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Teen who Made Facebook Threat in Court Today; Twenty Children Saved from Carbon Monoxide;

Aired August 12, 2013 - 08:30   ET




CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: I'll bust a move. Sometimes I'll bust my back.

BOLDUAN: Yes, if you bust a move, you will bust your back.

CUOMO: Welcome back to NEW DAY, everybody. It's Monday, August 12. I'm Chris Cuomo.

BOLDUAN: Good morning, everyone. I'm Kate Bolduan. We're here of course with news anchor Michaela Pereira.

Coming up this half hour, a teenager who says he was just joking around when he threatened to shoot up a kindergarten classroom in a Facebook posting. He's going to today face felony charges in a Texas courtroom. He's going to try to get this case dismissed. He says it was a joke and he says he has a constitutional right; it was his First Amendment right.

CUOMO: And we also have some good stuff for you like we do every day. But this is a good one. Twenty children in Florida owe their lives to a quick-thinking daycare worker. She knew something was wrong, took charge of the situation, made a difference.

A lot of news. Let's get over to Michaela for the five news to know for your NEW DAY.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: Well, imagine the emotion at number one. Brett Anderson expected to hold a news conference today. That California father reunited with his kidnapped daughter, Hannah. She was rescued in Idaho Saturday by FBI agents who shot and killed her alleged abductor.

Tensions rising in Egypt. The military has hinted that it's losing patience with thousands of supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsy who refused to leave tent camps in Cairo until Morsy's restored to power.

U.S. diplomatic posts back in business; 18 embassies in the Middle East and North Africa have reopened. They were closed for more than a week over fears of terror attacks. Teachers in Moore, Oklahoma, return to rebuild class rooms today. Many school facilities damaged or even destroyed when that powerful tornado ravaged the town back in May. Children will return to class on Friday.

Hillary Clinton one of the featured speakers today at the American Bar Association meeting in San Francisco. She'll be honored for her legal career and work on behalf of female lawyers.

You know we always update those five things to know. So be sure to check in with - I got that. That's on my five things to know.

BOLDUAN: Thank you, Michaela.

OK, back to the story we've been following very closely. This Texas teenager spent five months in jail after being arrested over a posting on Facebook. Well, he's going to appear in a courtroom today to face a felony charge on making a terrorist threat. Justin Carter, he says he was only joking when he threatened to shoot up a classroom during an online argument over video games. Of course, obviously in poor taste, but he says a joke nonetheless and he never meant any harm.

Pamela Brown is here with more on this case. We've been following it closely so what's the latest.

PAMELA BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We sure have and you'll recall that, in July, Justin Carter was released from jail after an anonymous donor posted his $500,000 bail. But the fight continues and the first big step in the process to get the case dismissed is happening today. Now we're getting our first glimpse of the centerpiece of the case from court documents filed by Carter's legal team.


BROWN (voice-over): This is the Facebook post that turned 19-year-old Justin Carter's life upside down.

JACK CARTER, JUSTIN'S FATHER: This kid is just beaming with life, he's just to -- you know, and they took it all away from him.

BROWN: Carter spent five months in jail after writing, in part, "I think I'm going to shoot up a kindergarten and watch the blood of the innocent rain down" during a heated thread about an online video game. Authorities charged him with making a terroristic threat, a felony that could land him behind bars for ten years. But his family says it was nothing more than a sarcastic comment.

JENNIFER CARTER, JUSTIN'S MOTHER: The idea that my son would ever hurt small children is just ludicrous. He never would; he's not that kind of person.

BROWN: Now Carter's lawyers hope this screen grab will actually help their case. According to court documents, they claim Carter made no real threat because he used the words "I think." And they say his comments were taken out of context. Carter's attorneys want the judge to throw out the case on First Amendment grounds.

DONALD FLANART, ATTORNEY: They need to look at the context of what's put online because if they would've, I think they would've seen that it was sarcastic.

BROWN: Investigators tell CNN they found evidence Carter was engaged in online bullying and made his threat to a woman, a random stranger, though several warrants turned up no evidence of an actual plot.

Now, another college student, Caleb Clemens, will go on trial in a few days for a very similar situation. Clemens, a student at Georgia Southern University, has been in jail for six months for a post on Tumblr, writing, "I plan on shooting up Georgia Southern. Pass this around to see what effect it has. To see if I get arrested." Clemens told authorities that the Tumblr post was an experimental literary piece and part of an art project. Now he's fighting for his freedom.


BROWN (on-camera): And just like in Carter's case, police in Georgia found Clemens had no actual plans to attack the school and didn't own any weapons.

Now, today in court, Carter's attorneys want the judge to order the state to release the full conversation of that Facebook post, along with any information about where the post came from. Grand jury recordings, testimony, and transcripts.

Now we have reached out to prosecutors of both cases and still awaiting comment. Of course we'll keep you updated on both of these cases. Chris and Kate.

BOLDUAN: All right, we'll see where it goes from here. Thanks, Pamela. Thanks for the update.

CUOMO: Appreciate it. That's some tough stuff. So now we need some good stuff.

Twenty kids are alive today thanks to the quick thinking of one woman. Taki Starks Parish (ph), she runs a daycare in Jacksonville, Florida. She recently arrived at the daycare, caught a whiff of something odd, right, happens all the time in a daycare center. But this time, even having all those kids around, she thought it was weird. Sweet burning odor is how she described it.

She went hunting for it, couldn't find it. Then, the critical move. She asked her staff were any of the kids who were napping at the time acting strangely that day? One of the staffers said, why yes, one was. Thought the kid was a little groggy. That was enough for Taki who cleared out the daycare, called authorities.

When they arrived, they found carbon monoxide levels way off the charts. Twelve of the kids admitted to the hospital. But if it weren't for Taki (ph), it might've been deadly. That's the truth. Turns out the smell was the exhaust of a generator that had been left on accidentally. Carbon monoxide doesn't smell. That's the catch here. Usually it's odorless. So it's double good stuff, a good double stuff if you're an Oreo fan.

Also, warning to all of us: invest in a carbon monoxide detector. They're not expensive and, as we just saw, they save lives. This has been a day of mentioning people who did the right thing, the horseback riders up there in the Idaho woods. And, you know, she's entrusted these kids. This is the kind of person you want watching your kids. They were all saved because of somebody who took that extra step, making sure she was doing the right thing.

BOLDUAN: That's the kind of daycare worker you want your kids to have, someone who cares that much.

PEREIRA: She didn't know what it was, but she knew it wasn't right. And sometimes we think, well, I don't know what it is so I won't worry about it.

BOLDUAN: And I don't want to be paranoid; I don't want to overthink things.

PEREIRA: Overthink it.

CUOMO: Better safe than sorry. The story came from you, please give us more. Tweet us, Facebook us, use the hashtag #goodstuff or you can just go to our Web site. But let us keep telling you the good news.

BOLDUAN: All right, coming up next on NEW DAY, who is Nick Beef? The name appears on a headstone right next to Lee Harvey Oswald's grave. Now a 15-year mystery has been finally been solved. We're going to talk with the man behind it next.


BOLDUAN: Welcome back to NEW DAY, everyone. A mystery that has stumped conspiracy theorists for 15-years finally solved. Visitors to the grave site of Lee Harvey Oswald have all wondered, "Who is Nick Beef?" That's the strange name written on the stone marker right next to JFK's killer. In a moment, we will speak with Nick Beef, whose real is Patrick Abiden.

But first, here's a lock at this fascinating story.


BOLDUAN (voice-over): A sliver of grass is all that separates the grave of Lee Harvey Oswald, the lone gunman who assassinated John F. Kennedy in 1963 from his mystery neighbor. Just days after Kennedy's assassination, Oswald was himself murdered and then buried in a small cemetery in Fort Worth, Texas. His grave site simply inscribed, Oswald, has become something of a tourist attraction.

NIKC RAGONE, PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: People go to the cemetery to try to find him and somehow be connected to some sad piece of our history. BOLDUAN: But for the last 15 years it's the headstone next door that has left history buffs and conspiracy theorists alike scratching their heads. The marker reads at all capital letters "NICK BEEF".

RAGONE: Like every great mystery there's -- there's all sorts of conspiracy theories around it, whether he was a CIA operative or you know part of the Castro regime or you know a Russian agent.

BOLDUAN: In a real life twist the notorious Mr. Beef has revealed himself to the "New York Times." He's alive and well. A 56-year-old artist living in New York. His real name is Patric Abedin. At age six, Abedin saw President Kennedy in Fort Worth the day before the President was assassinated. At age 18 he bought the plot next to Oswald with a down payment of $17.50 and 16 easy payments of $10 a month after that, it was his. Leaving many now asking why?


BOLDUAN: So will the real Nick Beef please stand up? Oh, you're already sitting at our table.


BOLDUAN: Patric Abedin thank you so much for joining us.

ABEDIN: Good morning.

BOLDUAN: So this is fascinating, we all -- I read this story and it's really captivating and everyone well wants to know the answer to the question we posed, why oh why did you want to buy that plot?

ABEDIN: Well having seen Kennedy the night before and not realizing of course that within a few hours the world was going to change. It meant a lot to me at the age of six and the next day I was the big show and tell in class. We shortly moved after that to Abilene and we moved back to the Dallas Fort Worth area, my mother and I would often stop by the cemetery and we would look at the grave. And she would say, never forget that you got to see Kennedy the night before he died.

And you know it's not like I was exalting the man by any means, but it was just like wow how one man could change the world and it's just this lonely little grave.

And then I guess when I was 18 the local newspaper in Ft. Worth had written an article about nobody ever bought the plot next to him. So I just went there and purchased it for $175. It was $17.50 down and 16 other payments of $10 a month. And for 20 years I just sat on it so to speak.


ABEDIN: And figuring -- it just meant something to me.

BOLDUAN: And now? Now that you're part of a mystery solved. I mean you were a Russian agent, you were a CIA operative. You are all of this --


ABEDIN: A disk jockey.

BOLDUAN: Or a disk jockey.

ABEDIN: Stand up comedian.

BOLDUAN: Performance artist.

ABEDIN: Right.

BOLDUAN: What do you make of all the conspiracy and all the wonder around this plot?

ABEDIN: Well I'd like to point out the real reason I didn't put my last name on there. Is I had children at the time and I thought I didn't want them growing up having to think why is our name next to an alleged assassin.

PEREIRA: Lee Harvey Oswald right.

ABEDIN: And I had lived under the name "Nick Beef" for years it wasn't just a made up name at the moment. When the Internet came around and people started making all these silly allegations I just ignored them.

CUOMO: You set the fire though, I still don't get it. Why did you buy the plot and then why did you put a stone on it?

ABEDIN: Well as I said, I mean I bought it when I was 18.

CUOMO: Right.

ABEDIN: It's just simply because it's available. I didn't put a stone on it for 20 years because it just meant something to me. I went down to Texas --

CUOMO: That's what I want to know, what did it mean to you?

ABEDIN: Well it reminded me that world can change very, very quickly. Having seen Kennedy that night and the next day he was gone. Anything else that has happened in my life, I would kind of look back on that and say, yes, the world can change quickly and by just a simple man doing something. About 21 years later my mother past away and I went down to Texas and I went by to look at my land and it was now a funeral home and I just went in on the spot and said, this is pretty much what I have told you guys.

PEREIRA: Yes so for years, reporters have been you know looking for you trying to figure this all out. Why now? I mean we know that it's the 50th anniversary of his assassination. But why -- why did you decide come clean?

ABEDIN: Finally when I started -- I had done work as Nick Beef with some things I do, I make haikus out of cemetery tombstones and I call them diekus because I'm so witty and I would put them around town --

BOLDUAN: You have a good sense of humor my friend.

ABEDIN: And I put them around town and people started posting them on Flicker and pretty soon there was like some guy claiming to be Nick Beef.


ABEDIN: And finally in April I decided I want to do a Web site and so the people could see all of the diekus and the other things I do. And address not really the issues but kind of put a little more fun out there to it like I did mention Oswald on my -- it's not mentioned on this Web site.

And pretty soon, I just got a call from the "New York Times" a couple of weeks ago and I talked to my kids and I said well, let's just finally go public and address these rumors.

PEREIRA: So will you be buried there?

ABEDIN: No actually, I prefer to be cremated ironically enough so --

CUOMO: But Nick Beef is buried there?

ABEDIN: Well, you know, like I said Nick Beef is --


ABEDIN: People made up so many names about it. They thought I was a DJ because of my voice and all sorts of things.

PEREIRA: You do have a good voice.

BOLDUAN: You have a future in it.

ABEDIN: Yes, well, I used to do voice overs.

CUOMO: Would you do it again?


BOLDUAN: Would you buy it again if you had the opportunity?

ABEDIN: Absolutely, it's something personal. It was never meant as a joke. It was never meant as a hoax.

PEREIRA: It was a more innocent time that way, for sure.

ABEDIN: Well, yes, it was. And that innocence changed the next day after I saw Kennedy and he was gone. In that short year we saw how the world changed. And that's what that's always reminded me of. It wasn't put there as a joke.

BOLDUAN: Nick Beef, Patric Abedin, great to meet you.

ABEDIN: Thank you all and have a lovely morning.

PEREIRA: The man finally revealed.

BOLDUAN: Exactly. Thank you for joining us on NEW DAY fascinating.

CUOMO: Nick Beef talks turkey only on NEW DAY.

We're going to take a break. Coming up, follow the yellow brick road to the operating room? CBS has plans for a new medical show that's based on the "Wizard of Oz". This has award of the day written all over it.


CUOMO: You were stretching the calves -- walking.

BOLDUAN: You have to stretch out every morning.

CUOMO: JB insists on doing this on the couch. He said I won't do it at the desk. The award of the day is too big for that.


CUOMO: So award of the day?

JOHN BERMAN, CNN HOST: I have an award for you guys.


BERMAN: Did you hear about the new show from CBS? That's a big television network. They're developing a medical soap opera we're told inspired by the "Wizard of Oz". Let that sink in for a moment. A medical drama inspired by the "Wizard of Oz". So it's sort of like "ER" meets Emerald City -- that's what that would look like.

"General Hospital" meets the munchkins -- that's another -- another example of what that might be. Or my favorite, the color-themed "Grey's Anatomy" meets the yellow brick road.

If you really think about it, you could say that "Wizard of Oz" does have some medical themes, right. Organ transplant -- the scare crow gets a brain, the tin man gets a heart. Psychiatric themes, the lion needs courage, he's got to see someone for therapy.


BERMAN: You know, I can say Toto, there's like a veterinarian.

CUOMO: The witch has got some issues also.

BERMAN: I think the witch could be like an HMO. I mean she's like the bad person. She's like the HMO administrator here.

Still I have to tell you, I remember "Cop Rock" so to me this seems like a fairly sketchy idea. So to CBS I'm giving the award of the day. That award is the "Time to get Time-Warner Cable" award. BOLDUAN: Berman's picking sides --

BERMAN: I'm just saying. I'm just saying. Time-Warner cable, not carrying CBS now, time to think about it.

BOLDUAN: Reminder also Time-Warner Cable is not the same as Time- Warner our parent company.

PEREIRA: This one's finally got upset about that whole thing.

CUOMO: It's very true. I wasn't worried about it. But now I can't watch my shows, I'm upset. I'm going to talk about it.


BOLDUAN: We're going to follow the yellow brick road and we'll be right back.

CUOMO: Let's take a little break. I'm upset now.


CUOMO: That is it for us here on NEW DAY. But don't worry, we'll be back tomorrow. So for Mickey, Kate and Chris, have a great day.

Carol Costello is back.

PEREIRA: She's back.

CUOMO: Let the world rejoice, "NEWSROOM" is itself once again.