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CNN NEWSROOM

Press Conference About Arrest Of Nick Morale; Rutgers Basketball Coach Fired; Kevin Ware Speaks Out In Live Interview

Aired April 3, 2013 - 15:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: George, he's started stepping up to the Mike. Let's listen in, George.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

LIEUTENANT JUSTIN LEWIS, KAUFMAN COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT SPOKESMAN: This press conference is to confirm a question that a lot of you guys have asked of us today.

We are going to confirm the arrest of Nick Morale, 56 years of age, of Terrell, Texas. Mr. Morale was arrested yesterday by the Texas Rangers and he has been charged with one charge of terroristic threat. Mr. Morale was arraigned this morning and is being held in the Kaufman County jail on $1 million bond.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Inaudible)?

LEWIS: M-O-R-A-L-E.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: First name?

LEWIS: Nick, N-I-C-K.

During the course of the investigation into the murders of Mike and Cynthia McLelland, a threat against the safety of a county official was received. The threat was then investigated, leading to the arrest of Mr. Morale at a location in Kaufman County.

Specific details of this investigation and arrest will not be discussed at this time. We are providing you a copy with the arrest warrant affidavit. That copy has had identifying -- personal identifying information redacted out of it.

At this time there is nothing to link Mr. Morale to the murders of Mike and Cynthia McLelland or Mark Hasse.

Making threats against persons carry criminal penalties under state and federal law with some penalties being pretty severe. All threats will be taken seriously and investigated and prosecuted in order to ensure the safety of citizens and our public officials.

The investigation of the murders of Mike and Cynthia McClelland is ongoing, OK? Investigators from many law enforcement agencies are working on leads that have been received on the tip line and through other channels. Those tips are all being investigated and vetted thoroughly.

Please be aware that, although a great number of resources are being utilized in this investigate, the daily activities of all the law enforcement agencies involved in this joint investigation continue.

Law enforcement actions will continue to occur within the community and may have no bearing on this case.

The Kaufman County sheriff's offices would like the citizens to understand and be aware that security has been stepped up throughout the community. Sheriff Byrnes asks citizens to be aware of their surroundings, always err on the side of caution and never hesitate to call 911.

Anyone with any information on the murders of Mike and Cynthia McClelland are encouraged to contact Kaufman County Crime Stoppers tip line at 877-847-7522 or online at KaufmanCountyCrimeStoppers.org.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Inaudible)?

LEWIS: Due to the ongoing nature of the investigation, we're not going to release any information into the investigation at this time.

But anybody that thinks they have any information, anything at all, whether it be big or small, please call the tip line or report that online.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is there a vehicle, is there any kind of description of suspects, anything that the public can help with?

LEWIS: Not that we're releasing at this time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is it true the FBI has taken over this investigation?

LEWIS: Hold on just a second.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Inaudible)?

LEWIS: It was a phone call threat. That information is going to be in the arrest warrant affidavit.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Who was being threatened?

LEWIS: The information that we're going to release is in the arrest warrant affidavit.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Lieutenant, is it true the FBI has taken over this investigation?

LEWIS: No, sir. It's a joint investigation between the Kaufman County sheriff's office, the Texas Department of Public Safety, Texas Rangers and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Inaudible)? LEWIS: We're working together and in a collaborative effort. Each group has specific things that they are good at, and we are pulling those together to come to a resolution to this situation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Lieutenant, this charge is not connected with a Facebook threat?

LEWIS: I'm not sure of a Facebook threat. I know this charge is connected to a telephone call.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Somebody named Bob Miller predicts on a Facebook page that another assistant district attorney is going to die.

LEWIS: Yes, sir.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you know about that?

LEWIS: And I'm not going to discuss that at this time. It is part of an ongoing investigation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's not this case?

LEWIS: This is not this case, no, sir.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Inaudible)?

LEWIS: We have not in this investigation named officially a person of interest or any suspects.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is Eric Williams being looked at?

LEWIS: We have not officially named and person of interest or suspect.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But is he being looked at? I'm not asking about any official title. Is he being looked at?

LEWIS: I answered your question how it's going to be answered, sir.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Inaudible) the threat specifically directed at this investigation or was it related to something else?

LEWIS: It came in on the tip line that was set up for this investigation and the Hasse homicide.

Well, it's the Kaufman County Crime Stoppers line that it came in on.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How would you characterize the number of leads you've gotten from the tip line?

LEWIS: I don't know the exact number, but I can tell you that leads are coming in on a very regular basis. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Justin, can you say there is any connection to any physical evidence you found at the Hasse scene at the McLelland scene?

LEWIS: I'm not going to discuss anything about the evidence that has been found due to the ongoing nature of our investigation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you give you give us a sense of the number of law enforcement (inaudible)?

LEWIS: I don't know a number. There's quite a few. Yeah.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It changes every day depending on the leads that we're following.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Inaudible)?

LEWIS: Right now we don't have anything that links him to it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you feel like you're close to being able to name a person of interest?

LEWIS: I can't answer that question. I don't know the answer to that question.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Inaudible)?

LEWIS: No, ma'am. That's correct.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sir, you are the spokesman for all the agencies. Tomorrow is going to be a very high profile memorial service.

Given that whoever is behind this has shown little regard for his own safety, his or her own safety, tell me about the safety measures that'll be in place considering the high-profile individuals (inaudible)?

LEWIS: You're talking about at the memorial service? I don't know the information about that. It's in the ...

(END LIVE PRESS CONFERENCE COVERAGE)

LEMON ": You see the investigators in Kaufman County, Texas, announcing an arrest.

They say it's connected to the killings that have happened there with Mike McClelland, his wife, also the ADA.

This guy's name -- George Howell, our reporter, standing by there -- 56-year-old Nick Morale. Terroristic threat, $1 million bond, but they don't believe, at least according to the investigator, that he's responsible for any of this. Just making a terroristic threat.

George, what's going on? GEORGE HOWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right, Don. And what we can understand, somehow connected to the case, and through the tip line, there was a line that was put out for the public to offer, you know, tips and information to help investigators in this case.

And from what we understand, Mr. Morale allegedly made threats -- made a threatening call on that tip line, and investigators have certainly taken action, a $1 million bond in this case.

So that's what we know, but you saw it right there, Don, investigators really offering no information when it comes to what happened to the murder of Mike McClelland and his wife, Cynthia. No information into the murder of Mark Hasse.

And we have been asking questions for days to try to get some insight into this case. A lot of people in this community, Don, have questions. They are concerned.

Prosecutors are concerned about what is happening out here. Investigators, as you can see, are being very tight-lipped about their investigation until they get more clues and take some direction on it.

LEMON: And, George, we're going to let you go and do what you do and talk to the investigators there after that press conference. And soon as you get more information, please, bring it back to us.

George Howell ...

HOWELL: Don, if you can stay with me real quick, this is a picture of Mr. Morale, just to show you real quick. We're just getting this picture.

Again, this gentleman arrested from Terrell, Texas, for making a threat and is in jail here, connected to this case.

LEMON: George Howell, Ed Lavandera as well, thanks to both of you.

Back in a moment, everyone.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAY LENO, HOST, "THE TONIGHT SHOW": Tonight, tonight, my ratings were all right. Twenty years ...

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Well, he's number one in late night, but NBC won't have Jay Leno to kick around much longer, NBC announcing today Leno is leaving "The Tonight Show" next year.

A news release from the Peacock Network confirmed rumors that have been running rampant for weeks really. Jimmy Fallon will take over the reins of "the tonight show" in the spring of 2014. And the show will move from Los Angeles to New York with "Saturday Night Live" chief Lorne Michaels as executive producer.

As for Leno, though, NBC quotes him as saying, "Congratulations, Jimmy. I hope you're as lucky as me and hold on to the job until you're the old guy. If you need me, I'll be at the garage."

Jimmy Fallon's reaction, according to NBC, "I'm really excited to host a show that starts today instead of tomorrow."

Except for a brief time with Conan O'Brien at the helm, "The Tonight Show" has been hosted by Leno since Johnny Carson left in 1992.

Rutgers University basketball Coach Mike Rice is without a job today. A video released showing him abusing players physically and verbally at practice.

He spoke out a short time ago.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKE RICE, FORMER RUTGERS UNIVERSITY BASKETBALL COACH: I've let so many people down, my players, my administration, Rutgers university, the fans, my family who is sitting in their house just huddled around because of the fact that their father was an embarrassment to them.

And it's troubling, but I will -- at some time maybe I'll try to explain it, but right now, though, there is no explanation for what's on the films because there is no excuse for it. I was wrong.

And I want to tell everybody who's believed in me that I'm deeply sorry for the pain and the hardship that I've caused them.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Painful to watch, right? You know what is more painful to watch is the video I'm going to show you that sparked the investigation.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RICE: (Inaudible).

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: So ESPN released this video less than 24 hours ago. Rice is seen yelling homophobic slurs at players during a practice session from last November. He threw basketballs at their heads and violently pushed and shoved them.

Rutgers athletic director Tim Pernetti initially only suspended Rice. He released a statement today saying, "I am responsible for the decision to attempt a rehabilitation of Coach Rice.

"Dismissal and corrective action were debated and in December and I thought it was in the best interest of everyone to rehabilitate, but I was wrong.

"Moving forward, I will work to regain the trust of the Rutgers community."

Well, sports fans stopped and they cringed in horror when Kevin Ware's leg snapped on national TV.

Just three days after that shocking injury, the basketball star is speaking out now. We'll hear from Ware and his mother live.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: So trust me, you want to stick around for this right now, a live interview, Louisville guard Kevin Ware talking to CNN, just three days after breaking his leg in a gruesome scene on national television.

Ware's injury occurred Sunday in a game against Duke and the NCAA tournament.

CNN's Rachel Nichols is in Louisville with Kevin and his mother, Lisa. Go ahead, Rachel.

RACHEL NICHOLS, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Thanks, Don.

Here with Kevin Ware and his mom, Lisa. Thank you, guys, so much for joining us, because it has been quite a few days.

First of all, tell us about the leg. How much pain are you in? What do you feel like right now?

KEVIN WARE, UNIVERSITY OF LOUISVILLE BASKETBALL PLAYER: I'm actually fine really. It might hurt here and there, just the actual part where the bone came out, but I've been fine.

I've been trying to walk as much as I can, you know. I got two metal plates, metal rods in my knees, one at the top, one at the bottom. I got a metal plate on the side of it, and I'm just ready to recover from this, you know?

NICHOLS: Listen to what you just said, the part where the bone came out. I mean, this is surreal.

Can you describe for me what it was like when this happened to you, when you first saw it, and take me through the moment?

WARE: It is kind of insane, you know, because we played Duke earlier in the year in the Bahamas and the same exact play happened, not the injury, but the contesting the three-peat shot of the same.

And earlier in the year it happened just like that, but (inaudible) it happened kind of different, you know what I mean? I kind of closed out not seeing where I was jumping or how I was going to land, so me just trying to contest the shot and just trying to see if it went in or not, kind of looking back and not seeing how I was landing kind of messed me up.

So I guess I landed completely wrong and, honestly, I felt like, well, it hurt -- I thought it was like a cord, like that went across, but it turned out to be my knee, you know.

And coach just gave me one of those looks, like somebody just saw a ghost or something like that. And I'm looking at him, like, confused.

So I looked down at my leg and just kind of like my arm and I seen my sneaker on, but my leg is, like, this, so I just going to automatic shock and --

NICHOLS: Did you realize that was your bone sticking out of your leg?

WARE: I did, but it was like as soon as I went into shock, my brother came to the rescue. Luke came right over there, and Luke said a prayer for me.

And he's saying this prayer, I'm just looking around, looking at Rush, looking at Payton, looking at Shane, all these guys, these are my brothers, you know? This is a big game.

We're on a big stage right now. So my first instinct was, like, I can't start. I'm just thinking in my head, like, what can I do? So I'm just yelling as soon as Luke got done with his praying, I'm just telling them, yo, y'all got to win this game.

I don't care what y'all do. You've got to win this game. I'm going to be good. I'm going to be OK. I'll be fine.

Coach heard me and starts calling the guys over there. They come together and they made me proud. They beat Duke by 22. We have to win a national championship. That's still on the agenda.

NICHOLS: You still have to go out and win this game. What makes you do something like that?

WARE: I'm not a "me" person. I've kind of learned that being selfish isn't going to get you far in life.

Everything happens for a reason and this is just another obstacle that I have to face, you know?

Looking at it, it was kind of like nobody was around, so this is all God. This is all God's plan, you know?

Everything that happened there, it could have happened just like how He planned it, you know? He never lets anything happen that he wouldn't want to happen. He controls everything. Without God, there is no us. So I just felt like this is just another situation that is going to mature me and get me to a better mind state.

And if He kind of felt like that was time me playing basketball, it just opened up so many things, with just all the support and everyone's that's really behind me right now. I really appreciate it.

NICHOLS: That moment your teammates are crying, these are your brothers. They saw you on the floor.

If you hadn't said to them, go win this, do you think they would be in the Final Four right now?

WARE: He couldn't -- he had to -- he sat out for three or four more minutes because he still had to get himself together, so I'm pretty sure if I didn't say what I said, it would have been possible.

But I just feel like those guys fought so hard for me and I've been playing so well, you know, it's just like we should have come up short because of this injury, you know. And it's tough, but it's life, you know. And I'm ready to face it.

NICHOLS: Have you seen a picture of this? Have you seen any video of this?

WARE: I've seen picture. I've seen a quick glance of it. And I just turn away from it, you know, because I kind of feel like me trying to get back on the basketball court, that would stop me from getting where I need to be.

And I don't want to see the video. I don't plan on ever seeing the video, honestly, because ...

NICHOLS: You don't think 20 years from now, one day, you want to see what everyone else is talking about?

WARE: I honestly never want to see a video. I kind of feel like it will just put me in a mental state where I don't need to be, especially if I want to be successful with basketball. That would mess me up.

NICHOLS: Lisa, you have seen the replay. You have seen what Kevin doesn't want to look at.

When you first saw this, and I guess it was probably in slo- motion, right? You were out of the room watching the game when he got hurt?

LISA JUNIOR, MOTHER OF KEVIN WARE: I was at a friend's house, and we were watching the game. It had happened.

And when I looked at the TV, all I saw was the team on the floor, laying on the floor, people looking distraught, so I'm trying to figure out who got hurt.

When they showed the replay of it and then I heard somebody say, I think he broke his leg, I just lost it, you know.

My husband came up, you know. I walked away. My husband came behind me, I believe, and picked me up off the floor and was talking to me and praying with me and my girlfriend, whose house we were in.

We were just all devastated because it looked that bad. It really did look that bad.

NICHOLS: This is your baby. You're his mom. I'm a mom. I can't imagine what that must have felt like for you to not know what was happening with him because then, of course, they move on with the rest of the game on TV.

JUNIOR: That -- the time spent suffering in anguish, waiting for a phone call was enough, but I thank God it wasn't longer. He had called me 30-to-45 minutes after that happened in the emergency room before he went into surgery.

So his immediate words were mom, calm down, I'm OK. And I thank God that He put it in his heart to call me, to soothe me because I don't believe anything else could have, you know.

I was fine for the rest of the evening until -- because I knew he was going into surgery and would be sedated, and I would be there next thing in the morning, you know, so I was good with that.

And when I did see him, all I wanted to do was hold him, and there wasn't any words to say. And I was just thankful to be able to see him and he was OK.

NICHOLS: So you tell your teammates, Kevin, go on, win the game.

You call your mom while you're being wheeled into surgery, basically, to comfort her, so you're taking care of everyone else.

But was there a moment before you went into that surgery where you had a moment either to yourself or just with one or two other people around where you understood what was happening to you and you let yourself get upset.

WARE: My girlfriend kept me in a great state of mind. She just kept telling me I would be OK. And her just being by my side in place of my mom kept me on the right track.

NICHOLS: Did you break down at all before you went into surgery?

WARE: Not at all. I just felt like I had to be strong for everybody, and watching me be strong for everybody else kind of just showed my character, honestly.

And that helped everybody. And it helped me at the same time because I kind of felt like them seeing that is stopping me from having so much pain right now. And that's just how I feel, honestly.

NICHOLS: And your coach, Rick Pitino, came straight from the game and he brought the trophy. WARE: And I honestly don't even remember. I was just on so much medication. And I saw the pictures of them putting the trophy by my side and me sleeping with it. I was very proud of just everybody and just the whole situation.

Because these guys, we played so hard to be in the situation we was in all year. And to come up short, it would be the last thing we'd want. We accomplished everything we wanted. And we've just got one more goal to accomplish.

NICHOLS: Those guys, they won it for you. I mean, you call them brothers. They've said to you, this guy is like my brother, and they fought out there on that floor for you.

WARE: Especially that we're going home. I'm going home to Atlanta. They're going to fight even harder.

I felt like the second half of games is when teams really don't want to face us. I feel like any team right now doesn't want to face us. I feel like our focus is locked in.

And we understand that we're facing a great Wichita State team, but they just know they have to get the job done not just for me, but for everything that we worked for this year.

NICHOLS: Can you go back to the moment when you were a little more conscious, but you woke up and you could see and focus on that trophy and you thought about them, fighting out there for you?

WARE: I just closed my eyes and thanked God honestly. That's the first thing I did.

Woke up and it was just like -- it was like Christmas, you know, but basketball Christmas, just looking over your left and not even knowing, just looking and seeing that trophy, like we really did it.

And it was big because the last thing I knew was we was up four going into my surgery. That was huge. That was huge.

NICHOLS: And you got phone calls for everyone, but the first lady, Michelle Obama called you, and Rick Pitino said, you're now the coolest guy he knows.

He said -- the coach said, the president calling you? OK, fine. He calls sports people. But Michelle Obama?

What did you think?

WARE: I honestly don't even remember speaking to her, but that's what they were telling me, that she called.

JUNIOR: Please call him back.

WARE: Please. She called. Please call again. Please. I really would appreciate it because it's a once in a lifetime thing. And I know the president picked us to lose Indiana in his bracket, but I forgive him. When I speak to him at the White House, I will forgive him.

NICHOLS: (Inaudible) president of the United States right now. I just kind of want to make that clear to everybody watching.

You said you're OK if you never play basketball.

WARE: I wouldn't be. I would be OK with it if I knew that I wouldn't be able to play basketball again.

I'm not OK with like just the fact like I'm injured right now and I won't play basketball again because I will play basketball again.

I'm eight-to-12 weeks away from this bone being fully healed. Rehab, I'm going to rehab as hard as I can and I'm going get back on the court like there's no tomorrow.

I know patience is key right and that's one thing I really have to learn. But I just can't wait. I really can't wait.

NICHOLS: Well, we're thrilled you've gotten such a good prognosis from the doctor that you will be back on the court.

We're thrilled you will be with your team at the Final Four. And we thank you for your time.

Back to you guys in Atlanta.

LEMON: OK, Rachel, can you hear me there?

I don't think Rachel can hear me. Anyway, nice interview.

She can hear me. Hey, Rachel, we have a few seconds left. She's unplugging.

But the part that I really liked was when she talked about being a mom and relating. And I can only imagine if that something like happened to me and my mom not being there.

That really went over and I think most people can relate to that.

He certainly is in good spirits considering what happened on Sunday if you saw that horrific injury and just a normal -- you know, he just went back on his leg and then all the sudden you see the whole team on the bench just sort of recoil in horror. And people were crying at the site.

But again, that was our Rachel Nichols.

For more you can watch CNN's "All Access -- The Final Four With Rachel Nichols." It's this Saturday at 3:00. Great interview.

Thanks for watching. I'm Don Lemon.

"The Lead With Jake Tapper" starts right now.