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Inside the 211 Prison Gang; String of Shootings, Are they Related?; Arias' Juror Number Five Dismissed

Aired April 4, 2013 - 11:00   ET



ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Hi, everyone. I'm Ashleigh Banfield. It's good to have you with us.

"211 Crew" may sound like a rap group, but it is actually a very dangerous white supremacist prison gang. And two of its members are right now being sought for the murder of the chief of the Colorado prison system, Tom Clements.

Officials say that the suspects, Tom Guolee -- seen here -- as well as James Lohr are armed and dangerous.

Clements was noted for cracking down on prison gangs, including "211 Crew."

Martin Savidge is in Denver and joins us on the phone with the very latest. And also criminal defense attorney Joey Jackson joins me, who's also a law professor and "In Session" contributor on "In Session" on TruTV.

Marty, let he just begin with you. The very latest on this, and if officials have any clue as to where these two people may be or may be heading?

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): Yes, Ashleigh, at this particular time, authorities are saying that they have some information, we don't know how solid, that they may be headed in the direction of Nevada or Texas.

Now, of course, the fact that their names are out there, that the police have been alerted to them, that may change their travel plans, but that is the only information we've had. And authorities did not have any description of the vehicle.

BANFIELD: I can only imagine they're keeping a lot of things close to the vest as good investigators do.

But at the same time what connection do they have between these two people and then the killer of the prison chief, Evan Ebel who's now dead?

SAVIDGE (via telephone): Right, Evan Ebel is the prime suspect. He, of course, was killed in Texas in a shootout there.

But ever since then, the case hasn't ended. Authorities continued because they wanted to find out a couple things.

Did he have accomplices and were there other names on some potential hit list and could those accomplices be trying to fulfill that list?

So that's why the investigation's always gone on. That's why anybody who was acquainted with Ebel is now a person of interest, you could say at this point.

These men are not wanted in the sense that there are warrants out for them in the particular case of the murder of Clements, but they are wanted because they were associates of Ebel.

So that's the connection right now. "211," probably one of the most vicious white supremacist gangs that operates in the U.S. prison system right now. So they're associated with that as well and that's a bad combination.

BANFIELD: And just to be very clear, Marty, and I don't know if you know the answer to this, Guolee and Lohr, the two people who are being sought in connection with the killing of the prison chief, were they in fact inmates with Ebel?

They're not escaped inmates. It's not they're -- it's not like they're looking for escapees, but were they at some point inmates who are now parolees?

SAVIDGE (via telephone): Yeah, that's the connection we haven't been able to establish and authorities aren't really talking about.

They used the term that they were "associated" in some way. So did they meet in prison? It's quite possible they did.

Or is it possible that they met after he got out? We don't know at this particular point. And how strong was the connection? We don't know that either.

We do know that these men are considered armed and dangerous, and authorities want to find them. And the problem for them is that they essentially believe they're dangerous to law enforcement, the very people trying to track them down.

BANFIELD: Which has been a pervasive story for the last two weeks with a litany of law enforcement officers across the country being killed, some possibly related to gang activity, some not yet established that way or may never be.

But Joey Jackson, if you could step in on this particular story, and that is, prison gangs are dangerous. We know that.

But how pervasive can they be outside of the prison? What are their communications like?

And if we can track down terrorists in Afghanistan, can't we track down gang members and their activity here at home?

JOEY JACKSON, CONTRIBUTOR, TRUTV'S "IN SESSION": You know what? It's a great point, Ashleigh, and we certainly can, but it takes a concerted effort and I think it's more pervasive than we would think.

And, of course, as we do know, gang members are very pervasive in prison in the prison population, and there is communication on the outside.

And so significant damage can be inflicted by members who are not incarcerated, but they're out there in the public, of course, not only as it relates to law enforcement and posing a danger to them -- which they do, and they, of course, try to protect us every day -- but to the normal population who is unfortunately subject to their pillaging and the numerous other things that they do.

And it's also important to note, Ashleigh, that these two people who are on the run do have warrants for their arrest -- one having a felony warrant, the other having multiple misdemeanor warrants.

So we know they're dangerous and it's just the hope that with law enforcement and the public's effort that they will be brought to justice as they should be.

BANFIELD: And at this point, and I mentioned this already, Joey, so I think it's obvious when investigators are looking for people they don't tell us everything. They've got to keep things close to their vest/

But would we know if there's something they can actually bring them in on? Because if there are outstanding warrants, doesn't that mean it's just an "automatic" and we should have been looking for them before today?

JACKSON: It certainly does, Ashleigh. And, as you know, there are unfortunately are breakdowns in the system, and as you do also and as you have mentioned, they always play the investigation close to the vest.

They have to do it that way. That's part of what law enforcement does.

Unfortunately these people are out there, and who knows the damage they can inflict, and so people should be on a heightened awareness, particularly in the areas where they are.

It's just the hope that through law enforcement and with the public's cooperation, if you see something, say something, perhaps they will be brought in and ultimately arrested, apprehended and brought to justice.

BANFIELD: All right, Joey Jackson, thank you.

And obviously, Marty, I know you're continuing to work this story as well in Colorado.

Just a reminder. Thomas Guolee and James Lohr are the two names at this point that are out there and are being sought in connection with all of this. I want to remind you as well to tune in tonight as Tom Clements' widow, Lisa, is going to join Anderson Cooper on "AC 360." That's at 8:00 Eastern right here on CNN.

The district attorney of Kaufman County, Texas, is set to be remembered in just a few hours, along with his wife Cynthia, all of this as police there are searching for their killers.

Governor Rick Perry has something to say about this -- secure the border. Is that a clue? Does he know something more as to who killed those two people?


BANFIELD: Five days after the killing of a top Texas prosecutor and his wife, officials say they haven't come close to charging anyone.

Mike McLelland and his wife, Cynthia, were shot dead, March 30th, in their home in Kaufman County which is near Dallas, Texas.

McLelland's chief felony prosecutor Mark Hasse was gunned down in broad daylight in January.

About 50 minutes from now, the governor of that state of Texas, Governor Rick Perry, is scheduled to hold a news conference in Kaufman. CNN's going to bring you that when it happens. In fact, we'll go live to it just the minute they begin.

A public memorial service in the meantime for the victims is due to start at 2:00 Eastern time.

Our George Howell joins us live now from Kaufman, Texas. So listen, to hear that they are no closer to charging anyone, George, but then to hear the governor allude to border security being perhaps an issue in this case, makes the average guy like me think that he may know something we don't know.

Is there more to this?

GEORGE HOWELL: You know, Ashleigh, and that is the question that we, of course, will press the governor on.

We know that Governor Perry has always made a topic of border security here along the Texas/Mexico border, and he did not speculate, Ashleigh, on those other possibilities that are out there, the possibility of the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas somehow being involved in this.

The question as to whether this could be an inside hit or a hit for hire, we've heard that from people as well.

But really there are no frontrunners, just a lot of speculation, and these investigators here, they are very tight-lipped about anything.

Just the other day, they held their second news conference, the second time they've addressed the media, and really the communities concerns, Ashleigh, about what's happening here.

They did indicate that they have many new tips coming in, and that is good news, but did not give any insight into where this case is right now.

BANFIELD: So forgive me if I'm somewhat mixed up and maybe even viewers are wondering, what is going on in the United States when we start our program with a story about "211 Crew" gang members, prison gang members, maybe sought in connection with the killing of the Colorado prison chief.

And then we hear about the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas, another violent prison gang being looked at in the killings of the prosecutors in the state where you are, in Texas.

And then we hear that there has been someone who has been arrested already not connected at all to that kind of activity, but instead, a man who was making terroristic threats against county officials there.

Do they just not know at this point, or are they just not telling us?

HOWELL: It seems that they're just not telling us. There is -- and it's a fair question, do they know?

From what we understand at this point, and even in the news conference the other day, they did say that they're not any closer to an arrest, but they are looking into all of those different leads.

And you mentioned the arrest and I want to elaborate on that, about Nick Morale, the 56-year-old here in Terrell, Texas. Ashleigh, he was arrested, indirectly connected to this case.

He allegedly made calls to a tip line that was set up for this case, the murder case of Mike and Cynthia McLelland, and made a threat against a public official. That's why he was arrested, investigators say.

He's being held on a $1 million bond. But, Ashleigh, even Mr. Morale, investigators say he is not being linked to this murder case.

BANFIELD: Oh, for heaven's sake. It just gets more complicated.

Well, obviously, when the governor addresses the people where you are and hopefully the national audience, he'll be able to shed some light, and you'll be able to question him on that as well.

George Howell, thank you.

Just ahead, another community mourning the death of, you guessed it, a law enforcement officer.

Now we're going to go to West Virginia where a sheriff was shot point- blank while sitting in his vehicle on a lunch break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BANFIELD: So far this hour, we have talked about a lot of crime that sounds awfully similar. A Colorado prison chief murdered at his own home. A district attorney in Texas also slaughtered in his own home, right alongside his wife. We've also seen in that same state, that same county, an assistant district attorney gunned down in the parking lot in that county, at that courthouse in fact, close by, in January. Then we also have the story of a man who broke into a Colorado prosecutor's home, a prosecutor who was married to a sheriff's deputy. Now that intruder was shot and killed by the prosecutor himself.

And now we are hearing about yet another law enforcement officer gunned down, this time in West Virginia. The sheriff of Mingo county was shot to death as he ate his lunch in his car, and get this. It was not random. It didn't seem that way anyway, it was execution style. The suspect got away, but police were able to track him down. And shoot him. And he is expected to survive. It's just the latest in a string of law enforcement deaths across this country.

And our CNN national correspondent Susan Candiotti is currently in Williamson, West Virginia. CNN's legal analyst Sunny Hostin is live with us here in New York.

Susan, let me begin with you. We have a live suspect now. Perhaps someone who can shed some light. Perhaps someone who can link this or not to everything else going on across the country. What do we know about his condition? Can he talk?

SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: He can talk. He's expected to survive. Waiting for word now from investigators who tell me that when he is well enough to talk again, they will be visiting him in the hospital. But here's what we also learned, Carol, that after he was shot, after he was arrested, I am told by the West Virginia state police that this guy did say something to them. Now police will not reveal what this is. They said it could be interpreted in a few different ways, but it could possibly help explain the motive.

Now we learned something else just a little while ago. This is according to a source who is familiar with the suspect in this case, tells me that he was previously institutionalized at a state hospital for an unspecified period of time for mental health issues within the last couple of years. We don't know, at this time, who had him institutionalized, whether it was a family member, whether it was someone from the police department. We don't know that information. However, we do know this, the father of the suspect, and his name is Tennis Maynard, 37-years-old, that's the suspect's name. The father tells our CNN affiliate WSAZ that his son did have mental health problems, suffered after what he called a workplace accident in Alabama some years ago. When he was supposedly exposed to some dangerous chemicals as his father explains it. So all of this plays into the big picture of trying to figure out what happened here.

BANFIELD: I want to bring in Sunny on this. The fact that we have a live suspect after sort of this rash of shootings and targetings it seems across the country could really help shed some light on whether this is a connected problem or whether it is just individual and coincidental in terms of timing. However, we have a dad weighing in, which makes me think a lawyer may be present which makes me think Miranda might be next.

SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Yeah, although I have to tell you, because the suspect did say something, I think we can glean a little bit of information about this particular incident, but I do want to say, and I want to make it very clear. This is extremely rare. Not necessarily unfortunately law enforcement officers like sheriffs, like police officers being attacked or gunned down. That is part of being in the line of fire, often.

But prosecutors, in particular, being killed, being targeted, is extremely, extremely rare. I mean, if you threaten a prosecutor, especially a federal prosecutor it's a federal offense. It's a state offense to harm a prosecutor.

BANFIELD: And would you know because you were a prosecutor.

HOSTIN: And I was threatened several times. And I will say most people say prosecutors are like cockroaches. You kill one, there are so many others that will take up the cause, and so I suspect that these aren't all related. That just doesn't quite make sense to me.

BANFIELD: When I say Miranda's next, I mean Miranda warnings, because this and I'm not sure about West Virginia I have to check the statute there, but it is a capital offense in a lot of states if you kill a law enforcement officer. So the execution style killing of this deputy, or rather this sheriff who was in his vehicle, that is huge. This could be a death penalty case. And you can only imagine they are being extraordinarily careful not to destroy a case before they get started and allow Miranda warnings, which doesn't help us at all in terms of figuring out what's going on across the country.

HOSTIN: Yeah, I mean there's no question that once someone lawyers up and is Mirandized that your investigation, at least in terms of getting statements from that particular suspect, that stops. But again, investigators have been on these cases for quite some time. The fact that this suspect did speak. That is going to be extremely helpful. I like your point, and to your point, that this in many states can be a capital offense when you attack a law enforcement officer. And it's so very rare.

BANFIELD: You're dammed if you do and dammed if you don't. You need that information as an investigator, but if you get it the wrong way you destroy the case and a guy can walk. It is a tightrope you have to walk very, very quickly. Susan Candiotti, let us know when you hear more about this I know you're on it, and you're the best at it. And Sunny Hostin sticking around four us as well.

The Jodi Arias trial gets cut short. Another day, another witness having to step down for a moment not feeling well. Delay, delay. But not before we hear from juror number five, after she was kicked off the panel and booted from the courtroom. Find out what she said outside the courtroom, though, in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BANFIELD: For the first time, we are hearing from the woman who was booted off the jury in the Jodi Arias murder trial. Sort of. Juror five was kicked off Tuesday. Defense says she was biased and that she spoke to her fellow jurors about the case when she was not supposed to. And the judge agreed and sent her walking out of the courthouse in tears. Want to get straight to CNN's Ted Rowlands and also with me "In Session" correspondent Jean Casarez. Both of you outside the Phoenix courthouse.

Ted, first to you, this juror number five is talking. But just a little. What's she saying and how?

TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. We communicated through a friend, and she released a statement to us. And it's pretty telling the statement. Here's some of it.

"As a juror that has been removed from the jury I would like to remind everyone that the murder trial case of Jodi Arias is still going on, and that the time and money being invested in had this trial more relevant and important than my removal from the jury. Until the verdict in the murder trial case of Jodi Arias is reached, I will not make any statements or give any interviews regarding my removal from the jury. I believe that the attention should be focused on the actual trial. I would ask everyone to please respect my privacy and the privacy as my family."

Clearly, while thousands of people that are glued to this trial would love to hear from juror five, it's not going to happen until a verdict is read.

BANFIELD: Well, Jean I know there isn't a gag order in this case, but did the judge say something publicly o these jurors no matter whether they're in court, out of court or dismissed, that they can't talk until we have a verdict?

JEAN CASAREZ, IN SESSION CORRESPONDENT: Well, jurors are not -- current jurors obviously cannot talk to any one and asked if they hear or any one tries to talk to them. I find it fascinating about juror number 5. They couldn't gag her. There is a first amendment right as a free citizen to be able to speak. They could have encouraged her and cautioned her that the trial is still ongoing and a subtle message to not talk. But what I find interesting is she could have stepped before the camera to say everything that was in that written statement there. She chose not to, and I find that amazingly compelling right there for her position on the integrity of the process. She is not asking for that moment of fame at least at this point, and when she says she won't talk until this a verdict. There may be two verdicts here, a guilt verdict and a penalty verdict.

BANFIELD: It's weird because sometimes judges do unusual things. I think I recall in the Casey Anthony case that the judge asked the press to lean out and stay away from jurors after the verdict awaiting this, what I think he called a cooling-off period. Which, I just hadn't seen it before and I wondered if there was some kind of admonishment in this case. We do know something more about -- we only had a hairstyle on her before. And a juror number on this woman before. But now we know more. What did you find out?

ROWLANDS: Well, she's a Bosnian immigrant and she's a truck driver. She and her husband drive truck together. They drive the same truck and spell (ph) each other on breaks. She's a mom, she has a teenage daughter. And she came over to over from Bosnia after the war, to the Phoenix area with about 4,000 other people who came from Bosnia and have relocated here in the phoenix area. It's a tight knit community. So everybody knows each other. And we got to know that community a little bit yesterday, getting to know her through her friends. And the other thing is, she is very upset. Very upset that she was kicked off. She put in a lot of time, four months of her life. She waned to see it through, according to her friends. And that goes to what Jean's point earlier. The fact that she's not out bellyaching on the courthouse steps in front of the camera really tells about the integrity of this individual. Because while she is upset, she doesn't want to say anything until after the process has taken its course.

BANFIELD: Jean, I can't even begin to count the number of high profile cases you have covered. And I'm not going to ask for a scientific answer here but for a generality. How often did jurors leave one of these big newsworthy cases and stay buttoned up and how often do they go get a book deal, go before the press and tell everything, every sordid detail about what went on in deliberations or before deliberations?

CASAREZ: That's a great question because you're talking about someone who could be potentially a stealth juror. That person who is in it for the publicity, for their moments of fame and for the money that could be involved for them. We have seen it. I have seen jurors dismissed, excused before the deliberations begin. I don't usually see them come forward at that time. But they do usually finally come forward. But then at that point they're sort of behind the scenes. Because they're not the deliberating jury. So they've missed that moment of fame. But you're right jurors come in all forms or fashion but this one, every day I watch them, and I think they are the real deal. They care.