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Senate Questions Airline Merger; Shot Baby in Chicago Laid to Rest; 2 Girls Detained in Steubenville Rape Case; Psychologist Says Arias Suffers PTSD, Amnesia

Aired March 19, 2013 - 13:30   ET



SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN ANCHOR: Take a quick look at markets. Dow Jones opening higher this morning, after good news on the housing sector turned negative after the financial crisis in Cyprus was not resolved and the finance minister offered his resignation. We're looking at the market there, down 63 points.

In Washington today, what is at stake is an $11 billion merger. We're talking about American Airlines wants to join forces with U.S. Airways. But the government's going to have to approve of all of this. So the Senate Judiciary Committee is questioning the heads of both companies. The committee is also talking to consumer groups that are warning that the merger could cost consumers more to fly.

Rene Marsh has been at the hearings.

And give us a sense of what the CEOs are explaining this. They're in the hot seat.

RENE MARSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They are in the hot seat. You know they're saying this would be a good thing if this merger does happen if us airways is allowed to merge with American Airlines it will create the largest U.S. airline. Consumer advocates are calling potential merger a bad case of deja vu. Here's why. In recent years, we've seen mergers, we've seen six to be exact. In 2005, U.S. Airways and American West, they merged. Several more in between. And the last one happened in 2011 when southwest merged with Air Tran.

Now, if American and U.S. Airways merge, and they do get that green light, consumers will only have three major airlines to pick from. So what does that mean for you the next time you book your flight, your frequent flyer miles, will it mean a flight delay or lost luggage as companies work to integrate. That's exactly what the Senate judiciary subcommittee asked CEOs of the two airlines today. Here was the airline's response.


DOUG PARKER, CEO, U.S. AIRWAYS: Passengers and communities will benefit from more and better service. Employees will receive improved benefits, job security. Shareholders will benefit from the improved financial stability of the combined company. Because of these benefits, the combination has attracted unprecedented support from the employees and labor unions of both companies, the financial markets and the communities we serve.


MARSH: All right, well, consumer advocates say the merger will mean fare increases, though history does not show that mergers lead to fare hikes. They also say less competition would mean decline in customer satisfaction, including comfort, on-time flight, baggage handling. And for those loyalty programs, consumer advocates say that airlines won't worry about customer loyalty. The currency value of the miles traveled, that could be lowered. You could see expiration date on accumulated miles and you may even see redemption fees.

Back to you.

MALVEAUX: Rene, let's start off with the concerns of the consumer groups here. Talking higher prices and losing frequent flyer miles potentially?

MARSH: You know what? It depends on who you speak with. If you talk to many consumer advocates, they seem to believe -- and they're dug in -- if this merger is allowed to go through, it very well could mean higher prices because they say it's just the way it works. There's less competition, then these airlines don't feel the pressure to lower prices. But, again, we go back to say that history doesn't necessarily suggest that that has to happen.

When it comes to the frequent flyer miles, well, when we see these two companies merge, now you have a lot of loyal flyers competing for these seats. So it just makes things more difficult for people if you are part of any of those programs to get those free seats.

But if you talk to the airlines, they say the upside to all of this, Suzanne, they will be able to travel if a lot more other areas and that would simply mean, if you are a part of the frequent flyer miles, you have more choices far as where you can go.

MALVEAUX: All right. Rene, thank you very much. Appreciate it.

Dow Jones had an impressive run, right? Record highs the past couple of weeks. But fears over a crisis in Europe sent stocks lower in the past couple of days. We're asking the question, how much risk should you be taking when it comes to stocks right now?

Christine Romans, Ali Velshi show you how to measure your tolerance for risk.


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: A series of records in stocks. So many ask, should I buy stocks here? Is this a time to get in or out? We say those are wrong questions. The right question is, what is your risk tolerance. Everything shifts from that.

ALI VELSHI, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: First step in investing. There's an easy way to do this. Go to, risk test. You'll get 15 questions. We know you're busy so we're not going to take you through 15 questions. We'll take you to a representative sample of three questions which help people determine how much risk you're prepared to take in I'll hypothetically answer them.

ROMANS: And I'll hypothetically answer that so you can sort of see how to get a risk measure, a risk tolerance.

VELSHI: The main one, what is your primary financial goal? People say different things, preserve wealth, plan for retirement, accumulate wealth.

ROMANS: I choose two, plan for retirement.

VELSHI: Plan for retirement. Next question, which best describes your financial goal?

ROMANS: I will choose, four, grow your assets.

VELSHI: Grow your assets. Substantially, over an extended time frame. Third question, which of the following investments do you feel are the most ideal for your portfolio? That doesn't mean that's what should be in your portfolio but we're trying to get a sense for how comfortable you are taking risk.

ROMANS: Hypothetically, blue chip stocks.

VELSHI: Blue chip stocks.

And once you answer all 15, we'll generate a pie chart. It will tell you what kind of investor you are. This is a respect a high-risk investor. One-third of your investments will be in those large-cap blue chip stocks. But you pick some risk. 16 percent will be in smaller mid-capped stocks, stocks that aren't of companies that big. But 16 percent international. You'll take risks with things called alternative investments that don't move in the same direction.

ROMANS: Is that metal?

VELSHI: Yes, exactly, gold, precious metal, other things that don't move the same as stocks.

ROMANS: Real estate.

VELSHI: Real estate can be in here. And then there's a section, about 16 percent, which is diversified fixed income, often means bonds or bond funds.

ROMANS: Where do you find it again?

VELSHI: You'll find this by going to 15 questions. You can figure out how to invest in this market and not time the market.


MALVEAUX: Right now, a funeral is being held for a 6-month-old who was shot and killed in the south side of Chicago. We'll get the latest on the investigation.


MALVEAUX: In Chicago, a 6-month-old baby is being laid to rest today, less then a mile from where she was shot. The funeral for Jonylah Watkins happening now. You're seeing live pictures inside of that service. She was sitting in her father's lap in the family's parked minivan last week when someone fired a single gunshot into the van. Her dad survived, and police think he was the intended target. They are vowing to find whoever killed this innocent baby.

Our George Howell is in Chicago.

George, you were inside that church moments ago. Paint a picture for us, if you will. I mean, what this community is going through.

GEORGE HOWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: OK, Suzanne. Putting it in perspective, I've covered a lot of fatal shootings over my career, always tragic, always sad. You find yourself invited to a funeral like this. This is different, a 6-month-old girl shot and killed and seeing pictures for the first time, pictures, the few pictures she was able to take during her life.

Inside this funeral right now, there's a lot of crying. It's very tearful. Some people are clapping. There's a celebration. People are determined to find solutions to the senseless violence these gun- related deaths here in Chicago. But we're talking about hundreds of people in this funeral service now, all asking the same question, why? What about the person who did it. Take a listen.


VICTOR BROUNNER, MOURNER: I was walking, wondering what the person's thinking about right now who did this. What he's thinking? He should turn himself in.


HOWELL: Investigators are talking to Jonylah's father, Jonathan, and they say he is cooperating, but indicate he could be more cooperative. At this point, they are still searching for the killer -- Suzanne?

MALVEAUX: George, police say they do have some surveillance video that could actually help them find the shooter. Do they think that's going to be a strong tool to try to track down who did this?

HOWELL: you know, at this point, that is a very important lead. In that surveillance video, taken there at the scene, it shows a getaway van and that's what investigators are using as their primary lead to get closer to an arrest. We hear from the police superintendent that he's confident an arrest will be made, Suzanne, in this case, and that's what people here, that's what they are demanding. But at this point no one is in custody.

MALVEAUX: And, George, finely, you bring up such a good point, you've covered many murders before, we've seen this in Chicago before, but you see that little girl's face, does that seem to make a difference, an impression on the community in terms of the outrage or the concern that you have this little girl who lost her life?

HOWELL: Let's look again. You know, yes, in many ways it feels like, it seems like, this is a rallying cry on the south side of Chicago. People are talking about this. They're talking about finding ways to make a difference, to make change, just to make people think twice about the gun violence here. So you know, there is a hopefulness inside this funeral, Suzanne. But this is a very sad occasion, to say the least.

MALVEAUX: A lot of work to be done there.

George, thank you very much. Appreciate it.

A child we've all been following, she admits killing her ex-boyfriend but claims she can't remember. Wait until you hear what Jodi Arias' psychologist has to say about that, up next.


MALVEAUX: An explosive rape case remains in the headline thanks to social media. Two teenagers are expected in court today, accused of making online threats against the rape victim. This, after a judge sentenced two high school football players Sunday. They were found guilty of raping a 16-year-old girl last August. Now, of course, the story went viral and pictures and texts about the assault were shared online.

The mother of the victim says the family hopes to put this ordeal behind them.


UNIDENTIFIED MOTHER OF RAPE VICTIM: I feel I have an opportunity to bring an awareness to others, possibly change the mentality of a youth or help a parent to have more of an awareness to where their children are and what they are doing. The adults need to take responsibility and guide these children. I ask every person listening, what if this was your daughter, your sister, or your friend? We need to stress the importance of helping those in need and to stand up for what is right. We all have that option to choose. This is a start of a new beginning for my daughter.


MALVEAUX: The lawyer for one of the convicted teens spoke to Piers Morgan last night.


WALTER MADISON, ATTORNEY FOR MALIK RICHMOND: Well, his apology was for the pain that he caused. He was there. There's no question about it. The question that I think Mr. Richmond, his dad, is concerned with is whether or not he committed a rape on the evidence that he heard. That's the father. He's going to feel that way. PIERS MORGAN, HOST, PIERS MORGAN: Will you be appealing that?

MADISON: There will be an appeal. There's a legal agenda we'll follow and a personal agenda. The thing that's important is we transcend this. Rape is a terrible, terrible, terrible thing.


MALVEAUX: This case in Steubenville is not over. Ohio's attorney general says it is time for a grand jury to look into this case.

A defense psychologist says Jodi Arias can't remember killing her ex- boyfriend because she developed PTSD and amnesia as a result of all of the stress she was under. Arias admits she killed Travis Alexander, her boyfriend, but says it was in self-defense.

Ted Rowlands, he's covering the trial of Phoenix.

Ted, this is something a lot of people have been following every step of the way. And you've got the prosecutor now really going after this witness. Richard Samuels, now back on the stand, yes?

TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. And the grilling continues. Juan Martinez is not letting up at all, because this is an important witness, Suzanne, for the defense. Outside of Jodi Arias herself, who was on the stand for 18 days, this is the second-most important witness because this is the person that is going to supposedly explain to the jurors why Jodi Arias, who has a photographic memory jurors why Jodi Arias who has a photographic memory about everything that happened to her in her life, can't remember stabbing Travis Alexander 29 times. This is why Juan Martinez is going after him so hard and will continue to for the rest of most of day, I'm assuming, because he has been meticulously going after not only this doctor's past, but how he handled Arias in his interviews with her.

MALVEAUX: And what's so fascinating is the jurors themselves have been able to ask questions. Do we expect the doctor also will face questions from the jury?

ROWLANDS: Oh, yes, because they have a little wire basket that sits on the jury table and they've been writing questions and dropping them in the bin. So once Dr. Samuels is done answering questions from Prosecutor Martinez, it will be up to the jury. So he'll have a long day ahead of him. There are a lot of questions for him.

He's a very pivotal witness and I'm sure jurors want to be comfortable with what he's trying to tell them in terms of the science behind basically the premonition that Jodi Arias did forget because she was under so much stress, which is documented in cases like this. But it is taken with a grain of salt in this one because she can are remember nothing conveniently about the actual stabbing of her boyfriend.

MALVEAUX: All right, Ted. Absolutely intriguing. A fascinating case.

Thank you very much. We're also following an update on an unsolved mystery two decades old. The FBI now says it knows who was behind one of the largest art thefts in the country.





MALVEAUX: Justin Timberlake's new C.D. is out, including the number- one R&B hit song, of course, "Suit and Tie." Timberlake held a C.D. release party in L.A. last night and, yes, he did wear a suit and tie.




MALVEAUX: Sad news out of the Motown world. Bobby Smith, lead singer of the Spinners group, has died. Smith suffered from lung cancer. He was 76 years old.

An update on an unsolved mystery. This is two decades old. The FBI says it knows who was behind one of the largest art thefts in the country. This is 23 years ago. Two men, posing as police officers, broke into a Boston museum, stole priceless art work pieces. Those pieces, including paintings by Rembrandt, worth some half a billion dollars. The FBI says a crime network based on the east coast was responsible for that heist. There is a $5 million reward for information that leads to recovery of some of those stolen masterpieces.

They are sizzling hot. You know who I'm talking about. The Miami Heat bringing the fire. Can they do it? Can they beat an NBA record?





MALVEAUX: They're not called the Heat for nothing. They're on fire. Last night, Lebron James and company extended the Heat's winning streak to 23 games, defeating the Celtics on Boston's home court in the last 30 seconds of game. Final, 105-103. The Heat now have the second-best winning streak in NBA history.

And the big party everybody is talking about on and off the court, we're talking about March Madness. Today, 68 teams start the road to Atlanta hoping for the chance to be in the final four. I want to go downstairs to the CNN Center Atrium. That is where we find our own Carlos Diaz.

I saw the supersized bracket yesterday. Show us what you've got.

CARLOS DIAZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Exactly. We have brackets and this is supersized. This is 20 feet tall, 40 feet wide behind us. And it's big enough for the big party that we'll have here for the final four. You have bands like Sting, Dave Matthews Band, Flo Rider, Ludicrous, all performing here on final four weekend at a free concert. 140,000 expecting for that. You can watch the highlights on Twitter this year.

Tonight, the March Madness, of course, tournament begins with the first four. North Carolina against Liberty, the first -- the second team ever lost 20 games. And been in the tournament. And then Middle Tennessee State taking on St. Mary's.

So, Suzanne, I have question, have you filled out your bracket?

MALVEAUX: I did. Of course, I filled out my bracket. Louisville and Indiana, those are my picks. Louisville all the way.

DIAZ: No, I'm sorry, I'm going to have to show you my pick right here for the national champion.

MALVEAUX: Who did you have?

DIAZ: It's my alma mater. We're going with Indiana. There we go. Just put that in the books right there.

MALVEAUX: All right.

DIAZ: Later, I'll fill this entire thing out. It might take me a while. I have a crane.


But I'll fill out the entire bracket later. This will be my official bracket for people to throw eggs at the entire morning, the entire day.

MALVEAUX: Yes, I might have to do that. I might have to pitch an egg there.


Got to let you go, Carlos.

That's it for me. CNN NEWSROOM continues.