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CNN NEWSROOM

Arias Could Face Death Penalty; O.J. Says He's the Victim; Bomb Suspect's Not So-Final Words; Rescuers Describe Finding Captives in Castro Home.

Aired May 16, 2013 - 11:30   ET

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


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: The death penalty phase continues in about two hours here in Phoenix for Jodi Alexander (sic). This, after the jury was forced to endure an hour of graphic testimony from Dr. Kevin Horn. But they decided was the murder she committed was especially cruel.

Listen as he laid out his case and see if you agree.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JUAN MARTINEZ, PROSECUTOR: What is it on the body that causes it to experience pain?

DR. KEVIN HORN: Well, it would be largely due to nerve endings or severing of nerves in the body.

MARTINEZ: What are we looking at here?

HORN: Several stab or incised shallow sharp-force injuries at the torso.

MARTINEZ: Is one of those the one that actually pierced the heart or not?

HORN: Yes, as the blood began to leak out of that vessel and the heart began to fail, he probably experienced shortness of breath and also pain to the area, itself. As the heart is starved for oxygen in a heart attack, that pain is similar. It's the same nerve endings stimulated. Multiple stab wounds to Mr. Alexander's upper back. They both go to the level of the skull and actually impact the skull. Triangular portions of the skull gouged out by the end of the knife.

MARTINEZ: What is a defensive wound?

HORN: In the setting of the stabbing, it's the individual struggling, attempting to grab the knife or hold the knife or fend off blows with the knife. Several attempts to cut the throat in the same area.

MARTINEZ: What part of the throat did it go through?

HORN: It goes through the tissues in the front of the throat, the stap muscles, the airway, and also the major vessels on -- I believe it's the right side of the throat, the jugular vein and the carotid artery.

MARTINEZ: Was he alive when he was stabbed in the heart?

HORN: Yes.

MARTINEZ: Was he alive when he was stabbed in the back of the head?

HORN: Yes.

MARTINEZ: Was he alive when he was stabbed in the back?

HORN: Yes.

MARTINEZ: There are three wounds that were fatal, correct?

HORN: Yes.

MARTINEZ: Which three are those?

HORN: The stab wound to the heart would have been fatal in and of itself, I believe. The cut to the throat with the vessels severed would have been fatal in and of itself. And the gunshot wound taken in isolation would have been fatal. In seconds, he would collapse and become unresponsive.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BANFIELD: Well, the jury agreed it was especially cruel, and voted so.

I want to bring in HLN legal analyst, Joey Jackson, and with me in Phoenix, HLN legal correspondent, Jean Casarez.

First to some of the breaking news. With what was said and what the jury did, Jean, the defense attorneys have an uphill battle. It turns out they don't want the fight. They want off the case. They can't get off the case. So what do they have to do today, Jean?

JEAN CASAREZ, HLN LEGAL ANALYST: They have to zealously represent their client here. This is the critical day. I mean, life or death for Jodi Arias. So when you are looking at mitigating factors or Jodi Arias, they need to bring in as much as they can everything. She's never been convicted of anything before. She led a life, in many respects, a normal life and there are a lot of good things that can show her worth. And the standard here is, you know the defense has the burden in this case to show that mitigating circumstances substantially signify that she should live. And so that's their burden.

BANFIELD: And if Jodi, herself, decides to get up on the stand -- and ultimately, Joey Jackson, are you a defense attorney, you are ultimately not the boss, the client is the boss, she can say whatever she wants up there, including what she said to the tv reporter, "I want to die," isn't that right?

JOEY JACKSON, HLN LEGAL ANALYST: She certainly could. And just to be clear, everything that Jean said is absolutely true. At this point, Ashleigh, the only one that can help the defendant Jodi Arias is Jodi Arias. Forget about surrogates, forget about her mother testifying to how she was as a child, the nature of her experiences. Jodi Arias, in testifying and trashing this victim and talking about stories and saying she was abused and putting him in the mud and, in effect, killing him again, has to now -- if she wants to, Ashleigh -- come and confront that jury, admit to what she did, accept responsibility, apologize to that jury, beg for her life, and maybe, just maybe they would accept that and spare her life. In my view, Ashleigh, the only one that can save Jodi Arias is Jodi Arias.

CASAREZ: Ashleigh, let's clarify for a minute.

(CROSSTALK)

BANFIELD: Go ahead, Jean.

CASAREZ: Let's fair clarify for a minute. Normally, in a penalty phase like this there can be an allocution, where the defendant begs for mercy to the court and the jury, can show remorse and just pour their heart out of sorrow of what they did. But the other aspect is -- and I've never seen it before -- Jodi Arias actually testifying in the penalty phase, which would be very different. She would be sworn under oath and she would be able to be cross-examined. If she testifies to the worth of her life and the passivist activities and her demeanor, but then she could be cross-examined on that and we could see brand-new evidence about her anger and the intense -- the intensity of anger that she's portrayed through her life.

BANFIELD: And we could see that video of last week's interview brought in to refute everything she says, if she begs for her life. We can show a video that says, I'm done with it. I'd rather -- listen, this trial has been so bizarre, I wouldn't doubt if that happened.

But I have to move on.

Joey Jackson and Jean Casarez, thank you both. I do appreciate your insight. We'll see more of you throughout the coverage today.

In the eyes of the law, he's a robber and a kidnapper, sentenced to prison for decades, but O.J. Simpson says, that's not true. He says he's a victim and he wants out. We are live in Vegas after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BANFIELD: We are in between star witnesses in the latest legal spectacle involving O.J. Simpson. More than four years into a 33-year sentence for robbery, assault and kidnapping, O.J. Is hoping to convince a judge in Las Vegas that he is a victim in all of this, a victim of legal malpractice. He claims his trial lawyer, Yale Galanter, gave him bad information, bad advice, didn't tell him he could strike a plea bargain, and refused to let him testify or suggested he shouldn't. Yesterday, with some brand-new lawyers on his case, O.J. decided he would take the stand.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

O.J. SIMPSON, SERVING PRISON TERM: Yale and I had spoken all along. I thought I was the only one that would be in clearance. I thought we both would testify because we were there. Yale kept saying, we'll deal with that. Late in the trial, he said that he didn't think I should testify. And he felt that there was no way I could be convicted.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did you believe him?

SIMSPON: Yeah. I trusted him. Yeah, I had to trust his judgment on. So it's that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BANFIELD: So the Gabe that O.J. was mentioning on the stand was his other lawyer, co-counsel, who is now in support of his bid for a new trial. Gabriel Grasso testified earlier this week that his former lead counsel, Yale Galanter, took most of the money while he did most of the work. More to the point, Grasso says Galanter listened to nobody but Galanter. This is co-counsel in that courtroom. Tomorrow, though, Yale Galanter will have his own moment to answer to all of this. He will testify in his own defense and against his former client. What a dynamic.

CNN's Paul Vercammen is live for us.

Break it down for me, Paul.

I understand we lost our signal with Paul Vercammen. If you can make one quick observation of this case versus the case I covered extensively years ago in 2008, this was a person who stood in front of Judge Jackie Glass, put his hand up and said, I'm OK with not testifying. He did so under oath. He did so with his lawyer beside him. Every grown-up has that opportunity to do so. To come back and make that claim that I wasn't allowed to testify, I think a lot of people, including this judge, who knows the drill, might question that. But there are other claims you heard that may have more merit. It remains to be seen.

Our Paul Vercammen with back with us.

Outline the O.J. In that court compared to the O.J. of trials past. Who has he become now?

PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, he's still in essence the same O.J. who looks to be the storyteller, the smiling guy who has had a lot of Hollywood training. He was in some of the movies we talked about, "The Naked Gun." We saw him hearken back to that at times yesterday, being jovial, as he told that tale of how he thought he got such a raw deal from Yale Galanter.

By the way the judge, copiously taking notes on her laptop, paying close attention, not like Jackie Glass, who was constantly, seemingly at Yale Galanter's throat in that 2008 trial. And one thing that can't be lost on anybody here, don't forget, these judges are elected officials, Ashleigh, and we always hear that judges one on that platform of tough on crime, not, you know, lenient, forgiving and the one that sprung O.J.

BANFIELD: Yeah, that's Clark County. Let's say, that's one of the toughest places. I'm in Maricopa County. That's a lot.

Paul Vercammen, thank you, sir. I appreciate you getting up very early on that west coast time frame.

Listen, if you were thinking, what Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was thinking the night he was captured in the Boston bombing, you can wonder no more. That accused bomber left what he thought was going to be a final message to the world. It all will be revealed when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BANFIELD: His brother was dead. His time on the run was quickly running out. He was cornered, he was wounded, he was expecting to die and, through it all, we now know that fugitive Boston bomb suspect, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, was writing final thoughts to the world, or so he thought would be final. He was writing on a trailered boat where he was actually captured alive almost a month ago.

CNN's Deborah Feyerick is live. She's working with a new development from New York right now.

Deb, when I say he was writing on the boat, not just because he was in the boat, he was writing his message on the boat, literally, correct?

DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, it appears Dzhokhar Tsarnaev did not believe he was going to live out the night. There was a massive manhunt for him. He had taken shelter in this boat where he spent much of the day on Friday until he was discovered late into the evening.

We are being told by a single source, a law enforcement official, is that Tsarnaev left a couple of details behind. First, he fully expected, like his brother who was killed hours earlier, he, too, was going to die. He said he did not miss his brother because he fully planned to join his brother.

Also, he says the motive was retribution, retribution for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He also says that the victims in Boston were quote, "collateral damage," unquote. This is according to that single source.

We are learning he seemed to have adopted this mantra that terrorists are known to adopt, for example, those responsible for the London bombings. He writes allegedly in this note, an attack against one Muslim is an attack against all Muslims. That would have been while he was in the boat, while he was bleeding, and before he was captured -- Ashleigh?

BANFIELD: Again, Deb, writing on the physical boat, itself, with some kind of utensil? FEYERICK: It appears that way. All he had was what he had in the boat. He was using what was in the boat. There were reports that maybe there was a gun. That proved to be incorrect. There were reports there was a knife. They recovered something. That may have been because it was in the boat already. So whatever he found, whatever thoughts he was putting down, it certainly goes to his state of mind that, if he wrote that down, it was because he expected, like his brother, he too, would be killed.

BANFIELD: Sure.

Deborah Feyerick, reporting live for us. Thank you for that.

They were first on the scene in Cleveland at the house of horrors to rescue three women held captive for decade. You are going to hear some emotional words about moment the rescuers made it inside, after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BANFIELD: We are hearing from first responders now about what they saw in Cleveland last week when they arrived at the proverbial house of horrors, Ariel Castro's home. Those first responders describe the emotional moment that they first came in contact with the women who he allegedly kidnapped, held captive and raped there for a decade.

Have a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OFC. MICHAEL TRACY, CLEVELAND FIRST RESPONDER: Seeing posters on the poles here and there, and I think all of us in the second district on the west side have seen those fliers, we've all gone to houses where there's a tip. We still follow them up and take those serious. So it was just amazing to see her there standing, just peering through the window.

OFC. BARBARA JOHNSON, CLEVELAND FIRST RESPONDER: Michele hugged me first. And, boy, you can't describe the feelings. When someone's clutching you and saying, please don't let me go, it just rips your heart out of your chest.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BANFIELD: Thank god for those first responders. Thank god for their heroism too.

We're back right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BANFIELD: Live from Phoenix, Arizona, at the courthouse where Jodi Arias will once again finish up another day of exhausting testimony. And it gets tougher and tougher as now it is all about her life or her death. Breaking news, her lawyers want to quit. They've had it. They gave a motion to this judge to leave her and to actually get off of this case. That judge denied that motion after about, oh, $1.7 million or $1.8 million worth of her defense, not a surprise. But the reasons are shrouded as to why her attorneys want out. But that's the big breaking news from this courthouse today. But the proceedings continue. Jodi Arias, on her way if not already in that courthouse behind me.

Thank you for watching, everyone. AROUND THE WORLD starts after this quick break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to AROUND THE WORLD. I'm Suzanne Malveaux.

MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Michael Holmes. Thanks for your company today.

Right now, we are waiting to hear from President Obama as he tries to contain the damage from controversies on several fronts.

MALVEAUX: So in Washington, a news conference set to get underway any moment now. It's going to be a joint appearance by the president as well as Turkish prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Now, Turkey is pushing for more U.S. involvement in Syria's civil war. On the domestic front, the president almost certain to be asked about the current fury surrounding his administration.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, my god!

Oh, my, goodness.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HOLMES: This was the scene in north Texas yesterday. At least 10 tornadoes touching down during the night. Let's have a look at the scene today as the sun came up. Of course then you got to see the damage and there was a lot of it. At least six people killed, more than 100 injured, several still missing.

MALVEAUX: President Obama and turkey's prime minister will go before the cameras shortly. And while the president deals with troubles here at home, the meeting with the Turkish prime minister also has major implications overseas as well.

HOLMES: Absolutely. Turkey has been a key U.S. ally in the Middle East now and in the Muslim world in general. It's interesting in a geo-political sense. Have a look at this. The borders it shares with Iraq, Iran and Syria.