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New Carnival Cruise Disaster; First Latin American Pope Elected; Interview with Kris Anderson; Jodi Arias Trial Continues; Suspected Gunman Dead; Wrongly Accused Man Suing FBI

Aired March 14, 2013 - 11:00   ET



ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, ANCHOR, "CNN NEWSROOM": Hello, everyone. I'm Ashleigh Banfield.

And breaking news this hour, stuck on a cruise ship, flickering power, problems with the toilets, it's happening again on Carnival.

We have just learned that the Carnival Cruise Lines will now fly all of the passengers home who are on board their cruise ship Dream. This comes just days after the head of the Carnival Cruise Lines addressed a comprehensive review of its entire fleet and just one month after the disastrous voyage of the Carnival Triumph.

The cruise line just issued a statement, and let me read part of it to you.

"Yesterday during regularly scheduled testing of the ship's emergency diesel generator, a malfunction occurred. At no time did the ship lose power and the ship's propulsion systems and primary power source was not impacted.

"The ship is at dock in St. Maarten. All guests are safe and comfortable. There were periodic interruptions to elevators and restroom services for a few hours last night.

"However, all hotel systems are functioning normally and have been functional since approximately 12:30 a.m."

Some of the reports from the cruise ship were a little bit different. Human waste on the floor, you've heard the story before. These are the reports coming out from the docks at St. Maarten.

We're going to continue to follow this story as it continues to break for us. In fact, we've got an interview lined up for you with Kris Martin (ph) who not only is a journalist, but also happens to be vacationing with his family on the ship.

And, by the way, Carnival cruise ship, we should mention, does plan to fly every passenger home. They said that they are going to do so by private flights and some of the commercial flights, as well -- private charter flights. So, clearly, they are in damage control mode.

I can tell you also this. Inside that statement, they said that not only are they going to fly everybody home from St. Maarten who wants to be flown home, but since they're mid-vacation, they're going to receive a refund equivalent to just three days of their voyage and then 50 percent off a future cruise.

So, more on that in just a moment, but there is also big news in Rome. It's 4:00 p.m. there, the first full day of a big job for a new guy, the papacy.

This is a papacy that is already marked by firsts -- the first Pope Francis who is also the first Latin American pope and the first Jesuit pope. He began his day with an unassuming visit to the Roman Church of St. Mary Major.

In the next hour, he's going to celebrate something a little bigger, a mass with the cardinals who picked him out of all of their ranks less than 24 hours earlier.

There you go, the pope hard at work.

CNN's Miguel Marquez was there for the conclave and the climactic, and he joins me now.

Again, I watched this. There were somewhere between 100,000 and 200,000 people all buzzing around St. Peter's Square.

I'm curious if they just am-scrayed the minute they got the announcement or if there is still sort of an energy in the air there, Miguel.

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, there is a bit of an energy in the air. It was rainy and very cold. It's gotten cold again here today, and it is sort of business as usual at the Vatican City today with a lot of tours going on across the area there into the basilica.

But I do want to show you, if I could, a couple of the newspapers here which, certainly, Rome is buzzing about, its bishop, the bishop of Rome, certainly the pope.

"Grazie, Roma" is what Francis said to the crowd, sort of wishing them well and thanking them for coming. He was almost sort of sheepish in the way he did it.

This is the coolest one, though. Even the newspapers, Ashleigh, in Italy are just so beautiful. And look at this one, in Latin. I would probably not do very well with that. It's a lovely keepsake. I think they're pretty much sold out of these, so clearly, people are very, very excited about the new pope here.


BANFIELD: So, Miguel, New York's cardinal, Timothy Dolan, who was also considered to be somewhat in the running, although a bit of a long shot, made some comments this morning, in fact, to our colleague, Chris Cuomo, about the humility of this pope.

I want to play that for you and then ask you about something very specific we just found out about this new pope and one of his first big moves that showed humility.

Listen to Cardinal Dolan.


CARDINAL TIMOTHY DOLAN, ARCHBISHOP OF NEW YORK: We heard. We didn't know it because we were locked up. We heard that it was pouring down rain out there. There was a big crowd in the square.

So, he said -- there was still -- he'd met all the cardinals and then there were about a hundred other people to meet, and he says to them, you're going to be around, right? Because we could hear them.

They said, yes, holy father, we're with you for rest of your life. He said, good, I'll talk to you afterwards. I don't want to keep the folks waiting. They've been waiting for me for a long time. Let's get out there.


BANFIELD: I like that. You're going to be around, right?

And, Miguel, we also heard that yesterday it turns out they had this big fancy car all set out for the brand-new pope to be ferried back to where he was staying, and he chose instead to get on the bus.

MARQUEZ: Well, and this is also a guy who took the subway in Buenos Aires where he's from.

This is somebody who everybody we spoke to last night, there were a lot of Argentineans in the crowd and they said, look, this is a guy who not only takes the subway, but goes by "Father" there.

There's not a lot of honorifics. He's not a very formal guy. He clearly is a guy with a sense of humor.

He wore a simple iron cross last night rather than gold or jewels. It was all white. Not a lot of adornment on the garments that he wore last night.

You know, after dinner -- they had dinner after that scene on the balcony, and at the end of that dinner, he jokingly told his 114 electors, you know, God help you for what you've done, that is, electing him pope.

This is a guy who is very humble. It was very sweet last night when he came back out onto the balcony and almost insisting that people -- kind of sheepishly thanking everybody for showing up and then said, you know, safe travels home and sleep well.

He -- I think he almost felt bad there were that many people out there. It was an amazing evening to be out on the square.

BANFIELD: All right, well, Miguel, it's just -- it's great to hear all these small nuggets of what are now are very important moments in a man's life and are very telling about who this new leader is. Miguel Marquez, working long hours, thank you for that.

I want to take us back right away to St. Maarten where that cruise ship story, yet again, another cruise ship story has been unraveling.

Joining me now on the phone is Kris Anderson who is onboard the cruise ship Dream, the Carnival cruise ship, with his wife and sons. This is supposed to be a great vacation from his job as anchor at WREG in Memphis.

Kris, we just heard that the cruise line has offered to fly you all home. What are the conditions really like onboard this ship?

KRIS ANDERSON, CARNIVAL DREAM PASSENGER (via telephone): I can tell you, Ashleigh, there are worse places to be stuck than at the port in St. Maarten. It's gorgeous out, so that's the one silver lining to this interruption to our vacation.

What we are hearing is basically what I just heard you say and I actually heard you say some more information about the damage control and the compensation. They haven't presented us with any of that information yet.

But we are still waiting. They said we'll have our information on charter flights back to the Orlando airport sometime tomorrow or later today.

So, we are just waiting for the next step is to see, logistically, how they're going to fly 4,000-plus passengers back to the Orlando airport and then charter bus, take us back via charter bus back over to Port Canaveral.

BANFIELD: Well then, the other thing, Kris, is that, as you look at these pictures, you see how massive these ships are. You just mentioned 4,000-some-odd passengers who need to be ferried.

And, while some of the passengers may have reported seeing human waste on the floor of their state room lavatory, others may know nothing about this and may actually be out enjoying the pool and the great outdoors like you are.

How many people know that there are actually problems on board?

ANDERSON (via telephone): How many know that there are problems? Well, they have been pretty good about making announcements yesterday. They were good about keeping us updated that there were situations that they were going to have to shut down the elevators intermittently and they would give us five, ten-minute warnings -- please don't use the elevators for the next few minutes.

I've heard some reports that there were big power outages. I didn't experience it. And I spoke with several people who were up to 3:00, 4:00 in the morning and they never saw any power outages.

The toilets were off for quite some time. And I think the problem that people might be having with the toilets backing up is it's a similar situation at home, if your toilet gets clogged, flush it repeatedly. The water will keep coming up and coming up.

Whereas, if you just flush it once, see it's not working, close the lid and forget it. You're not going to be in trouble.

So -- but they were out of service for quite some time, for several hours. Ours started working about 8:00 this morning.

BANFIELD: Well, we should mention, as well, that some of those reports, Kris, came into us saying that no passengers were allowed off as this was all happening and the cruise ship responded by saying they thought that they could lick this problem pretty quickly and they didn't want to have passengers scattered all over St. Maarten, so -- go ahead. Go ahead.

ANDERSON (via telephone): They said with the announcement yesterday, started as a quick, you know, you notice that we haven't left port yet. We have a minor issue that we noticed during a systems check. It should be fixed soon.

That progressed until about the last announcement about 10:00 last night, said it was more complicated than expected.

But they are going to let us off the ship today. They are going to let us get back into St. Maarten and enjoy some of the fun here on this wonderful island, and then, as they figure out the logistics of flying us back home.

BANFIELD: Well, it's lucky that you didn't have this happen while you were out somewhere in the midst of the Virgin Islands and needed a tow back in.

Kris Martin (ph), I'm sorry your vacation was cut short, but enjoy St. Maarten while you have the chance. Kris Martin (ph) with our affiliate, WREG, or Kris Anderson, I beg your pardon.

Top stories now to get to, the chief of the Transportation Security Administration is expected to be grilled today by lawmakers today over that TSA decision to allow small knives onboard planes once again.

In case you are wondering what happens to all those knives and all the other loot that is seized by the TSA, like spears and marble rolling pins, believe it or not, much of it is actually sold at government surplus stores. Interesting.

The FBI is announcing a new addition to the agency's Ten Most Wanted List today. His name is Edwin Ernesto Rivera Gracias. He's wanted in the 2011 brutal murder of a 69-year-old man in Denver, Colorado, and has connections to a violent international gang.

Honda announces a worldwide recall over, apparently, a brake defect. The cars can suddenly -- or the defect can kick in even when the driver isn't applying any pressure to the brakes.

The cars in question? The Acura RL, Acura MDZ and the Honda Odyssey and Pilot. 2005 and 2006 models are affected. That's a lot of cars, in fact, nearly 250,000 vehicles in all. A hundred-eighty-three- thousand vehicles are actually here in the United States, but the good news is, so far, there have been no crashes reported related to all of this.

A big reminder to you, this guy, I want to remind you that Jake Tapper's brand-new program, "The Lead," is getting under way on Monday afternoon at 4:00 p.m. He's a bright guy, he's a great guy, and the show promises to be terrific, as well. I encourage you to watch.

Sex, lies and now guns, Jodi Arias' 18th day of twisted testimony coming to a dramatic end. Did I say fireworks and guns? We're all over it, coming up next.


BANFIELD: For a defendant, it was an unprecedented amount of time on the witness stand, 18 days. That's how long Jodi Arias spent up there trying to show that she killed her boyfriend Travis Alexander, admittedly, but in self-defense.

And the jury, you can pretty much say they weren't buying a lot of this, certainly by the end, and we know because of a lot of the questions they asked.

They even asked her something along the lines of why should we even believe you when you've lied to us so much already.

She had an answer for everything, though, and she finished up yesterday. And there were real fireworks, especially when the prosecution got a hold of her, tearing into her about, you guessed it, all of the lies that she told before and during this case.

Joining us now are Ted Rowlands and Beth Karas, a correspondent for "In Session," our sister network on TruTV.

Ted, I want to talk to you first about the day in court yesterday because she's finally off the stand and she didn't go without some fireworks from this prosecutor. What was that about?

TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, frustration. As you said she has an answer for everything. She's very good, very quick on her feet, very intelligent. But the prosecutor says basically all she's talking about is a lie. It's frustrating. It has been frustrating. Yesterday it erupted on a couple different times when he's trying to get to her and basically tell her that her story doesn't make sense. Take a listen.


JODI ARIAS, ON TRIAL FOR MURDER: The fog started to come in after the gunshot after I got up and he threatened my life. I have no clear memory after that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And that's when the memory issue started, correct? Right?

ARIAS: I would say that. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Actually, ma'am, the way you describe that, it's impossible for the killing to have happened in that manner, isn't it?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Objection. Argumentative.

ARIAS: No. That's just according to you.


ARIAS: No. It's not impossible.


ROWLANDS: She doesn't give an inch. He's saying the way you have laid it out, it's impossible in terms of the -- whether she stabbed or shot him first. She sits there and answers every question confidently and sticks to her story. It will be interesting to see what the jury really thinks of these last 18 days. I think everybody is happy she's off the stand.

BANFIELD: She's probably happy, too. Beth, you're a correspondent but you have spent a lot of time as a prosecutor in a courtroom. I have to ask you this. The order of whether this young man was stabbed or shot first and her version of it is perhaps the most critical question in this case. Not only for whether the jury decide ifs she's guilty but if they decide if she's condemned. Why is that?

BETH KARAS, CORRESPONDENT, "IN SESSION" : There is an aggravating factor that is alleged in the case. You have to do it by law if you are seeking death in a case. The aggravating factor in the case is cruelty. That this death occurred in a particularly cruel manner and cruelty is defined as physical and mental anguish among other things. That it was a drawn-out death that he knew he was going to die. It's probably fair to argue based on the evidence in this case.

There was a hearing a long time ago about this. And the order of the fatal wounds was reverse from what we heard. At least at that time, a judge determined it was cruel, but thinking that the shot in the head was first, and the defense says, you know what, that's not the way the testimony came in at trial. We believe that this was perjured testimony, false testimony that the aggravating factor is based on that even got us to the trial level. And this is not a death penalty case because it was not basically physical or mental anguish. That she shot him first or intended to shoot him first.

BANFIELD: Aggravators aside, Jodi Arias' whole story is based on once I shot him I don't remember anything else. I don't remember all that stabbing that I must have -- her whole story goes out the window if what the ME says is right.

KARAS: That's a problem, too, for her. She's saying she's defending herself against something she can't describe. By the way, this trial judge said regardless of the order of shots I find cruelty is made out enough to go to the jury. The jury will decide what they believe the order of the fatal wounds to be. She's in a fog. She can't explain the 29 knife wounds. Five of them are defensive wounds on his hands. He clearly grabbed the blade. The other 24 are her slashes and stabs. She can't explain any of that. But she admits she did it.

BANFIELD: She requires us to make huge leaps over every other strange issue she has to explain away. It could be troublesome for the jury. I have to stop it there. The case continues. Ted Rowlands and Beth Karas, thanks for your work in the courtroom.

I want to tell the viewers you can watch the Jodi Arias trial this afternoon live on HLN and streamed on

A small upstate New York town is struggling to return to normal. A standoff is now over and a man who went on a bizarre killing spree is now dead. But what happened?


BANFIELD: A dramatic and a deadly end to a stand off between police and a man accused of killing four people in upstate New York. He's 64-year-old Kurt Myers. He was shot dead by FBI agents early this is morning when they entered a building where he was holed up since yesterday. Deb Feyerick is at the scene in Herkimer. Deb, how did this go down? What happened?

DEB FEYERICK, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It was really fascinating. It appears the gunman was, was in fact, laying in ambush. He set a trap. He knew police and FBI agents would come in after him. The way it played out is that it was not a random building he decided to enter yesterday here on Main Street. He'd gone on his rampage, came straight here. Parked his car in back of the abandoned hotel and went inside. He also fired shots out at passing police vehicles. He was well aware that the police knew he was inside that building.

Around 8:00 this morning FBI and New York state tactical teams entered the building. They were with a k-9, German shepherd who entered the building at the same time. Kurt Myers unexpectedly opened fire at the dog, killing the dog. That's when the agents opened fire, killing him in return. It started and was over in moments. It really brought to conclusion the 15-hour stand-off which had this town on edge. The governor came here yesterday and told people, don't go out of your home if you don't need to. The area was cordoned off behind me. A lot of activity. Agents really made the right call. Federal agents, local state police made the right call to pull back yesterday because they didn't know exactly what Kurt Myers was planning. They thought perhaps he was planning. They waited him out. They had flash bangs, gas, a robot to check out where he was. It was really a waiting game and a standoff.

BANFIELD: It's a good thing none of the officers were killed in this. When a FBI dog or service dog dies that's considered an officer down. Who was this man? Anybody who knew him, what did they say about him?

FEYERICK: You know, that's what's amazing. What authorities know is he knew the town well. He had been here, had grown up a long time ago. He had a DUI 40 years ago. No other criminal record. He wasn't known. He was a loner. He had no job. Authorities did reach out to family. They had no idea why he might do something like this. Why he would go to a barbershop and open fire, why he would go to a Jiffy Lube and open fire and end up in a hotel. Whether it was to be death by cop which is drawing fire upon oneself, or to go out in a blaze of glory. All that right now is under investigation. There are forensic analysts on site processing the crime scene now. The body is still inside.

BANFIELD: Deb Feyerick live for us in Herkimer, New York. Thank you for that.

Coming up, everybody wants to be wanted, unless it's by the police. If you're guilty, lie low. If not, speak up. If the police don't listen to you, well, you sue. We'll have that exact story and that man's real life frustration in a moment.


BANFIELD: Earlier in the program I introduced you to a new member of the FBI's most wanted. It's not that guy. That guy is Chau Van. He's not an FBI most wanted. He's not even wanted locally, but his name and photo turned up on the most wanted list in Oakland, California. It was all a mistake in February of last year.


CHAU VAN, WRONGLY PLACED ON "MOST WANTED" LIST": A friend called me and said that I was on the news for a shooting. I was like, you know, this must be a practical joke.


BANFIELD: It wasn't a practical joke. Apparently when Chau Van tried to clear up the big mistake, he was arrested, tossed in jail and he stayed in jail for three days. They didn't take him off the most wanted list for six months. Now Chau Van is suing in federal court. He claims he suffered, quote, "embarrassment, depression, and shame." Time to bring in two of the best in the business on this.