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Boston Marathon Terror Investigation; California Wildfire; North Korea Nuclear Threat

Aired May 3, 2013 - 05:00   ET


ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: A chilling revelation from one of the Boston bombing suspects, the original plan was a suicide strike on a national holiday.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Happening right now. Live pictures here. The race to save homes and lives from a wildfire.

You can see it burning right now. My goodness that is a live look. Those flames reaching all the way to the Pacific Coast Highway in California this morning. We will bring you a live report.

SAMBOLIN: And new this morning, smarter than the average bear. How did this cub climb into a truck, and guess what? He locked the doors behind him. Smart bear.

I'm staying in here. I kind of like it in here.

Good morning. Welcome to EARLY START. I'm Zoraida Sambolin.

BERMAN: And I'm John Berman. It is Friday, May 3rd. It's 5:00 a.m. in the East.

We have some major developments this morning in the Boston marathon terror investigation. So, let's get right to it.

A law enforcement source tells CNN that the bombs allegedly detonated by the Tsarnaev brothers were built in Tamerlan Tsarnaev's apartment. Also, the Boston marathon was not their original target. Plus this, Tamerlan Tsarnaev's body finally claimed by his family and we could find out as early this morning the actual cause of his death. His parents are demanding an independent autopsy.

There is a lot ground to cover this morning.

Our Jason Carroll is in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Good morning, Jason.


And we are out by the Tsarnaev apartment building, and as you say, this, in some ways, is where it all began. This is where the bombs were made. But this -- the Boston marathon was not the initial target, and, in fact, a law enforcement source tells us that the initial target was not the Boston marathon, but it was going to be on the Fourth of July.


CARROLL (voice-over): A U.S. law enforcement official tells CNN the Tsarnaev brothers initially considered a suicide attack during the Fourth of July celebration, when Boston's Charles River esplanade is typically packed with spectators for an open-air concert and fireworks. All of this according to Dzhokhar Tsarnaev who told investigators they moved up the date to the Boston marathon because the bombs were ready sooner than expected. Bombs Tsarnaev says, built in the very home his older brother Tamerlan shared with his wife and child.

Late Thursday, a van believed to be carrying Tamerlan's body, transferred it to a funeral home outside Boston. All this as investigators continue to focus on his widow, Katherine Russell. Yet, it is unclear what, if anything, Russell may have known or suspected.

Russell's attorney says she continues to cooperate with authorities.

And authorities also have more questions for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's three friends from the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth, now facing charges of obstructing justice, and lying to authorities. One of whom led authorities to Tsarnaev's laptop, which could provide more clues.

And as the investigation continues, so, too, does the recovery for victims, like Marc Fucarile, who lost a leg in the bombing. The other leg shattered. His arms riddled with shrapnel.

MARC FUCARILE, BOMBING VICTIM: I was scared because it was dark. I thought I was dead. I thought it was over.

CARROLL: Fucarile says he draws strength every day from a photo of his 5-year-old son.

FUCARILE: They stuck me with another needle or they cut me or they put something or did something, whatever change it'd been (ph), I look at that picture. That's what got me through it.


CARROLL: So again, John, the original plan was to have the bombs explode on the Fourth of July. The Boston marathon plan ended up happening according investigators just a few days before the marathon actually took place. This information coming to them during the initial questioning of Tsarnaev -- John.

BERMAN: Jason, I've actually spent many Fourth of Julys celebrating in Boston on the esplanade. People are really packed in.

As bad as the attack it was, it could have been even deadlier if it was on the Fourth.

Meanwhile you reported the body of Tamerlan Tsarnaev was finally claimed. I imagine this is going to be very emotional for people in Boston. Any sense of where he'll be buried? CARROLL: Well, you were up here, John, so you know what the feeling is of many of the people here in Boston. They do not want to see the older brother Tsarnaev buried here in Boston. The Tsarnaev family weighing in on the issue basically saying they want another autopsy, an independent autopsy of the body performed first before a decision is made in terms of where the body is buried.

But according to what we're hearing from the family, they want the body buried right here in Boston -- John.

BERMAN: All right. Jason Carroll for us this morning in Cambridge, Massachusetts, thanks so much, Jason.

SAMBOLIN: And happening right now, California on fire. I know it sounds dramatic. But take a look at these pictures. A fast-moving wildfire forcing evacuations, threatening some 2,000 homes in southern California. It grew to 8,000 acres overnight and is one of several burning across the state.

CNN's Stephanie Elam is live in Camarillo, California.

Stephanie, what are the conditions there right now?

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Zoraida, I have to tell you, we are standing literally to my left, the waves are crashing over the Pacific Ocean and to my right is the Pacific Coast Highway, that beautiful, scenic highway that runs along the ocean here.

I'm going to step out of the shot because I want you to see these images behind us of how the fire is cascading down the mountain range and it's actually jumped over the PCH and is now heading to the ocean. Obviously, firefighters like this. Neighborhoods around here, though, are nervous.

And as far as firefighters, they're concerned that all of these fires may tax their resources.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just came in like that.

ELAM (voice-over): High winds, soaring temperatures and dry brush are giving California fire season an early start.

Wildfires across the state are churning toward home, keeping hundreds of firefighters busy, and residents on edge.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Stay until I know that my house is still here.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: As long as our family and our dogs are safe, we can get through this.

ELAM: Fire sprouted up in four southern California counties over the last couple of days. Two of the fires were contained quickly.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We staffed up several weeks ago. We brought on air tankers, hired seasonal firefighters. What it bodes for us is what the rest of the year is going to be like and are we going to wear people out. That's the bigger question.

ELAM: But as firefighters were getting a handle on the summit fire burning about 25 miles west of Palm Springs, a blaze in Ventura County began to spread quickly, on 25-mile-per-hour winds. Erupting between the 101 Freeway and the Pacific Ocean, north of Malibu, the so-called Springs Fire charred about 6,500 acres in just five hours.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Now, we're getting those hot, long days, winds, and the low humidities, and this stuff is just ripe and ready to burn.

ELAM: It's the number of active fires, including three burning in northern California, that's making this outbreak unusual.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We don't see this type of activity usually until August, September.

ELAM: In the wake of the summit fire, one man is dealing with immeasurable loss. His mother, who bought this home in 1973, passed away just one month ago.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank God I wasn't in the house when it happened. Thank God I was able to get my dog out, and my mom was watching over me. And so, are the neighbors that are around.


ELAM: Now, as far as that one man goes, he just seemed to be the unlucky one because his house is the only one to burn in the summit fire. It just came at his house like a freight train because of the winds.

Overall, though, taking a look at that fire, it's 55 percent contained. The fire where I am, they only think it's about 10 percent contained at this time. We'll be out here all night -- Zoraida and John.

SAMBOLIN: That is not good news for those firefighters. CNN's Stephanie Elam, thank you. Appreciate it.

BERMAN: The question is now, what does today hold? What is the forecast today?

Dry, gusting winds are fueling these wildfires. Will they continue?

Let's bring in Jennifer Delgado live at the CNN weather center.

Jennifer, what's in store for the firefighters today?


We are going to experience another day of potentially worse fire conditions. We are going to expect gusts up to about 45 miles per hour. I want to point out for you for Camarillo, temperature right now: 55 degrees. Dew point, 43. We talk about the moisture in the air. Once again, we are going to be looking at single digit relative humidity values. Of course, that's critical especially when you're talking about these winds gusting up to 50 miles per hour, coming down the mountains and getting stronger.

Now, the whole area in southern California in pink, they are under that fire warning as we go through about 5:00 tonight. But we really think the winds are going to start to subside as we go in to the afternoon.

As we time this for you, Friday in the morning, they're going to be a bit stronger. Look at those gusts at 30 to 25 as we get later into the day, again, they will continue to weaken. You can see for yourself for areas like Santa Clarita, they go from 29 to 19 by 1:00 and then certainly as that fire warning ends at 5:00 we're starting to see some improvement for later tonight, as well as into the weekend.

But today, we're expecting a high of 90 degrees. Yesterday, they had a record of 98.

SAMBOLIN: Oh, my goodness.

DELGADO: So it was hot in California.

SAMBOLIN: Yes, that's really tough for everybody there. Thank you so much, Jennifer. We'll continue checking in with you this morning.

BERMAN: All right. New this morning emergency crews in Louisiana working frantically to keep an oil storage tank from blowing up. A second tank nearby has already exploded into flames.

This is happening in denim springs about 13 miles east of Baton Rouge. About 30 homes in the area have been evacuated as a precaution right now. No word yet on what caused this explosion.

SAMBOLIN: And new developments in the search for the killer of 8- year-old Leila Fowler. Investigators in Calaveras County, California, say a neighbor who reported seeing a man run from Fowler's home around the time that she was killed has recanted her story. The little girl was found murdered in her home Saturday and investigators have reportedly collected fingerprints and other DNA evidence from the crime scene.

BERMAN: We're learning more this morning about a man who opened fire near a ticket counter at Houston's Bush Intercontinental Airport. He's been identified as 29-year-old Carnell Moore. Officials say Moore fired shots into the air yesterday sending everyone in terminal B ducking for cover before a federal agent confronted him. Then, the agent reportedly shot Moore at the same time the suspect was shooting himself in the head.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There was two shots about six or seven second delay, and two more, and then the final one. Bunch of screaming, people running. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: TSA agents told us that we should get down. And at that point, we all just made our way to the back and the elevator down.


BERMAN: Moore left behind a suicide note indicating he was struggling with quote, a "monster inside."

SAMBOLIN: A disturbing report from the Pentagon to Congress. It says North Korea will eventually have a long-range ballistic missile that can deliver nuclear weapons to the United States. The annual report to lawmakers cites the North's advances in ballistic missile systems as well as development in nuclear technology. It calls North Korea one of the biggest threats to the United States because of its willingness to undertake provocative behavior.

BERMAN: The big April jobs report will be released in just over three hours and the numbers could move markets. They often do. Economists surveyed by CNN Money predict that 140,000 jobs were added in April. They're forecasting the unemployment rate will hold steady at 7.6 percent.

We will have those numbers for you along with analysis of what they mean for the economy as it breaks at 8:30 a.m. Eastern Time. So stay with us for that.

SAMBOLIN: Yes. Eleven minutes past the hour.

So, he walked away with a big repair bill but an incredible story to tell. Take a look at what Evan Nielsen found sitting behind the wheel of his pickup in his own driveway. This is California. It is a bear!

Instead of running for his life, you know what Evan did? He broke out his cell phone to record the whole thing. So what he says is that he felt safe, since the bear somehow got locked inside with the windows rolled up.


EVAN NIELSEN, CAR OWNER: At one point he had both hands up on the steering wheel, was honking the horn with his snout, and it was pretty amusing for awhile.


BERMAN: The bear was honking the horn with his snout.

SAMBOLIN: You know what? If he locked it, he could have unlocked it, Evan. So, Evan eventually called police, an officer opened the truck door and the bear raced right back into the woods.

BERMAN: Did you see the steering wheel? I don't think it was Evan who did that. I think it was the bear.

SAMBOLLIN: I think it was. I think he was a little scared in there. Don't you think? Like let me out!

BERMAN: That's crazy.

All right. Twelve minutes after the hour.

Coming up, she's a liar. Strong words from the prosecution as Jodi arias breaks down in court. Question is, will the jury convict? A look at the case as it is wrapping up, coming up next.

SAMBOLIN: Plus, Bon Jovi, Christie, a couple of Jersey boys team up to help people do the right thing. This is cool.


SAMBOLIN: Welcome back to EARLY START. It is 15 minutes past the hour.

And after four long months, jurors in the Jodi Arias murder trial are expected to get the case sometime today.

First, the defense will deliver its closing arguments. One last chance to convince the jury that Arias killed her boyfriend Travis Alexander in self-defense.

Yesterday, prosecutors had their final say and as CNN's Ted Rowlands tells us, they pulled no punches.


JUAN MARTINEZ, PROSECUTOR: Absolutely, without a shadow of a doubt, she's a liar.

TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Jodi Arias broke down, listening to prosecutor Juan Martinez, methodically lay out his closing argument that she is a cold-blooded killer who premeditated the murder of her ex-boyfriend, Travis Alexander.

MARTINEZ: She knew, she absolutely knew, and had already planned it. She knew she was going to kill him.

ROWLANDS: Martinez told jurors that in 2008, Arias drove from northern California to Alexander's home in Mesa, Arizona, armed with a knife and a stolen gun she took from her grandparents. She used cans of gasoline to refuel her car, and turned off her cell phone to avoid leaving a trail.

MARTINEZ: She knew that she was coming to kill him.

ROWLANDS: Family members openly wept as Martinez, using graphic photos from the crime scene, detailed how he says Arias brutally stabbed Alexander almost 30 times, and shot him in the head.

At one point, Martinez noticed that Arias was also crying.

MARTINEZ: She may cry now. But the jury instructions have told you that sympathy is not to be considered in this particular case. ROWLANDS: Arias, who originally told police she wasn't there, testified that she killed Alexander in self-defense. Martinez told jurors not to believe a word she said on the witness stand.

MARTINEZ: She's acting the part. And she's lying. She's making it all up. She has lied to everybody.

ROWLANDS (voice-over): The defense will get its chance for closing when court resumes in the morning.

Then, after 17 weeks of testimony, including 18 days of Jodi Arias on the stand, the jury in this televised murder trial, will finally start to deliberate her fate.

Ted Rowlands, CNN, Phoenix.


BERMAN: Seventeen minutes after the hour right now.

Let's bring you up to date, because there's some big developments in the Boston marathon terror investigation. A law enforcement source telling CNN that the Fourth of July was the original target date for the attack. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev telling investigators the date was moved up to April because the bombs were ready faster than they expected they would be.

We've also learned this morning the bombs were built by the Tsarnaev brothers, allegedly, in Tamerlan Tsarnaev's apartment.

SAMBOLIN: And live pictures of a wildfire. It is burning out of control, this is southern California. The Springs Fire in Ventura County has destroyed 8,000 acres and damaged more than a dozen homes so far. Thousands of other homes are threatened now and neighbors and a Cal State University campus were evacuated overnight. The flames reached the Pacific Coast Highway.

BERMAN: A California man accused of raping women he met through the dating Web site will soon find out if there's enough evidence for him to stand trial. Once the preliminary hearing for Sean Patrick Banks wraps up today, a judge will make that decision. One of banks' accusers testified yesterday that he attacked her within 10 minutes of visiting her home in November. A second woman has also come forward, claiming she was raped by banks on a third date in 2009.

And a bill signing with a superstar, rocker Bon Jovi joining New Jersey Governor Chris Christie as he signed the Overdose Protection Act into law. That measure encourages people to report drug overdoses without any fear of being arrested. Bon Jovi's daughter reportedly overdosed on heroin in her New York dorm last year. Misdemeanor charges were later dropped because of a similar protection law in New York.

BERMAN: Coming together for a good cause.


BERMAN: Nineteen minutes after the hour.

Coming up, a bad monthly jobs report for March, and April numbers are due out this morning. So, the question is, are companies hiring?

We're going to have a preview of what to expect, coming up next.


BERMAN: We are minding your business this morning.

It has not been easy to do this week because there's been a wild ride on Wall Street. Record highs, triple digit gains on the Dow, then triple digit losses, you know, as investors try to make sense of all the economic reports and earnings that'd be coming out.

SAMBOLIN: But now, the definitive report, the jobs report, due out in just a few hours from now.

And, Christine, what are we looking for?

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: You know, this report takes on added importance because last month's reading was, quite frankly, awful.

So, here's what we expect: we expect 140,000 jobs created. That's good enough to bring down unemployment. You need at least 150,000 for that. The jobless rate expected to stay at 7.6 percent.

In March, we got 88,000 jobs. That was a shocker. A shocker, because then, until then, the economy had been averaging gains of about 160,000 a month.

So there have been some strong areas, professional and business services. They added half a million jobs over the year. Health care, leisure, retail showing all showing gains of more than 200,000. Again, this is hiring over the past year.

And construction makes this list, too -- thanks to an improving housing market. But even if today's report doesn't show a lot of hiring, the good news is that employers really aren't cutting too many jobs either.

We saw that yesterday, jobless claims at a five-year low. People keep saying, wait, yesterday's number on jobs was good, today you're concerned about a weak number.

Look, companies aren't firing, they're not laying off as much, but they're just not really hiring a lot either. And so, we're in this crazy state I think in the jobs market.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Thank you.

BERMAN: Eight-thirty a.m. Eastern Time?

ROMANS: Be there or be square. Be there and be square.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Twenty-four minutes past the hour. Coming up, no relief in sight for crews that are battling a massive wildfire. This is southern California. We're live on the fire line, coming up next.


BERMAN: A raging inferno racing for the coast. Look at that, the blistering flames have now jumped the Pacific Coast Highway forcing thousands of people out of their homes.

SAMBOLIN: And weapons of mass destruction built in a seedy third floor apartment. New details on the Boston bombing plot, including the suspect's original high profile target.

BERMAN: Reese Witherspoon, unscripted. You have to see this. Finally, video of her infamous run-in with a traffic cop. The actress in a performance she probably wishes you did not see.

SAMBOLIN: It is a crazy video.

BERMAN: That's the understatement of the century right there.

Welcome back to EARLY START, everyone. I'm John Berman.

SAMBOLIN: And I'm Zoraida Sambolin. It is Friday, May 3rd. It is 29 minutes past the hour.

We're following major developments this morning in the Boston marathon terror investigation. A law enforcement source tells CNN the bombs allegedly detonated by the Tsarnaev brothers were built in Tamerlan Tsarnaev's apartment. And the Boston marathon was not their original target, either.

The brothers were planning a Fourth of July attack. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev telling investigators the date was moved up because the bombs were ready faster than they expected.

Also, Tamerlan Tsarnaev's body finally claimed by his family, and we could find out as early as this morning the actual cause of his death. His parents are demanding now an independent autopsy.

And then there's Tamerlan Tsarnaev's widow Katherine Russell, staying with her parents in Rhode Island. Did she know about the attacks ahead of time? A source tells CNN, investigators still don't have an answer to that specific question.

BERMAN: Really a lot going on with this investigation.

SAMBOLIN: She was living in that apartment with him. So you wonder what was going on there and how much did she know? How much did she not know? And a child also in that environment.

BERMAN: Many questions, and there's been a lot going on. A lot going in California right now, as well. Massive flames are forcing thousands of people to evacuate.

A wildfire in southern California has already burned some 8,000 acres, damaged some homes already.