Return to Transcripts main page


Two Teens Accused of Shooting 13-Month-Old; Spring Snowstorm Pounds Colorado; Mayor Bloomberg Spending $12 Million on Gun Control Ads; Same-Sex Marriage and the Supreme Court; Phil Spector's Wife Speaks about Film; Cyprus Races to Avert Debt Crisis; New Economic Data This Week; March Madness and Internet Stress; Driver Lost Control on Steep Hill

Aired March 24, 2013 - 17:00   ET


FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Hello. Thanks for joining us. I'm Fredricka Whitfield. A look at our top stories right now in the CNN NEWSROOM.

Brutal winter weather this spring. A major snowstorm is hammering the Midwest right now. We will show you which states are getting hit the hardest and where the system is heading next.

People in 13 states will start seeing TV ads aimed at gun violence starting Tuesday. Billionaire New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg is paying for the campaign himself through his anti-gun violence group.

And we are a nation riveted by the NCAA tournament but beware, watching all that streaming video can overload your company's Internet.

First up, that huge snowstorm that's hammering the Midwest on this first week of spring, snow is falling from Missouri to Ohio. And wind gusts over 30 miles an hour are blowing all that snow around making visibility on the roads extremely difficult. It is the same storm that slammed into the Rockies creating white-out conditions and forcing shutdowns on two interstates in Colorado.

Karen Maginnis is track being the storm.

KAREN MAGINNIS, METEOROLOGIST: Coverage of snowfall across the Ohio River Valley, that is where it is expected to be the heaviest in places like St. Louis, Springfield, that is extending on over towards Evansville, Indiana. Road conditions, pretty treacherous.

Well, this area of low pressure has trekked all the way from the Rockies into the central plains, the Ohio valley. But then, it kind of gives up a little bit of steam and another area of low pressure will make its way just off the mid-Atlantic coast but still close enough to places like Washington, D.C. and New York. It looks like that's going to be a very short-term event.

But in the meantime, if you are traveling along some of the interstate that cut across some of the central plains, those roads fairly treacherous, as I mentioned, St. Louis, Springfield, some pockets where six to ten inches of snow likely in central Indiana. But for those higher elevations, the Alleghenies and Poconos, the spine of the Appalachians, you will definitely see heavier amounts there.

Well, the bulk of the nastier weather can be focused around that area of low pressure put mid-Atlantic and portions of the northeast. Elsewhere, sunshine across the southwest, high pressure dominates the central U.S.

Fred, back to you.

WHITFIELD: Thanks so much, Karen.

So this huge snowstorm is also hitting cities that are hosting March Madness games. Dayton, Ohio is one of them.

Susan Candiotti is live from Dayton.

So, thousands of people have traveled to Dayton to see this game and they are going to get there despite this nasty weather?

SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I will tell you. Look at it now. Look, the forecasters have said all along we're only expecting one to three inches until the overnight hours. And so, we have been getting flurries off and on. That's it. You can see right now, these guys are getting ready for the onslaught of all the cars that are about to be let out of the University of Dayton where the second of two games is winding up.

But take a look around. We could still see grass here, just little patches of snow from those flurries earlier today. Still, all these people have to make their way home either to Indiana or to Philadelphia. What do they think about that? Listen.


CANDIOTTI: What do you think it is going to be like when you wake up in the morning?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'll be tired. It doesn't matter to me. I don't care. I don't have to go anywhere.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have to go to work. So, it will be cold but I don't mind it.


CANDIOTTI: So again, Fred, they are talking about anywhere from five to eight inches, nine inches. Wind gusts of 20 to 30 miles per hour. But that is not supposed to occur again until the overnight hours and that could make morning commutes very treacherous as well as what are all these people going to do who live out of state and are trying to get back after the game -- Fred.

WHITFIELD: All right, good luck to them all. Thanks so much.

Susan Candiotti, in Dayton.

A memorial is set for tomorrow morning for Colorado's former prison chief. Tom Clements was shot dead last week. Police say this man, Evan Spencer Ebel, is a suspect in the shooting. Authorities believe Ebel drove to Texas where he was killed in a shoot-out with sheriff's deputies. He once was a member of the white supremacist gang.

In Brunswick, Georgia the mother of an infant shot and killed last week said it is the second time she lost a child to violence. Sherry West told CNN her 18-year-old son was stabbed to death in New Jersey back in 2008. Two teenage boys have been charged with the killing of West's 13-month-old son while she was out walking with him on Thursday.

In Orlando a 16-year-old boy who says he accidentally shot and killed his 12-year-old brother will not face charges.


MIKE MORESCHI, ORLANDO POLICE DEPARTMENT: 16-year-old figured that the place was being broken into. He fired a shot and it killed his brother.


WHITFIELD: Authorities say they will meet with the state attorney's office to decide if there was any negligence in the shooting. Neighbors of the teens are concerned about how the 6-year-old got the gun.

New York mayor Michael Bloomberg is stepping up his campaign against gun violence. He's helping bank roll a $12 million ad blitz to pressure Congress on gun control.

CNN's Athena Jones reports the campaign has its critics.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I believe in the second amendment and I'll fight to protect it. But with rights come responsibilities.

ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Mayors against illegal guns led by New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, is pouring $12 million into ads like these to push Congress to act on guns.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Closing loopholes will stop criminals and the dangerously mentally ill from buying guns.

JONES: Here's the mayor on NBC's "Meet the Press."

MAYOR MICHAEL BLOOMBERG (I), NEW YORK CITY: There are an awful lot of people that think that this is one of the great issues of our times. We have to stop the violence.

JONES: The ad will air in 13 states starting this week to pressure Democratic and Republican senators home for spring recess to support comprehensive background checks. The Senate will debate a bill that includes those background checks next month. BLOOMBERG: We're trying to do everything we can to impress upon the senators that this is what the survivors want. This is what the public wants.

JONES: The National Rifle Association is running its own ad campaign against expanded background checks.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So when gun owners hear "universal background checks," we know it means, universal registration.

JONES: An NRA CEO Wayne Lapierre also on NBC promised to continue the battle against regulations he says won't work.

WAYNE LAPIERRE, EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT, NATIONAL RIFLE ASSOCIATION: The whole thing universal checks is a dishonest premise. There's not a bill on the hill that provides a universal check. Criminals aren't going to be checked. They're not going to do this. The shooters in Tucson, in Aurora, in Newtown, they are not going to be checked.

JONES: The Obama administration supports universal background checks. Appearing with Bloomberg last week, vice president Biden urged Congress to show courage and confront the gun rights lobby.

JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Look, folks. We have a responsibility to act. The loudest voices have to be from those silenced voices, close to 3,000 since Newtown, gunned down in American streets, homes and neighborhoods.


WHITFIELD: All right, Athena Jones, now joining us there at the White House.

You saw vice president Biden talking about gun control. He talked about it again last night at a democratic congressional campaign committee issues conference. And what was the message, similar?

JONES: It was similar, Fred. He said, you know, getting these gun control measures through Congress is going to be quote, "one hell of a fight," and it is going to require support from members of Congress in districts with a lot of gun ownership. But you know, he's also said that the shooting in Newtown he thought really shocked the public conscience so there was a real hope that something could get done, the kind of measures that lots of people, including gun owners, support -- Fred.

WHITFIELD: Athena Jones at the White House. Thanks so much.

So Tuesday, same-sex marriage cases will be heard in the U.S. Supreme Court this week. We will have details on those cases.

And there's a winner in that $338 million Powerball jackpot. And that person lives on the east coast. We will tell you where that lucky ticket was sold.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) WHITFIELD: Same-sex marriage will be front and center at the U.S. Supreme Court this week. The court will hear arguments on the defense of marriage act and California's "proposition 8" which bans same-sex marriage.

CNN justice correspondent Joe Johns is here with details.

JOE JOHNS, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Fred, the battle over same-sex marriage in California has been going on for years and coming up this week it finally arrives at the U.S. Supreme Court. We talk to one of the couples involved in the case who, win or lose, have already assured themselves a small place in history with their legal challenge.


JOHNS: Jamelle Thomas and Karane Williams had been together four years before they got married last October. Don't let the wedding dresses fool you. Their lives are not all satin and pearls.

JAMELLE THOMAS, AIRMAN, U.S. AIR FORCE RESERVE: Well, I'm an airman in the United States air force reserves and --

KARANE WILLIAMS, METROPOLITAN POLICE OFFICER: I'm a police officer with the metropolitan police department here in D.C.

JOHNS: Which makes this couple a case study in how America's married but unequal approach to same-sex relationships can play out.

THOMAS: As an airman, you get a constant reminder that, you know, you are second class.

JOHNS: Jamelle is a federal employee but the federal defense of marriage act bars recognition of same-sex marriage by the government which affects more than 1,000 federal benefits for spouses, everything from filing taxes and receiving death benefits to who gets called as next of kin.

THOMAS: I had to list Karane as my sister just so that someone would call her in the event that I'm killed or missing in action or I'm hurt on the job. She can't be my emergency contact. She can't receive my remains.

JOHNS: Karane on the other hand, as a District of Columbia employee, gets the benefit of being married because the local government in the nation's capital recognizes same-sex marriage. But only nine states in the District of Columbia have taken that step so Karane loses status as a spouse just by crossing the Potomac River into Virginia.

WILLIAMS: Why do we have to be married locally but federally it's nothing, we're friends. We wear a ring symbolically. So it's ridiculous.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What the bill does --

JOHNS: Now the defense of marriage act also known as DOMA first passed by Congress and signed by president Clinton in 1996 is being challenged at the Supreme Court.

AMY HOWE, SCOTUSBLOG.COM EDITOR: It's being asked to decide there, whether or not Congress can pass a law that treats same-sex couples who are already married under the laws of their state different from opposite sex couples.

JOHNS: Defenders of the law say Congress has as much right as the states to make its own definition of marriage.

AUSTIN NIMOCKS, ALLIANCE DEFENSE FUND: DOMA is important because Congress said it was important. I mean we send our elected representatives to Washington, D.C. and they chose to say that marriage is one man and one woman for purposes of federal law.

JOHNS: And conservatives say the founding fathers never contemplated gay marriage.

CARRIE SEVERINO, JUDICIAL CRISIS NETWORK: Because it is clearly not what anyone understood as marriage at the time of the framing of the constitution.

JOHNS: Still, same-sex families pay taxes and don't get the same benefits and the issue with DOMA really gets complicated if they have children who are also excluded from benefits.

THOMAS: When we have kids I would like them to be born in a post-DOMA United States.


JOHNS: Still, California as one of only a handful of states that gives most of the benefits of marriage to same-sex couples and domestic partnerships. One question is whether any ruling by the court on California could affect all of those other states in the same way - Fred.

WHITFIELD: Thanks so much, Joe.

So is there a feeling that the landscape on gay marriage is about to change in a big way? I spoke with "STATE OF THE UNION's" Candy Crowley.


CANDY CROWLEY, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: I think there's two tracks you really have to measure. One is the political track and, yes, the political track responds to public opinion and public opinion has clearly changed on the issue of same-sex marriage. So on the political track you're right. That has changed. I don't know -- I mean go ask somebody to predict what the Supreme Court will do.

But the fact is that I had two guests on my show recently, one of whom said, no matter what the Supreme Court does, because as you know, there's like 18 permutations of what it could rule or how it could or could not change things. They say regardless of what the Supreme Court rules, that many gay and lesbian advocates for their rights believe that this is a done deal now and it is like a question of when and not a question of whether.

So it will change judicially but many people also feel that the judicial track will be a lot slower than what we've seen in the political track.

WHITFIELD: All right, let's talk about gun control now and that fight. Gaining some momentum with mayor Bloomberg, joined by vice president Biden to Colorado governor who joined you and talked about the loss of his friend, so, how are these events likely to shape this debate?

CROWLEY: Let's face it. The singular event that has shaped the debate we are having now, which is the same debate that we have periodically, were the killings of these children in Newtown. So these things add, sometimes they subtract. You do hear some states complaining that, you know, millions of dollars put into advertising by the mayor of New York is not going to help in the Midwest or the interior west. But gradually, there are things that states are doing.

But this is a -- this defies a political solution as I think senator Harry Reid is finding out, in some ways simply because this is a geographical problem. Sometimes even inside a state it is a geographical, if you live in a city you tend to be much more for some gun control or further gun control. If you're in a rural area where guns are part of the culture, you're less inclined to do that. So it defies traditional politics in a lot of ways. Certainly the White House wants to keep pushing it but there is a general agreement, at least right now, that there will not be -- that there will be some sort of response to Newtown in a legislative form out of Congress but it will probably not include an assault weapons ban.

WHITFIELD: And you had an exclusive interview with Veterans affair secretary Eric Shinseki, one of the most critical issues he has to deal with is the backlog of claims at the VA. Here is a bit of what he said.

ERIC SHINSEKI, VETERANS AFFAIR SECRETARY: Well, the president's been very clear. Veterans are a top priority with him and ending the backlog is foremost in his mind. He has made that very clear. No veteran should have to wait for claims as they are today. We have a fix for this. We are open for business and we will end the backlog in 2015.

WHITFIELD: Is this a compelling argument that many veterans who have been feeling the pain of that backlog, that they believe that there's some hope on the horizon?

CROWLEY: Interesting, I had a couple of Vets on the show said they have heard this before. They don't, interestingly, blame the VA secretary because they say this is a decades-long problem at the VA. The process is laden with paperwork. They haven't gone digital. They hear this promise that by the end of this year the VA will go digital and that means you could, you know, forth forward for those filings, for those claims. And that in 2015, the VA claims they'll have gotten rid of the backlog. Let's just say that they are skeptical and hope that general Shinseki is right on this but any number of these veterans groups say they just see on a daily basis veterans who feel just completely stymied by a system to the extent that many veterans never even go to the VA because they think this is not worth my time to get psyched up in a bureaucracy.

WHITFIELD: Candy Crowley, host of "STATE OF THE UNION." Thanks so much.

CROWLEY: Thanks.


U.S. secretary of state John Kerry made a surprise visit to Iraq. Will he be able to calm worries that Iraq isn't acting like a U.S. ally? That's next.


WHITFIELD: U.S. secretary of state John Kerry is in Amman, Jordan today after a surprise visit to Iraq this weekend. He says U.S. lawmakers worry that after years of receiving U.S. help, Iraq is not behaving like an ally. Kerry has asked the Iraqi prime minister not to allow Iranian aircraft to use Iraq's airspace. The U.S. believes the planes are carrying arms to the Syrian regime.

These are uneasy times for Pakistan's former president, Pervez Musharraf, is back in Pakistan despite death threats from the Taliban and his possible arrest over criminal charges that he faces. His party paid an unknown amount of bail to clear the way for his return. Musharraf says he wants to reassert his influence, even run for office himself.

What happens in Pakistan could impact U.S. operations in Afghanistan.

And now, to a story shrouded in mystery. Just how did a Russian tycoon die? Police in England have launched an investigation into the death of Boris Berezovsky. He was found dead in his home in England on Saturday. Berezovsky fled to England after dispute with the Russian president Vladimir Putin.

Our Atika Shubert picks up the story from Ascot, outside his home.

ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Fredricka, some new police details add a whole new layer of intrigue to this case. Police is now confirming that Berezovsky's bodyguard was the one who found his body. He didn't see his boss in the morning. And so, came into the bedroom and then tried to open the bathroom door but found that it was locked from the inside. When he was finally able to open it, he found the body on the floor and then called an ambulance.

Now, when that paramedic arrived, he said that Berezovsky was already dead, that he could not revive him. And now, here's one interesting detail. As the paramedic was leaving he had on him a personal dosimeter, this is the thing that measures radioactivity. And it was triggered by something when he was leaving. This is why police then called their specialist unit for hazardous materials to sweep through the property. They did go through it overnight. They cleared the area so they didn't find what it was that triggered that dosimeter.

The other interesting detail in all this is that Berezovsky and his bodyguard, were the only ones in the house that morning. Now, we also understand that police have said they will launch a full -- they have launched a full investigation and they will also begin a postmortem although that's not likely to happen today. The body according to the police remains inside the property. In the meantime, they say they are talking to family and friends to determine Berezovsky's state of mind at the time of his death but so far they say they have no more details on how he died, Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: What a mystery. Thanks so much, Atika Shubert.

American Airlines is continuing its tradition in this country of honoring Veterans who receive the nation's highest military honor. We will show you how straight ahead.


WHITFIELD: Stories making headlines right now.

Parts of the mid-Atlantic are bracing for this, a major spring snowstorm. It is pounding the Midwest right now. Strong wind gusts are making visibility on the roads extremely difficult from Missouri to Ohio.

And the storm is moving east and will hit several Mid-Atlantic States later today and tomorrow.

And American airline has a very special flight this weekend. The airline is continuing its tradition of honoring veterans who received the nation's highest military honor. It is flying a group of Medal of Honor recipients to D.C. for a series of activities. Among other events, they will take part in a wreath laying ceremony at the tomb of the unknown.

All right, someone in New Jersey just got $338 million richer. One ticket sold in the state matched these six numbers in the Powerball lottery. If the winner takes a lump sum, they would receive a cool $211 million. Lottery officials will hold a news conference Monday to reveal where was sold.

And here is a look at what is trending online. In southwest Florida, searchers have found the bodies of a sky diving instructor and his student. The two men had been out with a group and didn't return after their third jump. Authorities did not say whether their parachutes were opened.

A man who was freed from prison after being wrongfully convicted of murdering a New York rabbi is recovering from a heart attack. David Ranta was stricken just today after he was released from prison.

And thousands gathered to hear the new Pope read Palm Sunday prayers. Pope Francis urged followers to shun corruption and greed and reach out to the poor and forgotten.

Legendary music producer Phil Spector is the man who produced hits for the Beatles and for Tina Turner. But in just a few hours, Al Pacino plays Spector in a fictional film on our sister network HBO. It focuses on the murder trial that's tainted Spector's legacy.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For what am I being punished, of being the most successful music producer in the history of the world?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did you kill that girl?


WHITFIELD: Spector was convicted in 2008 of fatally shooting actress Lana Clarkson in his mansion. 'SHOWBIZ TONIGHT" host A.J. Hammer spoke to Spector's wife, Rachelle, to see if the director of this movie got it right.

A.J. HAMMER, HLN HOST, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT: So, Fred, as the nation remains transfixed by the Jodi Arias case, showbiz dares to ask what is like for a family member to be caught up in the true crime drama? Well, the wife of music legend Phil Spector, certainly knows about that. She's now on a mission to reverse Phil's murder conviction in the death of Lana Clarkson. The actress was found dead 10 years ago in Spector's home from a gunshot to her mouth. And now HBO is telling the story in a movie called "Phil Spector." The film stars Al Pacino. It debuts tonight. And Rachelle Spector just told me on "Showbiz Tonight" if she thinks they got it right.


RACHELLE SPECTOR, WIFE OF PHIL SPECTOR: I snuck into a screening last Thursday, which is pretty ridiculous that I have to sneak into a screening of a movie about my husband. But it wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be. Although Al Pacino doesn't portray my husband accurately. What was done in the movie was about the forensic evidence and they reiterated throughout the film the fact that Lana Clarkson was loaded on pills and drugs and alcohol, was in a very depressed mental state and that she ultimately killed herself. And in the film, as you know, since you've seen it, they've backed it up with forensic, scientific demonstrations to show that my husband could not have been responsible for her death.


HAMMER: I did see the film last week, Fred. And if nothing else, it is a very compelling look at a captivating trial and a truly fascinating man and it may leave people questioning Phil Spector's guilt.

FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: All right, AJ, thanks so much. Again, HBO's "Phil Spector" airing tonight.

And be sure to catch "Showbiz Tonight" with AJ Hammer weeknights at 11:00 p.m. Eastern Time. All right, a tiger on the prowl leads today's "Bleacher Report." Tiger Woods was looking for a record eighth win at Bay Hill today, but mother nature would not cooperate. Tiger was two holes into his round this afternoon when severe weather rolled into the area. The tournament has been suspended until 10:00 a.m. tomorrow with Tiger holding a three-shot lead over the field.

And the experts were right. This year's NCAA tournament is wide open. The latest evidence -- number one ranked Gonzaga lost to ninth seeded Wichita State, 76-70. The Bulldogs are out of the tourney.

And it's tradition, pro football players often return to their alma maters to encourage the young players. But Marshawn Lynch, now a running back for the Seattle Seahawks, well, he took it one step further. He suited up and played in the University of California's spring football game. Lynch even scored a touchdown.

For more entertaining sports news, check out


WHITFIELD: Two days after the allege shooting death of a baby in Brunswick, Georgia, the child's mother says the baby was cremated and there was a private memorial service held. Police have charged two boys, one 14 years old and one 17 years old, with the killing of the 13-month-old. That killing allegedly taking place while the mother was walking with the child in a stroller Thursday. She had emotional words for the accused boys.


SHERRY WEST, MOTHER: That I hate you and I don't forgive you. And that you killed an innocent human life. And that I hope you die for it.


WHITFIELD: The mother also told CNN she was planning on moving back to New Jersey.

A top Democratic senator is calling on the FDA to take action to ensure America's prescription pill problem doesn't get worse. Senator Charles Schumer says generic versions of highly addictive painkillers should be required to have the same anti-abuse features as name brands do. Brand name versions like Oxycontin can't be crushed, making them impossible to snort or inject. Schumer says the FDA needs to act soon because a generic version of Oxycontin is due to hit the market next month.

Official in the European country of Cyprus have been working through the weekend to try to save its banking system. Banks have been closed all week as it tries to sort out its financial mess. Markets here in the U.S. were actually higher Friday on the hopes that some kind of deal would be near. Sam Stovall is the chief equity strategist for S&P Capital IQ.

Good to see you, Sam. SAM STOVALL, CHIEF EQUITY STRATEGIST, S&P CAPITAL IQ: Good to see you again.

WHITFIELD: So Cyprus, a very small economy. One of the smallest in Europe. But how could those shockwaves kind of cross the waters and affect the Americans here?

STOVALL: Well, I think basically because of the uncertainty that could come from them and what kind of an impact we could see that resonates in Italy, in Spain, in Portugal because if we find that a lot of the depositors are likely to get hit with a penalty, a tax of up to 7 percent if they have less than 100,000 euros, then the worry is that the smaller depositors in these other countries would be hit as well, and that would be a negative.

WHITFIELD: So if they do reach a deal, what kind of reaction do we expect from the markets?

STOVALL: I think we get a sigh of relief that Cyprus would not end up leaving the euro, that we would not have a contagion move into these other peripheral nations around the Mediterranean and that then Wall Street could focus on the economic reports that are coming out this week, all of which look to be pretty good.

WHITFIELD: OK. Let's shift gears a little bit. We're also going to see some new numbers this week on something called durable goods and that economic jargon for I guess mostly big ticket items, that's the translation. So what are investors hoping?

STOVALL: Well, they're big ticket items that are also expected to last more than three years. And the expectation is for an improvement this month, positive reading as compared with a negative 5.5 percent reading that we saw last month. So, in general, a turnaround that would also be good if you exclude transportation items so both measures of durable goods would be positive.

WHITFIELD: All right, Sam Stovall, always good to see you. Thanks so much.

STOVALL: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: All right, a new, yet another new iPhone could be hitting the stores by summer. This time you'll have two options. "Fortune" magazine reports Apple will launch the iPhone 5S and a more affordable iPhone at the same time. The lower end iPhone will have a similar form as the iPhone 5, but will have plastic casing and no retina display.

All right, March Madness is -- has the nation in its grip. But watching it at work? Well, it could spell trouble. We'll explain.


WHITFIELD: All right, we've got more excitement for you. NCAA tournament talk. Ohio State won its game on a last-second three-point shot. Ironically it beat Iowa State, the team that led the nation in three-pointers. The Buckeyes now head to sweet 16 for the fourth straight year. And in games tonight, Kansas, the top seeded team in the south regional and perennial power North Carolina just tipped off. Second seeded Duke plays Creighton in the Midwest. And in the East, another number two, Miami, taking on Illinois. And Florida plays Minnesota.

All right, for a star on the Syracuse University basketball team, the tournament suddenly took a backseat. Michael Carter Williams' family home in Massachusetts caught fire, as you see there. The flames apparently spread from a wood stove. As far as we understand, no reports of injuries.

All right, so many of us are preoccupied with the NCAA tournament, but there's a down side to all this. It can put the Internet under a whole lot of stress, and that can affect your work output. Here's Dan Simon.


DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is Kip Compton.

KIP COMPTON, CISCO EXECUTIVE: Well, it's really about planning and network design.

SIMON: He's got an engineering degree from MIT and is a high level executive at Cisco.

COMPTON: I'm the CTO of video and collaboration.

SIMON: He knows what it takes to keep computer networks up and running, especially when they're being overtaken by data hungry devices streaming NCAA basketball.

SIMON (on camera): It's almost like a traffic jam.

COMPTON: Exactly.

SIMON: Like you have wide open lanes and if you've got a lot of people streaming, you've got a bunch of cars in the lane and it's just going to slow everything down.

COMPTON: Right. The road's built to carry a certain number of cars and -- it's kind of like if a game gets out at a stadium, there's going to be a traffic jam because there are a lot more cars than maybe the roads were designed to handle.

SIMON (voice-over): Cisco has its own basketball court. And it seemed like an appropriate place to talk March Madness, or as Kip calls it, "March network madness." According to a recent survey, more than a third of all companies will take action to prepare for it. Some will even ban streaming video.

SIMON (on camera): Explain then what is "March network madness"?

COMPTON: Well, it's when work is disrupted because -- not so much because people are distracted by the games, which happens regardless of what -- how your network works. But when other people who aren't even interested in the network -- in March Madness have their jobs slowed down. They can't access their e-mail. They have trouble surfing the web because all these people are watching video.

SIMON (voice-over): In other words, it's when you've got a bunch of people sitting at desks who aren't working and streaming the games that could cause the company's Internet to come to a screeching halt.

By the way, in TV news we call this file video. They're not really watching games.

COMPTON: I think each company needs to decide. But we, at Cisco, what we do is we allow employees to do these things. And they're accountable for their productivity. But we allow them to access these types of consent.

SIMON: So enjoy, Cisco employees. And as for everyone else, check with your IT manager or try not to get caught.

Dan Simon, CNN, San Jose, California.


WHITFIELD: And, of course, March Madness continues today. Watch every game live on truTV, TBS, TNT, CBS and Lots of options.

All right, smash, crash, boom! That's how one guy described this accident. We've got the details about how this car ended up on that roof.


WHITFIELD: All right. It's anchors away for the Carnival Cruise ship Dream. The ship set sail Saturday for its first cruise since a failed generator forced the ship to abort a cruise while docked in the Caribbean. Passengers has to be flown home after power aboard the ship failed and toilets started overflowing.

Severe thunderstorms tore through parts of the southeast overnight. And this is what they did to a building in Atlanta. A downed tree crushed part of an abandoned apartment complex. It also destroyed a truck. Luckily no one was hurt. Downed trees in other parts of the city took out power lines as well as blocked roads.

WHITFIELD: All right, when you see the video, you're going to ask yourself, how did this happen? A car missed a turn on a steep hill and wound up on the roof of a house. Here's Leanne Suter of affiliate KABC.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was so scared. And I thought (INAUDIBLE) because it was very bad.

LEANNE SUTER, KABC REPORTER (voice-over): Galina Wynn and her husband were in this Cadillac when it went airborne and landed on a neighbor's house. She says they came down the hill and couldn't stop as they rounded the corner. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: As soon as we hit the corner, the bags, the airbags deployed. And I don't even see where we're going from there, because, I mean, the view was obscured and I just heard that we stopped.

SUTER: Wynn says, when she opened the door, she saw the edge of a roof. The back end of the car came to rest on the edge of a retaining wall. Paul Harrison (ph), who lives down the street, heard the accident.

PAUL HARRISON, NEIGHBOR: It was just -- smash, crash, boom. And my neighbor, Brad Nelson (ph), whose walking his dog, says, Paul, quick, I think there's been an accident.

SUTER: He grab a ladder and helped the Wynns off the roof. One man was inside the house when the crash happened, but he wasn't injured.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There was one person inside the house, but not in the area of the -- where the car landed.

SUTER: In order to remove the car, the fire department called for a crane to do the heavy lifting. The Caddie has major damage but remarkably the roof needs only minor repairs.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My neck is (INAUDIBLE) and my back is hurting (ph), but I don't think I broke anything. And I consider to be myself and my husband very, very lucky.


WHITFIELD: And that was Leanne Suter of KABC in Los Angeles.

We've got much more in the NEWSROOM straight ahead with my fave, Don Lemon.

How you doing?

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: I'm doing great. That weather. Oh. Last night. You saw the --

WHITFIELD: Oh, because you slept well. The thunderstorms and all that. It's frightening for a lot of people --

LEMON: It is.

WHITFIELD: Especially with a city of so many trees.


WHITFIELD: And these trees coming down. But you just slumbered right on through it.

LEMON: I did. I kept saying, I'm going to get up in an hour and go to the gym. And then an hour later I said I'll get up the next hour and go to the gym.

WHITFIELD: I'm not feeling sorry for you.


So here's what we're going to be talking about -- gays, guns and the GOP. It's a big week for all three. The Supreme Court takes up same- sex marriage this week. Is America going gay? I mean as in gay marriage, Fred. So goes the court. So goes the rest of the country. We're going to talk about that.

The gun debate also heating up. It appears a gun ban and background checks may be dead in the water, but Democrats, even the vice president, vowing to fight on. They say it's not over yet.

The question is, how is the GOP's opposition to same-sex marriage for the most part, gun legislation for the most part, playing among the Republican faithful one week after, even the same week after its leader promised a more open-minded party. And, remember, they did that big autopsy, Reince Priebus. Going to hash that out with CNN contributors LZ Granderson (ph) and Ana Navarro. You know it's going to be an interest conversation.

I want you to check this out. An upcoming designer. His name is Afriyie Poku. He is making a name for himself in men's wear.


AFRIYIE POKU, DESIGNER: I am the guy. I will say every gentleman should have a tailor like they have a doctor (INAUDIBLE). You should have your own personal tailor. So I like that aspect of it, except I have a vision that I feel like (INAUDIBLE) haven't been seen before. I want to be able to create that. So that's where I get the design aspect comes from. To be able to create something that I haven't seen before and people seem to like it when that happens.


LEMON: So you want to see his clothes?

WHITFIELD: I want to see the stuff.

LEMON: You have to wait to see it. It's amazing. Well, I -- listen, have you ever been to a --

WHITFIELD: Suits? Casual? Men's wear. I heard that part.

LEMON: Yes. You've been to a sample -- like you've seen the model samples. Like, I tried the model samples on. I'm not a big guy. I could barely get one arm or one leg in it. I mean these are for people -- those guys are like 29-inch waists. I'm a 32 -- 31, 32. I couldn't even get those on. But --


LEMON: But listen, I mean, he is -- and I know you love fashion. My producer was with him at fashion week in Charleston. Won all the awards. He's a huge star. We're like, oh, we're discover thing guy. They're like, no. People are like cheering for him. Like, whoo.

WHITFIELD: They know him.

LEMON: He's amazing. Yes, born in Ghana. And he's here in Atlanta. Very interesting story. He was supposed to be an engineer, an electrical engineer.

WHITFIELD: Now he engineers clothes.

LEMON: His parents were kind of upset that he's not doing that. But he's going to be a big fashion star.

WHITFIELD: He engineers the look.

LEMON: Yes, absolutely.

WHITFIELD: In a different way.

LEMON: And he's sewing the American dream.

WHITFIELD: I love that. I will look forward to that.

LEMON: All right.

WHITFIELD: And maybe the next time you'll be sporting his wears.

LEMON: If I can get two inches off my waist.

WHITFIELD: If you can get -- I'm sure he can craft something for you --

LEMON: Let's see.

WHITFIELD: For your huge 30-something waist.

LEMON: Thirty-one, 32. Somewhere in there.

WHITFIELD: You're funny.

LEMON: Depends on how much I eat.

WHITFIELD: All right, good. All right, Don, we'll look forward to that.

LEMON: Thanks, Fred.

WHITFIELD: Thanks so much.

NEWSROOM right at the top.

Could Amanda Knox go back to jail for her roommate's death in Italy? New details on that case, up next.


WHITFIELD: All right, now for stories making news in the week ahead. Another potential legal hurdle for Amanda Knox. She's the Seattle college student who spent four years in an Italian jail for the killing of her roommate. Knox's murder conviction was overturned last year. On Monday, Italy's supreme court could rule on the prosecution's appeal of Knox's acquittal.

Also Monday, the Mediterranean country of Cypress face as deadline to avoid a banking collapse that could impact other world economies. Right now the European Union chief is trying to get a last-minute deal together.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, the U.S. Supreme Court will hold hearings on same-sex marriage challenges -- Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act. People are already camping out near the Supreme Court in Washington to get in to the hearings.

On Thursday, we'll find out which cars get a world car award. Winners in four categories will be announced at the New York International Auto Show. Shout-outs go to best all-around, best performance, green cars, and best design.

Got to love those cars.

All right, that's going to do it for me. I'm Fredricka Whitfield. See you throughout the week. Much more of the NEWSROOM straight ahead with, there he goes, Don Lemon.