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Three Men will be Charged Today; Amanda Berry Expected to Speak
Aired May 8, 2013 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Throughout the day and late into the night, FBI agents meticulously search, removing the front door, searching the crawl space, carting away a red pickup and a Jeep.
At one point, bringing in a cadaver dog. It's not known what if anything the dog found.
The FBI taking the lead in the search.
DETECTIVE JENNIFER CIACCIA, CLEVELAND POLICE: This is just the tip of the iceberg. This investigation will take a very long time.
SAVIDGE: The three suspects, 52-year-old Ariel Castro, his brothers, Pedro and O'Neil, behind bars, they'll face more interrogation today.
Authorities have 48 hours to file charges, and that window closes later tonight.
In the neighborhood, residents are still celebrating, the jubilance tempered with shock and disbelief.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Unreal.
TITO DEJESUS, KNOWN ARIEL CASTRO FOR 20 YEARS: And I knew who lived there and they panned the camera to his house. It was like I turned white. My wife told me, what's wrong? Are you OK? I was like -- I was dumbfounded.
SAVIDGE: Away from the cameras, Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus, and Michelle Knight, the three women trying to piece their shattered lives back together.
SANDRA RUIZ, GINA DEJESUS' AUNT: This is a miracle, a very, very large miracle. And we're all excited.
SAVIDGE: And in Tennessee, Amanda Berry's grandmother got a very important phone call from the granddaughter she hasn't seen in years.
AMANDA BERRY, KIDNAPPING VICTIM (via telephone): Hello?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Amanda.
BERRY (via telephone): Yeah, Grandma.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How are you? BERRY (via telephone): I'm fine.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm glad to have you back.
BERRY (via telephone): It's good to be back.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I thought you were gone.
BERRY (via telephone): Nope, I'm here.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And we're happy down here for you.
BERRY (via telephone): Thank you so much. I miss everybody and I love you guys so much.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The little girl is your baby?
BERRY (via telephone): Yeah, she's my daughter. Born on Christmas.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: we've got to get together soon.
BERRY (via telephone): I know it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I love you, honey. Thank God.
BERRY (via telephone): I love you, too.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I've thought about you all this time. I never forgot you.
SAVIDGE: A giant step in trying to close the door on this house of horrors.
ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, ANCHOR, "CNN NEWSROOM": And CNN's Martin Savidge joins me live now from Cleveland, Ohio.
Martin, there's so much information that's coming out, some of it being reported, some of it straight from the police.
And the chief himself now says that chains and ropes were found in Ariel Castro's house, but also confirming that human remains have not been discovered there.
So a two-part question -- do we know if these three young women were actually restrained for the ten years that they were there? And did they actually expect that someone had died in that home?
SAVIDGE: You know, the answer to that is kind of mixed.
First of all, there are residents in the neighborhood that said that at some point they did see at least one young woman in an attic through a window who appeared to be chained and who appeared to be pleading for help.
They also said they notified authorities.
And that also the chief of police and now the public safety director here have issued a statement saying that, in fact, removed from the home were chains and ropes.
However, they declined or did not confirm how those items may have been used. In other words, were they actually used for these women or some other purpose? We don't know. They don't say.
BANFIELD: All right. Martin Savidge, as you continue to unearth the details from your location, thank you for that.
It has also come to light that Ariel Castro's then wife, now deceased, accused him of attacking her and threatening their daughter back in 2005.
CNN producer Scott Bronstein is following those revelations and joining us on the phone.
Scott, you've got your hands on some very critical court documents with allegations therein. Can you outline what it is that you've seen in those documents?
SCOTT BRONSTEIN, CNN SENIOR PRODUCER (via telephone): Yes, hi, Ashleigh.
The documents are pretty disturbing and pretty detailed. This is in 2005, the common law wife of Castro, Grimilda Figueroa, has filed detailed accusations of all kinds of violence that she suffered at his hands.
It includes two broken noses, several broken ribs, a knocked out tooth, a blood clot on her brain, two dislocated shoulders, one of each side, and repeated threats to kill her and the children several times.
And what's more, Ashleigh, a little later in the petition, she indicates that Castro, quote, "frequently abducts daughters," unquote.
Now in this 2005 complaint, the common law wife is living in a different location. She's living a few miles away on Liberty Avenue, but it seems that Castro is repeatedly coming over there and, at least allegedly, causing these -- causing violence, at least so the claim goes.
Now this claim is eventually dismissed. I can tell you the details about that.
BANFIELD: And, Scott, I don't know if the documents list where this now deceased wife had been living at the time, but as you do the math, 2005, those three young women had been actually -- let me get us live to a police news conference in Cleveland, Ohio.
I'm sorry, Scott, let's go live and hear what they're updating us.
(BEGIN LIVE FEED) COMMANDER THOMAS MCCARTNEY, CLEVELAND POLICE: And, please, let's stay off their sidewalk. Across the street, we can be respectful, get the news out. And I know there's a job to do, so let's do that.
And, please, remember, I don't want anybody getting crazy making a carnival atmosphere. The girl wants to come home. When she's home, she's going to freshen up, she'll come out on her porch and give a brief statement.
After that, she has asked that you do not hound her for a statement. Her sister Beth will handle any media inquiries after that point.
The family will come home. The family has asked you try your best not to film the young child. And I'm going to have to try and, you know, enforce that, OK?
They will do their due precautions and in a little bit they'll be here. So let's stay on this east curb and I think there's enough room everybody can get a fair shot.
And please, do not bum rush. We don't want a carnival atmosphere here, OK? I have enough resources and I will do what I have to do to respect the family. And I just ask that we all know our good manners and guide us.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Inaudible).
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you know timing?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Inaudible) the child's name?
MCCARTNEY: Very shortly.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Commander, what does this day mean to you?
MCCARTNEY: Oh, my goodness, what a relief to us all as a community that they're finally home. And thank God that they're alive, OK.
Some time ago, about a year ago, we were excavating a large lot and somebody asked me, were you disappointed that we didn't find evidence down in the dirt? And I think I answered, if I could summarize saying, yeah, I was also disappointed but I was also relieved because it kept hope alive.
And I said, some day Amanda will come home and somebody's going to be there to give her a big hug. That day is today. Let's celebrate it, but let's do it respectfully, OK.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There are a lot of questions about whether she could've, should've been found earlier. Do you find yourself sort of asking those questions?
MCCARTNEY: I believe that the information that we were given, that we executed as best we could. And the tactics we used, I do not question the investigation. I will not question.
Certainly there's always could've, would've, should've. Anybody who is human would have that.
But I think the Cleveland division of police has done a very good job, worked tirelessly with the FBI and developed a very good partnership with them, and today, I'm very confident in our approach and I'm very confident in the way our detective unit handles missing persons.
But let's get prepared. They're going to be here shortly, so I know you all want a good shot.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Commander, what about the ...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Commander, after all of these years (inaudible), did you think you'd be out here today telling us ...
MCCARTNEY: I've got to say, thank God, because I'm relieved. And there were moments I questioned whether or not they were with us.
But hope's alive today and our dreams have been answered.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Commander, final question. I know the second district (inaudible) ...
MCCARTNEY: I can't answer. I don't know that.
If I honestly knew that, I would tell you guys, but I do not know that answer.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Inaudible) ...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Commander ...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... child's name?
MCCARTNEY: I'm not going to release the child's name. Family has asked me to be respectful in that manner.
I'm going to go on the other side of the curb and -- my name is commander Thomas McCartney, First District, Cleveland Division of Police.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can you spell that, your last name?
I'm going to go on the other side of the street now, and I'd ask if everybody would stay on this side, OK?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Commander, can you talk at all about the comments ... (END LIVE FEED)
BANFIELD: The Cleveland commander giving this very quick interview to the press that's assembled outside of Amanda Berry's home in Cleveland.
Look, he asked that they don't have a carnival atmosphere, but the intense fascination with this story was evidenced just in that quick ad hoc news conference, as well.
Saying that Amanda Berry is going to give a brief statement, that she wants to come home and she doesn't want this carnival atmosphere outside her home, but that she is going to give the media a brief statement.
Don't forget, Amanda Berry is now 27, but was just 16 when she was abducted just before her 17th birthday. And she now is the mother of a six-year-old child who we now know as Jocelyn.
The father of that child has not been released at this point, but many can assume she was impregnated while in captivity because she gave birth just six years ago after this 10-year ordeal.
And I want to go back to the other details that involve those who are arrested and facing the charges, O'Neil, Ariel, and Pedro Castro. When it comes to Ariel Castro, the owner of that home and one of those who is facing the charges, there is also this history with a wife who filed for an order of protection after severe allegations of abuse.
And our Scott Bronstein is still on the phone. He's got those allegations, the court documents, in his hands.
Just before that news conference, Scott, I was asking you, where did this woman live? Is there any indication she lived in that home? Because in 2005, those three women were in that home.
BRONSTEIN (via telephone): Hi, Ashleigh.
At the time of the 2005 complaint, she is not listed at that address. She's listed as living a few miles away on Liberty Avenue.
And also detailed in the complaint, shows that she and the children are moving around a fair bit to other locations also within a few miles. She's moving around, perhaps, because she's in danger, perhaps because she's unstable in terms of safety.
But at any rate, not listed at the Seymour Avenue address. Nonetheless, she is seeking the protective order from Mr. Castro at this time, and that's in August of 2005.
BANFIELD: And before I get back to the protective order, is there any indication from the documents you have or from the authorities you've been able to speak with at this early time, how she died?
BRONSTEIN (via telephone): That's not detailed here in any way, and I've only heard that through secondary sources, something we're trying to nail down and get more firm.
BANFIELD: Also, Scott, it just seems perplexing to me to see the severity of these allegations and these injuries that she sustained, ostensibly, as she says, at the hands of her husband, A, the protective order was dismissed; B, where were the charges of assault?
BRONSTEIN (via telephone): Great questions, Ashleigh. And nobody here can seem to answer that.
The order was dismissed months later in November and it had to have been dismissed with her agreement. I talked to a court official here who said that there's no question that she basically had to be in agreement for this thing to be dismissed.
Nonetheless, the day that she agreed to do that, her attorney was not present, and from everything we could see, she's basically alone and no doubt feeling very vulnerable.
And she has probably gone through, at this point, months of going back and forth through the courts, months of when Mr. Castro is not showing up for hearings, basically just doing whatever he wants and is out free without any kind of jail time or any kind of assault charges as far as we can tell.
And at the point where it gets dismissed for whatever the reason, she has to agree with it, and the protective order is dismissed without prejudice.
I've been told by court officials here that clearly does not mean that this violence did not happen. It doesn't mean that the violence did happen either. There's no proof in the documents. There's no medical documents that are provided here either.
What we do know is that the allegations are very clear, very detailed.
BANFIELD: And dismissed without prejudice meaning they could revisit that at any time. It was not a forgone conclusion that case was closed by the very wording you've got there in your hand.
Scott Bronstein, great work, and let us know the minute you're able to find more details in those documents and others that may surface.
In the meantime, as you can see on your screen, we're awaiting what we did not expect to happen in Cleveland, Ohio, a public statement from Amanda Berry.
Amanda is the extraordinarily courageous young woman who saw fit to escape, and with the help of a passerby was able to escape captivity and save the other two women also in captivity in that home, what's now being called the house of horrors.
Amanda Berry, 27-years-old, ready to address the press at any moment, a heavy police presence asking for calm to avert any kind of circus atmosphere, but she does want to tell her story and speak with the press.
She, of course, with a small child, a six-year-old daughter born in captivity, as well, young Jocelyn.
Whether she'll be at this statement or out in front of the press remains to be seen.
We're going to fit in a quick break and come right back so we can get this press conference to you the moment it happens. This is live coverage on CNN.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN Breaking News.
BANFIELD: And our breaking news out of Cleveland, at a neighborhood in Cleveland, Ohio, one of the young women who was freed from captivity just 48 hours ago is now prepared to make a statement to the press. There have been balloons and well wishes outside of her Cleveland home.
Our signal to us coming to us live from WOIO, our affiliate in Cleveland. She is expected to come out and greet those cameras. But just a few logistics first. The police ask that the press stand back and allow her to return to this home because she's not there right now and go inside, prepare herself and then come outside to greet the press.
Look on the other side of the street. Look at the number of people who have gathered. Not only are those the press who are absolutely fascinated by the developments as they come fast and furious in this story, but also the neighbors, there are over 100 people who have come out to greet her and to welcome her home.
Amanda Berry, just 27 years old, abducted before her 17th birthday, the day before her 17th birthday. Ten years in captivity and mothering a 6-year-old child now. A now 6-year-old child named Jocelyn while in captivity.
The father of that child is not yet being divulged. Police may not know at this point. They may need to do additional testing, but they can certainly glean a lot of information once they are able to do more interviewing, not only of the three victims in this case, but also as the interviews get underway later on today of those suspects. And that is expected.
And speaking of those suspects, Pedro, Onil, and Ariel Castro, Joey Jackson joins me now live to discuss what they could potentially face.
This is such an early stage of this investigation. At this point, Joey, we don't even know yet what they have discovered in that house other than chains and ropes. At this point at the very least, what could Ariel Castro, the owner of that home, be facing? And then to his brothers later as we find out their connection to this.
JOEY JACKSON, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Ashleigh, I think initially the case will emerge with a criminal complaint. That'll happen first. And I think we would expect because there are three brothers involved, we'll see conspiracy, we'll see aiding and abetting, of course we'll see kidnapping, we could see charges emanating from any sexual abuse or anything else that went on. You'll see false imprisonment charges and you'll see a number of things that are related to their criminal conduct.
Now be clear about this, these are very serious and they face life imprisonment charges, you know, based on what they did. We're still early in the investigation. I think after the criminal complaint, Ashleigh, you'll see a grand jury convening so that they can gather the evidence, the police, the authorities, the prosecutors, deliver that to the grand jury and, of course, based upon that, there could be more charges that stem from this.
BANFIELD: One of the pieces of information that came out on Erin Burnett's program last night as she interviewed one of the leading authorities in this case, was that these three men are more than likely to face not only kidnapping but rape charges. These were his words, that they will face rape charges or at least that rape charges will be part of the case. He did not outline whether all three would face rape charges.
But at this early stage of the investigation, are there conspiratorial connections to rape charges? Would this all be awaiting the testimony or at least the investigation and the interviews of the women in this -- in this story?
JACKSON: Absolutely, Ashleigh, and it's early on, of course, and we don't know and, of course, the police will do a fair and thorough investigation here. But in the event that there's a rape that pertains to one of them, we have to know what the conduct is of the others. Did the others aid and abet that rape? Is there something that they did that they actually participate in that rape? Or were they merely present?
And all those issues will be flushed out as we move forward. Certainly in the event that they had any involvement at all, I would expect the charges will be leveled against them. Very serious, again, and facing life imprisonment as we know as a result, Ashleigh.
BANFIELD: And in that same vein, I'm -- at the top of my head I'm thinking about Warren Jeffs and his rape charges which were conspiratorially based, not necessarily factually as committing of the actual crime. Is that the kind of thing that if the brothers knew about this, if they -- if they delivered food to the home knowing that there were captives in the home, could they be facing all of these same charges based on the underlying theory of conspiracy?
JACKSON: They really could. I mean, conspiracy is a charge that is very broad based. And just so everyone is aware, conspiracy relates to an agreement. Did you have an intent to agree to commit any type of criminality here? And therefore it relates to what you knew and when you knew it. And you have to believe that in 10 years that the brothers were very well versed of what was going on in the house, the nature of any abuse that was happening in the house, and anything, you know, of a criminal nature.
You certainly could say that you would impute knowledge to them. I mean, it'd be hard-pressed for a defense attorney to say that my client was merely present or had no knowledge. And so I do think based upon the conspiracy law and the depth of that conspiracy law that we will see a series of charges that all of them could be held accountable for.
BANFIELD: And Joey Jackson, if you could stand by for just one moment, I want to remind our viewers, as they look at the live pictures outside of Amanda Berry's home in Cleveland, Ohio, there's a heavy police presence there because she at any moment is expected to drive up and actually reenter her home in that neighborhood. She has intimated to the police that she would like to make a public statement. That she would like to come out and greet the some 100 or so neighbors who have now congregated out in front of her home.
Look at the bottom of your screen, just under our banner, you can see not only a very intense press presence, but also members of the neighborhood. People who live in that neighborhood and I can only imagine people who live in surrounding neighborhoods from the Cleveland area also there wanting to greet her as she comes home.
And as we await her arrival, we want to fit in a quick break, but we are live in Cleveland. We will not let you miss a moment of Amanda Berry coming out to greet the public for the first time since being held captive for a decade.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN Breaking News.
BANFIELD: And we are continuing our breaking coverage out of Cleveland, Ohio. A remarkable story emanating from a neighborhood that erupted into a house or horrors.
At this point, you are seeing a congregation of neighbors around one of the three victims who's been freed from captivity after 10 years. Amanda Berry at 27 years old is about to return to her home where her neighbors have congregated and where the media is there because she has indicated she would like to make a public statement.
Any moment, she could be pulling up to her home. We are told by police they would like space for her to be able to access her home without anybody rushing her. She wants to be able to go into her home for a moment and gather her thoughts, get herself ready, and then come out and address the public about whether it's about her ordeal, whether it's about her family, whether it's about her 6-year-old daughter born in captivity, a daughter now known as Jocelyn, or whatever it is, but there are over 100 neighbors who've come to wish her well. Give her a homecoming ostensibly in this Cleveland neighborhood.
This is as her fellow captives, Gina DeJesus and Michele Knight, still remain possibly with their families. Michele Knight, it turns out, the police thought she'd been released from the hospital but she had not been. Her co-captives say that she was not in good condition when she was freed. That she was frail and that she was weak. She is the one who'd been in captivity the longest, having been abducted back in 2002.
Let me remind you the Iraq war had not even begun at the time that Michele Knight was abducted and taken into captivity. Gina DeJesus, apparently her condition seemingly much better according to these early reports. Gina was taken in 2004, at the age now of 23. We are not clear if she's going to make any public statements. But her missing -- her missing persons report from the Cleveland Police Department had described or rather she was last seen by a pay phone. That's where she was in the mid afternoon of 2004 when she was abducted and taken into captivity.
But the good news is that Amanda Berry is feeling strong enough at this point, both physically and mentally, to be able to address the public and give a public statement which is why we are awaiting.
And obviously, there is such a massive media presence and such a public interest in the conditions of these women not to mention there is a huge public interest. What is going to happen to the three men who've now been taken in in connection with this crime. They're expected to be charged possibly later today, Ariel, Onil, and Pedro Castro. The three Castro brothers. Ariel, the owner of the home, and Onil and Pedro, his younger and older brothers respectively.
But, at this point, the charges we're expecting according to the police chief interviewed on CNN, on Erin Burnett's program last night, definitely regarding kidnapping and likely rape charges, as well. Whether the rape charges will pertain to all three of these suspects, it is unclear at this point. But certainly those are the charges the police chief indicated live on CNN that they will be facing.
Our Martin Savidge is also covering every development in the story. He's standing by live in Cleveland, as well.
Martin, what do you have for us?
SAVIDGE: Well, you know, you were just talking about Amanda Berry and how everyone anticipates to hear something from her. Amanda is key in all of this. All three women of course vital. But Amanda key because it was her escape, it was her ability to get out of that house on Monday that really triggered the series of events that now the entire world is covering and watching and waiting on.
You know, she was the one that kicked out the bottom of the door. She is the one whose hand was seen, screaming, help me, help me. She's the one that got the attention of Charles Ramsey and it all went from there. The authorities have really said, if there is a hero in all of this, it is Amanda Berry because she is the one that took the risk and managed to bring about the rescue of the other two women that were in the home. And of course, she was doing it on behalf of her 6-year-old daughter who is with her.