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CNN NEWSROOM

Military Loom Large in Boston; Remembering the Victims; FBI Examines Blast Evidence; Envelope to Senator Had Ricin; "OK to be Sad & OK to be Angry"; Report: New Arrest in Texas D.A. Killing

Aired April 17, 2013 - 09:00   ET

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


(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: Who did it? Breaking overnight. New pictures of bits and pieces of the pressure cooker bomb and a plea from investigators.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The person who did this is someone's friend, neighbor, coworker or relative.

COSTELLO: Plus, Boston unites as the city grieves.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She was the one that touched me.

COSTELLO: Families share their stories and struggle to recover.

Plus, eerie reminders of the days after 9/11. An envelope laced with the deadly poison ricin, addressed to a U.S. senator. Why?

And domestic drama. Mark Sanford busted for trespassing on his ex- wife's property. Yes, that Mark Sanford, the man running for redemption in the U.S. Senate race in South Carolina.

And star rookie. Jack Hoffman, the 7-year-old who touched the nation gets his own rookie card. Touch down.

You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COSTELLO: Good morning, thank you so much for being with me. I'm Carol Costello. We begin with a new development in the terror attack in Boston. A short time ago we learned investigators have found the lid, an entire lid to a pressure cooker believed to have been used in the bombings.

That lid was found on a rooftop and may help complete these new images that surfaced overnight. They showed the remains of a pressure cooker, a shredded black backpack and what appear to be metal pellets.

A Boston law enforcement source says the devices could pack about a gallon and a half of killing powder. A partial circuit board was also found suggesting the bombs were possibly detonated by timers. According to CNN affiliate WHDH one of the bombs may have been hidden inside this light-colored bag right there on the sidewalk. But as you can see in these later photos, the explosion was roughly where that bag sat.

But here's the troubling takeaway. One former FBI official says the bombs bear the hallmarks of both domestic and international terror. In other words, investigators appear no closer to naming a suspect. They're poring over before and after photos like these. As for the victims, most of the 183 people have now been released from the hospital and we now know more about the third person who was killed. She was a Chinese graduate student at Boston University. We'll learn more about her in just a minute.

In the meantime, some signs of normalcy in Boston. Two days after the attacked, many people easing back into the routines of everyday life. Often under the watchful eye of armed troops.

CNN's Don Lemon is in the heart of the city.

Good morning, Don.

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Carol. I'm glad you cast that with some signs, some signs of normalcy. People are trying. But I mean, how normal can you get when almost on every single corner you're seeing Humvees and police officers, members of the National Guard.

Police officers really from all over around the country who are trying to get directions this morning just to get to our location and every officer we went to said, you're going to have to ask that guy, I'm not from here, I'm not from here.

So there is -- there's so much presence, so much security here, that it's hard to even go outside or look outside of your window and not see someone who is involved in the armed services. Even the parks here are loaded with people from all over the country. Bus loads of people from the military.

And you know, as this city struggles to move ahead, the thoughts of a grieving city, it really remains very grim.

And I want to go now to CNN's Pamela Brown, who's been covering that story for us. Here's what she found.

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PAMELA BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Community struck by grief. Friends and family of 8-year-old Martin Richard gathered in a park near his home to remember him and pray for his family. His 6- year-old sister lost a leg and his mother has a serious brain injury.

On Tuesday, friends and relatives dropped off flowers in the family's house in the Dorchester section of Boston. Martin's unforgettable smile has become the face of Monday's senseless attack. His picture, celebrating his first communion and another with a sign that read, "No more hurting people." Now emblazoned in the minds of millions.

One of the first responders, Dr. Kim Mills, tried to revive him. Her husband Matt describes the horror his wife ran toward after the blast. MATT MILLS, HUSBAND OF FIRST RESPONDER: She did. And then she told me that as she handed it off to the EMTs, she had pronounced him -- said hey, this -- you know, he's dead and somebody had said, we need to start CPR, and she said I -- she's like I don't think it's going to help.

BROWN: Now he says his wife is grappling with the reality of seeing these pictures of Martin.

MILLS: And you can see she got quiet and you could see the tears welling up and -- the emotion coming back from yesterday.

BROWN: The second fatality is Krystle Campbell, a 29-year-old from Medford, Massachusetts, a suburb to the north of Boston. Krystle was standing along Boylston Street when the explosions went off. Her mother heartbroken.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What type of daughter was she, ma'am?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She was the best. I couldn't ask for a better daughter.

BROWN: Krystle would have turned 30 on May 3rd.

The third victim is a Chinese national and graduate student at Boston University, studying statistics.

The injured continue to recover and tell their stories. CNN's Anderson Cooper spoke exclusively to Ron Brassard in his hospital room.

ANDERSON COOPER, HOST, CNN'S AC 360: Were you knocked to the grown?

RON BRASSARD, BOMBING VICTIM: I wasn't knocked to the ground. I absolutely knew that I was hit with something because the pain that shot through my leg was incredible.

BROWN: Meanwhile, across the country, tributes to remember those lost, with the Red Sox playing away in Cleveland, the Indians held a moment of silence for the bombing victims, and the New York Yankees put their rivalry aside Tuesday night, to pay their respects. Posting this message on the Yankee Stadium marquee, "United we stand," and playing the Fenway Park favorite "Sweet Caroline" in the Bronx.

Back on the streets of Boston, an eerie quiet on normally busy streets. For Megan Kieler returning to the scene after witnessing the explosion brought back overwhelming emotion.

MEGAN KIELER, WITNESS: I think it's just kind of hitting me now, to be honest. I'm sorry.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: What does it feel like?

KIELER: I feel so badly for everybody. I'm really proud of this city. But it's -- you know, people are waking up today and their lives are very different.

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LEMON: And Pamela Brown joins me now.

Pamela, I spoke to one gentleman yesterday who ran out to help people and he said, you know, until this moment, I hadn't realized how angry I was. People are still trying to get over this and it's going to be quite some time before they can.

BROWN: Yes. We just saw from Meagan Kieler there who actually witnessed the explosion Monday and came back near the scene yesterday. I was talking with her, and I asked her, what brought you back here? And she said look, I was very apprehensive to come back, but I feel like I need to be here. I feel like I need to be here, paying respects -- paid my respects to the victims and honor the victims.

So as tough as it was for her, you know, we are seeing that sort of across-the-board here in the city, united by grief, by what has happened.

LEMON: Yes. And, there's going to be mourning tomorrow. Nationally, Carol, when the president comes. So again it's not over yet. The investigation continues. Again, the national mourning tomorrow, once the president gets here, so it's going to be quite some time before people can really get back to normalcy as you said. Some normalcy but not quite yet, Carol.

LEMON: Yes. That'll be tough. Don Lemon, Pam Brown, thanks so much.

Back to that big investigative find now in Boston. That lid to a pressure cooker, thought to have been used in the bombings, that was found on the rooftop at the scene. Couple that find with bits and pieces of wire, a control panel, nylon and maybe, maybe it's enough to find a suspect.

Joining me now are Tom Fuentes, he's a CNN analyst and a former FBI assistant director, and Fran Townsend, she's CNN national security analyst and former homeland security adviser to President Bush.

Welcome to you both.

TOM FUENTES, CNN ANALYST: Good morning, Carol.

COSTELLO: Good morning. Fran, you broke this latest find. This pressure cooker lid. How important could this be to the investigation?

FRAN TOWNSEND, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CONTRIBUTOR: You know, Carol, all of the pieces of the bomb after it exploded are important because they generate 1,000 leads, but this is particularly important. One for its size and for its proximity. In other words, the bombmaker would have had to have touched it and so may have left some sort of DNA evidence, fingerprint -- latent fingerprint evidence.

Something that may help investigators to actually identify the bombmaker. They'll have to follow all the investigative leads from these pieces, they'll talk to manufacturers of various component pieces. They'll talk to people who -- you know, shops that sold these devices, whether it's batteries or wires or the pressure cooker.

But the lid itself is a key find for investigators, that at least potentially, we don't know yet, but could provide them with key evidence to identifying the perpetrator.

COSTELLO: It's just amazing that it was found pretty much intact. The whole piece on a rooftop, so hopefully it will lead to something.

Tom, I wanted to ask you this, will investigators actually reconstruct the bomb?

FUENTES: Yes, they will, Carol. Completely as much as possible. They'll want to see exactly how it looks, if possible, before the explosion. It will tell them what technique was used and probably how the person learned to assemble it. It will give them an idea of what that person was using as a guide or if they had a specific teacher show them how to do it.

So that's a very important -- that's part of the investigation is similar to after an airplane crash when they reconstruct the plane to see exactly where the explosion happened and the parts that were closest to it. So that's a very important feature, and Fran is exactly right, that often, surprisingly, you can have something as part of the explosive device, and yet still have the bombmaker's DNA, hair, skin particles or some other fluid on there that can yield later the evidence you need to convict a specific person of having been the one to put that device together.

COSTELLO: And, Fran, there's a lot of speculation out there, but many analysts say that the -- these bombings bear the hallmark of a lone wolf. Do you agree with that?

TOWNSEND: You know all of the investigators we've spoken to, Carol, have said they really don't know. They don't know whether it was a foreign attack or a domestic attack. They don't know if it was a -- as you say, a homegrown jihadist, who is inspired by an ideology.

We know that there are recipes, bomb-making recipes in the "Inspire" magazine, which is an al Qaeda magazine, but also in the sort of anarchist handbook, which is a domestic group. And so I must say, you know, when we -- first heard about a pressure cooker bomb, we realized that that wasn't going to help investigators very much to come to a conclusion about who is behind this and why. But, again, the pieces may lead them to the individuals so they can answer that question.

COSTELLO: And, Tom, I want to get a little bit into the psychology of a person who would do this. No claim of responsibility that we know of and the bomb was honestly made to cause the most damage possible.

Can you take us inside the mind of someone who would do this?

FUENTES: Well, possibly. You know, in a situation like this, you have the difficulty of the investigation is that this has the hallmarks of an international terrorist bombing. It has the hallmarks of domestic terrorist bombing, it has the hallmarks of neither one. So you don't have a group like al Qaeda or Taliban organization claiming credit like you might. You don't have a suicide bomber, you don't have someone martyring themselves in the process.

So the bomber is still alive and still out there as we speak. So that creates difficulty. Secondly, in the aftermath of this, there has not been someone really identified as I think my neighbor did it somebody was trying to contact me. Many of the terror plots interrupted by the FBI over the last few years or by the police have been because the individual couldn't do it by his -- himself. He tried to get help in the neighborhood or in the community, somebody helped me put a bomb together. Somebody helped me get firearms or explosive material.

And in that process, then the authorities are notified that there is an individual trying to recruit assistance. So if somebody did this by themselves or maybe one or two people that were very close knit, then you don't have that kind of communication for and the opportunity for an informant to notify the authorities that someone is out there trying to do it.

In terms of the psychology, you could just have somebody that's a psychotic, not just a lone wolf, but maybe a psychotic person who has done this to give himself some kind of glory, almost a glorified pulling the fire alarm at school just to watch everybody scurry around, only in this case, kill people to do that. We just don't know that yet, and, again, no group has claimed authority, no individual has claimed authority, and no, the individual hasn't been ratted out as you might say by cohorts, which adds to the difficulty of this.

So somebody could right now be sitting at home, watching this and gloating that, hey, look at this, I did that. And I'm -- I'm indirectly famous on international television.

COSTELLO: OK. That kind of makes you sick, doesn't it? Tom Fuentes and Fran Townsend --

FUENTES: It's pretty sickening, you're right.

COSTELLO: Yes. Thank you so much. Hopefully that pressure cooker lid will yield some clues. Thank you both so much.

TOWNSEND: Thank you.

COSTELLO: The other big story we're following this morning, the discovery of a ricin tainted envelope meant for a U.S. senator. It was on its way to Republican Senator Roger Wicker of Mississippi. Right now that letter is going through additional tests. Results are expected within a day or two.

Our chief congressional correspondent Dana Bash has more for you.

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: CNN can now report that the envelope addressed to Senator Wicker did test positive for ricin at the actual lab. So there was a more formal and reliably positive test beyond the initial test conducted in the field. That's according to the Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Terry Gaynor.

We can also report that the exterior markings on the envelope sent to Senator Wicker were not outwardly suspicious. It was missing a return address and it was postmarked from Memphis, Tennessee which isn't that far from Senator Wicker's home state of Mississippi.

Now Senate officials are taking precautions. They have closed postal facilities for two or three days while testing continues and law enforcement investigates. And in a briefing senators were reminded to warn their employees to be very vigilant in handling and processing all mail that comes to their offices in the capitol and also in their district offices back in their home states.

Now the very first spot for capitol mail we should tell our viewers is actually not on the capital complex. It's at offsite facility. That began in 2001 after a couple of Senate offices received letters that were laced with anthrax. How much of a threat is ricin? Well, ricin is toxic and lethal, but only when it's injected, which is why the Department of Homeland Security considers it what they call category "B," or a lower threat agent as opposed to say, anthrax, which is much more deadly.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COSTELLO: Dana Bash reporting. Senator Wicker now has additional security.

Sports helping Boston return to some sense of normalcy and fans in other cities giving -- well, they're showing their support. Let's just say. The Red Sox were in Cleveland last night, playing for the first time since the marathon bombings. There was a moment of silence for the victims before the game. This jersey hung in the Red Sox dugout. Boston strong with the city's 617 area code.

Even the Sox' hated rivals, the New York Yankees, had their backs last night. A plaque reading "United we stand" was put up at Yankee Stadium. And in the third inning, fans sang along to a Fenway Park staple, "Sweet Caroline."

Singer Neil Diamond tweeted his thanks to the Yanks. "Thank you, New York Yankees for playing 'Sweet Caroline' for the people of Boston. You scored a home run in my heart. With respect, Neil."

Just ahead of THE NEWSROOM: how should Bostonians react to the terror attack, a city councilman says it's OK, get angry.

We'll talk to him.

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COSTELLO: It's about 20 minutes past the hour. It's time to check other top stories.

In London, people are saying their good-bye to the former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. She was given a ceremonial funeral with full military honors this morning. Security was tight with more than 4,000 police.

About 2,000 people at the funeral, including Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip. Thatcher died of a stroke on April 8th. She was 87.

Late today, the U.S. Senate is set to start voting on amendments to a bill tightening federal gun control laws. Up first, bipartisan measures that expand on background checks and increased funding for mental health care. Also on the docket are proposals to ban military- style assault weapons and make state-issued concealed weapons permit accepted nationwide.

Senators known as the "Gang of Eight" will unveil their long-awaited immigration reform bill, all 844 pages, today. The bill proposes a path to citizenship for 11 million undocumented immigrants and would increase border security and require employers to use the government's online E-Verify program to determine the legal status of job applicants.

All right. Tragedy and sorrow in Boston. People are really feeling it there obviously. But there's one councilman that has a bit of advice to fellow Bostonians.

Let's set out to Boston and check in with Don Lemon.

Hi, Don.

LEMON: Hey, he certainly does. He's standing right next to me.

And what we want to ask him, Carol, is there a politically correct way to react to terror attack on your own soil, in your own city, should there be?

Well, five-time Boston marathoner and city councilman, as we said, Matt O'Malley, he had this response on his Facebook page. Here's what he said.

He said, "It's OK to be sad, it's OK to be angry. We will find whomever did this and they will be brought to justice. We are strong. We are resilient. We are Boston. The greatest city in the world."

Matt O'Malley joins us now.

And, you know, we've been thinking about how the folks in New York reacted during 9/11. How people are reacting now. People seem to be more angry maybe than sad here.

MATT O'MALLEY, BOSTON CITY COUNCILOR: Absolutely, Don. Such an influx of emotion. We're sad, we're angry, we're confused. And it's OK to be that way.

The frustrating thing is we don't know who to be angry at right yet. And I know we've got our friends on law enforcement are doing yeoman's work. But we don't have an answer yet.

LEMON: Well, not just confusion about, you know, who may have done this, why they might have done it. Just getting around. You and I are talking.

You know, you look around here. Almost every street, especially downtown, blocked off. Can't even get directions, you can't get to where you are going and there's police presence on every single corner.

O'MALLEY: Yes.

And make no mistake: we are very grateful for that and the federal support that we've received, the state support. But it's certainly jarring to see a Humvee behind us, in front of one of the great Boston hotels, just adjacent to one of the oldest libraries in America.

LEMON: Yes.

O'MALLEY: We're not used to this.

LEMON: As we get new information. You know, we heard about the pressure cooker and top of the pressure cooker. Both you and I, we talked, I had in this college, you had this in college. From time to time, they would explode.

O'MALLEY: Sure.

LEMON: So, we know that it has the capability of doing that. But when you put ball bearings in it and you fashion it to be a bomb, that's something completely different.

This is -- you walk up and you said, this is unnerving to you. Why?

O'MALLEY: Just to say that, because it's such a common appliance in kitchens across America and to think that some monster would use it in a perverse way to kill, to murder, and injure so many people, it strains all decent thought.

LEMON: I want to put this on the screen and get your reaction, because Thomas Friedman has an interesting take on how to defy the terrorist. He is against any memorial in Copley Square.

In "The New York Times" op-ed, Friedman writes this. He said, "So let's repair the sidewalk immediately. Fix the windows, fill the holes and leave no trace, no shrines, no flower, no statues, no plagues, and return life to normal there as fast as possible."

Do you agree or do you disagree?

O'MALLEY: Well, it's difficult. It's still so new.

I mean, the one thing I do know, and I wrote about that, is that there is an iconic image associated with the marathon, right on Harrah, left on Boylston Street, given as directions, but it's the last two streets to get to the finish line. And to see that sign is the greatest feeling in the world. To know your friends and family members will be waiting for you.

Words can't describe it. And the fact that some monster, some terrorist sought to change that, is just so unfathomable to me. I think, as I said, we are a strong people. We are resilient.

The marathon is such a uniquely -- the marathon is such a uniquely Boston event. It's, for me, it's a kick of spring. It's a Red Sox game at 11:05, it's when people will get ready for spring and summer. It's a wonderful family day.

And to see some of the victims, the children that were killed, it's just -- it's horrible.

LEMON: As a citizen and representative here, will you ever be the same after this?

O'MALLEY: I think we'll be stronger and we'll be better. This has changed things. This is the marathon Monday was perhaps the darkest day in this city's long and rich history.

But we are a tough people. We will find who did this. They will be brought to justice, and we will, you know -- the best example of the spirit of Boston was right after. You saw it in the video -- right after the bombs went off and you saw people running to the victims, runners, first responders, volunteers, running to help people. That's what the city is all about. That's why we have the greatest city in the world.

LEMON: Thank you.

O'MALLEY: Thanks, Don.

LEMON: All right. Thank you very much -- Carol.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

COSTELLO: "The Dallas Morning News" is reporting that Kim Williams, the wife of Eric Williams, has been arrested and charged in connection with the death of the Kaufman County district attorney and his wife.

Let's head to Martin Savidge now. He's on the phone.

Martin, bring us up-to-date on what we know about this woman's arrest.

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): Good morning, Carol.

Yes, I just had a conversation with the Kaufman County jail and they are refusing to give any comment about the latest development. It is quite a bombshell.

According to "The Dallas Morning News," he's the wife of a former justice of the peace. He's already being held in the Kaufman County jail for making a terroristic threat, but 46-year-old Kim Williams was apparently booked into the Kaufman County jail at about 3:00 this morning. And she has been charged with one count of capital murder.

Now, remember, this is the county that has been shocked by three murders, including the district attorney a couple of weeks ago, his wife. They were brutally murdered, gunned down in their own home and then the assistant district attorney that was gunned down at the end of January. That sparked a massive federal and local investigation.

That has looked in many different directions. This former justice of the peace is one of the avenues that authorities say that they have been investigating.

Eric Williams has not been declared even now as a suspect in the case. You have to wonder since, according to "The Dallas Morning News" since his wife is now charged with capital murder if things will change rapidly in that regard -- Carol.

COSTELLO: Yes, it does make you wonder -- why police haven't charged her husband yet, unless somehow he wasn't as involved as she was?

SAVIDGE: First of all, you know, this case has frightened and really rattled this otherwise quiet part of Texas, even though it's located not far away from Dallas and Ft. Worth. And on top of that, the man, Eric Williams, in so it's not like he's going to go anywhere.

I think authorities want to build a case, make sure they have the evidence and make sure they have it right. That would include gathering ballistics. There were a number of search warrants. One on Friday where authorities searched Eric Williams' home, and then Saturday, they searched a storage unit that belonged to him. In the storage unit, it was found he had a vehicle -- a vehicle described by a number of witnesses said to be in the area of the murder of the D.A. and then on top of that, there were reportedly a cache of weapons.

So there could be ballistic testing going on and they want to make sure they have it all right before they bring charges. But, again, the fact that his wife is in now in custody and charged with murder, it really says a lot -- Carol.

COSTELLO: It does. I'm sure you continue following this story. Martin Savidge, reporting live this morning.

Talkback question today: how should we memorialize the Boston bombings? Talk of there being no reminder whatsoever of the heinous and cowardly act of terror?

Facebook.com/CarolCNN or tweet me at @carolCNN.

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