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Jolie: I Had Double Mastectomy; Disturbing New Images from Backyard of Castro House; Troubled Past of Leila Fowler's 12-Year-Old Brother; O.J. Simpson Seeks New Trial; Prince Harry to Visit NJ, NY Today

Aired May 14, 2013 - 05:30   ET



ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: A shocker this morning: Oscar winner and mother of six, Angelina Jolie, revealing that she has removed both her breasts after discovering that she carries a cancer gene.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Disturbing and revealing new images from the backyard of kidnap and rape suspect Ariel Castro. Why did he have a mirror installed on the back porch?

SAMBOLIN: And new information emerging this morning about the brother of eight-year-old Leila Fowler arrested in her murder. Details on the 12-year-old boy's troubled past. Tough morning here.

Welcome back to EARLY START. Happy you're with us this morning. I'm Zoraida Sambolin.

BERMAN: And I'm John Berman. It is 30 minutes after the hour right now.

SAMBOLIN: And new this morning, one of Hollywood's biggest stars, Oscar-winning actress and mother, Angelina Jolie, making a very bold health decision. She reveals in a "New York Times" op-ed this morning that she had a preventive double mastectomy because she carried a gene that increases her risk for breast and ovarian cancers. She says the surgery has dramatically cut her breast cancer risk from 87 percent to under 5 percent.

Nischelle Turner is following all of these developments live from Los Angeles. And Angelina says that she finished her three-month treatment late last May. Why did she decide to reveal all of this now, Nischelle?

NISCHELLE TURNER, CNN SHOWBIZ CORRESPONDENT: You know, that's a good question, Zoraida. And basically, she said because she wants other women who have to make a tough decision to know that they have options out there. Yes, she said April 27th was her last treatment. That's when she had complete reconstruction of the breast and had implants put in. But she did go through this entire journey which she does lay out in this "New York Times" op-ed piece.

You know, it was really a very personal, raw. She really went into detail about the decision to make and it's because she says she was screened and she found out that she carries this faulty gene, which is BRCA1 gene. She says that after getting this diagnosis, she was told by doctors she had an 87 percent risk of getting breast cancer and a 50 percent risk of ovarian cancer.

So, that's why she decided to have the double mastectomy. She also wrote in the piece that she chose not -- she says, "I chose not to keep my story private because there are many women who do not know they might be living under the shadow of cancer. It is my hope that they, too, will be able to get gene tested and that if they have a high risk, they, too, will know that they have strong options" -- Zoraida.

SAMBOLIN: And you know, Nischelle, she specifically does talk about that gene testing, which is a very expensive test. It's about $3,000 and the fact that insurance companies don't always cover it, unless, you have a really strong history of breast cancer in your family. So, it will be nice to see if something positive for women comes out of this --

TURNER: Absolutely.

SAMBOLIN: Yes. With that screening. All right. So, what has the reaction been like from Hollywood?

TURNER: Well, it's early out here in Los Angeles, but people are already, celebrities are already taking to Twitter to offer their support for Angelina Jolie.

Nia Vardalos tweeted this morning, "The moment of quiet respect for Angelina Jolie's candor and for all women's bravery and facing this choice."

Marlee Matalin capitalized on that as well. And she said, "Brave, honest, strong Angelina Jolie gets a double mastectomy. Agree with Nia Vardalos -- quiet respect for her."

Giuliana Rancic also tweeted this morning. You know, she was also diagnosed with breast cancer and had a mastectomy and she said, "Angelina Jolie reveals the double mastectomy. Proud of her for using her incredible platform to educate women." Lots of other people starting to react as well, Zoraida.

SAMBOLIN: You know, I was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. And, I got to tell you that the fact that she is sharing this very personal journey, talking about the femininity as well and how that affects your decision moving forward is really absolutely remarkable. So, I'm going give her kudos this morning as well. Thank you for bringing us that story.

TURNER: Well, I'm giving you kudos. Can I just say that real quick? I'm giving you kudos and sending you so much love.

SAMBOLIN: I know, girl. Thank you for it. I appreciate it. Thank you.

TURNER: You're going to kick its butt.

SAMBOLIN: Yes, I am. Yes, I am. Thank you.


BERMAN: Yes, you are.

Thirty-three minutes after the hour right now. Other news, we're going to first look into the backyard of a house of horrors this morning. These photos taken by a neighbor last weekend show piles of debris behind the home of Cleveland kidnapping suspect, Ariel Castro, including barbed wire chains, a Barbie -- chains. We got a Barbie cycle there and a mirror installed on the back porch apparently to detect any visitors coming down the driveway. Chilling.

Right now, Castro was on suicide watch. Jail logs reveal he likes to walk around his cell naked. He frequently makes himself Cool-Aid, and he's using strings from the floor mat to floss his teeth. He's also being checked by guards, we are told, about every ten minutes.

SAMBOLIN: The more we hear, the crazier it gets, right?

All right. Thirty-four minutes past the hour. We're learning more this morning also about the brother of Leila Fowler who is under arrest in the stabbing death of his eight-year-old sister. A fellow student and a school administration source say the 12-year-old boy was suspended for five days earlier this year after bringing a pocket knife to school.

CNN's Dan Simon is live in Valley Springs, California, with the latest on this investigation. What else do you know, Dan?

DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, good morning, Zoraida. The fact that the suspect brought a knife to school and was suspended is noteworthy given the fact that he's accused of using one to stab his sister. We're also getting a better sense of what the suspect may face in the months ahead.


SIMON (voice-over): Chris Peifer knows the 12-year-old suspect from gym class.

You said he made threats to you and to others in gym class?


SIMON: Can you tell me about the threats?

PEIFER: He'd say like I'm going to stab you if you don't -- he just said he was going to (ph) stab us and messing around.

SIMON: Peifer called the threats lighthearted but told us of an incident earlier in this academic year when the 12-year-old brought a knife to school.

Did you see the knife?


SIMON: Did he show it to friends and classmates?

PEIFER: Yes. He showed it to kids.

SIMON: It was a little Swiss army knife like just little pocket knife?


SIMON: And what happened?

PEIFER: He's like showing it to people and so then he gave it to -- someone told on him and he went it the office.

SIMON: It landed him a five-day suspension. The boy seen here at a candlelight vigil days after the killing had some people suspicious at the outset.

PENNY KILGORE, PARENT: We kept kind of behind closed doors as saying, you know, we thought it was him.

SIMON: The young boy told investigators an intruder stabbed his eight-year-old sister, Leila, while his parents were at a little league baseball game. Penny Kilgore's daughter also knows the suspect from school. She thought it seemed strange that the killer would only target Leila and spare the brother's life.

KILGORE: You don't kill a person and then leave a witness, you know? And that's why we kept saying that, you know, they're not going to leave him alive if there was somebody else that did it. He witnessed this guy. So in my heart, I thought it was him from get go.

SIMON: The boy is currently being held at a juvenile detention center.

BRIAN CHAVEZ-OCHOA, ATTORNEY: Because the child in this particular case is 12 years of age, he cannot be tried as an adult. If he was 14 years of age or older, of course, and because of the allegations that will be raised here, he could have been tried as an adult.

SIMON: Attorney Brian Chavez-Ochoa has represented minors in cases involving serious crimes.

CHAVEZ-OCHOA: These proceedings are going to take place behind closed doors. This isn't going to be an open trial like it would be if he was an adult. In this case, the public is not going to be allowed into the proceedings.


SIMON (on-camera): Well, if the 12-year-old is charged and convicted of murder, the law here in California is that he would be in custody until the age of 25. Zoraida, at this point, we still don't know what the evidence is and the boy's father told the Associated Press that he believes his son is innocent until he sees evidence that proves, otherwise -- Zoraida.

SAMBOLIN: And Dan, I just want to clear something up. Did the police actually take knives from the house in order to test those to see if those were the ones that were used?

SIMON: There are reports that knives were taken from the house. Also, DNA evidence collected. We don't know the results of those tests. We don't know, you know, if, in fact, one of those knives actually goes back to the suspect or links him to the suspect.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Dan Simon reporting live for us. Thank you very much.

BERMAN: Other legal news out here, O.J. Simpson telling his legal representation in 2008 was a far cry from the dream team of Cochran and Company. In fact, Simpson claims they botched the case that sent him to prison for robbery assault and kidnapping. And now, he's asking for a new trial. This time, he's set to testify. That could be something.

CNN's Paul Vercammen is following this development. He is live in Las Vegas for us this morning. Good morning, Paul.

PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, John. You know what, O.J. came into court. It wasn't exactly a grand entrance and you can see what seemed to be 4 1/2 years of strain in prison show on his face.


VERCAMMEN (voice-over): Heavier and grayer disgraced football legend, O.J. Simpson slowly stepped into a Las Vegas courtroom after 4 1/2 years in prison for kidnapping, assault, and armed robbery. The new Simpson legal team is presenting 19 claims it says showed he was so poorly represented in the 2008 kidnap by Yale Galanter that he should get a new trial.

New lead attorney, Patricia Palm, argues Simpson was never told about an offered plea deal and should have taken the witness stand. Gabe Grasso assisted Galanter in 2008 and emphatically told the court Monday he wanted Simpson to testify then.

GABE GRASSO, FORMER SIMPSON CO-COUNSEL: O.J. is a very eloquent person. And he can explain himself very well. And so, I thought he'd be a great witness.

VERCAMMEN: Simpson's lawyers also tried to show the former Heisman trophy winner had been drinking alcohol which impaired him from seeing his cohorts carry guns into the confrontation. The new Simpson team argues that Galanter knew about Simpson's plans to get back some of his memorabilia.

Simpson's daughter, Arnel, took the stand saying she was with her father and Galanter at dinner the night before the incident. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Was your dad drinking alcohol that evening?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you recall overhearing any conversation about your dad's to go look at his property the next day?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And who did you hear talking about that?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My dad was talking to you.

VERCAMMEN: Simpson is waiting to testify in this hearing.

PATRICIA PALM, O.J. SIMPSON LEAD ATTORNEY: This will be his first time to be able to tell what happened and, you know, instead of hearing it in bits and pieces and, you have to remember the evidence in this case was extremely conflicting from all the witnesses.

VERCAMMEN: Simpson may take the stand as soon as Wednesday.


VERCAMMEN (on-camera): And 19 claims, the judge just have to find merit with one of them for O.J. to possibly get a new trial -- John.

BERMAN: Paul, we can't stop talking about just seeing O.J. for more than four years. He looks different. Four years in prison takes a toll. Paul Vercammen in Las Vegas, thanks so much.

SAMBOLIN: A little extra weight and a lot of gray hair, right?

All right. Up next, disturbing news about the surviving Boston Marathon bombing suspect, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. He has, folks, a female fan club. We look at the women who are pledging their love and support.


SAMBOLIN: Welcome back to EARLY START. Forty-four minutes past the hour. There may not be a more hated man in America than Boston Marathon bombing suspect, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. But ever since his arrest last month, countless women have been publicly professing their love and their support for the terror suspect.

They're doing this online. And it is not the first time we've seen this kind of infatuation with a notorious criminal.


SAMBOLIN (voice-over): Disturbing trend or teenage attraction, a startling number of followers are tweeting out their love and support of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the surviving imprisoned Boston bombing suspect. Here's a sampling of tweets. "Dear God, make me a bird so I can fly to Dzhokhar when he is looking out the window and stay there to give him comfort. But our love is like wind. I can't see it but I can feel it."

One admirer tweeted out she's getting a tattoo with one of Dzhokhar's tweets, "Nobody understands why I want this tattoo. I'll get people's attention maybe then people can open up their eyes to what is happening."

DR. JEFF GARDERE, PSYCHOLOGIST: A lot of that has to do with the way that he looks. He's considered to be very handsome, very cute by girls. And what's really disturbing is that they see him as this very innocent individual, though at the same time, being sort of dangerous.

SAMBOLIN: This attraction to notorious criminals has as a name, hybristophilia. There's no shortage of examples in criminal history. Bonnie loved Clyde, notorious serial killer, Ted Bundy, had large numbers of women attracted to him, and Scott Peterson was flooded with marriage proposals after killing his wife and their unborn son.

Thousands of others posting messages of support for Dzhokhar say this is not about love but justice.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It doesn't add up.

SAMBOLIN: Sarah Cook (ph) has more than 1,200 Twitter followers.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I got on to this free Dzhokhar movement to show my evidence to put out the hash tag to really get the world to know, open up your eyes, turn off the television set, and just research.

GARDERE: With many of these women or young women, this will be their fantasy. They'll have their cause on the internet, and hopefully, it won't translate into their hooking up with men who are also dangerous.


SAMBOLIN (on-camera): This is incredible. The psychology behind this really fascinates me. And I also want to know, a lot of these girls are very young. Are their parents aware of what they're tweeting and this conversation, this social media conversation they're having?

BERMAN: I can't believe what they're saying. Shocking.

SAMBOLIN: No. It's outrageous.

BERMAN: All right. Forty-seven minutes after the hour right now.

And coming up, will the beach ever be the same? Prince Harry meets the "Jersey Shore." We're following the royal visit live.

SAMBOLIN: And Disney making one of their own characters a little too sexy? The controversy over this princess makeover coming up.


SAMBOLIN: Fifty minutes past the hour. Welcome back to EARLY START. We're happy you're with us this morning. And brand new this morning, it is a stunning revelation by Oscar-winning actress, Angelina Jolie, opening up in a "New York Times" op-ed about choosing to have a preventive double mastectomy. The reason she chose it? She says she carries a gene, the BRCA gene, that sharply increases her risk for breast and ovarian cancers.

In this op-ed, she describes the procedures she's had in detail and says, quote, "On a personal note, I do not feel any less of a woman. I feel empowered that I made a strong choice that in no way diminishes my femininity."

Jolie says because of the treatment she chose to have, she dramatically cut her breast cancer risk from 87 percent to under five percent.

Fifty-one minutes after the hour right now. And Prince Harry has been in the U.S. for six days with without any of the shenanigans of his last visit. You might see he's working on a different kind of streak this time, unintended. On tap for today, meeting New Jersey governor, Chris Christie, and touring parts of the state hit hard by hurricane Sandy. Our Poppy Harlow is in Seaside Heights, New Jersey with more. Good morning, Poppy.

POPPY HARLOW, CNNMONEY.COM: Good morning, John. Well, already on this tour. It is a six now (ph). Prince Harry has been to the Washington, D.C. We've seen him at the White House. We've seen him at Arlington National Cemetery, then he went to Colorado Springs where he participated in the Warrior Games focusing on wounded veterans, the passion of Prince Harries.

Today, he will be here where I'm standing on the boardwalk in Seaside Heights, New Jersey. This is one of the parts of the state. It was hardest hit in Sandy. Seven months later, still really trying to recover, John. We're told that the prince is going to be with Governor Chris Christie here, first visiting one of the hardest hit neighborhoods near Seaside Heights to see the devastation there.

And then, we're told that he's going to come here and walk along the boardwalk, shake hands with some of the heroes of Sandy, also visit some of the local businesses here. And we came out to see the destruction, talk with some of the business owners here who say they're very happy the prince is coming. This put Seaside Heights, and frankly, all of the towns hit so hard by Sandy back on the map. Listen.


NICK SPINO, SEASIDE HEIGHTS RESIDENT: I'd been staring at this house for 6 1/2 months. And every time I come here, I say it looks like the Wizard of Oz. I'm selling the T-shirt. I'm selling them for $20 each. And it's the only income I have until the wood shop gets back in business and I can start making my picnic tables again.


HARLOW: So, after Prince Harry wraps up here this afternoon, John, he will head into New York City. He's going to go to something called the great event. That's with the Prime Minister David Cameron of Britain, promoting British trade, then he will move on to a Harlem baseball event for underprivileged children in Harlem -- John.

BERMAN: All right. Poppy Harlow in Seaside Heights where the reconstruction clearly under way even at this early hour this morning. Thanks, Poppy.

Now look at what you should expect when you head out the door today. Freeze warnings. That's right. It is cold on the east coast today in the middle of May. Meteorologist, Jennifer Delgado, at the CNN Weather Center in Atlanta. Hey, Jennifer.

JENNIFER DELGADO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Hi there, John. You probably had to grab a coat when you came into work this morning. Temperatures once again are dropping down into the 30s and even some locations down in the 20s. We're talking for areas like New Jersey into Massachusetts and as well as into New York.

Now, it looks like by tomorrow, we're going to start to see warmer temperatures working in. So, I don't expect to see all the freeze warnings and watches in place, but notice out there, we have 31 degrees in Pittsburgh. And a lot of the interior regions are certainly going to be coldest, but the warm air you're seeing out towards the west, it is going to be making its way over towards the east for parts of the northeast as well as New England.

But there is sort of a bad side to that. We'll get to it in just a moment, but we want to show you some of these temperatures, and these temperatures for today are running roughly about 20 degrees above average, 87 for Kansas City. Minneapolis, you're actually going to be warmer than Dallas. And this warm air is having an effect.

Let's go to some video and take a look and listen to this video coming in from (INAUDIBLE). What you're seeing is actually a wave of ice making its way into some homes and parts of Minneapolis, Minnesota. I should say the surrounding regions. And you can kind of hear that ice crackling as it melts. As I take you back over to our graphics, that is a direct result of warmer temperatures, strong winds coming in off the lake.

For today, also want to point out to you we have a very strong cold front up to the north and that is going to bring an increase fire threat. We're talking winds 40 to 50 miles per hour and sunny down towards the south. And John and Zoraida, the good news is, it's going to be nice and sunny for Prince Harry today in New York.

BERMAN: Oh, good. The prince needs more good luck.


DELGADO: He's from England.

BERMAN: All right. Jennifer Delgado in Atlanta, thanks so much.

Coming up, she's not sexy. She's just drawn that way, but a lot of people do not agree. Controversy over the makeover of a Disney princess.


SAMBOLIN: Welcome back to EARLY START. Fifty-eight minutes past the hour. Trending this morning, is Disney's newest princess a little too sexy? The director of the Oscar-winning animated film, "Brave" is blasting Disney's redesign of the lead character for Merida, accusing them of blatant sexism. So, take a look. The original character on the left, the makeover on the right. It's a lower cut, tighter dress. She's wearing a little bit more makeup also.

BERMAN: Also off the shoulder which is a big deal.

SAMBOLIN: OK. Well, the left one is a little off the shoulder. Maybe not completely off the shoulder. All right. So, the makeover was unveiled to coincide with Marida's official crowning as Disney's 11th princess. At 8:00 this morning eastern time, we're going to talk live with "Brave" director, Brenda Chapman. What do you think? I wanted you to chime in and send me some tweets or chime in on Facebook. I think she looks lovely.


BERMAN: A lot of people, a lot of big fans in that film say it's not -- she's not supposed to be --

SAMBOLIN: She's too sexy.

BERMAN: It's too princessy is, I think, the issue right there which is now --

SAMBOLIN: Too princess.

BERMAN: All right. We're going to continue this today.


BERMAN: EARLY START continues right now.