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Atlanta Preparing For Winter Blast; Kerry Visits Asia; Sisters Of Iowa State Representative Killed; Pope Emeritus Benedict: No Regrets; NFL Prospect Reveals He's Gay; Serial Killer In Virginia?; Olympic Moments Go Viral; Pacific Castaway Heads Home

Aired February 10, 2014 - 07:30   ET



MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to NEW DAY at half past the hour. Let's take a look at your headlines. An icy mix is headed to the southeast again stretching from Arkansas to the Virginias. Storm preparation under way in Atlanta, they're hoping to avoid another weather disaster there. In fact, streets are being salted ahead of the storm and extra supplies are being brought in. You'll recall the city was gridlocked two weeks ago when the snow turned into a sheet of ice, stranding thousands of drivers for hours.

This morning, Secretary of State John Kerry is preparing for yet another important overseas trip, this time to Asia. Kerry will visit South Korea, China and Indonesia at time of increased tensions throughout the region. But Kerry will not visit Japan. He met the foreign minister in Washington just last week.

Iowa State Representative Mary Wolfe is reaching out to thank supporters after a grisly shooting left two of her sisters dead. In a Facebook post, Wolfe said she is obviously heartbroken, but grateful. Friday the bodies of Sarah and Susan Wolfe were found in the basement of their home in Pittsburgh. Police say there was no sign of forced entry. They have yet not identified a motive.

Almost exactly one year after announcing he'll be stepping down. Now Pope Emeritus Benedict reportedly has no regrets. His personal secretary telling Reuters, quote, "Pope Benedict is at peace with himself and I think he is even at peace with the Lord." He also is said to have no resentment against critics and believes history will vindicate his tumultuous papacy.

Cody Washerberger of Bloomfield, Colorado is going by another name this morning -- hero. The quick thinking 9-year-old is being credited with saving his mom's life after she forgot to put her car in park and pinned her against the garage. Cody jumped behind the wheel and was able to move the car and free mom. He's playing down the hero angle and said he's very, very happy that he could help his mom.

CUOMO: It's always very good to let the kids drive the car.

BOLDUAN: That is not --

CUOMO: I have my kids drive halfway out to the beach every year. All right, let's get back to a big story we are following this morning. It is a first and an important one, all-American defensive lineman and college football star, Michael Sam, publicly revealed Sunday that he is gay. That could make him the first openly gay player to be drafted by the NFL, big ramifications for this.

Let's discuss with senior writer for "Sports Illustrated," Jon Wertheim. He had the first interview with the new man about this and Wade Davis, an openly gay, former NFL player and LGBT advocate. Wade, we were saying, it will be great when that's not part of your introduction and he's a former football, that's what he's doing now but that's not where we're at yet. So why does this party from the perspective of his sexuality? Why will this matter?

WADE DAVIS, FORMER NFL PLAYER: It matters because it's never been done before. It matters that now there will be questions to coaches and players and front office staff about how do you handle this. And it matters because there will be kids who turn on their televisions who say I'm watching a man who transcended his fears, who lived in his courage and said I'm an amazing player and watch me on Sundays.

BOLDUAN: You spoke with Michael about his process leading up to this, I was really struck in your interview, Jon, I was really struck how unaffected he is. He is who he is. He knows very clearly what type of a man he is. He is very strong and self-assured. Talk to me about the process that he went through to come forward.

DAVIS: Michael was out in college. It wasn't like that this was something that he wasn't used to. Michael is his own man. He's not apologizing for who he is. He wants to play in the NFL. He will play in the NFL and this is just who he is. You know, he wasn't trying to be anyone but himself.

PEREIRA: Jon, I was interested in one of the quotes. I'm going to read it, "Sam is a trail blazer and by definition that means embarking with no map or no template." That is a very interesting statement and a recognition of where we stand today, but I think what Kate pointed out is the fact that this is a young man who is do know himself. He knows tragedy and he knows challenge and he's going there on his own terms.

JON WERTHEIM, SENIOR WRITER, "SPORTS ILLUSTRATED": Absolutely. And you know, guys like Wade have helped him with this move. But I think his attitude is I am who I am, I'm just going to get it out there. It's not a big deal and I think it's really relevant. I mean, he was out there with his team, that's 100 teammates, people in Missouri knew and nobody jumped the gun. He told his story months after they knew. I think that really tells us a lot about where we are.

CUOMO: Where are we then because it's an issue, because there are concerns, there are concerns in terms of what it might mean for him as a draft pick, in terms of level acceptance, a culture that has not been accepting in the past, what are the prospects?

WERTHEIM: Well, I think we'll see. I mean, I think Michael Sam is under a lot of scrutiny. I think so is the NFL. And I think where we are and where sports are may not be exactly the same place. We are going to learn a lot in the next few months.

CUOMO: That's the question. Is there a cultural difference? I mean, there is a reason guys didn't want to be open, right?

DAVIS: I think if you look at the confidence he played in and where he played it and the fact that his teammates protected him, speaks we may have the sports culture wrong. Just because a player is not open to the public doesn't mean that he doesn't live in his truth and say, I'm not going to put my teammates at the scrutiny of the media to be ask questions like they know who I am. They know my heart, they love me, and that speaks to a brotherhood, a protection, of not only Michael but his teammates.

BOLDUAN: Do you think it's going too far to say this is a necessary step that they needed -- the people needed to see to change the culture of the league? Do you think that goes too far in putting too much in this one announcement?

WERTHEIM: No, I don't. I think this is really significant and that was a landmark moment, but here was a player at the end of his career, just a few days after his season, 34 years old. This is a completely different set of circumstances and I think for a player before he's even drafted to say this is who I am. I think this is really relevant.

PEREIRA: If could you say something to him today, just about what could be coming, what would you say?

DAVIS: I would say, Michael, man, I love you, I'm proud to call myself a friend of yours. You're a hero to myself and many others. And I can't wait to watch you on Sundays.

BOLDUAN: And I think that's the important part. This is an important announcement and that's what we are talking about, but you said before he came on, he's a football player bottom on. And that's what he wants to be known. Chris keeps quoting his stats because he's a big guy.

CUOMO: Yes. Sometimes things happen a certain way for a reason. If you're going to have somebody who carries on his shoulders, 6'2", 250 pounds of shoulders, it's pretty good shoulders to have on.

DAVIS: SEC defensive players of the year, the super conference defensive player of the year. He is the 11th one. All 10 previously have been drafted, eight of them in the first round. I mean, this is a top shell football talent.

CUOMO: Other than the Patriots could beat most of the top teams in SEC and beat most of AFC East. He's already where he needs to be. Fellows, thank you so much.

BOLDUAN: Thanks, guys. Great to see you. Let's take another break. Coming up next on NEW DAY, a series of unsolved murders in Virginia, just outside Washington, D.C., victims killed in their own homes. Could there be a serial killer at work here? CUOMO: Plus, he says he spend 13 months lost at sea before resurfacing 5,000 miles away. Now the castaway is finally making his way home. He may have some explaining to do. We'll bring you the story.


BOLDUAN: Welcome back. Virginia police on the hunt this morning for a possible serial killer, they've released this sketch of a man suspected of shooting a woman to death when answering a knock on her front door. This is a live look outside the victim's home we're going to show you hopefully in Alexandria.

This morning, it brings new questions about two other victims also shot to death inside their homes in the same town, Alexandria, Virginia. CNN's Deborah Feyerick is joining us now with much more. That community I know very well living in Washington, a beautiful community. This must be terrifying.

DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. This is a suburb of Washington, D.C. The killings appear to be somewhat random, but police don't for sure. This morning, Alexandria, Virginia mourning the death of that school teacher who was gunned down in her own home. Police say there was a knock, she opened the door, and gunman opened fire. Not the first shooting death in this neighborhood. The police are not ruling out the possibility that at least two other killings possibly could be connected.


FEYERICK (voice-over): The FBI in Alexandria, Virginia, police are on the hunt for a killer, investigating three mysterious homicides in this Washington, D.C. suburb. Last week, 59-year-old Ruth Ann Ladato, a music teacher was shot and killed apparently for nothing more than answering a knock at her front door in broad daylight.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a very stable community of people know one another and a crime of this sort is unfathomable.

FEYERICK: Police released this sketch of the man they believed may be responsible, generating hundreds of tips. Now the FBI is involved following up on each of those leads.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Don't be afraid to call it in because you just never know.

FEYERICK: Authorities say it's now the third unsolved shooting in the area. They're not ruling out the possibility that the same person could be responsible for all three slayings.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can't help but think that but, again and hopefully it's not multiple people.

FEYERICK: In November 69-year-old Ronald Kirby, a prominent official in the community was shot and killed. And in 2003, Nancy Dunning, a sheriff's wife was shot dead. This case also remains unsolved. The crimes, although spread over a decade, share eerie similarities, all within two miles of each other, all three victims gunned down in their homes with no signs of forced entry and all, as of today unsolved. Police now is comparing fingerprints and other evidence from the three cases.


FEYERICK: Now a woman who was in the home of the school teacher, a nurse's aide was also shot. She is expected to survive. The neighborhood is described as generally very safe, but as you can imagine residents there extremely shaken. The mayor is urging people not to panic, saying that he is taking the situation very seriously, but that authorities simply don't have enough information yet to see if the shootings are in fact the work of a serial killer. It is believed that an automatic weapon was used in this latest shooting.

BOLDUAN: One of the most puzzling elements is timeline here. There's like a decade of the -- from the beginning to the end, there's a decade between the shootings. So that's the clue. It's something the police are looking into.

FEYERICK: Exactly. It's also -- you know, you look at it and you have to look similarities. You also have -- these were sort of white men and women older in age and so is there a similarity there? Did they somehow know each other? These are all things that the law enforcements can be drilling down on.

BOLDUAN: That gives no more comfort to that community, until a person is caught.

FEYERICK: Not at all.

BOLDUAN: Deborah, thank you so much -- Chris.

CUOMO: Coming up on NEW DAY, he says he's been at sea for more than a year. Now the alleged castaway is heading home, but he is still facing skeptics who don't believe his story and our reporter is in the Marshall Islands looking for answers.


PEREIRA: That is probably something you never thought you'd see, but yes that was the rendition of "Get Lucky" courtesy of none other than the Russian military choir. They delivered the number just before the opening ceremonies. As we're only a few days into the Olympic Games in Sochi, it's not just the medal winners making headlines. We got some viral moments we want to show you that are taking the winter storm -- the winter games by storm.

Let's take a look. The first one, U.S. figure skater, Ashley Wagner, thought she delivered a great performance to the ladies short program, but then her score came in. So she went from this to this absolute look of disgust. That's going to become one of those viral videos.

Also check this out, Russian snowboarder Alexi (inaudible) get this, put his cell phone number on his helmet. He did it on purpose. He got over 2,000 texts including some new photos. Apparently it almost broke his iPhone.

This is soon to be an urban legend, I'm sure if it hasn't already. We're putting an end to a story circulated on the internet over the weekend, the guy that was responsible for this inoperable ring during the open ceremony was found dead. It turns out that story came from a satirical news web site. It is completely false.

So there you go. We just hope we get to the bottom of some of that for you -- Kate, Chris.

CUOMO: Difference between internet and real media reporting here. Mich, thanks for clearing that out.

A cast away no more. The mystery man who resurfaced last week after what he says was more than a year lost at sea is now headed home. Jose Salvader Alvarenga was cleared by doctors to return to his native El Salvador, but his story surviving on turtle blood and sea birds after his teenage companion died is now facing new skepticism. CNN's Miguel Marquez is in the Marshall Islands.


MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Finally headed home, Jose Alvarenga taking the short route, a plane, to his home country of El Salvador.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know that people have survived that long as well even longer. This is amazing and we are very proud that we were able to host the visitor to our shores.

MARQUEZ: Before leaving Alvarenga asked for a picture with Marshall East President Christopher Louiac. The island nation is only too happy to oblige its now most famous visitor. Alvarenga's departure much different from his arrival on Thursday, June 30.

(on camera): After Mr. Alvarenga's boat came ashore, he still had one more walk to go, a series of islands. He landed on one that was completely uninhabited. He heard a rooster crowing on the next island over and at low tide he simply walked across.

(voice-over): Alvarenga wearing tattered underwear and brandishing a knife surprised villagers on the tiny island of Ebon. They fed him pancakes and clothes and communicated through a mix of pictures, charades, and Norwegian anthropologist speaking a bit of Italian and others who knew a little Spanish from the TV show "Dora The Explorer". Still there is some skepticism about his story. Jerry Kramer spent three days lost at sea in 1969.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As far as birds, well, there isn't any birds until you get very close to land. Turtles -- we have turtles in the Marshal Islands, but I have never heard of a turtle coming up and bumping our boat.

MARQUEZ: Alvarenga gifted his boat to the couple that found him, found in the boat a turtle shell and a large sea bird. It's foot tethered to the boat presumably a future meal. The bird is now living with the couple on Ebon. Alvarenga only has a few hours to go before his 13-month round trip of nightmare proportions comes to an end. Miguel Marquez, CNN, Majuro, Marshall Islands.


BOLDUAN: That is still an amazing story.

CUOMO: For Miguel to be there is great. We'll see what he finds. That will be great.

Coming up on NEW DAY, Kenneth Bae is speaking out this morning. He is out of the hospital, but back at hard labor. We are going to show you the message he is sending to his family.

BOLDUAN: And a real life court battle playing out for actor Jason Patrick. He wants custody of his son conceived through in vitro, but his ex-girlfriend says no. This is a long real-life legal battle playing out. We will have a look at the case and speak with Jason Patrick about it.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I came to tell the world that I'm openly gay man.


CUOMO: Breaking barriers, the all-American football star reveals he is gay. Now said to be the first openly player in the NFL. You'll hear from him this morning.

BOLDUAN: Winter blast, another snow and ice storm set to wallop the south today. Atlanta set to get two inches of snow, the same amount that paralyzed the city a few weeks ago. Is it ready this time?

PEREIRA: Breaking news, Kenneth Bae, the American held in North Korea speaking out this morning from a prison labor camp as the government stops an American envoy from coming to help free him.

CUOMO: Your NEW DAY continues right now.

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

BOLDUAN: Good morning and welcome back to NEW DAY. It is Monday, February 10th, 8:00 in the east. Breaking overnight, a star college football player revealing he is gay and creating the possibility that he will be the first openly gay player in the NFL. Michael Sam says he told his coaches and teammates last summer, but many are wondering will this affect -- will this announcement affect his prospects in the NFL draft? John Berman -- "EARLY START" anchor, John Berman is here with much more on this.

JOHN BERMAN, ANCHOR, CNN'S "EARLY START": You know, Michael Sam, he is 6'2, 260 pounds, but that's now what makes him strong. What makes Michael Sam strong is doing right now.


MICHAEL SAM, DEFENSIVE END, UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI: I'm Michael Sam. I'm a football player and I'm gay.

BERMAN (voice-over): All American defensive end and NFL hopeful Michael Sam making history revealing that he is gay in interviews with ESPN and the "New York Times."

SAM: I was afraid that it would leak out without me actually owning my truth. I want to let the world know and tell them that I'm gay. Let me tell my own story.

BERMAN: If he is drafted this spring, Sam will become the first openly gay player in the National Football League.

SAM: I understand how big this is because this is a big deal. Nothing has been -- nothing has done this before.