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Jodi Arias Found Guilty; Authorities Investigate Alleged Cleveland Kidnappings; Police: Kidnapped Women were Brainwashed, Fearful; Emotional Homecomings for 2 Ex-Captives; Tense, Partisan Showdown on Benghazi

Aired May 8, 2013 - 18:00   ET



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We, the jury, duly impaneled and sworn in the above entitled action, upon our oaths, do find the defendant as to count one, first degree murder, guilty.


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: All right, so there's the verdict, right there, announced just an hour or so ago, Jodi Arias found guilty of first degree murder for the gruesome 2008 murder of her ex- boyfriend, Travis Alexander.

But the drama is far from over. Now jurors must decide whether Arias will be put to death for her crime.

Let's go straight to Phoenix.

CNN's Ashleigh Banfield is right outside the courthouse.

Ashleigh, how much of a surprise was this that she was convicted of first degree murder?

ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, based on the screams of joy literally from hundreds of people who gathered outside this Maricopa County Superior Courthouse on the plaza, perhaps, I don't know, not much of a surprise, but certainly a lot of jubilation.

There were literally cries of joy that were moving out into the streets, as people began to disperse after that decision was read. You may have seen only a mere sigh on the face of Jodi Arias moments after learning that this jury had convicted her of the most serious charge they could have, premeditated murder, carrying with it the death penalty.

But certainly the eruption of joy outside the courthouse was really quite remarkable. We are about a block away and it was clear as day what we could hear from those who had come down here to hear this. There are some of the images of those who had come down with their cameras, their cell phones, the media that was here as well.

I want to bring in my colleague Casey Wian, who was in the courtroom. I don't know, Casey, if you could see the resounding noise from outside the windows of this courthouse, but you certainly had the view from inside that courtroom. Can you describe that for us?

CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: There were eruptions of joy, sobs, outpouring of emotion from inside the courtroom. I think when Wolf played that clip of when Jodi Arias was sentenced, you could hear one of those sighs. Those turned into sobs of joy, sobs of relief by Travis Alexander's family and supporters of his.

We also had a lot of spectators upstairs, outside the courtroom, trying to get a seat. It was packed inside the courtroom. Not many folks were able to get in.

I want to share what one spectator who's been watching this trial all along said to me. He talked about the O.J. Simpson case in California. He talked about the Casey Anthony case in Florida. He said, this is not Florida. This is not California. This is Arizona. They're going to convict her. And they're going to convict her of first degree murder.

That's the sentiment a lot of folks were sharing before this. And it turned out that they were exactly right. One more interesting thing I want to share with you, Ashleigh, Maricopa County sheriff Joe Arpaio has scheduled a news conference for about a half-an-hour from now. He's going to talk about the custody arrangements for Jodi Arias now that she is going -- now that she has been convicted of first degree murder.

Presumably, those custody arrangements could change. We will have to hear what the sheriff has to say about that, Ashleigh.

BANFIELD: Well, without question, Casey, those state marshals are going to have her in their custody for a few more days to come in this courthouse that we're in front of, because the cells that are in this courthouse are where people like Jodi Arias are kept while there are further decisions to be made about their greater future.

So without question, she's going to be here, and she's going to have to go through a whole lot more in this courtroom in the days to come. I also want to just add that the family of Travis Alexander, you saw Casey during his report reporting on their jubilation in the courtroom. They occupied three whole rows of that courtroom.

The family of Jodi Arias occupied two rows, and was understandably rather silent after that verdict was read, very little reaction from her mother at all, at least what we could witness, no tears that we could see when the camera was on her. There were five rows of media.

You can see our Jean Casarez in one of those rows, Beth Karas, two of our CNN and HLN correspondents who watched these verdicts come down as well, extraordinarily dramatic, to say the least. And it should be. This is a death penalty case.

I want to bring in our panel of experts on this. With me is Sunny Hostin, a former federal prosecutor who is live with us in Philadelphia, as well as Paul Callan, defense attorney and professor of law as well who is live with us in New York City, and my colleague Jeffrey Toobin, who joins me live here right out front of the Maricopa County Courthouse.

For starters, I think what's critical to outline, Jeff Toobin, is the process that comes next. This family is not through with what they're going to hear in that courtroom.

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: No, they're not. This is a very unusual process, even among states that have a death penalty.

It's a two-part penalty phase. The first part, which will start tomorrow afternoon here, is the -- is to determine solely if the crime was especially cruel. If the jury finds that the crime was especially cruel, unanimously, they then move to the more traditional penalty phase, where the jury will have to find unanimously to impose the death penalty.

So, at this point, all Jodi Arias needs is one juror in either this first short process or the longer penalty phase to say, no, this should not be a death penalty case; 11 to one for the death penalty is not enough at this stage. The state needs a unanimous finding in both this first process about cruelty and then the penalty phase. The state has to win both of them unanimously for a death penalty to result.

BANFIELD: And what might be even more sort of astounding, Jeffrey Toobin and I were just going over the statutes together -- Paul Callan, I want to bring you in on this -- is that, yes, the jury must be unanimous in its decision on the gravest aggravator, which is this cruelty aggravator. Especially cruel is how they word it.

But they also must be unanimous if they choose not to go ahead with that aggravator. There is a very unusual situation that can develop here, whereby this judge can impanel another jury. We were both astounded to see this in a sentencing face, Paul Callan.

I don't know if, in your years of practice, you have heard of a brand-new jury that can be impaneled in a secondary phase in a death penalty case. Had you heard of this?

PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL CONTRIBUTOR: No. I have never seen it. I'm astounded by it. And, frankly, I wonder if it would be even constitutional, because the whole idea in a death penalty case is that the jury sees everything, and understands that the crime is so heinous that the death penalty has to be imposed.

But on the issue of the aggravator, you know, I think she's facing a strong probability of a death penalty here, because if this jury wanted to cut her some slack, Ashleigh, and give her something less, they had a lot of options here. They could have come in with second degree murder. They could have said manslaughter, it was a heat of passion situation. And was this a cruel murder? He was stabbed 27 times and shot in the head. He was naked in a shower. I mean, could a death be more cruel than that? And what will her mitigating factors be? He was -- it looks like he was unarmed. Obviously, the jury has already rejected her -- that she was a beaten woman, or an abused woman, and that's why she did it.

So where are the mitigating factors? If you just apply the law -- now, let's forget whether we favor or oppose the death penalty -- you just apply the law, this is a death penalty case.

BANFIELD: Well, I just want to bring in a little bit more news. This is coming courtesy of our Grace Wong, a producer who has been working within the courtroom. And she's reporting that the aggravation or at least the sentencing phase which begins with the aggravation phase, begins tomorrow at 4:00 Eastern time. That's 1:00 local time here in Phoenix.

And the state is expected to call one witness, at least for tomorrow. And that is the medical examiner. His name is Dr. Kevin Horn. He's expected to take up most of the afternoon tomorrow. And I don't think it's any secret as to why the medical examiner would be one of the first witnesses.

Former federal prosecutor Sunny Hostin, I'm sure you would have great insight as to why the medical examiner would be the first up on the stand and what some of the things Dr. Horn might say on that stand.

SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, it certainly makes sense if you're trying to prove the cruelty of this crime.

And I agree with Paul. I agree with Jeff. I really don't think that the cruelty, the aggravating phase is really the issue here, because under Arizona law, Ashleigh, cruel is described as disposed to inflict pain in a wanton, vindictive manner, sadistic or depraved.

I think we can all agree when that medical examiner gets on the witness stand and describes the shot, and describes the almost 30 stab wounds, and describes that Travis Alexander was almost decapitated in this, I think that certainly takes this out of sort of the norm of first degree murder into the cruel realm.

And so I really don't think that this first phase of this two- penalty -- two-part phase is really the issue. I think the real issue is what we will hear when the defense tries these mitigating factors, to put these mitigating factors in front of the jury.

And I think we are going to hear a lot about this alleged PTSD. I think we're going to hear, perhaps, about the remorse here. I think we're going to perhaps hear about -- from her family how her family loves her, how her life should be spared. But in my view, when you look at this type of crime, and the fact pattern here, once that medical examiner gets on the witness stand, I can't imagine that the cruel part of this is not going to be determined.


Well, I will tell you what, Sunny Hostin. If she wants to display any modicum of remorse in this courtroom, there will be version four of how this crime was perpetrated. And she will have to break down and sob and say that she is sorry for the premeditated killing of Travis Alexander.

And it remains to be seen whether that is an opportunity. But she will have the opportunity, most likely, if she chooses, to get up on the stand.

One other bit of business outside of the courthouse here, and we're at local time 3:10 in the afternoon. The sheriff, well-known sheriff, nationally well-known sheriff, Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County is scheduled to give a news conference somewhere in this vicinity.

So, we're awaiting that, Wolf Blitzer. He's likely to give more details on -- as we heard Casey Wian report earlier, on the incarceration plans possibly pending this next phase, the sentencing phase, but also potentially beyond as well, Wolf.

BLITZER: Ashleigh, Jeffrey, everybody, thanks very much. Don't go too far away.

We're going to continue to monitor. We will hear what the sheriff has to say.

Also, we're following other breaking news right now. We're getting new details about what happened inside the house in Cleveland where three young women were held for about a decade. Our Poppy Harlow is standing by. She's getting new information.

Also, the emotional homecomings of two of the victims, now their families are speaking out, very emotionally, about the ordeal. Stay with us.


ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

BLITZER: Let's go back to Cleveland right now.

CNN's Poppy Harlow is standing by.

Poppy, I take it we're getting more details, more information on what was going on in that house for a decade where those three young women were abducted by -- allegedly by Ariel Castro, who has now been formally charged, four counts of kidnapping, three counts of rape. What are you learning, Poppy?


Some great reporting by my producer, Rose Arce, who had a long conversation with a police source very close to this investigation today -- there's a lot of things I want to run through for our viewers here that are new, breaking and key to this case. So, let me start with this. First of all, that source says that this is -- quote -- "a slam-dunk case," saying, "I cannot imagine a trial," talking about the charges now filed against Ariel Castro, the kidnapping and rape charges.

Also important to note this police source said that chains were found inside the home. Again, chains were found inside the home, as the FBI and Cleveland police have searched that home, saying it is clear that these girls were held against their will.

Also an interesting development, Wolf, this source says that the girls remember watching the vigils held for them on television. They were sitting in that home against their will watching vigils held for them on television, knowing that their families were looking for them.

Another important question that we have been trying to figure out is any relationship. Did Ariel Castro know Gina DeJesus? Did he know the DeJesus family? And this police source says that it is clear and confirmed that Castro's daughter was a friend of Gina DeJesus, again, that Castro's daughter was a friend of Gina DeJesus.

Also important to note, talking about the interviews, the interviews that the police and the FBI have done with these three women since they were discovered, this police source calls them very intense, very intense interviews, as you can imagine what they have gone through over the last decade or so, very intense interviews.

We're also told it is the FBI that has taken the lead on these interviews with those three victims. Also important, in terms of talking about those charges which were just handed down, those rape and kidnapping charges against just Ariel Castro, not the brothers, just Ariel Castro, this police source said -- quote -- "We got what we need to prove the most important thing here, which is that they were held against their will."

They're going to continue to do interviews with these victims, but, again, that source saying they got the most important thing that they need, calling this a slam-dunk case -- Wolf.

BLITZER: And it sounds also, Poppy, like they got statements from Ariel Castro himself, even though he was read his Miranda rights.

HARLOW: Right. That's what we're hearing from police. We're hearing that indeed they have been talking to Ariel Castro. We don't have details on what he has or has not said.

But that is being reported at this time, that Ariel Castro has been talking to the authorities.

BLITZER: All right, stand by. Good reporting. Thanks very much, Poppy.

Let's go back to Paul Callan and Sunny Hostin, our legal analysts. Paul, first to you. We did hear the police chief, the deputy police chief, the prosecutor suggest that they weren't filing charges against the two brothers, in part because of what they heard from Ariel Castro, in addition to the three women. So, just on that alone, we can assume he's talking.

CALLAN: Oh, you can absolutely assume he's been talking, and obviously not implicating his brothers in talking.

That's probably something that they factored in, because they most certainly would have asked him whether he acted alone or he had help. I would expect them to play it a little closer to the vest this -- to the other brothers, if it was an ongoing investigation, really. Most of the statements seem to suggest it's over, and they're not really looking hard at the other two brothers. I find that approach to be kind of surprising by law enforcement.

BLITZER: I do, too.

Let me ask Sunny what she thinks about that.

Do you agree with Paul, Sunny?

HOSTIN: Yes, I do.

I mean, typically, when you have an investigation that is ongoing, and you have three potential suspects, you want to speak to all the suspects, and perhaps get evidence from one of them against the others, or two of them against the other. And so it is surprising that you have the chief of police saying, listen, there is no evidence whatsoever against these men.

But he did qualify it in a sense by saying that they weren't being charged at this time. And that's why I would like to stress that, one, I don't think any case is a slam-dunk, even though you may have very strong evidence, but two, cases change, investigations change as time goes on. And so this is just very, very early.

It's even early, Wolf, quite frankly, that he's only been charged with three counts of rape. Let's think about it. Three girls over the period of 10 years? I mean, you can certainly, as a prosecutor, prove beyond a reasonable doubt more than one count of rape for each girl.


HOSTIN: And so, again, this is very, very preliminary.

CALLAN: And, you know, Sunny, I also noticed when I was looking at the Ohio statutes, there are other charges like involuntary servitude, unlawful imprisonment. There's a whole menu of charges, in addition to, as you said, the extra rape charges that could be lodged in the case.

HOSTIN: That's right.

CALLAN: So it -- I just find it very, very hard to believe that we have reached the end of the road on this in terms of the charges.


And let me bring Jeffrey Toobin into this.

Jeffrey, a lot of us remember some cases where prosecutors initially, police initially say it's a slam-dunk case and it turns out to be not such a -- not necessarily a slam-dunk case. Do you think it's appropriate for them to suggest now this is a slam-dunk case?

TOOBIN: I think it's completely inappropriate for them to say it's a slam-dunk case. I think it's inappropriate to say that you know for sure that the two other brothers were not involved, even though you haven't looked at any of the evidence that was just taken out of the house today.

And especially it is inappropriate to exonerate the Cleveland Police Department at this point, which didn't find these girls for 10 years, in the face of what certainly seems like at least some clues that they could have been found. So, I think any immediate conclusions drawn this quickly are totally inappropriate about the guilt of any defendant, the non-guilt of other suspects, and the conduct of the investigators who let these girls be unfound for a decade.

BLITZER: Yes. Well, you make some excellent points there. All right, everybody stand by.

We're going to continue the breaking news coverage, including raising this question, why two of the Castro brothers are not facing charges, any serious charges right now. What's that all about?

Plus, emotional homecomings for two of the victims. They are now reunited with their family and friends, friends and family they haven't seen in a decade.


BLITZER: We're following up on the breaking news, charges filed in the kidnapping of three young women held captive in a Cleveland house for a decade.

Prosecutors have announced just a little while ago details of their case against the accused abductor.


VICTOR PEREZ, CLEVELAND CITY PROSECUTOR: I just signed criminal complaints charging Ariel Castro with four counts of kidnapping and three counts of rape.

These signed criminal complaints are first degree felonies. The defendant will be arraigned tomorrow morning in Cleveland Municipal Court and his case will be transferred over to the Cuyahoga Court -- Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas. Cuyahoga County prosecutor's office will then proceed with the prosecution of these criminal cases. This case will proceed to the Cuyahoga grand jury, at which time I expect will result in indictments on these charges, and may result in additional counts.

As it relates to Pedro and Onil Castro, no charges will be filed against these two individuals at this time. There is no evidence that these two individuals had any involvement in the commission of the crimes committed against Michelle, Gina, Amanda and the minor child.

However, both of them do have outstanding Cleveland Municipal Court warrants for misdemeanor cases. These misdemeanor cases for Pedro and Onil will both be heard tomorrow morning in Cleveland Municipal Court.


BLITZER: There you have it.

Let's go to Brian Todd right now. He's in Cleveland.

Brian, you were there when the prosecutor, when the police chief, where they made this dramatic announcement. And they also provided some other fascinating details.

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Wolf, some details that we had not heard before.

And one of them was key, because we'd been hearing over the last 48 hours, that there were reports from witnesses and others, who -- from witnesses who were in the neighborhood actually who had allegedly said that they had seen a woman naked in the backyard of that house, possibly a woman in chains.

Well, police addressed that pretty early on in this news conference. Take a listen.


MARTIN FLASK, CLEVELAND DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC SAFETY: The statements from the suspect and the victims, there's no evidence to indicate that any of them were ever outside in a yard, in chains, without clothing, or any other manner.

ED TOMBA, CLEVELAND DEPUTY POLICE CHIEF: We were told that they left the house and went into the garage in disguise. So those are the two times that were mentioned or that they can recall.

QUESTION: So they never left the property?



TODD: So they never left the property and were only outside the house, according to police officials, on two occasions over the course of a decade.

And you just heard them say that when they came out on those two occasions, that they were in disguise and they went into the garage. Another key point that I pressed them on in this news conference, I asked, is Ariel Castro is the father of that 6-year-old girl, the biological father, and were there other pregnancies involving the three women who were held? Police were very guarded on that. They said they could not reveal any details on that. And they said that may come out later in the investigation, Wolf.

BLITZER: Brian, stand by.

CNN's Pamela Brown is joining us on the phone right now. She's getting some more information on what happened when the police first showed up at that house.

Is that right, Pam?

PAMELA BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Wolf, according to a law enforcement source I spoke with, with firsthand knowledge of this Cleveland investigation, we have learned that when Amanda Berry escaped from the home on Monday, the other two women inside could also have run, but they chose not to, according to the source.

The source says that the two women essentially were not bound, and that this -- the decision not to flee reflected the women's state of mind, that they were brainwashed and fearful, and that the women had -- quote -- "succumbed to their reality."

And it really points to the fact that, as we have heard over and over again, Wolf, that Amanda was the real hero out of this, that she had hit her breaking point for whatever reason. We learned from the source that she knew that he wasn't home at the time and that was her only opportunity.

And during the press conference, we learned that, and over the course of that decade, that on Monday was the only opportunity for an escape.

BLITZER: And that was that. And that was a successful escape indeed.

What else are you learning about their initial -- once they arrived there, and they saw what was going on, specifically what it was like inside that house? Because we're told by a lot of people who have seen it already that it was a disaster inside.

BROWN: Yes, Wolf.

Officials at this point are staying tight-lipped about the details of what the conditions were like. But it's just interesting to note that, after Amanda fled, we're learning that the other two women, they had an opening as well. But they chose not to.

And I think that that really speaks to, you know, their mind-set, and the fact that, you know, this is a long time. Ten years. You think about it. In talking to the source, you know, I think after time you sort of succumb to that reality, that it just becomes something that you think is going to be just the way it is for the rest of your life.

But as we -- as we saw with Amanda's heroic act of escaping, that she hit her breaking point and was the real hero. We also learned, Wolf, that the women relied on each other for survival during those ten years and that they did interact during their captivity, but they were typically kept in separate rooms.

BLITZER: Yes. And let's not forget these women, Amanda Berry, she was only 16, almost 17 years old when she was taken back in April of 2003. Let's not forget Gina DeJesus, she was only 14 years old. She's now 23. She was taken in April 2004. And Michelle Knight, she was older. She was 20 years old when she was taken on August 22, 2002. A sad, sad story. And what an ordeal these three young women have gone through.

There are new developments unfolding right now in this Cleveland kidnapping case. A law-enforcement source with firsthand knowledge of the investigation tells CNN that, when Amanda Berry escaped on Monday, the other two women, as we just heard, they also could have run, but as Pam Brown just reported, they chose not to. They presumably were brainwashed, if you will. They were fearful of leaving that house. They'd only left that house twice to go to the backyard on two occasions, according to law-enforcement authorities.

The law-enforcement source also says the women relied on each other for survival.

And just a little while ago, prosecutors announced they're charging Ariel Castro with four counts of kidnapping, three counts of rape. However, no charges will be filed against Castro's two brothers at this time. A police source close to the investigation, he tells CNN that this is a, quote, "slam-dunk case that may result in guilty pleas instead of a trial."

Also today, an FBI evidence recovery team in protective suits searched a second residence near the Castro home. They were accompanied by dogs and could be seen carrying shovels at this second residence, as well. We're following up on that.

Emotional celebrations for two of the three women held captive for a decade in that house in Cleveland. Today Gina DeJesus on the left, let's show her, Amanda Berry, her 6-year-old daughter on the right, they were reunited with loved ones at the family homes just miles from the scene of the ordeal. But Amanda Berry had been expected, according to police, to make a statement, but instead her sister spoke instead.


BETH SERRANO, AMANDA BERRY'S SISTER: ... for their support and courage over the years. And at this time our family would request privacy. So my sister and niece and I can have time to recover. We appreciate all you have done for us throughout the past ten years. Please respect our privacy until we are ready to make our statements. And thank you.


BLITZER: What a heartbreaking story.

Today, one of the kidnap victims' relatives publicly thanked John Walsh. John Walsh, he's standing by to talk to me. We'll talk about what's ahead for the women, for the suspect who's now been charged with kidnapping and rape. John Walsh, here in THE SITUATION ROOM.


ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

BLITZER: We have some extraordinary audio that we're just getting in from the Cleveland Police Department. This is the dispatch that they played, that they recorded as they were initially walking into that home in Cleveland, where these three young women had been held captive for a decade. I want our viewers to listen to this. John Walsh is going to be listening to it, as well. This is extraordinary video -- audio.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: ... Berry and said she had been kidnapped ten years ago. She's at that location now. The code one, 0149, 0149.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Copy. Is she still on the line?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She still isn't on the phone right now. She's saying that the male is Ariel Castro, 52-year-old Hispanic male that lives at 2207 Seymour, and that he's been holding her here for ten years.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She's saying that she's at 2210. And she's saying that the suspect lives at 2207.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're going to head over to Seymour.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's the address? I'm on Seymour now.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She's saying that she's at 2210. 2-2-1-0.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Both parties advised.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Two-six. We'll defer to the company over there.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Seventeen-fifty-four. I'm sorry, who -- what was your position?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're arriving. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're complete and on scene.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 1755, 50 seconds, May, 62013.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Adam 23, you got a bus coming? This might be for real.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You still want a bus?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're heading over. We're on Seymour.




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: 175659 seconds, May, 62013.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's others in the house. (UNINTELLIGIBLE) Gina DeJesus might be in this house, also.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is there anybody who hasn't called out who's there, just so I'm aware of everybody who's there?



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can I get the address on Seymour one more time? I'm sorry.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 175832, seconds, May, 62013.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 1022 to 1024. One of you call me on 9, please.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We found them. We found them.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can we get a wagon over here, please? CMST.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We've got a female (UNINTELLIGIBLE). We've got a young child with her.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 175950 seconds, May, 62013.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We also have a Michelle Knight in the house. I don't know if you want to look that up in the system, 32 years old.



BLITZER: There you have it. The dramatic moments when the police arrived at that home in Cleveland and found the two women, the other woman, the other woman who had made that call, Amanda Berry to 911, was across the street.

John Walsh is here, the former host of "America's Most Wanted." It's chilling to hear the police say, "We think this is for real."

JOHN WALSH, HOST, "AMERICA'S MOST WANTED": For that officer to say it's real. And for me, it's real mixed feelings. I looked for two weeks for my son. Wish I'd have heard one of those calls and didn't hear that call. Because you want to believe it.

But there are literally thousands of parents out there, Wolf, who don't know what happened to their children, don't have a clue. It's wonderful that these three girls are back. But people have got to remember, there are thousands of parents out there that are praying that someday they'll get that call, like Terry Dugard, like Jaycee Dugard's mother did.

I saw them last night. And Jaycee said the most poignant thing. She doesn't talk to the media. That's our advice, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. The media -- you, me, everybody -- give them the time. But give them the time to heal properly with good, good therapists. Good therapists.

But Jaycee Dugard and her mother said last night, "It's tough. It's a tough road back. It's a terrible tough road back." And Jaycee has two little girls. So the toughest road may be for Amanda with a little girl.

BLITZER: You -- you never gave up. When you were hosting "America's Most Wanted," you did it for, what, two decades-plus.

WALSH: Twenty-five.

BLITZER: When it came to these young women in Cleveland, we've got a little clip. This is back in 2004. A clip of "America's Most Wanted." And we're talking here about -- you were interviewing a woman named Arlene Castro, whom we now believe to be the daughter of this Ariel Castro. Today he's been charged with four counts of kidnapping, three counts of rape.

Let me play this clip from "America's Most Wanted."


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Two girls were walking home together, hoping to spend the rest of the afternoon at Gina's house.

ARLENE CASTRO, BEST FRIEND OF GINA DEJESUS: I decided to call my mom and ask her, and so she gave me 50 cents to call my mom. And so my mom said no. That I can't go over to her house. And so I told her I couldn't. And she said, "Well, OK, I'll talk to you later." And she just walked.


BLITZER: She's talking about Gina DeJesus, her friend.

WALSH: Her best friend.

BLITZER: Your correspondents from "America's Most Wanted" spoke to the daughter of Ariel Castro.

WALSH: And the ironic thing is that -- and I'm not here to criticize police, and again I say it, 140 cops died in the line of duty last year. It's the only job where you go to work and don't know if you're going to come home that night, your children don't know. But I always believed that Amanda's case and Gina's case were linked.

But now I'm absolutely sure that, when -- when Gina lent the 50 cents to Ariel to ask that she called her parents. And not to Ariel, to Arlene, she called her parents to say, "Can I go over, or can Gina come to my house."

And when her parents said no, you can't, then Gina walked home. She didn't have bus money. She walked home. I always believed, whoever got her got her on the walk home. I'm absolutely convinced it was Ariel. It was Arlene's father had knowledge that Gina DeJesus, who was obsessed by, he could grab her on the way home. I think that the...

BLITZER: It looks like all three of these young women were kidnapped in the same kind of way.

WALSH: No doubt. For years, nobody has seen -- in almost 99 percent of cases, including my son, you get all kinds of disinformation and you never know. They're gone in an instant, Wolf.

But I think this guy grabbed these girls right off the street. And I also think that he probably -- it will come out. We don't know now -- and I say debrief these girls professionally -- that he grabbed Amanda. That the first ride she ever took, instead of coming home, was with that guy, with Ariel. And that those were the first two.

He probably grabbed the Knight lady. She's a lady now, but she was 20 at the time...

BLITZER: Michelle Knight.

WALSH: ... Michelle Knight, he probably grabbed her, engaged her somewhere on the street, too. But again, I think everybody's sort of missing the fact today that Michelle Knight, nobody even cared that she was gone.

BLITZER: They just thought she was a runaway.

WALSH: It's so sad, Wolf. Because when they get in the house, even the cops are going -- everybody in Cleveland knew about Gina and Amanda -- but they're going, there's a woman in here, Michelle Knight, and she even had been in the house the longest.

It's just -- I believe some good will come out of this, Wolf, that cops will start to say, "We have to take what the parents and friends are saying much more serious," because Gina DeJesus's parents fought -- they told me over the phone many times, "Why wasn't she an Amber Alert?" I fought for three years to get the Amber Alerts passed.

BLITZER: The parents publicly thanked you today for all the work that you tried to do over these years. I'll thank you on our behalf as well. John Walsh, thanks, as usual, for coming in.

WALSH: Thank you, Wolf.

BLITZER: We're also getting new details today about the attack that killed four Americans in Libya, including the ambassador. For the first time in public, the second in command to the slain U.S. ambassador recounts his final phone call with his boss.


BLITZER: Nearly lost amid in a lot of the glare today, the breaking news coming out of Cleveland and Phoenix, but September's deadly attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, was the subject of a very important all-day hearing on Capitol Hill.

Let's bring in our chief congressional correspondent, Dana Bash.

Dana, you followed every step of it. What did we learn?

DANA BASH, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It was a very long, very emotional hearing. The witnesses got choked up. Even a Republican congressman did. But most of the emotion was passion through a partisan prism.


BASH (voice-over): For the first time, a gripping public account of the Benghazi attack. The second in command to the slain ambassador, Chris Stevens.

GREGORY HICKS, FORMER DEPUTY CHIEF OF MISSION IN LIBYA: I found two missed calls. I punched the phone number I didn't recognize. And I got the ambassador on the other end. He said, "Greg, we're under attack." BASH: For 30 minutes, Greg Hicks told the story of the deadly attack as he lived it, from a command center at the U.S. embassy in Tripoli.

HICKS: About 3 a.m., I received a call from the prime minister of Libya. I think it's the saddest phone call I've ever had in my life. And he told me that Ambassador Stevens had passed away.

BASH: Hicks was commended for his harrowing service by both parties. But the bipartisanship stopped there. Republicans invited Hicks to bolster GOP accusations that the administration botched the response and misled Americans afterwards. Especially U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice's television appearances, calling it a, quote, "spontaneous protest."

HICKS: I was stunned. My jaw dropped. And I was embarrassed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did she talk to you before she went on the five Sunday talk shows?

HICKS: No, sir.

BASH: Hicks said that hurt U.S. relations with Libya by offending the Libyan president, who was on one of the same programs calling it a planned terror attack.

Hicks also argued the U.S. military could have helped squash the attack by scrambling fighter jets to fly overhead. The defense secretary and joint chiefs chairman testified in February that was not possible.

GEN. MARTIN DEMPSEY, JOINT CHIEFS CHAIRMAN: As we looked at the timeline, it was pretty clear that it would take 20 -- up to 20 hours or so to get them there.

BASH: The committee's top Democrat put that to Hicks.

REP. ELIJAH CUMMINGS (D), MARYLAND: Do you have any reason to question General Dempsey's testimony?

HICKS: Again, I was speaking from my perspective.

CUMMINGS: I understand.

HICKS: On the ground in Tripoli. Based on what the defense attache told me. And he said two to three hours.

BASH: Hicks also says four Special Forces personnel were ready to board a plane from Tripoli to Benghazi but were stopped by their superiors. It fueled GOP outrage.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How did the personnel react to being told to stand down?

HICKS: They were furious. I can only say, well, I will quote Lieutenant Colonel Gibson, who said, "It's the first time in my career that a diplomat has more balls than somebody in the military."

BASH: The Pentagon says that Special Forces were told not to go because they were not equipped for combat and needed in Tripoli to care for the wounded headed their way.

For all the GOP questions before the hearing about the then- secretary of state, Hillary Clinton's role, only one Republican congressman tried to get at her, going after top Clinton advisor, Sharon Mills, suggesting Mills was angry that the State Department lawyer, one of her deputies, was shut out of a meeting with GOP Congressman Jason Chaffetz, who went to Libya to talk to Hicks.

REP. JIM JORDAN (R), OHIO: This has upset this five, whatever you want to call it. The secretary, everyone above him. And yet now, they're obstructing it because he won't -- he won't help them cover this up.

BASH: Former Clinton aide Philippe Reines insists that's not what happened. Mills called to support Hicks, not yell at him. She wanted them to know that, no matter how far away they were from home, they weren't alone, that she was with them, and most importantly, that the secretary was with them."


BASH: At the end of this hearing, Republicans argued at the very least, they are telling the American people they are trying to get answers so that they can trust their government.

As for Democrats, Wolf, one summed it up by saying not only were there no smoking guns; there wasn't even a lukewarm slingshot -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Now we'll see what the political fallout is going to be from all of this. Dana, thanks very much.

Let's dig a little bit deeper. Candy Crowley is here, our chief political correspondent, the anchor of "STATE OF THE UNION." I'm sure there's going to be fallout. It was pretty partisanly divided. The questions, the answers up there on Capitol Hill.

CROWLEY: Very. And even though there doesn't seem to be a lot new that came out of this, what we had was on-the-ground wrenching, emotional testimony. That immediately sort of rekindles all of this.

We also heard Chairman Issa say at the end, "Well, the hearing's over, but the investigation is not." So they intend to continue.

I think of particular interest here is who gave the stand-down order to the group in Tripoli, who wanted to go to Benghazi and we're told that stand down. Like how far up could that go?

And it's very clear that Republicans are not satisfied with the report that was put out by two very esteemed men who investigated this, because they believe that there are higher ups. And I think we can -- particularly at the State Department, can go higher up. And say -- they believe that there are others who ought to be held accountable.

Not justified in what was a pretty, quote, "damning" report that was given on Benghazi, that there were just failures along the line. But the Republicans clearly feel that higher-ups were involved in this and made some -- some missteps that even might have saved some lives. I mean, that's the general gist of all this.

BLITZER: I think the other issue is that -- and it directly relates to your Sunday show -- that here we have the firsthand testimony from the deputy chief of mission, the No. 2 U.S. diplomat in Libya, saying from the beginning they knew this was an al-Qaeda terrorist operation, not some sort of spontaneous demonstration because of the YouTube anti-Muslim film.

But on your show and four other shows, the ambassador went out there and suggested it was a reaction similar to what was going on in Cairo.

CROWLEY: In Cairo, exactly. I think where that goes, obviously, is there is no trust in government, et cetera.

Now what the State Department says now and what the White House says now is she went with the best information at the time. But this clearly rankles -- and I think what was really interesting was they said, you know, that Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., undermined the president of Libya, who said instantly, "This is a terrorist attack." He said it made him look foolish. I don't know quite what the word was. But it undermined him. So it's another sort of aspect of this.

BLITZER: That's the No. 2 diplomat in Libya. He said he was outraged when he heard what she said on your show and the other shows. She was reading from the classified talking points that they gave her.

CROWLEY: And that, of course, is their other point, who changed the talking points?

BLITZER: Who cleaned those talking points? Candy, thanks very much. We're going to have a lot more on this. All the day's other news throughout the evening here on CNN.

I'm Wolf Blitzer in Washington. "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.