Return to Transcripts main page
STARTING POINT WITH SOLEDAD O'BRIEN
Castro Arraigned; Ariel Castro's Daughter Speaks; Ariel Castro Charged With Kidnapping, Rape
Aired May 10, 2013 - 08:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: -- conditions for three years is speaking, and could face more charges and the maybe even the death penalty now. This as we get a new look at the house of horrors.
Plus, a CNN exclusive for you: Ariel Castro's daughter shares harsh words for her father and asks the question on everyone's mind.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANGIE GREGG, ARIEL CASTRO'S DAUGHTER: 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?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SAMBOLIN: Plus, the clues that she wishes she had not missed.
And brand new this morning, 17 days after a factory collapse in Bangladesh that killed more than 1,000 people, a woman has been found alive in all the rubble. The incredible details in a moment.
Right now, the spire being put into place on top of the One World Trade Center. Look at that. We're going to have more of these live pictures in a moment. That is so exciting.
It is Friday, May 10th, STARTING POINT begins right now.
SAMBOLIN: Here in Cleveland, we have heartbreaking new details this morning about the unimaginable hell that three women suffered for a decade inside this house on Seymour Avenue, on Cleveland's west side.
Prosecutors say Ariel Castro operated a private prison and torture chamber inside that home. He is being held on $8 million bonds this morning. He is charged with kidnapping. He is charged with rape. And aggravated murder charge could come next for the alleged killing of fetuses.
In a CNN exclusive that we have this morning for you, the daughter closest to Ariel Castro speaking out about the charges against her father. Listen to Angie Gregg describe the moment when she found out he had been arrested.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GREGG: It was like everything scratch e crashed down. I just wanted to melt into the floor. Like I just -- I jus wanted to die.
I have no problem cutting him out of my life. I have no problem doing that. I never want to see him again.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SAMBOLIN: We're going to have more of that emotional, exclusive interview with Ariel Castro's daughter in a few moments from now.
But now for more on Castro's arraignment. An eerie first look into the backyard of his home, along with his dark past.
We're going to go live to Pamela Brown. She is outside the home of Gina DeJesus, one of the freed kidnap victims.
Good morning, Pamela.
PAMELA BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning to you, Zoraida.
According to law enforcement source I have spoke with, we've learned that Ariel Castro has confessed to authorities during interrogations to at least some of his actions during the past decade, for allegedly holding these women in captivity -- this as the women readjust to their new found freedom.
BROWN (voice-over): These exclusive pictures obtained by CNN give us the first glimpse into Ariel Castro's backyard, though much of it is obscured by tarps, you can see junks strewn all around. And this eerie image of a white cross spotted by a neighbor.
At his first court appearance, Castro looked despondent, repeatedly looking down and seemingly making eye contact with no one.
TIMOTHY J. MCGINTY, CUYAHOGA COUNTY PROSECUTOR: We evaluate whether to seek charges eligible for the death penalty.
BROWN: Following his arraignment, Cuyahoga County prosecutor Tim McGinty made it clear additional charges could likely be added. Castro already faces four counts of kidnapping and three counts of rape.
MCGINTY: For each and every act of sexual violence, rape, each day of kidnapping, every felonious assault, all his attempted murders and each aggravated murder.
BROWN: An initial police incident report says one of the women, Michele Knight, became pregnant at least five times during her captivity, and that each time, Castro starved her and punched her repeatedly in the stomach until she miscarried.
For reasons still unknown, Amanda Berry was able to give birth to her baby and Castro forced Knight to deliver it according to the report. When the child stopped breathing, Knight gave the baby CPR.
As investigators sift through 200 pieces of evidence taken out of this house of horrors, one in particular is getting attention. Details of a note written by Castro in 2004 have surfaced. According to law enforcement sources, Castro wrote about being abused by a family member, in an attempt to justify his own actions.
According to WOIO reporter Scott Taylor, he says, quote, "I'm a sexual predator". He reportedly writes about picking up three women, saying, "They are here against their will because they made a mistake of getting into a car with a total stranger."
Sources say Castro has been cooperating with investigators and has confessed to some of his actions.
Ariel Castro's daughter Arlene gave an emotional interview to ABC News.
ARLENE CASTRO, ARIEL CASTRO'S DAUGHTER: I would like to say that I'm absolutely so, so sorry. I really want to see you, Gina. And I want you to meet my kids. I'm so sorry for everything.
BROWN: -- time with her family. You see balloons outside the home of Gina DeJesus and a blue tarp where she can go into her backyard and still have privacy. Amanda Berry is at her home with her daughter, recovering with her family and Michele Knight remains in the hospital this morning.
SAMBOLIN: Pamela, I've got to tell you, I think it's so great that the family decided to put up the tarp so she could go outside and enjoy the fresh air. You know, she's been lacking that for years.
Let's talk about investigators are testing Castro's DNA right now to see if it may be linked to other crimes or maybe other missing persons cases. How soon could we get the results of that test?
BROWN: Well, Zoraida, we could see results soon. We've learned from the attorney general's office in Ohio, that there's been a rush order placed to get the results back from that DNA test soon. Today, we could see results. Normally, it takes 20 days, but special resources have been allocated to this so that the results could be provided as early as today.
And what officials will do once those results come back in is they'll run them through a database to see if Castro's DNA samples match up with previous crimes or missing persons cases in the past.
SAMBOLIN: All right. Pamela Brown reporting live outside of Gina's home, thank you. We appreciate that.
And the daughter closest to kidnapping suspect Ariel Castro says she is very angry. She's chattered and she is speaking exclusively to CNN. Angie Gregg insists she never saw signs of the terror and the abuse allegedly unfolding inside her father's house. And she wants the world to know her family does not have monster in their blood.
Laurie Segall joins us live now with an interview that only folks can see here on CNN.
It was so great to see you sitting down with her. You know, she is tortured, isn't she?
LAURIE SEGALL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: She's got a lot to say. As you said, she was very close with Ariel. And, you know, she -- he actually bought her a puppy at some point. She spent a lot of time at this home here on Seymour Avenue, having dinner with him, playing music. She grew up here in the early '90s and she said now that she knows, though, she is beginning piece together this puzzle, and she said there were some clues.
Listen to what she told me.
GREGG: All these weird things that I've noticed over -- over the years, like about how he kept his house locked down so tight, certain areas, and how if we'd be out at my grandma's having dinner, he would disappear for an hour or so, and then come back, and there would be no explanation where he went. Like everything is making sense now. It's all adding up. I'm disgusted, horrified.
SEGALL: Did you ever try to get into that basement?
GREGG: Not since I was -- when I was very young, when my mom was still living there, I did pick the locks on the basement, because there was a cheap Master Lock on the door, picked the lock, and we went snooping. And I remember there being a fish tank down there, which was odd, because nobody was down there to look at the fish.
SEGALL: Did you ever see any signs of a 6-year-old there?
GREGG: I never saw signs in the house, I never saw -- you know, her with him. But about two months ago, he picked me up, we spent the afternoon together, I had some service on my car.
And he showed me a picture in his 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?" 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 -- that's not my child. That is my girlfriend's child by somebody else."
SEGALL: Your family is attached to this stigma. What is the message that you want to tell people that they might not understand?
GREGG: That my father's actions are not a reflection of everyone in the family. They are definitely not a reflection of myself or my children. We don't have monster in our blood.
SEGALL: Ever want to talk to your dad again?
GREGG: No. I have no problem cutting him out of my life. I have no problem doing that I never want to see him again.
And another thing I would like to ask him is, when did you think this would be over? How did you think it was going to end? You're 52 years old. You think you can carry this charade forever? What did you think was going to happen?
And eventually, you would have been caught and then what of these girls? What of your family? You didn't care.
SEGALL: What message do you have for these girls? They are safe now, no longer there, but they were held captive and their whole lives turned upside down. What message for these women and their families?
GREGG: I feel so much sorrow that you had to endure this. I'm glad that you are back home with your family, finally, because they never stopped thinking about you. They never stopped -- they never forgot you. They always thought you were alive, when everybody else thought you were gone.
I also -- you know, I also feel sorrow that Michele's case, I'm just hearing about her now too. That her case was treated differently because she was an adult when she came up missing, like that's real tragic. She was taken against her will as well.
It's -- it's sickening. It's sickening, because that could have been -- there could be anybody in that position. You know, in the blink of an eye, you can be -- you can be abducted, brutalized and nobody would ever know it. You could be right around the corner and nobody would ever know it. This just goes to show.
SEGALL: Do you want to see them at all? Would you like to see them at any point?
GREGG: I would love to see them, I would love to see the little girl, Jocelyn, but I don't want to pressure them at all. And that's -- maybe further down the road, maybe it will be a possibility. I would really love that, but, you know, right now these girls need to heal.
SEGALL: And, you know when it comes to healing, the community has to heal, to know that such horrific events took place right here on this street.
And it was a tough day yesterday, because Angie, she has two sons, she set them down and she had to tell them what their grandfather had done. She said there was a lot of tears, one of them is young enough he didn't quite understand, but for this woman too, her whole life is so different knowing that her father was capable of such horrific actions.
SAMBOLIN: And a grandfather so seemingly involved in those kids' lives. She walked through some pictures. You know, I was struck by how composed she was. It must have been very difficult for her.
SEGALL: You know, she took a couple of days to compose herself and wrote her thoughts on a piece of paper and she read them out loud to me because she's now ready to talk. And she wanted the platform and say everything she wanted in the right way.
She was very brave. At the same time, you can tell there is a lot of pain and there's a lot of disgust there. She walked me through some of the pictures. A picture of her, of Ariel on a motorcycle, surrounded by children.
And she said, Laurie, the neighbors used to let him ride around the children. He was a man trusted with children, pictures of her with his arms around her as a child. You can see the pain in her eyes that she knows that nothing will be ever the same again.
SAMBOLIN: All right. Laurie Segall, thank you so much for that story. I really appreciate it.
All right. The city of Cleveland is celebrating the safe return of the three women. It was just a very emotional time for them. It was a so-called victory vigil, and it was held in a local park. Participants released balloons into the air. Look at them celebrating.
Part of this event, organized by local radio stations and the Domestic Violence Center. Several meetings were also held in the neighborhood last night where residents voiced their complaints about crime, one gathering hosted by a group called Imperial Women. It was named after 11 female victims of a strangler back in 2009. They claim police pay very little attention when girls or women of color go missing.
Ahead on STARTING POINT, we have an incredible rescue for you. Seventeen days after a factory collapse in Bangladesh, a woman has been found alive. The amazing details in a live report.
Plus, right now, the spire being put into place on top of the One World Trade Center. That is next.
You are watching STARTING POINT.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN BREAKING NEWS.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking news this morning. It really is nothing short of a miracle. After 17 days, 17 days, a survivor has been pulled from the rubble of that collapsed garment factory in Bangladesh. This woman was found long after crews have really been given up hope of finding anyone alive. CNNs Matthew Chance is live in London for us this morning with more on this amazing tale of survival -- Matthew.
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, John. It really is amazing as well, because 17 days in a building that collapsed in Bangladesh. You know, very difficult to walk away from that, indeed. A thousand people, more than a thousand people have already been pulled from the rubble. So, absolutely staggering to see these dramatic images coming out of the capital there, (INAUDIBLE) over the course of the last hour (ph).
So, the rescue teams pulling that woman, apparently, uninjured, out of the rubble. Apparently, the rescue teams have, as you say, given up hope of finding anybody inside alive. They're using heavy machinery to cut through the remains of the building and they found this woman. They heard her first of all crying out, "I'm alive, I'm alive." You know, "please save me."
And so, they stopped the heavy machinery and went in by hand and found her sort of trapped in an air pocket that had been formed when that building collapsed 17 days ago. So, absolutely incredible. According to rescue teams on the scene, she doesn't have any severe injuries either. She's being treated at the moment for, you know, whatever it is they can find. Shock, I expect, in a local hospital.
BERMAN: We're actually looking at pictures of her, Matthew, right now from inside the hospital, and her condition is remarkable. After being trapped in that rubble for 17 days, she really does look to be just, frankly, in a relatively speaking, unbelievable condition right now. Matthew, there's one more quick question. Any sense that the rescuers will change their methods right now, maybe go back and look for other people who may be alive?
CHANCE: I think it's got to, hasn't it? I mean, no one was expecting that anyone will be pulled out the rubble alive after 17 days. They've already moved delay (ph) from a rescue operation towards more of a salvage operation to clear away the rubble. That's why they brought the heavy machinery in, but they're going to be reassessing right now, and certainly, the operation to get people alive out of that building is clearly not over.
BERMAN: A remarkable, remarkable story for us this morning. Matthew Chance, thank you so much for bringing us that very good news.
Nineteen minutes after the hour. And happening right now in Lower Manhattan, talk about amazing pictures, this is a slice of New York City history. The final section of the Spire at the top of the World Trade Center being put in place. The 408-foot Spire will be used as a broadcast antenna. This will make you dizzy.
The Spire (ph) had been scheduled for Monday, but weather issues postponed it. The last sections were brought in preparation up last week. When completed, one World Trade Center will be the tallest building in the western hemisphere at 1,776 feet. Wonderful, wonderful look in Manhattan this morning.
Ahead on STARTING POINT, we're going to go back live to Cleveland. We're going to speak with Cleveland's chief assistant prosecutor, Victor Perez, about the charges against kidnapping suspect, Ariel Castro.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) SAMBOLIN: Welcome back to STARTING POINT. We're live in Cleveland. Yesterday's court hearing is just the first in a long line of court appearances for Ariel Castro, accused of kidnapping and raping three women he held captive for more than a decade n Wednesday. Cleveland's chief assistant prosecutor, Victor Perez, announced the charges against Castro.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VICTOR PEREZ, CHIEF ASSISTANT PROSECUTOR, CITY OF CLEVELAND: I just signed criminal complaints charging Ariel Castro with four counts of kidnapping and three counts of rape. The seven criminal complaints are first degree felonies.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SAMBOLIN: So, victor is joining us this morning. We really appreciate having you here. Thank you very much. So, you're obviously very familiar with, you know, what the charges are here. They include rape and kidnapping, but we have one of the victims still in the hospital, and that is Michele Knight. And there are allegations here that she was pregnant five times, that he beat her, and that starved her and that led her to miscarry.
And so, there is a law here that, perhaps, now he could face death penalty charges. And we've been watching as the FBI has been going in here with cadaver dogs. Apparently, there's a lack of evidence. So, can you convict him? Can he face the death penalty if there is a lack of evidence?
PEREZ: Well, that is for the grand jury to decide. But as to any other comments on this case, out of respect for the privacy and the well-being of the victims in this case, and for the legal justice, I can't comment.
SAMBOLIN: But you're a lawyer.
SAMBOLIN: And so, if there is physical evidence lacking, and this is going before a jury, how complicated is the case going to be?
PEREZ: They're going to have to present the evidence to make that case.
SAMBOLIN: All right. So, you've signed the charges against Ariel Castro. What is the next step? We're talking about, perhaps, a capital punishment case.
PEREZ: That's up for the Cuyahoga County prosecutor and the Cuyahoga County grand jury to decide.
SAMBOLIN: But do you know if, in fact, they're discussing that and that, perhaps, that is next the step and that could come next?
PEREZ: That's a question you have to ask the Cuyahoga County prosecutor's office.
SAMBOLIN: All right. So, let's talk about the other brothers that were released. There are a lot of people in the community that were shocked that they were released, because they feel how could that be possible? They were in and out of house constantly. Do you feel satisfied that, you know, that they really -- they will never face charges in the future?
PEREZ: Yes, I'm satisfied.
SAMBOLIN: Why is that?
PEREZ: The testimony -- not the testimony, the interviews that were conducted, reveal that they had no involvement with the actions of Ariel Castro.
SAMBOLIN: Do you think they will ever face charges in the future?
PEREZ: I don't think so.
SAMBOLIN: You don't think so. All right. I want to talk about one last thing. The Puerto Rican community has been hit very, very hard by this. This is -- it has a rather sizable Puerto Rican community here. And when you talked earlier, when you actually announced charges, you said something that I want folks to listen to.
I'm going to have to actually tell people, because we don't have the sound available. It says, "Finally, as a chief prosecutor for the city of Cleveland, born and raised in Puerto Rico, I want everyone to know that the acts of the defendant in the criminal case are not a reflection of the rest of the Puerto Rican community here or in Puerto Rico." Why was it so important for you to bring that up?
PEREZ: Well, you would after just over 100 years of Puerto Rico being part of the United States, people will be more aware of what Puerto Rico is and the community, and I felt that it was important for the people to know that there's more to the Puerto Rican community than the acts of this individual.
The Puerto Rican community is a hard-working community. It's a community that has sacrificed a lot for our country. A lot of us have served in the military. Actually, as far as 1899, a year just after Puerto Rico became a territory of the United States, the Puerto Rican community is everywhere. Everywhere I go in the world, I run into somebody from Puerto Rico.
There's over three million people in Puerto Rico. There's over three million people in the United States and we are more than just the acts of this individual committed for the last decade.
SAMBOLIN: Well, Victor, I really appreciate you coming out this morning. Good luck. I know that you have your hands full.
PEREZ: Thank you.
SAMBOLIN: Appreciate it. SAMBOLIN: All right. Ahead on STARTING POINT, as we learn more about this incredible nightmare and the details in the Cleveland kidnapping case, investigators are rushing tests of suspect, Ariel Castro's DNA. What they're hoping to learn? It's coming up next.
Then, a news crew filming near the U.S./Mexico border catches something they did not expect. It was caught on camera.
And Prince Harry continues to charm the United States. This morning, he's visiting Arlington National Cemetery to pay his respects. You're watching STARTING POINT.