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George Zimmerman Speaks To NEW DAY; Prosecutors Seek "Loud Music" Trial; Teen Says She's a Serial Killer; Syria's "ISIS" Reign of Terror

Aired February 17, 2014 - 08:00   ET


MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: A woman admits to killing a man who she met on Craigslist with her husband. Now, she says she's murdered 22 other people. Is she a serial killer?

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Your NEW DAY continues right now.

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

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: God morning and welcome back to NEW DAY. It's Monday, February 17th, 8:00 in the East.

Up first, a partial victory in the loud music trial. This morning, prosecutors are promising to retry defendant Michael Dunn after the jury failed to reach a verdict on the first degree murder charge. Dunn was found guilty of second-degree attempted murder in a shooting that left teenager Jordan Davis dead. Let's bring in Alina Machado, live from Jacksonville, Florida, this morning for us.

What's the reaction there, Alina?

ALINA MACHADO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: OK. Things remain calm here in Jacksonville. This jury deliberated for 30 hours and came back with a partial verdict. Now both sides are planning their next move.


JUDGE RUSSELL HEALEY, DUVAL COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT: Mr. Dunn, your having been convicted of counts two, three and four by a jury.

MACHADO (voice-over): Michael Dunn of three counts much second-degree attempted murder in the 2012 shooting that killed Jordan Davis -- a guilty verdict for each of Davis' friends who were with him that night. But on the charge related to the 17-year-old's death the jury could not agree.

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

MACHADO: Following the verdict, outrage and disappointment outside of the courthouse. Legal experts say the jury's initial request during deliberations to see the surveillance video where you could hear the gunfire the night of the shooting may provide insight into how jurors were struggling over the murder charge.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The logic may be that they thought he did shoot potentially in self-defense and that there was a gap when he could have left the scene and then he shot den as the truck was getting away. Maybe they thought that was the attempted on the other occupants of the vehicle.

MACHADO: Another possibility the jury may have disagreed on whether Dunn was guilty of first degree murder.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In remember in closing, John Guy said, we don't want a lesser offenses.

JOHN GUY, PROSECUTOR: We don't want a lesser offense, we're not asking for that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's all or nothing. That's what he said. He kind of three down gauntlet.

MACHADO: The conviction on the other counts means the 47-year-old will spend the rest of his life in prison.

RON DAVIS, JORDAN DAVIS' FATHER: He will learn he must be remorseful for the killing of my son.

MACHADO: Dunn could face another trial on the murder charge. Davis' mother says their fight is not over.

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


MACHADO: Angela Cory says she intends to retry Dunn on that first degree murder charge. Dunn's attorney says they intend to file an appeal -- Chris.

CUOMO: All right. Alina, thanks.

Shocking claims from a Pennsylvania woman charged with killing a man she met on Craigslist. Nineteen-year-old Miranda Barbour admitted she and her husband murdered the man. But now, in a chilling jailhouse interview, Barbour says she's killed before.

CNN's Susan Candiotti joins us with the latest.

SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Chris, female serial killers are rare. What about this teenager's claims?

Based on what police know so far a law enforcement source tells CNN consider could be the real deal.


CANDIOTTI: A stunning new development in the case of accused killer Miranda Barbour. Barbour and her newlywed husband are currently charged with luring a man to a meeting using Craigslist, then stabbing and strangling him just for the thrill of it in Sunbury, Pennsylvania. She now claims to be a serial killer, with so many victims she can't remember them all.

"When I hit 22, I stopped counting", she told "The Daily Items" newspaper in Pennsylvania. She said she went on her alleged killing spree in Alaska, Texas, California, and North Carolina.

But do police believe her?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't want to discount her credibility at this point. We're taking her claims seriously. And we are liaisoning with different state and federal authorities determine whether or not there is validity to her statements.

CANDIOTTI: The newspaper quotes Barbour admitting to the Craigslist murder and 22 plus others. "I feel it is time to get all of this out. I don't care if people believe me, I just want to get it out," she told the newspaper.

Sunbury police told CNN their investigation is ongoing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have exhausted every avenue, every lead. We have devoted thousands of man hours to this and we'll continue to do so until they're successfully resolved in court.

CANDIOTTI: According to the paper Barbour says she was 13 when a satanic cult leader forced her to help shoot a man who owed him money opinion she went on killing.

Barbour's lawyer tells CNN he had no advance warning about the jailhouse interview and would not have okayed it. Whether he'll allow investigators to get more details from Barbour with her currents murder trial pending is up in the air -- Kate.

BOLDUA: Susan, thanks very much for that.

Also this morning, Secretary of State John Kerry is calling out the Syrian government blaming it for the deadlock in a second round of peace talks. This as Senator John McCain lashes out at the White House calling U.S. policy there disgraceful.

Now, CNN has an exclusive firsthand look at a group of radicals even al Qaeda has rejected for their brutal killings in Syria. The faction known was ISIS has been in control of hotly contested parts of the country.

CNN's Arwa Damon, her producer Raja Rajik (ph), and their camera man, We should warn you many of these images you'll see in this report they are very disturbing. Here's our report.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This grave has been dug up before. The bodies are unidentified, reburied in the same spot.

In video filmed at the time, gruesome images of the corpses of four men. It's 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 (INAUDIBLE) says.

She's with her neighbor, Mohamed Ismael (ph). 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 business believing. 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 ISIS, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. Its wall lined with bullet holes, some from clashes, others we are told from execution.

Mass 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 is checkpoint leading into Adana and as part of their terror tactics, eyewitnesses told us they would leave some of the bodies they executed lining the checkpoints so that every single car coming through would be forced to slow down and could not ignore that brutal message. ISIS group so merciless that even al Qaeda has distanced itself from it.

Abu Jamad (ph) is telling us that ISIS' head beheaded. One of the main key rebel commanders here and 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 and 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 intolerable rule cause other Islamist and moderate rebel groups to launch an offensive against them earlier this year.

"So, we had to leave the fronts with the regime," Abu Jamad says, "and fall back to fight ISIS, to liberate the already liberated areas another time."

But ISIS still tools large in Syria, consolidating its forces, imposing its rein of terror. In this video filmed the day after we met Mohamed he realizes it's not two but three of his brothers that were murdered by ISIS. He thought one of them was in jail.


BOLDUAN: So difficult to watch. Arwa Damon is joining us now from Beirut, with more, of course.

Arwa, difficult to watch but it is so important to have these stories told as you always do with your amazing reporting. From the atrocities that you saw while you were there do you get a sense of how big of a presence ISIS in the country?

DAMON: Well, the estimates do vary but they range from around 7,000 to 11,000. They are not the largest group but certainly the most terrifying. They will stop at nothing to accomplish their end goal and that's the creation of an Islamic state and Syria has become quite the magnet for these jihadi fighters, a lot of them are non-Syrian from the Middle East, other Arab nations.

But there's also a good portion of them that are from countries in Europe and that is a great concern to western intelligence these jihadi fighters, a lot of them are non-Syrian from the Middle East, other Arab nations. But there's also a good portion of them that are from countries in Europe and that is a great concern to western intelligence agencies because should these battle hardened extreme ideologues we could see attacks take place in Europe and even into the United States -- Kate.

BOLDUAN: And your story just continues to show how difficult the solution or a resolution in that country really is but it also crystallizes the point how important it is to figure it out and get it right.

Arwa, it's grate to see you. Thank you so much.


CUOMO: And a reminder the conflict isn't just about then who may be fighting against each other but the families that are caught in the crossfire, often children. Take a look at this heartbreaking image. It's a 4-year-old boy trying to escape from the Syrian conflict.

This is from the United Nations refugee agency, the story with the boy is that apparently he ran off into the Jordanian desert when we encountered U.N. personnel. There are reports he's since been reunited with his family.

But so many stories like this coming out of that conflict. One of the reasons it matters so much -- Michaela.

PEREIRA: Eleven minutes after the hour. Let's take a look at your other top stories. We've been following breaking news this morning.

The co-pilot of an Ethiopian jet is under arrest after authorities say he commandeered the jet mid-flight, in a bid to asylum. That flight was headed to Rome when the co-pilot took the controls and headed instead for Switzerland. He landed safely in Geneva and tried to bolt by using a rope to get out of the cockpit. He was arrested a short time later. Thankfully none of the 210 passengers on board were injured.

Three diplomatic officials from the United States kicked out of Venezuela. President Nicolas Maduro accusing them of conspiring against his government. These expulsions after the state department questioned Venezuela's crack down on anti-government protesters last week and its decision to issue an arrest warrant for a topic opposition leader.

The bodies of two skiers were found after a weekend avalanche in Colorado. A search-and-rescue team braved steep terrain and risked another snow slide, while they were following the signals from the emergency beacon the skiers were wearing. The two have not been identified but were part of a group of seven who were caught in the rugged back country east of Aspen on Saturday.

This morning, the National Geographic Channel is offering condolences to the snake salvation star Jamie Coots. He was the serpent handling pastor who died from a poisonous snake bite. Authorities in Middlesboro, Kentucky, say Coots was bitten during a service that he refused medical treatment and died later that night at his home.

All right. Spoiler alert time to give the latest from the winter games. Heavy fog has forced cancellation of two out door medal events this morning in Sochi. Men's biathlon and snowboarding will have to be made up another day. You can see the conditions there.

They are actually threatening other events including freestyle skiing and ski jumping. Don't want to do that in the fog. Highly- anticipated ice dancing finale thankfully indoors, unaffected with Americans Meryl Davis and Charlie White looking to hold on for gold.

And with no new medals awarded this morning, here's a look at your medal count. As it stands now, the Netherlands dominating with 17 overall. Russia, the U.S., Norway and Canada all post behind.

OK, you can almost --


CUOMO: All right. Coming up on NEW DAY, the Michael Dunn loud murder trial has really fueled this debate about self-defense, put it back in the headline, certainly more than just facts of that case.

We spoke with the man who is the face of the issue, George Zimmerman. Can he answer the big questions that remained about his own case? Is he really a calculated zealot so many people believe him to be, or is he something much less? You decide.


CUOMO: Welcome back.

The Michael Dunn verdict has brought issues of self-defense and stand- your-ground into sharp focus. Now, the man who has between face of this issue is George Zimmerman. So many questions about his motivations and the implications of his case and the actions since it remain. We asked him about all of it especially the night he killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin and the self-defense laws he has seen as a champion of. Does he take responsibility for what he did that night? Judge for yourself.


CUOMO: Do you regret that you killed Trayvon Martin?

(voice-over) It's a simple question, but one George Zimmerman can't seem to answer.

GEORGE ZIMMERMAN, ACQUITTED FROM MURDER: Unfortunately, the Department of Justice is conducting a civil rights investigation. So, those are the types of questions because of the investigation I have to tread lightly on and I can't answer them.

CUOMO: We checked, and the Department of Justice isn't investigating any civil rights violations but says charges aren't expected. Still, Zimmerman's reluctance seems to be about more than legalities.

(on-camera) Do you regret that night? Do you have regrets about it?

ZIMMERMAN: Certainly, I think about that night. I think -- my life would be tremendously easier if I had stayed home.

CUOMO: If you could go back, you would stay home that night?

ZIMMERMAN: Certainly. Yes. In hindsight, absolutely.

CUOMO: And now, as a point of clarification, you said "my life would be so much easier." When you say "I wish said home that night," are you thinking about you and also Trayvon Martin?

ZIMMERMAN: Certainly, I think about him. I think about my family. All the families that have been put in any type of dangerous situation. So, yes, I think about everybody involved.

CUOMO: But safe to say, if you can change how that night came out, you would both be alive today?

ZIMMERMAN: I think that's just a different way of rephrasing it.

CUOMO: If you could go back and do it again, you said you would have stayed home that night?

ZIMMERMAN: I would have stayed home.

CUOMO: So, that both of you would still be alive today?

ZIMMERMAN: That's a presumption I can't make. I don't know what would have happened -- I could have gotten in a car accident when I left, you know --

CUOMO: And you wouldn't have wound up killing Trayvon Martin if you had your way?

ZIMMERMAN: He wouldn't probably have ended up attacking me either if I would have stayed home.

CUOMO: His family, do you think about his family, is that true?

ZIMMERMAN: Certainly. Yes.

CUOMO: Because people want to know that, right? Coming out of this situation, they haven't heard you say I feel for his family.

ZIMMERMAN: I appreciate the opportunity. I would hope that they have seen that at the bond hearing I did address that.

CUOMO: It's different in court.

ZIMMERMAN: Sure, but I just was simply saying that I did address it because another misconception is that I've never apologized, I never reached out to the family. Would I like to? Certainly.

CUOMO: What would you say?

ZIMMERMAN: You know -- I would say exactly what I said on the stand, that I'm sorry for their loss and I -- just exactly what I said on the stand, most likely.

CUOMO: Thoughts about the victim, Trayvon Martin. The victim was Trayvon Martin, you know that.

ZIMMERMAN: No, I certainly was a victim when I was having my head bashed into the concrete and my nose broken and beaten. So, I wouldn't say I was not a victim.

CUOMO (voice-over): Of this, Zimmerman is sure despite the public outrage painting him as a racist, and a strong case by a prosecution calling him a murderer.

(on-camera) What do you want to say to people who believe that you went out that night as a vigilante looking for trouble and found it and bailed yourself out?

ZIMMERMAN: I don't focus on them. Ideal with their hatred by loving my supporters more.

CUOMO: When people would reach out to you for the wrong reasons, who are supportive of you for the wrong reasons because they like that a young Black man had been killed, how did that make you feel that they saw you as somehow symbolically as representing them?

ZIMMERMAN: Equally as disgusted with them as I was with people that were threatening my family and saying negative things about me.

CUOMO: Sitting through all of it, listening to the evidence and everybody's different take on you and your actions and your reactions and why, did it make you doubt yourself?


CUOMO: Why not? ZIMMERMAN: Faith.

CUOMO: In yourself or in God?

ZIMMERMAN: No. God, I know that, ultimately, he's the only judge that I have to answer to. He knows what happened. I know what happened. So, I leave it up to him.

CUOMO (voice-over): A faith that keeps him in Florida despite a number of threats on his life.

(on-camera) Did people around you say George you got to go?

ZIMMERMAN: I'll never leave this country and I'll leave my home when I want to leave my home. I know it sounds stubborn and maybe ideological, but I'll move when I want to.

CUOMO: The word "haunted" often comes up in these situations. Do you find yourself haunted by memories of that night?


CUOMO: Because?

ZIMMERMAN: I don't know.

CUOMO (voice-over): George Zimmerman is not haunted by taking a man's life. Perhaps, more surprising, Zimmerman thought his life would stay the same.

(on-camera) The feeling was that people would accept this, you know, I'm going to go through the trial. It is what is it. The outcome will be accepted and then I move on. That's what you thought what happened.

ZIMMERMAN: I was hoping for that, yes.

CUOMO: And when did you realize you weren't going to get what you hoped for?

ZIMMERMAN: I think it was the first speeding ticket when I made international news. It was shocking to me.


CUOMO: And of course, speeding tickets would be the least of it, right? I mean, You have domestic disputes, allegations of threats with weapons, and then the man who couldn't hold off a teenager becomes a prize fighter, telling the world he takes on all comers. That's coming up right after the break.


PEREIRA: Welcome back to the NEW DAY. Here are five things you need know for your NEW DAY.


PEREIRA (voice-over): Prosecutors are vowing to retry Michael Dunn for first degree murder. The jury in his loud music murder trial only convicted him of attempted second-degree murder.

George Zimmerman speaking to NEW DAY about the night he killed 17- year-old Trayvon Martin. He says he wishes he had stayed home that night, but that he believes he was also a victim because Martin attacked him.

An Ethiopian Airlines flight landed safely in Switzerland after being hijacked by the plane's co-pilot. Authorities say the co-pilot is now in custody and was seeking asylum when he seized the plane. No one was injured.

President of Venezuela vowing to expel three U.S. officials accusing them of conspiracy to overthrow his government. This follows violent clashes in Caracas that have left three protesters dead.

We are about 90 minutes away from the big ice dancing finale in Sochi. Americans, Meryl Davis and Charlie White, are favorites chasing the gold. It's one of five medal events still on the schedule. Two were called off because of heavy fog in Sochi.


PEREIRA (on-camera): We always update those five things to know, so be sure to go to for the very latest. Chris, over to you.

CUOMO: All right. Thanks, Mich.

He has been described as the Loch Ness Monster, someone who makes waves whenever he pops up. The man is George Zimmerman. He says he's not is going away. The question is why?


CUOMO (voice-over): It was a simple speeding ticket, but nothing is simple when George Zimmerman is involved. It would be the first in a string of run-ins with police that some saw coming.

(on-camera) That expectation it's just a matter of time, he'll do it again. He'll do it again. This is what he's about. What do you make of that kind of --

ZIMMERMAN: Don't pay it any mind. Don't pay any attention at all.

CUOMO (voice-over): Next, Zimmerman's wife called 911 claiming he was threatening her and her father with a gun. There were no charges. Their divorce is pending. Then, Zimmerman's girlfriend accusing him of threatening her with a shotgun. This time, Zimmerman would call 911 to get his side of the story out.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So, why are you calling? What happened?

ZIMMERMAN: I just want everyone to know the truth.

CUOMO: His girlfriend would later drop the charges and lift a restraining order against him. During our interview, she and her young daughter wouldn't leave his side and neither will controversy. Thanks in part to his new hobby.

(on-camera) I've read what you put out there about the paintings as therapy, is helping me, but you had to know they were going to cause attention when you put them out there, right?

ZIMMERMAN: Absolutely.

CUOMO: What did you want that attention to be about? Why are you putting your paintings out?

ZIMMERMAN: To be honest, I was hoping to be able to provide a decent lifestyle for my family.

CUOMO (voice-over): Decent, indeed. Zimmerman's first painting sold for more than $100,000. But the next painting was priceless for a different reason.

(on-camera) Angela Corey painting, provocative. I have this much belief in the justice system. You knew that was going to be provocative.


CUOMO: Why do it?

ZIMMERMAN: It was a creative, tangible form to show my inner thoughts, my inner feelings.

CUOMO: Negative towards Angela Corey.

ZIMMERMAN: Of course. I mean, it provided tremendous release for me. So, yes, it was worth it.

CUOMO (voice-over): And then, there was the fight, a move as confusing as it was disturbing, the man whose defense at trial was an inability to hold off a teenager was now a prize fighter, willing to take on all comers for charity.

(on-camera) The idea of you fighting, you know, is just -- the image is bad and let lone that, you know, it might be like a black rapper, like DMX or something, I mean, just the racial overtones of it, you know, were so horrible. What were you thinking there?

ZIMMERMAN: When I signed on, it was never going to be a Black rapper or White rapper, Asian, Hispanic rapper, anything like that. It was going to be an unknown person. It was going to be a smaller event.

CUOMO: The whole theory of this case is that Trayvon wound up beating this guy down, you know, and this was bad. He had the marks on the back of his head, but now, he wants to fight, he's a fighter? Do you understand how that was -- there was contradiction there for people?