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STARTING POINT WITH SOLEDAD O'BRIEN
"Blade Runner" Bail Hearing: Day 2; Boy Adopted From Russia Dies In Texas; No Motive In Orange County Shooting Spree; "Get A Double Barrel Shotgun"; Post Office To Launch Clothing Line; "Raising Adam Lanza"; Number One Indiana Survives Number Four Michigan State; New Front Runner For Wooden Award?; Shooting Star; Bar Stool Racing Hits The Slopes; Hackers Hijack Jeep's Twitter Feed; Record Viewers For Downtown Abbey Finale; Tiger Impressed With Obama's Game
Aired February 20, 2013 - 07:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back, everybody. Some new testimony in the past half hour that's starting to rip holes in the murder case against Olympian Oscar Pistorius. The lead investigator making shocking revelations. First, that they found two boxes of testosterone and a needle in Pistorius' house.
Next, the gun shots that killed Reeva Steenkamp were specifically aimed at the toilet where she was in not just randomly into the bathroom itself. Also, Pistorius considered a flight risk because he had a house in Italy and offshore bank accounts.
But the defense has now battled back. I should mention this is a hearing that's under way right now. The defense says that the boxes police found were not testosterone, but a legal, herbal medicine.
It got the investigator to admit that he wasn't even sure if it was testosterone. The investigator also admitted that he's not opposed to giving Pistorius bail and he was not sure if he had a house Italy. He just heard that he did.
On top of all that, he admitted that he entered the crime scene without protective covers on his shoes because they had run out of them. Robyn Curnor joins us. She has been outside the courthouse in Pretoria, South Africa to talk about these new developments.
How is this case going and how is Oscar Pistorius holding up? Yesterday, you were telling us how he was practically falling apart during the testimony.
ROBYN CURNOW, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, we have a CNN producer inside the courtroom. She is feeding me messages on my Blackberry and she says that he is sitting up straight now. He is not hunched over. He has definitely stopped crying and I think with good reasons.
As it seems like his defense team has really punched holes, hammered this investigating officer in terms of the evidence that the state has. I was just also reading a tweet from a journalist colleague of mine who is also inside the court.
She says something a senior investigating officer in a murder case should try to avoid saying at all costs is I don't have any facts. That's something he said. So I think many people who support Oscar, we know his family in particular, have been smiling at times.
And also I think there's a sense of general positivity and upbeatness in that room at the moment if you are one of Oscar's supporters.
O'BRIEN: Robyn Curnow for us this morning. She is in Pretoria. So let's talk a little bit. I mean, from what Robyn was describing yesterday, we get a sense that tide has turned.
Yesterday, he was practically heaving and they had to stop the proceedings for him to get a grip on himself. Now you hear this investigator, it sounds as if he's not only reversing himself or admitting things that he didn't know.
Where he says I don't have facts in the case, which certainly in an American courtroom would be the beginning of the end of a case.
MICKEY SHERMAN, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: This isn't the trial. It's kind of a preliminary hearing.
O'BRIEN: So it doesn't matter at all?
SHERMAN: Well, the only thing that makes a difference is if the state or government allows him to go on bail. This is not the trial itself. It's interesting that the investigator is being so candid and honest about it. But don't forget it's not a jury, it's a judge. And judges can very often be more aligned to the prosecution.
O'BRIEN: They asked the -- they asked the prosecutor did he tell the family he would support bail? He said it twice apparently. Once and then they asked him to clarify. He has said. What does that do for this case?
SHERMAN: That's major. Whenever you can get the law enforcement people or victims' family for them to agree to no bail or bail rather, that's a major development.
O'BRIEN: We're going to keep watching this story.
All right, another story we're following, talking about yesterday as well. Russian officials backing away the comments he made regarding the death of a little boy, a 3-year-old boy that had been adopted by an American couple out of Russia.
Investigators in West Texas say the death of little Max Shadow was suspicious. Yesterday, Russia's Children's Rights commissioner said the boy had been beaten and abused. Today though, he changed his wording to simply say that the police are investigating how the kid died.
Nonetheless, he is demanding a return of Max's younger brother who was adopted by the couple as well. CNN's Phil Black is live for us in Moscow this morning. Phil, good morning.
PHIL BLACK, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Soledad, yes. Russian officials are pretty angry about what they say was a delay in the U.S. State Department informing them about the death of the 3-year-old Max. They say it should have happened within 24 hours. Instead, they found out one month later and it wasn't from the State Department. It was through other channels.
As you said, they backed away from some of the stronger language. The more emotive stuff they've been using in recent days. They initially said this boy was killed. He was murdered and they gave some details of the abuse that he was said to have suffered.
They now accept that this is still being investigated. That no one has been charged, but they very much want that to happen. They are pushing for prosecution. They want someone to be punished severely.
This is being driven politically hereto by politicians who now say it proves Russia was absolutely right in implementing a ban preventing U.S. families from adopting any more Russian children -- Soledad.
O'BRIEN: Thanks for the update. Let's get right to John Berman. He's got a look at the day's other stories making news.
JOHN BERMAN, ANCHOR, CNN'S "EARLY START": Thanks, Soledad. Police in Orange County, California, trying to figure out why a college student went on a shooting and car-jacking spree Tuesday during the morning commute. Three people were killed and three others were injured. The suspect, Ali Syed, killed himself as police closed in.
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JIM AMORMINO, ORANGE COUNTY SHERIFF: In addition, a shotgun was recovered when the suspect apparently shot himself. There may be other weapons involved. It's still an ongoing active investigation.
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BERMAN: Syed was 20 years old. He lived with his parents and he had no criminal record. Police say his first victim was a woman. He shot several times in his home. It's not clear what their relationship was.
Today, Vice President Joe Biden and Attorney General Eric Holder will present the Medal of Valor to 18 police officers, firefighters and public safety officers who put their lives on the line to save others.
Now the vice president has been working to advance new gun control legislation, including a possible assault weapons ban, but he's not opposed to Americans keeping a shotgun for protection. In fact, he recommends a .12-gauge model.
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JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: If you want to protect yourself, get a double barrel shotgun, have the shells of .12-gauge shotgun and put the double barrel shotgun and fire two blasts outside the house. I promise you, whoever is coming in is not going to -- you don't need an AR-15.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: Move over H&M, here comes USPS. The Post Office is launching its own clothing line next year. The all-weather gear will be called "Rain, Heat, and Snow," a reference to the Post Office unofficial motto.
Of course, the Post Office has serious financial problems losing billions over the last several years. Post Office clothing, I don't know if it is going to help that.
O'BRIEN: Do you think it's the same clothing as the post people wear now?
BERMAN: Well, I think it's probably a little more fashionable than that. Not saying that there fashions are not, you know, very appealing, but they may want to branch out a little bit.
Portland Trailblazer scouts may soon be heading to the Oregon Zoo. Take a look at Eddie, the slam dunking sea otter. The zookeepers trained this 15-year-old creature to dunk a basketball to get him exercise for his arthritic elbow.
Once he got the hang of it, he just never stopped and he has been living at the Oregon Zoo for 13 years. He was rescued off the coast of California where he was abandoned as a pup. Eddie is pretty awesome.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: His agent is right of camera.
BERMAN: That's right.
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: That's much more entertaining than anything about "The Sequester." I want to watch that over and over again.
O'BRIEN: All right, we've got some new information to share with you this morning about Adam Lanza, the young man behind that horrific massacre in Newtown, Connecticut. Producers of a frontline documentary have been speaking to people very close to the family who talked about their impressions of Lanza. Listen.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There was a weirdness about him and Nancy warned me at one of the scout meetings, she said just so you know and I know you wouldn't do this, but just so you know, don't touch Adam. I go, well, I wouldn't touch him. No, I mean not like that. Like don't do an atta boy thing or shake his hand and say, way to go, brother. She says he just can't stand that.
(END VIDEO CLIP) O'BRIEN: Frank Koughan is the writer and producer of "Raising Adam Lanza." It's nice to have you with us. So walk me through some of the biggest revelations about this young man that so few people really seem to have insight on his life. What did you learn about him?
FRANK KOUGHAN, WRITER AND PRODUCER, "RAISING ADAM LANZA": I think the thing that we learned most about him is -- is how strange a child he was and how -- though he committed a truly monstrous act, there was nothing monstrous about him growing up.
He was if anything exactly the opposite. He was very meek, fearful of the world, very easily spooked by things that you and I would find completely unremarkable.
And it doesn't jive with somebody who then walks into an elementary school and starts spraying gunfire all over the place. So something -- something happened late in his life that caused a drastic snap. And what that is, is the question that's still unanswered.
O'BRIEN: No one has really heard from Adam Lanza's father, Peter Lanza, or really sat down with his brother. Two people who were very close with him, but seemed to have a very abrupt split with him around 2010, right?
KOUGHAN: Exactly. Peter Lanza wouldn't speak with us. But somebody that was close with him, confirmed to our partners at the "Hartford Courant." That Peter and Adam split in about 2010 and that it was Adam's initiative. But what it was that brought about the split is, again, a mystery.
O'BRIEN: You worked with "Hartford Courant" reporters and they talk about sensory integration issues in Adam, from the time he was a small child. Here's a little bit of what they wrote.
Adam, age 6, been diagnosed with a condition that made it difficult for him to manage and respond to sights, touch, and smell, eventually struggled in the first grade at his new school, Sandy Hook Elementary. His mother would respond, touching off a 10-year educational shuffle with moves in and out of schools and programs that addressed his sensory integration disorder.
And another diagnosis would come by middle school, Asperger's syndrome. I'm trying to figure out and I think for many people, the question is, how much of his problem was a sensory integration disorder or even Asperger's?
And how much of a problem is what seemed to be his mother trying to figure out the solution, putting him into school, pulling him out of school and eventually he seemed very isolated.
KOUGHAN: That's a very good question and a hard one to answer. And they are intimately related. He had these problems all throughout his life and his mother really struggled trying to figure out what to do about it.
And sadly in retrospect, she seems to have taken on that burden pretty much by herself. There's not a lot of record of her having consulted with professionals or gotten professional treatment for Adam.
So she did what she thought was best without clearly knowing what that was and it created a great deal of instability in his life. And Adam was not a person who tolerated instability or change very well.
O'BRIEN: It's a fascinating look at a young man that so many people are trying to understand. Frank Koughan, writer and producer of "Raising Adam Lanza." Thank you for talking with us. Appreciate it.
KOUGHAN: Thank you.
O'BRIEN: You bet. So he has been a popular R&B artist for more than 20 years with hit songs "All About Love." Keith sweat is now turning that success into a book, a relationship book. He says he is the guy who can answer your relationship question. He is going to join us live, up next.
O'BRIEN: College basketball top rank teen Indiana is going to hang on to the number one slot after taking down Michigan State. Let's get right to Joe Carter. He's got details in this morning's "Bleacher Report." Hi, Joe. Good morning.
JOE CARTER, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Hi. Good morning to you, Soledad. You know, for the past five weeks, when a school earns the right to be number one in college basketball, they lose that ranking in the same week because they lose to a lesser opponent.
Well, number one Indiana and star player Victor Oladipo finally broke that streak last night. Oladipo sprained his ankle in a game Saturday carried his team in the final minutes to victory.
Magic Johnson, in fact, who is part of the broadcast team last night, compared Oladipo to Michael Jordan and Dwyane Wade. For the first time in 22 years, Indiana beats Michigan State on the road, 72-68 was the final.
Boy, was Joe Johnson the hero for the Brooklyn Nets last night. He hit not one, but two shots to help his team win in overtime again. That three-pointer forced overtime and then back to Johnson in overtime. He nails this shot for the ball game. The Nets are 5-0 in overtime this season. NBA best 10-0 in overtime dating back to last season.
So I'm guessing there was a bar bet involved when this competition was created. In Drummond, Wisconsin, 5,000 people turned out to watch makeshift barstools race in the snow. Now the idea here is use anything around the house you can find, attach it to a bar stool and then race to the finish line.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Last year, we were able to do a pinball machine. We like to put unique things that people can't normally get their hands on, on skis. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I talked to a couple registered. And I said, geez, you are here for another year. Yes, at least one more year. I don't think they can give it up.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARTER: All right, they have been doing it for 14 straight years. For all your entertaining sports news, of course, go to bleacherreport.com. Soledad, it's all about the push at the start if you want to get --
O'BRIEN: I think it was the drinking at the bar that led to what we see there. All right, Joe Carter, thanks. Appreciate it.
So ahead this morning, he is one of the men on the hit show "Girls," Alex Kopetsky is going to joins in the next hour that's ahead. You're STARTING POINT. We're back in just a moment.
O'BRIEN: Welcome back, everybody. Taking a look this morning at the top trends online, the same hackers who took over Burger King's Twitter feed earlier in the week might be behind a similar attack on Jeep for about an hour yesterday.
Hackers got creative giving the automaker a new motto, Jeep, just empty every pocket. The company was claimed to have been sold to Cadillac. Jeep's logo was replaced by the Cadillac logo. So it appears they were hacked as well.
Not everybody likes the way the season ended. A whole lot of people were watching talking about the British drama "Downtown Abbey." The show Season 3 finale drew a record 8.2 million viewers on Sunday.
Many of them taking a social media vent their frustration, which if you're in charge of that show that's a very good thing, isn't it? The network is not frustrated at all. They said the show's third season had a regular viewership that was four times that of PBS' regular primetime average.
ROMANS: I'm not convinced. I'm going to start downloading it and watch the first season. Is it worth the investment of my time to try to catch up?
BERMAN: A soon as I get a life. I'll watch "Downtown Abbey."
O'BRIEN: It's an interesting trend I think that now you can get these shows and watch them in a two-day window.
JOSH BARRO, BLOGGER FOR BLOOMBERG VIEW: This is the thing Netflix has done with "House of Cards" and a lot of my friends hunkered down in their bedrooms and watched the whole thing.
O'BRIEN: Did they hunker down, watch it and love it? BARRO: Well, the win is if people are actually signing up for Netflix subscriptions to get this. I think it remains to be seen if they'll make money off it. They're making high quality product.
O'BRIEN: Doesn't it shift the social media in "Downton Abbey," don't you lose the water cooler aspect if everybody's watching it over the weekend?
ROMANS: It's the new water cooler aspect. People are not going online and using social media because they don't want to know. Like calling in sick from work because you don't want to find out who shot J.R.
BARRO: You have to wait before you can talk about what's happened, people say you spoiled it, people are like if you didn't want a spoiler you should have watched it by now.
O'BRIEN: Also trending this morning, Tiger Woods says he is impressed with the president's short game, the world second ranked golfer and the commander in chief teed up in Florida on Sunday. Here is how Tiger described the game coming together.
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TIGER WOODS, PROFESSIONAL GOLFER: Yes, he calls up and said, Tiger, you want to play? Obviously there is a process that's involved, and I was invited to play and it was an invitation that certainly you don't turn down. Playing with Mr. President was pretty cool. He's just a wonderful person to be around and we won.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O'BRIEN: We won. No shocker exactly that the Tiger Woods/President Obama duo defeated Ron Kirk and the Houston Astros owner, Jim Crane. As for the president's game, Tiger says the president has amazing touch, chipping and putting.
BERMAN: He was actually gushing about the president's game. He said if the president had time to work on his game more he would really develop.
SHERMAN: What a great second act for Tiger Woods, a man so far down in his shoes and look he's now golfing with the president.
BERMAN: Although the president won't allow pictures to be taken of it so back to an extent.
SHERMAN: I think that's the president's vanity of having a crappy game.
O'BRIEN: Oscar Pistorius' bail hearing was contentious this morning, the defense and the prosecution giving different versions of what happened the day that Pistorius' girlfriend was murdered. We'll have the details at the top of the hour.
One of the most popular shows on TV right now, Alex Karpovsky who plays ray on "Girls" will join us live, that's ahead.
O'BRIEN: Welcome everybody. Our STARTING POINT this morning, bombshells in court from shocking testimony revealed in the Oscar Pistorius murder case including testosterone found on the scene allegedly and was there a home in Italy? Is any of it true? The defense starting to blow some huge holes in the case. We're live outside the court with the developing detail this is morning.
Then dogs searching for one missing person after an explosion blows the roof off a Kansas City restaurant. Fourteen people injured. We'll bring you there live.
BERMAN: And happening now, a winter storm slamming California and the southwest dumping up to eight inches of snow. It is where the storm is headed you will want to pay attention to.
A sports stadium is getting a new name and not named after a company, it's named after a prison, sort of. You got to hear this.
O'BRIEN: Packed show this morning. Walter T. Shaw will join us to talk about that daring diamond heist that took place in Belgium. He's a jewel thief. Also we're going to talk with Erskine Bowles about the new plan revealed yesterday to fix the debt. And Alex Karpovsky from the hit show "Girls" will be with us.
It's Wednesday, February 20th and STARTING POINT begins right now. Welcome, everybody. Our team this morning, Josh Barro joins us. He is a blogger for "Bloomberg View." Mickey Sherman is with us. He is a criminal defense attorney. John Berman sticks around as well.
We begin with the incredible testimony that we've been hearing and following out of South Africa in the Oscar Pistorius murder case. It just wrapped up for the day. No decision yet on whether or not Pistorius will in fact get bail. It continues tomorrow morning, 4:00 a.m. our time, 11:00 a.m. in South Africa.
Today, the defense started to rip holes in the case presented against Pistorius and they now say that he was arrested for no reason, that it might be a malicious prosecution, could be wrongful arrest.
Talk about coming out swinging as far as the defense goes. Let's go first to Robyn Curnow outside the courthouse in Pretoria, South Africa, to break down some of the latest developments. Good morning, Robyn.
CURNOW: Our CNN producer inside the courtroom has been sending me messages on my Blackberry and says Oscar Pistorius is now sitting upright, seems more confident. He's not bent over, heaving, sobbing with tears as we know he's been doing throughout this bail application.
And he perhaps has good reason to be confident because his defense team seems to have punched holes into the evidence put across by the senior investigating officer in this case. A number of points that he made and submitted as evidence have been literally hammered down by Oscar's team.
He basically admitted he didn't have any facts. He also said that he conceded to a lawyer close to the family that he didn't think bail should be oppose and more importantly he also conceded that he didn't disagree with Oscar's version --