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EARLY START WITH JOHN BERMAN AND ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN

A Decade of Hell; Interview with Cleveland Councilman Matt Zone; Benghazi Hearing; Prince Harry Heading To Capitol Hill

Aired May 9, 2013 - 06:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Death is the ultimate freedom. That's shocking admission from Jodi Arias after the jury convicts her of murder.

And emotional and politically charged testimony about the night the consulate was attacked in Benghazi.

Quite a morning of news here. Welcome back to this special edition of EARLY START. I'm John Berman in New York.

ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: Nice to see you, John. I'm Zoraida Sambolin. I'm live in Cleveland, Ohio.

And we have new developments unfolding right now in the Cleveland kidnapping investigation, including really horrifying details of the abuse suffered by Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus over the course of a decade, allegedly at the hands of this man, Ariel Castro. We're getting our first look this morning at the former bus driver who police say held the three women captive inside his home. He is facing kidnapping and rape charges.

In an initial incident report that was obtained by CNN details how Castro allegedly abducted the women in the early 2000, what officers found when they first arrived at his home on Monday, and how one of the female captives was allegedly starved and beaten by Castro during multiple pregnancies in order to induce miscarriages.

Pamela Brown is tracking all of these latest disturbing developments for us this morning.

What can you tell us, Pamela?

PAMELA BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Zoraida, according to this initial incident report obtained by CNN, we are learning new horrid details about how Castro lured his victims into his car and then brought them to his home.

In this report, it says that Amanda Berry was walking home from Burger King after her shift when Ariel Castro offered her a ride home after he told her that his son worked at the Burger King.

Also in this report, it says that Michele Knight and Gina DeJesus were also lured into his car. And from there, they were taken to his basement allegedly, chained up and eventually, Castro let them free from the chains and let them roam up stairs on the second floor of his home.

And we're also learning that he only let them go outside the home a couple of times in full disguise, wearing sunglasses and wigs. That's where the garage was in the backyard. So, we believe he only allowed them to go into the garage. Michele told police that she was pregnant at least five times and when Castro found out he would starve her and hit her in the stomach to cause a miscarriage.

Michele was forced to deliver Amanda Berry's baby in the small plastic pool inside the house, according to this report, and Castro allegedly told Michele that if baby died that he would kill her. At one point, the baby allegedly stopped breathing and Michele administered CPR.

The report says that none of these women were ever treated by a doctor while they were in captivity -- Zoraida.

BERMAN: It is so disgusting. We've been listening to this all morning long and every time you're mortified by what you hear.

You mentioned that they left the house maybe a couple times. Do we know where they went?

BROWN: Well, Zoraida, we know that the garage was in the backyard, so we've learned from authorities that the women were brought to the garage only a couple of times. And I spoke to a law enforcement source who said that the women were brought there because essentially he wanted them gone for whatever reason, if he had a guest coming over.

We know that one of Castro's band members came to the house and reported that nothing seemed out of the norm. So, it seems as though Castro would put the women there in order to avoid any suspicions at the house.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Pamela Brown reporting live for us, thanks for all those details. We appreciate it.

And this morning, Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus are back with their families. Everybody is elated about that.

Michele Knight remains in the hospital. However, the doctors are saying that she is in good condition.

And one man who played a big role in bringing them home after their escape on Monday is Cleveland City Councilman Matt Zone. He has been working very closely with the DeJesus and Knight families throughout this entire ordeal.

Thank you so much for joining us this morning. I know you've been very busy.

And I know that this is personal for you because you have really followed Gina's disappearance. Can you tell me how this felt for you personally?

MATT ZONE, CLEVELAND CITY COUNCILMAN: Well, I was a new freshman councilman in roughly six months after Gina went missing. I received this frantic phone call from her mother Nancy wanting assistance to spread the news that Gina was no longer here.

And so, I met with the family. We organized a huge rally. And then we did a mass canvas where 150 volunteers came. We went knocking door to door putting out fliers to try to find out where Gina might be and spread the news that she was gone.

SAMBOLIN: So, Gina is now finally back home with her family. What was that like? How is she doing? You were there yesterday when all of this was happening.

ZONE: It was just a myriad of emotions. You know, the family has such tremendous faith. The mother and father would never accept the fact that their daughter was not coming home. They always knew she was alive. They just felt it. I think it's a mother's intuition. They know that child is still there.

And when she came home, there weren't many words said at all. She didn't say a word. She just gave the thumbs up and the crowd erupted. When I was able to embrace Felix and embrace Nancy and just hug one another, no words were exchanged. But it was like we spoke for hours.

SAMBOLIN: You are getting misty eyed as you are sharing this story.

ZONE: Yes.

SAMBOLIN: A really emotional time for you as well.

Everybody wants to know how Gina is doing, what her spirits are like. You actually got to spend some time with her.

What can you tell us?

ZONE: I didn't get to spend much time with her. I mean, I saw her. I spent -- oh, boy, about four hours with the family, with her aunt, with her cousins, and then a few hours with her parents.

She's incredibly strong. Her parents are so proud of her. Physically she's doing well.

This is going to take some time and really, I'd like to encourage the community to kind of give them their breathing space. Time will heal. But she has a long road to haul.

SAMBOLIN: We were talking yesterday, we were there and we witnessed that incredible celebration as family was just coming and going constantly. They did tell us that they are being very protective, very selective. That Gina is actually deciding who she will see.

But what I thought was really interesting as Myra, her sister said, one of the first things she asked for was a Burger King chicken sandwich no, mayo. She seems to be adjusting very well to being back home.

ZONE: She is. And when we had this impromptu press conference she was in the House with Myra, with her brother Ricky and with other family members reconnecting because that was the first time in nine -- almost 10 years that she saw her family. It was just such an emotional afternoon yesterday.

SAMBOLIN: And I know that you've worked trying to bring all of these girls back home. So, I want to ask you about Michele Knight because she's still in the hospital.

ZONE: She is.

SAMBOLIN: We're waiting to hear where she is going to go when she gets released from the hospital. There's a lot of tension between that family.

So I just want to know if you know anything about her. We're hearing she's in good condition right now.

ZONE: From what all accounts I've heard and the briefing I was a part of yesterday she is doing very well. I'm looking forward to meeting her mother. I've never met her mother.

I know her mom is up from Florida now and is really looking forward to meeting her. We have established a Cleveland Courage Fund for these three young women. They're going to need a lot of help and anyone who would want to give to the Cleveland Courage Fund because these were three courageous young women, can do so at any local key bank, quite frankly, any national key bank, as well, or they can mail their contribution to 1422 Euclid Avenue, in care of the Cleveland Foundation, Cleveland 44115.

SAMBOLIN: We'll have that information up as well so folks can help if they're so inclined to do so.

And Amanda, what can you tell me about her?

ZONE: Amanda is just elated that she's home. I was talking to a colleague of mine who serves in that neighborhood where she lives. And she was just thrilled yesterday, just to have a pizza. The simple things of life that we take for granted.

You spoke about how Gina just wanted a chicken sandwich and Amanda just wanted pizza. These are things that young girls do, and all of us, and to have those simple things in life really say something about the ordeal they went through.

SAMBOLIN: Matt Zone, I appreciate you being here this morning. I know this is personal for you and it's a huge personal celebration for you as well. So congratulations. Thanks for being with us. Appreciate it.

ZONE: Thank you for having me.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Coming up in the next hour on CNN, HLN's Nancy Grace joins us live to talk about the disturbing new details of what allegedly went on in the home right behind me -- John. BERMAN: We're also going to talk to Nancy, of course, Zoraida, about the other big story, that's the Jodi Arias case. We're following that this morning, because in just a few hours, Jodi Arias will be back in the Phoenix courtroom for the penalty phase of the first we degree murder trial. She's been placed on suicide watch after the jury found her guilty of killing her ex-boyfriend in cold blood.

Literally, minutes after the verdict, Arias told a Phoenix television station she'd rather be executed than spend the rest of her life in prison. That interview, shocking, shocking that it happened at all.

Moving on to the CNN security watch right now. The State Department's number two man on the ground in Libya when the U.S. consulate in Benghazi was attacked is offering up a riveting account of what happened that night.

Gregory Hicks testified Wednesday about phone calls he received from Ambassador Chris Stevens during the attack. Hicks, a 22-year foreign service officer, claims he was demoted when he started questioning the State Department's version of events that night.

Dana Bash has more from Washington.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

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

GREGORY HICKS, FORMER DEPUTY CHIEF OF MISSION IN LIBYA: I found two missed calls on the phone. I punched the phone number I didn't recognize, and I got the ambassador on the other end. And 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: At about 3:00 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. He told me that Ambassador Stevens had passed away.

BASH: 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, quote, "spontaneous protest."

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

BASH: 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.

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. REP. JASON CHAFFETZ (R), UTAH: 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. He said, "It's the first time in my career that a diplomat has more balls than somebody in the military."

BASH: The Pentagon says 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.

(on-camera): The Republican chairman summed up this nearly six-hour hearing saying it may be over, but the investigation continues.

As for Democrats one summed up their assessment by saying, "Not only was there no smoking gun, there wasn't even a lukewarm slingshot."

Dana Bash, CNN, Capitol Hill.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BERMAN: Our thanks to Dana for that report.

And a new development this morning in the disappearance of Michigan mother Jessica Heeringa. Police now say her blood was found outside an ExxonMobil station where she worked. She disappeared on April 26th during her shift there. Investigators say they only found a small amount of blood. They also say that her family has now been notified.

Police in rural Kansas admit they have no idea where a missing toddler is this morning. Eighteen-month-old Lana Bailey was last seen with her mother, 22-year-old Kaylie Bailey, at a farm where Kaylie's boyfriend lived. The bodies of Kaylie Bailey, the boyfriend and another man were discovered at the farm earlier this week. Right now, police have no suspects in either the murders or the little girl's disappearance.

The teenager who allegedly punched a soccer referee will likely be charged as an adult in the referee's death. Prosecutors in Utah intend to charge the teen with homicide by assault. Forty-six-year- old Ricardo Portillo died May 4th after suffering serious head injuries in that attack.

New this morning, the troubles appear to be nearly over for Carnival Cruise Line Triumph ship. Under its own power, Triumph left the terminal in Alabama where it was towed after losing power back in February. You will remember, of course, that more than 3,000 passengers endured a nightmare cruise for days without power or running water as that ship was towed across the Gulf of Mexico. Triumph now headed to the Bahamas for more repairs and we are told an upgrade to its entertainment areas.

So, still ahead here on EARLY START, Prince Harry back on U.S. soil. And his first stop, Capitol Hill, where else? So where's the prince headed after that? Maybe more fun on Capitol Hill? We'll tell you, coming up. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: Welcome back to EARLY START, everyone. A big visit to tell you about. Prince Harry is on the Hill today. The British royal begins his latest U.S. visit with the meeting with Arizona senator, John McCain. Who else? Our Max Foster normally in the U.K. is visiting his favorite colony. He is in Washington with more on this trip. Good morning, Max.

MAX FOSTER, CNN ROYAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, John. Yes. One thing I can tell you, I don't think he'll be taking his clothes off on this visit. He did talk about how he let himself down, how he let his family down in Vegas last year when those pictures were released of him taking his clothes off in a hotel suite.

This is, in a way, his chance to redress the balance, you know, too much soldier, not enough prince, he said. That's what he said about Las Vegas. This time, he's going to try to improve things and represent the U.K. and his own interests as well while he's here. So, quite a busy schedule. Let's take you through it. Today going to Capitol Hill, an exhibition about land mines.

Of course, very close to his mother's heart. He's picking up on that, then to an ambassador's reception in Washington, the U.K. embassy, some big political names expected there. He is a big drawer (ph) on these events. And then, on Friday, he's going to visit Arlington National Cemetery where he'll lay flowers at JFK's grave, also the tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Then, over the weekend, he will be at the warrior games in Colorado Springs, seen as the Paralympics of wounded soldiers. Of course, very close to his heart, and that, he says, is the backbone of this tour. Then, he'll be going on Tuesday to New Jersey to visit some area (ph) affected by superstorm Sandy.

And, there'll be a baseball event as well that day. So, you will see him playing baseball. We'll see how good he is. But, it will be a fun visit, I think. Very Prince Harry, I'm told.

BERMAN: A fun visit, a busy visit, and according to Max, a fully clothed visit to the United States. Max Foster in Washington for us this morning. Thanks so much.

Forty-nine minutes after the hour. We want to show you some incredible video here. Take a look at this image. A woman in brazil recovering after her husband accidentally shot a harpoon in her mouth. She was -- he was cleaning the harpoon when it misfired. It struck the woman's jaw and mouth before lodging in her spine.

Doctors say if it had gone one centimeter either way, she would be dead or paralyzed. Shot by a harpoon. That is nuts.

All right. Forty-nine minutes after the hour. Coming up next, we're live in Cleveland awaiting the arraignment of Ariel Castro now facing three counts of rape, four counts of kidnapping. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to EARLY START. I'm Zoraida Sambolin. We are live in Cleveland this morning. And we're getting our first look this morning at the man accuse of kidnapping three women and holding them captive in his home for a decade.

Ariel Castro faces three counts of rape and four counts of kidnapping. Listen to a reporter from WOIO in Cleveland peppering him with questions inside prison.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why are you covering your face? What do you have to say to those women? How could you do that? What kind of monster does this?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAMBOLIN: And we are also learning from an initial incident report obtained by CNN that one of the women, Michelle Knight, was allegedly starved and she was beaten by Castro during multiple pregnancies in order to induce miscarriages. Just a lot of horrific details coming out this morning.

On a positive note, I can tell you that some folks who have spent some time with Michelle in the hospital are saying that she is in good spirits and recovering well -- John.

BERMAN: Nice to have that good news amidst those disgusting details. All right. Zoraida, thanks to you. This just in to CNN.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BERMAN (voice-over): Secretary of state, John Kerry, announcing the United States is providing an additional $100 million in humanitarian aid for refugees fleeing the fighting in Syria. That brings the total aid from the United States to over half a billion dollars. The secretary of state is in Rome right now meeting with Jordan's foreign minister.

Over 500,000 Syrian refugees have fled the civil war into Jordan and now make up 10 percent of that country's population.

An 18-year-old Tempe, Arizona, high school student is now under arrest charged with building bombs. Police say that a maid working in the teen's house found a device and took it to a local firehouse where firefighters called in the bomb squad to diffuse it. Police said they found bomb making materials and two more bombs when they searched that house.

Some good news for Toronto Blue Jays pitcher, J.A. Happ, this morning after he was just drilled in the head by a line drive the other night in the Tampa. That picture just awful. He is out of the hospital this morning and says he hopes to get back to the field soon. That would be great. Happ miraculously suffered only a head bruise and a cut to his left ear. He is a lucky, lucky man this morning. (END VIDEOTAPE)

BERMAN (on-camera): That's all for EARLY START, everyone. I'm John Berman. "STARTING POINT" begins right after this break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: Good morning, everyone. Welcome to "STARTING POINT." I'm John Berman.

SAMBOLIN: And good morning to you, John. And good morning to everyone else. I'm Zoraida Sambolin. I am live in Cleveland. Our "Starting Point," the house of horrors, some abuse to miscarriages and one terrifying birth that is detailed in a new police report laying out the nightmare three women allegedly endured in a Cleveland house for a decade.

Then, kidnapping and rape charges, they are filed against the suspect, Ariel Castro. We have new video of him in custody as he prepares to face a judge for the first time. We're going to bring that to you live.

Plus, Jodi Arias back in court and closer to learning if she'll get life or death as her shocking comments after the guilty verdict have prison officials on high alert.

It is May 9th, a special edition of "STARTING POINT" live in Cleveland begins right now.

Our "STARTING POINT" this morning, an initial incident report obtained by CNN describing what went on inside this house of horror on Seymour Avenue right behind me for the last 10 years. We're going to have more on that in a moment.