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No Resting Place For Tsarnaev; Soccer Ref Loses Life for Calling Foul; Jodi Arias Murder Trial; Iron Man 3 Tops Box Office

Aired May 6, 2013 - 05:30   ET



ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: Backlash over a burial. The family of Tamerlan Tsarnaev claimed his body but can't find anywhere to bury the suspected bomber.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Violence on the soccer field turns deadly. The referee who was punched by a player during a game has died of his injuries.

SAMBOLIN: And a runaway mom is on the run no more. An update on the bizarre tale of Pennsylvania mother who disappeared 11 years ago, but was very much alive the entire time.

ROMANS: All right. Welcome back to EARLY START. I'm Christine Romans for you this Monday morning.

SAMBOLIN: John Berman is off today. I'm Zoraida Sambolin. It is Monday, May 6th. It is 29 minutes past the hour.

And we begin this morning with the families of suspected Boston bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev. They cannot find a place that is willing to bury his body. The uncle of the suspected Boston bomber wants him buried in Cambridge, Massachusetts, but the town will not hear of it.

Susan Candiotti is live from Boston. So, Susan, it goes against the religion to cremate. Have all the funeral homes in the area said that they will not bury him? Yes, the cemeteries, excuse me.

SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the director -- right. The director of the funeral home, Zoraida, says he cannot find one cemetery of all the ones that he has contacted who is willing to participate in the burial of Tamerlan Tsarnaev, not one.

Now, last night, the city of Cambridge where Tamerlan used to live issued a statement, went that far to do it, and said this if I'm going to read from it, 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 interment."

So, that's coming from the city of Cambridge saying it wants nothing to do with it. Now, Tsarnaev's uncle spent Sunday at the funeral home preparing Tamerlan's body for burial according to Islamic tradition. He says, "After all, since he lived here for ten years, Tamerlan did, there is no reason why he shouldn't be allowed to be buried here," and he can't understand it.


RUSLAN TSARNI, UNCLE OF TAMERLAN TSARNAEV: I'm left alone to deal with this matter. And i also stress that Tamerlan Tsarnaev has no other place to be buried. And there's no other place who would accept his body. And reasoning to it would be that he lived in America, he grew up here, and last ten years, he resided here in Cambridge.


CANDIOTTI: Now, for his part, the funeral director says he's tired of all the protesters who've been setting up shop outside his home for several days now.


PETER STEFAN, FUNERAL DIRECTOR: American, you're a traitor. I'm getting sick and tired. They're all cowards. If you want to call me, give me your name and I'll talk to you. The thing is, we have to bury this guy, whoever it is, wherever he is in this country, we bury people. I don't care who it is.


CANDIOTTI: But so far, no solution here. Now, the funeral director says he might reach out to the governor today to see what if anything he might be able to do -- Zoraida.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Susan, you also have a new development in the case of one of the three friends of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. What's happening there?

CANDIOTTI: Right. Well, early this afternoon, this is Robel Phillipos, and he's the American friend, one of the jailed students accused of obstruction of justice, and in Phillipos's case, lying to federal investigators about whether they went to Dzhokhar's dorm room after they knew that the police were looking for him. So, he is in court asking for the judge to set bail for him.

He said he's willing to get a home monitoring system so that he can stay in place, but he says that he simply made a mistake and wants to be out on bail until the trial takes place -- Zoraida.

SAMBOLIN: All right. And some of the Boston bombing victims, we understand, were visited by a very special guest over the weekend. Can you tell us about that?

CANDIOTTI: That's right. That's Gabby Giffords who was here to pay a visit to them with her husband. And she posted some photographs of her visiting with some of the patients who are recovering at some of the rehab centers. She said they deserve a Profile Encourage Award, which is why Gabby Giffords happened to be in town this day. She received the JFK Profile Encourage Award herself over the weekend.

SAMBOLIN: So, it looks like she lifted some spirits there, which is always nice to see. Susan Candiotti live for us in Boston. Yes. Thank you very much.

A heartbreaking update this morning to a story we've been following. Forty-six-year-old Ricardo Portillo (ph), a soccer referee, a father of three, has lost his fight for life after calling a foul on a player. Here's Stephanie Elam.


STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): At a vigil Sunday evening in Salt Lake City, members of the community came together to remember a dedicated family man.

JOHANA PORTILLO, RICARDO PORTILLO'S DAUGHTER: He took a part of me with him. He took my daddy away from me.

ELAM: Police say soccer referee, Ricardo Portillo, probably never saw the blow coming, the blow that would ultimately end his life.

MARIO VASQUEZ, SOCCER LEAGUE PRESIDENT: I'm in shock, because besides a ref, he's a friend of mine.

ELAM: It happened during an April 27th match for a recreational soccer league just outside Salt Lake City after Portillo called a foul on a 17-year-old goalie.

VASQUEZ: The goalie pushed one of the forwards from the back.

ELAM: The goalie retaliated by punching the 46-year-old referee in the head.

PORTILLO: When he was writing down his notes, he just came out of nowhere and punched him.

ELAM: Portillo was taken to the hospital with what was believed to be a minor injury, but doctors found that he had suffered serious internal head injuries, police said, and lapsed into a coma. After a week in that condition, he died Saturday night. Johana Portillo, the referee's eldest daughter, had spoken with CNN's Jake Tapper the day before he died. She told him her father had lived for his three daughters and for soccer.

PORTILLO: His passion was, you know, being there the whole weekend, just refereeing. He loved soccer. And it was just really bad. We never thought that this was going to happen. He loved what he did and it was his passion.

ELAM: The family knew the chance of recovery was slim.

PORTILLO: The doctor says only a miracle will bring my daddy back.

ELAM (on-camera): The teen who's not being identified because of his age was arrested two days after the soccer field incident on preliminary charges of aggravated assault, charges that will likely be upgraded now that Portillo has died.

Stephanie Elam, CNN, Los Angeles. (END VIDEOTAPE)

SAMBOLIN: Thanks to Stephanie there.

And we're following new developments in the manhunt for the killer of an eight-year-old California girl. Leila Fowler (ph) was stabbed in her home last week. The search for evidence has moved from ground to water with dive teams searching two reservoirs in Calaveras County.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's black water diving and they're searching the bottom of the ponds with their hands, because obviously, in murky water conditions, they cannot see where they're going, so the tenders on the shore holding the rope will guide them through the water.


SAMBOLIN: Investigators are also canvassing neighborhood residences for any possible lead in Leila Fowler's death. And if you have any information, you are urged to call police.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: New developments in the story of that Pennsylvania mom who was declared dead after disappearing 11 years ago. Brenda Heist, though, is very much alive. And now, investigators are starting to piece together how she ended up in the Gainesville, Florida area. They say it appears she hitch-hiked with strangers to the Florida Keys in 2002. Beyond that, it gets murky.


ART FORGEY, ALACHUA COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE: She hasn't given us any indication of how she got here from the keys. And also, as her address on the booking sheet, she listed homeless. So, it's a mystery how she got from here to there or from there to here.


ROMANS: According to affiliate WCJB, Heist told police she slept under bridges and survived at time by scavenging food from restaurant trash and panhandling.

At Jacksonville, Florida (ph), teenager too sick to make it to her high school prom had the prom come to her. Eighteen-year-old Taylor Haberman (ph) suffers from a rare heart disorder and had been hospitalized for months waiting for a transplant when a patient support group called Street Light heard her story. They stepped in and set up a make-shift prom in one of the hospital's conference rooms.


ADAM HABERMAN, TAYLOR'S FATHER: She missed some other functions at school. So, prom was one of the two things we were shooting for.

TAYLOR HABERMAN, HEART PATIENT: I'm very excited. I can't wait. It's going to be a good night!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It is. It's going to be the best night.


ADAM HABERMAN: Priceless. Just to see her smile and be happy and her spirits to be so up.


ROMANS: Next up for Taylor, graduation day on June 1st, and she says she plans to be there. Good luck to you, Taylor.

SAMBOLIN: Yey for Street Light for doing that, right?

All right. Thirty-eight minutes past the hour.

The Jodi Arias trial has captured the attention of many, not just for the testimony but also because the jury was allowed to ask questions. Does this unusual Arizona law actually help the jurors? That story when EARLY START continues.


SAMBOLIN: Good morning to you, New York. That is a beautiful shot. Come over to the TV, take a look. That is Central Park here in New York City. It's 41 minutes after the hour. It is now 49 degrees. I have some good news for you. A little bit later, 66 degrees and sunny, Christine.

ROMANS: After a very beautiful weekend. All right. Thanks, Zoraida.

Jodi Arias' fate is now in the hands of a jury. In just a few hours, deliberations in the murder trial will resume. Arias is accused of killing her ex-boyfriend nearly five years ago. She claims it was self-defense. Arias, herself, spent 18 days, 18 days on that witness stand answering questions from the lawyers and from the jurors. Arizona just one of three states that allows that.

CNN's Ted Rowlands has more on that part of the story.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why is it that you have no memory of stabbing Travis?

TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Some of the toughest questions for Jodi Arias and the other witnesses in her 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 step-children.

JAMES CARANO, ARIZONA JUROR: Our questions were basically down to Earth, heartfelt questions. We wanted to be able to separate fact from fiction.

RICARDO ENRIQUEZ, JUROR IN PHIL SPECTOR TRIAL: 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 at least to come back and question among some of the details that they were trying explain to us.

ROWLANDS: Besides Arizona, Colorado and Indiana are the only other states where jurors have the right 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.

ROWLANDS (on-camera): Jurors here have asked more than 500 questions of Jodi Arias and the other witnesses in this trial. The answers to those questions will ultimately help them decide whether or not Jodi Arias is guilty of murder.

Ted Rowlands, CNN, Phoenix.


ROMANS: So interesting to hear them ask those questions, you know, read by the judge, of course, but just see sort of what they were thinking.

SAMBOLIN: Oh, yes. Their questions are really interesting.

All right. Straight ahead, a new struggle for Tamerlan Tsarnaev's family. Why they cannot find a graveyard that is willing to take the suspected terrorist's body?


SAMBOLIN: Welcome back to EARLY START. Forty-seven minutes past the hour. Let's get you up to date.

The body of suspected Boston bomber, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, is in limbo this morning. There's not a cemetery anywhere near Boston that seems willing to take his body. His uncle wants him buried in Cambridge, but the town is refusing.

The city manager says, 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 interment."

ROMANS: The U.S. is demanding that an American citizen sentenced to 15 years in a North Korean labor camp be released. So far, North Korea hasn't budged, and state-run media there says Kenneth Bae's case is not a political bargaining chip. They say he confessed to various crimes aimed at state subversion.

SAMBOLIN: A Baptist church near Dallas had a different kind of message Saturday. It offered a concealed handgun class in the sanctuary. The class was free for anyone who met state eligibility requirements, and the Texas House passed a bunch of gun bills over the weekend. One of them could put armed martials in public schools.

ROMANS: The Rolling Stones back on the road banging out one classic song after another on its 50th anniversary tour. They kicked off the North American leg over the weekend in Los Angeles. Gwen Stefani, Keith Urban, former Stone Mick Jagger, all made guest appearances with the band on stage. By the way, Mick Jagger turns 70 this summer.

SAMBOLIN: Oscar-winning actress Reese Witherspoon is tipping her hat to the Atlanta Police Department. She was cited wearing a cap with the Atlanta police logo in LAX over the weekend. Do you have the picture here? Quite a change considering this run-in with the department.


REESE WITHERSPOON, ACTRESS: I'm a U.S. citizen. I'm allowed to stand on American ground and ask any question I want to ask.


WITHERSPOON: You better not arrest me. Are you kidding me?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. I told you --

WITHERSPOON: I'm an American citizen. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I told you to get in the car and stay in there, didn't I?

WITHERSPOON: This is beyond. This is beyond.


SAMBOLIN: How many times have you seen that video? So, she pleaded no contest to obstruction and was fined. Her husband, Jim Thot, pleaded guilty to DUI. He paid a fine and agreed to an alcohol education program and community service, and he is also on probation for a year.

ROMANS: All right. Let's head now to Lindsay Lohan coming clean to CNN's Piers Morgan days before starting her court-ordered rehab. The 26-year-old told him she smoked pot, she's taken ecstasy, but only tried cocaine a few times. Here are a few other quotes, "I've never been a huge drinker," "constantly sending me to rehab is pointless," "I've never been a junkie and never will be." And, "everyone thinks I'm this crazy drug addict who shows up late to everything and behaves badly, but I'm not."

SAMBOLIN: I wonder why.

ROMANS: "I'm bad with timing." Lohan started her 90-day rehab last week at the Betty Ford Clinic.

SAMBOLIN: If I were her publicist or her lawyer, I would say stop talking.


ROMANS: And if she's doing court-appointed rehab instead of jail and she says rehab is pointless, if you're the judge --

SAMBOLIN: Then go to jail.

ROMANS: If you tell that rehab is pointless, then why don't you just go to jail, lady?

SAMBOLIN: Yes. Yes. All right. So, wet weekend means watchful eyes in the southeast. Emergency officials are keeping really tabs on rivers and creeks that could come out of their banks. Some of the most widespread flooding is along black creek near Jacksonville, Florida.

ROMANS: All right. It may not be over for that region as well. Let's check in with Jennifer Delgado in the CNN Weather Center. Good morning, Jennifer.

JENNIFER DELGADO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Good morning, ladies. Happy to report the heaviest rainfall is over for parts of Florida, but over the weekend in the southeast, we have been dealing with really just torrential downpours. Look at some of those rainfall totals, more than four inches, and some locations, they were record-breaking. Now, we still have flood warnings and watches in place anywhere you see them in green, but a lot of those are going to expire later today. So, we are dealing with some minor flooding across parts of Georgia as well as into Alabama, but we are not done with the rain yet. Here is our upper low spinning right on top of the border of Alabama as well as into Georgia, and that rain now is going to be spreading up towards the north more.

You're going to see it affecting parts of the Ohio Valley as well as into South and North Carolina. You can see where some of those heavier bands are. But up towards the northeast, another beautiful day is on the way. I'm telling you, you guys have been spoiled by the nice weather over the last couple days.

As we go through the future, I want to show you where the heaviest rainfall is going to be, really right along the Appalachian Mountains. We're going to see potential for some flooding there, some of those locations three to four inches, and of course, that could be potentially some dangerous situations setting up throughout the afternoon.

I want to point out over towards the west coast, the Pacific Northwest is going to be nice and warm today. Some beneficial rainfall has been moving through parts of California. Those wildfires now 60 percent contained. Here's a look at your high temperatures today. Upper 60s for the northeast, 80s down towards the south.

I have to tell you guys, you guys have been spoiled by the nice weather. Sunshine all weekend for you, too.

SAMBOLIN: We are loving it. Thank you.

DELGADO: You're welcome.

ROMANS: All right. Ahead on EARLY START, it was a big day for reality TV star, Honey Boo-Boo and her Mama June.

Plus, "Iron Man 3" takes off at box office. What else is trending this morning? We're going to give it to you when we come back.

SAMBOLIN: Honey Boo-Boo.


SAMBOLIN: Welcome back to EARLY START. Fifty-six minutes past the hour. Trending online this morning, Honey Boo-Boo's mom and dad are now married. June Shannon and Mike Thompson better known as Mama June and Sugar Bear, they tied the knot over the weekend in their Georgia hometown.

Guests were told to show up in full redneck attire and to not bring cell phones or cameras. Mike and June met nine years ago in an online chat room.

ROMANS: All right. From the tanning booth to the recording booth, tanning mom Patricia Krentcil, remember her? She's trying to extend her moment in the sun.

SAMBOLIN: Oh, how can we forget her?

ROMANS: She's releasing a rap single. A clip of the song called "It's Tan Mom" is on TMZ.




SAMBOLIN: I predict that's going to be playing all over the place.

ROMANS: Grammy Award? I don't know.


ROMANS: The song is available on iTunes starting today.

SAMBOLIN: And a blockbuster beginning for "Iron Man 3." It racked up more than $175 million in sales this weekend, the second biggest opening ever. The superhero prequel is surpassed only by "The Avengers" which made $207 million in its domestic debut last spring, including its overseas take. "Iron Man 3" has already made $680 million worldwide. I can't wait to see it.

ROMANS: That's a lot of movie tickets.


So, to check out our other top CNN trends, head to

ROMANS: All right. "SNL's" Bill Hader as James Carville talking gun, background checks. Here's your late-night laughs.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hello there. Good to be here, good to be here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You seem really happy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Of course, I'm happy, Seth. It's almost summertime.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Pretty soon, I'll be back in Louisiana drinking sweet tea on the porch with my high school buddy, alligator Joe.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now, why do you call him Alligator Joe?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because he's an alligator, Seth!


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, James, what do you make of the recent defeat of background checks in Congress despite the fact that 90 percent of Americans support the measure?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Seth, let me start by saying I have nothing against guns, and I'm not just saying that because I look like a bullet!


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You've got to have background checks, Seth. I mean, if this guy can walk out of a gun store without answering some questions, something has gone wrong. I mean, they made me answer five questions at the deli.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Senator Tom Coburn recently put forth a bill that said that people can do their own self background checks. What do you think of something like that?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Seth, doing your own background checks makes about as much sense as doing your own prostate exam.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sure, it sounds like a simple solution, but if you don't have a medical degree, you're just a guy with his finger up his butt.



SAMBOLIN: EARLY START continues right now.