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Avalanche On Colorado Slope Kills Two Skiers; Michael Dunn Found Guilty Of Four Out Of Five Charges; Special Bronze For Bode Miller In Winter Olympics; Death Of Alfred Wright Remains Mystery; Peace Talk With Syria Still Produces No Result

Aired February 16, 2014 - 15:00   ET


FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: We have got much more straight ahead in the NEWSROOM and it all starts now.

Hello again, everyone. I'm Fredricka Whitfield. These are the top stories this hour.

Tragedy on the slope in Colorado after an avalanche kills two skiers. Why the avalanche season has been so deadly, next.

Plus emotions are high after a verdict in the loud music trial. A family is still seeking justice and a defendant is in shock. HLN's Jane Velez-Mitchell joins me to break down what happens next.

And will U.S. skier Bode Miller make a comeback in the Olympic Games? We'll tell you how he did today coming up.

Rescuers in Colorado have located the body of two skiers that went missing after an avalanche. Searchers had already located signals from beacons worn by the two discovering their bodies. Three other skiers also caught in the avalanche were sent to the hospital with broken bones and a collapsed lung.

Stephanie Elam is following the story for us today. They found the two skiers, their bodies today, this is an area of steep terrain. Have they been able to retrieve the bodies?

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That is what they are working on at this point, Fred. And they do have a bit of a race against time because once the sun goes down, they have to clear out of there. And it's very steep terrain that we're talking about. These two skiers that have died were part of a team of seven that were skiing in the back country outside of Aspen, we understand. We know that two made it out OK, three sent to the hospital, one, we understand, has been released and now they found these two others. This all happened yesterday evening at the end of the daylight hours, actually. So, now the rush today was to go out and see if the search and rescue could get to them. And then once they got to them figuring how to work this part out.

Now, let's take a listen to Susan Matthews from the lake county office of emergency management. She talks about getting to these two people.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SUSAN MATTHEWS, LAKE COUNTY OFFICE OF EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT: The two persons that were missing were wearing beacons. And the ground crew was able to find these signals on them. The first team that went up had to wait for safety clearance and they found one body. And then the safety pin went to find a safe travesty pass for the second team to go.


ELAM: And officials say that those beacons are so key for skiers in these difficult terrains where avalanches have been really, really an issue this winter. But at the same time, they are not fail-safe. And as that has been the case of these two skiers that were found dead today, Fred.

WHITFIELD: And so, Stephanie, what about the skiers who were sent to the hospital with those injuries? What do we know about them?

ELAM: We understand that two of them were actually moved to different hospitals because their injuries are more severe. We understand one may have a collapsed lung and also broken bones. And we understand one who initially went to the hospital was released. So, we have two patients that we believe are still in. We also still do not know identities of two skiers that died.

WHITFIELD: All right, Stephanie Elam, thank you so much. Keep us posted.

All right, onto Florida now where both sides in the emotionally charged loud music murder trial are dealing with a mixed verdict. Last night, the jury found Michael Dunn guilty of four out of five charges, including three counts of attempted murder. But on the most serious charge, first-degree murder, the jury deadlocked. Listen to the judge before the verdict was read.


JUDGE RUSSELL HEALEY, DUVAL COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT: All right. We have verdicts in counts two, three, four, and five. Based on the jury's inability to reach a verdict as to count one, I would declare that mistried.


WHITFIELD: Mistrial on the charge of murdering 17-year-old Jordan Davis.

Martin Savidge is live for us now in Jacksonville.

So Martin, as it stand, Dunn is facing a lot of prison time. But what happens with that first degree murder charge?

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, right now, it's a mistrial which means that there is the potential we could do it all over again, at least on the charge of murder first degree in Michael Dunn. But that is a formality yet to come. Last night, immediately after the proceeding and with that mix verdict, immediately there was a news conference that was held by both the prosecution and the defense. And it was the defense attorney, Cory Strolla, who pointed out and said, look, my client is going to go away for a long time. You could retry him but why would you? And after that you are going to hear the prosecution. Listen.


CORY STROLLA, MICHAEL DUNN'S DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Looking at 60 years because of the aggravating fact a firearm is used, chances are it could run consecutively with Judge Healey. So again, 60 years, I don't think Miss Corey will recharge it thinking I'm going to tack on more time. I don't think that will be her mindset. I don't think that was her mindset in the beginning. I think you still have to talk to the Davis family, and see if they want closure, see if they want to go through another trial.

ANGELA COREY, FLORIDA STATE ATTORNEY: Retrying a case is something we've all had to do and will continue to have to do and we'll give it the same full attention. We don't back off having to retry.


SAVIDGE: The Davis family says they still want to seek justice for their son. Angela Corey, as you heard there, is implying that they will go forward with a second prosecution. The defense attorney has also said if they, in fact, do that, he would ask for a change of venue -- Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: All right, Martin Savidge, thank you so much in Jacksonville.

Well, this trial has a lot of people across the country talking today. I want to continue that conversation with HLN's host, Jane Velez- Mitchell, in New York. And in Chicago, criminal defense attorney Steven Greenberg.

Good to see both of you all.

Stephen, you first. If the prosecutors decide to retry Michael Dunn on first degree, what's the risk of doing so?

STEVEN GREENBERG, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I don't know if there's any risk to Mr. Dunn because he's going to spend the rest of his life in jail either way. He's already 47-years-old. He's going to get out if he gets a minimum sentence when he's close to 70.

It's a political decision in my opinion. There's no reason to retry this case. I think the jury did the right thing in this case. You had someone who hadn't been in trouble before. He opens fire. He claims that he saw what he thought was a weapon. They couldn't reach a verdict on that count. But on the other counts where he's firing at a car that is fleeing from him, clearly he was guilty. Clearly, there's no justification for that. There's no reason to retry it except for political reasons. WHITFIELD: But Jane, you know, how do you see this? There was no recourse but to go ahead and fire the weapon, I mean, while the jurors say, yes to attempted murder.

JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HLN HOST, JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL: Stand your ground is a license to kill, especially young black males. It's outrageous to say this was the correct decision, far from it. This was a travesty and a miscarriage of justice. And I think it sends a subliminal message out there, there's more than 300 million guns in this country. And it sends a message to somebody, to anybody, you see a young, black teenager and you think he looks scary to you, because of dual preconceived notion you can blow them away.

GREENBERG: Jane, if that's what they thought, Jane, they would have acquitted him of the counts of shooting at a car as the car was pulling away. If that was the message that jury wanted to send, they would have acquitted him on all counts.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Didn't say a word with him. Only Jordan Davis had communication with him.

WHITFIELD: Was the message not sent, Steven, that justifiably Michael Dunn fired a weapon that killed a 17-year-old boy?

GREENBERG: Well, no. The message wasn't sent because they didn't acquit him of that count. They just couldn't reach a decision. He claimed that he saw a weapon. There was a tri-pad, maybe they could have been mistaken for a weapon, maybe the defense can made a bigger deal than that.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: That was never even argued.

WHITFIELD: But no one corroborated that that was seen, that was waved, that was used as a weapon.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Fredricka, here is the point. The defense managed to put the victim on trial here. And this is exactly what's happening again. It was all about Jordan Davis, did he have a gun? Did he threaten? Did he advance? And even though the prosecution made very good arguments that's all nonsense, that it is a lie perpetrated by the defendant, the point was that he seemed like he was the one on trial, a young man who couldn't speak for himself because he's dead.

This time around if they do it again, and I think they will and I hope they will, they have to put the defendant on trial. The prosecution has to cease control of the rank and frame the debate around what Michael Dunn did and what his motivations were. And the fact that he had --

GREENBERG: Maybe that's what they did do. That's what the defense did, Jane, and the jury focused on that.

WHITFIELD: Explain what you mean by that, Steven.

GREENBERG: The defense, here is a guy, in a good mood. He is coming from a happy event. There's no premeditation which is what they needed for first degree. There is no explanation for his actions other than the explanation he gave which he felt like he was threatened. And then you have to quite frankly look at the makeup of this jury which was at least nine or ten nonminority jurors. And that I think they have been to it also.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I have to respond to that, if I may. This is a perfect storm. I don't care if he was acting happy at his wedding. He had three to four rum and coax, which by the way he did not admit on the interrogation tape. This is a son getting married, he's seen three in 15 years. That is a time of turmoil whether you put a happy face on it or not.

Then, buzzed up or maybe drunk, he pulls into a convenience store and a young African-American teenager has loud music and mouths off to him and drops an f bomb and it's a perfect storm. Listen, either there's racial animus or there isn't. Either there was prejudice involved or it wasn't. Maybe the next time around they have to charge this as a hate crime.

WHITFIELD: All right, you know, stop right there. I want to talk more about that racial animus and whether that can be defined as premeditation. Because that's an argument some are making that perhaps the prosecution didn't go far enough to try to corroborate that Michael Dunn had a problem with race.

We are going to talk more about that, Steven and Jane, right after this.


WHITFIELD: All right. Let's talk more about this loud music trial. Back with us now, HLN host Jane Velez-Mitchell in New York and in Chicago criminal defense attorney Steven Greenberg.

All right, so let's talk again about was this a hate crime. Did the prosecution kind of miss the boat on that? And will the defense appeal? If so, on what grounds?

So Steven, let's first talk about the issue of premeditation. You said that's exactly why it was a hung jury on first-degree murder because there was no premeditation established. However, had the prosecutors tried to better substantiate Michael Dunn may have, in fact, been prejudicial, had a problem with race, after all it was his fiancee who testified. As soon as he rolled up, he said I hate that thug music. If the prosecution had painted a broader picture, a more specific picture, maybe in fact, about Michael Dunn and his hang-ups about race, have there been potentially a different outcome? Might this one the direction of a hate crime in your view, Steven?

GREENBERG: Well, you know, one of the things that judges have to do in trial is they have to keep out evidence that is so prejudicial and not what they called probative of anything or prejudicial value outweighs the probative value.

And in this case, I don't think they would have gotten anything in, even the letters that he wrote and so forth, saying it is thug music isn't a racist statement. It's just a commentary on the kind of music being played. There's nothing racially motivated about this crime. He could have pulled up and he could have seen four white males sitting there listening to Eminem who is a white rap artist and maybe the same -- .

WHITFIELD: It wouldn't be called thug music. I don't think anybody knows of a term where music is categorized as thug music. I mean, thug is a description of somebody which is not complimentary.

GREENBERG: Sure, rap music.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: His jailhouse letters reveal his racial prejudice. He wrote jailhouse letters and everybody acknowledges.

WHITFIELD: Why wouldn't that be used?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Why is the truth not admissible? Why half measures surveillance nothing? The jury deserve to know the real reason why -- he said terrible things about African-Americans he was jailed with, and he disparaged the victim. And he said they were all thugs so that maybe, essentially, he said maybe if other people stop taking it and pull out their guns and shoot them, too, they will get the hint. This is essentially what he said in jailhouse letters. If that is not motive, I don't know what is.

GREENBERG: A hint about the music.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: No, he was talking about thugs in general which he equated with African-Americans. Now, if that isn't a motive for what he did, I don't know what is.

WHITFIELD: And that's the point -- was that point miss?

GREENBERG: So, you're saying essentially he went out hunting that day?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: No, I'm saying it's a perfect storm. No, don't miss characterize what I'm saying. I'm saying he had a pre-existing racial prejudice, it would seem, based on those letters and based on the testimony of the comments of a former neighbor who told me in an exclusive interview that he was very racist. And that because of drinking, because of an emotionally charged evening, it was a perfect storm and that was the wrong night for Jordan Davis to drop an f bomb and play that loud music is what I'm saying.

GREENBERG: And then may all be true but that's not premedication under Florida law. That would be second degree murder under Florida law. Maybe the case was overcharged.

WHITFIELD: So, if this were to be retried, the prosecutors were to go at it again, is this the kind of information that would be taken advantage of this time? Would those letters be used? Would it be admissible? Or would it be best for the family of Jordan to just simply pursue a civil suit and more likely make an impact on Michael Dunn's life that way -- Steven? GREENBERG: Well, I'm sure they either have filed a civil suit or they are doing to file a civil suit and they will get whatever money this guy has. I don't know what he's got. But they shouldn't retry the case. He's going to spend the rest of his life in jail. Everyone should move on with their lives.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: It's not just about this family. It's about America.

GREENBERG: If he is a racist, the inmates will take care of him.

WHITFIELD: Will this case help provoke some kind of change or reexamination of this Florida law? Because clearly, there have been some parallel made of the Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman case while this wasn't a stand your ground case. It certainly was an issue of self-defense and the same argument has being made under the same law and stand your ground. So Jane, do you see this is setting the way, this is paving the way, perhaps, for a reexamination of this law or is that new?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: It has to be reexamined. I said it's a license to kill, essentially it is. And I think the bigger cultural issue our addiction to violence. I wrote a book called "addict nation" and talk about our cultural addiction of violence. And addicts will justify, rationalize their behavior. And this is exactly what's happening right now. We are rationalizing and justifying this very violent and unnecessary act.

WHITFIELD: All right, Jane Velez-Mitchell, we have to leave it there. Steven Greenberg, thanks to you as well. Appreciate it.

GREENBERG: Thank you.


WHITFIELD: All right, coming up, we're going to talk about politics and beyond. We know that Bill and Hillary Clinton made names in politics, but what about their daughter Chelsea? We'll show you what might be next to her as she takes the stage before big audience today in Las Vegas.

And it was a record setting day for an American alpine skier at the Sochi game.


WHITFIELD: All right, to the Olympics now and today's spoiler alert. Here is the latest medal count, so mute your television if you don't want to hear this. The Netherlands now leads with 17 total medals. Team USA and Russians tied for second with 16 medals including four goals each. And after a series of disappointments, Team USA is back on the podium in alpine events. And it was a record setting day for American skier Bode Miller.

Here is Rachel Nichols.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) RACHEL NICHOLS, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR: U.S. skiing bounced back big today taking silver and bronze in the super G. And it was a particularly special bronze for Bode Miller. It's a lot tougher when you get older. No one over 34 has ever won an Olympic medal in Alpine skiing, but Miller did it today at 36. Another record in his lustrous career. It was also his first Olympic medal since his younger brother died of seizure last year which he said made it a very emotional day.

BODE MILLER, U.S. OLYMPIC SKIER MEDALIST: Losing my brother was really hard, and just kind of attached emotion to this. He wanted to come to these games. And I thought he would have a chance to make it. To have him pass away the way he did really kind of connected with my sort of journey coming back. And today, I felt like that was all very connected and very raw and emotional for me.

NICHOLS: His younger brother was a snowboarder who actually had a good chance to make this Olympic team himself before he passed away. So Bode said for him it felt like he was skiing for both of them. Now, Bode skied his race in the morning and everything his and that went off fine. But by the evening they, fog in the mountain got so bad, they actually had to postpone the biathlon. This is the event where you shoot at a target and then ski and participants couldn't see what they were shooting at, which is never good. So, one more weather related issue at these games.

In Sochi, I'm Rachel Nichols for CNN.


WHITFIELD: All right, Bill and Hillary Clinton have made a life out of politics, and now some are speculating about the future of their daughter, Chelsea. Chelsea Clinton just wrapped up a speech at forum on gay and lesbian issues sponsored by the human rights coalition in Las Vegas. And she is scheduled to make another high-profile speech later on this month as the University of Missouri.

So, is she emerging from her parents' shadows.

CNN's Erin McPike is joining us live now from our Washington bureau.

So Erin, today Chelsea is alone addressing this LGBT human rights audience. What is going on here?

ERIN MCPIKE, CNN GENERAL ASSIGNMENT CORRESPONDENT: Well Fred, Chelsea Clinton is making the rounds now that she's taken over vice chairmanship of the Clinton foundation. And today's speech is to promote equality, safety and inclusion for the young gay community. And here is just a little bit of what she said a few minutes ago.


CHELSEA CLINTON, VICE CHAIRMAN, CLINTON FOUNDATION: Changing laws and changing the political dialogue while necessary is insufficient to ensure that bullying stops, to ensure that every young person is supported by their parents and their teachers as they question who they are and they discover who they are regardless of their sexuality. (END VIDEO CLIP)

MCPIKE: Now, we'll also see Chelsea a week from Monday in Kansas City kicking off a brand-new hall of fame for children in that region at the University of Missouri and she'll be at south by southwest in Austin in early March to quote "share insights on how you can best transform the world around you." But she was on stage with her mother Hillary Clinton this past week at New York University for an aptly named program the no ceilings project to promote and empower women and what Mrs. Clinton said was revealing.


HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: One of the best pieces of advice I ever heard from anyone is Eleanor Roosevelt in the 1920s who said that, you know, women in politics or in public roles should grow skin like a rhinoceros. I think there's some truth to that.


MCPIKE: Now, Chelsea Clinton has become very protective of her mother. So, it's interesting that we're seeing her step out right now with this series of speeches just as Hillary Clinton is starting to come under fire from Republicans again, Fred.

WHITFIELD: And among those Republicans apparently Mitt Romney said something recently about Hillary. What?

MCPIKE: Well, that's right. He was on "Meet the Press" earlier today. And he was asked about Senator Rand Paul's comments who said that the Monica Lewinsky scandal during Bill Clinton's presidency will weigh on Hillary if she runs for president and here is how he responded.


MITT ROMNEY (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I don't think Bill Clinton is as relevant as Hillary Clinton if Hillary Clinton decides to run for president. And in her case, I think people will look at her record as secretary of state and say during that period of time did our relation with nations around the world elevate America and elevate our interests or were they receding. And I think her record is what she will be judged upon, not the record of her husband.


MCPIKE: Now, obviously, there's a little bit of debate about that. But we certainly are hearing Republicans go after Hillary Clinton on Benghazi -- Fred.

WHITFIELD: All right, Erin McPike. Thanks so much in Washington.

Coming up next, buried five feet under an avalanche. You'll see how one man actually made it out.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) WHITFIELD: Bottom of the hour. Welcome back. I'm Fredricka Whitfield. I'm here with the top stories crossing the CNN news desk right now.

The son of iconic Muppets founder, John Henson, has died. According to the family, John Henson suffered a massive heart attack Friday while home with one of his daughters. Henson was best known as businessman and voice behind the Muppets over character sweet ums. Henson was just 48-years-old.

A Pennsylvania woman charged with murdering a man after she lured him into a rendezvous through craigslist admits she killed him. Reuters News agency reports that 19-year-old Miranda Barber made the admission during an interview from jail. Barber also reportedly admitted she killed at least 22 people in different parts of the country. Prosecutors say Barber's husband helped her carry out the craigslist murder of this man 42-year-old, Troy Laferra (ph) last November. They said the couple dumped his body in an alley.

All right, U.S. secretary of state John Kerry says climate change is threatening the world. He told an audience in Jakarta, Indonesia, that the science of climate change is compelling the world to act and scientists absolutely certain. Indonesia is the last stop on Kerry's six-day tour which included stops in China and Soul, South Korea.

Searchers in Colorado have located the bodies of two skiers who went missing after an avalanche. Teams are now working to remove the bodies from the side of the mountain. This accident follows what has been a deadly month for avalanches so far. Six others have died in avalanches across the western U.S. and not just in Colorado. Utah and Oregon have also seen fatalities. But being caught in an avalanche doesn't always have to be deadly.

CNN's Gary Tuchman looks at how the right equipment can save a life.


GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A back country ski outing in Switzerland. That is about to turn into a horrifying experience. Christopher Carlson who was wearing a helmet cam, came very close to documenting his own death. It is an avalanche. He is buried about five feet under the snow unable to move. Carlson is hoping the skiers he was with find him before he suffocates and they do. He's a very lucky man.

On the average in the U.S., 28 people die each from avalanches often with hundreds of tons of snow plummeting down the mountain. I ski at Colorado's Copper Mountain, it is one of the top avalanche experts in the United States.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How are conditions?

TUCHMAN: Ethan Greene is the director of the Colorado Avalanche Information Center. His state agency's responsibility in part, to forecast the probability of avalanches.

TUCHMAN: This is May flower gulch.

TUCHMAN: And he takes me away from the resort and into the back country where most avalanches occur to learn about the three essentials for back country skiers.


TUCHMAN: The beacon.

ETHAN GREENE, DIRECTOR, COLORADO AVALANCHE INFORMATION CENTER: We all put on one of these and turn them on so they are transmitting, they are sending on a signal. And then later in the day if you get buried in an avalanche, I'll be able set mine to receive, pick up your signal and locate you.

TUCHMAN: The probe and the shovel.

GREENE: This is a three meter probe pole.

So what this allows me to do is once I get your general location with the beacon, I can pinpoint you with this probe and then use the shovel down to the tip.

TUCHMAN: There was also this (INAUDIBLE) that can keep you above the rampaging snow threatening to bury you, the air backpack.

We dug a three foot hole in the snow to simulate where an avalanche victim might be trapped. Our plan, to send Ethan Green up the mountain with his beacon and receive mode to try to pick up my signal from the hole where I will wait for a rescue. Our producer, Chris Libel (ph) puts the finishing touches on my snow cave and I wait in the dark underground.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. As I'm turning on to receive --

TUCHMAN: No signal right away. But quickly, it tells how close he's getting.

GREEN: 16 meters, 13 meters.

TUCHMAN: The beacon works like a charm.

GREENE: OK. I'm less than a meter. I have a strike.

TUCHMAN: It was quite unsettling under there. I'm glad your beacon worked.

GREENE: Me, too.

TUCHMAN: Of course, I was always safe in my controlled environment. In real life, a victim sometimes doesn't have a chance in an average.

GREENE: It's so dense you can't dig yourself out. Sometimes you can't expand your lungs to breathe.

TUCHMAN: But if alive after the snow stops moving, having the right equipment can mean the difference between life and death, just like it did for Christopher Carlson.

Gary Tuchman CNN, Copper Mountain, Colorado.


WHITFIELD: Incredible lessons learned. Good to know about those tools.

Thanks so much, Gary.

All right, it was a tense moment in the courtroom as the verdict in the loud music murder trial was read in. It was incredibly emotional for the parents of the shooting victim, Jordan Davis. Their reaction to this mixed verdict, next.


WHITFIELD: Today is an emotional day for the family of Jordan Davis, the teen shot and killed after a fight over a fight over loud music. Well, today would have been Jordan's 19th birthday. And it comes a day after the mixed verdict and heated trial for the man accused of his death, Michael Dunn.

Here is Alina Machado.


ALINA MACHADO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): After 30 hours of deliberations, the jury in the Michael Dunn murder trial, the jury returned a partial verdict.

HEALEY: Mr. Dunn, your having been convicted of counts two, three, four by a jury.

MACHADO: Guilty on four counts including three of attempted second degree murder in the 2012 shooting outside of Jacksonville gas station that killed 17-year-old Jordan Davis. But on the murder charge, no verdict.

HEALEY: Based on the jury's inability to reach a verdict as to count one, I will declare that mistried.

MACHADO: Davis' family expressed gratitude to the jury but vowed to keep fighting.

LUCIA MCBATH, JORDAN DAVIS' MOTHER: And we will continue to stand and we will continue to wait for justice for Jordan.

RON DAVIS, JORDAN DAVIS' FATHER: I feel Michael Dunn has got a minimum of 20 years on one count, another 20 on another count, another minimum 20 years on another count. So he's going to learn that he has to be remorseful for the killing of my son. That it wasn't just another day at the office.

MACHADO: During the trial, jurors heard from the teens who were in the car with Davis the night of confrontation over loud music turned violent.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What did the driver do with the gun from the glove compartment.


MACHADO: Dunn himself took the stand in his own defense.

MICHAEL DUNN, SHOT AND KILLED JORDAN DAVIS: I'm looking out the window and he said you're not going to kill me, you son of a (bleep) --

MACHADO: Surveillance video where you could hear gunfire was requested by the jury during deliberation. Jurors also had several questions including this one.

HEALEY: Is it possible to not reach a verdict on one count and reach a verdict on other counts.

MACHADO: Suggesting they were having difficulty reaching a unanimous verdict on the murder charge as early as Friday. The tension in the courtroom palpable.

STROLLA: Those 30 hours were probably the most stressful hours of my life. I can't even imagine what Mr. Dunn was thinking because he was the one that was facing the verdict.

MACHADO: Alina Machado, CNN, Jacksonville, Florida.


WHITFIELD: And Jordan Davis' parents sat quietly as the verdict was read. Here is more of what they said after that tense moment.


MCBATH: It's been a long, long road. And we're so very happy to have just a little bit of closure. It's sad for Mr. Dunn that he will live the rest of his life in that sense of torment, and I will pray for him. And I've asked my family to pray for him. But we are so grateful for the charges that have been brought against him. We are so grateful for the truth. We are so grateful that the jurors were able to understand the common sense of it all. And we will continue to stand, and we will continue to wait for justice for Jordan.

DAVIS: Thank you all for being here. It's been a long journey, about 450 days. And me and Lucy and our supporters have stood strong. I believe we stood strong in the eyes of not only Jacksonville, not only Florida, not only the nation but the world is looking at all of us here in Jacksonville.

It's not in my nature, actually, to not lash out and to not say inflammatory statements, whatever, but I have to hold that in. Because I think Jordan, my son and Lucy's son, deserved the best representation he could have gotten as parents. And I thank you all for saying that we as parents were good parents to Jordan. That he was a good kid. It wasn't allowed to be said in the courtroom but he was a good kid but we'll see he was a good kid. There's a lot of good kids out there. A lot of good nephews, a lot of good grandsons, granddaughters, nieces, and they should have a voice. That they shouldn't live in fear walking around the streets wondering if somebody has a problem with somebody else, I think the shot is collateral damage.

There's no such thing to parents that their child suffered collateral damage. We as human beings, we love our children, we love our families. And we don't accept a law that would allow collateral damage to our family members. We raised them not to fear each other we raised them to be good citizens in America. We expect the law to be behind us and protect us. That's what I wanted the law to do, protect Jordan as we protected Jordan.

I feel this Michael Dunn has a minimum of 20 years on one count, another 20 years on another count, another minimum 20 years on another count. So he's going to learn that he must be remorseful for the killing of my son. That it was not just another day at the office. My son will never be just another day at the office where I can leave the scene and be stoic. Because you know what, we're not stoke. We've cried our eyes out to you, the press, and everybody else, to the world, me and Lucy and our families and our supporters have cried our eyes out because we don't care about being stoic because we have love in our hearts. And we want you all to love and have love in your hearts.

And I thank you for coming here today. Thank you.


WHITFIELD: There have been comparisons between this case and the George Zimmerman trial, also in Florida last year.

Well, tomorrow morning on "NEW DAY," George Zimmerman sets down with Chris Cuomo. Don't miss that. "NEW DAY" begins at 6:00 a.m. eastern time.


WHITFIELD: All right, now to the mysterious death of a man in Texas. In November, Alfred Wright told his wife to say he was having heart trouble and he needed someone to come and pick him up. But when his family showed up to help, he was nowhere to be found.

Our Deborah Feyerick has what happened next.

DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Fred, in their very last call together Lauren Wright said her husband, Alfred, sounds as if he was in distress. He was breathing heavily and he would not or could not answer her questions. His truck had broken down and an eyewitness says he had taken off down the highway, even though his parents were just minutes away. What happened next is a mystery.

Alfred Wright's belongings turned up on a nearby ranch. Yes after just four days, the sheriff called off the search concluding there was no foul play and offering the family an explanation they say makes no sense at all.


FEYERICK: Alfred Wright's body was found less than 150 yards from where sheriff's deputies had originally set up their search command post.

LAUREN WRIGHT, ALFRED WRIGHT'S WIFE: How was he so close and we didn't find him? It was not like he was miles away. He was right there.

FEYERICK: Saying there was no foul play, sheriff Tom Maddox called off the search after only four days, leaving family and friends to find the body on their own.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And I say that is (INAUDIBLE) spoke out and said, Daddy, I knew you will found.

FEYERICK: Just as the sheriff had foreseen, an autopsy did find drugs, three kinds including meth. Though his family insists they had never seen him do any drugs.

WRIGHT: I still know and I believe that someone did this to my husband.


FEYERICK: Fred, the family believes Alfred may have been held captured and tortured. Official autopsy ruled his death in accident, but in independent pathologist hired by the family believe that there is high likely hood of homicidal violence. Sheriff handed over the investigation to the Texas rangers who called out Alfred Wright's death questionable. Justice department has been ask to step in. The U.S. attorney now part of Texas expected to review the ranger's finding -- Fred.

WHITFIELD: All right, thanks so much you, Deborah Feyerick. This investigation is part of a CNN special "mysterious death" airing tonight, 11:30 eastern time, picture DVRs (ph).


WHITFIELD: With peace talks producing no result in Syria and the fighting continuing, some in Washington are questioning the U.S. strategy in resolving the conflict. Well today, Senator John McCain was on "STATE OF THE UNION" and criticized the Obama administration's policy.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: The policy toward Syria has been an abysmal failure and a disgraceful one as we have watched these horrendous acts. What Director Clapper said was an apocalyptic situation particularly in regard to these photos that have come out. There is 11,000 documented picture of the starvation, bleeding torture and murder of the men, women and children. (END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: But as the administration considers other options, one thing the U.S. is doing is putting pressure on one of Syria's stanches allies, Russia.

CNN's Barbara Starr reports on how the U.S. is using the Olympics to force change in Syria.


BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Even before team USA won against Russia's team in hockey, the White House played its Olympic part calling out Moscow for supporting the Syrian regime.

After a California meeting between President Obama and Jordan's king Abdullah, a senior administration official briefing reporters said the Russians can't have it both ways. They can't say they are in favor of negotiations in Geneva and then have a happy Olympics and then be part in partial of supporting this regime as it kills people in the most brutal way.

As the violence grows more dire and thousands try to plea the beseech city Homs, President Obama also called for stepped up efforts.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There would be some other immediate stuff that we can take, apply more pressure to the Assad regime. And we are going to be continue to work with all of the parties concerned to try to move forward on a diplomatic solution.

STARR: Pentagon officials say there are no plans for U.S. military action. But the Wall Street Journal" is reporting that Saudi Arabia will give Syrian rebels shoulders prior missiles that can bring down regime aircraft and anti-tank missiles. The U.S. worry these weapons could fall into the hands of extremists in Syria.

Top U.S. officials believed the United States is now facing a direct threat from Al Qaeda and others militants fighting in Syria.

JEH JOHNSON, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: Syria has become a matter of homeland security.

STARR: And in Geneva, another round of peace talks appears to have accomplished little according to the U.N. envoy.

LAKHDAR BRAHIMI, U.N. SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE: I'm very, very sorry and I apologized to the city and people. I apologized to them that on these two rounds, we haven't helped them very much.

STARR: And that's what people are going to be watching. Will he the Republicans use it against the Democrats especially in southern red state election campaigns?

Barbara Starr, CNN, Washington.