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Castro Could Face Murder Charges; The Psychology of Captivity; IRS Admits Targeting Tea Party Groups; First Responder Arrested in Texas Fire and Explosion; Woman Pulled Out from Collapsed Building
Aired May 10, 2013 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Brooke Baldwin live here in Cleveland, Ohio, where right now we are learning more shocking details about what happened in that home, that white home behind me here on Seymour Avenue. We have now learned DNA tests confirm Amanda Berry gave birth to Ariel Castro's baby. The Ohio Attorney General's Office says the test show that the man accused of kidnapping her and raping her is the father.
Castro's grown daughter is talk talking to CNN exclusively about the times she went into this home, unknowingly feet from these alleged victims.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANGIE GREGG, ARIEL CASTRO'S DAUGHTER: Ever since my mom lived in that house, the basement was always kept locked. I've 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, oh, honey, there's so much junk up there. You don't want to go up there.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: And we now know Ariel Castro is talking. A law enforcement source close to the investigation says that he is confessing to some of the horrific crimes. The prosecutor says he's looking to seek the death penalty for aggravated murder for the alleged termination of Michele Knight's five pregnancies. According to this police report he would starve her once he learned of the pregnancy and then would beat her, thus aborting the -- aborting these fetuses.
As for Michele, she has just been released from the hospital here in Cleveland. So that is some wonderful news on this Friday. Also, CNN has learned she was removed from a federal missing person's database years ago. Why? Because no one actually ever confirmed she was still missing. Police say it was procedure to take her off the list.
Susan Candiotti is here with me in Cleveland. And Susan has been following this story.
Let's -- let's begin with -- we saw Ariel Castro yesterday facing the four kidnapping charges, the three rape charges, but now the possibility of the aggravated murder charges as it relates to Michele Knight. SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. And you outlined it very nicely. According to Michele Knight, we know from the police statement that we obtained, the police statement that she gave to authorities that very first night, that she told authorities that she became pregnant five times but not only that, that each time Ariel Castro, she said, would starve her for at least two weeks, not give her anything to eat or drink. And then on top of that, would punch her in the stomach in order to prompt a miscarriage.
And so the prosecutor says he is contemplating these aggravated murder charges to -- on the basis of taking the life of those fetuses. Now this of course could be a very controversial decision.
CANDIOTTI: Thing to do, can he prove it, what forensic evidence could he have all these years later? Well, clearly nothing, probably, but he would have at the very minimum very strong eyewitness testimony should Michele Knight take the stand and talk about what happened to her. Not only that, the two other young women also could be witnesses to this.
BALDWIN: So to be clear, according to police reports, it was Amanda Berry, obviously we now know had this 6-year-old child fathered by Ariel Castro, the five miscarriages from Michele Knight and we have learned that there was no pregnancy with Gina DeJesus, correct?
CANDIOTTI: She said that she never got pregnant.
BALDWIN: No. Never.
CANDIOTTI: That's right.
BALDWIN: What about Ariel Castro and the FBI? They're obviously digging into his past and other investigations. Might he be linked to other cases?
CANDIOTTI: You know, it's possible. We know that according to the Ohio attorney general, those DNA tests that they did show that he is not a match to any open cases in the state of Ohio.
BALDWIN: He's not.
CANDIOTTI: But it's an open question as to whether he is linked to any federal outstanding cases so they're running that check. It's a massive database called COTUS for short that maintains DNA from every unsolved crime for which they are given data. So they can take him, run it up against Ariel Castro's DNA, and see if there is any other link elsewhere.
BALDWIN: We'll see. And ultimately we'll find out.
Susan Candiotti, thank you very much.
And this man we keep talking about, the man who lived in this home, Ariel Castro, he is charged with turning this Cleveland house into his own prison where these three women were allegedly held in ropes, and in chains, they were beaten and starved and raped. There are so many unanswered questions about what was going through his mind when he allegedly decided to kidnap these women and enslave them for a decade and how the victim survived this hell.
Stacy Kaiser, psychotherapist, joins me from Agoura Hills, California, and Evyenia Poumpouras, a former Secret Service agent is live in New York.
So, ladies, welcome to you. And, Stacy, let me just begin, there is something that's been popping up, this syndrome, many people have heard of it, Stockholm syndrome, right, and then that that applies to possibly the women in this case. And after 10 years, what do you think it was that made Amanda Berry finally make a break for it?
STACY KAISER, PSYCHOTHERAPIST: Well, Stockholm syndrome, just so that everyone knows, is that whole concept where people literally start to have feelings for their captor. Sometimes they even fall in love with them. Oftentimes they feel sorry for them. And so it is entirely possible that that's what happened with these women.
But based on what I'm hearing, what I actually believe is that these women actually were so abused that they were victimized and wounded and weak and afraid to come forward or to try and escape, and Amanda Berry finally found the courage, possibly, to save her daughter.
BALDWIN: Thank goodness she did and thank goodness for all these young women here in Cleveland.
Evyenia, to you, obviously, you know, we can't exactly crawl inside the mind of Ariel Castro, but someone, and again these are still allegations, but someone who could be capable of doing this to these women. I mean, how did they -- I don't know, rationalize it, justify it as OK and are able to continue on living a seemingly normal existence to the outside world?
EVYENIA POUMPOURAS, FORMER SECRET SERVICE AGENT: People who commit these sort of crimes, they exhibit certain criteria. One of the criteria they do exhibit is what you said, they rationalize what they do. They do not take responsibility. It is not their fault. They also exhibit signs of this grandiose sense of self-worth, they're great con artists and manipulators.
Sometimes they have short marital relationships. You'll see that in their background, they lack empathy, so this is common of someone who would fall under this umbrella of this type of sadistic or psychopathic behavior.
BALDWIN: You know, you say they lack empathy. But also hearing from now the daughters of Castro, they say that he was a great grandfather to their own children. So it's just like it's hard to connect the dots and, Stacy, you know, I know we have reports that Castro was violent toward his ex-wife, incredibly violent. But, again, to his children, apparently, not.
We also hear he allowed Amanda Berry to have a child, but not in the -- according to police -- five times Michele Knight was pregnant. I don't know if this was preferential treatment. How do you read into that?
KAISER: Well, a lot of times psychopaths have the ability to literally compartmentalize and so it's possible that he developed this secret private world that he viewed was his sort of sick escape with these three women, and that with this family he was actually able to be a seemingly normal and regular person, however, I wouldn't say that because not only are we hearing reports of the domestic violence issues, but people are saying that he was getting weird, that he was being creepy, that he was boarding up the windows and a lot of people are trying to stay away.
And so to me, there may have been warning signs with those family members that they really didn't want to see.
BALDWIN: Let me be clear, though, you hear his windows were boarded up and that sounds shady. Almost -- the two homes next to his, his home, windows were also boarded up. So it's not necessarily a telltale sign when you get here.
Evyenia, last question to you. You know, when we talked, we talked earlier this week about, you know, if only to be a fly on the wall inside this interrogation room with Ariel Castro. We know obviously he's talking enough, it led FBI back to this home with shovels, that's what police said earlier this week. Here we are, now, Friday. It's been several days. What do you think investigators are going on questioning right now?
POUMPOURAS: I think a lot of it now is going to be understanding why he did what he did, how he did it, and getting all that information, because that makes us better for other cases like this in the future. But, again, a lot of information they're gathering. You have to be careful with an individual like this. He's a psychopathic liar, you know. You know, he spent years just lying about his life and who he is. So he will lie in that interview room.
The most important information law enforcement will get will be through the interviews of the young women, from assessing the criminal environment, doing crime scene investigation of this household. That's where you will get the key information and understanding his behavior.
BALDWIN: Yes. And they are getting information from these young women, I was reading, you know, from police that they were talking, as quickly as getting in that ambulance and heading to the hospital on Monday.
Stacy Kaiser and Evyenia Poumpouras, ladies, thank you so much.
And please, watch tonight, Anderson Cooper is hosting this town hall meeting on missing people. Do not miss this. It is called "VANISHED: ANDERSON COOPER 360 SPECIAL" tonight, 8:00 Eastern, right here on CNN.
Breaking news, in case you are just now joining me here on this Friday, we have learned that the White House is now delaying its daily briefing, continuously, today. We are expecting Jay Carney, the White House spokesperson, to field new questions about this Benghazi investigation. But add another headache into the mix here, because the IRS apparently targeted the Tea Party.
Erin McPike is working that angle of the story for us. She joins me now from Washington.
And, Erin, the IRS and the Tea Party, what do you know?
ERIN MCPIKE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Brooke, the IRS admitted today that it did make mistakes when handling applications from a slew of conservative groups seeking tax exempt status. And so immediately Republicans on Capitol Hill today began calling for an investigation.
Now the problem was that over the last few years, some Tea Party groups were complaining that they were getting excessive delays and really heavy questioning from the IRS, but the IRS went to great lengths today to say that even though they made mistakes initially, those mistakes were in no way due to any sort of political or partisan rational.
And, of course, the IRS has said that it's already fixed the problem, but that wasn't enough for Republicans at all. The Senate minority leader, Mitch McConnell, is already calling for a White House review. And in the House, the Republican who runs the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Darrell Issa, issued a joint statement with another conservative member, Jim Jordan, and that statement reads, "The fact that Americans were targeted by the IRS because of their political beliefs is unconscionable. The committee will aggressively follow up on the report and hold responsible officials accountable for this political retaliation."
Now, Brooke, I also just got an e-mail from one of my Republican sources who said that it is almost like a right-wing spoof to think the Obama administration was targeting Tea Party groups through the IRS. He said it's really embarrassing for them and it's terrible timing, of course, with the Benghazi hearing this week.
Of course, we haven't seen any response from the White House just yet. But I'm sure we'll see plenty of questions at today's press briefing -- Brooke.
BALDWIN: We're waiting for it, in a matter of minutes, to happen. We'll be waiting for those questions to be thrown at Jay Carney and see how he responds to questions over Benghazi and as you're now reporting the IRS and the Tea Party.
Erin McPike, keep us posted. Thank you so much.
And another breaking story this hour. A busy, busy news day on this Friday. Major development in that devastating fire and explosion at that fertilizer plant in the town of West, Texas. CNN has now learned that Texas Rangers have opened a criminal investigation into this blast. It's not quite known what prompted the move. But in another -- but so far on a related development, a first responder at that very explosion was taken into federal custody overnight. I want to bring in Gary Tuchman.
Gary, I know you've been following this story. You were in West, Texas, when this happened. What more can you tell me?
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This, Brooke, is a very weird and complex story. But we start by telling you this, Bryce Reed, the man who's been arrested for possessing a destructive device, a pipe bomb according to authorities, is somebody that we know. We got to the scene in West, Texas, the day afterwards, we started talking with Bryce Reed right away. And he told us this, this is very notable. He told us there is more to the explosion than meets the eye. So we stayed in touch with him.
Bryce Reed was actually a guest on "ANDERSON COOPER 360," my colleague Anderson interviewed him, and we also spent some time talking to him. Now it's very important to note this, authorities are saying they will not speculate on whether there is a connection between this arrest and the explosion at the plant, but they are not ruling it out. So that, itself, is noteworthy.
And of course, as you mentioned, the Texas Department of Public Safety announced this very same day that it is opening up a criminal investigation with the Texas Rangers and with the County Sheriff's Office. Is that just a coincidence or is there more to it? We don't know. And maybe they don't know at this point. But what we're being told is that Bryce Reed had a pipe bomb, according to authorities, and gave it to someone else to hold.
Why did he have a pipe bomb? We have absolutely no idea. We do know that Bryce Reed told us that his brother was killed -- he was one of the 12 emergency responders killed, 15 people were killed altogether. That his brother was one of the 12 people killed. It is notable that Cyrus Reed was one of the dead. The same last name as Bryce Reed but they we think that they aren't actually brothers. We think they're very good friends despite the fact that they have the same last name.
So as you can see this is a very weird, complex and upsetting story. But we should note we do know this Bryce Reed. We have talked with him. And he is now in custody. If ultimately found guilty of these particular charges in federal court today, he faces the possibility of up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. But we must emphasize no connection as of now to the blast to that very terrible tragedy 3 1/2 weeks ago in the little town of West, Texas -- Brooke.
BALDWIN: Just the fact that he was saying to you all that that -- that there was more to the explosion than meets the eye, a lot of questions, as you say, just plain weird.
Gary Tuchman, thank you. We look for your reporting on the story out of West.
Coming up here on CNN, Dr. Sanjay Gupta will join me live to talk about how this woman trapped in rubble for 16 days somehow got out alive. We'll share those incredible moments with you. Also coming up next, back here, special coverage of the kidnappings and now the investigation in Cleveland. The prosecutor in this case against Ariel Castro, he's going all in. We'll debate possible murder charges against him in our special coverage. Stay right here.
BALDWIN: Back here in Cleveland, on this Friday, for a special live coverage. At his arraignment, Ariel Castro heard these seven, count them, seven counts against him. Four kidnapping charges, three for rape, but the county prosecutor says there will be more. He's referring to victim Michele Knight, the first of the three to be snatched up the city streets, alleging that Michele Knight allegedly said that Castro ended at least five of her pregnancies by starving her and then punching her in the stomach.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TIMOTHY MCGINTY, CUYAHOGA COUNTY PROSECUTOR: All these attempted murders and each act of aggravated murder he committed by terminating pregnancies that the offender perpetuated against the hostages during this decade long ordeal, the law of Ohio calls for the death penalty for those most depraved criminals who commit aggravated murder during the course of a kidnapping.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: We go now to two legal minds to just talk through a little bit of this. Criminal defense attorneys Monica Lindstrom in Phoenix and Danny Cevallos in Philadelphia.
Welcome, both of you. Danny, to you first. It sounds tough since I know so far evidence just bits and pieces of what we're learning about Michele Knight's statement here to police, and if she didn't know, when she was held here at this home, if she didn't know exactly how far along she was when she miscarried, I'm thinking that could make a pretty big difference here.
DANNY CEVALLOS, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Yes. First we need to talk about the different charges. When it comes to the rape and the kidnapping, those are comparatively going to be easier charges to make. Those can be sustained just on the testimony of these victims. But now we move on to this aggravated murder that they're going to -- that the prosecution may seek. Then the case, and I know people don't want to hear this, it is going to be difficult to establish this.
Why? There are several problems. First, there may be a constitutional issue. It may affect "Roe v. Wade." It may be an issue for the Supreme Court whether causing the death of an unborn fetus is potentially criminal. Secondly, you're going to have evidence problems that we discussed before. It's going to be 100 percent testimonial. There is zero doctor's visits, obviously, zero documentary evidence.
There's also going to be the issue of intent. Will they be able to prove that when he did these horrific things, he did so purposely and with the intent to cause that unlawful abortion. Ironically, as opposed to say the Jodi Arias case, there are two ways to get to first-degree murder in this case, or aggravated murder. Jodi Arias, it was premeditation, here we may see felony murder.
Because these killings were committed in the commission of crimes like kidnapping or rape, that could qualify for aggravated murder. I predict we may see the prosecution elect and proceed under that theory. In this case, it may be easier to prove. However, they have to get over the elements of proving that the killing was caused and that it was -- that there was a pregnancy.
BALDWIN: Monica, let me have you weigh in and just hearing what Danny is saying and his point about proving intent. How could one prove intent from these 10 years in this home?
MONICA LINDSTROM, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, we were talking about the termination of the pregnancies, I don't think it will be very difficult to prove the intent part of it because the intent is his mental state. What was he thinking, what -- and what did he want to do. And you see that from his actions. And so the women will be able to testify that they saw him beating her or hitting her after she told him that she thought she was pregnant, for example, or, you know, whatever other evidence that they gave to him to show that she was pregnant.
So that's not going to be the difficult part. But he's absolutely right. It's going to be hard to determine when these pregnancies occurred, if they occurred, how far along were they, was it a false/positive? You know, those kinds of issues. And it happened so long ago on some of these that there is just no evidence for it. So he's right when he's talking about the felony murder. And I think something to remember is although we have just a handful of charges right now, we're going to see more and more and more charges coming down the pipelines as more and more evidence is recovered in this case.
BALDWIN: Yes, you're exactly right. I've been here in Cleveland, I think just about five days and every day the FBI has been here with shovels and cameras and dogs. So we'll have to see what evidence comes out as you pointed out and police has said, yes, more charges can come forward against this man.
Monica Lindstrom and Danny Cevallos, thank you so much to both of you.
Coming up here next on CNN, an unbelievable story of survival. This woman is pulled out of the rubble in Bangladesh after this building collapsed 16 days prior. She makes it out alive. We'll talk to Sanjay Gupta, explaining how someone can survive an ordeal like this.
BALDWIN: Welcome back. I'm Brooke Baldwin. We'll get you back to our special coverage of the investigation into these kidnappings in Cleveland in just a moment. But I want to switch gears and talk about this amazing story, one of the world's largest cities ground to a halt today to witness this glimmer of hope in the thick of this disaster. This is in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Workers here, they are pulling body after body from the wreckage, all the rubble here of this building, when all of a sudden, someone must have seen something, heard something, one hour later, they gingerly lifted this seamstress from beneath a concrete slab. She had survived there 16 days. Sixteen days since this rickety nine-story factory collapsed, killing more than 1,000 workers.
The woman's name is Rashema and Britain's "Guardian" newspaper is reporting that she was on the second floor when that building toppled to the ground. That was back on April 24th. Shortly after the workday had actually begun. And a report from the scene had indicated that the woman not only made it out, she had no discernible injuries. She's believed to have been breathing through some sort of pipe.
So joining me now is CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta, our chief medical correspondent.
And, Sanjay, just think, like 16 days, how does a woman survive that long?
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: It's incredible. You know, and we -- every time you hear a story like this, obviously, it gives you a little bit of goosebumps like I can tell it's giving you as well, Brooke.
You know, she had air. I mean, the basic supply here, some sort of air pocket, some access to air, obviously. Also, I'm hearing reports that she was found in a pool of water. Those are going to be the most basic necessities. You can't live more than a few days without water. As far as food goes, we're not entirely sure what she had access to, but this no discernible injuries that you mentioned, Brooke, also very important.
No broken bones, no compressed limbs, no big gashes, that would have made it much harder for her to survive if for no other reason than the energy to heal those wounds simply may have impacted her overall survival. So in many ways it is -- she got lucky, she -- she was in an area where she probably had at least access to some of these basic things, and it led -- it impacted her survival.
She's also 19 years old. Youth plays a role here. But, again, Brooke, as you mentioned, it is just a stunning and inspirational story.
BALDWIN: I know you were, Sanjay, in Haiti, right after that fatal earthquake. And I remember the video of all of these people, some of whom didn't make it, others, you mentioned goosebumps, were pulled out alive from the rubble. It's similar. And somehow they survive.
GUPTA: Yes, you know. That's the first thing that came to my mind is, well, we were in Haiti, we met a man named Evan Muncie, 28 -- close to 30 days after the earthquake, after the building that he was in, which was a rice plant, came tumbling to the ground, he was rescued. So almost a month, Brooke. Think about that. He probably did have access to some food, given that he was in a rice plant, some water and air as we mentioned. But, again, you know, it's remarkable and he -- you know, I talked to his family, that he lost 30 pounds during that time period. It was obviously very, very physically straining, mentally straining as well. Something happens in the body known as starvation ketosis where if you don't have enough food, enough energy, enough calories coming in, the body will start resort to just about anything to survive, breaking down muscle, breaking down other sources of protein in the body.
And that's what leads to that unbelievable weight loss, but, again, he is someone who survived after, you know, close to a month -- Brooke.
BALDWIN: It's stunning. Sanjay Gupta, thank you so much.
GUPTA: You got it.
BALDWIN: And don't miss your appointment with Sanjay this coming weekend for his show. He will have the very latest on this incredible rescue in Bangladesh, the three young women, freed from captivity here in Cleveland and also Chris Christie's weight loss surgery.
So set your DVR, watch it live Saturday at 4:30 p.m. and Sunday at 7:30 a.m. Eastern right here on CNN.