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STARTING POINT WITH SOLEDAD O'BRIEN

Sheriff Shooting Suspect In Custody; Deadly NATO Airstrike In Afghanistan; Reward For Killer Of D.A. And Wife; Drugs, Drinking, Gunplay And Filth; Four Deaths In China Reported From Bird Flu; Dementia Costs To Double In 30 Years; Bald Heads And Unhealthy Hearts; Ware: I went Into Automatic Shock; A League Of Her Own; Rutgers Fires Basketball Coach; Ware Thinking Of Team, Not Broken Leg; Exonerated Man Signs With NFL Team; Jersey Retirement Snafu; What Would Reagan Think?

Aired April 4, 2013 - 07:30   ET

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


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to STARTING POINT, everyone. I'm John Berman.

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. I'm Brooke Baldwin. An arrest this morning in the brazen shooting of a West Virginia sheriff known for his tough stance on drugs, police in Mingo County, West Virginia, 37-year-old Tennis Maynard parked his car close to Sheriff's Walter Crum's SUV yesterday and shot him twice in the head while he was eating lunch.

BERMAN: Susan Candiotti is live in Williamson, West Virginia right now. What's the latest, Susan?

SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, John. Well, certainly this is stunning to everyone who lives in this community. Who would have expected it and what led to this? All we know is this.

CNN has learned that the suspect, after he was caught, said something to investigators, now they're not revealing what that is yet, but possibly it could be a part of the motive, what led to all of this.

The suspect is 37-year-old old. His name is Tennis Maynard and he lives apparently with his father. His father told our CNN affiliate WSAZ that his son suffered from mental problems.

But we don't know how he got his hands on what police say is a .40- caliber Glock, a handgun. When we walked up to the sheriff as he was sitting in his marked vehicle yesterday and shot right through the window striking the sheriff twice in the head. Again, this has just incredible news to all the people who live here.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

EVELYN KENNEDY, RESIDENT: It broke my heart. The best sheriff in Mingo County has ever seen. He did more in less time of being in office than any sheriff I've ever known. REBECCA DUNN, RESIDENT: Heartbreaking, heartbreaking. The whole community is just heartbroken because we knew that he really cared and that he was really doing the right thing in Mingo County and to keep our kids safe.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CANDIOTTI: This is a sheriff who was sworn into office just a few months ago in January. He was well loved in this community. He was a police chief in the area just before this job and he did a lot to try to fight prescription drug abuse, which is huge in this coal mining community of about 40,000 people. There will be a vigil for him here at the courthouse at 8:00 Eastern Time tonight. Back to you guys.

BERMAN: Susan Candiotti in Williamson, West Virginia, thanks.

BALDWIN: Now to Christine Romans with the other top stories. Good morning.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning you two. New this morning, four policemen and a civilian killed by a NATO air strike in Neganzi Province of Afghanistan. That's according to Afghan officials. They say the officers were wearing civilian clothing and may have been mistaken for the Taliban. NATO is investigating the incident.

A reward up to $200,000 is now being offered for information leading to the arrest and indictment of killer or killers of DA Mike McLelland, his wife, Cynthia, or his Chief Felony Prosecutor Mark Hasse.

Government offices in Kaufman County, Texas will be closed today so co-workers can attend the public memorial for the McLellands. A funeral follows tomorrow. Investigators are still trying to see if there is a link between the three killings. A law enforcement official concedes to CNN we haven't come close to charging anyone.

Now the video that will stop you cold, a man brandishing a large caliber pistol and emptying four bullets in the chamber to prove it was loaded. Another appeared to be sorting drugs, yet another seemingly shooting up heroin.

What makes this video even more shocking, these men were already in a New Orleans jail. That's right. They're behind bars where this is happening. The man in charge of run that jail and other in Orleans parish set to take the stand this morning testifying about conditions under oath as part of a hearing over proposed jail reform.

Next hour, we'll talk with Dana Kaplin, the executive director of the Juvenile Justice Projects of Louisiana.

New this morning, bird flu back in the news, Chinese state media reporting 11 cases of the H7N9 strain. Four people came down with it reportedly have died. This is the first time that strain has been seen in humans rather than birds. World Health officials say it doesn't seem to pass easily from person to person. In your "A.M. House Call," caring for Americans with dementia could be more expensive than caring for heart or cancer patients and it's only going to get more expensive. That's a finding of a comprehensive new study published this week. It also found the number of dementia patients and the cost to treat them will double by the year 2040.

Japanese researchers finding men who are going bald 32 percent more likely to have heart problems. The study involved 37,000 people, doctors say if you're going bald, focus on controlling the big heart risks like smoking, obesity, and high blood pressure.

It's remarkable to see Louisville's Kevin Ware walking just days after suffering that gruesome injury on the court during his team's NCAA regional final victory on Sunday. The 20-year-old sophomore has become something of an overnight inspiration.

Ware talked with CNN's Rachel Nichols about all the support he's received especially support from one big fan at the White House.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RACHEL NICHOLS, CNN SPORTS: The first lady, Michelle Obama, called you.

KEVIN WARE, INJURED LOUISVILLE GUARD: Yes.

NICHOLS: You're now the coolest guy he knows. The coach said, the president calling you, OK, fine. He calls sports people, but Michelle Obama? What did you say?

WARE: I'm sad because I honestly don't even remember speaking to her. They're telling me that she called. Please, if you called, please call again, please. I really would appreciate it because it's a once in a lifetime thing. I know the president kind of picked us to lose to Indiana in our bracket. I'll forgive him. When I speak to him in the White House, I'll forgive him.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: That's hilarious.

ROMANS: Ware says he will be with his Louisville teammates in Atlanta for the final four this weekend.

She's in a league all her own. Arizona high school sophomore Serena Adams is doing her best to strikeout stereotypes on the field of America's favorite past time. Adams is the very first girl to play at her school's all-boys baseball team and she's pretty confident she can keep up.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SERENA ADAMS, GILBERT DESERT SOPHOMORE: I'm pretty tough, so it's a workout. It's not something that most girls can do. But I mean, I know my way around the field, so I kind of just wanted to challenge this. They're like my older brothers. (END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: The boys on the team are happy to have her. One thing we look at women in sports, look at women in the corporate arena. One thing that mentors and sponsors always say is confidence is critical. That girl has confidence.

BALDWIN: In spades.

ROMANS: She's got good confidence.

BERMAN: All right, Christine, thanks so much. Growing questions this morning for Rutgers University, why didn't the school remove Coach Mike Rice sooner over his abusive treatment of his players?

BALDWIN: That after this video surfaced this week, showing Rice hurling basketballs at some of the players, screaming slurs at them. Joining us now is Tyree Graham from Raleigh this morning. He was a member of Rutgers basketball team for two seasons starting in 2010.

Tyree, good morning. Question number one, we now know your coach is fired. The nation has seen the video. The nation is outraged. You played for him, you practiced with him. Is what you see on the video jive with what you experienced?

TYREE GRAHAM, FORMER RUTGERS BASKETBALL PLAYER: No, ma'am. At my time with Rutgers, I've seen with Coach Rice, I just noticed that, you know, he's very passionate about basketball. He loves basketball. He loved what he did. He loved his family. He also loved us that is why he pushed us.

BALDWIN: But you told CNN that at one point he did hurl a basketball pretty strongly at your back. Did it hurt? Why did he do it?

GRAHAM: Yes, he did. He said because I didn't run a sprint fast enough. You know, as any coach, you know, they want you to be better, like I said. So that's why he did it. I told him, I said, coach, come on, man, don't do that, please. He didn't do it after that.

BERMAN: Well, it does look like from video that he was doing it to other people over an extended period of time. Not only that, but hurling gay slurs at some of the players. You say you understand his behavior even the gay slurs?

GRAHAM: No, I don't respect the gay slurs, sir, no, not at all. But I do respect all the other things, like his passion for the love of basketball to make us better. Because not only was he passionate about basketball, he was passionate about us in the classroom also.

BERMAN: Tell us something we don't know about the coach. In your mind, what kind of guy is he?

GRAHAM: He's a misunderstood guy right now. The reason being is because some of these videos and these press clips that I'm watching him kicking people and hitting people with basketball and stuff, some of that was in a laughing matter. I wish the audio showed that and not just him saying the gay slurs.

BALDWIN: What about what you've talked about how Rutgers, part of the big east conference, pretty tough conference, pretty physical conference. You say that Rutgers isn't as respected or the coach said that and he was trying to do all of this, this physicality of all of this to prepare you to be disrespected. How can you explain that to us?

GRAHAM: When I first -- he first recruited me and some other players, he told us, look, we're in the big east. I'm a new coach in the big east. Rutgers basketball is so unrespected. You know, nobody respects you. Whenever you go into a gym against the Villanovas, Louisvilles and other big-time schools in the big east they don't respect you.

The coaches don't respect me. You've got to have an edge. You've got to have a chip on your shoulder at all times. That's kind of what he tried to enforce in us. I can say about Coach Rice was always trying to enforce that in us ever since day one and every day.

BERMAN: Quickly, Tyree, do you think it was the right decision to fire him?

GRAHAM: No, sir. The reason being is because Rutgers made a decision where they suspended him earlier this year for three games and also $50,000 from him so I feel like Rutgers gave him his punishment.

When the media got a hold of the video, you know, they changed up and now Rutgers fired him. I really feel like that's wrong because he served his punishment. So actually he served two penalties for one offense.

BALDWIN: I guess now the school does not agree with you and as we now know they fired him. Tyree Graham, former Rutgers player. Thanks for joining us this morning.

BERMAN: Thanks, Tyree.

GRAHAM: Thank you.

BERMAN: Ahead on STARTING POINT, a big oops from the Los Angeles Lakers this morning. Check out Shaq's shirt. They retired it. What's wrong that shirt? We'll tell you on the "Bleacher Report."

BALDWIN: Also coming up, Ronald Reagan's daughter creating quite a stir, saying she believes her dad, Ronald Reagan, conservative icon, would have supported gay marriage. Howard Bragman got the interview. He will join us in mere moments. It's 40 minutes past the hour. You are watching STARTING POINT.

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BALDWIN: Almost here, I got tickets, by the way.

BERMAN: Really? BALDWIN: All of the teams have arrived in Atlanta, but the talk of the tournament continues to be about a player who won't even actually be competing.

BERMAN: I can't believe you're going.

BALDWIN: Well, you know.

BERMAN: Andy Scholes, meanwhile, joining us now more with more. Hi, Andy.

ANDY SCHOLES, "BLEACHER REPORT": Good morning, guys. Well, all eyes remain on Louisville Cardinal's guard Kevin Ware who suffered by far the worst injury we've ever seen on a basketball court.

Yesterday, Ware spoke with CNN's Rachel Nichols about what he's gone through over the past few days. He said he never wants to see the video of his gruesome injury.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WARE: I've seen the picture and I've seen it and like quick glance of it. And I just turn away from it because I kind of feel like, me, trying to get back on the basketball court that would just stop me from getting where I need to be. I don't want to see the video. I don't plan on ever seeing the video honestly.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHOLES: Ware was with the Cardinals as they arrived in Atlanta last night. He plans on being with the team every step of the way including sitting on the bench Saturday night when Louisville takes on Wichita State.

The Atlanta Falcons are giving linebacker Bryan Banks a second chance. It's one he definitely deserves. Back in 2002, Banks was a highly recruited prospect who had committed to UFC when a classmate accused him of rape.

Banks went to prison for five years. The woman eventually recanted her claim and offered to help Banks clear his name after he was out of prison. His conviction was overturned in May of last year. Now Banks will finally get his chance to live out his dream and play in the NFL.

One of the top stories on bleacherreport.com right now, on Tuesday night, Shaq had his jerseys retired by the Lakers at Staples Center, but when it was place next to other eight jerseys in the rockers (ph), it just didn't look right.

That's because it's backwards. O'Neal and the number 34 are on the front of the jersey instead of the back. The Lakers realized the mistake and said that it will be fixed before tomorrow night's game against Memphis.

When you're on a date at a baseball game here's an example of what not to do. Tuesday night a home run ball came flying into the center field in Arizona. This guy jumped out of the way to safely allow his girlfriend to get smacked right in the face.

I'm guessing it wasn't a pleasant ride home for these two from the ball park, but not everything ends in doom. Last night, this guy pulls an engagement ring out of a baseball and his girlfriend obviously pretty shocked.

But eventually she would say yes and seal the deal with a kiss. Guys, who do you think was more shocked there, the girlfriend who's boyfriend got --

BALDWIN: The guy totally runs. He runs the other direction.

BERMAN: But the girl who got the engagement ring, she was more psyched about that baseball than the girl who got smacked in the face.

BALDWIN: Yes. I love the two thumbs up though. Andy, thank you.

BERMAN: Hilarious.

BALDWIN: Ahead on STARTING POINT, if President Ronald Reagan was still alive how would he feel about gay marriage? His daughter says he would have supported it. We will talk to her friend Howard Bragman who landed the interview with her next. You are watching STARTING POINT.

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BERMAN: So the Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage, not expected for at least another two months. But we are seeing more politicians come out in favor of it.

BALDWIN: And now Patti Davis, author and daughter of President Ronald Reagan is talking about how her dad might have felt about this whole debate. She talked about it in an online interview with friend and gay rights advocate, Howard Bragman.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PATTI DAVIS, DAUGHTER OF PRESIDENT REAGAN: I think he would be puzzled on the one hand on why anyone would have a problem with people wanting to be married. He wanted government out of people's lives. He would not understand the intrusion of government banning such a thing. This is not what he would have thought government should be doing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: Howard Bragman is the host of Gwist TV YouTube Channel, vice chairman for reputation.com. He's also a friend of Patti Davis. Howard, great to see you today. Patti said she never spoke to her father about gay marriage, but you look at that video, she seems pretty certain that he would have supported it. And she has some other reasons why.

HOWARD BRAGMAN, VICE CHAIRMAN, REPUTATION.COM: Well, there's really three reasons. In 1978 in California, there was a very contentious ballot measure called the Briggs Initiative. They tried to ban all gay teachers from public schools and even in '78 when he was running for president ostensibly.

Her father wrote an editorial and opposed this initiative joining a lot of Democrats and said basically this is not contagious, they are born that way. The second thing and maybe the most interesting thing is her own life. Her parents would go away. A lesbian couple stayed in their king-sized bed and were treated like any other couple.

BERMAN: I had never heard that story before. Let's listen to what she says about that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAVIS: You know, I grew up with two lesbian aunts who used to babysit us when my parents went out of town together. They stayed at our house. They slept in our parents' room in their king-sized bed and I mean, I grew up understanding that they were a married couple.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: I think that will be shocking to a lot of people.

BRAGMAN: I don't think it will be shocking to a lot of people. There's a huge dichotomy with Ronald Reagan. I posted this on Facebook and a lot of my friends and I included -- I am really angry at Reagan for his mishandling of the AIDS crisis, and we feel like a lot of people died because of that.

But it would be wrong to simplify and say he is a totally bad guy. There are other parts and really the third reason that Patti talked about was his dislike of government intervention. He likes small government. Stay out of people's lives, stay out of their bedrooms.

BALDWIN: I want to ask you though, about her brother, Michael Reagan, who is a conservative commentator and this op-ed last week basically taking a different stance. Let me read this for you.

Quote, "It will inevitably lead to teaching our public school kids that gay meaning is a perfectly fine alternative and no different than traditional marriage. There is also a very slippery slope leading to other alternative relationships and the unconstitutionality of any law based on morality.

Think about polygamy, bestiality, and perhaps even murder. He was on Piers Morgan basically stating the same stance. What is their relationship like?

BRAGMAN: You know what? They refuse to have Reagan family feud about this. They agreed to disagree on this particular issue and a lot of political issues. I think there is a lot of dichotomy there, but the family is more important I think to both of them.

I worked with Michael about 30 years ago, and I ran into him a few years ago in New York, and Howard, how are you? Haven't seen you in so long, and he said, by the way this is my husband. You would have thought I took a poop on his shoe.

It was one of the most uncomfortable moments. So, you know, I think the message there is he is really in the dark ages on this. Even the mainstream in the Republican Party isn't talking about bestiality and polygamy, and these things.

I think there's a lesson to be had here from the discussion and that is the Republican Party is behind society on this issue. I think the polls about 58 percent to 60 percent of the American people support gay marriage.

And whatever Ronald Reagan would have thought, it's a great discussion to have, and Republicans can understand that true conservative means a little less government and less intervention.

BERMAN: It will be interesting to see if this has like the sort of posthumous support of gay marriage from Ronald Reagan. Howard Bragman, great to see you this morning. Thanks for coming in.

BRAGMAN: Thanks.

BERMAN: Ahead on STARTING POINT, the escalating war of words in Koreas as the north issues perhaps its boldest threat ever to the U.S. We're going to have a live report from Seoul coming up.

BALDWIN: And we will talk to really one of the greatest actors of our time. Jeremy Irons, star of TV, a fantastic interview. John Berman has a crush on him. You will see why. We're back in 3 minutes.

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BALDWIN: Good morning. I'm Brooke Baldwin.

BERMAN: And I'm John Berman. Our STARTING POINT this morning, the moment of explosion is coming. That is what North Korea is saying this morning as it threatens to use nuclear weapons against the United States.

BALDWIN: And then what a story this is. Free after 42 years behind bars. We will talk to Louis Taylor. He was accused of starting a hotel fire back when he was 16 that took the lives of 29 people. He was just released over doubt surrounding the evidence.

BERMAN: It's really amazing. Then iPhone Google phone, now the Facebook phone? It is all the buzz this morning.

It is Thursday, April 4, STARTING POINT begins right now. Our STARTING POINT, a new nuclear attack threat from North Korea. Pyongyang warning the U.S. with these words, the moment of explosion is approaching fast.

BALDWIN: The north also vowing to block workers from the south from entering this shared industrial complex, even warning they'll shut the whole thing down. Then you have Pyongyang promising attacks against the United States, with a, quote, "smaller lighter and diversified" nuclear force.