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STARTING POINT WITH SOLEDAD O'BRIEN

Texas D.A., Wife Shot Dead In Home; Terminal Evacuated At Detroit Airport; James Holmes Returns To Court; 35 Educators Indicted In Cheating Scandal; Missing Hiker Rescued; New Killer Strain Of Bird Flu; Louisville Advances Despite Adversity; NCAA Final Four Is Set; Opening Day Power Rankings; "Married To Medicine"

Aired April 1, 2013 - 07:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Bottom of the hour here on Monday. Welcome back to STARTING POINT. This intense manhunt is under way in suburban Dallas right now. Police are trying to find whoever gunned down the district attorney and his wife in their own home.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Prosecutor Mike McLelland and his wife, they were found shot to death Saturday morning in Kaufman County and what some are saying could be a revenge hit.

Just two months ago, you may remember the McLelland's assistant district attorney was gunned down near a courthouse as he walked to work. A lot of people there are on edge this morning.

Our George Howell is live in Kaufman, Texas. George, there's a lot of talk this morning about ties to this and the possible tie to the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas.

GEORGE HOWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, when it comes to the tie, the possible tie, and we want to underscore possible tie to the Aryan Brotherhood. John, here's what we understand, back in December the Texas DPS, Department of Public Safety.

They put out a bulletin warning authorities that they had credible information that the Aryan Brotherhood was actively targeting, would actively target law enforcement.

Now that question certainly came up after Hasse's death and you know, it's a question that has come up in this case. But again, want to be very clear, there's been no connection to that at this point.

But you do hear people here in Kaufman saying that these two mean men these prosecutors worked on cases that were very similar and they believe that these men may have been targeted so this could have been a targeted revenge hit.

Now when you think about this, when you think about McLelland, he was very adamant. He was very determined to find Hasse's killer, and it's chilling, really, to listen to what he said, the way he said it, just after Hasse's murder. I want you to listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MIKE MCLELLAND, KAUFMAN COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY: I hope that the people that did this are watching. Because, we're very confident that we're going to find you, we're going to pull you out of whatever hole you're in, we're going to bring you back and let the people of Kaufman County prosecute you to the fullest extent of the law.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HOWELL: John, this was a tough-talking prosecutor who did not pull punches. You heard him say he would pull the person out of the hole that they're in, and another instance, referred to them as scum. This is a prosecutor who did not pull any punches when taking his place to the public -- John.

BALDWIN: George, here is my question. Obviously, the investigation goes into full throttle, today beyond that what more happens in Kaufman County?

HOWELL: Right. Well, you know, what we know today, the courthouse, it will open today, with heightened security. We'll see a lot of security around the courthouse. But the district attorney's office, Brooke, it will remain closed.

As these investigators do their best to figure out who's behind this, to figure out a motive, and as we continue to ask questions, we hope to learn a little bit more about what investigators are looking into -- Brooke.

BALDWIN: OK, George Howell in Kaufman County. We're about to talk to the judge in Kaufman County. Really one of the biggest differences when you look at the killing of the assistant district attorney just a little more than two months ago, it was a pretty clean hit.

You know, when you read about what happened he was in the parking lot outside of this courthouse, you know, so far at least publicly no major leads. Then when you compare that to what happened just over the weekend with Mr. McLelland and his wife.

All kinds of shell casings left. "Dallas Morning News" is reporting they're hoping that some surveillance video there at the house will help them at least find the perpetrator but --

BERMAN: And also it is so chilling to hear McLelland talk about that first killing. Chilling to hear him the tough talk also the "Associated Press" reporting that he was carrying a gun everywhere he went --

BALDWIN: Walking the dog.

BERMAN: Every day. Just to be extra safe and in the end, still murdered at his home over the weekend.

BALDWIN: We mention the judge. He is Bruce Wood. He is a judge in Kaufman County, Texas worked with both men. Judge, good morning. Let me just begin with Mike McLelland. I know you've talked to him just last week. What was your conversation like? How did he seem? JUDGE BRUCE WOOD, KAUFMAN COUNTY, TEXAS: Well, we are a relatively small courthouse. We have a -- we're a small county. We're growing, but I did talk with Mike several times over the last few weeks and what you saw on television with Mike was very much his persona. And that was not a put-on. That was his everyday lifestyle. He was a very outgoing person and was very dedicated to finding the killer of Mark Hasse.

BERMAN: Judge Wood, you know, we've talked about this community being on edge right now. A short time ago, I spoke with Former Assistant FBI Director Tom Fuentes about the threat faced right now by law enforcement personnel in that community. Let's listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TOM FUENTES, FORMER FBI ASSISTANT DIRECTOR: For anybody involved in the criminal justice system all the way up as we saw in Colorado, with the director of corrections, Tom Clements. People are out there that you deal with that hate you, and if they get an opportunity, may take your life.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: Judge, now two killings in two months. You are a judge in this community. Give me a sense of what the feeling is right now.

WOOD: Well, we are all on heightened alert. There's no question about that. We are following the directions we've been given by law enforcement, as far as what we should be doing, what -- how we should be connecting our daily business. Not only at work but certainly our personal lives, as well.

And I do know that the law enforcement starting with our sheriff's department and the other Texas Rangers, the FBI, the ATF, I mean, we have a lot of very professional groups that are helping in this investigation but saying all that. We also know that we have to be on the alert, as well.

And so everybody that works in the courthouse, obviously there will be additional security today. But we all will be taking care of each other and without going into specifics obviously we will not do that.

But I can tell you the people that work in the courthouse, and the visitors that come to the courthouse today, and the rest of the time that we are dealing with this, and even in the future, they will certain be able to come to a secure facility and law enforcement again is making sure that happens.

BALDWIN: Judge, I just want to ask about this group, this Aryan Brotherhood of Texas because I know back in December there was a bulletin basically warning of retaliations from strikes from this group specifically in the State of Texas and they were apparently calling for let me quote them, "mass casualties or death."

What more do you know about this group as a judge in Kaufman County? Was this a group that you were familiar with? Did you have to sign off on, on anything there at the courthouse regarding them?

WOOD: No. I'm not involved in criminal cases.

BALDWIN: OK.

WOOD: In the courthouse. We have other judges that take care of that. But what I know about the Aryan Brotherhood is really what I've heard on the news, as well as in the printed press. And I'm not involved in day-to-day investigation and will not get into that. I'm not knowledgeable of all the facets of this investigation -- of this investigation.

BALDWIN: Understand, Judge Bruce Wood, thank you so much. We're sorry for losing these two folks in your county.

WOOD: Well, thank you very much.

BALDWIN: Coming up next hour, we will hear from the mayor of Kaufman, Mayor William Fortner and we will also speak with Texas Congressman Ted Poe.

BERMAN: We also have a breaking story coming into CNN right now. Christine Romans has that and the rest of today's top stories. Hi, Christine.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Hi, guys. We're following this right now coming in to us at CNN. A suspicious device in a passenger's carry-on luggage has evacuated the north terminal at Detroit Metropolitan Airport.

An airport spokesman says this only affects the north terminal, not its main hub. Explosive device teams on the scene. We're going to bring you more as soon as it becomes available, again, a suspicious device in a passenger's bag.

We could learn this morning if prosecutors will ask the death penalty for Aurora movie theatre shooting suspect James Holmes. The defense lawyers have offered to have Holmes plead guilty if the death penalty is taken off the table. The state has so far rejected that offer. Holmes is charged with murdering 12 people and wounding 58 in that movie theatre rampage.

Teachers, principals, a retired superintendent, and some other school employees, reporting to jail this morning in Atlanta. Nearly three dozen educators accused in a cheating scandal. They've been indicted on racketeering charges for allegedly changing students' standardized test scores and then covering it up. Investigators say top school officials got bonuses based on bogus test rules.

After six nights stranded on snowy Mount Hood, a 23-year-old Oregon woman is recovering from a severe leg injury and frostbite. Hiker Mary Owens was rescued Saturday morning by a National Guard helicopter. She credits a dwindling supply of snack bars for her survival.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MARY OWEN, RESCUED HIKER: I found out that Nutri-Grain bar wrappers make really nice kindling, oddly enough and so I was able to put together a good fire. It didn't last very long, but it was just because I wasn't -- I didn't have the range of motion to be able to go and collect enough to keep it going very long. So I mean it was enough to dry me out and heat up my hands and stuff, which was good because my hands were getting pretty nasty.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: Six cold six frightening days. Owens was hiking alone last week when she encountered whiteout conditions that left her disoriented. She became stranded after a 40-foot fall that badly injured her leg and a smile on her face.

BALDWIN: Nutri-Grain wrappers.

BERMAN: I told you, you looked at me like I was crazy when I said wrappers --

BALDWIN: I was thinking like Jay-Z.

BERMAN: Candy wrappers. I told you.

BALDWIN: Thanks, Berman.

BERMAN: All right, it's 39 minutes after the hour right now. Two men in China are dead after being infected with a strain of bird flu not previously seen in humans. This is being called the H7N9 strain. China's official news agency also reports a third person, a woman, is in critical condition this morning.

Our senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen joins us now. Elizabeth, what do we know about this strain of flu and of course, the question in the U.S. we want to know is could it come here?

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Right, John, from what we know and there's a lot we don't know because it's so new, but from what we know it looks very much like other strains of avian flu meaning that the victims develop pneumonia, difficulty breathing. And experts believe that this started, this strain came from wild birds, went to poultry and then went to humans.

And John, in answer to your other question, there's not a lot of fear that it will come to this country. Avian flu does not spread easily person-to-person. For example, in these cases, they interviewed dozens of people who were in close contact with these three victims, family members, close contacts, and none of them have gotten sick. So when you see that, you know that there's no reason to panic here.

BERMAN: All right, a reason for calm there even if the headline is a little startling. Elizabeth Cohen, our thanks to you.

BALDWIN: Thanks, Elizabeth. It is supposed to be the true signal. Is spring coming up? We will tell you why opening day for at least two baseball teams is anything, but a warm start plus the final four, all in the "Bleacher Report."

BERMAN: And what's it like being married to a doctor in one of the country's top medical communities, and being on reality TV all at the same time? We're going to talk with Quad Webb-Lunceford, one of the stars of Bravo's new show "Married To Medicine." Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: College basketball's final four is set after yesterday's games, but the Louisville Cardinals are going to be without a player after just an awful injury yesterday. Jared Greenberg is here with today's "Bleacher Report." Hi, Jared.

JARED GREENBERG, "BLEACHER REPORT": Hi, John and Brooke, just a horrific scene. We won't show you the actual injury to Louisville sophomore, Kevin Ware. However the aftermath was simply surreal.

Raw emotions between the lines, as players, coaches and fans couldn't believe the graphic nature of Ware's injury, a broken leg forcing the pause button to be hit on one of the most anticipated games of the season.

Everyone in attendance was visibly shaken. With their teammate headed to the hospital Louisville regrouped. What was a one-point lead when Ware went down was briefly lost to Duke then the Cardinals went on a run turning a tight game into a one-sided affair sending Louisville to the final four in Atlanta.

Mission accomplished with more meaning than ever afterwards Coach Rick Pitino said that Ware told his teammates to quote, "win the game."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RICK PITINO, LOUISVILLE HEAD COACH: If we let up for a second, then Kevin Ware doesn't mean how much he means to us. I said we're going to dig in, we're going to play this game to the end, we're going to get him back home, nurse him to good health and we're going to get him to Atlanta.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GREENBERG: That's where he attended college high school rather about 25 miles outside the city. Here's a picture tweeted of Ware from his hospital bed holding the Midwest regional trophy. Surgery to repair the broken bone in his leg was successful. He'll remain in the hospital until at least tomorrow.

Twenty years after the last trip to the final four, Michigan is two wins away from the national title. They were on fire leading Michigan to a wire no doubt about it victory over Florida. Michigan now advances to take on Syracuse.

The Wolverines and Orange is a classic offense versus defense match- up. We'll see how the emotion carries over for Louisville when they take on this year's Cinderella squad Wichita State with the national semi-finals Saturday from Atlanta with the national champion to be crowned Monday evening.

The victims of the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary remembered as the 2013 Baseball Season got under way last night. After 50 years playing at the National League Houston played its first game as a member of the American League.

For the team payroll less than what Alex Rodriguez will make this season the Astros surprisingly powered their way to an opening night win. First full day of baseball today a couple of notable match-ups, the latest chapter of the most intense rivalry in the game will be written as John cheers hardly for the -- cheers very hard I should say for Boston as they travel to New York to take on the Yankees the defending champs start in L.A. against the Dodgers and the Reds at home will take on the Angels.

And be sure to log on to bleacherreport.com for Major League Baseball's power rankings. And it should be noted that it appears that a cruel April fools' joke is being played by Mother Nature. You'll have to pack your winter clothes if you're heading to the ball park today, John.

Temps around the country is 10 degrees to 20 degrees below normal and to put that in perspective, the home openers in Chicago and Minnesota calling for temps in just the 30s.

BERMAN: Yikes.

BALDWIN: I love how he said you'll be cheering hard or maybe hardly depending --

GREENBERG: After what happened last year, John. Not to rub it in at all.

BERMAN: So much reason to hope. The expectations are so low. Jared Greenberg, thank you so much.

BALDWIN: We poke fun because we love. Good luck to you by the way. We'll see. Next hour, we will be hearing from speaking of the Yankees, the New York Yankees Captain Derek Jeter, about missing today's opener talking to Rachel Nichols.

BERMAN: Ahead on STARTING POINT, it is one of the most elite circles in the medical community and a new Bravo show captures all the Atlanta drama. Quad Webb-Lunceford, star of the new show "Married To Medicine." She joins us live. Stay with us. You're watching STARTING POINT.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: What would you get when you take the "Real Housewives," mix it with a spoonful of medicine? You have this new Bravo reality TV show. It's called "Married To Medicine." So the show follows this six Atlanta women, two women doctors, four doctor's wives.

BERMAN: And one of the cast members is Quad Webb-Lunceford. She is a psychiatrist wife who feels like she's being bullied by the other women. Take a look at this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When I met you, I was open to you. But I can't stand or do not like the things you say behind my back.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have not said anything about you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What about your party?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm planning a party with Mariah in less than a month. Doctors like to socialize because they can talk shop. I don't want this kind of drama happening at my party for my husband.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did you want to invite me to your party?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If you're nice.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She was wondering if you're bringing your claws.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: Wow, you saw her there sticking up for herself. Quad Webb- Lunceford is here right now joining us. Before we get to the drama right there, which was extraordinary, I should say, 1.9 million people watched the premiere. That's a boat load of people to watch the show. People love this. What's the secret sauce, why the combination of medicine and reality? What works here?

QUAD WEBB-LUNCEFORD, STAR, BRAVO TV'S "MARRIED TO MEDICINE": I think people are infatuated with medicine. They want to know what's going on. We look at some of the scripted shows, "Grey's Anatomy," "General Hospital," we were clued in. Well, now this is unscripted, so it's just fiery.

BALDWIN: So what is it like being married to a psychiatrist?

LUNCEFORD: It's interesting. It's interesting because I sometimes feel like my husband is analytical. He is very analytical. In fact, we both are.

BALDWIN: You say I did not marry medicine, medicine was lucky enough to marry me.

LUNCEFORD: Catch that dirt.

BERMAN: Along those lines, you have a lot of catch phrases. Let's listen in to some of these catch phrases you used in the show.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When I met you, I was open to you. But I do not like the things you say behind my back.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have not said anything about you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What about your party?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm planning a party with Mariah in less than a month. Doctors like to socialize.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You're busy. You're over the top.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Catch that dirt, baby.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Catch that dirt. That could be shade or a little bit of truth. It might be both.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Doing shows, shutting it down.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BERMAN: Doing shows. I feel like I have a lot to learn from you that there's a lot of stuff that I don't have in my daily arsenal. Catch that dirt, doing shows.

LUNCEFORD: Doing it for the Gods. That means are you so fascinating and amazing the Gods take note to you.

BALDWIN: And that you do it for the Gods. Here's what I want to know though, because here you are on this TV screen. Is your husband worried at all, his practice? I mean, it's out there for anyone to see.

LUNCEFORD: It is and when you open your life up for public display, you also open it up for public criticism, but we definitely talked about it fairly. My husband is a pillar in the community. He has been practicing successfully for 13 years, but, yes, he was nervous.

BERMAN: Of course, he was nervous. I want to point out here. The "New York Times" says that there should be a whole spinoff show built around you. Reaction?

LUNCEFORD: Interesting. We might have to talk about that.

BALDWIN: Again, Sunday nights Bravo, what time?

LUNCEFORD: It's at 9:00.

BALDWIN: At 9:00. There we go. Quad, thank you very much. Good luck to you.

LUNCEFORD: Thanks for having me.

BERMAN: Great to see you. All right, ahead on STARTING POINT, we will be doing it for the Gods. Also some other story here, a 5-year- old bullied on the bus, but he is not one of the students. You have to see it here.

BALDWIN: And then we are following a developing a terrifying story out of Kaufman County, Texas. Are there any leads in the search for who killed the district attorney and his wife? We will talk with the county mayor top of the hour. You are watching STARTING POINT. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: Good Monday morning. Thank you for being with us. I'm Brooke Baldwin.

BERMAN: And I'm John Berman. Our STARTING POINT this morning, the intense manhunt for a killer or killers who murdered a district attorney and his wife. This all comes just two months after another prosecutor was gunned down in the very same Texas town and now police are trying to find the suspect.

BALDWIN: Also this morning, a 5-year-old with disabilities bullied on the school bus and you're absolutely not going to believe who did this.

BERMAN: Such a high price to pay to reach the final four. Star Louisville guard snapping his legs trying to block a shot. Will Kevin Ware ever play again? We're going to tell you the prognosis coming up and it may surprise you.

BALDWIN: And only in California, a hare on a hog. Why this Easter bunny got pulled over by police. It is Monday. The 1st of April, happy April Fool's. STARTING POINT begins right now.

Our STARTING POINT this morning, Kaufman, Texas, where half a dozen agencies are on the hunt this morning for the killer, possibly killers apparently bent on taking out top criminal justice officials. You have this man, District Attorney Mike McLelland and his wife.

They were shot to death over the weekend in their home southeast of Dallas.