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Jury Deliberating in Arias Trial; Teen Accused of Lying to Boston Police on Trial Today; No Plot for Alleged Plotter; Soccer Ref Dies After Player Punch
Aired May 6, 2013 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: If Ms. Arias is convicted of first- degree, premeditated murder in the death of her former boyfriend, she could get the death penalty.
The jurors only had under an hour to deliberate on Friday. They've been listening to testimony and arguments since January. They even got to ask their own questions. That's pretty rare in murder cases.
Here's CNN's Ted Rowlands.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why is it you have no memory of stabbing Travis?
TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Some of the toughest questions for Jodi Arias and the other witnesses in the murder trial were from the jury.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why should we believe you now?
ROWLANDS: Jurors, who can ask anything they like, had more than 200 questions for Arias, putting them in this wire basket for the judge to read.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What is your understanding of the word "skank?"
ROWLANDS: James Carano says asking questions helps him and his fellow jurors decide the fate of David Anthony who was sentenced to Arizona's death row last year for killing his wife and two stepchildren.
JAMES CARANO, ARIZONA JUROR: Our questions were basic, down-to-earth, heartfelt questions. We wanted to be able to separate fact from faction.
RICARDO ENRIQUEZ, SPECTOR JUROR: I think it would have been useful to be able to ask questions.
ROWLANDS: Ricardo Enriquez has served as a juror in California five times, including the first murder trial of music producer Phil Spector that ended in a hung jury.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At this time, I will find that the jury is unable to arrive at a verdict and declare a mistrial.
ROWLANDS: Enriquez thinks asking questions could have helped.
ENRIQUEZ: The defense experts were asking us to kind of suspend common sense and physics and it would have been helpful for these to come back and question him on some of the details that they were trying to explain to us.
ROWLANDS: Besides Arizona, Colorado and Indiana are the only other states where jurors have the rights to ask questions. Most states leave it up to judges.
Five states, Minnesota, Georgia, Mississippi, Nebraska and Texas actually have laws prohibiting jurors from asking questions.
Jury consultant Jo-Ellan Dimitrius travels between her home outside Phoenix and courtrooms across the country. She's been helping clients pick juries for nearly 30 years, including the one that acquitted O.J. Simpson on murder charges.
She thinks Arizona's example should be followed by every state.
JO-ELLAN DIMITRIUS, JURY CONSULTANT: I do think that the jurors are much more engaged in the process because they know that they're actually part of the process.
They're not just kind of sitting there like bumps on the log waiting until the judge says, OK, now I've read you the jury instructions; you can go back and deliberate.
BANFIELD: Ted Rowlands joins us live outside the courthouse now in Phoenix.
And, Ted, the deliberating jury as I see it is now eight men and four women, and, obviously, throughout this, they have asked hundreds of questions.
What's interesting, though, is they're not taking a whole lot of notes. Is that a fair assessment, that they're not perhaps writing a lot? Maybe listening a lot?
ROWLANDS: Well it's been four months, you have to keep in mind, Ashleigh. And I think during periods of that they did take notes. A lot of the testimony was redundant.
There are a few of those that are jurors on the panel now that did take a lot of notes. It will be interesting to see if one of them becomes the foreperson and if they make this jury kind of re-litigate, which some fore-people do.
You know, when you have a trial this long, it is always shocking sometimes to see how quickly the jury comes back. O.J. ...
Others, though, go days and days, sort of going over all the evidence. This jury, I would say, was very connected, especially down the stretch in this trial, everybody very focused and, yes, not all of them took notes, but all of them absolutely paying attention.
BANFIELD: Yeah, you try to take notes for four months when some of it, like you said, is so repetitive. That's a really big task that we have asked our fellow citizens to do there in Phoenix.
Stand by for a second if you would, Ted. I want to get Jean Casarez in on this on the very complex nature of what this case is asking these jurors to do.
It's not just as simple as, is she guilty or is she not guilty? There's a whole range of things that they need to assess.
Can you explain to the viewers in -- I know you're a lawyer -- but in as simple terms as you can what it is their job is right now?
JEAN CASAREZ, "IN SESSION" CORRESPONDENT: Sure, let's show everybody because they have first-degree murder. That is the primary charge and then there's lesser includeds of second-degree and manslaughter.
So, Ashleigh, let's show everybody. First-degree murder, and that would be premeditated murder, it requires the proof of the following elements -- first of all, that Jodi Arias caused the death of Travis Alexander; secondly, that she intended or she knew that she would cause the death of Travis Alexander; and three, that she acted with premeditation, which is that deliberation, that moment of thought and planning.
Now, first-degree murder, the prosecution always also has the felony murder theory before the jury here. So they can determine first degree murder has been proven by the following -- that Jodi Arias committed or attempted to commit a dangerous crime and that would be burglary, that once she entered into the home and she was invited into the home, but once she started stabbing him, she wasn't invited in that home anymore.
BANFIELD: Wait, Jean. Wait. Don't go -- so hold on because that confuses me. It sounded to me as though they spent quite a bit of time in that home and she was very much a welcome visitor, having relations with him for hours and hours and hours on end.
What you're saying is that it becomes a burglary the minute a crime starts being committed, like a stabbing.
CASAREZ: Yes, correct. The minute that the stabbing or the shot, according to the prosecution's theory began, she wasn't invited in that home anymore.
So she was breaking and entering with the intent to commit that felony, and so the underlying felony for felony murder is burglary and that also, in the course of all of that, a killing took place. So those are the two elements of felony murder.
Now second-degree murder, Ashleigh, requires proof of the following -- intentionally that Jodi Arias caused the death of Travis Alexander, that it was caused by conduct that she knew would cause death or serious bodily injury, and/or she recklessly engaged in this conduct.
The difference with second-degree, Ashleigh? No premeditation is needed, but everything else is the same.
BANFIELD: All right, I want to bring Paul Callan into this conversation, as well, one of our great legal minds, too. Nothing like a big group of lawyers to try to figure out how hard this job is because it's -- you know, look, it is a death-penalty case. It does not get more serious in American jurisprudence.
But they also have these lesser-includeds. Jean was going down the list of some of those issues of first- and second-, Paul, but what else could they do if they aren't so convinced of what the prosecution's been saying?
PAUL CALLAN, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Oh, they have a lot of places to go. They can get to the issue of second-degree murder. They can look at manslaughter in the case.
And you know, Ashleigh, what it suggests to me -- and this is something that I'm looking at, having tried a lot of murder cases myself as a prosecutor and a defense attorney -- you have a jury here of eight men and four women, and I always look at, you know, is there the possibility of an alliance that will hold out against the majority?
Now let's say the men say hey, this is clearly first-degree murder and the women say, no, manslaughter or second-degree murder?
BANFIELD: Let's talk about the manslaughter. Why would the women all of a sudden suggest, oh, hey, this is manslaughter? This isn't first- -- what on earth would the prosecution have said to suggest this is a manslaughter?
CALLAN: Let's -- I'm not going to put it on them. I'm just going to say, as a group, maybe it's the men who hold out for manslaughter.
Whatever the demographic is, you have the possibility of an alliance, and that could suggest a hung jury, not fighting about whether she is guilty or innocent, but what charge she's actually guilty of, so ...
BANFIELD: No. The reason I'm asking you that is because this heat of passion business or sudden quarrel. This is her defense. The whole thing is, he came at me , I defended myself and it was crazy.
Is this sort of a compromise? If some of the jurors believe her and her defense attorneys, might they compromise and get to this manslaughter?
CALLAN: Oh, absolutely. Jury verdicts are always about compromise. And I don't think they would get to manslaughter. I think probably second-degree murder is the more likely place that a compromise would put them if they don't go with first-degree, but, you know, it's always very unpredictable. BANFIELD: Oh, well, if you covered O.J. or Casey Anthony, you are absolutely right. It's entirely unpredictable what a jury is going to do.
Even when you think you can read their faces in a courtroom, trust me.
Sunny Hostin, also standing by, happens to have some experience as a prosecutor. So I want you to, as a journalist, put on your prosecutor hat at the back of your head and tell me what you think is the most compelling aspect of what the prosecutors did over these four months.
SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: You know, I think, all in all, what's so compelling about this case is that she lied first off and said, oh, I had no involvement in this/
And then her story evolved to actually some other people came in and did it while I was there and then, finally then, actually I did it but I was an abused woman. I'm suffering from domestic violence.
I think that's really powerful, Ashleigh, to a jury. I think the jury thinks, well, she lied, she lied, she lied to law enforcement authorities. Who's to say she doesn't lie to us?
So, even though she was on the witness stand for so very long, I think that sort of changing stories over and over and over again could be very, very helpful to this prosecution.
Because the bottom line is -- and I've got to tell you I've been struggling with this -- she admitted to doing it. So she admitted to killing him.
The only question, really, in my view is why. And if the jury believes her, then we're talking about a different case, but how do they believe her when she's been found to really be not credible?
BANFIELD: I think you just hit the nail on the head. I think you just hit the nail on the head.
You know, Sunny, when you have a liar and not just a once, twice, but thrice liar, it's really hard for her to explain away all those other coincidences that just don't make sense in this case.
The jury knows that she's very gifted. We've seen it on tape. It's proven. She's admitted she has lied, but on those tapes of those lies, it is so convincing.
So I think you're right. I think they're going to have a tough time feeling like they can trust what these new versions of the story are, but you know what? The five of us are going to have to meet, probably often.
Jean Casarez, Paul Callan, Ted Rowlands, and Sunny Hostin, thank you all.
And starting tomorrow, everyone, I'm going to head down to Phoenix as well, as we wait for the verdict in the Jodi Arias case. Again, I say this because, look, there's a lot of gossip about this case, but this is a death-penalty case. This is critical.
If America is going to do this, we've got to get it right. We better know everything about it.
There. I'm off my soapbox for a moment.
And let me switch to another big story. He may be dead, but Tamerlan Tsarnaev is still a long way from gone.
Straight ahead, the search for a final resting place for the supposed mastermind of the Boston bombings.
BANFIELD: In about three hours, a Massachusetts teenager accused of lying to investigators in the Boston bombings, at least the aftermath of them, well, he's due in a federal court where it could be discussed about a release on bail.
That is if Robel Phillipos is able to post a $100,000 bond that both sides are now proposing in joint court papers, joint motions, the government and his defense, all of this filed just this morning.
They're also proposing that Phillipos be made to wear an ankle bracelet and be confined to, quote, "the residence of a third-party custodian," end quote.
And finally, the feds and Phillipos' lawyer are asking that a probable cause hearing that also was set for today be postponed until a later date this month.
Phillipos is one of the three, former college friends of bomb suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to face charges over what they allegedly did when they found out what Tsarnaev allegedly did.
He could face eight years in prison if he's convicted of the lying to the federal authorities charge he's facing.
As for the older brother of the bombing suspect, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, he was killed in a shootout when police caught up with him and his younger brother, and the cemetery search continues today.
A mortician who accepted Tamerlan's remains last week and an uncle who came up from Maryland have so far been unsuccessful in finding a cemetery that will sell them an actual plot and accept that body.
CNN's Susan Candiotti is on that story. And I'm also joined again by my attorneys, Sunny Hostin in Philadelphia and Paul Callan here in New York.
Susan, first to you, Tamerlan's wife would not claim this body. His parents back in Russia to our knowledge so far don't want that body sent back to Russia or at least aren't asking for that to happen. So now what's the status and what is this poor funeral director up against? SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, he's up against a lot of people who don't want to see that body buried anywhere in the Boston area. And so far he's been unsuccessful in finding some place to take those remains.
The body is prepared for burial. Tamerlan's uncle, Tsarnaev's uncle, took care of that, but there is no cemetery, no burial plot and no resolution to where the remains of the suspected bomber will be buried because it's simply too hot an issue, too -- much a hot button issue for any cemetery apparently to get involved.
In fact, last night, Ashleigh, the city of Cambridge where Tamerlan Tsarnaev used to live with his wife and child, issued this statement, if I may read it in part, quote, "The difficult and stressful efforts of the citizens of the city of Cambridge to return to a peaceful life would be adversely impacted by the turmoil, protests, and widespread media presence at such an internment."
So even that city is saying, we don't want to have anything to do with any of this and even said perhaps it's time for the federal government to get involved. Now what that would mean remains equally unclear. In fact, the funeral director was asked on our "EARLY START" program this morning whether the uncle of Tsarnaev has any options left to him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PETER STEFAN, FUNERAL DIRECTOR: We have thought about some -- preferably a Muslim cemetery, maybe out of the state, but I feel that the same problem exist when the neighbors and the people find out what we're doing. It has to be accepted -- a Muslim cemetery would be much more acceptable for the people there.
Most of the cemeteries we have here, a non-sectarian with a section set aside for Muslims. The only two Muslim cemeteries we have is in Connecticut.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CANDIOTTI: So the search for a cemetery goes on. In the meantime, you know, Ashleigh, it's interesting to always remember and bring up, notorious killers in history. Now in the case of the suspected bomber, we'll never see any resolution of that case but take for example Lee Harvey Oswald, buried in a cemetery in the Dallas area where the assassination took place.
Then you turn to Oklahoma City convicted terrorists Timothy McVeigh, he had his ashes scattered and -- at his request and the whereabouts of those ashes remains unknown. So how they're going to come to some sort of a solution here, there seems to be no response or reply or solution at this time -- Ashleigh.
BANFIELD: Certainly not just yet. It's so early in all of this.
Susan, stand by if you will. Paul Callan, jump in here. Whose -- Susan brings up a great point. It ain't like we haven't had bad guys before and it ain't like they haven't been put to death. They have to go somewhere. So why is this all of a sudden becoming a big news story and such a conundrum?
PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL CONTRIBUTOR: It's really a little surprising. You know, I mean, even in the Old West, they had Boot Hill. You know, where the bad guys got buried in New York. You know, they used to bury them in a potters' field. Right?
BANFIELD: Potters. Yes. Sure.
CALLAN: Off the island and, you know, every place in the world has to deal with this issue. The bad guy, he's dead and he's got to be buried some place or cremated and the ashes scattered. So I know emotions are running high but I'm sure a solution will be worked out short --
BANFIELD: But is there some legal -- I mean, I'm trying to think of a civic or a state or are the feds perhaps going to have to step in here and do something like they did with Osama bin Laden's body?
CALLAN: Well, I think he's in Wister now with -- the last report I saw. And wherever the body is eventually that jurisdiction will have to take custody and they have a place to bury people who don't have the money to be buried. And that's exactly what's going to happen. The county that he's -- the body is in is going to have to take custody of the body and bury it or cremate it.
BANFIELD: Well, and that is a religious issue as well. And don't even begin to flood my Twitter with that issue. I know and I hear you.
Sunny Hostin, I want to switch gears with you, but only slightly. This is still (INAUDIBLE). The wife of Tamerlan Tsarnaev didn't want his body. Presumably everybody seems to think they know why, but there is still an issue with her and she is still under suspicion. In fact, they were back at the apartment that the two of them shared together. Can you give me an update as to where they are with that part of the investigation?
SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: You know, my understanding, Ashleigh, is this is still a very active investigation. They've questioned her for so many hours, for so many days. My understanding is that she's also of course cooperating with investigators. But it is a very active investigation. I think because we've covered this case so closely people fail to remember that it has -- it hasn't even been a month.
I mean, we're talking less than three weeks and so of course it's still an active investigation into one of the most, you know, gruesome crimes I think that we've seen in such a long time.
BANFIELD: All right. Sunny Hostin, thank you. Susan and Paul as well. Thank you all of you for your excellent perspective and your legal information. I want to also switch gears to this story, a family absolutely crushed and a community shaken when a soccer referee volunteer is dead a week after getting punched by one of the teenage players on the field. The referee's daughter is telling her emotional story and also talking about possible forgiveness as everyone else digs into what the consequences of this could be.
BANFIELD: One punch has changed the family of a soccer referee forever. Ricardo Portillo died on Saturday in Utah on e week after police say a 17-year-old player on the field hit him in the head.
Portillo had just given the teenager a yellow card warning and police say the ref probably didn't even see the punch coming. Portillo seemed OK but that was short lived. He actually ended up in a coma. His heart broken daughter told CNN's "EARLY START" this was not the first time that a player attacked her dad.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHANA PORTILLO, SOCCER REFEREE'S DAUGHTER: It was about, like, five years ago, I think, he had a broken rib. Being attacked by a player, too. We asked him, I asked him, I was like, why do you keep doing it? You just keep getting -- you know, just hurting yourself. He said that that was his risk -- that was his risk because that was his passion.
I saw my dad laying on the bed and I got close, I grab his hand. He pressed my hand really hard. I saw him. I was like, Daddy, we're going to be OK, and then he said -- he looked at me and he went like that. He started crying. He was like, no.
It's a lot of pain that this kid caused my whole family. I will forgive this kid because it's only in God's hands, you know, for him to have his punishment, not in mine. But right now it's too soon for me to forgive him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BANFIELD: That is very hard to hear. The 17-year-old who's accused of hitting her father is in juvenile detention right now. And the district attorney's office said that he was booked on an aggravated assault charge last week but the DA is also going to review the case. So more charges could come as early as today.
I'm joined again by Paul Callan. And this is just so difficult. I can't imagine any situation where a 17-year-old truly means to kill someone on the soccer field. But a punch is a punch. It's an assault. If it leads to death, isn't it fairly clear cut?
CALLAN: Actually it's not, surprisingly enough. The criminal law places a great emphasis on what you intend to accomplish when you use a gun or your fist or anything else, or a knife, to hurt somebody. And the defense here will be in striking a single punch it's obvious the 17-year-old did not intend to kill. So the killing turns out to be an accidental killing, so the defense will claim.
So I don't think you get it on an intentional ground. However, there may be a claim that it was reckless or that it was negligent for him to make this punch but you would only win on that, I think, if the 17- year-old was a trained boxer or had martial arts experience.
BANFIELD: And (INAUDIBLE).
CALLAN: Then one punch maybe could kill somebody. So I don't think really -- they may charge this as a homicide. I've looked at the statute in Utah, the criminal homicide statute, and it's going to be very hard to prevail as a homicide. I think it's going to be an assault case. And he's a juvenile also. If they treat him as a juvenile essentially he's facing a slap on the wrist for this crime. He can be tried as an adult but that decision hasn't been made yet.
BANFIELD: So once that decision is made you and I will have to revisit this case and this story.
BANFIELD: But man, is that just heart breaking? You know? It's why it matters what the family goes through in these criminal situations.
Paul Callan, thank you for that.
We're just minutes away as well from day two of deliberations beginning in Jodi Arias' murder trial, the marathon case. Today, believe it or not, could be a day we get a verdict. And this is day 58 by our calendar. If she's convicted of first-degree murder there is a big, big process that comes next and our team of experts is standing by to tell you exactly what will happen.