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Nightmare in Cleveland; Castro Arraigned on Rape and Kidnapping Charges; Cleveland Kidnapping Victims Back Home; Arias Found Guilty, Faces Death Penalty; House Holds Boston Bombing Hearing; Cyber Crime, a Growing Threat

Aired May 9, 2013 - 12:00   ET


SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN ANCHOR: New details emerging from the nightmare in Cleveland. We are learning more about the horrifying ordeal of those three young women held captive for a decade.

MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, and also the man accused of kidnapping and raping them; he's appeared in court.

The other big story, of course, Jodi Arias prefers death to life in prison.

MALVEAUX: In Phoenix, jurors who convicted her of first-degree murder, they're beginning to determine her fate.

We're going to have in-depth coverage of both of those stories and, of course, the latest news from AROUND THE WORLD.

Now, alleged kidnapper and rapist goes to court, this is in Cleveland.

HOLMES: Yes, Ariel Castro, you know that name now. He held his head down as he appeared before a judge today.


HOLMES (voice-over): This is Castro's latest mug shot. Now he didn't speak during the hearing. The prosecutor, he had plenty to say.

MALVEAUX (voice-over): He told the judge that Castro turned his home into a prison for these three young women.

BRIAN MURPHY, ASSISTANT PROSECUTING ATTORNEY: (Inaudible) charges against Mr. Castro, based on premeditated deliberate depraved decisions to snatch three young ladies from Cleveland's West Side streets to be used in whatever self-gratifying, self-serving way he sought fit.

Two of the victims incurred this horrifying ordeal for more than a decade, a third close to a decade and an ordeal (inaudible) a little girl born believed to have been born to one of the women while in captivity.

Also while in captivity, they withstood repeated beatings; they were bound and restrained and sexually assaulted (inaudible) and never free to leave this residence. MALVEAUX (voice-over): Castro faces four counts of kidnapping, three counts of rape; bond was set at $8 million, $2 million for each of the four victims.

HOLMES (voice-over): Coming up in about 10 minutes, we're going to be talking to a legal analyst, you know him, Joey Jackson. He's going to be talking about the case against Castro.

Of course, one by one, these women lured into the suspect's car, taken to his home where they were held captive until their escape this week.

MALVEAUX (voice-over): Authorities say what they endured was absolutely horrifying.

Pamela Brown, she has been digging into the details of what these three, these victims, went through.


MALVEAUX: And, Pam, tell us first of all authorities say that the women -- I mean, it is horrific when you look at the police report, that they were bound, they were beaten, they were assaulted multiple times.

I mean, what more could these young women endure?

PAMELA BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: According to this initial report, Suzanne, they were essentially tormented. We've learned in this report that they were chained in the basement of Ariel Castro's home, that one of the victims was punched repeatedly in the stomach and starved after Castro found out that she was pregnant.

And one of the victims was forced to give birth to one of the other women's babies and that if the baby died that she would be killed. So really just unspeakable details emerging from this initial incident report from Cleveland police.


BROWN (voice-over): The initial incident report obtained by CNN spells out a number of the horrid details. Amanda Berry's baby was born in a plastic pool delivered by Michele Knight. The report also says that when the baby was born, she stopped breathing. And Castro told Knight that if the baby died, he'd kill her.

Amanda Berry told police the baby's father is the suspect, Ariel Castro. Michele Knight says she was pregnant at least five times by the suspect, each time forced to abort the baby by starvation and by Castro repeatedly punching her in the stomach.

The women told police that none of them were ever treated by a doctor while in captivity. When police entered the home Monday, no one was found in the basement. But as an officer near the top of the stairs and yelled Cleveland police, the report says Michele Knight threw herself into his arms. Then DeJesus rushed out of a bedroom and also threw herself into the cops' arms. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We found them. We found them.

BROWN (voice-over): A law enforcement source tells CNN that Amanda Berry had hit her breaking point, that she was desperate to get out of the house on Seymour Avenue.

But why was she able to escape now after more than 10 years in captivity?

DEPUTY CHIEF ED TOMBA, CLEVELAND POLICE: Something must have clicked and she saw an opportunity. And she took that opportunity. And I said it the other day and I'll say it today, that, you know, she is the true hero.

BROWN (voice-over): That same source says that the other two women, Gina DeJesus and Michele Knight, could also have run but chose not to, even though they were not bound and that decision reflected the women's state of mind.

The source went onto say the women relied on each other for survival and did interact, though they were mostly kept in separate rooms. They only left the house twice.

TOMBA: 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.


BROWN: And according to law enforcement officials during the search of Castro's house a couple of days ago, there was an apparent suicide note found inside that home, written by Castro himself, allegedly talking about thoughts of suicide and that he was beaten, abused by one of his family members.

At this point, we don't have any more details on that, but we know that was written in 2004. So that was after at least a couple of the alleged abductions occurred.

MALVEAUX (voice-over): All right. Pamela, thank you. Appreciate it.


MALVEAUX: Today, Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus, they're back at home spending time with their families.


MALVEAUX (voice-over): Michele Knight, however, she is still in the hospital. It's really unclear what she's being treated for, but she is now listed in at least good condition.

HOLMES (voice-over): Which is some good news. Family members have been in visiting her, but her mother says she hasn't gotten to see her yet. She described what it felt like after realizing that, after all these years, her daughter was alive. BARBARA KNIGHT, MOTHER OF MICHELE KNIGHT: Emotional. I've been like crying off and on. And I'm just hoping that my daughter lets me see her because I would love to see her. I'm thrilled and all I want to do is hug her and say I love you and I'm glad it wasn't you that died. And it really hurts because, you know, I haven't seen her in so long and I can't wait to see her.

HOLMES (voice-over): Knight's grandmother told the Cleveland "Plain Dealer" newspaper that many family members and police believed Knight wasn't kidnapped back in 2002, but instead ran away on her own. But her mother says she never believed that and searched for her for years.


MALVEAUX: Now, for our other big story, one of the most salacious trials that we can remember and, of course, the question following: will Jodi Arias live or die? The Arizona jurors that convicted her yesterday of first-degree murder, they're now returning to court today.

HOLMES: That's right.


HOLMES (voice-over): And it's called the aggravation phase of the trial, that's the legal terminology. What it is is an important step in deciding whether to sentence the 32-year-old woman to death for killing her ex-boyfriend. Now, let's watch her -- let's call it a stoic reaction to the verdict and the reaction from the crowd outside the courthouse.

CHRISTINA MCAIN, COURT CLERK: The State of Arizona versus Jodi Ann Arias (ph) verdict count one. 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.

MALVEAUX (voice-over): Quite a sensational trial. Evidence including graphic sex tapes, there were photos, gruesome images of the victim that was killed in this case. So should remind viewers of the victim, of course, 30-year-old Travis Alexander, shot in the face, stabbed about 26 times or so. And almost decapitated, really disgusting.


HOLMES (voice-over): Terrible stuff.


HOLMES: Casey Wian has been following this trial from the start, joins us now from Phoenix.

Casey, explain this aggravation phase, what does it mean? What happens?

CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Michael, Suzanne, this is something that's unusual in state courts in the United States.

Arizona law provides for this sort of two-part penalty phase in a potential death penalty case. And as you mentioned, what's happening today in a couple of hours will be aggravation phase. And that means that the prosecution must prove that Jodi Arias killed Travis Alexander in an especially and unusually cruel manner.

And you talked about those -- that horrific evidence that has been presented during the trial. Some of these photographs of the wounds that he suffered, 20-some stab wounds, that was shown during the trial, a big photograph inside the courtroom. One of the most graphic photos, his throat slit wide open. And also a gunshot wound to his head.

Those pictures are all likely to be displayed again as the prosecution goes through testimony from Keith Horn, Dr. Keith Horn, who is the medical examiner who conducted the autopsy on Travis Alexander.

What's likely to be very important is the order that those wounds were received, if, in fact, he was stabbed and remained alive before his throat was slit and then he was ultimately shot, that could provide the evidence that the prosecution needs to prove that this was an especially cruel killing.

The jury will then decide, they must decide unanimously, if this is going to move then to the next phase, the penalty phase, where it will be determined if she lives or dies.

HOLMES: All right. Casey, thanks so much. Casey Wian there in Phoenix.

MALVEAUX: Here's more of what we're working on for AROUND THE WORLD.


MALVEAUX (voice-over): Big cheers from crowds outside the courthouse. This is when Jodi Arias' verdict was announced. We're actually going to ask a psychologist why so many people became so emotionally attached to this case.

HOLMES (voice-over): Also, coming up, bond set at $8 million for Ariel Castro, a move aimed at keeping him behind bars, of course.

What's next in the legal battle against him?

MALVEAUX (voice-over): And the dust is settling after yesterday's emotional hearing surrounding the night that four Americans were killed in Benghazi, Libya. Well, now House Majority Leader John Boehner, he is now weighing in. We're going to take a look at what is going to happen next.



(MUSIC PLAYING) HOLMES: Welcome back, everyone. The suspect in the Cleveland kidnapping case was arraigned today on a long list of crimes.


MALVEAUX (voice-over): Four counts of kidnapping, three counts of rape and when a grand jury gets the case, that list could grow even longer. Right now Ariel Castro is being held on an $8 million bond. This morning prosecutors accused Castro of abducting Amanda Berry, Georgina DeJesus and Michele Knight.

HOLMES (voice-over): Imprisoning them and of course Berry's 6-year- old daughter as well, who was born during all of this in that house, for nearly a decade.

MURPHY: They re-emerged thankfully and miraculously three days ago at the home of Mr. Castro. That's a home that serves as Mr. Castro's residence, but a prison to these three women and eventually a child.

Today, the situation's turned, Your Honor. Castro stands before you a captive -- in captivity, a prisoner. The women are free to resume their lives that were interrupted and also with the promise and the hope that justice will be served.


MALVEAUX: So if more charges are added later on, what could these actually entail?

Here to answer that question HLN legal analyst criminal defense attorney Joey Jackson.

Michael and I have been talking about this all morning. We have got like a million questions for you here.


MALVEAUX: You know, if Castro faces more charges and also could he have acted alone in this? Are there potentially other people who they are looking to involve besides the brothers?

JACKSON: Suzanne, what a strange story to begin with, OK. Now, understand that this was the first of what could be a many-stage process. It's a criminal complaint. And the purpose of that is just to initially inform you of what you might be facing.

Those charges that you outlined, you and Michael outlined there, are initially what he's facing. He went to court on the arraignment; of course, you're informed as a defendant this is what you're facing, the judge sets bail, which he did at $8 million, $2 million per count.

After this, there's a long way to go.

As to the question of what the charges can be, of course, that will pertain to the investigation and what it uncovers. We've already learned that there's been some beating of these women that he's had. So could there be additional assault charges added?

There's a child that was born inside that house. How is that child born there? What medical care? Is there reckless endangerment charges there? Is there endangering the welfare of a child charge?

You better believe, Suzanne, when this case is presented to the grand jury as the investigation proceeds there could be multiple charges added.

HOLMES: And as we said, too, the two brothers have not yet been charged with anything, a couple of minor early felonies that were dealt with and basically thrown out.

The thing that we can't get and I don't think a lot of people can get is how did one person keep this thing secret for ten years like that?

With the brothers, could that be a tactic? We don't know, of course, what the police tactic is, but could be a tactic to leave it for now.

JACKSON: Interestingly, Michael, if you have that question and Suzanne has it, the world has it and, of course, the prosecution does.

And so what I think we'll see is a probing further into what if any involvement the brothers had. What did they know if anything, and when did they know it, if ever. So I think that's going to be determined.

But we're still at the initial stages of the investigation. The police at this point in conjunction with the district attorney's office feel uncomfortable with actually formally charging them from this.

But be clear. That could change depending upon what information is unearthed as the investigation proceeds.

MALVEAUX: And, Joey, just looking at this initial appearance in the courthouse, we see Castro with his head down. We see his demeanor. We know with the defense, it was very, very brief.

What do you make of what we've seen so far?

JACKSON: Sure. What happens is is that proceeding is just a pro forma proceeding. You wouldn't expect more than about five minutes. He's in and out of that.

So with his head down, he's ashamed -- he should be ashamed. I mean, these charges carry life terms and they're multiple charges.

And what generally happens is the judges stack them. So you're accused of and then sentenced for and he's entitled to due process, his day in court. He'll have his defense.

But if he's found guilty, he'll never see the light of day again. Be clear about that.

HOLMES: Yeah. Yeah. It's an -- so the next step then is what? JACKSON: What usually happens now is that, of course, his attorney will be entitled to gather information. There will be motions presented by the attorney.

Did he speak to the police? If so, was he read his Miranda warnings? Should any statements be suppressed, should they not? He's entitled to a trial, which would be a full airing of the issues.

A grand jury will issue an indictment. What will the indictment contain? Will there be other charges? Will there be a trial?

HOLMES: How long will that take? Ballpark, of course, but trial, what? What are we talking, six months, a year?

JACKSON: Interestingly enough, Michael, it takes some time. It will take far in excess of a year, in fact, unless, of course, there's some deal that's cut depending upon the information with his lawyers and with the district attorney's office. That remains to be seen.


JACKSON: Incredible story.

MALVEAUX: Amazing. It's unbelievable. Joey, thank you.

JACKSON: My pleasure, Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: We appreciate it.

Of course, we're going to be following this throughout the hour, everybody talking about this and learning more about these three women.

And we are also following the Jodi Arias verdict. Coming up next, however, we're also going to take a look at some other stories that are making news AROUND THE WORLD.

HOLMES: Yeah, there's plenty going on out there, including what could be the biggest bank robbery in the world.

It's cyber attackers this time, accused of stealing $45 million from banks. We'll tell you which banks were hit the hardest.


MALVEAUX: The standoff over where to bury Boston bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev is now over. Police in Worcester, Massachusetts, say that his body is now, quote, "entombed."

HOLMES: Yeah, an interesting word, that, It had, of course, been in the funeral home in Worcester since the attack on the Boston marathon a few weeks ago.

Now in a place statement, they are saying, quote -- they're thanking a, quote, "courageous and compassionate individual who came forward."

MALVEAUX: There's no word, actually, on where the body is, but police say it is no longer in the city of Worcester.

On Capitol Hill today, a House homeland security committee opened hearings on the Boston bombings. Among other things lawmakers trying to find out whether the bombings could have been prevented and whether there were warning signs before the attack.

HOLMES: And here's an interesting one. Computer hackers in 26 countries working together somehow managed to steal $45 million from banks, cash machines and credit card companies.

MALVEAUX: So I understand they did it with computers, smartphones. Federal prosecutors, they actually have the names of some of the high- tech crooks and they're simply going after them now.

HOLMES: Amazing.

MALVEAUX: (Inaudible) how they did this.

HOLMES: Yeah, it is. It's extraordinary.

Mary Snow is in Brooklyn right now. Mary, tell us about this ring of cyber thieves, no shotguns and hoods over the head in this case.

MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, well, Michael and Suzanne, the U.S. attorney here in the Eastern District just laid out how it worked and said it involved hundreds of people around the globe.

The U.S. attorney here, Loretta Lynch, focused on a sale of eight men here in New York who are accused of being cashers, who actually were at the last part of this operation.

But she said prepaid debit cards were really the target here and that hackers got into the systems of credit card processors overseas. And she is calling this the largest theft of its kind that is known.


LORETTA LYNCH, U.S. ATTORNEY: This was a 21st century bank heist that reached through the Internet to span the globe, but instead of guns and masks, this cyber crime organization used laptops and malware.

Moving literally at the speed of the Internet the organization made its way from the computer systems of international corporations to the streets of New York as well as major cities around the world.


SNOW: Now, how U.S. Attorney Lynch described how it happened was that once PIN numbers were obtained, they were sent to cashers. And she's saying that eight men here in New York, once they got those PIN numbers, carried out two strikes, one in December and another in February.

And she said in February, that was the largest one. Within a ten-hour period they were able to withdraw more than $2 million within just hours. And that arrests have been made, the last two arrests were made last night, hence the charges announced today.

MALVEAUX: So, Mary, I guess the big question is, what can they do actually to prevent something like this happening again?

SNOW: Right. And that is the biggest question, Suzanne.

Because if these hackers can get into these systems, what would prevent them really from getting into personal accounts? These were prepaid debit cards that were targeted.

That was something that the prosecutor was asked about, and she did indicate that these companies are keeping close tabs on these high amount of activity, but still we see that these two attacks were able to get through.

One thing that she did say in terms of ultimately who will pay for this, she says, are consumers because ultimately the cost of higher security in banks and financial companies will trickle down to the consumers, even though personal accounts weren't affected in this particular case.

Certainly a question of safeguards is one that is really not known at this point.

HOLMES: Yeah, the interesting thing here too, Mary, you say this involved 26 countries, hundreds of people.

They caught the bunnies at the end who took the money. What about the real bad guys in all of this? Have they got any chance at getting them?

SNOW: Well, that's the thing. This investigation is still going on, and the U.S. attorney wouldn't really detail how this ring was broken because that investigation is still going on in many countries.

Didn't really want to detail the focus of these hackers, specifically where they're located.

HOLMES: All right, Mary Snow, thanks so much there in New York City.

Amazing, isn't it? You've got people probably sitting in Russia or somewhere else who did all the real work there and probably got all the money.

MALVEAUX: And nobody knows who they are, yeah.


MALVEAUX: Some other stories making news "Around the World," right now, the United States promises more help for people who have fled their homes in Syria.

HOLMES: Yeah, Secretary of State John Kerry, he's in Rome today, and he did say that an additional $100 million is going to help Syrian refugees. That jumps up American aid to Syria to more than half a billion dollars.

Of course, there's that whole other issue of those internally displaced who aren't getting much aid at the moment.

MALVEAUX: And John Kerry also trying to bring down some of the tension here between Israel and the Palestinians. It is not easy, especially in light of the fact that Israel announced plans to build hundreds of homes in the West Bank, homes for Israeli settlers.

The U.N. is against it, saying all the Israeli settlements, as they grow, they violate the rights of the Palestinians.

HOLMES: And Professor Steven Hawking, he says no to a high profile presidential conference that's going to be going on in Israel with a who's who guest list.

The famous physicist was invited to speak next month about Middle East peace efforts. A whole bunch of other things were going to be on the agenda as well, but he turned it down to show support for a global academic and cultural boycott of Israel requested by Palestinian academics, and he's going right along with that, creating a bit of a stir.


And still ahead, hours after the guilty verdict, Jodi Arias tells a reporter that she would rather get the death penalty.

We're going to talk with a psychologist about what's behind that.