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STARTING POINT WITH SOLEDAD O'BRIEN

Shooting at New Orleans Mother's Day Parade; IRS Targets Tea Party Groups; Interview with Keli Carender; Kidnapped Cleveland Women Freed After 10 Years of Captivity; Brothers of Ariel Castro Interviewed

Aired May 13, 2013 - 07:00   ET

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


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, everyone. I'm John Berman.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Christine Romans. Our STARTING POINT, the brothers of the Cleveland man accused of kidnapping three women, holding them in horrific conditions for ten years, speaking exclusively to CNN.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: What is your brother to you now?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Monster. Hateful. I hope he rots in that jail.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: What they want the world and those newly freed women to know?

BERMAN: Then, shots and screams ring out at a Mother's Day parade in New Orleans as gunfire wounds 19 people, including two children, and now, police are asking for your help. The latest on the manhunt in a live report.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: Imagine waking up to that. An eight-foot alligator at your front door. One family's terrifying surprise caught on video. You got to see this.

It's Monday, May 13th. STARTING POINT begins right now.

BERMAN: And our STARTING POINT this morning, the final moments of a decade in captivity captured on camera. Two young women who thought they were being pulled over by the cops, instead, wound up as witnesses to history.

ROMANS: They did it by recording police rushing in to the home of suspected kidnapper Ariel Castro last week with a cellphone. You'll see it all in a moment. Also new this morning, a CNN exclusive.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Do you worry now that people will always suspect that you actually did have a role?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: Straight ahead Martin Savidge's interview with Onil and Pedro Castro, the brothers of suspected kidnapping suspect Ariel Castro only on CNN.

BERMAN: As we said we have a lot going on this morning. We want to begin with Susan Candiotti who is live in Cleveland this morning. Susan looking at some amazing young video from -- shot by these two young women near Castro's house. They have quite a story to tell this morning.

SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Oh, they sure do. They had no idea when they happened to pull down this street that they were about to see certain events unfold that were so dramatic, and they were able to capture some of it on their cellphone.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CANDIOTTI: So what happened is that they thought they saw the flashing lights, and so they stopped, and then they watched as officers ran in to the house to rescue these women. I think we've got more of their story to tell.

And where did you see her, Amanda and her little girl?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Coming down the street.

CANDIOTTI: And then everything unfolded right here?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

CANDIOTTI: These two women happened to turn on to Ariel Castro's street and found themselves smack in the middle of an amazing escape to freedom.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Amanda walking down the street with a cop right when the cop asked her who are you, she passed us and said Amanda Berry.

CANDIOTTI: When you heard the name Amanda Berry and you knew exactly --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Me and her looked at each other and we had goose bumps and then we pulled up our hoodie and like, you know --

CANDIOTTI: Goose bumps.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It hit us quick.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When she said Amanda Berry I saw it in her eyes and I knew it was really her. And she had tears coming down her face. CANDIOTTI: She pulled out her cellphone and rolled video as police ran to Ariel Castro's house looking for other victims. Then her phone ran out of power.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We see Gina coming down the steps shaking real, real, real hard like she was cold. And they took them to the ambulance.

CANDIOTTI: They watched Gina Dejesus, Michelle Knight, Amanda Berry, and her daughter taken away by ambulance. On Mother's Day, special prayers of thanksgiving at holy family catholic church for the women's freedom.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Amanda Berry, Michelle Knight, Gina Dejesus.

CANDIOTTI: A crisis management team stepped in to represent the women at no charge, pleading for privacy and passing alone the victims' thanks. From Amanda.

JIM WOOLEY, ATTORNEY FOR CLEVELAND VICTIMS: I am so happy to be home with my family.

CANDIOTTI: From Gina.

WOOLEY: I want to thank everyone for all your prayers.

CANDIOTTI: From Michelle.

WOOLEY: I am healthy, happy, and safe. And will reach out to family, friends and supporters in good time.

CANDIOTTI: Castro's home now finally boarded up, sealed as evidence, a city councilman allowed to stand in the backyard, overcome by what the women endured for a decade.

BRIAN CUMMINS, CLEVELAND CITY COUNCIL: You can't help but feel like, you know, the presence of this enormity of the event. I mean, it's unbelievable.

CANDIOTTI: What did you picture in your mind's eye of what those women went through as you stood back there?

CUMMINS: It's just horrors, absolute horrors.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BERMAN: All right our thanks to Susan Candiotti for that report. Want to get right now to the CNN exclusive, Pedro and Onil Castro speaking publicly for the first time about their brother Ariel. The decade of torture he allegedly inflicted on his victims, and the impact that all this madness has had on them. Martin Savidge in Cleveland with an exclusive story you will see only on CNN.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: When you were arrested on Monday, and brought in, were you told why you were under arrest?

PEDRO CASTRO, ARIEL CASTRO'S BROTHER: Absolutely not.

ONIL CASTRO, ARIEL CASTRO'S BROTHER: No.

SAVIDGE: You had no idea?

O. CASTRO: Not for 48, maybe 36 to 48 hours later.

SAVIDGE: Pedro, when did you become aware?

P. CASTRO: Well, there was a -- an inmate that didn't speak English, so I translated for him. So then I asked her, now that I help you, can you help me.

SAVIDGE: This is to the officers?

P. CASTRO: Yes. And she said, sure. What you want to know? I want to know what am I being charged for. So she said, OK. I'll go see. So she comes back and she -- she's got a piece of paper, written down whatever I was in for. And because I didn't have my reading glasses, I looked, and I said oh, open container. She said no, read it again. And I says, oh, kidnapping? What? What's this kidnapping?

SAVIDGE: Where was Ariel?

O. CASTRO: Ariel was in the front more toward the front on suicide watch.

SAVIDGE: Did he ever go past you? Did you ever see him or --

P. CASTRO: I did. Because in -- where he was at, there's no toilet. So, across the -- from my cell, there was one open, so he could -- he came there, used it. I seen -- then that's when I seen him. And when I came out, he said peace to me.

O. CASTRO: So evidently that happened, when he walked past me he goes Onil, you're never going to see me again. I love you bro.

SAVIDGE: So when did you become aware of what he did?

O. CASTRO: Well just shortly after that, when the detective took me in to the room and started asking me questions and showing me pictures of the girls. And when he showed me the pictures of the girls, asked me, do you know these girls? He showed me first. I can't tell you -- I can't even tell you which one he showed me first, but he says have you ever seen this girl? And I said, no I've never seen that girl.

And then he showed me the other one, have you ever seen this girl? I said no, I've never seen that girl. And he says, that's Gina Dejesus and Amanda Berry. And my heart fell. I just dropped not physically but I just hit the ground, and after he said that's Amanda Berry and they were in your brother's house.

SAVIDGE: You had been in the house.

O. CASTRO: Yes.

SAVIDGE: You would go to the house.

O. CASTRO: Yes.

SAVIDGE: I mean, how often?

O. CASTRO: No, no, not how often. I didn't go to his house very much. But when I did, he would let me in past the kitchen.

SAVIDGE: Did you see anything beyond the kitchen?

O. CASTRO: No. Because there's curtains.

SAVIDGE: He had the house blocked off with curtains?

O. CASTRO: Yes.

SAVIDGE: And what about could you hear anything in the home?

O. CASTRO: No. The radio was playing all the time.

SAVIDGE: He would play music all the time?

O. CASTRO: Yes. If not the radio, the TV, something had to be on at all time in the kitchen. So I could hear nothing else but the radio or the TV.

SAVIDGE: Did you, in any way, know, help, assist, your brother in the horrible things he's accused of doing?

O. CASTRO: Absolutely not. No idea that this horrific crime was going on.

SAVIDGE: Pedro?

P. CASTRO: No.

SAVIDGE: You know there are people who will say you had to know. How is it possible for so long in that home your brother, you couldn't know?

P. CASTRO: For those people out there, I will tell you something, I had nothing to do with this. And I don't know how it -- my brother got away with it for so many years. Because, that would never cross my mind.

SAVIDGE: He fooled you.

P. CASTRO: He fooled me.

SAVIDGE: Do you worry now that people will always suspect that you actually did have a role?

P. CASTRO: Absolutely.

O. CASTRO: Yes.

P. CASTRO: And the people out there that know me, they know that Onil Castro is not that person, has nothing to do with that.

O. CASTRO: I couldn't ever think of doing anything like that.

SAVIDGE: What is your brother to you now?

P. CASTRO: Monster, hateful, I hope he rots in that jail. I don't even want them to take his life like that. I want him to suffer in that jail to the last extent. I don't care if they even feed him for what he has done to my life and my family's.

O. CASTRO: I feel the same way.

SAVIDGE: To the both of you now he no longer exists?

O. CASTRO: Right.

P. CASTRO: Yes.

SAVIDGE: He is gone?

P. CASTRO: He is gone.

SAVIDGE: Almost as if he were dead?

P. CASTRO: Yes. Monster is a goner.

SAVIDGE: If you could talk to Gina, you could talk to Michelle, you could talk to Amanda, and in a way you are, I guess, what would you say?

P. CASTRO: I would -- I would tell her -- I would tell them that I'm sorry that you had to go through this. That I was -- I was thinking about these girls being missing, and I'm just grateful that they're home. You know, out of that horrible house, and I just -- I just tell them that I'm sorry for what Ariel done, because see, I -- not much -- it's Felix, I know him for long time. And when I find out that, that Ariel had Gina, I just -- I just broke down, because it's shocking. Ariel we know this guy for a long time, Felix.

SAVIDGE: This is Gina's father?

P. CASTRO: Yes, Felix, Felix Dejesus. And you got his daughter? And you go -- you go around like it's nothing. You even went to the vigils, you had posters. You give his grandma a hug? And you got his daughter captive?

SAVIDGE: Onil, same thing? I mean --

O. CASTRO: Totally the same thing. I just want also the families to get the justice for the full extent to the fullest extent. This has torn my heart apart. This has killed me. I'm a walking corpse right now.

SAVIDGE: Why are you talking to me?

P. CASTRO: I want the world to know that Onil and Pedro, me, Pedro, had nothing to do with this. It was a shock to me to learn that my brother Ariel was doing this.

SAVIDGE: I want to thank you both for talking to us, for sharing with us and opening up to us. Thank you.

P. CASTRO: Thank you. And --

O. CASTRO: And I hope the world listen to us.

P. CASTRO: And we went back to normal.

O. CASTRO: You already got your monster. Please give us our freedom.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SAVIDGE: And you can tell that that is a gut-wrenching and soul- searching interview that was done by those two brothers. There was nothing that we didn't talk about, couldn't talk about. But most of all they wanted to express, again, how grateful they were that those women are free and to make sure that people knew that they had nothing to do with it, because, since all of this has come out, they have not been able to go home. There are death threats against the family. Their homes have been broken into, and they are terrified for what could happen to them, as well.

BERMAN: Martin, that was simply a riveting interview, fantastic work there. What are these brothers going to do now? I mean how long do they intend to stay in hiding?

SAVIDGE: Yes, well, the hope is that by having their story told, and especially by having it told on CNN, and as widely as it can reach with that, that this will tamper down emotions, that this will make people realize that, as Pedro put it, the monster is in jail now and that the rest of the family is not to be blamed for this, and they hope that very soon they will be able to return home.

BERMAN: And how much second-guessing is going on? How much of their past are they digging through, the memories are they pouring over, trying to see what signs there may have been over the last ten years?

SAVIDGE: So much of this, John, is going on right now. I mean, you could tell in talking to them, they are haunted by so many things. And there's actually more of this interview that we will get to later that they saw, little things, little things. But they never made them all in to one big thing, that moment of realization. They're embarrassed they are shocked. The litany goes on and on and on.

And it's not only finding out about the horrors that were carried out on these women, one of them they knew personally, but then that last realization that oh, my god, it was my brother. It was a devastating blow.

BERMAN: They're trying to come to terms with their family, trying to come to terms with themselves, with the last 10 years. Martin, terrific work. Thank you so much. We will come back to you soon. Appreciate it.

In just 15 minutes here on STARTING POINT we're going to be joined by Maria Castro Montes. She is kidnapping suspect Ariel Castro's cousin. We're going to talk to her about all this as well.

ROMANS: Also ahead on STARTING POINT, gunfire erupts at a Mother's Day parade in New Orleans injuring 19 people. We have new video showing the very moment shots rang out and a possible look at the suspect. That's next.

BERMAN: Then it is a job for the gator boys. When an eight foot alligator turns up at one family's front door, this whole story coming up. You're watching STARTING POINT.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: Developing this morning an all-out manhunt for three suspects who police say opened fire on people marching in a Mother's Day parade in New Orleans. Nineteen people were wounded, including two children. CNN has just obtained video of the actual shooting. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I got (EXPLETIVE DELECTED) -- [ gunshots ]

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: Some of the people at the parade said the situation was pure chaos. You can see it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Everybody started running, and running and running, and we weren't sure what's going on. And they're shooting.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just opened my door today and two guys just collapse right down on my steps you know, me and my daughter did the best thing we can to revive them.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: Meantime the mayor of New Orleans says they'll hunt down those that are responsible.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITCH LANDRIEU, NEW ORLEANS MAYOR: We have mothers that were shot, sisters that were shot, we have little children that were shot. These kinds of incidents are not going to go unanswered. WE're going to be very, very aggressive. There were hundreds of people out there today, so somebody knows who did this.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BERMAN: And we have more video for you, brand new video just released by the New Orleans police department. It shows a sequence of surveillance photos. You see this large group of people at the Mother's Day event and you can see the suspect, apparently, wearing a white T-shirt becoming apparent as the crowd runs away from him.

ROMANS: All right new overnight terrifying video of an intense deadly fire that engulfed a home in Pottsville, Pennsylvania. That's about 100 miles northwest of Philadelphia. Two adults and four children were killed. The crew that shot the video says three firefighters suffered minor injuries, one from falling off a ladder.

BERMAN: Three New Jersey children trapped all weekend with a gunman holding them hostage are alive and well this morning. The 37-hour hostage ordeal ended yesterday when police burst into the home and killed the gunman Gerald Tyrone Murphy. The partially decomposed bodies of Murphy's girlfriend and her teenage son were discovered in the house. The freed hostages were the girlfriend's children.

ROMANS: Ahead on STARTING POINT, a scandal hilts the IRS as the agency admits it targeted groups connected to the Tea Party. Could the practice be more widespread in government than we realize? A national coordinator for Tea Party patriots joins us next.

BERMAN: And a teen gets pulled over a police officer and it ends up changing his life. How a bike brought these two people together. It is a wonderful story coming up. You're watching STARTING POINT.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: Welcome back to STARTING POINT everyone. New developments this morning surrounding the IRS firestorm and it truly is becoming a firestorm. A report coming out this week shows IRS officials were targeting Tea Party and other conservative groups when those groups applied for tax exempt status.

ROMANS: The audit says the IRS flagged groups with names like "tea party," "patriot," and the "912 Project," that's a group created by conservative pundit Glenn Beck. CNN's Candy Crowley spoke to Republican Senator Susan Collins on Sunday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. SUSAN COLLINS, (R ) MAINE: This is truly outrageous, and it contributes to the profound distrust that the American people have in government. It is absolutely chilling that the IRS was singling out conservative groups for extra review. And I think that it's very disappointing that the president hasn't personally condemned this and spoken out.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: The national coordinator for Tea Party Patriots, Keli Carender (ph) joins us this morning. Good morning, welcome to the program. Is it good enough for you that the IRS has said we're sorry? KELI CARENDER, NATIONAL COORDINATOR FOR THE TEA PARTY PATRIOTS: Absolutely not. This is, I think Senator Collins hit it right on the head. This is chilling. This is what happens in other countries, when government agencies target and harass particular groups based on their ideology. That is deserving of so much more than just a mere apology.

ROMANS: And we should say Lois Lerner (ph), the director of exempt organizations at the IRS, this is what she said on Friday "that was absolutely incorrect," she said "it was insensitive, and it was inappropriate. That's not how we go about selecting cases for further review. The IRS would like to apologize for that." What more would you like to see?

CARENDER: Well, we need to know how did this start? Who started it? Who knew what, and when did they know it? How far up does this go? Does it go up all the way into treasury? Does it go up into the administration? Who -- who is a part of this? How are these decisions made, and what is going to happen to the people that did it? If there are no consequences for people who abuse their power like this, then it's not going to stop. And it's not going to stop the Tea Party patriots. It will be some other group that gets singled out. And I don't think any of us want that.

BERMAN: Do you think it went higher up than just these IRS officials who worked in Cincinnati apparently these low-level IRS officials in Cincinnati, you have (ph) any evidence of that?

CARENDER: Well, we've already seen that there's some discrepancy, haven't we? Because later now we found out that chief counsel met and Ms. Learner met and they changed the criteria. But they only changed the criteria where these applications were flagged from say Tea Party patriots to things like groups that are educating on the Constitution and Bill Of Rights. That's pretty ironic considering what they were doing was unconstitutional.

BERMAN: That's right. The time line is getting increasingly problematic. The commissioner of the IRS who was, we say, a Bush appointee, actually gave testimony on this back in 2012. Let's listen to what he said briefly.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DOUG, SHULMAN, IRS COMMISSIONER: Let me start by saying, yes, I can give you assurances. As you know, we pride ourselves on being a nonpolitical, nonpartisan organization. There's absolutely no targeting. This is the kind of back and forth what happens he people apply for 501(c)(4) status.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: Do you have any events you were targeted at all over the last several years?

CARENDER: I'm not going to say a lot right now except our group, Tea Party Patriots, is discussing our options. We're looking at the timeline. We're looking at what did happen to us. And I think we'll probably have some news on that later on.

ROMANS: All right. Keli Carender, national coordinator for the Tea Party Patriots in Seattle, Washington. Thanks for joining us today.

CARENDER: Thank you.

BERMAN: And on STARTING POINT, the brothers of the suspect in the Cleveland kidnappings, they plead their innocence as they condemn Ariel Castro. Their angry words calling him a monster. Saying that he is now dead to them.

ROMANS: Then getting pulled over by police officers isn't usually a good thing but for one teen it helped change his life for the better. Meet the teen and the police officer. Find out how a bike brought them together. You're watching STARTING POINT.

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