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Kerry Urges North Korea to be Responsible; Texas Justice Jailed for Threat; Search Continues for Missing Hiker; Adam Scott Wins Masters; Tiger Stumbles to 4th Place Finish; Starbucks, Walmart Offers Courses Online

Aired April 15, 2013 - 09:00   ET


CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Happening now, flowers and parades amidst the threat of a nuclear war. North Korea rejecting an offer from the South to ease tensions, calling it a crafty trick.

And who killed a Texas district attorney and his wife? Police now zeroing in on a former Justice of the Peace.


ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Can it McLelland tell you he believed Eric Williams was responsible for that murder?




COSTELLO: But Eric Williams says he didn't do it. He's cooperating with police.

Plus 30-feet wide, 8 feet deep, and moving at speeds of more than 50 miles an hour, two deadly avalanches sweep over hikers in the Cascade Mountains..


CHRIS SOHN, AVALANCHE SURVIVOR: I thought that I'm dying. I thought that I'm dying but I hardly made it, because the snow continuously covering my body and then my face. And I couldn't see anything.


COSTELLO: Now the search is on to find one man still missing.

Also, Adam Scott takes home the coveted Green Jacket, but it's the text message that sunk Tiger Woods that has everyone talking. You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.


COSTELLO (on-camera): Good morning. Thank you so much for being with me. I'm Carol Costello. In North Korea, a reason to celebrate. For the rest of the world, a reason to watch. It's a holiday in the communist nation, a time to recognize the birthday of its founder, Kim Il-sung. And for the first time in days, we've seen his grandson, the current leader, Kim Jong-un. Now, he did not mark the day by firing a ballistic - by firing a missile and defying the world, but for weeks this regime has threatened nuclear strikes on neighboring South Korea and the United States.

Today in Japan, Secretary of State John Kerry sat down with CNN and urged North Korea to behave responsibly.


JOHN KERRY, SECRETARY OF STATE: To make it clear to hopefully reasonable -- somebody who's reasonable in North Korea -- as well as to the Chinese, who have an impact in North Korea, that we are deadly serious about our obligations and about our desire, our intent, to stand up to these provocative and reckless actions.


COSTELLO: CNN's Anna Coren is in Seoul, South Korea, with the latest. Anna, John Kerry is urging talks but emphasizing there are conditions attached. Tell us more about that. What does that mean?

ANNA COREN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, most definitely, Carol. And that has been his message for the entire time that he's been here in Asia. Obviously his trip started here in Seoul, South Korea, where he met with leaders and urged North Korea not to fire its missile and that the U.S. would never recognize it as a nuclear state.

But he also opened the door to diplomacy and that's what we heard again in Tokyo. Basically, America's top diplomat saying if North Korea wants to behave responsibly, if they are willing to talk, and talk about denuclearizing, then they have something to discuss with the United States. But otherwise the conversation is not to be had. So John Kerry made that very clear. Now the ball is in North Korea's court.

COSTELLO: And Anna, there was no rhetoric coming out of North Korea today. Is that a coincidence?

COREN: Yes, well, today is the most important day on the North Korean calendar. It of course is the anniversary of the birth of the founder, Kim Il-Sung, who is Kim Jong-Un's grandfather. So he would have been 101 today if he was alive. He died 18 years ago. And as far as the North Koreans are concerned, this is a very important day, so wreaths were laid, there were festivities, but certainly no missiles. Because firstly they wouldn't want to upstage the celebrations and nor would they want any room for error, any failure of missile launch. Carol.

COSTELLO: Anna Coren reporting live from South Korea this morning.

Now let's shift our attention to Texas where there is a feverish new buzz in the case that has put one small town on edge. It revolves around that man, Eric Williams, a former Justice of the Peace in Kaufman County, Texas. This morning, he's in jail, accused of making a terroristic threat. His bail a staggering $3 million. And that's only one reason why his name is surfacing in the investigation of two prosecutors who were murdered.

Mark Hasse and Mike McLelland prosecuted Williams for theft by a public servant. Police are not calling Williams a suspect, but clearly he is under blistering scrutiny. Here's more from Ed Lavandera.


LAVANDERA (voice-over): This house belongs to a former Kaufman County Justice of the Peace named Eric Williams. On Friday, investigators spent hours combing through the house. Then on Saturday, those investigators descended on this storage unit 15 miles away.

Several local media outlets report investigators found 20 weapons inside the storage unit that was rented for Eric Williams. And investigators also discovered this Crown Victoria, a police-style vehicle.

Local media also report this type of car was seen in the neighborhood the night the McLellands were murdered. Eric Williams is now sitting in jail. Over the weekend, he was arrested and charged with making a terroristic threat.

He's being held on a $3 million bond. Williams and his lawyer have vigorously denied any involvement in the Kaufman County murders and insist they've cooperated voluntarily with investigators.

ERIC WILLIAMS, CONVICTED BY MCLELLAND AND HASSE: My heartfelt condolences go out to both the McLelland family and the Hasse family, because they were in public office, doing the right thing, and for some reason, that we're not aware of, they paid the ultimate price for that.

LAVANDERA: Williams' connection to Mark Hasse and Mike McLelland dates back to last year. He was convicted on two felony counts of burglary and theft by a public servant. This video played at his trial shows him stealing computers from a county building and here he is during a police interrogation.

INTERROGATOR: So basically you just took the monitors and the memory --

WILLIAMS: I mean, that's what I can remember.

LAVANDERA: It was a big scandal in a little town. Prosecutors Mark Hasse and Mike McLelland were front and center on the case. This is a picture of both men from the courtroom during that trial.

Denise Bell covered the trial "The Forney Post" newspaper.

DENISE BELL, THE FORNEY POST: It was a mega-trial for our little community. The sense of it was a big trial. LAVANDERA: After the trial, McLelland told reporters that Williams conviction was a sign the good old boy network is gone and elected officials should be held to a higher standard. Hasse ripped into Williams calling the disgraced justice of the peace a dishonorable liar and then he was using Kaufman County as his own piggy bank. Williams lost his job and his law license and was sentenced to two years probation.

Denise Bell says she spoke with Mike McLelland in the weeks before his death. She says after Mark Hasse's murder in January, McLelland was worried about Eric Williams.

(on camera): Did McLelland tell you that he believed Eric Williams was responsible for that murder?

BELL: Yes.


What exactly and in what context did he tell you this?

BELL: In a context of be careful, Denise.

LAVANDERA: He told you to be careful?

BELL: Yes.

LAVANDERA: Why would he tell you to be careful?

BELL: Because I sat in the front row and covered this story for 10 days.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): Despite Eric Williams now getting so much attention, investigators have still not officially named him as a suspect or filed murder charges against him.


LAVANDERA (on-camera): And, Carol, along with everything that has gone on this weekend in these searches related to Eric Williams, remember the night that the McLellands were found murdered in their home, we were told just hours later investigators met with Eric Williams at a parking lot of a Denny's restaurant in Kaufman and took gun residue samples from him. So according to his attorney at the time when we spoke to him back then, he has been talking and cooperating with investigators for some time, even since Mark Hasse's murder.

COSTELLO: Ed Lavandera reporting live for us this morning.

Also this morning, a search is expected to resume for a missing Washington state hiker buried in an avalanche. On Saturday, Mitch Hungate was out with two friends when an avalanche carried them 1,200 feet at speeds reaching more than 50 miles per hour. An avalanche on another mountain injured a woman who'd been out walking with her dog. That woman later died. Miguel Marquez is live with the latest. Good morning, Miguel.

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning there, Carol. Snow is once again forecast for us, but searchers are hoping as the sun rises, they can get their search started again.


MARQUEZ: An agonizing search for a hiker swept away by snow. The clues eerie, a ski pole buried to the hilt, crews painstakingly searched an area a quarter mile long and eight feet deep. Rescue dogs digging furiously.

The late spring storm creating perfect avalanche conditions, catching snowshoers by surprise in two nearly simultaneous avalanches.

CHRIS SOHN, AVALANCHE SURVIVOR: I thought that I'm dying. I thought I'm dying but I was hardly breathing because the snow continuously covered my body and then my face and then I couldn't see anything.

MARQUEZ: Lucky to be alive, Chris Sohn was in a group of 12 swept away by a river of snow. The novice snowshoer was buried, unable to move his body under the weight of the snow. He could only wait as his friends dug him out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was pretty scary, pretty steep slope.

MARQUEZ: All 12 survived but a dog alerted them to another buried snowshoer nearby. They dug her out of snow, alive.

SOHN: After two hours, my members stay in the mountain. They found her.

MARQUEZ: But with conditions so harsh, the group so remote search and rescue couldn't get her out fast enough. She died before reaching the command center. The same concern for the snowshoer still missing from the first avalanche in seconds, the three men in that group were swept far and fast. A GPS device recorded their harrowing slide.

SGT. KATHLEEN LARSON, KING COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPT.: And they literally went 1,279 feet in that avalanche at speeds of up to 53 miles an hour.

MARQUEZ: None of the men was wearing an avalanche beacon. Two of them managed to save themselves. A hard week for avalanches in Utah, 34- year-old Craig Patterson, a highly experienced avalanche forecaster was killed when he was caught in a small avalanche on a very steep slope.

Late heavy snow packed on to icier, older stuff, perfect and unforgiving avalanche conditions.


MARQUEZ (on-camera): Now, the hope is that Mitch Hungate, the 60- year-old who is still missing, that he will be found. It is still a search and rescue mission say authorities up there, even though there are very, very harsh conditions. Snow again is forecast for that area but hopefully it will be light enough that they can get in there and try to get him out. Carol.

COSTELLO: We hope so. Miguel Marquez reporting live for us this morning.

Now a look at other top stories this morning at 11 minutes past the hour. Interstate 94, just south of Barnesville, Minnesota, open this morning after a brutal spring snowstorm and several wrecks shut down part of the highway on Sunday. Several pigs got loose after a tractor trailer they were being transported in overturned. The pigs didn't seem to mind. They were soon rounded up.

A fired Florida police officer defends his use of a shooting target resembling Trayvon Martin. Ron King says it was a training aid and meant to be an example of a no shoot situation.


RON KING, FIRED POLICE OFFICER: I refuse to sit by while others use the Martin family and myself as a way to further their own political and career agendas.


COSTELLO: The target shows the outline of a faceless person in a black hoodie holding a can, which looks to be a can of soda, and carrying a bag of candy. Maybe Skittles. King has apologized to the Martin family. Their attorney calls the targets absolutely reprehensible.

If you're planning to visit the National 9/11 Memorial anytime soon, you will have to pay $2 to reserve a pass online or by phone. That cost is waived for victims' families or for those showing up for same- day passes. Still, many people are upset about the charge saying no one should be charged any money at all to pay their respects.

For the first time in history, an Australian wears the Green Jacket after winning the Masters. Adam Scott won on the second hole of a sudden death playoff against Angel Cabrera. It was the first major win for a golfer who's seen major titles slip away before.


ADAM SCOTT, 2013 MASTERS CHAMPTION: I kind of had to compose myself after getting a little excited on 18 hole the first time around. But going back out there, it was all or nothing, really. At that point, it's just two of us and it's head to head and shot for shot. So I just went for it.

RACHEL NICHOLS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Last year's British Open, you had a four stroke lead with four to play and you blew it. What's different about you now that you were able to win?

SCOTT: Well, I think in the big picture, golf is a game that can humble you very quickly and certainly did at the British Open. But I've won tournaments before and I've lost tournaments before and that's going to keep on happening for the rest of my life. As much as I don't want to lose tournaments, it's inevitable when you're up there. But I think the Open gave me more belief than anything. No doubt. Nothing. It just gave me more belief that I am good enough to win a major championship.


COSTELLO: The tournament favorite Tiger Woods ended up tied for fourth, four shots behind, and a controversial penalty on Saturday morning did not help.

Shane O'Donaghue joins us now from Augusta. Let's talk about that penalty and the text message that pointed it out to officials.

SHANE O'DONOGHUE, CNN SPORTS: That's right, Carol, it was a text message. I mean, Augusta National themself have admitted that they get up to 50 calls per day during the Masters as they do at other events on the PGA Tour and in Europe, all around the world. Because of television, a lot of people are very much into the rules of golf, and if they spot something, they're more than entitled to call the organizers or the clubhouse and get in touch with those who are running the tournament.

This is what happened here. And effectively the lady who texted in, she helped Tiger Woods out because the message was passed on to the Rules Committee at Augusta National. They looked at the drop that Tiger Woods has taken on the 15th hole and they had deemed it to be perfectly OK. It was only later, after Woods had signed his scorecards, that Woods himself admitted that there was a certain intent with regard to the way he dropped the ball. He wanted to drop it two yards behind the divot where he originally played the shot to try to land it two yards short of the flag. That just shows you the genius of Tiger Woods.

But in effect he was admitting that he had not dropped correctly, because you need to drop the ball as near as possible to the divot. So this is what led Augusta National then to contact Woods, because they need to speak about this.

Effectively, Tiger Woods have been disqualified from the tournament for signing from an incorrect card because of the illegal drop, but they brought him in the following morning. They discussed it. Woods was absolutely open and frank about it. And it was deemed that a two- stroke penalty would apply, which would have applied in the case had the Augusta National committee spoken to him right after the round and before he had signed his scorecard. So there was room to maneuver there because of a new rule, 33-7.

COSTELLO: Shane O'Donoghue at Augusta, Georgia -- thanks so much.

Can you imagine if that were to happen in baseball or football? Hey, I thought that was strike, let's review it. Actually, I like that.

Just ahead on THE NEWSROOM: several Fortune 500 companies offering their own classes good for college credit. Why are they going back to school, though?


COSTELLO: At 19 minutes past the hour, time to check our top stories.

The wreckage of a Lion airplane that went into the ocean on Saturday will be moved today. That's according to "Reuters". The Boeing 737 jet missed the runway in Bali, Indonesia, on Saturday. Everyone survived. The plane had only been in service a month before the crash.

George W. Bush and Laura Bush are first time grandparents. Their daughter Jenna Bush Hager has given birth. Margaret Laura Hager was born Saturday night in New York City. Mom and baby, they're doing pine. We know dad is doing fine, too.

The former president says he's fired up about becoming a granddaddy, but not planning on changing any diapers.

Dish Network is ready to link up with Sprint Nextel. It's making a bid to buy America's number three wireless carrier for $25.5 billion. That's $5 billion more than an offer by a Japanese telecommunications company. If the deal goes through, Dish would be able to package TV and wireless services.

Good news coming out of Citigroup. The company's earnings increased 30 percent in the first quarter, earning them nearly $4 billion, which is far better than what many analysts expected.

Starbucks and Walmart are offering online classes to anyone who wants to take them. And they're good for college credit.

Alison Kosik is live in New York.

So, can anyone go to the University of Starbucks?

ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Not anyone can. Right now, it's mostly employees who are able to at that time courses. So what these companies are doing, Carol, is they're really just taking matters into their own hands. You know, these companies are tired of waiting for colleges, you know, to churn out skilled workers that they need, so what the companies are doing is they're offering their own classes instead.

It's what experts are calling "just in time" learning, which means it's more specific learning. These students can use the learning immediately versus what students learn in traditional college classrooms. It's called "just in case" learning. It's more generalized and takes years to use those skills.

So, this is more localized, sort of specialize learning. It's happening in a growing number of big named companies. As you mentioned, Starbucks offer barista basics. There is also a Jiffy Lube University for its technicians and managers. Walmart even has online classes and McDonald's has its famous Hamburger U. Here's the best part. You can receive college credit. In McDonald's case, up to 27 credit hours. It's up to the individual schools to decide whether to accept the credits, but 2,000 colleges did last year. So, that's good news.

Now, workers will often put the credit toward business administration or education degrees. So, it's really a win/win for everybody involved -- Carol.

COSTELLO: I hope it increases the student's wages if they choose to take the classes. Is that true?

KOSIK: I don't know about that. Not sure about that.

You know, what's good is that these people are able to really become specialized in areas. So, you know, at varying levels. You know, at Starbucks, they have these basic classes like barista basics, barista 101. These are mainly for newer employees.

But then you look at McDonalds. And the focus at Hamburger U is more on a manager level, a management level. So, managers who want to own their own prices. So, that's good new there.


KOSIK: The goal here is to teach leadership skills and the possibility of putting it towards something bigger, like a college degree. So that's also a nice motivator. You know, think about it. People don't necessarily plan to make a career out of McDonald's or Walmart, but this helps these companies keep good employees and teaches them skills that they can use at other jobs in the future.

You know, other jobs in the future, Carol.

COSTELLO: All good. Alison Kosik reporting live for us this morning.

Talk back question for you this morning. Do scare tactics prevent teenaged pregnancy?, or tweet me @carolCNN.


COSTELLO: Now is your chance to talk back on of the stories of the day. The question for you this morning, do scare tactics prevent teenage pregnancy? If you believe the answer to that question is yes, then maybe your kid ought to meet Pam Stenzel.


PAM STENZEL: I would have girls in my office every day saying, Pam, I didn't know. And if somebody would have told me that this was going to be the result of the choice I was making, I'd have made a different choice. No one told me.


COSTELLO: Stenzel travels the world talking to high school students about abstinence. Have sex outside of marriage she says and you will pay with deadly STDs.

Here is her message for mothers who that give their daughters the pill.


STENZEL: What does birth control protect you from? Pregnancy. That hormone that this girl is taking is has just made her 10 times more likely to contract a disease than if she were not taking that drug. This girl will end up sterile or dead. Thanks, mom. Glad you cared.


COSTELLO: Stenzel was invited by a religious group to speak at a West Virginia public high school last week, sparking anger and some tears according to the "Charleston Daily Mail". One student saying, quote, "It was slut-shaming. She picked on girls who were sexually active. There were several who left the assembly crying," end quote.

If you think scare tactics only come from conservatives, think again. In New York, the city that hands out condoms to high schoolers, they have come up with their own scare tactics to prevent teenage pregnancy. Take a look at these ads with cute little kids saying things like, "Dad, you'll be paying to go support me for the next 20 years," and, "Honestly, mom, chances are he won't stay with you. And what happens to me?"

Planned Parenthood blasted the ads saying they shame and stigmatize teens instead of helping them.

So the question for you this morning, do scare tactics prevent teenaged pregnancy?,, or tweet me @carolCNN.