Return to Transcripts main page


Colorado Burning; NSA Leaker's Girlfriend Shares Pain in Blog; Alleged Stiletto Killer in Court; Driven to Distraction

Aired June 12, 2013 - 06:30   ET


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: We begin this morning with wildfires still raging in Colorado this morning. Emergency management officials say smoke and flames from the Royal Gorge Fire nearly Canyon City have forced a prison to evacuate nearly 1,000 inmates.

Crews are battling five separate fires. The most troublesome the Black Forest Fire near Colorado Springs. It's already burned at least 7,500 acres, destroyed dozens of structures, forced the evacuation of some 5,000 homes.

And get this -- firefighters have zero containment. The weather is not cooperating. Conditions are hot, dry and windy -- perfect for fires. Horrible, horrible for firefighters.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Which is why the fire right now is zero percent contained. So, is any help in sight?

Indra Petersons is tracking it for us.

Good morning, Indra.


Unfortunately, we do not have any good news. We're talking about warm conditions, as you mentioned, but look how dry it is. Notice the difference where you see the green. That's all the moisture out there and that bull's eye of dry air currently on the western states. That's where we continue to see these wildfires popping up.

Now, in the morning hours, we're talking about humidities in the teens and 20s. But as we go through the afternoon, we see those drop down to single digits.

But we're watching a dry low that has now picked up moisture going over the ridge. And this is actually the big weather story. Remember all that moisture that was down here. You have the cold dry up here.

And notice where the core of the jet stream winds are. So there's strong winds right there, those exact same states will have the threat for severe weather.

Now, today is a moderate risk. So, it's much higher and it's going to be narrowing on large cities. They were talking about not just the threat for tornadoes but more importantly, some straight line winds that could be long-lived as damaging as tornadoes themselves, we're talking about Chicago, Indianapolis, and even Cincinnati, and out towards Columbus, Ohio, and all that moves toward New England tomorrow. Unbelievable.

BERMAN: Some troubling weather coming out this way, too. Indra, thank you so much.

We're talking about weather -- Baltimore recovering from three confirmed tornadoes. All three classified as EF-0. That's the weakest category. Maximum winds ranging from 65 to 80 miles per hour.

But, you know, you can see, they packed a mean punch on Monday. One of them demolished a homeowner's garage and scattered debris across more than half of his four-acre property.


DENNIS DAVISON, HOMEOWNER: Tornado came right through the back here, right over the garage, went down through here and disappeared. It's just so intense, I mean, and so quick. You couldn't really see anything. It was just like a dark white cloud full of rain and debris.


BERMAN: That twister count could go up. The National Weather Service is checking possible damage in five other spots in Maryland this morning.

ROMANS: New York Mayor Bloomberg is rolling out a new $20 billion plan to protect his city from superstorms like Sandy and the effects of global warming. Bloomberg's plan calls for giant removable flood walls to be built around lower Manhattan, 15 to 20-foot levees will be constructed in parts of Staten Island. A series of gates and levees will help protect Brooklyn from storm surges and new dunes would be constructed on beaches in Staten Island and Queens.

BERMAN: So, not even the NSA knows the whereabouts of Ed Snowden this morning. If you believe them, the man who told the world about the agency's secret data mining operation remains in hiding, so does his girlfriend of five years, Lindsay Mills.

We don't know a lot about the woman Snowden left behind but she's making it clear that she's struggling.

Here's Miguel Marquez.


MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The man at the center of the controversy left everything behind for his beliefs.

EDWARD SNOWDEN, NSA LEAKER: You have to make a determination about what it is that's important to you. And if living -- living unfreely but comfortably is something you're willing to accept.

MARQUEZ: Snowden says he cut his ties cleanly with everyone he knew or was close to, including his girlfriend Lindsay Mills, who lived with him here in Hawaii. Mills' father says his daughter dated Snowden for some five years but met him only a few times.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's also had strong convictions of right and wrong, it kind of makes sense. But it's still shocking.

MARQUEZ: Snowden prepared for that shock, telling "The Guardian", "My primary fear is that they will come after my family, my friends, my partner, anyone I have a relationship with."

Snowden told "The Guardian" law enforcement had already been in touch with Mills. In her blog, "Adventures of a world traveling pole dancing superhero", just days ago, June 10th, Mills wrote, "My world opened and closed all at once, leaving me lost at sea without a compass."

She and Snowden moved out of this rented home just outside of Honolulu on May 6th. He told "The Guardian" he left for Hong Kong May 20th telling Mills he'd be back in a few weeks but leaving the reason vague.

What's curious, she also packed everything up and left for the mainland.

(on camera): As the story unfolds, the people in the neighborhood here are a little more cautious about going on camera. But one thing that several neighbors have told us that they found peculiar about this situation is that when they looked at this garage, they saw boxes all the way to the top of the windows here. The question is: where have those boxes gone and the contents of the house?

(voice-over): Mills' father told CNN his daughter is now on the West Coast visiting friends, just when she left Hawaii still a question. So is whether she had any clue about her boyfriend's plans. On her blog, she says Snowden's family was in town, just three days before he left.

Her next post on June 3rd, she wrote, "The past few weeks have been a cluster jumble of fun, disaster and adventure."

Six days later, her boyfriend released that he was the source of the leaked security documents, triggering as many questions as answers.

Miguel Marquez, CNN, Honolulu.


BERMAN: Now to a gruesome murder in Texas. A woman accused of stabbing her boyfriend to death, his bloody body discovered with more than 30 puncture wounds to the head and upper body, the alleged murder weapon a high heel stiletto shoe. She was in the courtroom Tuesday, a far cry from the luxury apartment where police say the crime took place.

CNN's Victor Blackwell has the details.


VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Ana Trujillo shuffled into court wearing an orange jumpsuit and flat vinyl sandals. But it's the stiletto heel shoe Houston police Trujillo wore Saturday night that led to a murder charge in the death of University of Houston professor, Dr. Stefan Andersson.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Officer rang the doorbell and the defendant Ana Trujillo answered the door with blood on her clothes and on her hands.

BLACKWELL: After a night of partying, police say the two went to Andersson's apartment inside this Houston high-rise. Trujillo's attorney Lott Brooks III says an argument about a man who wanted to buy her a drink earlier in the night turned physical.

The 44-year-old one-time massage therapist says she hit Andersson repeatedly with the heel of her shoe.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The complainant appeared to have 10 puncture wounds to the head, some one to one and a half inches deep. He also had 15 to 20 other puncture wounds along his face and arms and neck.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She had talked to the police and given them an initial statement involving self-defense so we're going to start there and work our way through.

BLACKWELL: Joey Jackson is a CNN legal analyst.

JOEY JACKSON, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: The first thing that you have to look at is the proportionality of the force. What do I mean? I mean, that you have a right, of course, to defend yourself but the issue becomes that the force used has to be proportionate to the threat that's posed.

BLACKWELL: According to court records, police found Andersson lying in the hallway face up and the face of a stiletto shoe in his head.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I could see her (INAUDIBLE), yes, yes.

BLACKWELL: Jim Carroll (ph) knows Trujillo. He's the manager at the hotel where she once lived.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Twice she told me if anybody ever messed with her she pulled her shoe off and said, "I'll get him with this." And it was a big stiletto heel.

BLACKWELL: Bail for Trujillo was set at $100,000.

Victor Blackwell, CNN, Atlanta.


ROMANS: Turkey's prime minister is set to meet today with leaders of the ongoing protests in Istanbul. Live pictures now from Taksim Square. Prime Minister Erdogan says he's listened to what they have to say, but he is not promising any major changes. The protest now in their 13th day. Two protesters have been killed since May 31, 4,300 have been injured and two killed in the last week.

Supporters of the prime minister's AKP political party say they'll hold a series of counter demonstration this is weekend in Ankara and Istanbul.

BERMAN: No change this morning in the condition of Nelson Mandela. He remains in serious but stable condition. The 94-year-old former South African president is battling recurring lung infection, this is Mandela's fourth stay in the hospital since December. There's a massive police presence now reported around the Pretoria hospital where he's being treated.

ROMANS: Twenty-three thousand people forced to flee when a dam gives way in Germany. This is in northeastern Germany, along the swollen Elba River. Flooding fears also forcing some 1,200 people in Hungary to clear out but flood defense along the Danube River appear to have held in Budapest. At least 19 people have died in this flooding in Central Europe.

BERMAN: And in western part of Switzerland, heavy rains have caused mud flows including one that washed over train tracks as a train was passing by. Look at that. We're told those tracks are now out of commission for at least a week.

ROMANS: All right. A group of fishermen off the coast of Alaska got more than they bargained for.


UIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, oh! Oh my God! Are you kidding me?


ROMANS: Are you kidding me?


ROMANS: That's a killer whale going after the halibut they were trying to reel in. You don't see that every day. No doubt they'll have fish stories to tale.

BERMAN: They're mammals, whales are not fish. We'll have some mammal stories to tell.

ROMANS: My 7-year-old would correct me.


Coming up, you thought driving hands free was safe? Well, think again. We'll have the latest on why you may still need to ignore your foe.


ROMANS: Welcome back to EARLY START.

Have you been driven to distraction?

A new warning this morning that the very thing that was supposed to keep us safely connected may also be dangerous.

Chris Lawrence is in Washington with that story.

Good morning, Chris.


Yes. We used to think, look, as long as I'm not fumbling around with the phone making calls or shooting texts, I'm OK. But a new study by AAA and the University of Utah measure actual brain activity and it shows you could be just as distracted with your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel.


LAWRENCE (voice-over): We all thought hands-free would allow us to combine the morning commute with the demands of staying connected.

YOLAND CADE, AAA: Making the decision to talk hands free and interact with this technology does pose a considerable risk.

LAWRENCE (on camera): Right here?

(voice-over): But I wanted to get a firsthand look.

(on camera): Let's drive.

(voice-over): So, researchers wired me up to see if I could still drive.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So this is measuring your background mental workload.

LAWRENCE: Making hands three calls --

(on camera): Good. I'm out of here on the driving test.

(voice-over): And using new voice-to-text technology.

VOICE: We should get together sometime soon. OK. What would you like to say?

LAWRENCE (on camera): How about Sunday?

(voice-over): One message seems simple enough.

(on camera): Next message.

VOICE: Text from Courtney.

LAWRENCE (voice-over): Until you realize they just keep coming.

VOICE: Your next message is loading. Message from Psychology Survey, text from Victoria. Are you busy tonight?

LAWRENCE: Does 8:00 work for you?

(voice-over): And the more I tried to multitask, the less my brain could do.

CADE: How your driving performance deteriorated, your brain activity really, really was reduced and transformed, during the process of trying to perform tasks behind the wheel.

LAWRENCE: It's hard to disconnect. I get it. My daughter's in day care and catches every cold known to man, my wife works ten hours a day, and she's nine months pregnant, and my bosses at CNN, they want what they want when they want it. So, when can I put this down?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We also collected your brain waves while you were driving.

LAWRENCE (voice-over): And those prove that even when I wasn't using my hands, my brain was still engaged in conversation.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Siri, do I have any text messages?

LAWRENCE: And the automakers and app designers are not making it easier, adding features like Facebook and Twitter to our dashboards.

CADE: This really is a serious looming public safety crisis for us.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When I'm trying to look out for the red and the green light and listen to the message and keep my eye on the pylons, I mean, it was tougher than I thought it was.


LAWRENCE (on-camera): Yes. There doesn't seem to be any real agreement on what to do about it. One, part of the government says we should just ban all electronic devices inside the car. Another says it's up to the individual states. And meanwhile, the app makers like Apple are introducing entire operating systems into our vehicles. So, this doesn't seem to be slowing down any time soon, Christine.

ROMANS: First of all, the breaking news in that story for me was that your wife is expecting a baby, congratulations, any moment.


LAWRENCE: Thank you. Thank you very much.

BERMAN: I like the hat.

LAWRENCE: I'm enjoying my last few weeks of sleep.


BERMAN: And good luck with that. I thought the hat you were wearing was smashing, Chris. I thought it looked very good on you. And finally, I'd like to say thank you for pointing out that your CNN bosses are the ones making you drive not safely. Well done on that.


ROMANS: Thanks, Chris.

BERMAN: A showdown in the Senate over sexual assaults in the military.


BERMAN (voice-over): Armed Services Committee chairman, Carl Levin, plans to remove a measure championed by New York senator, Kirsten Gillibrand, from the defense bill. That measure has bipartisan support. It calls for military prosecutors, not commanders to decide which sex assault cases to try.

Levin says he'll propose instead that senior officers review decisions by commanders who decline to pursue charges of sexual assault.

Authorities in South Carolina are considering switching to some new high tech license plates. These newfangled plates are called e-tags and they're made of electronic paper. They also give authorities an interesting new option if your license is suspended or your car is stolen.

State officials can go into your account and alter your e-tags and message would then appear, warning other drivers that the car is stolen or uninsured. Sounds cool. There's still lots of details to iron out, but proponents say e-tags would help lower insurance rates. That would be cool. Even better reduce the amount of trips to the DMV.


ROMANS: What an interesting idea. When you think about how digital we are in every other way. And I think it's a really, really interesting. You could think about it for amber alerts and all kinds of different things, too. I mean, interesting. We'll have to see how it works out.

Tiger Woods said fellow golfer, Sergio Garcia, shook his hand Monday only to say hi. Garcia did not verbally apologize for a remark that Woods found offensive. When asked last month if they would dine this week at the U.S. Open outside Philadelphia, Garcia said that they'd eat fried chicken. He sent Woods a note of apology.

Coming up, the Heat quenched, the Spurs roll over Miami to take the upper hand in the NBA finals, all the details, another thrilling game. Where was LeBron? Details in the "Bleacher Report" next.


ROMANS: More details this morning about Paris Jackson's apparent suicide attempt. The L.A. Fire Department has released audio of a dispatcher asking for paramedics.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Female (EXPLETIVE DELETED) O.D.'d on 20 Motrin and cuts her arm with a kitchen knife.


ROMANS: The 15-year-old daughter of Michael Jackson is later described as being conscious and breathing. She was taken to the hospital. And a lawyer for the family says she's physically fine and receiving medical treatment. We certainly wish her the best.

BERMAN: Absolutely.

What a wild scene at Dodgers Stadium last night. An all-out bench clearing brawl between the Dodgers and the Diamondbacks. Andy Scholes joins us now with the breakdown on the "Bleacher Report." Hey, Andy.

ANDY SCHOLES, BLEACHER REPORT: Yes. Good morning, guys. What a crazy scene this was. It all started in the bottom of the sixth when the Dodgers' rookie phenom, Yasiel Puig, took a fastball right to the face. This is pretty scary moment. The ball goes right off his nose. Puig was down for a while but stayed in the game. Top of the seventh, that Greinke retaliates by hitting Miguel Montero. The bench is clear, but no one got into it. That changed in the bottom half inning.

Greinke at the play and first pitch he sees from Ian Kennedy comes right at him. After that, it was on. The bull pens run in, punches start to fly, half of the fight looked like it was taking place in the early 1990s as Mark Maguire, Don Mattingly, Matt Williams, and Kirk Gibson were all in the middle of the brawl. And it was all said and done. Three Dodgers and three Diamondbacks were ejected. Suspensions and fines are likely on the way for many involved in this one.

The NBA finals has been tied at 1-1. The team that has won game three has gone on to win the championship 93 percent of the time. That's good news for the Spurs because they absolutely crushed the Heat last night in game three. LeBron James continued to struggle. He missed 11 of his first 13 shots. Offense (ph) is just 15 points. The Spurs, on the other hand, they were red hot from beyond the arc all night.

They set an NBA finals record hitting 16 three-pointers, Danny Green made seven from downtown. He led the way with 27 points, reserve Gary Neil hit six threes. He added 24 points off the bench. The Spurs end one with the third largest victory in a finals game 113-77 to take a two games to one lead in the series. Game four is tomorrow night.

Tebow mania has arrived in New England. Tim Tebow was in uniform and practiced with the Patriots yesterday during the first day of their three-day mini-camp. Now, the Patriot signed Tebow as a quarterback and he's expected to compete with Ryan Mallett for the backup job behind Tom Brady. And after yesterday's practice, Tebow did not take any questions, but he did talk about joining the Patriots.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TIM TEBOW, FOOTBALL PLAYER: I'm very thankful. You know, it's such an honor to be a Patriot and play for Coach Belichick and for Coach McDaniels and learn under Tom and be a part of this great franchise and part of a very successful franchise. And, you know, I found that out firsthand. I've lost to him several times. So, it's going to be a lot of fun.

I'm looking forward to working hard every single day and giving a lot better and learning under some great people. So, that's all I got, but thank you all so much and God bless.


SCHOLES: And for now, guys, it looks like Tebow is going to be playing quarterback. He's out there all day throwing passes right next to Tom Brady. So, we'll have to see if Bill Belichick has anything up his sleeve.

BERMAN: He'll be on the roster as a quarterback, probably won't be playing much as a quarterback. We'll have to see about that. All right. Andy, thanks so much.

That is all for EARLY START. I'm John Berman.

ROMANS: I'm Christine Romans. "STARTING POINT" begins right after the break.



BERMAN (voice-over): Our "STARTING POINT" this morning, thousands running from the flames as wildfires in Colorado force evacuations, destroys homes, and charring acres of land right now. We are live on the ground with the latest.

ROMANS (voice-over): Riot police on standby this morning after a night of tear gas and water cannons in Turkey to fight violent and chaotic protests now. Can demonstrators and the prime minister reach a peace (ph)?

BERMAN: We could see fireworks on Capitol Hill as the director of the NSA testifies on cybersecurity, some say spying. What will he have to say about the agency's controversial data mining program and the man who leaked the top secret information.

ROMANS: And this is not what a group of fishermen were expecting at the end of their line. Yes, incredible video of a killer whale trying to steal their catch just for the halibut.


ROMANS: Good morning. I'm Christine Romans.

BERMAN (on-camera): It's not a good morning when you start like that. I'm John Berman. It is Wednesday, June 12th. Welcome to STARTING POINT.

We're following developments this morning from Colorado where hot, dry, and windy conditions are fueling wildfires, five of them. Right now, crews are battling all these different fires. Emergency Management Officials say that 800 prison inmates are being evacuated as a precaution. Some 5,000 people living in the area threatened by the biggest of the fires have been told to leave their homes.

CNN's Dan Simon live in Colorado Springs last night. Not a good night for firefighters, Dan.

DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Definitely not, John. This is a very destructive wildfire that has already taken out or damaged dozens of homes. And with powerful winds and record temperatures, this could be a very long day.