ones.

OUTFRONT tonight: Lewis Johnson, a sports commentator who has covered Pistorius and knows him, and our legal consultant, Paul Callan.

Paul, let me start with you, because as Robyn Curnow was reading from this affidavit, you know, his sequence of events was -- thought there was an intruder, he moved towards the bathroom, he screamed at the intruder, then he shot, then he told Reeva to call police, then he realized she wasn't in the bed.

Now, at that point, you would think at some point she would have screamed because she was shot at, she would have responded to what he said. Does his version of things add up?

PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL CONTRIBUTOR: Well, when I look at something like this, and I have tried cases, homicide cases, as a prosecutor and a defense attorney, I always look for something that just doesn't make sense.

And the one thing that really doesn't make sense here is every couple has been through this moment, this bump in the night moment when you think maybe somebody's just come in downstairs. What's the usual scenario? The husband or the male, I don't mean to be sexist about this, Erin, goes out, sometimes with a gun if he has one, maybe with a baseball bat, but he grabs something and makes sure the woman in his life is safe, and then he goes to encounter the burglar.

What happens in this case? He winds up in the bathroom --

BURNETT: Shoots first and then, right --

CALLAN: Well, first of all, he's got one of the most beautiful women in South Africa in his bed, Valentine's Day, and he doesn't notice that she's missing. OK? Right?

So, now, he's going to go and confront the burglars and when he knows they are safely encased in this toilet area, he opens fire and fires four shots. I don't know. It doesn't -- something doesn't ring right about it.

BURNETT: Lewis, you have spoken with him at length. You know him.

Did he have a hot temper? Did you ever get a sense of what he was like with women? LEWIS JOHNSON, SPORTS COMMENTATOR WHO HAS INTERVIEWED PISTORIUS: Not really, Erin. You know, my interactions with him were started back in 2011 at the world track and field championships in Daegu, South Korea. And I immediately discovered a guy who was incredibly inspiring. You know, he was driven to, you know, succeed on the track and try and make history.

But I never saw anything -- I mean, this entire story to me is just unbelievable. The guy that I got to know covering there in South Korea and London --


JOHNSON: -- is not even equating to these circumstances that I'm hearing.

BURNETT: Now, let me ask about something in court. And I know we have -- he was crying, he completely broke down today and he did in the first hearing.

Does his grief seem genuine to you? I mean, I know that's a very hard thing to judge, but this is a man you know.

JOHNSON: It's hard to get in his head, you know, from this far away, and not knowing really all the circumstances which I think will continue to be revealed in this sad story. But the guy that I discovered on the track, especially in London where he fought so hard through the court for arbitration of sport to have a chance to run against able-bodied athletes in the games --


JOHNSON: -- is an emotional athlete. That's part of what they do. And his emotion was joy and again, inspiring to all the people who watched him do what he did.

And I can't get in his head to know exactly what his emotions would be at this time but obviously, he's grief and overrun, but we don't know if that's because he has done something with premeditation or if it was an accident.


JOHNSON: It's just a tragic story. Tragic.

BURNETT: Right. Paul, you know, in his affidavit, he says he didn't call police, he admits this. He said he carried her body downstairs, at some point obviously putting his legs on. He said they weren't on during the shooting. But his first call after the shooting he made was to an associate, someone who worked in the gated community, asked them to call police.

Is that strange or is that standard operating procedure?

CALLAN: I think it was very, very strange. Because you would expect him to be calling the ambulance first or the hospital first to give aid to his true love who was with him, who is found shot. And instead you have this carefully crafted affidavit that's trying to put together and play on the fears, really, that I think a lot of South Africans fear of people coming into their homes and trying to steal from them, and saying he was afraid that burglars were present.

I mean, this is "stand your ground" on steroids is what this defense is with him outside the door firing shots.

BURNETT: Right. And before you, you mentioned steroids, obviously in the different context. But, you know, there have been reports, these are just reports, so much of this now is hearsay, but there were reports out of London that he could have been using steroids and that this could have been some sort of roid rage.

Does that ring true to you? Is it possible?

JOHNSON: We have heard comments of the history of athletes losing their minds or going bananas on steroids --

BURNETT: We've heard even about Sergeant Bales in Afghanistan, you know, allegedly --


JOHNSON: Absolutely. But those of us in the track and field community, with steroids, you look for an athlete coming out of nowhere or a performance having an incredible drop. You know, we didn't see anything abnormal about Oscar's performance and his continuation to improve in terms of time. So that would -- we have to wait to see if there was some sort of testing that would say that, yes, he was doing something. So, too early on that.

BURNETT: But interesting to say you didn't see it in terms of the times. That is where you would see it.

JOHNSON: Absolutely. We didn't see that.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Lewis and Paul.


BURNETT: And still to come, what we just learned about the Sandy Hook shooter. Was the shooting inspired by previous mass murderers?

Plus, a daring diamond heist in Belgium. Thieves make off with $50 million worth of diamonds and they might be scot-free.


BURNETT: We're back with tonight's "Outer Circle" where we reach out to our sources around the world.

And we begin in Belgium, where robbers dressed like police made off with $50 million of uncut diamonds. Wow. Dan Rivers is following the story from Brussels. And I asked him what police knew or know about the thieves. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAN RIVERS, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Erin, the authorities know almost nothing about these eight masked gunmen who came in, were within the airport perimeter for only 11 minutes, went straight to the Swiss-operated airline, held up the baggage handlers and made off with $50 million worth of uncut diamonds.

The big problem is finding those diamonds now could be incredibly difficult. They were probably here in Antwerp to be graded. Now, they may have been polished and distributed on the black market somewhere in Europe, making it almost impossible for them to get the diamonds back -- Erin.


BURNETT: It's just amazing.

Well, now, our fifth story OUTFRONT: inside the mind of the Newtown shooter. There are new details emerging about how Adam Lanza spent his time leading up to the massacre in which he killed 20 children and seven adults.

A source with knowledge of the investigation tells CNN that Lanza and, I'll quote them, "was obsessed with mass murderers."

According to "The Hartford Courant" and CBS News, one of them includes Norwegian mass murderer Anders Breivik, who killed 77 people in Norway in the summer of 2011. "The Hartford Courant" and CBS are also reporting that authorities found a trove of violent video games in Lanza's house and that he played them all the time.

OUTFRONT tonight, professor of criminology at Northeastern University, Jack Levin, and Harvard Medical School psychologist William Pollack.

And, Bill, let me start with you. You and I talked about this video game correlation before.

How much of a correlation in your mind could be drawn between the video games and Lanza's actions?

WILLIAM POLLACK, PSYCHOLOGIST, HARVARD MEDICAL SCHOOL: Well, video games don't -- even violent ones, even in a black room as suspected, don't cause you to go out and do rampage shootings.

But if your mind is already set on a path to violence, if your mind is already disturbed in that direction, will it push you ahead? Will it keep you away from more reasonable people who will stop you? Absolutely. It can push you in that direction.

BURNETT: Can it make you a better shot? I mean, there have been Anders Breivik, who I'll talk about in a moment, who apparently now, people are saying was an inspiration to Adam Lanza. He said himself that he used a video game to train for the mass murder that he carried out. Could Adam Lanza have become a better shot from video games, or is that hogwash?

POLLACK: Hard to know with Adam Lanza. Generally, in these rampage-kinds of murders, people become better shots because they've gone to shooting ranges.

BURNETT: Which he did.

POLLACK: And tried that out. Yes.

BURNETT: Jack -- yes, go ahead.

POLLACK: Go ahead.

What the video games do is they inure people to caring about whether they're killing somebody and they lose empathy about caring and they can't reach out for any help.

BURNETT: Jack, what about the reports that Adam Lanza had a stash of articles about Anders Breivik, the man who -- the mass murderer in Norway? Do you take the copycat factor seriously? What I'm asking, is it possible that had Anders Breivik not done what he did, that Adam Lanza wouldn't have done what he did?

JACK LEVIN, CRIMINOLOGIST, NORTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY: Oh, I doubt that very much. The copycat phenomenon does indeed thrive and prosper on excessive publicity. And not only do we give these cases too much attention, but in addition, we make anti-heroes out of killers, monsters, who don't deserve to become infamous because of the crimes they commit.

We send a terrible message to all of those bullied youngsters out there, and that is, look, you want to be famous, you want to be important, no problem. Kill somebody. And while you're at it, kill a lot of people. Break a record. That way you'll get on the cover of celebrity magazines, you'll have your profile on a t-shirt.

And that's unfortunately, exactly what these killers want.

BURNETT: Jack, are you saying -- I mean, we're talking here. You're talking about CNN. You're talking about the media.

I mean, should we not cover the story as we've covered it or what do you thing the answer is?

LEVIN: Oh, not at all. You know, reporters have not only a right but a responsibility to inform the public, especially about these horrible tragedies that are so newsworthy. The question is how much coverage?

And reporters ought to show restraint, just like the rest of us, and realize that if they overdo it, they're playing right into the hands and the guns of these bullied youngsters who want to get even. They want to get even with their classmates. Adam Lanza had been a student at Sandy Hook Elementary School where he was brutally bullied and tormented and humiliated on a daily basis. He wanted desperately to be famous and important, and we gave him that chance.

BURNETT: Bill, on balance, video games, do they provide an outlet for people who -- most people use them just for playing video games, but for people who could be a problem, are video games an outlet that prevents them from doing more violence or an outlet that actually encourages them?

For that small group, I'm trying to understand whether there should be more regulation or we should be focusing on that?

POLLACK: Well, there should be more regulation. Most of these violent video games are terrible for youngsters and very young children watch them and they engage in aggression much less heinous than this.

But we don't know scientifically whether the video game is what pushes someone over the edge. But you have to be at the edge, as my colleague Dr. Levin talked about, you have to be bullied.

In fact in targeted violence where you're going after someone in the school whom you know, a teacher or a schoolmate, in our research with the Secret Service, you have to be suicidal and homicidal at the same time.

So the video game may push you over the edge, it may gate you over, so to speak, but you have to be at that edge to begin with.

BURNETT: All right. Thanks very much to both of you. And please let us know what you think. I know a lot of you are very passionate about this issue.

The e-block is next. And tonight, the most beautiful woman in the world.


BURNETT: What is a legend? We throw that word around a lot. But what does it really mean?

The "Merriam Webster Dictionary" defines it as a story coming from the past, especially one popularly regarded as historical although not verifiable. There are a lot of stories like that.

One of my favorites is the legend of Cleopatra. I'm a big fan of Stacy Schiff book named "Cleopatra."

There are so many fascinating unknowns about her. Was she really that beautiful? Was she really that smart? Was she really that manipulative? What about all those lovers?

She was sort of the perfect femme fatale and she ruled a great empire. But none of the tales are as legendary as the one about her death. For 2000 years, the story has gone that Cleopatra took her own life with poison, possibly from an asp rather than allow the Roman army to return her to Rome in chains.

It's probably regarded as fact although never definitively authenticated. But now, it's being challenged. A new book by Pat Brown called "The Murder of Cleopatra" uses criminal profiling and crime reconstruction to try to determine if her death was a murder, not a suicide.

It's an interesting theory and a reminder to us that legends are just about instinct. In a world of camera phones, YouTube, TMZ, Twitter, all of us are under intense scrutiny and we really do over share.

It's been a long time since the public has been unable to confirm the details of celebrity lives, world leader lives, anyone's lives. And yes, it might seem strange for a journalist to be complaining about the loss of mystery.

But while knowing the truth is important, to me, it's legend that makes life so exciting. What will the future think of our era? They'll have no one to hold up as a legend. They'll see all the warts and nastiness and infighting and, ah, that's sad.

"ANDERSON COOPER 360" starts right now.