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Face Of The Crisis: Toddler Flees Syria Alone; Videos Show Brutality Of Radical Group In Syria; Pope Francis gets his new passport; A massive wave slammed into a British cruise liner; Lorne Michaels is the new king of "Tonight's Show"; Is Dunn Verdict Another Trayvon Martin?; Bite Kills Snake-Handling Pastor; Accidental Selfie?

Aired February 17, 2014 - 19:00   ET


S.E. CUPP, CNN ANCHOR: From the right, I'm S.E. Cupp. Join us tomorrow for another edition of CROSSFIRE. "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: Next the picture worth a thousand words, a 4- year-old child alone in the desert, caught on camera alone trying to escape Syria. Tonight, CNN inside Syria with an exclusive look at the human toll.

Plus outrage after jurors fail to convict a white man of the shooting death of an unarmed black teen. Could he get away with murder?

And a reality show pastor dies from a snake bite. Why he believes snake handling was part of God's will. Let's go OUTFRONT.

Good evening, everyone. I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight, a picture worth a thousand words. Sometimes it takes just one image to capture something, to make it come alive. I'm talking about this photo, a Syrian child, just 4 years old and if you look at around him are U.N. workers.

But that space around him, the desert, where he had trudged alone across that desolate desert in Jordan, carrying his possessions in a plastic bag, fleeing the violence in Syria. He is the face of the brutal civil war that has been destroying Syria for the past three years.

His name is Marwan and the only reason we actually know his name is because this little boy is actually lucky. The U.N. workers who found him were able to reunite Marwan with his family making him very unique. We can only imagine the toll this was has taken on him, one life still small, still fighting, alive, but surely scarred forever.

Officials estimate there are roughly 2.5 million Syrian refugees and many of them will never see their families again. As for the death toll, the U.N. has stopped counting. It can't verify the numbers anymore, the U.N.'s last count in late July more than 100,000.

It has been eight months since the White House admitted that Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad had crossed the red line by using chemical weapons on the Syrian people. At this time the weapons should be gone. Only 11 percent of them have been destroyed.

There has been a loud silence from much of the world since that red line. The world and the United States are running out of time and options. Here is Secretary of State John Kerry.


JOHN KERRY, SECRETARY OF STATE: They have refused to open up one moment of discussion legitimately about a transition government. It is very clear that Bashar Al-Assad is continuing to try to win this the battlefield rather than come to the negotiating table in good faith.


BURNETT: The security situation in Syria is out of control. For months we have heard reports about atrocities being carried out by a rebel group of al Qaeda inspired extremists. Now as you can imagine, it is extremely dangerous to report from inside Syria. They have shown absolutely no problem in killing.

Our Arwa Damon and her team travelled to Northern Syria. They risked their lives so you could see these images for yourself. This is a CNN exclusive and we want to warn you that some of what you will see is disturbing in this report.


ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIOANAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This grave has been dug up before, the bodies unidentified, reburied in the same spot. In video filmed at the time, gruesome images of the corpses of four men. It is among many mass graves rebel fighters unearthed after they recaptured the town of Adana from radical fighters who once were their allies.

Now weeks later, a family hopes for closure. We found a foot and a shoe and a jacket she says. She is with her neighbor. It's his two younger brothers that are missing. One might be here. He just went out to get tomatoes and sugar Mohammed recalls, still disbelieving.

And his wife wanted socks for their kids. It's the same jacket, Mohammed says. The site is next to a former prison run by the ISSIs, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. Its walls lined with bullet holes, some from clashes. Others we are told from executions. Masked ISIS fighters as seen in this rare video posted to YouTube used fear to rule. Anyone caught filming them, killed.

(on camera): This was the main ISIS check point leading into Adana. And as part of the terror tactics eyewitnesses were telling us that they would leave some of the bodies of the people they executed lining the check point so that every single car coming through would be forced to slow down and could not ignore that brutal message.

ISIS is a group so merciless that even al Qaeda has distanced itself from it. (on camera): Abu Shaman is telling us that ISIS had beheaded one of the main key rebel commanders here. They came in the early morning when the market was really busy and placed his head on top of the garbage heap that was in that very same spot. They turned around and told everybody that that would be the fate of anyone who dared speak out against them.

(voice-over): Their harsh and tolerable rule caused other Islamist and moderate rebel groups to launch an offensive against them earlier this year. So he had to leave the fronts with the regime, Abu Jamal says, and fall back to fight ISIS to liberate the already liberated areas another time.

But ISIS still looms large in Syria consolidating its forces and posing its reign of terror. In this video filmed the day after we met Mohammed, he realizes it is not two, but three of his brothers that were murdered by ISIS. He thought one of them was in jail. Arwa Damon, CNN, Adana, Syria.


BURNETT: Joining me now is the House majority leader, Eric Cantor, who made a major foreign policy address today focusing in part on Syria. Leader Cantor, you have seen the horrific photos out of Syria. You've just heard Arwa's reporting. Last fall you said you were going to vote to allow the president to use force in Syria. Obviously, it never came to that. Is now the time?

REP. ERIC CANTOR (R), MAJORITY LEADER: Well, Erin, clearly there is a humanitarian catastrophe in Syria. There is also a residue of America drawing a red line and failing to live up to its word. I'm very concerned about our alliance on Vladimir Putin and the U.N. to try and dismantle the chemical weapons in Syria.

It has been six months, perhaps, since the agreement has materialized and yet Assad is still there, the chemical weapons are still there. And there are a lot of people that are being killed. And frankly, America's reputation as a leader has been severely tarnished.

So I believe that we need an America that leads, which means an America that will bring together our allies and work to defend the moderates over the extremists in Syria. Now, this is not without risk and it is not going to be pretty or easy. But I hate to think of the future of those moderate fighters in Syria or ours if we do not attempt to try and lead and bring our partners together.

BURNETT: And so when you say there is a risk I guess let me put this on the table point blank. That means you are willing to accept the fact that we may fund some quote, unquote "bad guys," that some American weapons may get in the hands of people that America doesn't want to have happen at all. These are the risks we have to take in your view? We have to accept that that might happen if you do arm the rebels, right?

CANTOR: Well, I think there is no clear cut definitive outcome in any challenge that America takes abroad or policies frankly that we implement at home. I think we have to go and be calculated and understand that America is a force for freedom. I think the American people expect an America that leads. We know that the number of foreign fighters flowing into Syria now exceed the number that were in Iraq or Afghanistan.

And so we know also that the secretary of Homeland Security as well as the secretary and leaders in our intelligence communities have said this month that foreign fighters, the Jihadists who were there represent now a threat to us because they are armed with western passports.

So I think we have seen now and learned the lessons of history, America has to lead. You know, I would say that, you know, the president when he drew the red line and called for regime change, you know, I think Lyndon Johnson would said if are going to tell a man to go to hell, you better make sure you send them there. And that's been violated here.

BURNETT: Finally, obviously, the George Washington Bridge scandal has hurt Chris Christie dramatically in the polls. As you are well aware of this, an independents, that crucial middle slog of voters. His approval rating dropped from 59 percent to 39 percent. I mean, that's an incredible plunge. Do you think Chris Christie did anything wrong?

CANTOR: I know there is a lot of attention being given to that issue around the George Washington Bridge. I can tell you that Chris Christie has been a great leader for the state of New Jersey. And, you know, the things that went on there, I'm sure he is on top of.

Look, Erin, if the question is about 2016, we have an election in 2014 which we are in the House very focused on. I predict republicans in the House will pick up seats and possibly Republicans will take the Senate. Think about the working middle class right now traveling across that bridge or anywhere else are not focused on electoral politics right now.

They are focused on what Washington can do to help them get them back to work. To help them see a bigger pay check and have more opportunity.

BURNETT: All right, well, thank you very much. House Majority Leader, Eric Cantor, appreciate your time.

CANTOR: Erin, thank you.

BURNETT: OUTFRONT next, Pope Francis fingerprinted and photographed, the pontiff like you have never seen him before.

Plus another tragic end to a cruise, a freak accident at sea, we are going to tell you how this rogue situation happened.

And a controversial end to the murder trial of a white man accused of killing an unarmed black teen. Tonight outrage --

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BURNETT: Jorge Mario Bergoglio, you know him as the Pope. And just like every other world traveler, Pope Francis has a passport which, of course, expires. Unlike any other pope, though, Francis insisted on paying the roughly $55 fee himself to renew it. He was fingerprinted, photographed and cleared for travel. It is just one more example of the Pope being like any other person. And of course as we have reported that's made him a rock star.

And OUTFRONT tonight, Joe Concha, columnist from Mediaite.

Joe, you know, I was struck by the story when I first saw it today. I said, my God, here is the Pope getting a passport, pope's passport picture. I mean, it is something because it is so mundane that you don't usually associate with that pomp and circumstance. Frankly, you would be like does the guy need a passport.

JOE CONCHA, COLUMNIST, MEDIAITE: How would you like to be the TSA agent that pats him down? Now, that would be a difficult thing. He doesn't need a passport, all right. The Vatican already has issued him, though. So, this is the second one, right?

BURNETT: With an Argentinean one, right?

CONCHA: Exactly. So, Erin, I think of this is more of a PR move. It is about being PR savvy. This Pope was on the cover of "Time" magazine last year three times, all right. Pope Benedict before that. He wasn't getting three covers on front page.

BURNETT: Three in one year.

CONCHA: Three in one year. And the first time he was on it, they sold 70,000 copies, all right. And Edward Snowden was probably arguerably the most controversial guy of 2013. They put him on the cover, 45,000, 25,000 less copies sold. Why? Because there is 1.2 billion Catholics, I'm sorry, Christians in the world today. That is such a huge built in audience. So, he know that and he knows that he is going to make the church more popular, he has to go to the media to do it.

BURNETT: Yes. So the Vatican is willing to put the pictures out and in fact, tells the story that went with it, you know, that one of his counselors had come in and taken the picture and then went in and presented it at the Argentinean consulate. I mean, they went through the entire process. It is not as if it was, you know, snuck out by it. but I kind of like, by the way, that on the other side of this, the second kind of (INAUDIBLE) picture of two Pope Francis, two of them.

So it is good public relations. But what I find amazing is that he is saying all these things and he is indicating the church is open in a lot of ways and he is the rock star Pope, three covers. Rolling Stone, yet the doctrine of the church has not changed.

CONCHA: Well, that is going to take a long time, right, that change thousands of years of dogma basically. I mean, he has softens his tone on gay marriage. He has soften his tone on abortion. Has spoken out more than any of his predecessors as far as the catholic church has problem with the whole sex abuse of children scandal. So, he is at least talking about it. But it will take a long time until he can get the word out. It is interesting that he --

BURNETT: So, he can't just say I'm going to allow women priests and I'm going to allow gay marriage? It is not that simple, I imagine, to win people over.

CONCHA: Sure. It is like Congress and the Senate here. He has to go through a bunch of factions within the church. But he is getting the word out more and he is even using twitter for instance. I found this fascinating. I looked it up on the way here. He has 3.2 million twitter followers. That is 700,000 less than Piers Morgan, 46 million less than the anti-Christ. Some refer to him as the beaver, not Justin Bieber. So, I would have thought he had more. But he doesn't use it very often. He only follows eight people which is all him in different languages, so.

BURNETT: It is fascinating. Piers Morgan, I hope you are watching somewhere.

CONCHA: He actually wrote me and said make sure you use me in context with the Pope.

BURNETT: I'm more popular than pope, sorry.

CONCHA: Something like that.

BURNETT: Thank you very much.

CONCHA: God Bless you, Erin, for doing this.

BURNETT: And now to a very much more serious story but one that has been fascinating me all weekend. A freak accident at sea left an elderly man dead, his widow shaken but also angry because here is what happened. A massive wave slammed into a British cruise liner in the angle's channel on Friday hitting its broad side. It was a rogue wave is what they are calling it. It is water crashing through the window of a restaurant, broke the window, killing the man and injuring several others.

Our Tom Foreman is here to tell us more about how it happened.

And Tom, I know this particular cruise ship have been coming from Spain back up to the U.K. where it was heading back to dock. We hear about this rogue waves. I mean, first of all, how big are they and are they as rare as we think?

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, some of them are as big as like eight, nine story buildings. And the scary part is they are not as rare as people think. Gigantic rogue waves, well for many years, thought to be sort of like scissors. They were either nonexistent or rare or more likely the result of overexcited imagination from sailors who encountered very rough seas. Now we know the these monster waves are actually much more common than we thought. So, what do I mean when I say monster wave? By definition, we are talking about a wave that is two times bigger than the average big waves in the given area of sea. That sounds impossible. So some years back the Europeans set out to find out if it was really happening or if it was a myth. It was big project what they call max wave, the max wave project where they use satellites to study the oceans and they were shocked to find ten monster waves in just three weeks, each more than 80 feet high. Like this one reported off an oil platform in 1995. Ten of these in three weeks. And that forever laid to rest the idea that these were once in a lifetime events as seen previously throughout, Erin.

BURNETT: I mean, that is just pretty incredible. When you say eight to nine stories, and 80 feet tall, I think people don't really know that there are waves that big to begin with.

So Tom, here is the thing. Do they just happen? I mean, I'm trying to think about the bottom of the sea and the, you know, the photography down there? I mean, do they just -- you have to be in the middle of a storm or near a storm? Or could you just suddenly have out of the blue an 80-foot wave just come sweeping in?

FOREMAN: If you are near stormy conditions, obviously, you get bigger waves. But part of what some of these unusual is that they don't have to be in a storm to form. They can appear in relatively mild conditions.

Three factors can come into play. First of all, you can have something called a soliton (ph) rolling through. This is general broad permanent wave. It is more of a high swell in the water which can push all of the water up above it. What can make this happen? Well, if you have areas where currents are flowing together in different ways countermanding each other, if you have that happen, these sort of currents moving underneath here basically slamming into each other in some fashion, they can force water up.

Now, there is a second factor you can talk about here, too. For example, you could have high winds that are also playing a role. So, if you have water coming in and you have winds that are sweeping in and pushing against that water, that can also drive the water up further. If you put it all together you can wind up with a wave that winds much taller than anything about it. It can also hollow out a trough here and then any boat caught in it is really in for a tough time, bone breaking power crashing in on it -- Erin.

BURNETT: That's incredible. I have always been fascinated by that. Thank you for explaining it. Now, we know, we don't have to only worry about shark attacks. You have to worry about rogue wave.

Still to come, think this guy is the new king of late night? Think again. We are going to show you the real power player, Jimmy.

And was it an act of faith or foolishness?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I said I'd rather die knowing I was going mike in the heaven --.



BURNETT: Tonight, there is going to be a new king of late night. And now, we are not talking about Jimmy Fallon because, obviously, he spent take time to see how that works.

Talent search is gig as the host of NBC's "Tonight show." But is man behind the camera. The executive producer, Lorne Michaels who is the king. If that name sounds familiar it is because Lorne is also the brains and creative mind behind "Saturday Night Live," "Late night with Seth Myers," which will airs next week, and "30 rock" which just finished its seventh season and a whole lot of movies too, remember "Mean Girls?"

That brings me to tonight's number which $115,000. Supposedly, that is how much NBC paid Lorne Michaels for his first late night series, "SNL." Now, sure, that was back in 1975. So, the inflation adjustment, it is a lot more. But it is -- I mean, I don't think it is a drop in the bucket. It is a fraction of drop in the bucket of what he is worth which is now supposedly $350 million.

Jarett Wieselman senior editor for buzz feed and he is OUTFRONT.

I mean, these numbers are pretty stunning. Talk about, you know, self made through his talents. I mean, personally Michaels won 13 Emmy's, named one of "Time" magazine's most influential people in the world. What is it about him?

JARETT WEISELMAN, SENIOR EDITOR, BUZZFEED: Look. No one is more keenly aware of Lorne Michaels legacy than Lorne Michaels. Every decision he makes is designed to either enhance his legacy or cement his place in history. So, he does not feel any decision is too small from casting to costumes to the shows he chooses to put his alumni into, everything is brilliantly chosen and handcrafted to make sure that Lorne Michaels brand continues to be the number one brand in comedy.

BURNETT: Well, I mean, I got to say, he is the best argument I have heard from micromanagement. They usually tell you that it is bad, you should delegate. Why I think this guy shows the other way. Amy Poehler and Tina Fey, people he has found, right, but they have won best actress. He has had best actor in a comedy in the Brooklyn 99 with Andy Samburg. Best supporting actor in Nebraska. I mean, it is pretty incredible when you look at his resume. You can't say that all of that is luck by any stretch of the imagination. It has to be a pretty incredible talent.

WEISELMAN: Absolutely. You know, I think one of the brilliant things Lorne has done, is he has turned "the Saturday Night Live" writers' room into this incredible comedy workshop. You know, you come and you will be every "SNL" cast member gets to write, gets to pitch ideas and that really turns them into the people who will shape the future of comedy. You come in, you learn from the masters and then you will become the master who teaches the next generation.

BURNETT: All right, so here is the one question I had. He is going to be in charge of all of NBC's late night which is a really powerful place to be, right? So, is that the good thing or all the shows are going to feel the same? Because I don't care how talented you are, it is really, really difficult to run that much programming as one person and not have it all start to feel the same.

WEISELMAN: Absolutely. You know, the great thing about having Seth out front and Jimmy out front is they bring in incredible writing teams. You know, Lorne is going to be involve as an executive producer but he is not going to be writing the scripts for both shows and "Saturday Night Live" at the same time. So, I think you will have the Lorne stamp of approval, but you won't have every word sounding like it comes out of Lorne Michael's mouth.

BURNETT: All right. Well, thank you very much. Appreciate it. We will see how tonight goes.

WEISELMAN: Thank you.

Still to come, the white man who fired a gun into an SUV of black teens faces serious prison time. It is essentially going to be a life sentence. But so many people feel that he beat the system and that there was a great injustice done.

Plus, a divers tug of war with an octopus, all of it caught on camera.

And speaking of photos, Jeanne Moos shows us how not to take a selfie.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I do sometimes when I get into a bus and then I have taken picture and I'm like did I just take a picture of myself? God, that's look ugly.



BURNETT: And welcome back to the second half of OUTFRONT.

A rare sky jacking, a co-pilot in his 30s hijacking a plane today that was going to Rome. He flew it to Geneva in Switzerland instead. The man took control of the Ethiopian's flight with 202 people on board when the pilot went to the bathroom. He then locked the cockpit door behind him.

Now the plane landed in Geneva the co-pilot used a rope to exit the plane from the cockpit window. It was quite the spectacle. And the reason was the co-pilot wanted asylum from Ethiopia. He clearly didn't go about it the right way but when we were in Ethiopia a year and a half ago, we were startled by the repression.

This is video we took. Journalists are in jail, the government was so controlling and concerned about any unrest that the people there have to wait outside the airport to meet friends and family in the rain.

For my essay on the situation in Ethiopia and why it matters so much to America please visit

And a camera shy octopus. Two divers taking pictures 80 feet below sea level near Carmel, California, met a giant Pacific octopus. The octopus, though, well, it was a very curious octopus obviously. After a few flashes the sea creature wrapped its eight incredibly long suckers around the camera and then finally let it go and swam away. I'm not sure what it was thinking. Maybe it decided it didn't taste so good after all but an octopus can resist the pull of 100 times its body weight and have been known to eat sharks.

So if it wanted to meet the camera or the photographer it certainly could have.

Well, a controversial verdict in a trial many are comparing to the Trayvon Martin case. Michael Dunn who was white was convicted on three counts of attempted murder. But a jury failed to find him guilty of murdering Jordan Davis, an unarmed black teenager.

Both sides are outraged over the outcome and today dozens of Davis' supporters gathered in Jacksonville to protest.

We begin our coverage tonight with Martin Savidge OUTFRONT.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We the jury find the defendant guilty of attempted second-degree murder.

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's the conviction that has few people satisfied. Protesters gathered at the gas station where the shooting occurred. Upset the jury was unable to convict Michael Dunn on the most serious charge of murder.

For a second time in six months they have seen admitted killer not convicted for a black teen's death. First Trayvon Martin, now Jordan Davis.

L'EUNA SHABAN, PROTESTER: I brought my grandson because this little man here I love with all my life. And I don't want him or no other black child to have to continue to go through this. It has to end and it has to be now. It has to come to an end now.

SAVIDGE: Not far away Diallo Sekou parked his SUV, windows down, hip- hop blaring just as Davis was doing when he was confronted by Dunn.

Loud music has become a symbol of protest. Like many in Jacksonville he thinks prosecutor Angela Corey failed the black community just as she did he says in the trial of George Zimmerman.

(On camera): You think she should resign?


SAVIDGE: Without a doubt?

SEKOU: Yes. Yesterday.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): The night of the verdict protesters marched on the state attorney's office demanding Angela Corey's resignation. They are not the only ones unhappy with the outcome. Today Rebecca Dunn, daughter of Michael Dunn, told ABC's "Good Morning America" she hadn't stopped crying since her father was found guilty on three counts of attempted murder.

REBECCA DUNN, MICHAEL DUNN'S DAUGHTER: I love him so much. He is my best friend. I can't imagine living life without him.

SAVIDGE: Dunn says she has no doubt her father killed 17-year-old Jordan Davis in self-defense.

DUNN: He is going to protect himself. If he sees no other way then -- you know, just bring out his guns, that's what he's going to do.

SAVIDGE: Corey says that she will retry Dunn for murder. But some feared that is just talk.

Dunn could spend the rest of his life in prison but in Jacksonville not everyone sees it as justice.


SAVIDGE: As for what comes next for Michael Dunn the judge in the case has said that sentencing should come around the end of March. Meanwhile the defense attorney has talked about the possibility of an appeal. And then there is the prosecutor who says she intends to retry Michael Dunn for the murder of Jordan Davis. That could be relatively soon. The defense says if it happens they'll ask for a change of venue -- Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much.

I want to bring in our legal analysts Mark O'Mara and Natalie Jackson, a defense attorney, of course. Mark and Natalie were on opposite sides of the George Zimmerman trial with Mark, of course, leading the Zimmerman defense.

Natalie, let me start with you, though. Dunn shot 10 times, three of them as the teen's SUV was driving away. Three shots into Jordan Davis alone. Were you surprised that Dunn was not convicted of first- degree murder?


BURNETT: And you sound very -- I got to say, to be honest, Natalie, you're usually -- you usually have more to say. You sound pretty muted.

JACKSON: Well, I was surprised just like everyone else because this verdict really hurt. We know that the kids did not have a gun. We know that there was no reason for him to shoot at all. And we know that he was not feeling threatened because there was no gun. So it was an imaginary threat.

How do we protect our children if we have to protect them from imaginary threats all the time? And for --

BURNETT: Mark --

JACKSON: From people running to them. This was a mind your business. He went to these kids and told them to turn off their -- to turn down their radio.

BURNETT: Mark, what is your take on this? Do you agree with her in this case or no?

MARK O'MARA, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I think that this was sort of a frustration for black Americans because I think they looked at the Dunn case as being an opportunity to sort of get an indictment on the American justice system because of the way it has been treating young black males and they missed an opportunity with the Dunn case. And I can understand their frustration.

I think it was also sort of presented the same way by Angela Corey with the charges to George Zimmerman. I think it was less of a reason for that. I think it was much more of a bad fit. But in this case I can understand the frustration. I think the jury really thought the case through. I think the three second-degree -- attempted second- murder charges were appropriate because at the very least the last three shots that Dunn fired were never justified under almost any set of circumstances.

But I do disagree with Natalie a little bit in that the faster this case at least from what the state presented did not show a clear cut case of Dunn having no reasonable fear whatsoever. I think it is a little bit more questionable than that. And I think the jury did look at that. I think they were very concerned about whether or not there was this reasonable belief of fear that Dunn may have had.

BURNETT: So now let me ask you this because when we look at this, this first-degree murder charge specifically that Dunn was facing regarding Jordan Davis, I want to note of course for everyone, you know, who hasn't been following this intimately, you know, Dunn is going to spend the rest of his life in prison, when you look at the other convictions.

Seventy-five years is what he is facing, right, for the charges he was convicted of with the other three teenagers in the car.

So my question to you is, does the state need to go back and try him for first-degree murder or should they do a lower charge? Is the charge itself what matters so much to the black community for justice?

JACKSON: Well, I think the state should charge him for whichever charge they feel they can prove. And I think they felt they could prove first-degree murder. You have a man --

BURNETT: Do you think they have overreach or do you agree? JACKSON: No. You have a man who testified that he reached into his glove compartment, he unholstered his gun, he racked the bullet into the gun, he aimed the gun, he shot, he got out of his car, he repositioned and shot again. That's premeditated murder.

BURNETT: So you think that they made the case --


BURNETT: Mark, no?

O'MARA: No, they just did not make -- this was never a first-degree murder case, Natalie. And I think if we took away the racial component from it which we should, if we're just thinking out the elements of the crime itself, this is the case where two strangers came up to each other. There was a --

JACKSON: No, this is a case where Michael Dunn came up to --

O'MARA: Ma'am? Ma'am?

JACKSON: To Jordan and he asked him to turn down the music.

O'MARA: Ma'am, let me -- let me finish and I will.

JACKSON: Just as -- just as Jordan walked off --


BURNETT: Go ahead, Mark.

O'MARA: And we know that in circumstances where the parties don't know each other it is very difficult to get to the point in any physical confrontation or verbal confrontation regardless of who started it until you get to the level of premeditation necessary under the law in any state for premeditated first-degree murder.

This was no more than second-degree murder because if in fact Dunn did not act properly then that depraved mind regards of human life is second-degree. If in fact he acted in imperfect self-defense under all law, and Natalie, you know this, under our law, imperfect self- defense is manslaughter.


BURNETT: But, Mark --

JACKSON: We heard testimonies --

O'MARA: And the reason why he shouldn't be retried -- the reason why he should not be retried for first-degree --


O'MARA: -- is because he -- the state will yet again do something that they can't present to literally the community who they should be looking at which is the black community to say we will charge you with what he should be charged with --

JACKSON: Mark, this is not an issue with just the black community.

BURNETT: Natalie, go ahead.

JACKSON: This is an issue that is important to every community. We heard testimonies from a witness that said that Michael Dunn said, I am going to -- I am tired -- something to the fact that I'm going to shut you up. He reached into his glove compartment, he made a conscious decision to get his gun out of his glove compartment, he lied on the stand by saying that he told his girlfriend he -- that he saw a gun. His girlfriend said he never said that to her.

BURNETT: All right.

JACKSON: So I think that there is a case for first-degree murder.

O'MARA: And that's second-degree murder.

JACKSON: There's a case for first-degree murder.

BURNETT: All right.

JACKSON: And you and I will just disagree, Mark. We will.

BURNETT: I'm going to hit pause --

O'MARA: Absolutely.

BURNETT: I hope you both will come back because I know obviously this decision is made, there are a lot of questions.

And we invite your feedback on this case. And what you think of that issue, if a man reaches into his glove compartment and shoots the teenager multiple times as happened in this case, is that first-degree murder or not?

Still to come, the author of "Harry Potter" makes an announcement about her next book and we think it's just plain ridiculous.

And a reality show pastor's final act of faith. Did he really have to die?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When I went over and I kissed him on his forehead, the Lord spoke to me and said, he's going.



BURNETT: And now let's check in with John Berman, he's in for Anderson tonight with a look on what's up on "AC 360."

Hey, John. JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hey, thanks, Erin.

You know, tonight we're going to take in depth look in the verdict in the mistrial in the killing of Jordan Davis and what it means for race and justice in America.

Also, the damning report from the United Nations accusing North Korea of atrocities, torture, starvation, killings comparable to the Nazi era. We'll have a live report from Seoul in South Korea.

And then there's this. A Kentucky pastor who took the snake-bite handling style of preaching all the way to a reality TV show, he is dead tonight of a snake bite after refusing medical treatment.

It's all at the top of the hour -- Erin.

BURNETT: All right, John, we're looking forward to that.

And John mentioned that snake story. It is incredibly compelling to imagine how it happened. The snake handling pastor who appeared on the National Geographic reality show "Snake Salvation" has died from a fatal snake bite.

Jamie Coots was bitten by a rattle snake on Saturday during a service at his church in Kentucky. For Coots, snake handling was not something funny, not something he handed up for the cameras for. It was a key part of his faith.


JAMIE COOTS, SNAKE-HANDLING PASTOR: To me it is as much a commandment from God when he said thou shall think of serpents as it was to think a man when he said thou shall not commit adultery. When I first started in church, I said if I ever went to a hospital or a doctor of a snake bite I would quit church.


BURNETT: Despite the practice being illegal in every state except for West Virginia there are more than 120 snake-handling churches throughout the southeastern United States.

OUTFRONT tonight Ralph Hood, he's a longtime friend of Pastor Coots and he joins me now.

And thanks so much for taking the time, Ralph, and I'm sorry for your loss. I know you have been friends with the pastor for a long time. I mean, how passionate was Pastor Coots about the snake-handling?

RALPH HOOD, FRIEND OF PASTOR JAMIE COOTS: He was very passionate. I wouldn't say the phrase snake-handling. He was a firm believer in this tradition that believes in the Gospel of Mark that they shall take up serpents. And so he was always concerned to be obedient to what he understood to be the imparities of God and so serpent handling was one of those things he did primarily he would like to be identified as a Christian and someone who believes in the (INAUDIBLE) of the gospel.

BURNETT: When you talk about how important this is for Pastor Coots and for others, how central is serpent handling to the religious experience that they had?

HOOD: It's central largely because the larger culture has stood in such strong opposition to it, and so in the Gospel of Mark where it says they shall take up serpents, the other churches gradually abandoned the practice as people began to get bit and maimed. And the renegade churches in the Appalachian Mountain regions insisted on continuing the practice, and coming to terms with a religious ritual. That can under certain conditions maim and kill.

BURNETT: So now that Pastor Coots has died of a snake bite, what happens in his church? I mean, is this something -- is this something where people will say, you know what, we don't want to do this anymore? Or does it actually have the opposite effect where they will embrace it even more?

I mean, what do we believe has just happened to him?

HOOD: They believe that -- I believe that the pastor will accept the fact that he died being obedient to God. And what the tradition says is nobody gets out of this life alive. So it's not a question of whether or not you're going to die. It's a question of how you're going to die. And the tradition believes that there's no greater way to die than being obedient to God.

And if you died being obedient to God, then your salvation is assured, so Pastor Coots is the exemplar of tradition who accepted the fact that he was bit, did not seek medical attention, and is now armed to be with his make. And the church will continue the practice, I'm certain, and they will believe that one day they, too, will be united with Pastor Coots in eternity.

BURNETT: And when you referenced the bible, it was Mark, right, when you talk about they shall take up serpents? I mean, so -- can you just explain to me and for others who may not understand how the -- literal interpretation of that becomes pick them up inside the church?

HOOD: Sure, because the Mark 16:17, 18 are the really foundational text for this tradition. And it says these signs shall follow them that believe. So these people like to be identified, a sign following believers. And then it goes on to give the signs, and it says, in my name they shall cast out the devils, they shall speak in new tongues, they shall take up serpents. If they drink this deadly things, it shall not harm them. They shall lay hands upon the sick and they shall recover.

So these churches practice all of those signs because they believe. And if you went to one of these churches, the thing they would argue is first, you must believe. And if you believe, then the signs will follow. You will cast out demons. You will lay hands upon the sick, and you will take up serpents.

BURNETT: All right. Well, thank you very much, Ralph. We appreciate you taking the time tonight.

HOOD: OK. I appreciate talking to you.

BURNETT: And now it's time for the OUTFRONT outtake.

"Harry Potter" author J.K. Rowling is ready to release a new book. It's called "The Silk Worm" and it's the author's second crime thriller. It's going to hit the shelves this summer.

Of course if you want to buy it, make sure you look for the title and not J.K. Rowling's name because you won't find it. Once again, Rowling is publishing under the name you see there. Richard Galbraith. And while some are excited by the prospect of another Galbraith thriller, we think it's ridiculous because unlike the last time Rowling used the name for the thriller "The Cuckoo's Calling" that you just saw, this time we know it's her.

Look, we know she's not the only author to use a pseudonym. Sometimes famous authors liked to use fake names to try new thing. Back in the day, women had to write under a man's name to even sell a single copy, you know, George Eliot, AKA, Mary Anne Evans, who wrote "Middlemarch" and "Silas Marner."

But once the cat is out of the bag, people know your fake name that experiment is over, which is why Rowling's decision is so perplexing. We know it's her, right? So is -- why isn't she publishing the book under her own name, instead of announcing the title and pseudonym in a press release?

Rowling is even going to make a rare public appearance to promote the book in July.

Look, she's made so many characters so creatively. At least she could have thought of a new name for herself.

Still to come, Jeanne Moos on the selfie.


BURNETT: So all eyes are on the Winter Olympic Games this week, but one eye in particular is stealing the show.

Jeanne Moos has more.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): What's wrong with this picture? It could happen to any of us.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My mom, my grandmother, my aunt would all pull something like that.

MOOS: She thought her point and click camera was pointed at the Olympic hockey rink where Slovenia and Russia were battling it out. And talk about an eye for photography. Instead of shooting hockey, she's looking into the lens and shooting her own eyeball. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That is sad. Not my generation.

MOOS: The eyeball has now become the second most famous eye at the Sochi Olympics. Second only to Olympic host Bob Costas' pinkeye. He's now back at work, but he had to endure pirate jokes and comparisons to the terminator. His eye infection even inspired a flip book. "I candy he ate.

(On camera): Since it started out in his left eye, of course, that eye had to have its own Twitter account.

(Voice-over): Naturally with a Twitter handle @costaslefteye.

(On camera): And since it spread to both eyes, both eyes had to tweet.

(Voice-over): Tweets like, "These Bob Costas jokes are getting cornea and cornea."

Well, now the same goes for the eyeball shot captured by Russian TV at the hockey game. Who hasn't taken an accidental selfie?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I tried to take a video of my sister and it ended up being one of me.

MOOS (on camera): How did you look?


MOOS (voice-over): Not always the case says this Russian woman.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I do it sometimes when I get on the bus and I'm taking pictures and I'm like, did I just take a picture of myself? God, that looks ugly.

MOOS: But hey, you don't always end up at the right end. And it's easy to miss the moment. This purports to be a photo of a dad attempting to capture his daughter being proposed to. Only to come face-to-fact with his own face.

In the age of the selfie it's all about me, me, me, or in the case of the accidental selfie, it's eye, eye, eye.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, he's going to have the reverse. His name is on the --

MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN --

(On camera): Sochi. That's like Sochi with cheese.

MOOS (voice-over): New York.


BURNETT: Selfie, it's just not a good thing. "AC 360" starts right now. END