Return to Transcripts main page

CNN NEWSROOM

Boston Suspect Buried; Authorities Investigate Alleged Cleveland Kidnappings; Guilty Verdict in Arias Trail

Aired May 9, 2013 - 15:00   ET

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


BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: I want to tell you about a major development in another case we've been following Boston as closely as we have, the body of the Boston bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev was laid to rest just a short time ago. Police will not say where, but they will say it is not in Worcester. Several cemeteries, as you know, said no to burying this man. But, finally, police say -- and I'm quoting them -- "They say a courageous and compassionate individual stepped forward to take the body," police saying the body isn't in Massachusetts as well.

And we continue on, top of the hour. I'm Brooke Baldwin live here in Cleveland for CNN's special coverage of two major stories unfolding right now.

First, the victims are free and they are telling police now about the horrors that took place in this house just behind me on Seymour Avenue. You know the story, three women chained up, raped, starved, impregnated, and beaten. Today, Ariel Castro stayed silent, head down, as the judge locked him away under an $8 million bond, $2 million for each of the victims.

Soon, we will hear from the county prosecutor about the latest details of that horrific case. We're standing by for that here in Cleveland.

But let me tell you the other big story unfolding this hour, the countdown to Jodi Arias fate. A hearing will help determine if she will get life behind bars or if she will get a death sentence. Here is what she said talking to the media minutes after hearing her guilty verdict.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JODI ARIAS, DEFENDANT: I said years ago that I would rather get death than life. And that still is true today. I believe death is the ultimate freedom. So I would rather just have my freedom as soon as I can get it.

QUESTION: So, you're saying you actually prefer getting the death penalty to being in prison for life?

ARIAS: Yes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: Jodi Arias again speaking minutes after she learned her fate.

And joining me now from Phoenix is Nancy Grace of HLN.

Nancy Grace, we heard Jodi Arias tell this reporter she wants to die. Do you believe her?

NANCY GRACE, HOST, "NANCY GRACE": Well, when you don't know a horse, look at its track record.

For 18 days, she took the stand and lied through her teeth, and what was that? A bid for her life, a bid to live, a bid for freedom, trying to convince this jury to set her free, to escape the death penalty. Of course she wants to live. This is some odd attempt at reverse psychology that's not working.

But what disturbed me more about her interview than her -- yet another claim she wants to commit suicide was that she went on to trash Travis Alexander, Travis Alexander, her murder victim who is dead and buried, slashed from ear to ear. She went on to say that Travis Alexander is a big hypocrite.

I don't understand that. She made a snide comment about his family. She trashed him. And this is all just moments after being convicted of murder one in his slashing, stabbing, shooting death. She walks through one door, gets away from the jury, plops down in front of the cameras, sucking up the limelight. I'm stunned.

BALDWIN: A lot of people are stunned, and I know it's such a rare move to have someone, who as you say, is convicted of murder one speak to the media, so we will see her I know in just about an hour when this aggravation phase, Nancy, begins there in Phoenix.

And I'm sure this prosecutor, Juan Martinez, he's going to try his best to convince this jury -- the key is cruelty, right, that Jodi Arias acted cruelly in the Travis Alexander murder. So, how is exactly does he prove that?

GRACE: Well, as in most jurisdictions that have the death penalty, the first phase is guilt or innocence, where the guilty focuses solely on the facts of the case to determine, as I said, guilt or innocence.

In most jurisdictions, you would then move to a sentencing phase. Here in Arizona, it's a tiny bit unique in that there's a middle phase, a second phase, where aggravation must be proven by the state. In order to get a death penalty, there must be at least one aggravating circumstance, such as you murdered a cop or a public figure, you committed a murder behind bars, you committed mass murder.

The one they are using here, that the murder was committed in a cruel or heinous way -- cruel is the word they are using. And I anticipate that prosecutor Juan Martinez will bring on the medical examiner, probably Dr. Horn, Kevin Horn, to describe what Travis Alexander endured before his death, the multiple stabbings, the staggering through his house trying to get away, when he went to his bathroom sink and looked up at the mirror and saw himself dying.

(CROSSTALK)

GRACE: She continued to stab him and attack him as he tried his best to get down the hall, leaving a bloody smear down the wall. That's what this jury is going to hear about.

BALDWIN: With the gruesome details, and if you thought it was gruesome, from what I read in the trial, as you point out, the M.E. will be speaking and going into even more of the nitty-gritty.

We also know, Nancy, after the verdict was read yesterday, that the Travis Alexander family announced they plan to file this wrongful death civil suit. Is that an effort to prevent Arias from then profiting from the murder?

GRACE: Well, I think there are a lot of motivations as to why Alexander's family is suing.

I spoke to their civil attorney last night. You know, in a civil case -- think about the O.J. Simpson civil case that followed his criminal acquittal. The rules of evidence are much more lax. For instance, you can call the defendant to the stand. A polygraph came in that case that showed he scored I think it was a negative 40. They will be able to find out a lot more about what happened to Travis Alexander.

And the other prong of that lawsuit is that they will be able to get the money that she's making behind bars. And she's already making money with her art, which is basically tracing magazine advertisements. She's even selling her underwear. I don't know who bought that. And she's making money.

BALDWIN: Yikes.

GRACE: She's making a fair bit of money, as a matter of fact. They are entitled to that, not her.

BALDWIN: I want to move off of Phoenix.

And, obviously, we know that's a huge story and that happens next hour and this mini-trial, but I want to talk about where I am, Nancy, which is Cleveland. And I want to take you back to Monday, those final moments of Amanda Berry's call to 911, right? So, we have all heard this call. She had just been broken free from 10 years of captivity. Here's a piece of that.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

AMANDA BERRY, SURVIVED KIDNAPPING: No, I need them now, before he gets back.

911 OPERATOR: All right, we're sending them, OK?

BERRY: OK. I mean, like right now.

911 OPERATOR: Who's the guy you're -- who's the guy who went out?

BERRY: His name is Ariel Castro. 911 OPERATOR: All right. How old is he?

BERRY: He's like 52.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

BALDWIN: So, you hear the dispatcher asking, who is he? You hear the name of the defendant, Ariel Castro.

A police source says that the investigation of Ariel Castro is -- quote -- "a slam-dunk case." So, I have to ask, is there a plea deal in the future here?

GRACE: Well, I think that it's very likely that there will be a plea in this case.

Why? If you can get a plea to a huge sentence in this case, I would assume that there will be -- if they go to trial -- consecutive life sentences. I know he's looking at three rape trials, at least three rape counts. And that doesn't include whatever happened to the child that was born in and raised in captivity.

There are also the counts, the allegations that when one of the women became pregnant, that he beat them and they lost the baby, that that happened multiple times.

BALDWIN: Right.

GRACE: And this jurisdiction and many others, the intentional forcible death of a fetus equals a homicide charge. I'm not talking about abortion.

I'm talking about when someone else forces you through a criminal act to lose your baby against your will. That is a murder in many jurisdictions. We haven't heard a peep about that, so this guy's behind the eight ball. He's looking down the wrong end of a barrel on about, as I count it, seven or eight consecutive life sentences.

They can plead him out to two or three life sentences so these women don't have to take the stand and you get the same result, life behind bars for Ariel Castro, I pray.

BALDWIN: Right, the four kidnapping, the three counts of rape, and as you point out, and there has been talk about that today in Cleveland, given what you pointed out, possibly other charges, as you point out, possibly murder.

But when it comes to these young women, because they are young women now, and this little girl, in a case like this, no matter how it ultimately plays out, is there such a thing as justice, when these women have lost a decade of their lives in this home here in Ohio?

GRACE: You know, that's a hard question. That's a hard question to ask a crime victim like myself, because nothing can give them back those 10 years. They went into this nightmare as innocents, 14, 17, 19, something like that, the one child born in this house of horrors with the windows all boarded up and this madman coming in an hour of the day, giving them McDonald's and leaving, abusing them and leaving. That's how this child was brought up. No, there is no justice.

But the best we can do, the very best we can do for these women, is to put this monster behind bars for the rest of his life, so he cannot hurt another child, and whatever he has, which is probably not much, take it from him and give it to them.

BALDWIN: Nancy Grace, thank you.

And as this "monster," Ariel Castro, faces these charges for these brutal crimes, these alleged crimes, his doctor is offering an emotional apology. She's good friends with one of the victims, Gina DeJesus. Next you will hear more about the last time she spoke to her father and the message she wants to send to Gina. Don't miss this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: Welcome back here to Cleveland. I'm Brooke Baldwin with special coverage here of what went down on Seymour Avenue this week.

In fact, the daughter of the suspect, Ariel Castro, broke down and wept this morning. Her own father allegedly kidnapped and raped her close friend, her close childhood friend Gina DeJesus.

Her name is Arlene Castro, and she spoke just this morning to "Good Morning America."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ARLENE CASTRO, DAUGHTER OF ARIEL CASTRO: I'm really disappointed, embarrassed, just mainly devastated about this whole situation.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS: When was the last time you spoke to your father?

CASTRO: It was late last month. I had no idea. We -- me and my father were never really that close. Every time we would talk, it would just be short conversations and just a hello, how are you doing, and let me know if you need anything. And that was it every time.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And did you ever meet the little girl Jocelyn?

CASTRO: No, I have never met her before.

STEPHANOPOULOS: In terms of violence in the home, did you ever witness that?

CASTRO: Oh, no, never, never.

I would like to say, I'm absolutely so, so sorry. I really want to see you, Gina. And I want you to meet my kids. I'm so sorry for everything. (END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: Wow, Arlene Castro, one of the last people to see Gina DeJesus before her kidnapping in 2004. She even gave an interview to "America's Most Wanted" in 2005 to try to spur interest in the Gina DeJesus case. And now she learns her own father is this alleged monster.

I want to bring in psychotherapist Stacy Kaiser.

Stacy, welcome to you.

We talked so much the past couple of days about sort of the psychology of these young women who came out of this home, but my question is about the family of Ariel Castro. Do children of people accused of such heinous crimes, are they feeling guilty and shameful as well at all?

STACY KAISER, PSYCHOTHERAPIST: They are very much feeling guilty and shameful. And, in fact, they are victims as well.

These family members of his are going through their own grief. They are angry, they are sad, they are embarrassed. In addition, they are worried that they are going to be associated with him and that people will judge them as well and criticize them and even persecute them.

BALDWIN: You heard the words -- I wrote them down -- that Arlene Castro said upon hearing this news about her father. She said embarrassed, devastated.

If you could talk directly to the daughter of this man, what advice would you give her on coping?

KAISER: Part of what I would want to tell her is that she is not who he is.

Just because you have a parent that does bad things doesn't mean that you need to judge yourself, because what I could tell by watching this girl in this interview is that Arlene is beating herself up for being related to him, beating herself for this whole experience, and I would want her to put that bat down and comfort herself, because she's suffering as well.

BALDWIN: Stacy Kaiser, psychotherapist, thank you so much for joining me.

Coming up on the other side of this break, we have now cleared these photographs that I want to share with you in just a matter of minutes. Before the show, I was on the other side of this Seymour Avenue home where we talked to a homeowner, his home still considered a crime scene because you can see the backyard where we have seen over the last couple of days FBI agents, special -- special personnel in these protective suits with shovels and dogs. Now you will see this backyard.

Also ahead, I talk to a family friend and a journalist here in the Cleveland area, because she just sat down with Gina DeJesus herself. Both of those stories right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: I'm Brooke Baldwin live in Cleveland for CNN's special coverage.

And this next interview, you have to see this. This family friend here in Cleveland tells us how Gina DeJesus is recovering today and adjusting to freedom. Gina, I want to show you the picture, because you can see this thumbs up. She gives this thumbs up to the cheering crowd yesterday at her home.

And, really, a picture tells us 1,000 words here. Even her -- despite her face being hidden by this hoodie, you see the thumbs up. Nine years in captivity, this young woman is finally free.

And I talked with a family friend and a journalist here in the Cleveland area. She's a weekend anchor at WOIO. Her name is Lydia Esparra. She visited Gina today and she told me about that visit.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LYDIA ESPARRA, WOIO ANCHOR: They have waited nine long years. And, of course, I have been covering the story.

BALDWIN: From the beginning.

ESPARRA: From the beginning, from the very beginning.

And Nancy and her husband, Felix, never gave up hope, never gave up hope. They said, my daughter's alive. Even when I doubted her, she said, Lydia, my daughter's alive. So...

BALDWIN: You were on the air, and they said get off the air.

ESPARRA: I was on the air.

Yes, once they came through -- and that was Gina's sister in orange. That was her sister Mayra protecting her.

BALDWIN: With her arm.

ESPARRA: Right. They are very protective of her because they haven't had her for nine years.

So, yes, so I'm live on the air, and then one of her relatives comes over and says, Nancy wants you to come to the house.

BALDWIN: Wow.

ESPARRA: So, I said, OK, and I told them on the air, said, got to go, Nancy's calling.

So, I go inside the house and I have my moment with Nancy and we're crying and -- with Felix and we're crying, because I haven't spent any time with them, and I'm friends besides being a journalist. It's just such a tough line trying to be a friend and do your job.

BALDWIN: Right.

ESPARRA: But first I'm a human being, so that's the attitude I took.

BALDWIN: Yes.

ESPARRA: So, I went and I cried with them, because that's what I do, and I cried.

And then I was like, am I going to be able to see Gina? And she -- the niece says, yes. And Gina wants to see you.

BALDWIN: What?

ESPARRA: And I said, really? And she -- yes, mom asked her. And she goes, Lydia's out there. Do you want to see Lydia?

BALDWIN: And you never met Gina before?

ESPARRA: I have never met -- never.

BALDWIN: You got to know her through missing posters and talking to the family.

ESPARRA: Everything, missing posters, talking to the family.

I used to keep her pictures on my desk. Any time I covered a vigil, I would keep everything on my desk of her to remind me that she was missing. I would talk to Nancy. She would tell me stories. She was shy. She'd never get in a car with anybody, a stranger.

(CROSSTALK)

BALDWIN: How is she? How was Gina?

ESPARRA: She's doing fabulous. It was unbelievable.

My hands were sweating because here's someone I never imagined would come back to us. And so when I went inside, I embraced her and she embraced me reluctantly, because she's, obviously, been locked in a basement for nine years, and we talked.

And the first thing I said is, you look nothing like your composite. She's a tiny little thing. She's very small, short hair. She had longer hair when she disappeared. And her skin's a little pale from the lack of vitamin D from being outside. But she was just so kind and so happy.

And a relative came up to her and said -- was talking in Spanish and she looks at her mom and says, mom, I don't remember my Spanish anymore.

BALDWIN: Really?

ESPARRA: Yes. BALDWIN: She can't speak Spanish anymore?

ESPARRA: No.

And then we had a couple of other words. I asked her about the house, and then I left. The family told me to stay, have food. We're Hispanic. We're very open with one another. Lydia, stay and have food. But I did not want to make her feel uncomfortable. I left.

So, I kind of knew where to go and not to, because I knew when I embraced her, she hasn't been with people for a long time, and I sensed that. And her mom is like, hugs still bother you? She goes, yes. I'm like, Gina, I won't hug you goodbye.

But today she accepted my hug warmly. She was watching videos of our story coverage. She goes, oh, I saw you on video. And so now she feels comfortable with me. She knows me, and the family says she's amazing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: I should tell you that Lydia said she spent quite a bit of time with Gina and the DeJesus family today, and much of what actually they talked about, she couldn't entirely share, just as a family friend.

But she did tell me -- she sort of laughed and said, well, I did bring Gina a lot of "People" magazines to sort of get her caught up with the world after nine years in captivity.

Coming up here live in Boston, as I promised, we were working on clearing these photographs of the backyard where we have seen FBI agents here in Cleveland the last couple of days right here on Seymour Avenue with shovels and dogs in the backyard. I talked to a neighbor right behind who saw it all happen. We have photos. Stay tuned for that.

Also, this just in to CNN. As this mini-trial to decide the fate of Jodi Arias gets ready to begin in Phoenix, we have just learned she is now in a psych ward. More after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: Back here in Cleveland.

We will show you in a matter of minutes these exclusive photographs that myself and my producer, Julian Cummings, have obtained from this neighbor who basically shares the line of that backyard with Ariel Castro and this home here on Seymour Avenue.

So, it was the day after these young women were freed. That's when you start to see the FBI presence out here with the shovels, and the dogs, and the cameras. And so we have now secured these photos that you will see of a hole that has been dug in the back of this house. So, stay tuned for that.

But I want to move to our other big story, the guilty verdict in the murder trial of Jodi Arias.

And my colleague Ashleigh Banfield is live there in Phoenix, where the next phase is slated to start.

Ashleigh, tell me what's happening right now.

ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Brooke, I can't hear you, unfortunately. I apologize, but I just wanted to bring you up to speed, if you haven't already told the viewers, on a few of the breaking news items here in this area at the Maricopa County Superior Court jail.

Number one, Jodi Arias has been brought here to the jail, but it was not the typical way that she has normally been brought. In fact, she spent the night in a place she has not been used to spending the night. She spent the night in the psychiatric ward at the Buckeye jail, not at the Estrella jail, where she has been held most days during this trial, if not every day.