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Three Missing Women Found Alive in Cleveland; Jury Deliberates Jodi Arias Trial
Aired May 7, 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: Hello, everyone. I'm Ashleigh Banfield reporting live today from Phoenix, Arizona.
In about on two hours, a jury of eight men and four women are going to assemble in this courthouse behind me, and they're going to resume their deliberations in the Jodi Arias murder trial.
Beth Karas and Jane Velez-Mitchell are going to join me on the verdict watch in just a moment, but our top story is unfolding 2,000 miles away at this moment and what a tale it is.
Authorities in Cleveland are now giving us a bit more information on the incredible rescue of three young women who were virtually snatched off the city streets a decade ago -- Amanda Berry, kidnapped a day before her 17th birthday in 2003; Gina Dejesus, kidnapped in 2004, at the age of 14; and Michelle Knight, kidnapped in 2002, age 20.
All of them found in a nondescript house not far from each of the crime scenes where they were taken, all found seemingly unhurt and now safe. A 6-year-old girl who apparently belongs to Berry was also rescued
The house belongs to this man, 52-year-old Ariel Castro, who is in custody today along with his older brother, Pedro, and younger brother Onil.
My CNN colleague Martin Savidge is following every detail and new development, and I'm also joined here in Phoenix by HLN's Nancy Grace.
I want to start with you, Marty, if I can. Let's get right to the latest in what's going on.
They had a news conference this morning, but are they really telling us the heart of what happened here?
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: No, because there are so many questions. The FBI admits it, the local authorities admit it that, look, they have a lot of the relief. They're glad that these young women have been found after all this time, alive and well.
But how did it happen? How is it that they were targeted? How is it that they were kidnapped? And how is it that they were kept in a home on this street for 10 years and nobody really seems to know of the horror that was playing out behind the closed doors? That's what authorities want to know today. FBI forensic teams are inside what they say is 10 years of evidence to begin building their case and trying to understand what happened.
Here is what we know so far about the young women and how they were rescued.
SAVIDGE: Michelle Knight disappeared when she was 19. That was 2002.
Amanda Berry disappeared the day before her 17th birthday. That was 2003.
Gina Dejesus disappeared when she was 14. That was 2004.
Then, Monday evening, the decade-long nightmare ended when Amanda Berry made an emotional 911 call to police.
AMANDA BERRY, KIDNAP VICTIM (via telephone): Help me. I'm Amanda Berry.
911 OPERATOR (via telephone): Do you need police, fire, or ambulance?
BERRY (via telephone): I need police.
911 OPERATOR (via telephone): OK, and what's going there?
BERRY (via telephone): I've been kidnapped, and I've been missing for 10 years, and I'm here. I'm free now.
911 OPERATOR (via telephone): OK. And what's your address?
BERRY (via telephone): 2207 Seymour Avenue.
911 OPERATOR (via telephone): 2207 Seymour? Looks like you're calling me from 2210.
BERRY (via telephone): Huh?
911 OPERATOR (via telephone): Looks like you're calling me from 2210.
BERRY (via telephone): I can't hear you.
911 OPERATOR (via telephone): It looks like you are calling me from 2210 Seymour.
BERRY (via telephone): Yeah, I'm across the street. I'm using their phone.
911 OPERATOR (via telephone): OK, stay there with the neighbors and talk to police when they get there.
BERRY (via telephone): OK.
911 OPERATOR (via telephone): OK. Talk to the police when they get there. BERRY (via telephone): OK. Hello?
911 OPERATOR (via telephone): Yeah, talk to the police when they get there.
BERRY (via telephone): OK. Are they on their way right now?
911 OPERATOR (via telephone): We're going to send them as soon as we get a car open.
BERRY (via telephone): No, I need them now before he gets back.
911 OPERATOR (via telephone): we're sending them, OK?
BERRY (via telephone): OK.
911 OPERATOR (via telephone): Who is the guy you're -- who is the guy who went out?
BERRY (via telephone): His name is Ariel Castro.
911 OPERATOR (via telephone): All right. How old is he?
BERRY (via telephone): He was, like, 52.
911 OPERATOR (via telephone): All right and ...
BERRY (via telephone): And I'm Amanda Berry. I've been on the news for the last 10 years.
911 OPERATOR (via telephone): OK, I got that here. I already -- and you said what was his name again?
BERRY (via telephone): Ariel Castro.
911 OPERATOR (via telephone): And is he white, black or Hispanic?
BERRY (via telephone): He's Hispanic.
911 OPERATOR (via telephone): And what's he wearing?
BERRY (via telephone): I don't know because he's not here right now. That's how I got away.
911 OPERATOR (via telephone): When he left, what was he wearing?
BERRY (via telephone): (Inaudible).
911 OPERATOR (via telephone): All right, the police are on their way. Talk to them when they get there. OK?
BERRY (via telephone): OK. I need ...
911 OPERATOR (via telephone): I told you they're on their way. Talk to them when they get there, OK?
BERRY (via telephone): All right. OK.
911 OPERATOR (via telephone): Thank you.
BERRY (via telephone): Bye.
SAVIDGE: She made that call after she was able to look out of the house without being held and flagged down a neighbor.
CHARLES RAMSEY, NEIGHBOR OF ARIEL CASTRO: I heard her screaming. I'm eating my McDonald's. I come outside and see this girl going nuts trying to get out of the house.
So I go on the porch, and she says, help me get out. I've been in here a long time.
So, you know, I figured it was a domestic violence dispute. So I opened the door and we can't get in that way because, how the door is, it's so much that a body can't fit through it, only your hand.
So we kicked the bottom and she comes out with the little girl, and she says, call 911. My name is Amanda Berry.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And did you know who she was when she said that?
RAMSEY: When she told me, it didn't register until I got the call to 911, and I thought I'm calling the 911 for Amanda Berry? I thought this girl was dead. You know what I mean?
And she got on the phone, and she said, yes, this is me. The girl Amanda told the police, I ain't just the only one. There's sine more girls up in that house. So they going up there 30, 40 deep, and when they came out, it was just astonishing.
SAVIDGE: Police moved in, swarming the house, rescuing women. They arrested a 52-year-old former school bus driver who lives there, Ariel Castro. They also arrested his two brothers.
DEPUTY CHIEF ED TOMBA, CLEVELAND POLICE: They made some statements to the responding officers that gave us enough probable cause to affect their arrest.
SAVIDGE: The rescued women were taken to a nearby hospital and checked out.
A photo of a beaming Amanda Berry appeared to Facebook.
DR. GERALD MALONEY, METRO HEALTH DEPARTMENT MEDICAL CENTER: Currently they're safe. We're in the process of evaluating their medical needs. They appear to be in fair condition at the moment.
This is really good because this isn't the ending we usually hear to these stories. So we're very happy.
SAVIDGE: That sense of happiness and relief shared by police ...
TOMBA: It's a great day. SAVIDGE: ... and the people of Cleveland.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's an unbelievable day.
BANFIELD: Unbelievable story.
Martin, it begs the question. It's been ten years, three victims. Is it possible there are more victims out there? Is it possible there are more suspects out there?
SAVIDGE: I think that's the real question that authorities need to know and need to know right away is, is it possible that there could be some other missing person cases that are somehow connected? Is there other victims that somehow may be touched by this case?
The FBI is here. They're investigating. You can bet that law enforcement's going to be looking at other missing persons cases in this area, and the real evidence here is going to come, of course, from the three young women who now are going to divulge what they've learned, what they knew from the 10 years of being inside of that home.
A short while ago, I had a conversation with Julio Castro. He is the uncle of the three men that are now considered suspects in this case, and I asked him about what is the family reaction to this? Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JULIO CASTRO, SUSPECTS' UNCLE: I haven't been able to talk to immediate family other than by phone. Their reaction is surprising. Everybody is surprised what's happening.
SAVIDGE: What would you say to your nephews if you could talk to them? What would you want to know?
CASTRO: What can I say? Shame on you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SAVIDGE: The number one question probably by law enforcement, by everybody in this city is, how come nobody knew? How could it go on so long? And, Ashleigh, I can't answer that one for you yet.
BANFIELD: There are so many -- I can hear the din just around you with the number of reporters who've descended on that street and that the amount of information that still has yet to be unearthed in this.
Martin Savidge, thank you for scrambling so quickly overnight to get what you have.
I want to turn my attention to you, Nancy, because the minute we heard this, we were all reminded right away of Jaycee Dugard, kidnapped as a child in California, freed in 2009. And, if you do the math, that was 18 years. And today she's released a statement. Obviously, you know, she's following this as well. She said this, Nancy. "These individuals need the opportunity to heal."
She went on to say, "They need to connect back into the world. This isn't who they are. It is only what happened to them.
"The human spirit is incredibly resilient. More than ever this reaffirms we should never give up hope."
Nancy, you know, you spent years as a prosecutor. When investigators begin the process of trying to glean evidence from these three victims and possibly any others that might be out there, where do they begin? How do they do this, keeping in mind the delicate nature of what went on?
NANCY GRACE, HOST, HLN'S "NANCY GRACE": Well, I appreciate the delicate nature of what went on, but the reality is, in a criminal prosecution, police investigators and prosecutors are out for evidence.
So they will handle the three victims as delicately as possible while at the same time building a felony case.
There are multiple felonies available to pick, to prosecute, kidnapping, likely rape, likely molestation, even something as obscurely used as an indentured servitude statute, which means forcing one, someone, to stay in a location and make them work or perform in some way.
These men are looking at multiple life sentences running consecutively, which means one after the other. Now many, many years ago for a case like this, the death penalty would have been possible. Not so anymore.
But everyone is wondering this morning, oh, how could it happen? How could it happen? Well, I'll tell you how it happened. The same way it happened to Jaycee Dugard, the same way it happened to Hornbeck and (inaudible), the same way it happened to Elizabeth Smart.
They were taken either in their home or very close to their homes. We know one of these brothers, we believe, was a bus driver. All of the girls were taken in their early or late teens from very near their home.
We also have information that one of the brothers knew middle victim's family, Amanda's family, so you have a familial connection. You have them taken from their home and being held close to their home.
So statistics are, once again, borne out. This is not necessarily stranger-on-stranger. There is a connection.
BANFIELD: And I just need to ask you, you know, this morning in the news conference, given that we are so in the early stages of this investigation, it seems that there was a reticence on the part of investigators to even tell us what the nature of their captivity was, whether it was a voluntary captivity by mind control or whether it was physical, you know -- physical, you know, chains or locks.
And, in that respect, are you surprised that they're not telling us this yet?
GRACE: No, I'm not surprised that the police are not telling us. We are the media. We are reporters. They don't owe us a duty. In fact, they probably view us as an irritation to them as they are trying to investigate this case.
But if you hear a woman screaming and trying to get out of the door, you know it's not voluntary.
Also, suddenly, this woman that was taken when she was a teen, now has a six-year-old child. How did that happen? I mean, you know, come on. Two and two equals four.
These three girls were taken from near their home and held against their will and, most likely, were repeatedly violated. They have been in a living hell. They were fighting desperate to get out.
What upsets me is that apparently there were reports a couple of years ago by neighbors that they heard screaming from a house, and police couldn't identify which home it was.
So these women, these young women, have been subjected to the worst possible nightmare. The good news is, they are alive, and they can start over.
BANFIELD: Nancy, does it make any difference when a defense attorney is trying to put together some kind of a defense in a case like this whether it's an -- I'm just going to go back to Ed Smart, Elizabeth Smart's father, who said it was remarkable that Elizabeth had police officers in front of her and still stayed quiet because of the fear that her captors held over her. She had the opportunity to go and didn't.
Do defense attorneys seize on this, or does it make any difference in the defense whether one of the captives had a chance to leave and didn't?
GRACE: Well, that's a very good point. The defense may very well argue that, if this goes to a trial. In their minds, it makes a big difference, but the reality is the crime is formed, the mens rea, or the intent to commit a crime is formed at the time of the crime.
For instance, to rob a store, to commit a rape, to commit a child molestation, to commit a kidnapping, it doesn't matter if you have mind control over the victim some years later.
What happens, what matters is, at the time of the crime, your malice, your intent, your criminal intent, and let me also point out that all of that is complete b.s. Maybe it's too early in the morning for some people to hear that, but these girls, these women, were beating on the door. They were screaming. They were tied up when investigators got there. So I don't know how much mind control was used if the women were still being tied up, according to some reports, all these years later, tied up and sitting in the floor. That is the way they lived.
BANFIELD: We still have confirmation on that. We're still looking for the -- you know, the police won't confirm that yet, but we're certainly looking for every detail we can.
Nancy, just quickly, to the child, a six-year-old child, if, you know, that victim was almost 10 years in captivity, it's clear that child was born in captivity. Jaycee Dugard also had two children born in captivity with no medical assistance. She was reportedly alone giving birth to those two children.
If that's the same story with Amanda, what kind of charges are added on that have to do with that kind of endangerment?
GRACE: Well, of course, there are going to be charges relating to -- I'm going to refer to it as an infant. We don't know exactly how old the child is. There have been wildly conflicting reports of the child as old as 6 years old. But the child also is going to be a victim in this case.
And can you imagine a young girl, as she was at the time of her kidnap, getting pregnant and giving birth probably in that boarded up home with no medical assistance whatsoever?
BANFIELD: Just unbelievable. Nancy, thank you for your last minute perspective on this. I know this is so -- it's just unfolding as we speak, and there's so much more that we need to learn about this. But we do appreciate your perspective. Nancy Grace joining us live here in Phoenix.
We have another big story here today as well. It comes from where I'm standing. A superior courthouse behind me -- the Jodi Arias jury is getting back to work deliberating this woman's fate. A fate that could include death. They have already logged more than seven hours in their decision-making process and we could get a verdict at any time once they get started.
We're going to dissect what the sticking points might be in that jury deliberation room, and a whole lot more, in just a moment.
BANFIELD: We are live in Phoenix, Arizona, outside the courthouse anxiously awaiting a verdict possibly today from the jury in the Jodi Arias murder trial. This is Day 3 now officially of those deliberations, and the jury comes back to work at 1:00 p.m. Eastern Time.
So far they have been together discussing this case 7 hours and 32 minutes. People across the nation have been literally riveted by this television -- this televised trial -- since January 2nd. Yes, it has gone back that long. That's when the trial began. In fact, some people have seemingly dropped everything just to get a firsthand look at the woman who is accused of brutally murdering her ex-boyfriend, Travis Alexander.
Here's CNN's Ted Rowlands.
TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): On verdict watch outside the courthouse in Phoenix along with the cameras and microphones, spectators obsessed what the Jodi Arias trial wait to hear from the jury.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hopefully a verdict soon. Hopefully, a good verdict.
ROWLANDS: Arias who's accused of planning the brutal murder of her ex- boyfriend, Travis Alexander, says she killed him in self-defense. Across the country, people have been watching every salacious moment of the trial like a television soap opera. Trelynda Kerr, a direct mail production manager in Washington, D.C. --
TRELYNDA KERR, ARIAS TRIAL WATCHER: I'm addicted. I get home and I immediately turn my TV on, I turn my computer on.
ROWLANDS: Sheena Olson lives in Los Angeles and says she watches any way she can, even when she's at work.
SHEENA OLSON, ARIAS TRIAL WATCHER: Even when I'm on the phone -- I mean, good thing I can multi-task because I've over here doing important stuff, talking on the phone, but I'm also listening. I'm like, oh, wait, hold on a second, and I'm listening, because I'm like I know that's a good part. Oh, sorry, I had computer problems.
ROWLANDS: AP reporter Brian Skoloff saw the interest in the trial, so he co-wrote a book, "Killer Girlfriend: The Jody Arias Story."
BRIAN SKOLOFF, AUTHOR, "KILLER GIRLFRIEND": People have traveled from around the country, taken off from work to come here to be part of this, and what they say is that just watching it on TV wasn't enough. Watching it online wasn't enough. They wanted to see the jury's face. They wanted to see reaction in the courtroom. It's -- for better or worse, to these spectators, it's become like a daytime live soap opera for them.
OLSON: I don't know what I'm going to do when this is done. Probably find another trial to watch.
BANFIELD: Wow. Ted Rowlands is here with me live in Phoenix. Also with me, Jane Velez-Mitchell, who's the host of HLN's "JANE VELEZ- MITCHELL" and HLN legal correspondent Beth Karas, who has been here since Day 1 covering every moment of this trial.
Ted, let me begin with you. I think people might be a little surprised to understand that Jodi Arias has been affecting tweets through a friend name Donovan Baring (ph), and as recently as last night was able to send one out, and I just want to read a couple.
Let me start with this one. And this is, again, these are supposedly Jodi's own words: "I would've signed a plea deal years ago, or a plea years ago, to avoid this disaster, but I was refused a plea as the State and the family refused to settle."
Since she put that out there, let's settle the record. Is it true? Do we know anything about any potential plea conversations anywhere along this trial?
ROWLANDS (on-camera): Yes, in that the defense did offer a plea deal. The problem is, the part that she isn't saying in her tweet, is that plea deal that they were offering was for second degree murder with a median sentence of 16 years. And, of course, the prosecution with the evidence that they have against her and the family rejected that and did not go along with it.
BANFIELD: So it was refused, a plea deal, not the only plea deal. I get it.
All right, another one that she sent out -- again, this is through a friend. Don't think for a moment she has a cell phone in her cell block. "I wanted so much to avoid trial, but the State forced it. My only other option was suicide and well..."
Jane, I'd like you to step in. That's not the first time that Ms. Arias has brought up the option of suicide. I do recall an "Inside Edition" dramatic interview where she said, "No jury will ever convict me because I'm innocent." And then later in court she suggested that maybe suicide would be the reason. Can you clear that up?
JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST, HLN'S "JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL": Yes, she plays the suicide card often. And of course the prosecutor said that this is a sign of her borderline personality disorder. And she is really quite manipulative, and you see it. The idea that she's brazen enough to be tweeting during deliberations and always playing the victim in all of her tweets, and she's purported in some of these tweets to be speaking out for victims and survivors of domestic violence, to be speaking out for battered women.
Well, I spoke to a battered woman yesterday, a woman who is a survivor of domestic violence, and she's deeply and highly offended that this woman is using this particular defense because she says essentially she's making a mockery out of domestic violence.
BANFIELD: Beth, she's also been using the tweet setup. And again, let me remind viewers, this is through a friend, or at least an associate, and she's promoting her artwork and even selling the artwork. There are survivor T-shirts as well. Can you give me the legal basis by which this is actually OK and when it becomes not OK to do this?
BETH KARAS, HLN LEGAL CORRESPONDENT: Is that a question for me? I couldn't hear you. BANFIELD: Yes. Sorry, Beth Karas, to you.
KARAS: Yes, OK. Let me tell you, she can do this because she hasn't been convicted of anything yet. She cannot profit from her crime by selling her story. This is not selling her story. However, she is indigent. The taxpayers are paying for her defense and she is making thousands of dollars. But if she gives her artwork away and the money -- so it's a gift to somebody, and they sell it, then that's OK. There's no problem there. But if she's getting the money herself, maybe the state could say, hey, wait a second. We're spending hundreds, millions of dollars in your defense. You should give us some of that money back.
BANFIELD: All right, let me talk about what the essence is, the discussion this jury has to be udnergoing right now. There's a lot of testimony in roughly four months of trial, and a lot of evidence to go over. But what in your estimation, having been here for all of that, Beth, would be the key element that they have to get through?
KARAS: Well, the jury has to start with first degree murder first, and it's premeditated murder. There's an alternative theory of felony murder, but it's really a premeditated murder case. For them to reject premeditation, they have to reject the state's evidence of a week's worth of planning and setting up an alibi, getting into the State of Arizona, turning her cell phone off, renting a car, and taking the license plates off so nobody can see whose car it is when she's parked, dyeing her hair a darker color, and filling her car with gas cans so she doesn't have to stop at a gas station in Arizona on her way in or out. She has enough gas so she doesn't get on video or have any cash or credit card transaction in the state. She never was in Arizona on that day was the plan, according to the state.
That's a lot of premeditation. If the jury rejects that, then they're buying her story that all of these things were going to happen anyway and she was on her way to Utah to visit a friend and detoured six hours out of her way to visit Travis Alexander.
BANFIELD: All right, Beth Karas, stand by, if you will. And Jane and Ted as well. We're going to do a lot more coverage on just what's been said in that courtroom, what sounds outlandish, and why jurors may not think so in just a moment.
We're also working a very big story in Ohio. Three young women found alive nearly a decade after they were all snatched in different locations at different times. All OK, but really how OK when you think about what they've gone through?
We're back in just a moment.
BANFIELD: At the Maricopa County Superior Courthouse, there is a massive undertaking for a very small group of people who've been stuck in a courtroom listening to testimony they probably would've preferred never to have learned of in the first place. They're the jury in the Jodi Arias case, and they are hard at work today after 1:00 Eastern on day three of deliberations.
It is a critical deliberation. It is not just any case; it is a death penalty case. Literally, they hold her life in their hands. The evidence has been overwhelming. The lies, the revision of lies, the other evidence, the prosecutor, the defense, Jodi herself -- three weeks on the stand.