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Massive Winter Storm; Florida Jury Deliberates in Murder Trial

Aired February 12, 2014 - 22:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, everyone.

Tonight, it only looks like a winter wonderland. Take a look, Capitol Hill up on your screen. You can barely see it. It's pretty as a picture.

On the ground, though, it is getting very messy, indeed. The storm is rolling north tonight after pummeling the Southeast, covering Georgia and the Carolinas in ice, snarling traffic, bringing down power lines, grounding flights, at least 10 lives lost, more than 100 million others affected or about to be affected by a winter storm that's not going gentle into that good night.


COOPER (voice-over): The chaos started in Georgia. And now it's hammering North Carolina, millions bracing for a storm the Weather Service called potentially catastrophic, the largest concern, ice, up to an inch thick in some places.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's pretty bad. I used to live in Indiana. And this is worse than that.

COOPER: Sleet and freezing rain are creating treacherous conditions, coating roads and bringing down tree limbs. Already, power is out for nearly half a million across the region. And it could remain that way for days or even weeks.

Anticipating outages, energy companies in South Carolina brought in extra crews to help speed up the process. Officials throughout the South are pleading with people to stay safe and stay off the roads.

GOV. NATHAN DEAL (R), GEORGIA: Stay home and stay out of the way of emergency agencies and power companies.

GOV. PAT MCCRORY (R), NORTH CAROLINA: Be smart during these times. Realize these are dangerous conditions, and realize that as you put yourself in jeopardy, you're putting other people in jeopardy also.

COOPER: While South Carolina and Georgia residents seemed to heed the warnings, stocking up on the essential before the storm hit, much of North Carolina, it seems, has not, around Charlotte and Raleigh-Durham, worsening conditions snarling rush hour traffic, causing massive traffic jams, and in a repeat of Atlanta's mess last week forcing people to abandon their vehicles on the roads. All flights into and out of Raleigh's airport are canceled, adding to the travel nightmare throughout the East, where more than 3,000 flights were scrubbed. The storm will continue to march north, where it will develop into a full-fledged nor'easter overnight, dumping upwards of a foot of snow or more along the busy I-95 Corridor and interior New England.

Officials around Washington, which could see its largest snow totals in four years, are taking no chances, pre-treating roads before the flakes start flying.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're spraying salt down in order to prepare for the roads. Anything comes down, we're prepared for it.


COOPER: Well, Maryland, Washington, Eastern Pennsylvania all now feeling the first effects of the storm. North Carolina on the other hand has already taken a major hit. They canceled the Duke-UNC game for, well, like the first time ever.

The National Guard is out on area highways searching for stranded drivers. North Carolina's governor restating his warning for people to just stay at home, saying conditions could worsen tonight.

One commuter, Tricia Humphrey of the Raleigh-Durham area, got struck in traffic this evening. Her 25-minute drive took her six hours. That's not what she's going to remember probably years from now, which is happened to a car just up the road from where she was right in front of her eyes. Take a look.


TRICIA HUMPHREY, RESIDENT OF NORTH CAROLINA: The next thing you know, I see flames. And a gentleman came up and he said, turn off your car, just relax, you're not going anywhere for a while.

And then finally the police came and they really didn't have anything to put out the flames. So then the actual fire truck came and they put out the flames and the car was just a shell when I went by it later.


COOPER: Quite a story. It's been quite a day in the Tar Heel State.

David Mattingly is in Charlotte for us tonight at this hour.

David, we just heard from Tricia who was driving home from work. Her commute was hours longer than normal. There were some pretty scary scenes on the road. What are you seeing in Charlotte?

DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Nothing anything like that here in Charlotte. But the story here has been the precipitation. We started seeing snow flurries today a little after 9:00 in the morning, between 9:00 and 10:00. Now here we are 12 hours later and we have a pretty steady stream of sleet coming down right now. Occasionally, we have a car going by like this one right here, but for the most part, the streets are deserted tonight, and everyone heeding the warning of officials here, who told them to get out early to get out ahead of the storm.

People were well-informed. Most of them did that. We did see some slipping and sliding going on today sometime around 4:00 as people started leaving a little bit too late, as there was a little too much snow on the ground. There were some accidents, nothing serious, according to the city. Right now, they're having some big meetings here in Charlotte to determine how they're going to proceed tomorrow.

But the buzzword here is for everyone stay off the roads for two reasons, one, for your personal safety, and the other so that crews can get out here and clear the roads -- Anderson.

COOPER: I'm just amazed. David, we're looking at some pictures from earlier in the day on the highways, just how jam-packed the roads out, people out on the highway standing around and abandoning their cars. How bad is it in the rest of the state?

MATTINGLY: It varies.

To the south of here, there will be more of a problem with ice than what we're seeing in Charlotte. To the north of here, there is going to be more snow. The governor made the comment that they're not used to seeing a snow affecting so much of the Tar Heel State at one time. But that's what they're dealing with here, different parts more severe than others and in different ways than others.

COOPER: All right, David Mattingly, we appreciate the update. Thanks, David. Hope you get warm.

We showed you the Capitol Dome at the top of the hour in Washington. Well, down the street, take a look. There's the White House. They're expecting as much as eight inches tonight, which, for the Washington area, qualifies as, well, pretty epic.

Tom Foreman is just south of the District in Alexandria, Virginia.

Tom, how is it there?

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It really has stepped up here in the past couple of hours.

Anderson, we're starting to get exactly what the Carolinas have seen. This is a Virginia Department of Transportation facility here and we have seen dozens and dozens of trucks coming out now, getting filled up with salt to head out on to the roads here to fight this snow as it gathers. The federal government is closed tomorrow. Schools all over are closed tomorrow simply because they don't want to be in the position that Atlanta has been in recently, the Carolinas are in right now. There are going to be 4,000 trucks out here by midnight, working these roads as fast as they can.

Right now, that is the Beltway around Washington that you hear so much about and this traffic has been moving pretty steadily. But we know, as the hours go on, that simply will not continue -- Anderson.

COOPER: How much does it take to clear roads in a storm like this, Tom?

FOREMAN: Well, you know, the simple truth is, if this snow is coming down at one or two inches an hour, they can't really do it.

These snow crews can go out there. They can salt, they can scrape, they can do all they want. They can't really stay ahead of snow that fast. Nonetheless, if you say once this storm passes, when they try to clear it all up, as I mentioned, they will have about 4,000 trucks out here just in the Northern Virginia area and they expect to spend about $25 million trying to get over this storm -- Anderson.

COOPER: All right, Tom, I appreciate it.

And I hope you stay with us throughout this hour tonight, because we're going to be tracking the storm as it moves up north.

Want to give you more now on the big picture.

We will be checking in with Chad Myers throughout the hour and the evening, obviously, to get the pulse of the storm.

Chad, give us the latest, the big picture right now.

CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: The big picture now, the new latest computer models just came out, the latest and greatest. They started running at about 7:00. They're finally all printed out.

So there's a slight change in the forecast, but not that much. Still all of the heavy, heavy snow, all snow will be west of I-95. That's still the same. But New York City, you start out as snow, heavy snow, maybe four inches really very quickly.

Then you change over to sleet and rain for a while, and then back over to snow. And this is going to happen up and down the East Coast, New York, Philadelphia, D.C., Richmond, same story. It's going to snow hard. You could get six inches in a couple of hours. And then it's going to rain on top of it, sleet on top of that.

And then snow comes back in, because cold air comes in behind it. So it's snowing now in D.C., snowing now in Philadelphia, snowing even in Birmingham, Alabama. And this is the story for the next couple of hours. There's the low. This is why it's changed just a little bit. Going to move this low forward. We're going to move it. It's going to drive itself almost over to Charleston and then up the East Coast, stopping at 7:00 a.m. It's snowing in New York. It's already changed over from the heavy snow that you get all night in D.C.

It will be sleeting in D.C., but still, Reston, you get snow. It will be raining in Annapolis. And then on the East Coast, Philadelphia, you're right through it, heavy snow all night. But, by morning, it changes to rain, rain even into New York City.

Let me make that a little bit bigger so you can really see it. See how right here in the city it's green and blue. That's liquid rain falling down at 34 degrees. Same story Philadelphia, 34 degrees, D.C., for a while.

But let me push the button one more time, because, on Thursday night, all of a sudden, cold air comes back in behind it. And what was raining is now back to frozen. And what is raining in Boston will eventually back to frozen as it finally moves away, so kind of the up and down, very -- I'm calling it the crazy forecast of 2014, because literally you're going to get a little bit of everything.

The farther you are west, the less sleet and rain you get. The farther you are east, the more sleet and rain you are going to get. So, that's how your snow totals are going to be drastically different from, let's say, Central New Jersey to Long Island. There may be a difference of 10 inches.

COOPER: So what should people in the next 24 hours be worried about most? What should they be looking for?

MYERS: It's already started and it's already here. It has already snowing. It started snowing about an hour-and-a-half, I don't know, maybe two-and-a-half-hours ago in Richmond, Virginia, and they already have almost three inches on the ground. That's how quickly it's coming down.

So what you see is what you get. You're going to get very heavy snow tonight. Plan on being -- where you want to be by noon, plan on being there by now, like in the next 15 to 20 minutes. Get to where you want to be, because it's going to go downhill in the Northeast rather, rather fast.

COOPER: All right, Chad, appreciate it. As I said, we're going to check in with you throughout the hour.

Let us know what you think about the storm and what you have seen today. You can follow me on Twitter @AndersonCooper. Tweet us using #AC360.

Up next, the storm coverage continues. We want to take a look at airports. There's a lot of folks probably watching right now in airports or planning on going to airports tomorrow. We want to give you what you need to know if you're planning on flying anywhere any time soon. We're talking for several days. We will also check in on the situation near the area around Atlanta, where so many people have lost power.


COOPER: Well, breaking news.

Today's massive winter storm is moving north, making its way up the I-95 Corridor. Chad painted a pretty nasty picture for us a moment ago of what to expect in the Northeast in the hours ahead, snow, sleet, then rain, then back to snow and ice.

It's bad even for people who are not directly in the path of it, namely air travelers.

Our aviation correspondent, Rene Marsh, joins us now with the latest on a whole lot of flight cancellations.

What do we know about the flights in the air right now?


This is just a portion we're looking at along the East Coast here. But this is the activity in real time. And over the entire U.S., we have roughly 4,100 flights in the air right now.

But the big story today about the cancellations, and today we saw more than 3,300 cancellations. The hardest-hit airports, Atlanta, Charlotte, Washington, Reagan and Raleigh Airport, but what about those planes that we just showed you that did get into the air?

Well, today, we went behind the scenes to look at the operations that coordinates thousands of planes despite a major storm on the move.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Atlanta with the freezing rain, we will check in with them. It is starting to snow now at Charlotte, so no changes to that.

MARSH (voice-over): Conference calls every two hours inside the FAA command center as another winter storm moves up the East Coast dumping rain, ice and snow.

On the call, airlines, airports and air traffic control. They're coordinating how to get planes around this winter storm and minimize traveler delay.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have been bumped about -- this will be the second or third time. It's like I'm trying to quit counting.

MARSH: Six large screens display the storm, planes in the air and planes grounded. At Atlanta's Hartsfield Airport, the busiest in the world, planes are parked. (on camera): I see a lot of blue by Atlanta. What are you monitoring here?

TONY TISDALL, FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION: This is one of our primary traffic management tools. And the blue is actually the cancellations that are coming in from the carriers.

MARSH: Atlanta is down to nothing.

TISDALL: Atlanta is pretty much getting down to nothing.

MARSH (voice-over): All airports have a weather plan, and this FAA command center in Warrenton, Virginia, helps coordinate the execution by communicating with 21 regional centers.

(on camera): You're doing real math here as far as how many planes can you de-ice per minute?

TISDALL: Once an airplane de-ices, we want to minimize that time from that happening to them departing. So that's where the numbers really start slowing down a little bit. We don't want to put anybody in a position where they're staying on the ramp where they have go back to de-ice.

MARSH (voice-over): You could call this the calm during the storm. It really gets busy here after the system passes and airlines scramble to get their planes back into the air.


COOPER: Well, and to that point, it's not going to be much better tomorrow, right?

MARSH: No, you hit the nail on the head. Already, some airlines have canceled overnight flights. What that means is those planes will not be in place tomorrow morning, so fliers should expect another rough morning.

And, Anderson, pre-cancellations already more than 4,000 flights pre-canceled, most of those coming out of Atlanta, Philly, and New Jersey.

COOPER: Wow. Wow, what a mess on the East Coast.

All right, Rene, thanks very much.

Now, Atlanta, as we just talked about, which is getting a kind of do-over, a second chance after about two inches of snow and ice a couple weeks ago, as you know, turned the city into really a giant parking lot. It's hard to forget those images of people stuck in cars hour after hour, some of them all day, kids stuck at school, people sleeping in grocery store aisles

Well, this time, the warnings, the closings and preparations, they all came early and people stayed off the road. Salt trucks had room to roll. There was a big difference. Our Gary Tuchman has been out, about. He joins us now.

The storm has been going on there for several hours, and it really hit early in the morning. Does it seem like the worst of it is over?

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, the worst of this storm is over.

It does appear that this time around, the Atlanta metropolitan area has passed snowstorm management 101. There is still some icing, a little bit of icing still left, also a little bit of snowfall still left. The snow is supposed to stop between 3:00 and 5:00 a.m. local time.

But what a difference compared to two weeks ago; two weeks ago, we had the highways and local roads crammed with traffic. People took up to 20 hours to get home from school, to get home from their businesses. But, today, we saw firsthand interstates looked like country roads. They were that empty.

COOPER: And schools have been closed for the past couple of days in preparation for this storm and trying to avoid what happened two weeks ago. They're not going to open tomorrow, are they?

TUCHMAN: No, they're not going to open tomorrow. And a lot of people up north laugh a that. I'm a Chicago, New Jersey native. And I'm telling you not to laugh at it, because here in Atlanta, they have fewer plows, less salt, less sand.

It's very hilly and mountainous and people don't see snow very often. Before two weeks ago, the last time it snowed here, accumulated snow was three years ago in 2011. So that combination of factors makes it very dangerous to drive with any ice on the ground, and therefore almost all schools will be canceled again tomorrow.

COOPER: All right, Gary, thanks very much.

I want to bring in retired Army Lieutenant General Russel Honore, who spearheaded military relief and recovery operations following Hurricane Katrina.

You spoke out a couple weeks about Georgia's -- the lack of preparation there during the last snowstorm. They're weathering certainly this one a little bit better, it looks like, or a lot better. Can we expect things to get worse? Certainly, the situation seems pretty bad in North Carolina.


It will get worse before it gets better. Imagine what happened two weeks ago. They did better this time around. This time, we have the lights out. And when we get the electricity out to large populations, it's set back the way we live 80 years. Water stops running, no flushing toilets. It really creates a mess when we lose power. But they are doing a lot better, both the mayor and the governor. And congratulations to them.

COOPER: And in terms of infrastructure, I mean, hundreds of thousands of people without power, as you just mentioned, in the Southeast. It's really the ice, not the snow, that causes the power lines to fall. Is it just a matter of money that communities are not putting power lines underground?

HONORE: Yes, that, Anderson, and the absence of any tree trimming, seriously.

If you drive around Atlanta, beautiful city, I love it there, you will see mile after mile of trees that are taller than the power lines. Atlanta's referred to as a forest with a city in it. And 80 percent of the power lines in America are above ground.

I lived in both Harlem and Germany. In both of those locations, the power is generally underground in most communities. And -- but the downside of underground power is cost. And who pays to put that in the ground? It costs about double the amount to put underground power as in above ground. Above-ground mile in a new subdivision is about $200,000.

Underground in that same distance in a new subdivision is over -- right at $500,000. To put it in an existing inner-city neighborhood is over $700,000. Who pays the cost if you want to do that?

COOPER: Right.

HONORE: The other downside is flooding, Anderson. Like, it happens in New York sometimes, they have underground power, but there can be flooding and have catastrophic effects also.

COOPER: The other big thing is tree maintenance, which is obviously important, but then again that's a question of money.

HONORE: Money. Most of our power companies, they do lean operations, only trim where they have to.

And they're helped in a negative way by the green people in the communities who refuse to allow you to cut a tree. If you wanted to cut a tree in Atlanta, you have got to get a permission from an arborist who will come out and look at the tree on your property and tell you if you can cut it or not.

The downside of it is, when we have a storm like this, everybody wants to know why isn't the power underground and why are those trees allowed to fall on the power lines? It's a dilemma, short-lived. Next week, people are going to be talking about something else.

But we have a problem in America with our infrastructure, particularly with our power grid. This is just one of them. And we must address it with some standards.

COOPER: Yes. General Honore, it's good to have you on. Thank you, sir.

Well, for more on the story, you can go to any time.

COOPER: Up next: the jury in Michael Dunn's loud music murder story, well, they began deliberations tonight. The equal justice panel weighs in on that effectiveness of today's closing arguments.

Also ahead tonight, take a look at this.


COOPER: You going to put that in there? Wow. Look at that. Good job.


COOPER: Tonight, we begin a really remarkable series on babies and their brains. The question is, are babies born knowing the difference between right and wrong? A lot of people think babies are a blank slate. Wait until you see what researchers at Yale University have discovered. It's fascinating.


COOPER: "Crime and Punishment" tonight: A jury in Jacksonville, Florida, is now deciding the guilt of innocence of Michael Dunn.

Jurors began deliberating late this afternoon. But we have just learned that they have wrapped up for the night without reaching a verdict. They are going to resume obviously deliberations tomorrow morning at 10:00.

Now, as you know, Dunn is charged in murder in the shooting death of a 17-year-old man, Jordan Davis, at a gas station in 2012. He claims he acted in self-defense during a confrontation with a group of teenagers in an SUV.

Our Martin Savidge was inside the courtroom today.


MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In closing arguments, prosecutors said 17-year-old Jordan Davis may have a big mouth, but he never had a weapon.

ERIN WOLFSON, PROSECUTOR: Let me be very clear. On November 23, 2012, when this defendant shot and killed Jordan Davis, there was no gun in that Durango. There was no stick. There was no bat. There was no lead pipe. There was no gun.

SAVIDGE: Forty-seven-year-old Michael Dunn says it all started when he exchanged words over loud music coming from an SUV carrying four teens. He says he pulled his weapon after he thought he saw the teens, at least one of them, point something out the rear window toward him.

Dunn fired nine shots at near point-blank range into the SUV, killing Davis.

Assistant state's attorney Erin Wolfson depicted Dunn as an angry trigger-happy man with a predisposition for hate.

WOLFSON: This defendant fired round after round after round into that car.

SAVIDGE: Without warning, she startled the courtroom, playing the sounds of gunfire captured by a surveillance recording. On the witness stand, Dunn said he shot in self-defense after Davis got out of the SUV to attack him.

But prosecutors say the SUV and Dunn's car were parked too close for Davis to get out. And they say Dunn didn't shoot to protect himself. He shot because he was angry because Davis had talked back to him. Prosecutors say it wasn't self-defense; it was murder.

WOLFSON: But this defendant took it upon himself to silence Jordan Davis forever. Even people who have a right to self-defense do not have the right to take the life of a child when that self-defense is unreasonable.

SAVIDGE: Prosecutors said leaving the scene and never calling 911 that night or the next day was further proof Dunn thought he got away with it.

But defense attorney Cory Strolla quickly countered claims his client was angry, saying the other teens testified the only person they saw upset was Davis, not Dunn.

CORY STROLLA, ATTORNEY FOR MICHAEL DUNN: Even they admitted on cross-examination, did you see him get angry? No, sir. Did you see him curse? No. Did he punch anything, throw anything? No.

SAVIDGE: Then defense attorney Strolla began a systematic attack on the state's case, claiming witnesses with criminal past got favorable legal treatment from the prosecution for their testimony, that the medical examiner's findings Davis could suffer the wounds he did only while remaining seated in the SUV didn't match bullet trajectories.

STROLLA: It's physics. It's the law of a universe that can't change. This isn't "The Matrix."

SAVIDGE: As for the state's contention the teens had no gun, Strolla said, there was a gun; police just didn't find it. He says, after fleeing the gunfire, the SUV stopped for three minutes at a plaza next door, plenty of time, Strolla said, for the occupants to toss a weapon.

He said, in a sign of sloppy police work, investigators failed to secure the crime scene and didn't look for a weapon for days.

STROLLA: Never asked about the plaza. Never asked about underneath the cars in the plaza. Never checked the bushes. Never checked the Dumpsters. But you know when the detective alleges they did it? Five days later.

SAVIDGE: Strolla never attempted to explain why his client failed to call 911 after the shooting, instead going to a hotel with his fiancee and ordering a pizza. The defense attorney simply said all that mattered was that his client felt threatened and that, as a result, the jury was required to find Michael Dunn not guilty.

Martin Savidge, CNN, Jacksonville.


COOPER: Lots to talk about. Let's bring in our legal justice analysts, our legal justice panel. Sunny Hostin, a former federal prosecutor was inside the courtroom in Jacksonville today, and Mark Geragos, a criminal defense attorney.

Sunny, essentially here the defense saying it was sloppy police work; they didn't secure the crime scene. But Dunn didn't call police until or didn't admit what he had done publicly until the next day. So it wasn't as if the police were on scene right after the shooting.

SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, that's right. I mean, it was really an interesting argument that he tried to make, saying that the police never searched Dumpsters, never searched the grounds for this alleged shotgun.

In John Guy's closing argument, rebuttal argument, which I thought was absolutely brilliant, he pointed out that the only reason that police didn't search the grounds is because they didn't know John -- Michael Dunn's story until days later. He never called the police, Anderson. Actually, the police looked for him.

COOPER: And Mark, do you agree with that? I mean, this was kind of a red herring by the defense?

MARK GERAGOS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: No, not at all. I mean, clearly, they knew something had happened. I agree that probably the worst fact for the defense is that he didn't call 911 or that he didn't report it immediately. I'm not going to fight that. But that doesn't excuse what I consider to be and what the defense is arguing shoddy police work.

Remember, the prosecution has the burden of proof. The defense doesn't have to prove a thing here. They've got to prove it beyond a reasonable doubt.

COOPER: But in terms of searching for a gun, Dunn never said there was a gun until days later, Mark.

GERAGOS: Right. But the police obviously know something happened. Shots were fired. You know, that doesn't -- the idea that somehow they weren't going to explore this or they weren't going to go and find out where they went afterwards or anything else I think is not real good police work. That's -- I can't tell you how many cases I've had where the police will scour the grounds, so to speak, and scour anybody's route in order to see if they can find something else. You can't believe, and you have to have a healthy skepticism to what anybody is telling you in any kind of a criminal investigation.

COOPER: Sunny, how did you think both sides did in closing arguments?

HOSTIN: You know, I think it was quite a surprise to everyone that Erin Wolfson, the third chair, the youngest assistant state attorney, delivered the closing argument. But she was very good, very competent, very methodical and really did a terrific job of pointing out all the defendant's inconsistencies.

I also actually, though, thought that the defendant attorney did a pretty good job in arguing self-defense, in arguing reasonable doubt, in arguing this notion of shoddy police work.

But the best argument of the day -- and I know Mark is going to say that I'm saying this because it came from McDreamy, but it did come from McDreamy.

GERAGOS: You know, Anderson...

HOSTIN: Assistant State Attorney John Guy was passionate. He was spot on in his arguments. He was spot on, Mark, and you know that. And there wasn't a dry eye in the courtroom after his argument.

He made sure that Jordan Davis was front and center in that courtroom. In fact, he ended his examination on Jordan Davis's picture and said to the jury that the dead are owed the truth. I thought it was brilliant. It was masterful. And I would be surprised if the jury isn't thinking about that rebuttal argument when they walked into that jury room.

COOPER: Very briefly before I go to Mark, Sunny, how diverse is the jury? We talked about this at the beginning of the trial. What's the makeup of the jury in terms of race?

GERAGOS: It is -- it is quite diverse. It's very different from the Zimmerman jury. We know there were only six in the Zimmerman jury. There are 12. There are two African-American women, Anderson. I think they're about in their 20s or their 30s. There's also an Asian woman.


GERAGOS: There's also an Hispanic male. All the rest are white. Seven of them are women; five are men.

COOPER: Mark, how do you think that plays? Because at the start of this, you said a lot of this depends on jury selection and the makeup of the jury.

GERAGOS: Well, that's one of the reasons I've said I think the best the defense can hope for in this case is a hung jury. I don't think you're going to see an acquittal. We'll see. It's Florida. But my guess is, my best guess is that the best thing that the defense can hope for is some kind of a split and a hung jury. I don't think you're going to see a "not guilty." COOPER: Interesting. All right. Sunny Hostin, appreciate it. Mark Geragos, as well.

HOSTIN: We can agree on that.

COOPER: Yes. We'll see what happens tomorrow.

Up next, some incredible insight on baby's brains. It could really change the way you think about your own children.


COOPER: So when most people think of babies as blank slates, your experiments say that's not true.


COOPER: Also tonight, an up-close look at the mess in Atlanta. She followed the advice, stayed at home when the storm hit. And look at what happened. A tree slamming through her house. We'll tell you how she's doing now.


COOPER: Tonight we start a three-part series on babies' brains. It's going to be over the next three nights. Have you ever wondered what a baby is thinking and whether they know the difference between good and bad, even when they're born, even when they're three months old or six months old?

Well, researchers at Yale University have spent nearly a decade studying the minds and behaviors of babies in order to find out if they're really born as a blank slate, as many people think, or with a moral belief system already built in, hard-wired in. Of course, babies can't talk or write, but that doesn't stop the folks at Yale's Baby Lab from seeking answers. And what they've discovered is really eye-opening. Take a look.


COOPER (voice-over): Meet Megan (ph). She's six months old.

(on camera): Look how pretty you are.

(voice-over): So is Connor (ph). Hazel is 11 months. And Lyle just three months old. These babies are helping to answer one of life's biggest questions: Are we born knowing right from wrong?

(on camera): So when most people think of babies as blank slates. But your experiments say that's not true, that it's not that they have to be taught wrong from right.

DR. KAREN WYNN, INFANT COGNITION CENTER, YALE UNIVERSITY: From the very early ages we know there is a lot going on in there.

COOPER: Can you put that in there? Wow. Look at that. Good job.

(voice-over): This is the Infant Cognition Center at Yale University, otherwise known as the Baby Lab. Based on over eight years of studies, researchers here believe that babies are not taught the difference between good and bad but instead are born knowing it.

As these babies grow, their moral beliefs are enhanced by parents and society, but they aren't created by them. The studies are conducted with the help of puppet shows. The puppets acts out good and bad behavior.

Watch as this puppet struggles to open a box. A green bunny comes along and helps to open the box. Green bunny, nice and helpful. Then an orange bunny comes along and slams the box shut. Orange bunny, mean and unhelpful. The actions are repeated a number of times.

But what does this mean to 6-month-old Megan (ph)? She watches the show and is then presented with the two puppets, the nice green bunny and the mean orange bunny.


COOPER: Megan (ph) grabs for the green bunny, the nice one.

Dr. Karen Wynn runs the Yale Baby Lab. She says by grabbing with her hands, Megan (ph) shows she understands the difference between good and bad.

WYNN: When it comes to the social world, little Megan (ph) here who is hugging -- that's cute -- she's showing the really typical response of all of the babies that come in. They gravitate towards the helpful characters and the friendly characters from very early on there.

COOPER: How do we know what she's really thinking?

WYNN: Well, we don't know the subtleties of what she's really thinking. But what we find is when they look at a social interaction between two individuals, they can tell whether that's a positive one or a negative one, and they're drawn towards the positive character.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Up goes the curtain.

COOPER (voice-over): Connor (ph) and Soshi (ph) watch the same show. Nice bunny, mean bunny. According to the studies, over 80 percent of the time the nice bunny ends up in the arms of the baby.

Wynn and her team wanted to see if babies even younger than six months would recognize good and bad behavior. So they tried this experiment with 3-month-olds. Babies this young don't have the motor skills to grab for anything, so how do they show their preference? It turns out by staring. Babies this young are known to stare longer at things they like, and they avert their eyes from things they don't like.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Noah, who do you like? COOPER: Noah looks at the bad orange bunny, then switches his gaze to the good green bunny. And he keeps staring.

WYNN: They're not old enough to reach, but in their looking they will orient visually to the positive characters much, much more so.

COOPER (on camera): They look more at the positive character?

WYNN: They look lots longer at the positive characters.

COOPER: Does that surprise you?

WYNN: It did. It did. That did surprise me. And what it's caused me to believe is that it's just a kind of a fundamental value. We're built to say this is good, this is positive, this is bad.

COOPER: That's incredible. Incredible. Yes.

(voice-over): What's also incredible is that about 90 percent of the 3-month-olds tested seemed to recognize good behavior.

Nineteen-month-old Natalie takes the experiment one step further.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Natalie, we're going to play a game, OK?

COOPER: By not only recognizing good and bad behavior but acting on it. Natalie is presented with two empty bowls placed in front of the two puppets from the show.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, no, Natalie, look. There's only one treat left. There's only one treat left to give.

COOPER: Watch as she gives it to the good puppet.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Who do you want to give a treat to? That guy? OK.

COOPER (on camera): So what does it tell you?

WYNN: They're actually -- I think it tells us that they're actually evaluating who's deserving of what types of behavior in the world, and who -- you know, who do they feel warrants getting the benefits.

COOPER (voice-over): And the babies take a step further. They don't just reward; they punish, as well. Here they're given a choice to take a treat away from a good or bad puppet.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Who do you want to take a treat from?

COOPER: Almost 90 percent of the time, the babies will punish the bad puppet.

(on camera): Now, is it possible this is just coincidence, that they're just kind of gravitating to a color of the shirt they like more or where the placement is?

WYNN: Good question. We switch the colors of the shirts. So for half the babies, the green-shirted puppet is nice. And for half the babies it's the orange-shirted puppet that's nice. And what we find over and over again, it really doesn't relate to color of the shirt or which puppet's on the left and on the right. It's who's been the positive character.

COOPER (voice-over): Even though these babies can't tell us what they're thinking, their actions here at the Baby Lab are helping us understand more about what's going on behind those eyes.


COOPER: It's really fascinating. There's a lot more going on behind their eyes than we probably previously thought. We just saw babies recognizing good behavior, bad behavior. In part two of our series tomorrow, we're going to look at situations where bad guys have something that babies want, and then we'll see what it takes for the baby to actually interact with the bad guy.


COOPER (voice-over): After the show, the good green bunny and the bad orange bunny each offer Lucy some graham crackers. The good bunny has just one cracker to offer, but the bad bunny has two. Which one will Lucy choose?


COOPER: We answer that tomorrow on 360 at 8 p.m. Eastern.

Coming up tonight, the latest on the ice and snow making a mess of the southeast and heading for the northeast, as well. We'll check back in with Chad Myers.

Also an 86-year-old woman in Atlanta, her harrowing storm survival story. Her roof collapsed on top of her while she was sleeping in bed. We'll meet her coming up.


COOPER: Welcome back. Take a look at Raleigh, North Carolina, earlier today. A taste of things to come for drivers tomorrow morning in Washington, D.C. and points north all along the I-95 corridor.

It is not just treacherous for people out driving on snowy and icy streets tonight. Just before dawn today, a woman in Atlanta found out the hard way of the dangers of nasty weather: they can come slamming right into your own home. Gary Tuchman has her story.


GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The advice in Atlanta was to stay at home. But for an unlucky few trying to stay safe in the freezing rain, sleet and snow, it would have been safer to be away from home.

A huge tree fell on top of this Atlanta house. And this is what happened inside. An elderly woman was sleeping on this bed when the roof came down on top of her. That woman is Leila Grier, who was hospitalized for bruises and lacerations.

LEILA GRIER, TREE FELL ON HER: I woke up with the house on top of me.

TUCHMAN: Three weeks ago, Leila became a widow, her husband of 67 years passing away.

(on camera): How old are you, Leila?

GRIER: Eighty-six.

TUCHMAN: You're 86 years old. You look younger, despite that shiner on your face. Are you doing OK?

GRIER: Yes, I'm fine.

TUCHMAN: You're a brave woman. It must have been scary.

GRIER: It was scary.

TUCHMAN: Tell me what happened.

GRIER: I was just laying in the bed and I hear all of this noise and all of this stuff is on top of me.

TUCHMAN: Did you know what was going on?

GRIER: No, I didn't.

TUCHMAN: What did you think was happening?

GRIER: I thought it was judgment day.

TUCHMAN: You thought what?

GRIER: It was judgment day.

TUCHMAN: You thought it was judgment day?

(voice-over): Once Leila realized it was her roof, she yelled for help. Her son and nephew found her and rescued her.

GRIER: I'm still kind of shaky from it, because I realized I could have been hurt worse.

TUCHMAN: As a matter of fact, the empty bedroom next to hers was even more heavily damaged. Leila will now move in with other family members and hopes her insurance policy will enable her to rebuild her damaged home.

GRIER: I thank the lord for taking care of me. (END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: What a lovely lady. I feel so bad for her. How is she doing tonight?

TUCHMAN: Anderson, I'll tell you, when I talked to her and learned her story, I just could not believe that an 86-year-old woman whose roof fell on her in her bed wasn't in the hospital overnight. She went to the hospital, and they assured her she was doing fine. She's a tough woman. And they let her go home. She's doing very well.

When I asked her about how she's coping with everything she's been through -- her husband and now this -- she did say to me, she said it seems like everything is going wrong at once. But it's very clear that she has a lot of faith, and that's helping her through all this.

COOPER: I love it when she said she thought it was judgment day. And, you know, I'm sure she would fare quite well on judgment day.

TUCHMAN: Anderson -- Anderson, this is interesting. She started off this morning by thinking it was judgment day, and she ended up by thinking that she could live until she's 110 years old, because she feels very lucky.

COOPER: Yes, lucky indeed. Gary, thanks very much.

Want to get an update on the storm from our meteorologist, Chad Myers, at the weather center at this late hour. So Chad, a couple states have declared states of emergency. How serious will the storm get from now?

CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Well, you know, it snows very hard overnight in a lot of cities. And then it changes over to rain and sleet, gets warmer for a while tomorrow. Then it's back over to snow before it finally ends.

The snow is going hard in D.C. right now. Into Richmond, Virginia, same story. But now backing off to rain in Raleigh, getting up to about 33 degrees in a place that was almost just standstill earlier today, with all those people, it really did look like Atlanta a couple of weeks ago.

Here's what the forecast looks like, and I'm going to keep zooming in so you can kind of get a better idea. Where Boston doesn't get very much snow. It snows for a while, but it almost gets washed away by all the rain that's going to come through.

New York, big difference between Long Island and west of the city, where you could get two inches if you get out towards the Hamptons, and then 12 inches west of the city into parts of New Jersey. Same story here in Philadelphia. Less, more. D.C., less, more. It's just one thing after another. One big city after another that either gets missed, because it's just off to the west if you live there, or if you live off to the east, all of a sudden you get just a couple of inches. And so it's even from Annapolis to Reston, Virginia, we could go from 2 to 12 inches of show, depending on where you are. And there's only about a, what, maybe a 40-mile drive across that border. That's the border we're talking about.

As the low runs up the East Coast, it snows hard all night long: snows D.C., snows Philadelphia, snows New York. This is 7 a.m. for your commute. It starts to change over to rain in D.C. and rain in Philadelphia for a while. Then rain in New York City for a while, rains in Boston. But back by tomorrow night, changes back over to snow. So it's this rain-snow-rain kind of all over the place. You wait five minutes and your forecast will change.

COOPER: All right, Chad. Thanks very much.

Up next, firefighters rescue more than a dozen people stuck on a roller coaster for more than three hours in the rain. Imagine that.

Also, take a look at these pictures. Those are Corvettes being swallowed up by the earth. We'll tell you why it happened and where when we continue.


COOPER: Let's check in with Randi Kaye and a "360 Bulletin" -- Randi.

KAYE: Anderson, there's breaking news tonight on your television dial. The two biggest cable companies could be getting together. CNN's Brian Stelter reporting that tomorrow, Comcast will announce its intent to acquire Time Warner Cable in a $45 billion deal.

Former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin was convicted today of a slew of corruption charges. He was found guilty of bribery, money laundering, fraud and filing false tax returns. Nagin could face 20 years in prison, but he vows to appeal.

Investigators in Tennessee have recovered a note at a home where a package exploded on Monday, killing a retired lawyer. A source says it's believed the note was attached to a bomb, which may have been sent in an act of revenge.

At least 15 people stuck on a malfunctioning roller coaster for more than three hours in the rain at Busch Gardens in Tampa, Florida, were rescued by firefighters tonight. Everybody is OK, but it's unclear what caused the glitch in that ride.

And take a look at this video from inside the National Corvette Museum in Kentucky. A sinkhole caused the display floor to collapse, swallowing those two cars. A total of eight of the classic vehicles were damaged by the sinkhole, said to measure 40 feet wide and 20 feet deep. Apparently, a cave sits underneath that museum, Anderson.

COOPER: Wow, what a spot. Incredible.

All right. Randi, thanks very much.

That does it for us. Appreciate you watching. "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts now. Have a great night.