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Jodi Arias Convicted, Asking for Death Penalty; Ariel Castro Charged; Tamerlan Tsarnaev's Body Buried; Sentencing Phase Begins in Arias Trial.
Aired May 9, 2013 - 11:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JULIE CHRISTOPHER, TRAVIS ALEXANDER'S FRIEND: But it was so surreal. I said, honey, whatever is happening, you just have to watch yourself. Promise me you'll watch yourself. I looked at him. I said, just one more thing -- I love you, Travis, I love you so much. I love you so much. You are so loved. And we hugged and he cried. He cried because he was so emotional. But he looked at me as if he knew what I was talking about.
ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: How long before the murder was this?
CHRISTOPHER: Two weeks.
BANFIELD: Let me ask you something. So often, there are so many people on the outside who cheered when they heard that verdict. And there is another phase here. There is a life or death. I want to know what it is you'd like this jury to come back with, given the fact that Jodi has just given an interview saying she'd hope for the death penalty. What would you like to see happen?
CHRISTOPHER: Whatever she wishes for, I hope for the opposite, because she's playing with our minds. I think she's still trying to play us through the media. She still loves the spotlight. And she could go another six months like this, she would. She's not remorseful of anything. If she wants death penalty, let's leave her in jail for a lifetime. Either way, she'll be judged.
BANFIELD: Let me ask you this as well, Julie, would any kind of penalty be in vindication of Travis, or would it be retribution against Jodi? What's more for you?
CHRISTOPHER: More for me, because Travis was such a light person, and, you know, he practiced yoga, he was inquiring about different philosophies. He had such a beautiful light around him. That -- I think that he would want her to redeem herself and -- he wouldn't want her to be happy. That's how much he was so amazing. If he could, he would come here right now and say, you know what, she'll pay one day or another. Just let everybody have peace, you know? He wouldn't want anybody to suffer.
BANFIELD: I hope that you and your friends and family members are able to get through this next very difficult phase. There's going to be a lot of difficult testimony ahead. So we're --
CHRISTOPHER: Thank you. BANFIELD: We're sorry for your loss and we're very thankful that you take to talk to us about Travis. Again, we don't want him to be lost in this conversation. He suffered terribly.
Not only did he suffer in this crime, but his reputation suffered horribly, which is why that question is so important. Is it vindication for a man who was made into a monster, or retribution against the woman who did that? We're going to talk about that a little bit more.
But also, we're going to talk about that Ohio man, who now has been formally charged with the allegations of sheer horror -- there's no other way to describe it -- sheer horror in a house in Cleveland. This morning's court appearance, his first, a sharp contrast to the unthinkable things that Ariel Castro is accused of doing to three young women, just girls a decade ago when they went into captivity. More on that in a moment.
BANFIELD: He is accused of running his home as a virtual prison, kidnapping three children, until they were young women, holding them in seclusion for a decade, sexually assaulting them repeatedly, chaining them up. Amanda Berry, Michele Knight, and Gina Dejesus free now after a daring escape on Monday.
Knight said that Ariel Castro got her pregnant at least five times and that he starved her and that he punched her until she miscarried. She says she was ordered to deliver the child of Amanda Berry when Amanda became pregnant. And then, Knight says she was threatened with death should that baby not survive the delivery in a plastic pool.
This morning, the man accused of all of this, Ariel Castro, was formally charged with kidnapping and rape. His bail set at astonishing $8 million. Standing before the judge, Castro, himself in restraints. Castro now a captive.
Here's how it looked in court.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: Ariel Castro, charged with kidnapping and rape on one charge, kidnapping and rape on the second, kidnapping and rape on the third, and kidnapping on the fourth.
ARIEL CASTRO'S ATTORNEY: With respect to Mr. Castro, he is waiving examination on each case. With respect to bond on Mr. Castro, Mr. Castro is 52 years old. He has lived in the area for 39 years. He is on unemployment compensation. And to the best of my knowledge, he has no convictions, felonies, or serious misdemeanors.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BANFIELD: So what's next for that man, Ariel Castro? What happens next for his alleged victims and a city that is still in shock? Lisa Bloom and Joey Jackson are going to shed light on those questions. It is legal analysis. It is critical as this prosecution going forward.
Back in a moment.
BANFIELD: It is entirely possible that Ariel Castro will never take another breath as a free man. As we've been reporting all morning, the alleged captor and alleged rapist of three young Cleveland women is now a captive himself. He's being held on $8 million bail. And if he is convicted, there is little to no chance that he will ever be released.
But what happens between now and then? It is a long process, potentially. And what if anything happens to Ariel Castro's brothers, who were appearing alongside him this morning in that courtroom?
These are questions I put now to criminal defense attorney, HLN legal analyst, Joey Jackson. We are also joined live via Skype by Avvo.com legal analyst, Lisa Bloom.
Joey, I'd like to begin with you.
I've watched a lot of first appearances in my days as a reporter. This one looked fairly boilerplate to me. But I could see how it could look almost offensive maybe to others watching this process, given the gravity of the crimes he's alleged to have committed, and the fairly quick way he was processed. Can you weigh in on that?
JOEY JACKSON, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY & HLN LEGAL ANALYST: Absolutely, will. Good morning to you.
Good morning, Lisa.
It's a standard proceeding when someone gets arraigned. When it's an arraignment, you're simply apprised of the process you're facing and the process is joined. Here we had a criminal complaint. This criminal complaint listed the charges, kidnapping, four courts, and the rape charges. I fully suspect, Ashleigh, there will be an indictment. What does that mean? A grand jury will convene and the investigation, of course, continues. We know about the brothers, we know at this point they haven't been arrested in connection with this case or formally charged. That certainly could change. I don't know. It depends on the evidence and the information that comes forward.
But I could tell you, once that investigation continues and there is an indictment in this case, which I certainly would suspect happens, that he faces life sentences. And I also think the judge will serve those, having served the sentences, should he be convicted -- it depends on the evidence. He's entitled the due process -- they could be consecutive. That means certainly that they're stacked one after the other after the other. So it's a long road for him. And I think he certainly has a lot of explaining to do, particularly giving the gravity of the case, the specific details of his conduct, the beatings and tying them up and everything that he did and holding them hostage. So certainly, he's a long ways from any type of freedom any time soon. BANFIELD: I don't think it's too far to say this was just sheer torture and years upon years of torture. Clearly, not one event, as you mentioned, the potential for consecutive sentences.
Lisa Bloom, we're getting the reporting that Mr. Castro is cooperating with the police, that he waived his Miranda rights, that he's been giving statements. And we're also hearing that he is under a suicide watch.
I want to get you to weigh in with your trial experience and your experience as a defense attorney, whether you expect, at this point, that the amount of evidence that we have, just thus far, this early on, might just result in a plea deal very quickly to get this over with.
LISA BLOOM, LEGAL ANALYST, AVVO.COM: Absolutely. And you know, if he's going to hang his head in shame, which it what it looks like to me, then why doesn't he just plead guilty and spare these three women and this child the ordeal of having to go through legal proceedings?
You know, I think a lot of these guys, when they talk about being suicidal, it's still all about them and how bad they feel. And if he really genuinely feels any remorse at all, then it's time for him to plead guilty. There is no way he's ever going to see the light of day again, going to see freedom again. He's going to be incarcerated for the rest of his life. These are just legal niceties. I mean, so far, as Joey points out, we have seven charges against him. There should be a lot more charges coming, charges for the forced beatings, the forced abortion, the starvation of these women. There's a lot more to come.
Let's get it over with. Plead guilty, go to prison for the rest of your life where you belong. He can't get the death penalty because that's only for murder in this country. He's going to be in prison for the rest of his life. And let these three women and this girl try to begin their life anew.
BANFIELD: I'll go further, the community as well. I'm in a community right now that's paid over $1.6 million to defend Jodi Arias. And we already know now from our reporting that Mr. Castro was on public assistance and unemployment benefits. And it would certainly cost that community a lot of money and an extensive, prolonged defense as well. So all of this, every bit of the detail that is sure to come out, if there's any trial, would be so horrific, beyond the money that the community would spend.
BANFIELD: Lisa Bloom and Joey Jackson, stand by, if you both will. There's so much more to cover on this front.
And the front, where I'm standing as well. There, is a contentious debate that's looming on another front as well, and in another state. What to do with the body of the alleged Boston bombing suspect. And now, this appears at last resolved. I'm going to have a live report on just where Tamerlan Tsarnaev may be buried, next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
BANFIELD: A key development this morning in the Boston Marathon bombings involving the body of the suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev. The debate over what to do with that body, where to bury that body, now appears to have been settled.
Paula Newton joins me live now from Boston.
Paula, update me. What's the story? What's happened to him?
PAULA NEWTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it seems some time overnight that the remains of Tamerlan Tsarnaev did move from that funeral home in Worcester, Massachusetts, just outside of Boston here, to an undisclosed location.
This is what police told us this morning. Have a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SGT. KERRY HAZELHURST, SPOKESPERSON, WORCESTER POLICE DEPARTMENT: As a result of our public appeal for help, a courageous and compassionate individual came forward to provide the assistance needed to properly bury the deceased. His body is no longer in the city of Worcester and is now entombed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NEWTON: Now, while this solves the problem for the city, for the funeral home, many here are wondering, where was he buried? It seems that the state, the funeral home, and the family of Tamerlan Tsarnaev really just want to keep that undisclosed at this point. They don't want to let anyone know exactly where he is entombed -- Ashleigh?
BANFIELD: I am sure that that is a huge relief not only for the people of Worcester, but also people of Massachusetts who have been so concerned with this that maybe this is just going to be behind them and that it won't be a public spectacle.
Paula Newton reporting live for us in Boston. Thank you for that.
We want to turn our attention once again to the other big story of the day, and that is here in Phoenix. The verdict in the Jodi Arias murder trial will not soon be forgotten. In fact, you will not believe what it looked like outside of this courthouse -- crowds cheering, photographs being snapped, Smartphones and tweets. We compare the reaction here to a couple of other very high-profile cases.
BANFIELD: I'm Ashleigh Banfield, reporting live at the Maricopa County Superior Courthouse, as we wait for phase two here in Phoenix of Jodi Arias murder trial, set to begin just hours from now. It is the sentencing phase where jurors have to decide two things, number one, if the murder of traffic accident especially cruel and then, number two, is she a woman worth saving?
I'm going to take you back right now to the very moment where Arias learned she was guilty.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The state of Arizona versus Jodi Ann Arias verdict, count one, we the jury, dually impaneled and sworn above action upon our oaths, do find the defendant as to count one, first- degree murder, guilty.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BANFIELD: There's the reaction, subtle inside. But here is the not subtle reaction, outside, as that verdict is read.
BANFIELD: The sheer elation and cheering and incredible turnout. Hundreds of people listening on loud speakers as that verdict came down live.
I want to bring back in HLN's legal correspondent, Jean Casarez.
This is such a surreal moment. I was here, and this was happening within a block of me. I could hear that. It was almost deafening. You, on the other hand, were in the quieter confines of that courtroom, yet not quiet at all.
JEAN CASAREZ, HLN LEGAL CORRESPONDENT: So ironic. It was -- before the verdict was read, it was an eerie silence in that courtroom. It's hard to explain, but it was a packed courtroom. They even brought in seats, but not one person was talking. And it was like the world was stopping at that moment. It was very eerie. And the jury walked in and the verdict rang out and --
BANFIELD: Were you able to read their faces? That's always the critical thing. Defense attorneys look at their faces to think, can I gleam anything?
CASAREZ: I normally can. I could not this time.
CASAREZ: I could not. When one male juror sat down, he wiped his face as if this was a difficult moment for him.
BANFIELD: And then, of course, we saw the reaction from the family members. Heartbreaking.
CASAREZ: Oh, it was the justice that they had wanted for so many years. I mean, every day they've been at this trial. And they are just so classy. And they just hold their heads high. And they are emotional. But yesterday, was the infinite moment for them.
BANFIELD: A little-known fact, Jean Casarez and I go back many years covering trial after trial after trial, and many of them high-profile and many of them bringing out big crowds -- Casey Anthony for one, Conrad Murray for another. You watched both those and others. Can you compare what you saw here?
CASAREZ: There are similarities -- the crowds, the cheers, the applause when justice is met, or the jeers when justice has not been met, like with Casey Anthony. Let me tell you what separates this trial from any other high-profile trial -- the wounds, the injuries, the stabbings, the mutilation of a human body. That is unequaled in high-profile trials.
BANFIELD: Well, and that's about to come out today in this beginning of the sentencing phase.
Jean, excellent work. You're a great lawyer and you're a great reporter and appreciate the work you've done. Exhaustive work, really, that you've been there since the beginning four and a half months of this. And it's not over yet.
Thank you, very much, for watching us on this edition of CNN NEWSROOM. Please stay tuned. AROUND THE WORLD is coming up after this quick break. I'm Ashleigh Banfield, reporting live.
SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to AROUND THE WORLD. I'm Suzanne Malveaux.
MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Michael Holmes. Thanks for your company today.
MALVEAUX: We have two big stories we're following here. Making news around the world, 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.
HOLMES: Yes, also, the man accused of kidnapping and rapping them, he's appeared in court.