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Church Service Begins at 9:30AM ET; "Credible Sighting" of Killer Fugitives; Apparent Manifesto Reveals Racist Images, Rant. Aired 8-8:30a ET

Aired June 21, 2015 - 08:00   ET


[08:00:00] ALISON KOSIK, CNN ANCHOR: This church will become a house of worship again.

And as the city heals, and moves forward, we're learning shocking new details from the man behind the shooting, a Web site and manifesto of what was going on in his mind leading up to the deadly attack.

And new developments in New York. Police are out in force this morning looking for two escaped killers. Could search teams be closing in on the missing men?

Good morning, everyone. I'm Alison Kosik, in for Christi Paul.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Victor Blackwell in Charleston, South Carolina. Good to have you with us this morning.

I'm outside Mother Emanuel as it's called, Emanuel AME Church, where just a few days ago, Wednesday evening, nine people were shot and killed, and today, the doors of the church will reopen. There will be Sunday service here after church classes, and at 10:00 this morning, there will be a moment of solidarity across this city, across the country, as bells will ring at churches across the United States.

Consider how incredible and really inspiring this is when just a few days ago those nine people were killed at this church, and members of their literal families, their church family, will go back in to the church. Already this morning, people have been gathering here bringing flowers, some singing, some just standing and crying.

And I want to walk you through the day. After Sunday school, the church classes, there will be services again starting at 9:30. At 10:00, the bells will ring here in Charleston and across the country, a moment of solidarity.

Then, this evening, at 7:45, as many as 3,000 people will form a bridge of peace across a -- a literal bridge stretching from Charleston to Mount Pleasant, South Carolina. They will join hands in a unity chain across the bridge here in Charleston.

Let's stalk about the church services today. I've got Martin Savidge here with me.


BLACKWELL: You will attend -- good morning -- the service this morning. Unimaginable, to me, that people will go back in to this church. But some say they have to.

SAVIDGE: Right. And there's a mixture of emotions. It is also unimaginable because given the fact that 24 hours ago this was still a crime scene, yesterday Charleston police lifted that. That allowed for the service to go forward.

There are a couple of things that make this difficult. Not just the fact that you have this horrendous slaughter that took place inside. But remember the people who would normally organize, that would plan a service like this, many of them were killed.


SAVIDGE: So, you have a leadership that is struggling to come to grips with how to lead this church, at the same time while trying to come to the on the service. It is being called a healing service. It is being described that I will be normal, a word that sounds almost outlandish given what's happened.

But the idea here is to not make this so much a memorial, as it is a way for people to get back in to the church, to get back in to their faith. There will be messages of hope. There will be recognition that this is Father's Day. There were going to be other faiths and other church leaders that will be helping to take part.

The question is, how many people will show? And the reason I say that is not that people don't feel support.


SAVIDGE: Not that they don't want to be there. But there are parishioners, there are family members, who say that they just can't walk through the doors right now. That it is too soon. The memory is too large.

And they will note the absences of people who are not there. That will be too painful. So, we'll be paying very close attention, security very tight.

BLACKWELL: We've talked this morning with Malcolm Graham and you're going to hear from him in a moment, who says that he's not at the point of forgiveness yet, as we've heard from family members at that bond hearing. So, the message will be, especially important. Whatever the sermon will be, you said that this will be in many ways normal.

Do we know more about that message?

SAVIDGE: Well, of course, forgiveness will be a part of that subject, because it's one of the primary tenets, isn't it, of this faith, of most faiths. And I think also, too, I talk to the husband of Cynthia Hurd, he also

is not at that point yet. He said his wife, who died, would forgive. He's not ready for that.

So, I think the messages there are going to be one for a parish, and also for a community, and also for a nation.


SAVIDGE: They realize that, you know, this is in many ways everybody's church today. And that from California to Maine, people will be in the pews, or they will be praying, or they will be somehow involved in the service that happens. The capacity of this church, by the way, is about 400.

So, you can imagine, far more people probably want to attend than can.

BLACKWELL: All right, Martin Savidge. Thank you so much for speaking with us. We'll talk more throughout the morning, after the ceremony to get some moments of reflection from you and what stood out to you, as well.

Let's now talk more about the victims of this tragedy. One person attending today's services as I mentioned, Malcolm Graham. He is the brother of Cynthia Hurd, who was murdered on Wednesday night.

Earlier, Graham told me that he feels no hate, but rather joy.

[08:05:03] Imagine, joy, that his sister has now returned to the Lord. Listen.




GRAHAM: I feel joy that she's with the lord today. She is not a victim of this senseless crime. She got her victory on Wednesday night. And tonight, she celebrates her birthday with the Lord. She's seeing family members, my mother and my father and grandparents. She's at peace. So I take solitude when she lost her life last Wednesday she lost it in the church.


BLACKWELL: Wow, imagine that. Joy.

And today is or would have been Cynthia Hurd's 55th birthday.

Let's talk about this community as it tries to heal, I'm joined now by Carl Anderson. He is South Carolina state representative, chairman of the South Carolina Legislative Black Caucus.

Good to have you this morning.


BLACKWELL: It's good to talk to you, especially because there are some political movements, or initiatives that are starting. I want to start with talking about the flag that so many people believe needs to come down from the state property in Columbia, and across the state.


BLACKWELL: Talk about the initiative to accomplish that.

ANDERSON: Well, many years ago, we rallied for the flag to come down off the dome. And the AME Church was one of the strong leaders in rallying for that, along with other political activists. It did -- it came down off of the dome, but they still placed it on the ground. So, we just hope that seven months from now, when we go back in to session in January of 2016, that everyone would remember and the legislature in the state of South Carolina that the flag needs to come off of our state property.


ANDERSON: We have state museum that the flag could go in, and sit in a case. So, we just hope that everybody would come aboard, that it would be a bipartisan bill that we would remove the flag off of the state ground.

BLACKWELL: But this is not a new hope. I want to put, guys, in the control room, put up that tweet from Mitt Romney. As we know, Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican nominee for president, in which he wrote, do we have that tweet to put up on the screen?

Here it is. "Take down the Confederate flag at the South Carolina capitol. To many, it is a symbol of racial hatred. Remove it now to honor Charleston victims."

Also, Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush mentioned that in Florida, they took it down and placed it in a museum.

As you mention, this initiative, this is not new.


BLACKWELL: So, we need to say that. This is not a new initiative.

ANDERSON: No, this is not new.

BLACKWELL: Do you believe there is enough momentum now to accomplish that for people who believe that it should come down?

ANDERSON: I believe there's enough momentum now but I just hope that this momentum continues until we get back in session, you know, where we can put this bill into effect, just like last month, with the shooting of Walter Scott. We made a fast track and put that bill in for body camera, became bipartisan. The bill was passed. It was signed by the governor. Senator Clementa Pinckney stood right there with me as chairman of the

black caucus and many others to make sure that we told the audience that we would not stop until we saw that body camera bill pass. And that's what took place.

And we need to do the same thing now. We need to work across the aisles. Yes, it's good for these candidates to come to South Carolina. But, it's going to take South Carolinians, it's going to take those persons that served in the Senate and in the House, a representative in the state of South Carolina.

We don't need outsiders to come and tell us just because they're running for something that we need to do this. We know what we need to do. We know that South Carolina needs to make sure that that flag goes to a museum and off of the state grounds.

BLACKWELL: All right, Representative Carl Anderson. Good to have you with us this morning.

Many believe that the Confederate flag represents heritage and not hate. And that is a conversation that we have been having here on this show for some time. We had it yesterday and will continue to have it.

Let's talk more about what we're learning from this discovery online, this manifesto. This website of the man behind this attack. We're learning a few things. It's hard to look at this rationally because it is irrational, a bit of a rant. How do you defend someone now facing nine counts of murder with writings like the one that we've discovered?

Also, the breaking news this morning, another potential sighting, being called a credible sighting, of the two escaped convicts in New York.

[08:10:06] Search teams now descent on the small town in New York.


KOSIK: We'll get back to Charleston in just a minute.

But first breaking news: officials say the small town of Friendship, New York, needs to be on high alert, acting on what they call a quote yesterday ill sighting of the two fugitives who escaped from prison more than two weeks ago, police helicopters and heavily armed officers are descending on the area, hoping to catch the dangerous convicts.

CNN's Cristina Alesci is in Allegany County, the new hot spot in the search, and CNN's Sara Ganim is at the prison where all of this started.

Cristina, what's the latest on the manhunt?

CRISTINA ALESCI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We don't have too many details, Alison, about the manhunt. My producer and I are making calls to law enforcement here to get the latest. So far, we've heard radio silence.

I'm at a command center. There's been a huge amount of police activity. Two dozen vehicles went out this morning at sunrise. We've got helicopters landing, K-9 units, Special Operation units, all canvassing the area here.

You know, one thing that makes this search very different from the prior searches is that we do have a few details on the actual area of the search.

[08:15:02] So, in that sense, there are more details, and police seem to be looking at tracks near a railway line. But that's all we have so far, Alison.

KOSIK: OK, we'll stay on top of those details with you.

Sara, let me ask you this. What are you learning about the corrections officer at the prison who's been on administrative leave as part of the investigation into this escape?

SARA GANIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Alison. As the search continues, so does the investigation here of the escape. This corrections officer is now the second employee from inside the prison to be implicated in some way in aiding in this escape.

This is a male corrections officer, has not yet been named. But on Friday night was put on administrative leave, and the district attorney telling FOX News last night that that person is cooperating, is being interviewed by the FBI.

He also said there's the potential for charges to be filed against that corrections officer. He told our affiliate, WPTZ, that those charges would be facilitating the escape and promoting prison contraband. Those are the same two charges that the prison seamstress Joyce Mitchell was charged with nine days ago -- Alison.

KOSIK: OK. And this is a story that can change by the minute. We will stay on top of it all day.

Cristina Alesci, Sara Ganim, thanks.

And let's go back to Charleston where Victor is at where I'm sure it's a very emotional day.

BLACKWELL: Yes, Alison, it is. In about 15 minutes, church classes will begin here. Emanuel AME Church just a few days since that massacre here in the church basement. People have already started to line up.

CNN national reporter Nick Valencia just on the other side of this church says that there is a long line of people waiting to get in. We'll take you inside the service live when it begins at 9:30 Eastern.

Also this morning, new insight into the mind of this mass shooter, of the Emanuel AME Church here in Charleston, South Carolina. The confessed killer has left behind a reportedly a manifesto describing the motive behind his attack. We'll try to learn as much as we can, and the potential legal fallout. That's next.


[08:21:04] BLACKWELL: People are now going in to Emanuel AME church here. In just about ten minutes, church classes will begin at the church, affectionately known as Mother Emanuel. And that will be before the 9:30 Eastern services that are scheduled.

But, as the people of this community, of Charleston, try to heal, after the heartache caused by this tragedy, we're learning more about the man who confessed to the slaughter of nine members of this church.

And a racist rant on a Web site owned by the confessed killer, Dylann Roof, reads in part -- let's put up on the screen so people can read along with me. "I have no choice," he writes. "Someone has to have the bravery to take it to the real world, and I guess that has to be me."

The site also has pictures of Roof holding Confederate flag, burning American flags, and wearing a shirt with a racist message.

Here's more from CNN's Nick Valencia.


NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The pictures are startling. Confessed Charleston church shooter Dylann Roof holds a burning American flag. He takes aim with a .45 caliber Glock pistol with a laser site. He holds a Confederate flag.

The Web site Roof owns titled "The Last Rhodesian", on it a manifesto that captured the 21-year-old's troubling words. "We have no skinheads, no real KKK, no one doing anything but talking on the Internet." The document reads, "Well, someone has to have the bravery to take it to the real world. And I guess that has to be me."

Roof hints that why he chose Charleston to carry out the massacre that left nine members of the Emanuel AME Church dead, calling Charleston, "the most historic city in my state".

Roof, who appeared in court Friday to face formal charges, said he became transformed by the controversial Trayvon Martin case. "I was in disbelief", Roof writes, "How could the news be blowing up the Trayvon Martin case while hundreds of these black on white murders got ignored?" It was not clear what he was referring to.

This latest piece to the complicated puzzle may offer some insights for investigators, but it's no consolation for a community still reeling from the violence.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Heartbreaking. And my prayers definitely go out to the family. It's heartbreaking.


VALENCIA: And overnight we received a statement from the family of Trayvon Martin that read, in part, "It is very unfortunate that an individual with such a vile mind and clear criminal intent would dare seek to undermine our mission of peace in an attempt to destroy the legacy of our son, Trayvon Martin. Trayvon did not commit any crime, nor did he murder anyone. He, too, was a victim."

This shooter said that he wanted to start a race war and hoped that the community would be divided, but it appears that the exact opposite has happened as residents here, far and beyond, have handled this situation with integrity and grace and we've seen that unity firsthand, especially this morning -- Victor.

BLACKWELL: Indeed. The antithesis of a race war. When I came here there were people of many races from not just across the state, but across the country --

VALENCIA: That's right.

BLACKWELL: -- singing, crying, embracing one another.

Nick Valencia, thank you so much.

VALENCIA: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: Let's talk about the legal impact and ramifications of this reported manifesto from Dylann Roof. We've got with us defense attorney Scott Bolden.

Thank you for joining us, Scott.

A. SCOTT BOLDEN, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Thank you for having me again.

BLACKWELL: So given this manifesto, apparently, was written by Dylann Roof, there is clarity here. Demented logic, but clarity.

How does one defend a client like Roof?

BOLDEN: Well, that manifesto, whether they can get it into evidence or not, gives you a window in to his mind. It has intent.

[08:25:02] It has all the things that the prosecution would want.

First of all, you got to find someone to defend this individual, because it's a high profile matter. But some lawyers may not want to take it.

Secondly, insanity by -- the insanity defense would be available, but, it would only be -- it would be because, can he distinguish between legal right and wrong? But also under South Carolina law, could he distinguish between what's morally right and wrong? Which is a quirk in the law compared to other jurisdictions.

BLACKWELL: I don't want to get too deep into the weeds here, but you mentioned at the top, if they can get it into evidence. You think that might be difficult carry for the prosecution?

BOLDEN: Well, CNN has made a big deal as to whether who the author was, but it's clearly registered to Roof. And so, it may be difficult to get in, depending on who the witness would be. It would probably be whoever owned the Web site or whoever leased it to Roof.

But, there again, you may not have to get it in, because you could bring it in through other individual witnesses as part of your investigation. So, whether it comes in or doesn't come in doesn't really matter. The information is vital, and important, and could be used against him if this case were to be tried.

BLACKWELL: How does this compromise any potential guilty or not guilty because of legal insanity or mental disability?

BOLDEN: Well, it's going to be subject to how both sides interpret it.

But the reality is, is that Dylann Roof needs to be examined by a psychiatrist to determine, one, whether he's capable or competent to stand trial, one. Two, is he -- could he distinguish between right and wrong morally or otherwise? And three, is he capable of taking a plea? You know, some political prisoners, they either want to plea or they don't want to plea. He's got to be found capable enough to do that.

So, the state will have their own psychiatrist, the defense will have their own psychiatrist, and they will compare notes, and ultimately it will be up to the judge as to whether, one, he's capable of standing trial. Can he take a plea of guilty or not guilty? And does he really appreciate what's going on around him? Let alone appreciate the difference between right and wrong or morally right and wrong when he committed these acts.

BLACKWELL: What's the next step here, Scott?

BOLDEN: Well, once he's been arraigned, you know, under capital murder in South Carolina, the state will appoint two experienced lawyers, one from legal aid, and the other one from the private sector, I think. And then they will begin to prepare their defense.

And their defense will be in two buckets. One, are we going to put on a defense of insanity, and to plead not guilty by reason of insanity? But, two, if he's found guilty, even if he's found guilty with the mentally ill, can he -- are these mitigating circumstances that will save his life ultimately?

BLACKWELL: All right. Scott Bolden, thank you so much for being with us.

We'll continue --

BOLDEN: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: -- to cover the developments this morning. In just minutes, church classes will begin here at Mother Emanuel. We'll continue the coverage.

"INSIDE POLITICS WITH JOHN KING" starts after a break.