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Jodi Arias Back in Court Today; Sarah Murnaghan After Two Double-Lung Transplants; Beware the Nerd Vandals

Aired August 26, 2013 - 08:30   ET



ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo, Kate Bolduan, and Michaela Pereira.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: That's what my voice sounds like in the shower.


CUOMO: Especially if the water is too cold.


CUOMO: This is NEW DAY. It's Monday, August 26th.

Coming up in this half hour, Jodi Arias back in court today. The convicted murderer could soon learn her fate. Will she get the death penalty? That is the big question. A preview in moments.

BOLDUAN: Plus, remember the 11-year-old girl whose parents, they fought to get her a double lung transplant. Well, now, after a second transplant, that little girl, Sarah Murnaghan, is speaking out for the very first time since her surgery. It is a CNN exclusive. We'll see how she's doing.

CUOMO: It's going to be a good one. First, let's go to Michaela for the five things you need to know for your NEW DAY.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: OK, let's look at number one. President Obama saying he has not made a decision on military action in Syria, but has a range of options available. This as sniper fire hits a U.N. vehicle as inspectors try to reach the area where a chemical weapons attack allegedly took place.

California's massive Rim Fire only 7 percent containment right now, and around Yosemite National Park, there is concern. The fire has consumed 144,000 acres so far including 12,000 acres inside the park itself.

The sentencing phase begins today for convicted Ft. Hood shooter, Major Nidal Hasan. A military jury will decide whether or not he will get the death penalty.

Today, President Obama will award the Medal of Honor to honor Staff Sergeant Ty Carter. He is being honored for his courageous actions during combat operations in Afghanistan on October 3, 2009.

And at number five, are you ready for some tennis? The U.S. open, the year's fourth and final grand slam event gets under way today in New York. The tournament will run through September 9th. Be sure to tune in.

We're always updating those five things to know, so be sure to go to for the very latest. Guys?

BOLDUAN: Thank you so much.

CUOMO: Micky, Kate, and Chris jumping on the 7:00 train going out to watch a little tennis.


PEREIRA: You springing for the metro passes?

CUOMO: Yes, the train on me.

BOLDUAN: What about the seats?

CUOMO: Oh, I think we have to move on with the show now.

BOLDUAN: Exactly, moving on.

A story that has captivated a country. Jodi Arias back in court later today. A judge could set a date for her penalty phase retrial after the jury deadlocked the first time around. Now, the new jury will decide between life or death.

Here's CNN's Ted Rowlands with more.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We, the jury, duly impaneled and sworn in the above entitled action upon our oath do find the defendant as to count one first degree murder guilty.

TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): after listening to four months of testimony, it took three days for the first jury to find Jodi Arias guilty of first degree murder, but they couldn't decide between the death penalty or life in prison.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No (ph) unanimous agreement.

ROWLANDS: Arizona law allows prosecutors one more chance at death. If a new jury still can't decide, Arias will get life in prison and a judge will determine whether or not she's eligible for parole. The new trial won't be as long because the original first-degree guilty verdict still holds.

DWANE CATES, ARIZONA ATTORNEY: This new jury isn't going to have nearly the information that the old jury did. And the jury that made this decision saw every gruesome detail, saw all the lies, saw everything. ROWLANDS: Finding new jurors who haven't heard of the Arias case will be difficult given the intense media coverage of the first trial. Finding witnesses that will stand-up for Jodi Arias will also be tough.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. Martinez, are you angry at me?

ROWLANDS: Defense domestic violence expert, Alice Laviolette says after she testified, she was inundated with online abuse including death threats. She has no intention of going through that again, even though her testimony could make a difference.

Why don't you want to go back?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Threats to my life. Threats to my family. My family doesn't want me to go back.

ROWLANDS: In the end, Jodi Arias may end up being her own best chance for avoiding the death penalty.

JODI ARIAS, CONVICTED FOR 1ST DEGREE MURDER: Either way, I'm going to spend the rest of my life in prison, either a life that is shortened or not. If it's shortened, the people who will hurt the most are my family. I'm asking you, please, please don't do that to them.

ROWLANDS: Arias pled for her life during the penalty phase of her first trial this after spending 18 days on the witness stand during the trial. What, if anything, she says to the new jury may determine if she lives or dies.

Ted Rowlands, CNN, Phoenix.


CUOMO: OK, let's bring in someone now who's been following the Jodi Arias trial from the very beginning -- Jane Velez-Mitchell, host of HLN's "JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL" and the author of "Exposed: The Secret Life of Jodi Arias".

Jane, thank you very much for joining us here. There is a chance that Jodi could testify during the penalty phase. Would she be subject to cross-examination and is there a different protocol because she's been convicted already?

JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HLN ANCHOR: Well, I have to tell you, so many unanswered questions, Chris. And how do you bring a new jurors, 12 new jurors and however many alternates, up to speed on a case that lasted about five months, involved 40 witnesses approxmiately, more than 600 pieces of evidence. How do you bring them up to speed?

And if Jodi Arias does take the stand, again, then what is she going to do? Repeat all of those stories that had been discredited, for example, in my book, "Exposed" and in the general public. I mean, is she really going to take the stand again and say she was a victim of domestic violence? The reason why Americans were so angry at that domestic violence expert, Alice Laviolette, was that she took Jodi at face value. Jodi is a pathological liar. In my book, I deconstruct most of what she says on the stand and come to the conclusion that she was lying. If she gets up on the stand and uses those same tired, old lies again, is it just going to infuriate a new set of jurors?

What I think the defense should do is show that she's mentally ill because she is.

CUOMO: Well, right, obviously her competency is not going to be an issue. She's been found competent for the trial and penalty phase so she is someone who could be subjected to the harshest punishment. The original jury, 8-4 in favor of the death penalty.

You raise an interesting question -- this is a lot to put on the new jurors. They don't get the benefit of the entire trial record, as you suggested. But they have the burden of the hardest question. Do you believe that that means it is unlikely that Jodi Arias gets the death penalty?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You know, after the Casey Anthony case and that verdict, where all the talking heads and all the great minds in the legal world said it was a slam dunk for the prosecution, Chris, I do not predict what jurors are going to do.

And as for her mental state, I totally agree with you. She knows the difference between right and wrong. She's not legally insane. But she does have borderline personality disorder. Ironically, that's what the prosecution argued and the defense in the trial that we just went through said, "Oh no, no, no she doesn't have a borderline personality disorder. She's a victim of domestic violence."

I think this time around they should embrace the prosecution's theory. Yes, she does know right from wrong; she's not hearing commands and hallucinations, but she is seriously disturbed and that did impact her decision-making leading up to this horrific crime.

CUOMO: For jurors, though, as you well know, the last thing they want to do is to do the prosecution's job for them. Especially, especially when you have these type of stakes, life and death on their shoulders. And when you see this new piece of evidence for them, which will be Jodi Arias' life and conduct in jail while incarcerated, do you think the T-shirts and the work and all these sympathetic things that Jodi Arias seems todo will just weigh further on the juror's minds and make it less likely that she gets the death penalty?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, Chris, as for the T-shirt, the T-shirt really infuriated everybody all over again because written on it was the word "Survivor" and that seemed like a slap in the face to the family of Travis Alexander. Because, once again, it was implying that she was somehow the victim of domestic violence at the hands of Travis Alexander.

I mean, the reason why people were so upset at this trial is that she essentially not only viciously killed this man, but then she committed character assassination of the worst sort, accusing him of being a pedophil,e saying, oh, he committed domestic violence on her, that he sexually degraded her.

In my book, "Exposed," I pretty much outline that she was the one who brought all these kinky sex games to the party and that she was, at the very least, a consenting adult. But, actually, I believe she was the one who morally corrupted him.

CUOMO: You know, it's interesting, the Eighth Amendment, cruel and unusual punishment, that's what birthed the death penalty. It's evolving. It used to be that a judge could give you the death penalty; now, we see, as in this state and many others, that you have a secondary jury if you can't reach a decision.

It's a big burden on these people. I feel badly for the men and women who are going to have to sit in judgment of Jodi Arias because of what you have been outlining. So little information compared to the original jury and yet the harshest question for them. And of course, if they can't reach a decision, the judge will then decide what kind of life sentence it is.

Jane Velez-Mitchell, thank you very much for the perspective. What's the name of the book, again?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: "Exposed: The Secret Life of Jodi Arias".

CUOMO: Thank you very much. It's a little bit of a plug in there but we're family here; we've got to do that.

Kate, over to you.

BOLDUAN: All right, coming up next on NEW DAY, a CNN exclusive. She's been an inspiration to so many. Sarah Murnaghan, now 11 years old, survived two lung transplants and we're now hearing from her for the first time since her surgery. You don't want to miss that.

Plus, there is a reason why they say never return to the scene of the crime. One would-be thief sprouted a conscience. We'll tell you where that got him, coming up.


BOLDUAN: Welcome back to NEW DAY. A CNN exclusive for you. Remember the 11-year-old little girl who received a second double lung transplant? Well, she's now speaking out for the very first time since her surgery.

We first introduced you to Sarah Murnaghan this spring, her parents at the time fighting federal transplant rules in order to try to save her life. Well, this morning they are celebrating and there's good reason for that.

Jason Carroll joins us now with much, much more. Her story and their strength is such an inspiration to so many.

JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's an incredible story and they have a lot of reasons to celebrate. We have been following this story for months -- incredible little Sarah Murnaghan. Finally, some good news. Her parents say she could be released from the hospital as soon as tomorrow.


CARROLL: How are you feeling?

(voice-over): Her voice, barely a whisper. Sarah Murnaghan's strength comes in knowing she has made it this far.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Much better, much better.

CARROLL (on camera): Do you feel like you're a tough little girl?


CARROLL: You do?


CARROLL: Can you tell me why?

S. MURNAGHAN: Because every time I face things that I thought were going to be hard and then I've done them.

CARROLL (voice-over): Sarah survived two lung transplants and can breathe without an oxygen machine --


S. MURNAGHAN: Outside.

CARROLL: The 11-year-old's fight for new lungs change at least for now, national policy, the so-called "Under 12" rule -- a rule that gave children priority when pediatric lungs were available, but not adult lungs. There were moments the family thought they would run out of time.

(on camera): What were those moments like for you?

JANET MURNAGHAN, SARAH'S MOTHER: I mean terrifying. She said, "I just didn't want to tell you I was dying. I didn't want to upset you."

CARROLL (voice-over): Now, Sarah is finally scheduled to go home.

(on camera): What would you like to-do when you go home?

S. MURNAGHAN: I would like to play with my brother and sister.

CARROLL: Her sister, two brothers and cousins all waiting.


CARROLL: Sarah has a message of her own about her prognosis. S. MURNAGHAN: I'm not going for easy.

CARROLL: You're not going for easy.

S. MURNAGHAN: I'm just going for possible. And what been (inaudible) me right now it's possible.

FRAN MURNAGHAN, SARAH'S FATHER: She knows it's not easy, but there's so much you can do if you just persevere.

CARROLL: It will be a long road to recovery, but she is on her way.

S. MURNAGHAN: I really know it was a miracle.


BOLDUAN: What an amazing girl.

CARROLL: You know, when she said that and Michaela was talking about that, too. I'm not going for easy I'm going for what's possible. I mean she really is an old soul.

BOLDUAN: Kind of perspective that you can have at that age. What is her road to recovery like? I mean she's clearly overcoming amazing challenges, but I'm sure there are still many ahead right?

CARROLL: Many ahead. I mean she's going to have to go through a lot of rehabilitation but has already proven her strength and she's hoping that someday her mother hoping that she will get back on horses, ride again and play with her brothers and sister.

PEREIRA: Oh there will be such joy there opening her with welcome hands and that will be -- that will have a healing effect, I'm sure, too.

BOLDUAN: Yes of course.

PEREIRA: It's very cool.

BOLDUAN: Great thank you, great job, Jason. Thank you so much for bringing us that story.

CARROLL: You're very welcome.

CUOMO: And just where she's come already, remember, there was a time when we thought we wouldn't see this day. So it's great.

That's good stuff, so, today is a double stuff portion for you.

PEREIRA: OK, it's a gooder stuff.

CUOMO: Gooder stuff. My mom is like, "Aaah", OK, better stuff. Here you go and today's edition, maybe it isn't too late to apologize. You hear the song playing. A man drove up to a gas station in a middle of the night a piece of cloth over his license plate. You know what that means. He went up to the after-hours window and tried to rob the station.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was like, I have a gun. Whatever you have in your cash register, give me all of it. Then I just push him back and do like that.


CUOMO: All right, so he did like that. But that is not good stuff right?

BOLDUAN: No it isn't.

CUOMO: But listen to this. The would-be thief ran off empty handed and drove away and the clerk we just heard from immediately called authorities. He didn't get a plate because it was covered. Cops showed up, but, guess what, the perp was long gone, they thought right? Wrong. There was a knock on that very same after-hours window not long after. Take a listen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Then I did the same thing, and I said how are -- then I look and I say that's the same guy. I apologized. Sorry, I needed money. That's why I said to you to give me money. I'm sorry. He covered his license plate right and then came back. I don't know why. It's kind of odd.


CUOMO: Kind of odd. The guy had to walk right past the police car to issue that apology and of course was immediately arrested. Police are stumped by his behavior, as is the clerk.

But I am not and here is why. We chose the song "Too Late to Apologize" because the guy had already committed the crime. But I say it's not too late to apologize. Assuming that this guy didn't just figure that they must have him on camera, and I better, better just go back.

BOLDUAN: Regardless.

CUOMO: Let's assume it was just a straight apology.


CUOMO: That's why we made it the good stuff because it was somebody who did something wrong but had the foresight to see.


CUOMO: You know what, I did the wrong thing. Let me go back.

BOLDUAN: No matter what happens to you now.

CARROLL: Of course with the conscience.

BOLDUAN: No matter what happens to you now.

CUOMO: He's still going to go to jail right or whatever. He's going to be prosecuted. Who knows what is going to happen. But that's why it's today's good stuff.

And it comes from you that story. So please keep them coming so we can keep giving you good news or at least of change of heart news.

BOLDUAN: Exactly.

Still ahead on NEW DAY there are more nerds than vandals but the combination has made two teenagers Internet stars. Now, they're getting John Berman's NEW DAY award of the day.


CUOMO: We have a good time here on NEW DAY and the big reason is why Mr. John Berman who joins us with the NEW DAY award of the day award. Split screen because he's special.

PEREIRA: Well he didn't want to share this couch with us.

CUOMO: What do you have, J.B.?

JOHN BERMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: All right guys good morning it's great to be back with you more -- more than anything, it's great to be wearing a make up again. So good morning to you all.

Now, in no way do I want to condone vandalism here but there is a very clever line you need to see. It's a really a public service. It's titled "Eric and Winston, the Nerd Vandals." Watch this.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Me and Eric are about to go vandalize some stuff.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hi are you sure about this?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I mean just go and hurry.


BERMAN: Get it. So, I know it's complicated it involves three completely separate disciplines, algebra, SUVs and the Internet. In case you didn't get it. Let's play it again, here.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Me and Eric are about to go vandalize some stuff.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hi. Are you sure about this? I mean just go hurry.


BERMAN: It took me maybe 1.5 times to fully get it. That's why our award today is the "Nobody told me there would be math" award. It goes to the teens who made this video. Their Vine profile says they're Jack and Jeff from Omaha. They have great steaks there and great sense of humor, apparently.

This two -- this pair, they post a lot of stuff and they have more than 105,000 followers. I think it's great. That's what I'm saying. Guys, send them this way; do some stuff for NEW DAY. It's great stuff.

BOLDUAN: Exactly. Come vandalize our set. It will be -- oh wait.

PEREIRA: Our show is so much better when J.B. is part of it. We needed that. We missed you.

BERMAN: I missed you so much. But I'm glad I'm back because I understand today is kind of a special day.

BOLDUAN: Today is a special day.

PEREIRA: I know nothing about it.

BOLDUAN: You know nothing about it. Chris doesn't either.

CUOMO: I thought it was the day that JB was, you know, unveiling that maybe he had a little work done on the breaks. Looking a little different -- looking better.

BOLDUAN: He was preparing for the Fabio situation.


PEREIRA: I was with Fabio working out and getting work done. It was a double hit. You can see it was a success.


BERMAN: -- around America saying like, "My God, who did that work? It's terrible."

CUOMO: No. We're having a break. He's all natural. Ladies and gentlemen, only God can make you look that way. We're going to take a break. J.B., big kiss.


BOLDUAN: It is a very special day here on NEW DAY. No, it's not because we love Mondays, it is because we have a birthday girl on set. Michaela Pereira.

PEREIRA: I think Monday -- doesn't that just seem (inaudible)?

BOLDUAN: That's the only way to kick off the week.

Look at that handsome fellow.

(CROSSTALK) Cuomo: It's almost too gorgeous to cut up.

BOLDUAN: look at the size of that cake.

Wait, wait, wait, there's more -- a little special message for you.



A. THOMSON: We're sorry we can't be there this year for your birthday, but we know that it's going to be special.

D. THOMSON: We wish you all the best and look forward to seeing you soon.

Greetings from everyone here. Love you.

CHILDREN: Happy birthday, Michaela.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We love you. Big applause.

CUOMO: That's the mayor.

BOLDUAN: That's the mayor.

PEREIRA: That's the mayor and kids from L.A.'s Best and my mom and dad who have worked out Facetime -- apparently.

BOLDUAN: They wrote it down.

PEREIRA: That is the cutest -- they wrote it down. Oh my goodness. You guys are amazing.

BOLDUAN: From baked right here in New York and very special birthday to you, my love.

CUOMO: Happy birthday, sweetheart.

We have blown all of our birthdays in like one month.

PEREIRA: I know, we get them out of the way -- the rest of the year we can have news.

BOLDUAN: And now we've got no more fun the rest of the year.

On that note, we send it to you, the other love of our life, Carol Costello.

PEREIRA: Carol, I noticed they didn't put candles on here. I think they're worried they're going to --

BOLDUAN: Will you stop attacking her?

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: No, no. Happy birthday, Michaela. You guys have fun and eat that cake. "NEWSROOM" starts now.

CUOMO: That is a good-looking cake.