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Severe Turbulence Strikes United Flight; More Wicked Winter Weather; Snow, Ice Falling Again In D.C.; Dunn Says He's The Victim In Phone Calls; Syria: Are There Any Options Left?; Russian Band Members Arrested In Sochi; Seven Medal Events Today In Sochi; Teenager Claims She Killed 22 People

Aired February 18, 2014 - 06:00   ET



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There was a lot of screaming and a lot of hollering and things like that going on.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Plane panic. Extreme turbulence throws passengers out of their seats, even slamming them into the ceiling. We have the latest on the terrifying moments.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Wicked weather. Another winter storm is hitting the northeast today expected to make a mess of the morning's commute and beyond. Several inches of snow in what's already been one of the snowiest winters on record. We have the latest.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: A new era. Late night TV, Jimmy Fallon takes over the tonight show with a star-studded debut and an unforgettable dance routine. Did he win over fans?

CUOMO: Your NEW DAY starts right now.

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


CUOMO: Get in here. Good morning. Welcome to NEW DAY. It's Tuesday, February 18th, six o'clock in the east. And we begin with a near disaster in the skies over Montana. Witnesses say it came out of nowhere. The plane shaking uncontrollably, dropping without warning, tossing around 114 passengers and crew members like toys. By the time the United Airlines flight touched down in Billings, Montana, the pilot had already declared a medical emergency.

Aviation correspondent, Rene Marsh, is tracking the latest developments from Washington -- Rene.

RENE MARSH, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: Well, Chris, you know, one person this morning remains in the hospital because of that severe turbulence as this plane came in for a landing. Three flight attendants and two passengers were injured, and everyone else on board got the scare of their life. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MARSH (voice-over): In a split second, without warning, United Airlines Flight 1676 with more than 100 people on board was violently tossed in mid-air.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There was a lot of screaming and a lot of -- lot of hollering and things like that going on.

MARSH: The incident so jarring, passengers say one woman hit the ceiling so hard it cracked the panel over her head. Severe turbulence rattled everyone on board the flight from Denver to Billings, Montana forcing the captain to declare a medical emergency. Five passengers were rushed to local hospitals. One remains in intensive care, the others were treated and release. One passenger says the turbulence appeared to have even taken the flight crew by surprise.

BILL DAHLIN, PASSENGER: I think they were trying to assess things themselves. So they didn't offer any explanation because of what happened so quickly.


MARSH: All right, well, if you've been through turbulence, you know what that is like, and this was quite severe. One passenger says that a woman called out for her baby, which he took to indicate she had lost control of her infant, very, very scary moment up there in the skies -- Kate.

BOLDUAN: Coming with no warning at all, so terrifying. Rene, thank you very much.

So the big story, of course, of the morning is the weather. The winter that feels like it may never end is bringing yet another round of wicked weather. This is a live look at the snow coming down in New Jersey, have that for you.

The fast moving storm has already dropped several inches of snow in the Midwest and is now moving east. Where another 3 inches to 6 inches of snow is expected from Pennsylvania all the way to Maine.

We are covering all the angles of the story this morning beginning with meteorologist, Indra Petersons, tracking the conditions from outside our studios where you are a human barometer for the snow levels because it's been coming. It started early this morning and still coming down.

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: What a surprise, right? It's snowing again right now. Yes, you're exactly right. It's a pretty quick moving system and just an hour or so ago, we didn't have anything out there. But it is coming down pretty quickly. Temperature right now in New York City is about 30 degrees or so. So anything that's hitting the ground, a lot of it was melting first.

But now just for the last few minutes, you're starting to see accumulation a little bit. Look at that. A snow plow, so yes, definitely looks like New York City is prepared for this morning commute where we know as the snow comes down it's likely to affect many commuters heading to worse this morning.

You know what? It has been such a tough winter. New York City, we are not the only ones dealing with this tough, tough winter.


PETERSONS (voice-over): Once again, the northeast is bracing for another snowy blast.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have to stop. I cannot see where I am.

PETERSONS: This latest winter storm already causing crippling whiteout conditions in Northern Illinois and slamming Chicago area with up to 6 inches of snow. In Milwaukee, icy roads causing a vehicle to spin off the highway hitting this squad car, which was at the scene of another crash. The massive amount of snowfalls and the relentless storms near record-breaking totals.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's been a little bit too much snow for my taste.

PETERSONS: Washington D.C. almost doubling its normal amount of snowfall for February so far, while New York City and Philadelphia triple their yearly accumulations. All the snow causing problems for many school systems. Officials now forced to make up snow days. In parts of Pennsylvania, class was in session on President's Day.

CINDY KOONS, PENNSYLVANIA SCHOOL PRINCIPAL: They may lose Easter Monday. They may lose a professional development day that the teachers are going to have to have and a retreat day.

PETERSONS: Schools in Delaware are considering extending days by 30 minutes and some schools in New Jersey may hold classes on Saturdays. But get ready for the big thaw. Later this week, temperatures will finally rise melting these massive accumulations of snow from Washington, D.C. to Maine. On the West Coast, it's heavy amounts of rain and snow in Oregon that brought down trees, demolishing homes and landing inches away from people inside.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can't see how she got out of it alive.

PETERSONS: And in Seattle, mud slides trapping this car on the highway and closing some transit tracks.


PETERSONS: All right, are you sick of the snow? Are you sick of the cold? I have good news on both regards. By the middle of the week, temperatures, check them out. We're going to be talking about going below normal. What we are seeing today obviously is a bit snowing to above normal temperatures by just tomorrow.

Keep in mind though, just because it's warming up, it doesn't mean it's perfectly sunny. There is another system behind this one. It's actually expected to bring rain by this time tomorrow so definitely some rain tomorrow and then a system behind that one, yes, staying warm.

Remember, warm and cold air collide, what do you have? You have the threat for severe weather. So by the end of the week, it's looks like Wednesday, Thursday, even Friday, we are going to be talking about the threat for some severe thunderstorms towards the end of the week -- Chris.

CUOMO: Let's see, Indra, if you can figure out what can we do wrong that this is being done to us?

PETERSONS: I'm confused about the us.

CUOMO: Well, I'm counting you as a human being. That's what we all need to know. It's been too long. There is something going on.

PETERSONS: Tough winter.

CUOMO: Then it's your fault, thank you. Would you agree? We'll be back to you in a little bit. Let's go to Erin McPike now. She's live in Washington, D.C. where snow fell earlier this morning. Erin, what it's like?

ERIN MCPIKE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Chris, we just got a bit of a dusting here in Washington, D.C. At least in D.C. and the good news is, the sidewalks, the roads are clear. You can see a little bit of fresh snow there on the mall. We are getting a warm up. It's going to be 52 degrees by 3:00 p.m.

So that's very good. The surrounding areas of D.C. got a little bit of more snow. So some of those school districts like Fairfax County, like Montgomery County, Virginia and Maryland, those schools have two- hour delays, and that could slow things down in D.C. as parents have to get their kids to school and then come into the districts. But overall in Washington, things look a lot better than they do there in New York -- Kate.

BOLDUAN: All right, relative at this point, I guess. Erin, thank you so very much.

So just days after a jury couldn't decide if Michael Dunn killed a teenager in cold blood or self defense, we are hearing for the first time, phone calls made by Dunn from behind bars just after the loud music shooting. Let's get more now from CNN's Martin Savidge.


MICHAEL DUNN (via telephone): I'm the -- victim here. I was the one who was victimized.

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Prosecutors are releasing audio of jailhouse phone calls between Michael Dunn and his fiancee.

DUNN: I don't know how I'm -- they attacked me. I'm the victim. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right.

DUNN: I'm the victor, but I was the victim too.

SAVIDGE: The revealing calls recorded in the weeks after Dunn's arrest for shooting and killing 17-year-old Jordan Davis after an argument over loud music at this Florida gas station. Dunn maintains that he was threatened by Jordan Davis and his friends. In one of the nine calls released by the Florida State attorney, Dunn complains to his fiancee about being housed alone in a cell.

DUNN: I guess it would be better than being in a room with those animals.

SAVIDGE: Dunn was convicted on multiple counts of attempted murder on Saturday, but the jury failed to reach a verdict on the most serious charge of first degree murder. The mistrial on that count sparking outrage from some in Jacksonville. Protesters gathering at the gas station where the shooting occurred.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I brought my grandson because this little man here, I love him 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: Michael Dunn's daughter, Rebecca told ABC's "Good Morning America" she hasn't stopped crying since her father was found guilty on the three counts of attempted murder.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I can't imagine living life without him.

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

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If he sees no other way, that's what he's going to do.

SAVIDGE: Martin Savidge, CNN, Jacksonville, Florida.


CUOMO: All right, let's turn to Syria now. It's time to pay attention because the blame game is on as Secretary of State John Kerry meets with the gulf leaders today in Abu Dhabi. Kerry is lashing out at Russia for enabling the Assad regime. Now with the second round of peace talks stalling, the question is does the U.S. need a new move, does it have one? CNN's Jim Sciutto is in Washington -- Jim.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Hi. Good morning, Chris. Well, one thing is clear, the Obama administration to this point has shown no appetite for military options, whether it's a no-fly zone or air strikes, even arming and training opposition rebels. It's not clear if any of those are back on the table now although the president has asked his advisers for new options. And now the country with arguably the most power to influence the situation on the ground, the U.S. and Russia are pointing fingers at each other.


SCIUTTO (voice-over): As the Syrian people suffer, diplomatic efforts to bring them peace are descending into recrimination.

JOHN KERRY, SECRETARY OF STATE: The talks themselves are taking a recess for a moment.

SCIUTTO: The Secretary of State John Kerry is blaming Russia.

KERRY: Russia needs to be a part of the solution and not be contributing so many more weapons and so much more aid that they're in fact enabling Assad to double down.

SCIUTTO: His Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, is leveling the very same charge right back, saying it is the U.S. betting everything on a military solution. Inside many areas of Syria, the most extreme militants now hold sway. CNN's Arwa Damon found evidence of mass graves. One man identified his brother by the children's socks he'd gone to buy when he disappeared.

And new videos obtained by CNN show how these groups met out justice, a night time execution caught on tape. The Obama administration, its strategy until now largely dependent on the Geneva talks is left looking for new policy options.

REPRESENTATIVE ERIC CANTOR (R), VIRGINIA: 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.

SCIUTTO: So far it has rejected moves ranging from arming and training rebels to air strikes on regime forces.

JON ALTERMAN, CENTER FOR STRATEGIC AND INTERNATIONAL STRIDES: If you are not willing to put any lives at risk under any circumstances at any risk, then people think you simply don't care and because so many other are willing to put lives at risked, they are going to be the ones who determine the outcome of the battles that unfold in Syria.


SCIUTTO: Administration officials tell us that one option the U.S. is pushing for now is a new U.N. Security Council resolution condemning the atrocities and also attempting to improve the humanitarian situation on the ground, but that resolution is unlikely to include the threat of sanctions or military force. Administration officials say Russia may not even support a resolution without such a threat, Michaela. It's hard to see in the near term at least a way out of this.

PEREIRA: Jim Sciutto in Washington, thank you for that. Let's take a look at more of your headlines at this hour. Nuclear negotiations with Iran getting underway in Vienna this morning, six world leaders including the U.S. are at the table. Their goal is to build on a temporary deal reached in November when the Iranians agreed to slow uranium enrichment in return for the easing of some economic sanctions.

Breaking news now, two members of an all-female Russian punk band have been taken into custody by police in Sochi. According to one of their husbands, the women were speaking to journalists when they were approached by officers and detained. The women were recently released from prison. They were in Sochi to protest a lack of free speech in Russia. Russian police for their part are not commenting.

The White House will improve an offer to bring home the only American soldier held captive by the Taliban. The "Washington Post" is reporting that five members of the Afghan Taliban would be released together from Guantanamo Bay into protective custody in a swap for this man, Sergeant Bo Bergdhal. A previous offer called for their releases to be staggered over time. The administration is trying to get a deal done before most combat troops leave Afghanistan at the end of the year.

We are learning now more about what it was like inside an Ethiopian Airlines jet that was hijacked by the co-pilot. One of the passengers says the co-pilot threatened to crash the plane if the pilot kept trying to get back into the cockpit. Officials say the pilot was locked out after going to the restroom. The Rome-bound plane was more than 200 passengers and crew landed safely in Geneva. Police say the co-pilot surrendered and requested asylum in Switzerland.

Quite a close call in space Monday night as an asteroid estimated to be the size of three football fields zipped by earth missing us by about 2 million miles. The telescope captured these images of the location in space where the asteroid traveled, which were broadcast live online.

Now, this comes just a year after relatively small asteroid did this, blew up over Russia causing injuries to more than 1,500 people. Interestingly officials in that region wanted to give each athlete who won a medal in Sochi chunk of the asteroid.

CUOMO: The kid who won the gold in the slopestyle thought that there might be some in his gold medal.

BOLDUAN: That might have been an Olympic rumor.

CUOMO: Sorry. I like it.

BOLDUAN: After trouble with the weather Monday, it's been a very busy morning at the Winter Olympics. So, of course, warning, we have spoilers ahead for you. Several medals are being handed out today. Many of them early this morning, including another for the U.S., this is on top of a very big Monday for Team USA. Let's get straight over to Rachel Nichols who has the very latest live in Sochi for us this morning. So they are playing a bit of catch up today it seems.

RACHEL NICHOLS, CNN SPORTS: Well, sort of, Kate. You know, at the beginning of this Olympics, we had sun too warm melting snow at the mountain venues then we had fog postponing events and today, torrential rain that has made some of the snow courses a little bit treacherous. But that did not stop American, Alex Dibold. He won a bronze in the snowboard cross and has quickly become of this Olympic's best stories. Take a look.


NICHOLS (voice-over): Alex Dibold's bronze in this morning's snowboard cross is what Olympic stories are made of. For the Vancouver Olympics in 2010 when he didn't make the team as a boarder, he instead worked for the team as a wax tech.

But in Sochi, test an Olympic medalist. And his teammate, Trevor Jacob is a warrior. Jacob didn't medal, but he competed, finishing out the event despite suffering what he believes is a broken ankle during the semi-finals.

Higher up the mountain where the American teenage phenom, Mikaela Shiffrin, was computing in the Super G, heavy snow wrecked havoc with the start times. Things were more clear Monday night when Meryl Davis and Charlie White made history as the first Americans to take ice dancing gold. The pair, who've been together 17 years, beat out Canadian rivals Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, who twizzled their way to silver.

In women's hockey, Team USA advanced to the gold medal game, and a much anticipated match against Team Canada. And up on the mountain, Belarus's Anton Kushnir was dazzling in freestyle jumping, soaring 50 feet in the air, spinning five times, and nailing his landing to secure the gold medal.

But the most long awaited medal of the night came on the track. American Steve Holcomb and Steve Langton blazed through the world's longest bobsled run to win the bronze. It was the first American win in 62 years. And this morning, the glow was still there, with Holcomb tweeting, "Oh yeah, this is what it feels like when you wake up to a dream come true."


NICHOLS (on camera): Holcomb is one of those great stories too. About 12 years ago, he was diagnosed with a degenerative eye condition. Essentially, he started going blind. He got very depressed, of course. Basically started falling out of the sport. But then his doctor tried an experimental eye surgery on him. His vision was restored, and now the procedure has actually been named after Holcomb and he's got two Olympic medals. Chris.

CUOMO: Very nice. Now he's spending half his time with his eyes closed just hoping they make it down the track.

Rachel, thank you very much for bringing us up to date. Don't get to wet up there.

All right, now, we've got another spoiler alert coming. You ready? It's time for the medal count check. All right, two have already been handed out this morning. Two other events on their way. Here's what we know: Russia and the U.S. tied for the overall lead with 19. The Netherlands, Canada, Norway, they round out the top five.

BOLDUAN: Back on top, kind of. Let's take a break. Coming up next on NEW DAY, she's a self proclaimed serial killer admitting to the murders of nearly two dozen people. So why then are police casting doubt on the Craigslist killer's confessions?

CUOMO: Plus the fallout from the interview with George Zimmerman. Find out what he said that made so many people so angry.


BOLDUAN: Welcome back to NEW DAY. This morning, an incredible confession has investigators across the country scrambling. 19-year- old Miranda Barbour claims that she was a member of a satanic cult and killed over 22 people. That comes after admitting she and her husband murdered a man they had met on Craigslist.

Well, now police are scouring cold cases for answers, but some are raising serious doubts about her story. CNN's Rosa Flores is joining us with much more on this. An unbelievable tale that she's telling.

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. These allegations are incredible.

Now we went on a digging expedition to try to find out who this woman was. Turns out we found a former class mate and friend from around the time she says she joined a cult and started killing people.


FLORES (voiceover): In a recent interview, Miranda Barbour paints herself as a cold serial killer who says she started taking lives after joining a satanic cult in Alaska at age 13.

AUSTIN WRENCH, FORMER CLASSMATE: We had no idea that we were sitting in class with a murderer, or alleged murderer.

FLORES: Austin Wrench says he went to middle and high school with now 19-year-old Barbour. They were friends back then. He says there were no signs.

WRENCH: She did dress kind of more dark, like never bright colors or anything. But that doesn't mean you're like a killer or anything. I thought that's just how she dressed. And it never like scared me.

FLORES: Barbour and her husband had only been married three weeks when they were accused of killing this Pennsylvania man after allegedly alluring him on Craigslist with a companionship ad. The two have pleaded not guilty.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I said, Miranda, as you sit here, do you have any remorse whatsoever. And she said none.

FLORES: She confessed to newspaper reporter Francis Scarcella to killing at least 22 in four other states.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I said what's the actual number, and she said under a hundred.

FLORES: Law enforcement is looking into her claims. Her husband didn't confirm or deny her account.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you think she's being honest?


FLORES: During his three-decade career, retired FBI agent Kenneth Lanning consulted on hundreds of alleged satanic ritual cases and says there's reasons to be skeptical. Many of the cases he saw included fabricated details.

KENNETH LANNING, RETIRED FBI AGENT: Why would they be alleging it if it didn't happen? A lot of these individuals, particularly some of the adult survivors, have emotional and psychological problems, and a lot of their motivation is to get attention and forgiveness for various problems in their lives.

FLORES: Barbour is getting much attention. As for forgiveness, not from the law. So far, one murder charge stands.


FLORES (on camera): A law enforcement source tells CNN they're still trying to figure out if she indeed belongs to a satanic cult. So far, no name of a group, no information.

BOLDUAN: Obviously a lot to be figured out in this. But they're all over it, it appears. Thank you so much, Rosa.

CUOMO: All right, let's take a break here on NEW DAY. When we come back, the Dunn trial, the Zimmerman trial. They bring up the same emotions for those outraged by what was done and seemingly unpunished.

Zimmerman said something in our interview that was echoed by Dunn in phone calls just now. And it has people hopping mad. We'll tell you why.

BOLDUAN: And police are looking for this man. He's a base jumper leaping off a gondola thousands of feet up. Police are scrambling to stop the rise of this very dangerous sport.