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Capital Murder Charges Filed in Execution-Style Shooting of a Texas Sheriff's Deputy; Europe Calls for Changes in Railway Security; Are E-Cigs Fueling New Drug Addiction? Aired 6:30-7a ET
Aired August 30, 2015 - 06:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DEVON ANDERSON, HARRIS COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY: It is time for the silent majority in this country to support law enforcement. There are a few bad apples in every profession. That does not mean that there should be open warfare declared on law enforcement.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Pretty strong words after capital murder charges are filed in the execution style shooting of a Texas sheriff's deputy. Shannon J. Miles was taken into custody yesterday. Investigators say he ambushed Deputy Darren H. Goforth as Goforth walked out of a gas station to his car. They say Miles shot the deputy in the back, then stood over him and shot him over and over again.
Now, at this point, police say, there is still no clear reason as to why he did this, other than the fact that he was a law enforcement officer. HLN legal analyst Joey Jackson with us now.
So, first of all, Joey, walk us through how this could play out in terms of being in the courtroom. How do you assert and prosecute a capital murder and make that stick?
JOEY JACKSON, HLN LEGAL ANALYST: Good morning, Christi. Just a sad day for law enforcement in general, and certainly him and his family and that community in particular. What happens is, is that it's a capital murder case, and in capital murder case is you need two things. One is you need to demonstrate, if you are the prosecution, the intentional act of murder. And that has to come with the second thing, which is an aggravating circumstance. In this case, you have it because there was a specific killing of a law enforcement officer. And so, with those two things, you have capital murder. And as you know, Christi, that makes it eligible for the death penalty. And in Texas, you know, they certainly do impose the death penalty more than any other state in the country.
PAUL: That's right.
JACKSON: 528 people killed in Texas via execution in the last 33 years. PAUL: So, let's talk about his criminal history here. Charges of
resisting arrest, trespassing, evading detention, disorderly conduct with a firearm. How does that play, if at all, into this?
JACKSON: Yes, Christi, great question. It may or may not play and here's why. In the event that a defendant testifies, then certainly, the prosecution will be seeking to elicit testimony about your prior bad acts, prior conduct and your prior criminal record -- what the prostitution in the event that a defendant testifies, can elicit, will be up to the judge in terms of what's relevant and what's probative to the issues. The reason that's done, is because what happens is, you want a jury to evaluate someone's guilt or lack thereof on the facts and the strength of this case, not their prior propensity to commit any other acts. And so, judges are very careful in terms of what they allow a prosecutor to ask a question of a defendant if that person testifies. If they don't, then it becomes a non-issue.
PAUL: OK. So, they have this guy on surveillance camera, who they believe him to be. They have the weapon that they believe from him, that was used in this case. And he ran. How do you defend this guy?
JACKSON: What happens is, is that this case is all about identification. And so, I think what you're going to see his defense do, is focus on that issue. In terms of the surveillance, is it absolutely him? Is there any indication that it could be someone else? As far as any eyewitnesses who are at that event, did they see it was him? Was there someone else who was with him? Was there someone else who was responsible? What about DNA? Is there any of his DNA that was left at the scene? In terms of the gun, does that gun connect to him in any way? Was his DNA on that gun? Do the ballistics match?
So, I think what you are going to see in terms of the defense is the defense really predicate any defense of him on the issue of identification. And if you can't shake the identification of the surveillance, of any DNA he had there, of the weapon connecting to him, then I certainly think the defense will have a very challenging time. In the event that you could establish perhaps that it was someone else and that it's not him, then I think it's a different story. Because you just want to ensure that a person who is in custody and ultimately is prosecuted and convicted, that that's the person who did this tragic thing.
PAUL: Right. All right. Joey Jackson. Always appreciate your insight, thank you for being with us.
JACKSON: Thank you, Christi.
BLACKWELL: New this morning, Europe is calling for changes in railway security. Of course, this comes after an attempted terror attack on a train headed to Paris. They want an increase in identity, and baggage checks at stations, more police patrols on border in the national trains, and better coordination on intelligence and security across Europe's border free travel zone.
A CNN's Martin Savidge is on the phone joining us from Paris. Martin, what other changes are they calling for? And what's the feasibility of these changes?
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I mean, you know, first of all, many Americans are probably familiar with the Euro Star. That's the train that could take you from London, say, to Paris. If you are taking that train, you know it's kind of like airport security you go through. But the rest of the trains that travel across much of Europe, you just buy a ticket and you hop on the train. It doesn't appear that there's any sort of - magnet - that you go through, any kind of that stuff that you might thought. So, this is what the French are now considering as the (INAUDIBLE) that - this emergency meets.
So, they're looking at, yeah, tighter checks on baggage and they are looking at tighter checks on identification. But this is one of the problems, Victor, is that you buy a ticket, your name is not on that ticket. I mean it's like buying a bus ticket. And this is really one of the big things they want to implement, that a name goes on the ticket. If you're going, say, from Amsterdam to Paris, your name. And the reason is, once you got a name on the ticket, it goes into a database. Once it goes into a database, security, of course, can begin to see that you're on, say, a no fly list or this day, no ride list.
So, these are the kind of changes they're talking about. Otherwise, they've got beefed up security on the train and the chance that may be you might be picked out of the crowd to have your bags looked at. The measures really seem rather tame. And that's the problem. Many people are horrified by what could have happened, thanks to the - and four Americans in their seat, as well as one Great Brit (ph). It didn't happen. And that's another thing people are talking about. A change of attitude maybe amongst the French to be more kind of American, see something, do something.
BLACKWELL: Yeah, you have several governments obviously that would have to be part of this negotiation and to implement these changes. What are the hurdles between the identification of the changes and implementing them?
SAVIDGE: Well, you are right. I mean you have a number of nations, of course, that all have to come together. You have a number of train systems that all have to come together. And then one of the big issues that we haven't spoken about, who's going to pay for this? Because that is a huge issue. The train companies certainly don't want to have to pay for it, governments don't want to have to pay for it. But everything we are talking about here to increase security adds to the cost.
And then people take the train like people at home just climb into cars. And when you have that many people, especially at a rush hour or high pick travel time, train stations can be turned into a nightmare of lines, if you are talking about inspecting bags or checking identification. So, the reality is as you point out, Victor, is very different on when you talk about the feasibility at a meeting. Much of this is probably not going to be implemented until later in the year. BLACKWELL: And I know people, as much as they want many of these
changes, when you start talking about inconvenience, then tunes change unfortunately.
SAVIDGE: Yes. That's exactly the point. I mean many people when they visualize a train station that's packed, how are you going to implement this kind of security that you really are talking about? Maybe you're going to have to start thinking about other ways of travel.
BLACKWELL: Yes. Martin Savidge joining us from Paris. Martin, thanks.
SAVIDGE: You bet, Victor, it's good to hear from you.
BLACKWELL: Likewise. Tropical Storm Erika is not expected to have a huge effect on the U.S. When we're talking about the wind. You know, it still will bring some rain. But there is an unnamed storm that passed through on the West Coast. The fierce winds there killed two people in Washington.
PAUL: We'll tell you about that. And also, you cannot get over some of these pictures and these stories that are coming out of Europe right now. These are people you see here, families putting their lives at risk for the chance at a better life. What is keeping them from getting to their goal? And what is that route like? We're going to have a live report for you from Budapest in just a moment. Stay close.
BLACKWELL: Erika has been downgraded from a tropical storm. But Florida Governor Rick Scott says there still could be trouble ahead.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. RICK SCOTT (R) FLORIDA: The storm has been completely unpredictable the whole time. So, we've got to continue to watch it. And even if it doesn't become a tropical storm or hurricane, we can get a lot of rain and we can get a lot of flooding.
BLACKWELL: All right, let's bring in CNN meteorologist Allison Chinchar. He's right. I mean, the rain can cause trouble all on its own without those stronger winds.
ALLISON CHINCHAR, CNN METEOROLOGIST: That's right, Victor. And that really has been the concern the whole time, even when it was a tropical storm, the flooding rains have really been the thing to watch out for. Here is a look at the remnants of Erika right now positioned basically right along the Keys between Cuba and Florida.
Again, and it's already producing very heavy rain in parts of Miami. Now, the system will slide along the West Coast of Florida basically from Tampa all the way down through Naples. When it does, it's going to bring that heavy flow of moisture all the way up towards the panhandle. So, again, we're going to continue to see very heavy rain, which is why we have the flood watch, in effect, basically for the Southern half of the entire state.
Now, those rainfall estimates over the next 36 hours include four to six inches, basically right around the Sarasota area between Tampa and Fort Myers. Also, along Miami as well. But most areas in between will pick up somewhere between two to four inches of rain. And again, another system, as you mentioned, not a named system, but still very impressive is a system that pushed into the northwest yesterday, bringing a lot of very heavy rain to some areas that needed it. But also it came with very strong winds. Take a look at some of these numbers. 90 miles per hour wind in Oceanside, Oregon. A lot of wind reports 70, 80 miles per hour, even Marietta, Washington, picking up 67 miles per hour winds.
Now, on the one side the rain is great. They've been in such a bad drought. With all of the fires out there, they need it. But we are still considering some of those fire potentials. The only difference is it has now started to shift. And again, Victor, it is going to be some good news. There's going to get a little bit more rain possibly an additional one to two inches between Seattle down to Portland.
BLACKWELL: All right. Some good news there. All right, Allison, Chinchar, thanks.
PAUL: And we are talking about next hour, drones used as weapons. Police in one state are now authorized to equip drones with Tasers, with rubber bullets. We're talking to the bill's author who says this is not what we intended.
BLACKWELL: First, though, a live report from Budapest where an enormous flood of refugees, and they are trying to find a new home somewhere in Europe. Why can't they get through?
PAUL: New this morning, the U.S. is going to be opening its doors to between 5,000 to 8,000 Syrian refugees next year.
That, though, is just a fraction of the 4 million Syrians that have become homeless. As according to the U.N.
Every day thousands of refugees are streaming illegally into Europe, undertaking a really dangerous journey here to get away from the conflict in their country.
BLACKWELL: And European nations are finding it quite difficult to deal with this crisis. CNN senior international correspondent Arwa Damon is at a railway station in Budapest. So many refugees, they're still waiting for help. Arwa, we spoke with you yesterday. How long have these people been there?
ARWA DAMON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, they, a lot of them have been here for about four or five days. But here's the bigger issue. These are all mostly refugees from Syria and Iraq. They have fled hell in their own country, they have fled war and death. And then they have gone through a different kind of hellish journey just to get this far. They've been trapped at borders for days under the rain without shelter, they have been held under the beating sun with no water.
And then they have finally made it here. And Hungary is not allowing them to leave. They all want to get to Germany, or other Western European countries, but they can't board the train, and they are being left in these abject miserable conditions and they don't understand why. There's nowhere to shower. People are running out of money. They didn't calculate that they would be held up in all these different spots for this long. Babies have been crying. Mothers have been coming up with us pleading for help. People are really reaching a breaking point. There's a demonstration that's been circulating around here, mostly made up of Syrians who are begging Germany to do something because Germany has said that it will take in hundreds of thousands of refugees and asylum seekers.
So, no one here can really understand why it is at this stage Hungary will not let them go. They have been chanting - and this is from the United Nations, because there is little to no aid out here. No one is coming to help them. Children are getting very sick. Hygiene is of great concern. These people, they are the Iraqi father who carried his daughter on his shoulders for weeks because in Syria she was his little princess. And he is risking everything to try to give her a life like that again. These are people who had no choice but to flee their respective countries.
And yes, they know it is a great risk for their children. But they all tell us that they believe that if they stay in their homelands, they'll end up dead anyway, which is why they're risking everything they have, including the lives of their children to try to make it here. But they say and keep telling us that they believe that they were chasing a false dream. This dream of Europe that they had that was meant to provide them with a life of dignity where at the very least basic human rights would be respected. And they don't understand why they're being left like this.
PAUL: OK, Arwa Damon, yeah, I'm going to ask you next hour when you are back with us, why, you know, are there conversations going on between Hungary and German leaders to try to make that happen? We'll talk more about that next hour, but thank you so much. Such an important story there.
In fact, I don't know if you've seen this, but thanks to social media, one Syrian refugee story does have a happy ending. A Norwegian activist posted this heart-wrenching photo. This is a Syrian refugee selling pens on the streets of Beirut while holding his sleeping child. This photo went viral on social media, offers to help poured in. The activist used social media and the hashtag buy pens to track down the dad. Abdul Halim. There is - and a crowd funding page raised over $140,000 to help him. So, Halim says, he's going to use the money to send his two children to school, so they don't have to live on the streets and he wants to help fellow refugees. A good story there. We are back in just a moment. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
BLACKWELL: The Associated Press is suing the FBI for refusing to release public documents related to the time an agent impersonated a reporter to track down the suspect. Here's the story: 2014. The bureau was investigating a series of bomb threats directed at a Seattle high school. By pretending to be an AP reporter the agent got the 15-year-old suspect to click on a link that allowed the FBI to infect his computer and find his location. FBI director James Comey defends the agent's action.
PAUL: So, are electronic cigarettes helping smokers kick the nicotine habit or are they fueling a new addiction? Here's why we say that. You've probably seen people sucking on these cigarettes or vapor pens, but a lot of people apparently use them as a way to quit smoking and others are using them to discreetly take synthetic drugs.
Investigative correspondent Sara Ganim has more.
SARA GANIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: On any given afternoon Broward County deputies come across this.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And he told me he paid five bucks for that little bag. And the high that they get will last several hours.
GANIM: This is flaka, just one of the inexpensive synthetic drugs ravaging south Florida. And there's a new twist that's making fighting these drugs even harder, e-cigarettes or vaporizer pens.
LT. OZZY TIANGA, BROWN'S SHERIFF'S OFFICE: It's just a huge challenge. It's affecting our entire communities from prevention to rehabilitation.
GANIM: Lieutenant Ozzy Tianga says vaping drugs is so discreet teens can do it right in school.
TIANGA: There's no scent. They seat in the back of the room and they think it's funny, and they are vaping and what they are vaping, I cannot determine.
GANIM (on camera): It used to be that if you were trying to get high, you would - it would smell.
TIANGA: Exactly. All of that has changed.
GANIM (voice over): And that same secrecy makes it tough for police to know what's inside that vape pen. They have to get it tested by a lab.
(on camera): And you can't determine what's in it right away?
TIANGA: Not at all. In fact, these individuals can smoke it right in front of you. GANIM: A recent CDC study found that e-cigarette use more than
tripled among middle school and high school students in 2014. It's not known how much of that is drug related, but young vape users are posting videos of themselves getting high on YouTube.
GANIMI: The Drug Enforcement Administration is so concerned because synthetics can be so dangerous no matter how they're ingested.
JOHN SCHERBENSKE, DEA SUPERVISORY SPECIAL AGENT: We've seen it time and time again, where somebody has overdosed and died. There are a significant number of overdoses that are occurring related to these types of drugs.
GANIM: All of this is so new, no one's keeping track. No one knows just how many people have been injured or died from vaping synthetic drugs. But already emergency rooms are seeing an increase, and the stories are disturbing.
DR. JOHN CUNHA, HOLY CROSS HOSPITAL: I have had patients in my practice in the emergency room that I have walked in on that are actually vaping at the bedside.
GANIM: Dr. John Cunha says recently, a patient was discharged after an overdose and went into a hospital bathroom on his way out of the hospital, vaped more drugs, and had to be taken back to the ER.
CUNHA: I think that those devices do have a role in helping people get off of actual cigarettes, they may be proven safer in that case, but in the hands of teenagers and drug abusers, they are definitely a very dangerous thing to have.
PAUL: Sara Ganim there. Another thing to remember, these aren't classified as drug paraphernalia. So there's no federal age limit regarding who can buy them. Something to think about.
BLACKWELL: Yeah. We're learning more about those synthetic drugs.
PAUL: Thank you so much for starting your morning with us.
BLACKWELL: A lot more coming up on the next hour of your "New Day." It starts right now.