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Community Members Say Tips Went Unanswered; Daughter Describes Life with Dad; Baseball Team Saves Girl's Life; Kobe Bryant and Mom Memorabilia Fight; Manti Te'o's Fake Girlfriend in Maxim
Aired May 10, 2013 - 09:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: The prosecutor says he will try to persuade the grand jury to indict Castro that way. He'll use an Ohio law that says a person can be charged with murder for killing unborn children. A conviction could bring the death penalty.
After the three women were rescued from Castro's home, many people in Cleveland are left wondering, could we have done more? Some say over the years, they reported strange activity at the house. But police claim they cannot find any of those reports. Now, one man's startling claim about the disappearance of Gina DeJesus more than nine years ago. CNN's Gary Tuchman has more.
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Eric Poindexter (ph) believes he could have helped Cleveland police end this kidnapping nightmare nine years ago.
ERIC POINDEXTER, SAYS HE CALLED IN A TIP TO POLICE: My brother and I were driving down the street on the day Gina DeJesus was abducted.
TUCHMAN: The street was west 105th, on a couple of blocks from the school that Gina was walking home from the day she was kidnapped. Eric and his brother were driving when a car came up on their left in the turning lane.
Then you saw a girl walking down the sidewalk on that side of the street.
POINDEXTER: Right there by the corner, by the brick building.
TUCHMAN: What did you see this driver do after that?
POINDEXTER: Once we crossed Fidelity here, this intersection, he swerved in front of us, almost hitting us, to get into the parking lane quote-unquote is, and as soon as we passed him up, he did a U- turn, didn't care if anybody was coming the other way or nothing, just hit a U-turn right in front of toward where the little girl was walking.
TUCHMAN: This week's police report about the case, authorities reveal that Gina has confirmed she was kidnapped from west 105th street.
After Eric and his brother saw the car make a U-turn and head towards the girl. They also made a U-turn. Angry that they almost got hit by the driver and also concerned about the girl. When they got to the spot they had seen the girl, they no longer did. She was gone.
It wasn't long before reports surfaced about a missing girl named Gina DeJesus. Eric and his brother say they immediately called the police to tell them what they saw.
POINDEXTER: Wearing tight black pants and a puffy gray jacket.
TUCHMAN: What was the description of Gina DeJesus after she went missing?
POINDEXTER: It was a little girl, Puerto Rican girl, long curly black hair, wearing tight black pants and gray puffy jacket.
TUCHMAN: Same exact description.
POINDEXTER: Same exact description.
TUCHMAN: Eric says the authorities didn't ever seem to think their information was credible.
POINDEXTER: They seemed like they were looking at us like we were looking for attention or something like that.
TUCHMAN: The police?
POINDEXTER: Yes. They didn't give any real true desire to the case. You know what I'm saying. What we were telling them. They thought we were blowing smoke up their butts or something?
TUCHMAN: Why do you think that is?
POINDEXTER: I have no clue.
TUCHMAN: And after the arrest of Ariel Castro, Eric and his brother say that is the face they saw behind the wheel that day.
But theirs isn't the only story that if acted upon could have ended the terror allegedly brought by Ariel Castro. In 2004, after Castro, who was a school bus driver, had allegedly kidnapped two girls and about to kidnap Gina DeJesus, he left a child on his bus as he headed into the bus depot.
I asked police why Castro wasn't he more aggressively questioned about the incident.
DEPUTY CHIEF ED TOMBA, CLEVELAND POLICE: He was interviewed extensively relative to the complaint we had. He was not a suspect in any other complaint. He was a bus driver who inadvertently, so he says, left a kid on the bus, went in for a lunch break, came back, and then found the young man.
TUCHMAN: Castro never prosecuted for that incident. A year later, Castro accused in court documents of repeated abuse and domestic violence against his common law wife, Grimelda Figuora (ph). He was accused of everything from breaking her nose twice to dislocating her shoulders, but the case was ultimately dismissed because of numerous delays caused by Castro not showing up and attorneys for both sides not showing up.
Police strongly defend their work in the case, say they have no records of recent calls pertaining to Aril Castro. They tell us they are not able to confirm if they have records talking to Eric Poindexter and his brother when the kidnapping happened.
POINDEXTER: I now believe 100 percent in my heart that he was there to abduct that little girl. I believe that little girl was Gina DeJesus.
TUCHMAN: Police say they will continue to investigate if other calls have been made over the years. Gary Tuchman, CNN, Cleveland.
COSTELLO: We'll have more special coverage from Ohio in a minute. But coming up next in the NEWSROOM, Prince Harry visits Arlington National Cemetery. We'll take you live to The Tomb of The Unknowns as the British royal pays tribute to fallen soldiers of war.
COSTELLO: Ahead, more special coverage from Ohio. Right now, let's talk about Britain's prince harry. You can see him there. He's on his six-day trip to the United States for events that include honoring wounded and fallen soldiers, right now he's taking part -- or he will take part shortly in a wreath laying ceremony at the Tomb of The Unknowns. Also, in attendance, military personnel as you can see, but also in attendance is a former Georgia Senator Max Cleland, and of course he lost limbs in the course of his service in the Vietnam was, he's a the silver and bronze star. He was awarded the silver and bronze star, I should say.
So eventually after the"Star Spangled Banner" is done, Prince Harry will go to the Tomb of The Unknowns and he'll lay a wreath there. Yesterday he surprised a group of military moms at a meeting. Michelle Obama was speaking along with Joe Biden. There were squeals from the audience. People are overjoyed to see him, and they are also overjoyed that that he is bringing attention to something sorely needed, and that is our service members and the continuing problems they face when returning home from service.
All right. We'll check back when Prince Harry gets to The Tomb of The Unknowns. Let's talk about George Zimmerman and his trial. It's scheduled to begin June 10th. Zimmerman is Florida neighborhood watch volunteer accused of killing 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in February of 2012. Zimmerman's defense is making the final request of the jury and they want jurors to visit the crime scene, remain isolated during the trial and remain anonymous during proceedings.
CNN legal analyst and former federal prosecutor Sunny Hostin joins us live from Philadelphia to talk more about this. Let's start with the crime scene visit. I kind of know the answer to this question, but why does the defense think it's so important to bring jurors to the scene of the crime?
SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, ultimately the jurors are the triers (ph) of fact, and you want to be able, as a prosecutor, to put them in the middle of things because they need to be able to judge what a witness is saying, a witness' credibility, sort of the space, whether or not the testimony sounds appropriate, according to the crime scene, and so I think while unusual, it's really not unprecedented. It really isn't unheard of for lawyers to want juries to visit the crime scene.
Remember in O.J.'s case, the criminal and civil case, juries visited the crime scene, Phil Spector, the jurors visit the crime scene, and I think that it actually can be quite helpful for a jury to be right there where something is alleged to have happened.
COSTELLO: The defense asking that the jurors remain anonymous, but jurors always remain anonymous, don't they?
HOSTIN: Well, they do. But there are juror lists and oftentimes the identities of the jurors are released and I think in a case like this, we saw what happened to the jurors in the Casey Anthony trial, and I think in a case like this, Carol, it makes a lot of sense to make sure that those jurors maintain their anonymity if they want it. That will be very important to this jury going into the trial, because if they think that perhaps they will get the sort of flack that the Casey Anthony jurors got, that could sort of dissuade certain jurors from even wanting to serve.
COSTELLO: If the judge says the jury has to be sequestered, remain isolated, wouldn't it solve the problem?
HOSTIN: It could, but I've got to tell you, jury sequestration is extremely expensive. In the Casey Anthony case, I think it cost over about $350,000 to sequester the jury during the trial. We're talking about feeding, housing, feeding, transporting, securing the jury. So, it's very expensive. And I don't know that's always the best thing to do.
In Florida, clearly, there is precedent because of the Casey Anthony trial. But I'm not so sure that it's always the best option for jurors if this is a long trial, Carol, can you imagine being away from your families, being away from your home, being away from your friends for that long? That could be very difficult for a jury, and sometimes people think it leads to this group think that is not necessarily what the jury system should be about.
COSTELLO: Got it. Sunny Hostin, we'll check back when a decision is made. Thanks so much.
New York home to the nation's tallest building once again, the final pieces are bolted into place at One World Trade Center.
COSTELLO: Back to our special coverage from Ohio and more of our CNN exclusive interview. Angie Gregg, the daughter of kidnapping suspect Ariel Castro is speaking out for the first time. She says those locked doors at her dad's home didn't seem strange at the time, but now it all makes sense.
CNN's Laurie Segall has more on this exclusive from Cleveland.
Laurie, she says, though, in the many times she visited her father in that house, she didn't hear anything odd at her dad's home?
LAURIE SEGALL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, at first she said that, and I should say they were very close. She was here at this home behind me, where these women were held captive, many times. The last time was a couple of months ago, where her father was cooking her a meal. And she said she never really thought of it. But then now that she knows that this has happened, she is beginning to put together those pieces and say, hey, were there any clues, and she said there absolutely were. Let's go back to what she said to me -- Carol.
ANGIE GREGG, ARIEL CASTRO'S DAUGHTER: My husband and I are in complete disbelief that the friendly, caring, doting man I knew as my daddy was in fact the most evil, vile, demonic criminal that I have met or heard of over the past 10 years.
SEGALL (voice-over): This is part of a letter that Angie Gregg wrote after learning her father was allegedly behind the brutal kidnappings in Cleveland, Ohio. Now she's speaking out.
GREGG: And to go to the vigils, to show these girls a footage of their parents' pleas for their returns, to rape, starve, and beat innocent human beings, I'm disgusted.
SEGALL (on camera): You've learned that your father wasn't the guy you thought he was.
SEGALL: What is that like?
GREGG: It's -- it's like a horror movie. It's like watching a bad movie.
SEGALL: Only you're in it.
GREGG: It's -- only we're in it, we're, you know, the main characters, and I never suspected anything was going on, but the more I sit and dwell on it, I think of things that make a whole lot of sense now.
SEGALL: You look back and you say OK, you can piece together -- you're beginning to piece together a puzzle. Where were the signs?
GREGG: Well, he never wanted to leave the house more than a day at a time. He was adamant in the fact that he wanted to leave home early morning and he had to be back by evening.
SEGALL: Were there certain areas in the home that were just off limits?
GREGG: Ever since my mom lived in that house, the basement was always kept locked. I have never been upstairs in the house, and I never had reason to be. I asked him if I could see my room for old time's sake, and he says honey, there is so much junk up there, you don't want to go up there.
SEGALL: When you think, you know, what might have been, what was behind those doors, how do you -- how do you cope with that?
GREGG: I mean, it all makes sense now. Now I know. It's hard, but I have -- I have no sympathy for the man. I have no sympathy. He was just another person who's lied and deceived and manipulated people and I could never forgive him. I could never forgive him. If you were to ask me this last week, I would have told you he is the best dad and the best grandpa.
SEGALL (voice-over): Now Angie realizes Ariel Castro may have fathered a daughter with one of the women he allegedly held captive, meaning she may have a sister.
GREGG: He showed me a picture that was in a cell phone randomly. And he said look at this cute little girl. It was a face shot and I said she's cute. Who is that? You know, and he said this is my girlfriend's child. And I said, dad. That girl looks like Emily. Emily is my younger sister, and he said, no, that's not my child. That's my girlfriend's child by somebody else.
SEGALL: Angie says she was always close with her father, but she says witnessed abuse in the home.
GREGG: He was pretty jealous, he was always saying that my mom was, you know, messing with certain neighbors, things like that, and I've seen -- I've seen him basically stomp on her like she was a man, like -- he's beat her pretty bad several times.
SEGALL: Her mother passed away from cancer-related complications in 2012.
GREGG: I've lost my mother, now I've lost a father, but I don't -- I don't try cry for him.
SEGALL (on camera): If you had a message for him, what would it be?
GREGG: All this time, why? Like why -- I don't -- I don't even know what to say. Why after all this time? Why did you do it in the first place? Why did you take these girls? And why did you never leave, and why did you never -- why did you never feel guilty enough to let them go?
SEGALL: What message do you have for these women and their families?
GREGG: I feel so much -- so much sorrow that you had to endure this. I'm glad that you're back home with your family finally because they never stopped thinking about you. They never stopped -- they never forgot you. You know, right now these girls need to heal. SEGALL: Do you feel that you're going to need to heal, too?
GREGG: I'll be fine. I wasn't submitted to the horror that they were.
SEGALL: In a day you've lost -- you've lost the man that raised you. That must be hard.
GREGG: He is nothing but a memory anymore. He can never be daddy again.
SEGALL: And, Carol, you hear her refer to him as daddy. She wrote on his Facebook page just a couple of weeks ago I love you, daddy, and that's how she referred to him, and you see that that's completely over now. She has a harsh reality to face.
When I was about to leave her home, she was showing me a couple of pictures, Carol. She showed me a picture of her father, of Ariel, and a motorcycle surrounded by children, and she said, Laurie, the neighbors trusted him with the children. He used to ride around with these kids around the block. So, you know, compared to last week, this has obviously been a shock and she's really trying to wrap her head around it -- Carol.
COSTELLO: Yes. And again, I know domestic violence is incredibly difficult to understand and the way it affects family members, but Angie's mom, broken nose twice, broken ribs, filed a protective order against Ariel Castro. Was she never afraid of her father?
SEGALL: You know what, when I spoke to him, I asked her about it. She said that she grew up under the impression she was listening to what her father said, which was that her mother was cheating and was -- you know, was going around the neighborhood, and I think, you know, she was a young girl at the time. She says she felt very protective of him. She actually stayed in the home when the family members had left, and she stayed there for a year, so she had a bond towards him.
She's faced abuse in her life. She -- you know, she's faced a lot of things, and it's one of these times where you can't -- you can ask why, but it's very, very tough to answer.
COSTELLO: But she was never abused by her father?
SEGALL: She was never -- and I asked her that. She was never physically abused by her father. She witnessed a lot of abuse in the home. She has other stories that she's told us, but by her father, she said he was -- he was loving. She said the occasional spanking was the only -- was the only sign of it, but that was it, but she did see, and I think now she's putting together these pieces when it comes to her mother, and she's beginning to have a whole new understanding of the pain and the trauma her mother faced.
COSTELLO: All right. Laurie Segall, thank you so much. In the next hour you'll hear more from Angie. She says her dad -- actually, you just heard. She showed -- her dad showed her a photo of a girl on his cell phone, and now she thinks that was actually the child born in captivity. It was Amanda Berry's child. She'll talk more about that in the next hour of NEWSROOM.
COSTELLO: Well, it looks like it's not going to be happy Mother's Day for Kobe Bryant and his mom. The Lakers star is feuding with his mother for trying to sell off his old memorabilia.
Andy Scholes is here now with "Bleacher Report."
ANDY SCHOLES, BLEACHER REPORT: Yes, good morning, Carol. What an awkward situation this is. Kobe's mom, Pamela Bryant, made a deal with Golden Ox to sell some of Kobe's old high school uniforms, championship rings and other game use items. The problem, is, Kobe says he never said she could have them.
The items given to Golden Ox is deemed so valuable that they gave Kobe's mom a $450,000 cash advance, which she used to buy a house. Now Kobe has filed a lawsuit against the company to prevent the sale of his memorabilia. In the lawsuit the Lakers star says he never gave his mom permission to sell his old stuff and that he wanted the memorabilia back years ago. Now if Kobe wins the lawsuit, his mom will have to return the cash advance she received.
All right. Check this story out. The South Sacramento Valley High School baseball team was wrapping up practice on Wednesday when they heard screams for help coming from the parking lot. Now what happened was a mother accidentally ran over her daughter and she was pinned under the car. That's when the team came to the rescue lifting the car up allowing the girl to be pulled to safety.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GLENMIL BIETE, JR., VALLEY HIGH BASEBALL PLAYER: It was a crash. I looked. I seen the girl go under, and then everyone else was screaming, stop, she's under the car, and then the mom came out. She was just no, no. It took about, like, seven to 10 people to -- we all ran over, carried the car, and then we had one person pull her out.
JACK DANHO, VALLEY HIGH BASEBALL PLAYER: I think we did a good job. It kind of bothered me to go to school today because it was still in my head. I was traumatized. But our quick thinking, like, saved her life.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHOLES: That rescued girl did not suffer any significant injuries and she is expected to be OK.
All right Well, Manti Te'o's fake girlfriend Lennay Kekua may not be real, but she continues to live on in the pages of "Maxim" magazine. "Maxim" releasing its annual "Hot 100" this week and Kekua ranked 69th on the list. The reason for including Kekua, "Maxim" says she's got a ton of great qualities, including looking awesome in a bikini.
Now, Carol, there was no rhyme or reason to the rankings on this thing, but how do you feel if you're one of those 30 people ranked below a fake person?
COSTELLO: I just think it was mean of "Maxim." I mean, leave poor Manti Te'o alone.
SCHOLES: He's never going to get away from this.
COSTELLO: Hasn't he suffered enough?
Andy Scholes, thanks so much.
The next hour of CNN NEWSROOM after a break.