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Neighbor: Child Cried For Her Daddy; Verdict Reached In Jodi Arias Case; Gina Dejesus Arrives Home
Aired May 8, 2013 - 14:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: There has been this prayer vigil that started happening here on Seymour Avenue. I'm sure because of these three women. And, again, police, sheriff office, still here in front of this home on Seymour Avenue.
Coming up next, the question that everyone is asking here, and that is this. Why couldn't the women have escaped sooner? They were there for 10 years? Why not bang down the door themselves? My next guest says, it is extremely hurtful and dangerous for the victims to hear that asked.
Plus, we are waiting for Gina Dejesus, now a 23-year-old woman, look at the crush of media, family members, the balloons, the signs. Welcome home. Any minute now, we could be seeing this young woman. Stay here.
BALDWIN: Want to show you these pictures again as we are watching and waiting. These are aerial pictures obviously. We also have cameras on the ground right outside of Gina Dejesus' family home. As you know, she's been held captive for a decade and any minute now, we should be seeing activity there and her finally, finally getting home.
But let's talk about this prime suspect here, this is Ariel Castro, who lived in this home, apparently, again, not been charged, but according to reports held these women hostage. No matter, though, what he did allegedly, Jocelyn, the child believed to be his daughter, apparently has affection for him.
Listen to what Charles Ramsey, this is Castro's neighbor here in this neighborhood who helped Amanda Berry break down this front door told Anderson Cooper last night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHARLES RAMSEY, NEIGHBOR WHO HELPED FREE AMANDA BERRY: That little girl came out the house, and she was crying. And I'm looking at her, like, your mama trying to help you, shut up. I don't know. She said, I want my daddy. I said, who's your daddy? She said, Ariel.
ANDERSON COOPER, HOST, CNN'S "AC 360": She said that?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: With me now is Karen McHenry, the program director for Bellefaire JCB in Ohio, which run adoption and rehab services for troubled users. Karen, nice to meet you. Let's begin with this idea. We hear it here and elsewhere, these are women in their teens, now 20s, who we think could have just left. And you're frustrated by that question.
KAREN MCHENRY, PROGRAM DIRECTOR, BELLEFAIRE JCB: My concern is that people cannot -- most of the public can't compare this to any experience they ever had in their life. These girls or victims as a whole are often kept under horrible, horrible circumstances. And they really experience this learned hopelessness and learned helplessness.
And the trauma beyond that they have with this alleged offender is very, very powerful so they have been belittled, they have been abused physically, they have been abused sexually and it is just constant. I mean, many of us never have to worry about how we're going to survive day to day. But these victims of human trafficking --
BALDWIN: I got to stop you, forgive me. Forgive me, I'm going to totally switch gears here and tell you as we have been waiting for months and months, Jodi Arias, Phoenix, Arizona, as we have been watching this trial unfolding, we now know that a verdict has been reached in the Jodi Arias trial.
You know the story. She is accused of murdering her ex- boyfriend, Travis Alexander, stabbing him, bullet to the head, slash across the throat. She had been charged we're waiting to see what the jury has found. The jury has been deliberating ever since Friday afternoon. What are we, now, Wednesday?
So Friday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, we are waiting. This is huge, huge news. We know that we have seen this play out for a number of weeks. The issue here now is whether or not she is convicted of first degree murder because that throws everything into multiple phases after that.
Because, keep in mind, in Arizona, this could be a -- there could be capital -- this could be death penalty. She could face death. If she is convicted of first degree murder, it goes into other phases and we're getting legal experts to help us understand what could happen next for her as we await this verdict to be read inside this courtroom in Phoenix, Arizona.
She, as you know, if you've been following this case, she took the stand many, many, many days in a row and she lied. And she said that she did this, ultimately, she claims it was self-defense. And the prosecution, they were not buying that.
Ashleigh Banfield, live in Phoenix, Arizona. Ashleigh, we know a verdict has been reached. Tell me what more you know. ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A technical process, Brooke, that literally was just a quick tweet from the PIO Office here in Phoenix, Arizona, saying a verdict has been reached and it will be read at 1:30 local time. So that's 4:30 Eastern Time. But there is a couple of reasons you may need lead time from the time a verdict is reached and the time you read it out in open court.
The prosecutors in this case have offices here in the downtown vicinity. They can be here very quickly. The defense attorneys on the other hand have offices closer to about half an hour away. The families are also awaiting this information from their respective positions in their homes. They need the lead time to get into court as well.
And here is a very unusual part of how court proceedings work and jury deliberations and verdicts transpire as well. Oftentimes, jurors who have worked very hard will want to have a shorter break and sometimes even get a final lunch or a dinner or whatever the next meal might be. Take a breath.
Think it all through, even though they reached their verdict, and have that meal and then actually, you know, give that verdict out. Strangely enough that's oftentimes how this will happen. Here we have it. The verdict has been reached according to this jury. It will be read according to the judge in open court 1:30 Pacific Time.
BALDWIN: Ashleigh, what a day. Let me welcome our viewers back. I'm live in Cleveland. You are live in Phoenix, Arizona, as we were anticipating this verdict being reached in the Jodi Arias trial. Two major stories we're following for you today.
First, you see the small box on the screen, live pictures outside of the home of one of the three young women who was held inside this home here in Cleveland on Seymour Avenue, held as prisoner for ten years. Gina Dejesus, we're waiting to see her happy home arrival. Stay tuned for that.
We have Poppy Harlow and crew there and if you hear this over me, let me just be transparent with the viewers, there is a massive crowd next to me, singing. This is all part of some sort of prayer vigil that was explained to me. So I don't know what's going on. We'll see what's going on there.
And we have Ashleigh Banfield in Phoenix, Arizona, and we have Ted Rowlands. Ted Rowlands, tell me where you are.
TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Brooke, I'm right outside the courthouse, actually, and when word of a verdict came, a lot of court watchers who have been here for the last four months off and on and had been gathering here during the deliberations jumped up and cheered. One woman actually started to break down and cry.
This is one of those trials that has been watched religiously by thousands of people across the country. And for whatever reason it has clicked with them to the point where they have basically stopped their lives. So a lot of people watching this and will be watching when this verdict comes.
We expect it will take some time for the family members to come here to the courthouse. They are going to announce the verdict at 1:30 local, so in about two hours and you have the attorneys have been summoned as well. They'll bring Jodi Arias into the courtroom.
She has been brought here every day and has been kept at a holding cell while this jury of eight men and four women have been deliberating for some 15 hours in total. They have reached a verdict. So we'll find out very soon what Jodi Arias' fate is.
BALDWIN: Ted Rowlands, let me pull away from you. Because now back here in Cleveland, as we mentioned, busy news day on this Wednesday, watching for this verdict for Jodi Arias, also now watching this motorcade here approaching, just stay with me. I'm going to walk you through this.
Here you go. Live pictures thanks to our Cleveland affiliates, you can see multiple cars. I can't tell you for sure if Gina Dejesus is in one of these cars. But you see the crowds here in this corner, police, that's a sign that this could be her as we see the police escort. And as we watch, the doors open, police, family, media, look at that, arms pumping in the air.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just getting out of the car, pumping his fist.
BALDWIN: Gina's dad. Is that the voice of Poppy Harlow?
And there she went presumably that was Gina Dejesus in the yellow hoodie. I don't know about you, I just got goose bumps. We saw the father. Believe some of the brothers outside of this home, what a moment for this family. There are no words.
We just wanted the moment to breathe. Look at this. Poppy Harlow, I know is somewhere in this scene there. Here with me in Cleveland. Poppy, what a moment?
POPPY HARLOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: What a moment. What a day, Brooke. It was raining an hour ago. The sun is now out. It came out. The return of Gina Dejesus to her home, I hope I'm on air with you that you can see us live here. Behind me is the van that Gina Dejesus showed up to her home in. She was in the home -- in the van with some FBI agents.
The same agents that were with Amanda Berry earlier today when she was returned to her home -- those same agents came out. Also, Brooke, we believe her father, Felix, was one of the men in the van, he got out and he put his arms in the air and was cheering with the crowd. They were chanting Gina, Gina, Gina, applauding her.
We saw her sister Myra who we have been talking to throughout this, her brother Ricardo also here with her to welcome her home. She came out. We did not see her face. She was wearing black pants and she was wearing a neon green hooded sweatshirt, the hood was up over her face. This is overwhelming. The family is a bit concerned that she will be too overwhelmed with the media and the family members and friends here to welcome her, but her sister Myra gave her a big bear hug and ran her into the home. This is where she grew up with her two siblings and her parents and now this is where she has returned for the first time in nine years that she's been gone.
BALDWIN: Wow. What a scene. I think it bears reminding our viewers, her back story, she was 14 years old, the year was 2004, she was the final of these three young women, first Michelle Knight, then it was Amanda Berry and then, it was Gina Dejesus, and she was walking home from -- walking home from middle school about a couple of miles from where I am here in Cleveland, Poppy. And then that's the last anyone really saw of her.
HARLOW: That's the last anyone saw of her. And she was 14 as you said, a young girl, very, you know, well liked in this community, this family, very tight knit community, and, you know, yesterday, last night when I was talking with her sister, Myra, she told me, I said how is she doing, she spent time with Gina at the hospital and all day yesterday, and she said, she is in good spirits.
So all things considered, to hear Gina is in good spirits is pretty amazing. I can also tell you that Myra told me that she looked at her sister who is 23 years old, this is nine years later. I said, she's a young woman now. And Myra said she looks to me just like the young girl she was. She is still her little sister.
We do know that at least as of last night Myra and her brother Ricardo did not talk to their sister about the ordeal. Their focus is family, their focus is being together, their focus is not on that at this point in time. They did not go into that. What we do know that investigators have been talking to all three of the women.
So obviously going over what happened, but the focus here is the jubilation and welcome home to her childhood home that she grew up in, Brooke. And we're about to -- I'll tell you, we're about to --
BALDWIN: I appreciate you for being there and we're thrilled for the Gina Dejesus family. What an emotional homecoming for her and for this family, awesome news there. So that's the scene in Cleveland. We're juggling stories this afternoon.
Want to take you back now to Phoenix, Arizona. Ashleigh Banfield was reporting, we have Ted Rowlands outside this courthouse, we have now learned that a verdict has been reached in the Jodi Arias trial. And so that verdict will be read at 4:30 p.m. Eastern Time, 1:30 p.m. local.
Ashleigh Banfield, if you are still with me. Here is my next question, we both have been, you know, geeking out on this in terms of legally speaking and I've talked to a number of lawyers who say sort of the unwritten rule is depending on however many weeks of the trial, sort of equates into how many days juries deliberate. So if you were to do that math, it would be something like 16 days of deliberation. This is day four. Are you surprised by that? BANFIELD: You know, I'm never surprised anymore. I have to be honest, Brooke. The rule of thumb generally speaking that doesn't apply universally is about for every week of trial testimony you can expect about an hour or so of deliberation or at least -- let me rephrase that, a day of deliberation.
I'll tell you what, after O.J. Simpson and nine months of trial, and only up to three hours of actual deliberation before their not guilty verdict, that theory is heavily tested. In this particular case, I will say this, a lot of people were saying we're at the 15- hour, 5-minute mark where the clock stopped and a verdict has been reached and a lot of people are saying, wow, they sure are deliberating a long time.
Sometimes that's subjective from those who believe it would be a short deliberation because the case was seemingly so strong for the prosecution. But I'll be honest with you, I've seen deliberations all over the map. I expected it could have been possible to have a verdict yesterday.
And here we are today, just -- day four, but only hour 15, only one hour or so on that first day so the fact we're awaiting under two hours until that verdict is reached and I should remind you, there were 18 weeks of testimony in this case.
Nineteen days of those trial days alone were Jodi Arias herself on the witness stand under, you know, direct testimony, cross examination, redirect, re-cross, redirect, re-cross. It was really quite remarkable in that respect.
BALDWIN: It is unique rules and laws and even the jury asking the questions specifically in the state of Arizona. Ashleigh Banfield, don't go too far. I want to bring in another voice here, senior legal analyst Jeff Toobin on the phone with me now. I want to walk through sort of the possibilities post verdict. But before I do that, as Ashleigh pointed out this is day four, but really 15 hours of deliberation. What do you make of that timing?
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST (via telephone): You know, juries spend a long time on short trials and short time on long trials. I really just don't have any reaction to how long a jury takes. It is just all about the internal dynamics and it doesn't tell you one way or another which way they're leaning. Shorter deliberations can lead to guilty or not guilty verdicts. I think until we hear from the jurors about what they were thinking, we just can't draw any conclusions at all about the deliberations.
BALDWIN: So on the table we're looking at the screen, possibly first degree murder, maybe second degree, maybe manslaughter. I was reading about all this a couple of days ago because obviously number one is whether or not she's convicted of first degree murder. Let's play the "if" game. If she is, that then goes directly to -- it is like another trial this is the death phase.
TOOBIN: And, frankly, that's that this case has mostly been about. This is a case not about whether Jodi Arias is going to get acquitted. It is a case of whether she's going to get the death penalty. We'll know obviously today whether she is even eligible for it. But the idea -- the evidence is far too overwhelming to allow for a verdict of not guilty on everything. But the question now becomes does she get convicted of first degree murder, and then you would move to a penalty phase, which would decide whether she would get life in prison or the death penalty.
BALDWIN: Jeff Toobin, don't go too far from the home. Ted Rowlands, another voice I want to bring in. He's outside this courthouse in phoenix. Ted, set the scene for me.
ROWLANDS: Well, Brooke, as you can imagine, it is a bit chaotic. Word of a verdict and everybody jumps up and sprints over here not only the media, but people who have been watching this case. And this young woman here has been -- is one of them. What is it about this case that drew your attention, took time out of your day to follow? Why did you follow it so closely?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just think it has been so captivating because it was on TV. I'm sure there are cases like this every day. But it being with the news media, catching this on TV, and the tension, everywhere you go, everyone is talking about it. And just based on the evidence that I've seen, it caught my attention even more and made me just feel attached to the case and so --
ROWLANDS: Do you watch every day?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Every day, every day. Go home, I've got everything recorded and I watch it.
ROWLANDS: And your thoughts on this verdict? What do you think is going to happen here?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm hopeful that justice is served and Travis' family gets what they're hoping for and that would be first degree.
ROWLANDS: Have you ever been in the courtroom?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, I have not.
ROWLANDS: A lot of people, Brooke, have come down here and have waited in long lines, getting here at 4:00 in the morning and they're trying to get into the courtroom. If you look over here, there is a group of people wedged in the corner behind the police lines. These are folks that want to be inside the courtroom once this verdict is read in just about an hour and a half.
The sheriff deputy is outside the courthouse there too. It is hard to explain. Every now and then one of these cases comes up that really captures people's imagination, and hooks them. And this is one of those cases. We have seen the ratings on our sister network HLN have been through the roof for last few months.
People are absolutely dialed into this case and we're seeing it outside the courthouse right now and we'll see it inside the courtroom in just about an hour and a half when the verdict is read. And, of course, as Jeffrey was talking about, this could be just the first phase. If they come back with a first degree murder, if they come back guilty on a first degree murder, this jury is not finished.
They'll have to go to the aggravation phase and possibly the penalty phase because she would be eligible for the death penalty if they come back first degree, if it is second degree or manslaughter, this jury's work is done.
Our producer was up outside the courtroom when these jurors walked out after the verdict had been read and he says that one of or two of them had a feeling -- a look of relief and one person had a huge exhale as they were getting on the elevator because they had come to a decision.
BALDWIN: A look of relief after all of these many, many, many weeks of this trial and then 15 hours here of deliberation. Ted Rowlands, thank you. We'll come back to you again. Reminding our viewers, if you're just tuning in, we're balancing two different breaking stories here.
The story developing here in Cleveland, but secondly and more urgently at this hour what is happening there in Phoenix, Arizona, as we have learned a verdict has been reached in this Jodi Arias case. We know that it will be read. You heard Ted Rowlands and his producers' color on the happiness, the -- they're happy they're finished with the whole situation, the jurors.
And we now know it will be read 4:30 Eastern, 1:30 local. Ashleigh Banfield, she is someone else who is there for us in Phoenix. I have to be honest. I was having a tough time really hearing Jeff Toobin on the phone.
So I just want to sort of pose the similar question to you because initially it is whether or not she's convicted of first degree murder. If she is convicted of first degree murder, that kicks off a -- there are witnesses, almost like a whole other trial in which the defense, the prosecution has an opportunity to go back and forth. Walk me through that phase.
BANFIELD: It is the penalty phase so to speak. Let's start here. When the jury in an hour and a half or announces its verdict through open court, it is probably going to be the judge who reads it. Oftentimes the foreman will pass the verdict to the bailiff, the bailiff will take it across to the judge. The judge will read what that verdict is in open court.
It can go two ways. This jury can be about to go home if they decided she's not guilty or they could be about to settle in for a couple of more jobs. Job number one, and this is sort of unique to this jurisdiction. I'll be honest with you, I had not seen this interim phase before a penalty phase, but it is part of the penalty phase.
They have to do another -- they have to make another decision. It is a critical small decision. Was there what they call cruelty proven beyond a reasonable doubt in that -- in that crime if they decided she's guilty of first degree meditated murder? They must decide whether there was cruelty involved beyond a reasonable doubt.
My guess is they would decide yes because they reached this premeditated murder. That must be done. If they decide, yes, there was cruelty, they move on to aggravation, mitigation. In all of this second phase, this will be some of the most dramatic material that you hear in this case.
Because it is no longer, if they decided she's guilty, it is no longer a case of did she, but more a case of is she or isn't she worthy of the death penalty. This is the time when that mitigation specialist who has thus far been essentially silent in this trial becomes very prominent.
This is the woman who was visited her I think over a dozen times in prison over the last four and a half years, collecting thoughts, collecting anecdotes, collecting facts about Jodi Arias' existence on this earth.
Anything that this jury might hang on to decide, you know, maybe she I was a girl scout, maybe she volunteered once at a senior's home, maybe there is something to save, some nugget that is worthy in this young woman that we shouldn't sentence her to the ultimate punishment, to the death sentence.
But then there are also the aggravators. And that is an ugly, ugly series of facts. This is when Juan Martinez and his team can really go to town in that courtroom. And list out over and over again the suffering that this victim went through in the course of this crime. And there was plenty of it.
That is not at question at this point. This man died a painful death, more than likely. And these are the things that this prosecutor would bring forth in a mitigation aggravation phase. And then it is all the question of just weighing it. No matter formula. No points system you don't outweigh the numbers of one against the other.
The jury takes it all back and just does what their gut tells them, whether she's worthy of living the rest of her life in prison, no parole, or whether she should die for the crime. All of that if they decide she's guilty.
BALDWIN: All of it if they decide she's guilty. And, again, as you've been reporting, we'll know that verdict, it will be read on 1:30 your time, 4:30 Eastern Time. Ashleigh Banfield, stand by as we walk through the possibilities of what Jodi Arias' future may look like there in Phoenix, Arizona.
I want to bring in Lisa Bloom, Attorney Lisa Bloom, and, Lisa, what do you make of all of this here? Day four deliberations, 15 hours, all the weeks and weeks and weeks and the questions from the jurors, what a trial it's been. Your reaction?