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Potentially Key Evidence Found in Boston Bombing Case; Carjacking Victim Speaks Out; Snow in May?; New Information in the Ricin Letter Case; Jason Collins' Former Fiance Supports NBA Player; Michael Jackson Wrongful Death Suit Continues;

Aired May 1, 2013 - 05:30   ET


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: So sheriff's deputies on safari in a helicopter. Here's what they saw overnight while on the trail of a black bear. You're going to have to see this to believe it.


BERMAN: That's crazy. Welcome back to EARLY START, everyone. I'm John Berman.

SAMBOLIN: I love that video, I can't wait to see the whole thing. Thanks for being with us. I'm Zoraida Sambolin. It's Wednesday, May 1st if you can believe it.

An "Up" first here, one man's night of terror with the Boston bombing suspects. The Tsarnaev brothers carjacking victim, now known only as Danny, is speaking out publicly, describing in detail the fear that he felt, his bold getaway, and the 911 call that he made that helped take out two terrorists.

Also developing this morning, investigators uncovering a potentially key piece of evidence from the bomb debris. It is a fingerprint. Pamela Brown is in Boston following all of the latest developments for us. Good morning to you, Pamela.

PAMELA BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning to you. I spoke to that carjacking victim who was asked to be called Danny, and for an hour and 15 minutes in an off-camera conversation. He told me he's still having a tough time recovering from what he called a nightmare after being carjacked by Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev. He told me that he was driving around on a Thursday night trying to relax, he pulled over to send a text message. That's when Tamerlan Tsarnaev walked up. Danny rolled down the window to hear what he had to say. Tamerlan reached in, unlocked the car, got into the passenger side, and that's when the nightmare began. Dzhokhar was following behind in a car. Tamerlan was threatening Danny, saying that only if he cooperated, he wouldn't kill him. He kept asking questions, Danny said, about his Chinese heritage. He said he hated Americans. At one point he said this feels like something out of a movie, doesn't it? After the 90 minutes, Danny made his brave escape. Let's take a listen.


"DANNY": He took out his gun, pointed to me, said to me like, you know I am serious. Don't be stupid. He asked me a question like, do you know the Boston explosion on Monday? I said yes. And then, you know, I did that, and I just killed a policeman in Cambridge. I need to figure out a way to save myself. I was counting, I was one, two, three, four, just do it, and I did it. And I can feel Tamerlan try to grab me. I was running. I was just running as fast as I can, and I never -- I never looked back.


BROWN: Danny says at one point he heard the carjacker say Manhattan. It turns out, according to authorities, they had made spontaneous plans to go to New York and set off explosives in Times Square. So had Danny not made his escape, there could have been more lives lost here, but Danny says he does not consider himself a hero.

SAMBOLIN: Pamela, what was it that Danny did that may have saved his life?

BROWN: Well, it's important to point out that Danny, despite feeling fearful for his life, was able to stay calm, and he kept his composure throughout the 90 minutes. After talking to Tamerlan and knowing how much he hated Americans, Danny played up his Chinese heritage, played up his status as an outsider, played down how much money he has, saying that he paid less for his Mercedes SUV than he really did. So he was taking strategic steps in the midst of this to try to humanize himself and say things that would really play to what Tamerlan liked. And he tried to talk to him about phones, about girls, anything that humanized him. We spoke to a criminology professor, and he said that might have saved Danny's life, the fact they looked at him as a human. So that was a very important part of all this.

SAMBOLIN: You've got to wonder, had he not escaped, would they have spared his life? That's the big question. Pamela Brown reporting live for us. Thank you.

BERMAN: Thirty-four minutes after the hour right now. A Starbucks customer who allegedly left two bottles of poisoned orange juice on a store shelf is behind bars on attempted murder charges this morning. The unidentified hero told employees that the suspect quickly left the store and got into her car. The customer, the hero, also had the presence of mind to write down the car's license plate number, helping police make a quick arrest. The suspect is charged with attempted murder because the juice contained a lethal dose of rubbing alcohol. So far, there's no apparent motive.


SGT. JASON DWYER, SAN JOSE POLICE DEPARTMENT: We're still very much in investigative mode with this case. Just because she is off the streets doesn't mean that we're still not trying to double-check and make sure there are no threats to the public.


BERMAN: Starbucks stores were notified of the incident and told to check all their juice bottles. No other tainted products, we should tell you, have been found.

SAMBOLIN: That's scary. Thirty-five minutes past the hour.

George Zimmerman will not seek a "stand your ground" defense at his murder trial next month. Instead, his lawyers plan to claim he shot and killed Trayvon Martin in self-defense. Zimmerman has reportedly gained more than 100 pounds since he was arrested. He is facing second degree murder charges.

BERMAN: The side-by-side photos are really startling.

Sheriff deputies in Mesa, Arizona, had their hands full Tuesday night tracking down a black bear.

SAMBOLIN: Come over to the TV.

BERMAN: Look at this. Seems the bear had been wandering too close to a nearby neighborhood and elementary school. You do not want the bear near an elementary school. The Maricopa sheriff's department was able to corner the bear, they subdued the bear and captured him with a tranquilizer gun.



SAMBOLIN: And new this morning, an unprecedented May snowstorm. It's targeting the Rockies and the northern plains. Jennifer Delgado is monitoring this historic weather event from the severe weather center in Atlanta. Jim Spellman is live in Boulder, Colorado. Jim, we are going to begin with you. I was looking at the newspaper. I actually pulled it to make sure it said May 1st.

JIM SPELLMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Just lost you there, Zoraida. I'm going to go ahead and tell you about the snow.

SAMBOLIN: We've got you.

SPELLMAN: I am declaring this the best snowfall of the season so far. It's just shifting from freezing rain to snow right now. I don't think we're going to get a lot of sticking on the streets for a while because it's been so warm. Yesterday 66. The day before, 78. In Denver, only in the 30s today. All the way from Cheyenne, Wyoming, to the Denver area, nine, 10 inches to three, four inches.

The plows will be out de-icing at the airport and all of that. Really glad for the moisture, even though it may not be as pleasant to switch from flip-flops to boots as we like. We do need the moisture both for the draught, and to help with the wildfires. Good news here if we can just get through this. But, I ccan tell you everybody here has spring fever. We're ready for this to be gone and spring to be here. I can't hear you guys, so I'll send it back to you, Zoraida.

SAMBOLIN: Thank you.

BERMAN: He's obsessed with his flip-flops. Plus he can't hear us. So we can say whatever we want about him right now. This is awesome. Thanks to Jim.

Snow storms in May in this region are extremely rare. Why? Because it's May. Conditions have to be just right for significant accumulation. Jennifer Delgado in the CNN weather center, explain why these conditions are so right.

JENNIFER DELGADO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: You're absolutely right. We're going to get a surge of cold air returning once again. Jim is going to see more of the snow working in, especially as we go later into the afternoon, into the evening hours. Right now it's starting to come down for areas like Denver.

Jim mentioned earlier this hour he started to see rain changing to snow for Cheyenne as well as into Casper, you're looking at the snow, and it's spreading into parts of Nebraska, and it's going to be moving up towards the northeast.

Where you're seeing rain, a lot of this is going to be changing over to snow. That includes Minneapolis, Sioux Falls. As we go through Thursday, some of these locations, we're talking a foot of snowfall. For areas right around Colorado as well as into Wyoming, for the front range on those east slopes, we're talking a foot of snowfall. For Denver, we're expecting four to seven.

And as Jim mentioned, temperatures have been rather warm. A lot of this is going to be melting. Some of this will be piling up. For areas like Minneapolis, six to nine inches of snow. We could even see more of that snow arriving on Friday on the back side of that low.

As we track this for you, Thursday, 6:00 a.m., the snow starts to come to an end for parts of Colorado. Then it continues for areas up in the northern plains. It's not just snow. We're talking about a low right along the Gulf coast looking very interesting. We're going to be watching that. That is going to be creating showers and thunderstorms. Very heavy rainfall, some flooding lows in addition to the lightning.

Severe storms in the forecast for parts of Texas and Oklahoma. That frontal system is going to be bringing in much cooler temperatures. We're talking temps running 25 degrees below average. You can see how the temperatures are going to be dipping. Look at Dallas, 85 for today, 63 for Friday. For New York City, we're going to have some of the best weather as we go through the next couple of days. Sunshine. You're going to get spoiled.

John, it's nice to see you in a suit and tie next to Zoraida. You've been gone for too long.

SAMBOLIN: I agree. Great to have him back.

BERMAN: We're ready for the anchor prom (ph), purple on purple.

DELGADO: It's purple day.

SAMBOLIN: The old Berman's back. Thank you Jennifer.

BERMAN: Thanks Jennifer.

SAMBOLIN: Up next, an unsealed affidavit shedding light on the Mississippi ricin investigation. We're finding out more about that suspect. Do we know his motive? You're watching EARLY START.


BERMAN: Welcome back to EARLY START. There are some new developments to tell you about this morning in the ricin investigation in Mississippi. An FBI affidavit unsealed yesterday shows why officials arrested James Everett Dutschke. He's the man accused of sending letters tainted with the toxic substance to President Obama and two other people. But the affidavit does not provide a motive. Here's Alina Machado.


ALINA MACHADO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We now know what led federal prosecutors to charge James Everett Dutschke in the ricin investigation. In an eight-page affidavit, FBI agents say their surveillance team saw Dutschke remove items from the former martial arts studio he owned in Tupelo and dump them in a trash bin.

One of those items, a dust mask, tested positive for ricin. Ricin was also found inside the martial arts studio in sink drains and on the floor. The investigators say Dutschke ordered 100 castor bean seeds late last month through Ebay. Castor bean is used in the production of ricin, which can be deadly and has no known antidote. Dutschke denied to investigators he purchased the beans.

The FBI found publications on how to safely handle ricin and how to detect it on his computer. Also, agents say they spoke with a witness who told them that Dutschke said he knows how to make a poison that could be sent to elected officials, and, quote, "whoever opened these envelopes containing the poison would die." Dutschke denied any involvement in this Youtube video made prior to his arrest.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I met with the FBI. I consented to a search saying, signed a piece of paper saying go ahead and search the house. I don't have anything at all to do with this.


MACHADO: His lawyers have not yet commented on the information in the affidavit. The FBI says Dutschke filed a civil lawsuit against the same person the FBI identified as its witness, but it was dismissed by a Mississippi judge. That judge, Sadie Holland, received one of the ricin-laced letters. We spoke with Judge Holland's son, who beat Dutschke in a race for a seat in the Mississippi State House a year earlier.

STEVE HOLLAND, JUDGE SAIDE HOLLAND'S SON: I've about decided that I might have been the target, not my mother, but I'm a momma's baby of extraordinary proportions. Maybe he just said, what the heck, if I get his mama, I've got him.

MACHADO: The affidavit also mentions a series of texts sent from two cell phones registered to Dutschke's wife saying, saying get the fire going, and we're coming over to burn some things, later identified as my paperwork and personal things. the FBI has not said whether any more arrests are likely in the case.

Alina Machado, CNN, Oxford, Mississippi.


SAMBOLIN: It is 45 minutes past the hour. Jason Collins' former fiancee offering words of support for the NBA player's decision to reveal he is gay. Carolyn Moos, herself a former player in the WNBA, had an eight-year relationship with Collins. They even had plans to be married. Last night on "PIERS MORGAN LIVE," she said they had spoken a number of times over the past couple of days, and it is all a bit overwhelming.


CAROLYN MOOS, EX-FIANCE OF JASON COLLINS: I did invest eight years with a shared dream and vision with him, and I valued that. I had to rewrite the script. I still am rewriting it. It's been very challenging.


SAMBOLIN: Moos then went on to say she hopes Collins can be more comfortable with himself.

BERMAN: And in fact he says he is. He says he's never been happier in his life.

SAMBOLIN: It's been nice to watch him, you know, like is this really psychologically really work in his favor. The hopes that he can help others as well, right?

BERMAN: I think he already is helping others.

Forty-six minutes after the hour. Still ahead, new details about new Michael Jackson's death. The latest from Los Angeles on the wrongful death civil trial pitting Jackson's mother against concert giant AEG Live.

Also if you're leaving the house right now, you can watch us anytime on your desktop or mobile phone, just go to


SAMBOLIN: It is 49 minutes past the hour. Let's get you up to date. Danny, the man who was carjacked by the Boston bombing suspects, is now speaking publicly about his night of terror. Listen to him decribe his harrowing encounter with the Tsarnaev brothers just days after the Boston marathon bombing.


"DANNY": He took out his gun, pointed it at me, and he was like, you know I'm serious. Don't be stupid. He asked me a question like do you know the Boston explosion on Monday? I said yes. And then, you know, I did that, and I just killed a policeman in Cambridge.


SAMBOLIN: Investigators have uncovered a new piece of evidence in the case, lifting at least one fingerprint from bomb debris.

BERMAN: The United States is stepping up aid to Syrian rebels in the wake of suspected chemical weapons used by the Assad regime. Officials announcing the U.S. is doubling commitment of non-lethal aid to $250 million. The Obama administration is now saying all options are on the table, including, possibly, providing arms to the rebels.

SAMBOLIN: Day three of the Michael Jackson wrongful death civil trial in Los Angeles. Jackson's mother is suing concert giant AEG Live. She claims that they're liable for billions of dollars because they hired and supervised Dr. Conrad Murray, who provided the powerful anesthetic propofol that killed Jackson. CNN's Casey Wian tells us, the first witness in the case gave graphic testimony about the day the pop star died.


CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: One of the paramedics who responded to Michael Jackson's home the day the superstar died in 2009 took the stand as the first witness in the Jackson family's wrongful death lawsuit against entertainment giant AEG.

Richard Senef (ph) said he first thought that Jackson looked like a hospice patient, like someone at the end of a long disease process. He described seeing the 50-year-old singer who suffered an overdose of the surgical anesthetic propofol, in this room, pale, not breathing, and apparently dead.

At the heart of this case, did AEG Live employ and supervise Dr. Conrad Murray, a physician convicted of involuntary manslaughter, for administering the fatal dose of propofol. The Jackson family contends e-mails show the concert promoter pressured Murray to push Jackson to perform at all costs.

JODY ARMOUR, USC LAW PROFESSOR: The gist of the plaintiff's claim against AEG is that you control Dr. Murray and you used your control over Dr. Murray to pressure him into taking unnecessary and excessive risks with Michael Jackson, leading to Michael Jackson's death.

WIAN: AEG says they never paid Murray nor was there a contractor, and he worked only for Michael Jackson.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: AEG cannot control what happened with Jackson's doctor.

WIAN: An LAPD detective testified he suspected Jackson's death could be related to Murray's financial troubles, and that the doctor would do whatever he had to do to make sure he get paid.

Before testimony began, AEG attorney Marvin Putnam asked Judge Yvette Palisuelos (ph) to bar Jackson's siblings from the tiny courtroom because they may be called as witnesses in the case. The Jackson family attorney Brian Pannish (ph) argued that 82-year-old matriarch Katherine Jackson, a plaintiff in the case, needed one of her children by her side. A judge allowed that but only one Jackson sibling at a time.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What do you think about the Judge's ruling?

WIAN: Jackson's siblings would not comment on the decision. Catherine Jackson and Michael's three children are seeking billions of dollars in damages, money they say the singer could have earned had he lived. Casey Wian, CNN, Los Angeles.

BERMAN: Our thanks to Casey for that.

Big sports news. Jettisoned by the New York jets, Tim Tebow already has a job offer, if you can call it that. We'll have the details coming up.


SAMBOLIN: Welcome back. 56 minutes past the hour. Taking a look at the top CNN trends on the web this morning. Apparently the offers are pouring in for Tim Tebow after being cut by the New York Jets. There's this.

BERMAN: The Omaha beef of the champions professional indoor football league have offered Tebow a contract. Sounds great, right? It's not exactly NFL money. If he takes the deal, Tebow would make how much?

SAMBOLIN: $75 a game as the beefs' new quarterback. And guess what? He also has a chance to pose for pictures with the team's mascot, Sir Loin the Cow.

BERMAN: That's an awesome benefits package.

SAMBOLIN: That's awful.

BERMAN: To check the other top CNN trends, head to

From cheating in the NBA, Tim Tebow's tough week, a porn ban in India? Time for late night laughs.


DAVID LETTERMAN, COMEDIAN: A guy -- listen to this -- playing a toss the ball game at a carnival lost his entire life savings. It has been one tough week for Tim Tebow.

CONAN O'BRIEN, COMEDIAN: NBA player Jason Collins' former fiancee. She did say he had no clue he was gay. She went on to say he didn't cheat on her. So she also had no clue he was in the NBA. JAY LENO, COMEDIAN: Well, President Obama held a press conference earlier today, and he said he still wants to close the Guantanamo Bay prison facility, but he doesn't know how to do it. Do what he always does, declare it a small business and tax it out of existence. It will be gone in a minute. One month, it will be out of there.

JIMMY FALLON, COMEDIAN: Officials in India want to ban porn because they say it gives men unrealistic expectations. At which point they went back to watching a movie where 300 people start dancing because a man met a woman at a coffee shop.


SAMBOLIN: EARLY START continues right now.

BERMAN: It could be a key clue in the Boston terror attack. What investigators are saying about a fingerprint found on a bomb fragment.

SAMBOLIN: And politics turns into punches. This is not D.C. Take a look at this all-out brawl that left some lawmakers a bit bloodied and bruised.

BERMAN: The calendar says May 1st, but the forecast says something else -- trouble.

SAMBOLIN: Let it snow let it snow let it snow

BERMAN: It's May. That's not a May song. Welcome to EARLY START. I'm John Berman.

SAMBOLIN: And I'm Zoraida Sambolin, nice to have you with us. It's Wednesday, May 1st, as you said. 6:00 a.m. in the east.

We begin with one man's terrifying encounter with the Boston marathon bombing suspects. The Tsarnaev brothers carjacking victim, he is now known as Danny, and he is coming forward describing his sheer terror, his daring escape, and the 911 call he made that helped take the brothers down. This as investigators uncover potential key evidence here, spotting at least one fingerprint on bomb debris.

In another intriguing development for the first time we're hearing Tamerlan Tsarnaev speak on a video that just surfaced. Pamela Brown is in Boston where she met with the carjacking victim. Good morning to you, Pamela.

BROWN: Well, good morning to you, Zoraida. That's right.