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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Tornadoes Rip Through North Texas; Tamerlan Tsarnaev Visited Former Chechen Rebel; Boston Bombings Suspect left Note in Boat
Aired May 16, 2013 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Note that the Boston bombing suspect left inside that boat where he was found hiding, what he scrolled on the boat's inside wall and what it means for the prosecution's case and the investigation.
Also today, it was Jodi Arias' turn to listen as Travis Alexander's brother and sister told the court how his brutal killing had ripped the heart out of their family.
We start, though, tonight in north Texas where at least 13 tornadoes touched down last night, 13. A terrifying night for everyone in their path. This is what it looked like on the ground. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dude, look at that. It's right above us. Holy crap. Film right above us. Film right above us. Literally, like, look straight up.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, my god.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Holy crap.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, my god. Oh, my goodness, dude. (EXPLETIVE DELETED).
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: When the 13 funnels touched down, they unleashed their fury. This video was shot near Bowie. Imagine seeing that in your backyard. In Granbury an EF-4 twister touched down, the second most severe on the scale. At least six people are confirmed dead right now, dozens more injured.
As we said, a terrifying night as twister after twister ripped through north Texas as people did their best to take cover. One neighborhood in Granbury was particularly hard hit. Dozens of homes were destroyed or damaged. The storms wiped out the water and electricity. The devastation is immense there.
Randi Kaye joins us now from Granbury.
What's the latest there, Randi? RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, this is actually the closest we can get to the damage because it is so bad everywhere you look, there is damage. As you said, we now know 13 tornadoes hit this area and just to give you an idea of how bad it is everywhere you look, as I said, this behind me used to be a mobile home. It's now just a bunch of wood and foam and a bunch of junk there on the ground. It was completely destroyed.
A lot of people were hoping to get back into their homes today. They were evacuated last night, and now they're being told they may not be able to get back home until Saturday. We stopped at a Red Cross shelter and some people told us that they know that their home wasn't even lost and wasn't even damaged but just that the roads are so bad and the damage everywhere is so dangerous that they just won't be able to get back home.
In terms of numbers, more than 100 injured. Of those six people who were killed, they were four men and two women ranging in age from 34 to 83.
The hardest hit area was a subdivision of Granbury called Rancho Brazos. And that's where those people were killed. Most of those homes are -- were built in the last few years, as Habitat for Humanity homes. Hundred and ten homes alone in that area were destroyed.
But I want you to listen to this. Listen to these people as they describe what it was like as they watched these tornadoes barreling towards them.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And you could see the whole -- the roof collapsed and you could see the twister just there, facing you. It's horrible.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You could tell where the tornado went through directly because it's just wiped out. Trees gone, houses completely demolished.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There's just nothing left. I'm sorry. There's just nothing left.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KAYE: You know, unless you've lived through one of these you really don't know what to do when it's coming at you. So people told us some of them waited it out at gas stations, in their cars. Others got down in their basement in the bathtub, some said that glass was blowing in on them. Others said that their ears were popping from the pressure of the storm, Anderson, but they are lucky. Many of them really survived with just the clothes on their back.
COOPER: And do we know how many people are still missing at this point?
KAYE: Seven people at this point, at this hour, still missing. They did have search and rescue crews going through the hardest hit area, that area of Rancho Brazos today. They didn't find anybody, they didn't have any luck there. They hope to go back again but now we understand that it's no longer search and rescue, it is search and recovery, although the sheriff in this area says he is confident they have not left anyone behind -- Anderson.
COOPER: All right. Just horrible to see. Randi, appreciate it.
I want to show again what it was like on the ground last night in north Texas. The video shot in Granbury. Listen.
The power of a twister, EF-4 tornado touching down. The second most severe on the rating scale.
Joining me now is Dr. Kerri Sistrunk, the head of the trauma center at Lake Granbury Medical Center.
Doctor, appreciate you joining us. I mean, what did you see last night? Were you prepared for the trauma?
DR. KERRI SISTRUNK, TRAUMA MEDICAL DIRECTOR, LAKE GRANBURY MEDICAL CENTER: Well, you know, we have disaster plans in place for these kind of things. You know, we always prepare for this but never really expect it. So about 8:15 last night, we set out our Code Orange, which is our disaster plan. Basically any personnel, cafeteria workers, ancillary staff, medical providers, doctors, nurses, all came back in to the Emergency Department to help out. We were prepared for our first patient that came in about 9:00 last night.
COOPER: Wow. What kind of injuries were you seeing?
SISTRUNK: Generally head injuries, a lot of orthopedic injuries, amputations, open fractures. A lot of just abrasions and contusions. And a lot of really shaken up people, for sure.
COOPER: Were you still treating patients today?
SISTRUNK: Yes, we saw -- we saw 37 up until about 6:00 this morning. We've seen a total of 44 patients from the disaster from about an hour ago was the last numbers I got.
COOPER: Have you -- have you ever experienced anything like this in the community?
SISTRUNK: I have not and I know Granbury hasn't here. But like I say, we prepare for this and I was so proud and I know I speak with the whole community, the whole medical community, of how everybody reacted, everybody really got together, you know. It was very controlled, cool, and we really just did our job. We couldn't have done it without everybody's help, EMS, police, fire, all the doctors and nurses and the whole staff really came together to help us with this disaster.
COOPER: And about how many people from last night are still hospitalized? SISTRUNK: We transferred out about 15 to Dallas-Ft. Worth trauma centers. We actually hospitalized three that actually went to the O.R. and are still admitted to our ICU. And the other ones were discharged, though.
COOPER: Did you actually see the twisters yourself?
SISTRUNK: I did not. I was actually -- I live about 45 minutes away and had just gotten home. We did actually have some tornadoes out by my area also, but as soon as I got the call, I came back and went back in to work so.
COOPER: Wow. How big of a facility do you have? I mean, how many folks do you have to deal with this?
SISTRUNK: We actually have a 12-bed emergency department, which is pretty small compared to emergency departments, so our resources were definitely strained but we had a lot of help. EMS, you know, we had mutual aid from at least 15 different EMS services. We had about 30, you know, ambulances on scene, different hospitals sent over supplies. We had just a ton of help. It was really -- it was really great.
COOPER: I also want to bring in Nin Hulett who's Granbury's mayor pro tem.
Mayor, appreciate you joining us. Can you give us the latest information? Last we heard, seven people were still unaccounted for, is that correct?
NIN HULETT, MAYOR PRO TEM, GRANBURY, TEXAS: Pardon me? I didn't -- I didn't understand. How many did you say was unaccounted for?
COOPER: Well, the last report we had was seven.
HULETT: Yes, that's still -- that's still the number there that we've got that's unaccounted for. We are hoping and we've got some indication that those seven people probably weren't even in the area, on vacation or not at the home at the time, and so as soon as we get that confirmation, we'll surely let the public know that.
COOPER: And that would certainly be good news. Just how much damage, I mean, has been done to people's homes? Have you been able to assess kind of the big picture?
HULETT: You know, I went right down in the heart of it today and I mean, what you see out here, what you see behind me right now, is just the small beginning of it. There's homes -- homes that are just -- they're not there. I mean, they're gone. There was -- we had a list of the 17 or -- yes, 17 regular homes, 19 mobile homes that were destroyed and when I say destroyed, there was nothing there but a pad, and then we had numerous others. We had a total of 97 homes out of 110 that suffered severe damage.
COOPER: Ninety-seven out of 110. I understand a number of them were actually Habitat for Humanity homes. HULETT: Yes. Those were a lot of those homes and you could pretty much identify, they're pretty much built the same way, this and that. But they were structurally well-built homes. They were a smaller home, but they were -- you know, they were on a slab fastened down. And when you looked at the slabs, there was nothing left there but the carpet.
COOPER: So what happens now, Mayor? I mean, what happens now? Tomorrow, the next couple of weeks?
HULETT: We've got a big chore in front of us, and as you know, this is a -- this is a county issue out here with the county -- the county commissioners run out here. It's not in the city limits. But we are definitely a resource to them. And we are out there to support the county. Our sheriff, Sheriff Deeds, has done a fabulous job out here. He's done a fabulous job. Judge Darryl Cochran and his commissioners out here.
And right now, the city of Granbury is just out here to support them. We're all family in this. We're all from Granbury. But you know, there's other jurisdictions out here. But we're out here -- we're out here to support them any way we can. We've had our police force out here. We've had -- we've set up a resource in our city hall to inform people where they can go, where they can get help, where they can get aid, where they can get food.
HULETT: Water, and probably additional clothing and stuff like that. But we're out here to support those guys and they're doing a tremendous job.
COOPER: Well, Mayor, I appreciate you taking the time to talk to us. I wish you and everybody there the best.
Mayor Hulett, thank you, and also Dr. Kerri Sistrunk. Amazing work there.
Let us know what you think. You can follow me on Twitter @Andersoncooper.
Just ahead now, the message that the Boston bombing suspect wrote inside that boat that he was hiding in just before his capture. Has the note given investigators new leads to introduce and is this going to actually going to affect the case against him? We'll talk to Jeff Toobin about that. He thinks that it might. We'll tell you why.
Also, new details in the investigation of the deadly explosion at a fertilizer plant in West, Texas. What we're learning about the first responder who is in federal custody, accused of having pipe bomb materials. His lawyer insists his client had nothing to do with the blast. We'll be right back.
COOPER: Tonight, new details in the Boston bombing investigation. We're following two major developments. Now we're learning about a message written by surviving suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev scrawled on the walls of the boat where he hid shortly before his arrest.
Also tonight, investigators are taking a closer look at the exiled Chechen rebel living in Manchester, New Hampshire, of all places, who met with the older Tsarnaev brother in the weeks before the bombing.
National correspondent Susan Candiotti is live in Boston. I want to start with Brian Todd, who is in Manchester, New Hampshire, tonight. So what do we know about this Chechen connection in Manchester, Brian?
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, the gentleman who lives right behind me, his name is Musa Khadjimuradov. He is an exiled Chechen resistance fighter who apparently, according to the Voice of America, was wounded in Chechnya in 2001, came to the United States in 2004 as a refugee. According to the VOA, he was visited by FBI and Homeland Security agents here at this condominium earlier this week.
That report says that they scanned his computer disks, that they took his DNA and fingerprints and interviewed him several times. According to the Voice of America report, he told them that Tamerlan Tsarnaev came and visited him less than a month before the Boston marathon bombings.
But he has said that they have given him absolutely no indication that he is a suspect in any way in the Boston marathon bombings and when he was asked about what he talked to Tamerlan Tsarnaev about, he said it was, you know, fairly innocuous things, just personal life, family, things like that.
He was asked pointedly, did he talk about the war in Chechnya, did he talk about his beliefs on Islam, and Khadjimuradov said no, he did not. So according to this gentleman, these discussions were very innocuous, just about family and friends and things like that. He met him about seven years ago at a gathering of the Chechen Society of Boston. So that is -- that is what we know at this point.
This gentleman's involvement with Tamerlan Tsarnaev, at least at its surface, Anderson, was fairly innocuous.
TODD: But it's that Chechen connection that apparently drew federal agents here in the first place.
COOPER: Also, according to that Voice of America report, Brian, Tamerlan's widow was with her husband on the most recent visit to this guy. So again, it raises questions about what she knew about her husband's activities.
TODD: Absolutely it raises those questions, Anderson. And it raises those questions in relation to how they knew to come here. Could she have been the one who told them to maybe come and take a look at this guy. Not clear at all. There's no indication necessarily that she did that but it's a possibility. So yes, according to that report, she was here and Tamerlan Tsarnaev's last visit which was about three weeks to a month ago, and this gentleman, Khadjimuradov, says that Tamerlan Tsarnaev visited with him maybe three times over the past couple of years.
So it was more than one visit here, we know. The conversations, according to Khadjimuradov were very innocuous and that they never discussed Chechnya, never discussed any radicalized feelings about Islam or anything like that. And again, establishing no connection between the man who lives here and the Boston marathon bombings at this point.
COOPER: Interesting. I mean, he's a former Chechen rebel, they met at the Chechen Society yet he says they didn't talk about Chechnya. I don't know. We'll see what's on the computer, I guess.
Let's bring in Susan Candiotti in Boston.
Susan, what do we know about this note that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev allegedly scrawled inside the boat where he was found during the Watertown manhunt? I know it was first broken by John Miller this morning on CBS.
SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, hi, Anderson. Yes, apparently he thought he was going to die when he wrote this note. Remember, we know that he was weak from a loss of blood after that shootout in Watertown and as he laid in this boat, one of the things he said, according to our law enforcement official who told us, is that he said, I don't miss my brother because I'm expecting to be with him soon. And then he goes on to call the victims of this bombing collateral damage, which certainly is dehumanizing to them.
And according to our source, he goes on to blame the United States for what happened here, because of what he calls it's -- in so many words, the United States' actions in Afghanistan and Iraq and even adds that one attack against one Muslim is an attack against all Muslims. Certainly this is a jihadist message that we have heard time and again, for example, from the Times Square bomber and even the London subway suicide attack as well -- Anderson.
COOPER: The information that he wrote inside the boat, that lines up with what you're hearing from sources that he told investigators before he was read his Miranda rights, correct?
CANDIOTTI: Absolutely. It was pointed out to me by this official about that message that he scrawled inside the boat, that it matches up what he told investigators from his hospital bed and certainly won't do him any favors if this case goes before a jury because not only will they have his words at bedside but certainly they will have the written word inside this boat that they could actually show to a jury.
COOPER: So, Susan, thank you. Brian Todd as well.
I want to bring in our senior legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin. Does this impact the case against him? I mean, it's pretty damning stuff.
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Enormously. Enormously. I mean, I think this is devastating. When you think about the avenues of defense potentially open to him, you know, my brother made me do it, I was -- I was really just a follower. This note, if this is what it says, demolishes those defense. It shows that he was -- he was motivated to do this. He knew people would die. It shows premeditation. It shows, you know, incredible callousness towards the victims.
COOPER: And no regret, either.
TOOBIN: No regret at that point, it was known how many people had died. It's just totally devastating.
COOPER: Also, if it's true that he gave similar information to authorities before being read his Miranda rights -- because it wasn't one of the things about the Miranda rights they weren't admissible?
TOOBIN: Potentially. Right. I mean, if he had not been Mirandized, those statements might not have been admissible. I've always thought that Miranda issue was sort of a red herring. This case is not a whodunit. It's going to be -- there's going to be abundant evidence that he did this. But if you have, you know, this scrawled note, that's potentially even better and more dramatic evidence than anything he might have said to the cops from the hospital.
COOPER: And if it becomes a death penalty case, this level of premeditation could impact that.
TOOBIN: Extremely important for death penalty case. I mean, all the issues that come up in the death penalty case, premeditation, callousness, you know, really intending to kill people, that note would seem to be very directly relevant on all those issues.
COOPER: If the investigation, though, doesn't go as the authorities hope, and they're not able to piece together all the -- sort of the parts of the puzzle, they might still offer him a deal, take the death penalty off the table.
TOOBIN: They might. They might. You know, this is still early in the process. The defense, I assume, has one agenda right now, which is delay. Get this thing, you know, down the road when people are less passionately involved following it less closely, and then maybe there's the possibility for a delay. The defense should -- all they're thinking about now is lying low --
COOPER: For a deal.
TOOBIN: For a deal, right -- is lying low, collecting evidence, figuring out who this kid is, and then maybe making a deal down the road. But now there's nothing to talk about.
COOPER: Interesting. Jeff Toobin, appreciate it. Thanks.
Coming up, new information about the investigation into the deadly fertilizer plant in West, Texas, and new questions about one of the first responders who we actually had on this broadcast. He's a volunteer paramedic named Bryce Reed. He spoke at a memorial service for the victims and said he lost friends and family. Some of those statements are now under scrutiny and Reed has been arrested for allegedly having materials for a pipe bomb, although his lawyer says there's no connection to the explosion at that fertilizer plant. We're going to look at that ahead.
Plus convicted murderer Jodi Arias cries in court as Travis Alexander's brother and sister talk about the man she killed. The emotional testimony ahead.
COOPER: Welcome back. Tomorrow, it's going to be one month since this happened. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you OK?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: That's the fertilizer explosion, the fire that killed 15 people in West, Texas, about 70 miles southwest of Dallas, about 18 miles from Waco. And there's still no explanation for what caused it. The explosion -- was felt 50 miles away, damaged much of the town, certainly the four- or five-block area around the town, leveling houses, damaged the nursing home, the town high school, the middle school.
The State Fire Marshal's Office has ruled out some potential causes but they haven't been able to rule out others. Now one of those potential causes is criminal activity. And a lot of people are wondering if this man, Bryce Reed, might have had something to do with it.
Reed is a resident of the area and now sits in federal custody for possession of pipe bomb materials. And it's a very, very strange story, it's something we found out first-hand because we actually interviewed Bryce Reed the day after the bombing when we were in West, Texas. We're going to have more on that in a moment. But first, here's Ed Lavandera who joins me live from West.
So, Ed, investigators today say the cause of the fire is still undetermined but are they ruling out Bryce Reed?
ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, that officially hasn't been ruled out, although investigators today as they laid out some of the things that they have not been able to rule out, refused to answer any specific questions connecting Bryce Reed to the investigation here of the explosion in West, Texas. But it is clear that that is still something that they're looking into, and he's still part of one of the things that they're looking at.
COOPER: And what other factors are they looking into?
LAVANDERA: It was interesting, they said that -- they said that whether or not this fire was intentionally caused is one of the three things they're looking at. The other two is the electrical system inside the building where the fire started and the explosion erupted, the electrical system inside that building, and the second thing is a golf cart that was found in -- or believed to be inside that building where the fire started. This is a battery power operated golf cart that ATF investigators say has a history of catching fire and perhaps might have set something on fire in that building and then that fire spread over to the ammonium nitrate, causing the explosion.
But they're only able to not rule it out because simply, they haven't been able to find much of that golf cart left. In fact, the only pieces they were able to find was a part of a brake pad and part of an axle because the explosion was simply so devastating.
COOPER: Wow. And how is the town doing right now? Because I mean, when I was -- the day I was there, people had really pulled together, you know, were gathering clothes for people who had nothing. How are things going?
LAVANDERA: Well, you still see a lot of that here, a lot of stories of, you know, families helping each other out. This is one of the homes you see behind me, we're just about 200 yards away from the plant that exploded just here off to my -- off to my left. And many homes who you now see just like this, Anderson. And this is still a pretty good distance away from the plant that exploded. The neighborhood back and the school still is cordoned off and people will be out of their homes for months to come.
COOPER: Ed, I appreciate the update. Thanks.
As we mentioned, Bryce Reed is in federal custody for allegedly having pipe bomb materials and plans to plead not guilty to those charges. Now Reed's lawyer says he's had no involvement whatsoever in the plant's explosion but there are new questions about some of the statements that Reed made in the aftermath of the tragedy. When the explosion happened, as I said, I went to West to report on the investigation and the aftermath.
And one of the people I talked to was Bryce Reed. He came to us actually right before we went on the air and said he wanted to -- he wanted to talk about what was lost and thank people for all the attention that they were giving to his town. He was clearly emotional, clearly shaken. Here's part of that interview.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRYCE REED, WEST, TEXAS PARAMEDIC: And in a situation like this, you feel like you're alone but it is incredibly humbling to have everything that everyone has done for us. I don't know where to begin in saying thank you, and I don't know where to begin in saying, you know, we are West, and we'll get back to that. COOPER: You are West and you will -- this town is going to rise again.
REED: Absolutely. There's -- this is -- you know, this is a big -- it's a town but it's more than that. It is the only place on earth that I have ever been where if I have a problem literally, all the stops are pulled out, where everybody will do anything that they can to help you.
COOPER: Down by the check bakery, they were refusing to take any money. They're giving away food. Over at the drugstore, stopping in there earlier, the pharmacy there collecting clothes for people. Folks are cooking a barbecue right across the street from us right now. It's kind of amazing spirit.
REED: It is. Welcome to West.
REED: That's what I'll tell you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Reed spoke at a memorial service for the victims in West, Texas. What he said at that memorial is also under scrutiny tonight as are a lot of the things about Bryce Reed. Gary Tuchman now reports.
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When President Obama came to West, Texas, for a memorial service after the fertilizer plant explosion, Bryce Reed gave an emotional speech. Reed, an EMS worker for the town of West, a man many regarded as a first responder hero that night, talked about one of the volunteer firefighters killed, Cyrus Reed.
BRYCE REED, FORMER EMS VOLUNTEER: I would like you all to learn from my brother. Don't be afraid to hurt, but even in the face of incredible adversity, I dare all of you to take my brother's example and love.
TUCHMAN: A big problem, though, although they shared a last name, Cyrus Reed was not Bryce Reed's brother. Before that, Bryce Reed talked live with Anderson on AC 360.
COOPER: Your house is gone.
REED: Yes. I mean, you know, the pressure from the blast actually blew the doors off the hinges. My daughter's room has glass fragments imbedded in the wall. It's gone.
TUCHMAN (on camera): After Anderson talked to Bryce Reed, I spent some time with him, too. One of the things he told me, he reiterated that his house was gone. Well, this is his house. Back then, the doors were damaged, some of the windows were blown out, but this house was never gone.
(voice-over): Reed also told us there was more to the explosion than meets the eye. He said he personally witnessed dozens of dead bodies, even though 14 people died. And he added for good measure that Pope Francis called the fire station to personally express condolences, and that he took the call.
Bryce Reed's stories attracted plenty of attention. Last Friday, a neighbor who wants his identity protected said Reed had several stories for him, but --
(on camera): What was the thing that shocked you the most that he said?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He told me he had a pipe bomb at his house. I was very concerned for the welfare of my family, so I decided to report it to the ATF.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): Later that day, Bryce Reed was arrested and charged with unlawful possession of a destructive device. Authorities saying he had indeed possessed the materials for a pipe bomb, and had given them to a friend who unwittingly took possession.
(on camera): On the same day, Bryce Reed was arrested, the Texas Department of Public Safety announced a criminal investigation would given into the explosion. Does that mean authorities believe Bryce Reed might have caused the explosion? At this point, they say they're not speculating.
(voice-over): Reed's attorney says his client vigorously denies all the allegations against him, adding that he had no involvement whatsoever in the explosion at the West, Texas fertilizer plant. But neighbors are concerned and shocked about the family man who lived among them.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think I said where did you get a pipe bomb from? And he said Cyrus.
TUCHMAN (on camera): And Cyrus is the firefighter who he claimed was his brother, but is actually just a friend.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right. He said Cyrus had some sort of federal license that he was allowed to have pyrotechnical equipment, gunpowder, these sorts of things and Cyrus had given him this to hold.
TUCHMAN: But why did he tell you about the pipe bomb?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know why he would approach me with that.
TUCHMAN: I mean, you must have thought that was very strange.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was shocked and thought it was very strange.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): Now the man thought to be a hero was behind bars and a neighborhood wonders what it will learn next. Gary Tuchman, CNN, West, Texas.
COOPER: It is such a bizarre story. All of us who spent time with Bryce are really kind of just shocked by it. I should point out in conversations I had with him after we got off the air, he did tell me that Cyrus Reed was not his actual biological brother, but they were so close, he considered him his brother.
All right, let's get caught up on some of the other stories we're following tonight. Isha is here with the "360 Bulletin" -- Isha.
ISHA SESAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, another potential scandal for the Justice Department. During an audit on the federal witness security program, authorities discovered U.S. Marshals lost track of two known or suspected terrorists. The Justice Department says the pair were getting protection for cooperating against terrorists and their new identities were never added to the nation's no-fly list. U.S. Marshals eventually discovered the pair had left the program years ago and had been accounted for.
Well, President Obama has chosen an official in his budget office as acting commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service. Danny Welfer will take over for the previous acting commissioner who was forced out yesterday due to the agency's targeting of conservative groups.
And Anderson, some sad news to bring you, soccer superstar David Beckham is calling it quits. The 38-year-old announcing today he is retiring from the sport. His decision comes just days after he won his latest title with the French Club, Paris St. Germain. Can I just say --
COOPER: Let me just say, you have been saying quite a lot about David Beckham all day long to everybody. All I hear, Isha said David Beckham is this --
SESAY: Let me just say, I sat down with David two years ago and there you have it. And I asked him why he didn't just want to pack it all in and sit on the sofa and get fat. He pointed out his wife wouldn't appreciate him fat and that he had a love of the game, but I guess he's changed his mind.
COOPER: Isha --
SESAY: My goodness! Where did you find that?
COOPER: Wow. Could that be on your Facebook page? Could that be in your office? Wow.
SESAY: Can I -- you know, if I was --
COOPER: On your business card? It's sad.
SESAY: You've seen it.
COOPER: He's married. SESAY: He is. He's taken, but you know, he tenderly squeezed my arm at the end of that interview.
COOPER: My God, really.
SESAY: Yes. Yes, really.
COOPER: Tenderly squeezed your arm.
SESAY: Tenderly. Do you know what that looks like? It's something like this.
COOPER: You know what he was doing? Move out of my way, I got to go, thanks, bye.
SESAY: Speaking of which, bye.
COOPER: All right, bye. Isha. Serious stuff ahead.
The Jodi Arias trial now in the penalty phase, the family of her victim Travis Alexander finally getting their say, their message for jurors as they consider the death penalty ahead.
Also, really horrifying, a stroller carrying a 14-month old girl falling on to train tracks, the rescue ahead.
COOPER: "Crime and Punishment" tonight, jurors in Arizona started hearing arguments today over whether Jodi Arias will spend life behind bars or if she deserves to die for the murder of her ex- boyfriend, Travis Alexander, back in 2008. Jurors ruled yesterday that the murder was exceptionally cruel, which clears the way for the death penalty under Arizona law.
Today, the death penalty phase began. So for nearly five months now, as you know, Travis Alexander's siblings have been listening to defense testimony demonizing their brother. They have seen graphic photographs in court of his brutal murder. Well, today Alexander's brother and sister got to speak to the court for the first time to talk about what Travis meant to them and how his murder affected their family.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEVEN ALEXANDER, TRAVIS ALEXANDER'S BROTHER: I have nightmares about somebody coming at me with a knife and then going after my wife and my daughter. When I wake up, I cannot establish what is real, what is a dream? I have even gone through the house searching through rooms, shaking my family to wake them up to make sure that they are alive. My wife has woken me up out of nightmares because I was screaming in my sleep.
SAMANTHA ALEXANDER, TRAVIS ALEXANDER'S SISTER: To have Travis taken so barbarically is beyond any words we can find to describe our horrific loss. I cannot adequately express how much we will miss our brother.
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COOPER: It looks like Jodi Arias will actually take the stand during this phase. The defense said today that she will talk to the jury, not about what happened, but about who she is. There's been yet another bombshell in the case. Word that Arias' defense lawyers actually tried to withdraw from the case after she was convicted, a request the judge denied.
Joining us again is CNN senior legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin, also criminal defense Attorney Mark Geragos, co-author of "Mistrial, An Inside Look At How the Justice System Works and Sometimes Doesn't." Obviously, very emotional testimony today, how does this play out?
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Well, I think it's actually more significant than usual because of what you mentioned. The defense in this case was built around demonizing Travis, saying all sorts of terrible things, that he was an abuser, even a pedophile, which by the way was never established but Jodi accused him of it. And to see him in such a different light I think will be very effective for the prosecution.
COOPER: You think these impact statements actually can have an effect?
TOOBIN: Yes, I think sometimes jurors might discount it, but here I think it might matter more than usual.
COOPER: Mark, the defense announcing today that Arias is in fact going to take the stand again to deliver a statement, not just a statement, she will also be showing her artwork. I mean, we've seen more of Jodi Arias than probably any other defendant in modern times or recent memory, certainly. What do you make of her taking the stand again?
MARK GERAGOS, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I think that's precisely why they filed the motion to withdraw. I think they felt like they had a conflict. I think they know or she's indicated already on camera and she's probably going to get on the stand and say give me death, and the lawyers are between a rock and a hard place. You're there as a lawyer to zealously defend your client. Your client now is saying I want the death penalty. You as a lawyer are supposed to mitigate, that's your duty, and they're hung on an ethical dilemma.
COOPER: Wait a minute. I don't understand. Why is that an ethical dilemma, that she -- because she doesn't really want that or because they don't want her to say that?
GERAGOS: Number one, a lawyer, part of what happens in death penalty litigation is the first thing that a subsequent appellate lawyer is going to do is look at ineffective assistance of counsel, and there are cases, and Jeff, I'm sure is familiar with them, where lawyers, even if the client says I want death, you're not supposed to as the lawyer to implement that. That's not your duty. Your duty is to mitigate no matter what the client says. And this is going to be one of those situations where the client wants to testify, has got a right to testify, he's going to get up there and by all accounts, I don't think it takes the amazing kreskin to predict she's going to ask for death.
And the lawyer probably went to the judge, would be my guess, and said I've got a conflict of interest. How do I defend somebody against the death penalty when she's insisting she's going to take the stand and ask for it?
TOOBIN: And you can imagine what a difficult client she is. She gave this totally bizarre interview to the Fox affiliate hours after the verdict, and she said exactly what you're saying, Mark. She said I prefer death to life in prison. If she says that to the jury, I don't know what effect that will have on the jury, because it may be some sort of weird reverse psychology, we don't want to give her what she wants. I mean, I just find that a completely baffling situation to confront a jury with.
GERAGOS: It is baffling, and you know that there's always going to be in cases like this, there's always going to be jurors arguing for death, number one, and who in the life without parole camp is going to say -- is going to put up a huge fight for life without parole when she herself is saying I want death. I mean, it's almost -- puts the jurors who might have had some sympathy for her in a box. Why are you going to go to bat for somebody who is saying I want death? OK, you want death, you know, God be with you.
COOPER: Would she be cross-examined if she gets up on the stand again?
GERAGOS: Well, absolutely she could be cross-examined. She can give a statement, but you know, I don't know, what's Juan Martinez going to say, you don't really want death, come on, admit it, you really want life without parole and this is reverse psychology? That's so much gamesmanship at that point and as Jeff said with this kind of weird, bizarre reverse psychology.
I mean, I don't blame the lawyers at this point for almost throwing up their hands. They've got a duty, they were court appointed, I understand it, and they have to do that, but this is really one of the nettlesome problems with the death penalty machinery in this country. It really is broken.
TOOBIN: And also, the judge had no choice but to decline to allow them to -- you can't let a lawyer after a multi-month trial leave with two or three days left to go. So the judge had no choice but to keep them.
COOPER: Jeff Toobin, thank you. Mark Geragos as well.
Coming up, you may have seen the viral video of a homeless hitchhiker who told a colorful tale of helping a woman who had been hit by a car. Police are looking for him as a murder suspect. Also ahead, some terrifying moments after a stroller carrying a little girl rolls off a train station platform on to the tracks. The daring rescue coming up.
COOPER: The remarkable story of Jessica Buchanan now. An America aid worker that was abducted in Somalia in late 2011 and held captive for 93 days, with negotiations failing, her health declining, President Obama gave the go ahead for U.S. forces to enter Somalia and bring Jessica's long nightmare to an end.
Meanwhile, Jessica had no idea anyone was really coming to save her. I sat down with Jessica and her husband to talk about their ordeal and her dramatic rescue by SEAL Team Six.
JESSICA BUCHANAN, ABDUCTED IN SOMALIA/RESCUED BY NAVY SEALS: The next thing I know I feel all these men's hands on me and I'm thinking -- trying to fight back and I hear a man say my name and he says, Jessica, and all I can think is, you know, it's such a different sounding voice, it's a voice with an American accent.
And he pulls the blanket away from my face and I can't see anything, it's just very dark, everything's very dark, and he says we're the American military and we're here to save you, here to take you home. And all I can say at that point is you're Americans, like how did Americans get here, because you know, I didn't hear anything.
I had no idea, just in complete shock. I don't think I started breathing until we were hundreds of feet up in the air and I knew they couldn't get me anymore, which seems ridiculous given the fact that who had come to save me, but I hadn't realized the magnitude of who these men were at that point until later on.
COOPER: They took a different chopper than you, right? So did you ever get a chance to meet them and thank them?
BUCHANAN: No. They just vanished.
COOPER: She's got an incredible story to tell. Tune in tomorrow night on 360 for more of my interview with Jessica Buchanan.
There are a lot more happening. Isha is back with the "360 Bulletin" -- Isha.
SESAY: Anderson, the homeless hitchhiker who gained fame in the viral video as a Good Samaritan is now wanted for murder in a separate case. Police in New Jersey are offering a $5,000 reward for the arrest of 24-year-old Caleb McGilvery. Last February, he became an internet celebrity after using a hatchet to subdue an attacking driver.
Police in New Orleans now have two suspects in custody for the Mother's Day parade shooting. Nineteen people were wounded. Last night, SWAT teams arrested 19-year-old Akeem Scott who is now facing 20 counts of attempted second degree murder for the attack. We are awaiting identification of the other suspect.
A 14-month old girl is very lucky to be alive after her stroller rolled off a train platform. Her mother, you see it going there, her mother jumped on to the tracks to save her. The child only suffered a cut to her forehead and police say no charges will be filed, very, very lucky indeed.
COOPER: Yes, definitely. Isha, thanks.
Coming up, we found the best mayor in the United States and by far, the cutest. The "Ridiculist" is next.
COOPER: Time now for the "Ridiculist." Tonight, we have a story that could change American politics forever. Comes from a town called Dorsett, Minnesota, a town so small it doesn't have its own zip code, but it has absolutely cracked the code when it comes to choosing its mayors.
There's no expensive campaigning, no negative ads. Instead each year, the town, population 22, picks a name out of a hat and that person is mayor for the year. The current mayor, 4-year-old Robert "Bobby" Tufts.
As you can see, Mayor Tufts adheres to Theodore Roosevelt's foreign policy ideology, at least carrying the big stick part. His duties include helping people cross the street and going for horsey rides.
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UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: Looks pretty safe.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How long have you had that stick, Mr. Mayor?
UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: Not long, but now I have it forever. Howdie, partner!
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COOPER: Mayor Tufts, as it turns out, is also quite an accomplished singer and dancer. Where Mayor Tufts really seems to shine is in his fishing expertise, which became evident when he gave a rare interview recently.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's your favorite kind of bait? What do all the fish bite on out here?
UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: Leeches, worms, minnows.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's your favorite kind of fish to catch?
UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: Walleye, bass, muskie.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who's better at fishing, you or your father?
UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: Probably me.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I saw you eating that quite a bit. Could you describe what it tastes like?
UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: It tastes like fish poop.
COOPER: All right, so clearly, Mayor Tufts has already surpassed Mayors McCheese as our favorite mayor ever, but there is a political lesson here as well. When you stop to think about it, there are many, many advantages to having a 4-year-old mayor. Not only is there virtually zero danger of a controversy involving him trying to ban any kind of soda which happened here in New York City, having a 4-year-old in charge also takes away the spectre of the romantic scandals we have seen so often in politics.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Exactly how many girlfriends do you have?
UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: Like one.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's her name?
UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: Sofia.
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COOPER: So I don't know what the by-laws are in Minnesota, but I'm thinking the best elected official in these United States so maybe Mayor Tufts should check into changing the term limits so he can continue to serve, I don't know, at least until kindergarten starts, anyway, very cute.
Quick programming note, tomorrow night at 10:00 Eastern, a special edition of 360, back to Boston, one month after the attacks, we will look at some of the iconic images during the bombing. Here's a preview.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The images that stuck with me the most are the ones of all the people who thought nothing of themselves. To run back into that scene, not knowing what was there or if it was even safe to help people, and help the victims. I am a freelance photographer and I am also a staff photographer at Tufts University.
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COOPER: That's tomorrow night at 10:00. We'll also have a regular edition of 360 at 8:00 p.m. tomorrow. Thanks for watching. "PIERS MORGAN LIVE" starts now.