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War Funding Battle; Easter Bunny; Nicaraguan Murder Case

Aired April 08, 2007 - 19:00   ET


VERONICA DE LA CRUZ, ANCHOR, CNN NEWSROOM: Cut off funding for the war? Some senators are all for it. The standoff between the White House and Congress with your tax dollars in the middle.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm not (UNINTELLIGIBLE). I'm glad to be home. (UNINTELLIGIBLE) glad, and I love the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) ...


DE LA CRUZ: Easter dinner with friends and family couldn't be sweeter for this man, free after 22 years in prison for a crime that he did not commit.

Plus this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is a silly little symbol and should never take the place of the true meaning of Easter, which is resurrection Sunday.


ROB MARCIANO, ANCHOR, CNN NEWSROOM: Well, maybe it's not a match made in heaven. So, just when did Jesus and the Easter bunny get paired up?

A look back, ahead in the NEWSROOM.

Good evening, everyone. I'm Rob Marciano.

DE LA CRUZ: And I'm Veronica De La Cruz. So nice to see you. Rick Sanchez has the evening off.

It is Christianity's most joyous day, celebrated around the world. Christians braved a cold sunrise service at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. Some people wrapped in blankets to pray near the tomb of the unknowns. That's how cold it was, Rob.

MARCIANO: And in Jerusalem at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, thousands of worshippers celebrated Easter. The church is hallowed ground. It's considered the traditional site of Jesus' death, burial and resurrection.

DE LA CRUZ: And at the Vatican, the pope used his Easter message to comment on the suffering in the world. Pope Benedict denounced terrorism, kidnappings and human rights violations. He also said the violence in several global hotspots is a test of faith for all Christians.


POPE BENEDICT XVI, VATICAN CITY (voice of interpreter): Afghanistan is marked by growing unrest and instability. In the Middle East, besides some signs of hope in the dialogue between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, nothing positive comes from Iraq, torn apart by continual slaughter as the civil population flees.


MARCIANO: Bearing out the pope's words, new violence today in Afghanistan. NATO has announced the deaths of seven troops in two separate bombings in southern Afghanistan.

Six of the victims were Canadians. The nationality of the seventh isn't known, but the NATO contingent in that part of the country is heavily Canadian and British.

Coalition troops have launched a major offensive in the area, Afghanistan's opium heartland.

DE LA CRUZ: And on this Easter Sunday, tragic word coming out of Baghdad. The U.S. military announced the deaths of 10 more American troops, including six who died today in various attacks.

Also today, bombs killed at least 21 civilians, including 17 in the town of Mahmoudiya.

And with tomorrow marking the fourth anniversary of the fall of Baghdad, the Iraqi government abruptly announced a citywide vehicle ban to take effect at dawn.

Well, President Bush prayed for the safety of U.S. troops this Easter Sunday. He attended Easter services at Fort Hood, which has seen thousands of its troops deployed to Iraq.

MARCIANO: The president remains locked at a war of wills with congressional Democrats over the funding of the Iraq war.

CNN's Ed Henry is with the president in Crawford, Texas.


ED HENRY, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, CRAWFORD, TEXAS (voice- over): Two presidents named Bush posing with a female sergeant at Fort Hood in Texas.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This is a rose between two thorns.

HENRY: The current president was joined by his family for Easter Sunday services with troops at the Army base. BUSH: I had a chance to reflect on the great sacrifice that our military and their families are making. I prayed for their safety. I prayed for their strength and comfort. And I prayed for peace.

HENRY: A far more diplomatic version of the blunt attack in Saturday's radio address, accusing Democrats of jeopardizing the safety of troops by stalling the war funding bill with provisions calling for withdrawal.

BUSH: This emergency war spending bill is not a political statement. It is a source of critical funding that has a direct impact on their daily lives.

HENRY: The chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee insisted Democrats will not cut off funding for the war, but will continue to try and find levers to force the president's hand.

SEN. CARL LEVIN, (D) MICHIGAN, CHAIRMAN, SENATE ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE: Well, we're going to fund the troops. That's not going to be the issue.

The question is: How can we put pressure on the president to put pressure on the Iraqi leaders to reach a political settlement?

HENRY: But that contradicts the Senate majority leader, Harry Reid, who has now signed onto legislation that would cut off most funding for the war next year.

SEN. HARRY REID, (D) NEVADA, SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: I do not believe there should be a single drop of American drop - additional blood - shed in Iraq.

HENRY: The maneuvering is drawing fire from independent Democrat Joe Lieberman, who wants General David Petraeus to get a chance to succeed.

SEN. JOE LIEBERMAN, (D) CONNECTICUT: This is particularly wrong to call for a withdrawal now, as the new plan under the new general with new troops is beginning to show encouraging signs.

HENRY: The president meanwhile has problems in his own party. Some of his supporters in the funding fight are growing weary about a lack of progress in Iraq.

SEN. ARLEN SPECTER, (R) PENNSYLVANIA: Congress is not in a position to micromanage the war. But we do not have any good alternative.

Right now, you can't see the end of the tunnel, let alone a light at the end of the tunnel.

HENRY (on camera): The president is playing hardball, charging that if he doesn't get the money soon, the Army will have to cut back funding for critical equipment and training needs. The Democrats insist there's enough money to last at least until July.

The only thing that's certain is that the clock is ticking, and neither side wants to give in.

Ed Henry, CNN, with the president in Crawford, Texas.


DE LA CRUZ: And yesterday, Rob, there was actually snow in Crawford, Texas.

MARCIANO: Yes. It looks a lot greener today, that's for sure. He was able to throw a snowball yesterday.

DE LA CRUZ: Yes. Ed Henry made a snowball, not a snow angel.

MARCIANO: Well, certainly, sunrise service is a big deal on Easter Sunday. I bet a lot of them were moved indoors.

It seems like a fitting question to ask this Easter Sunday, when Americans go to so many church services.

Why do most black and white parishioners not pray together.

DE LA CRUZ: Yes, I mean, if God is colorblind, why is self- segregation so strong in church?

CNN'S Susan Roesgen goes searching for the answers.


SUSAN ROESGEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT, DOTHAN, ALABAMA: It's Sunday morning in the small town of Dothan, Alabama - 60,000 people, 140 churches.

Sunday is the time to sing, to worship, and for many a time to be with their own.

REV. PAUL HOLLMAN, GREATER BEULAH MISSIONARY BAPTIST CHURCH, DOTHAN, ALABAMA: We are the blue collar church and the blue collar people go here. We are the black church and the black people go here. We are the white church and the white church - crap!

We are supposed to be about Christ. Christ was about everybody.

PASTOR VAN GOETHE, CALVARY BAPTIST CHURCH, DOTHAN, ALABAMA: I'll use the phrase that I've heard, that I don't like. "Why don't they go to their church?"

What does that mean? It's not my church. It's God's church.

I know for some blacks to walk into a white church is uncomfortable. And if they can walk in a black church and be comfortable, that's what I want for them. And if a white can go to the black church and be comfortable, that's what I want for the white.

It's not a competition. It's not a comparison.

ROESGEN: Meet two preachers, two churches - both up against the same self-segregation.

GOETHE: Jesus is not our servant. He is our Lord.

ROESGEN: Pastor Van Goethe leads Calvary Baptist, one of the biggest predominantly white churches in Dothan. Of nearly 3,000 members, just 45 are black. That's less than two percent.

Nine years ago there weren't any black members. But that was before the black church custodian fell in love with the white pastor's daughter. Jana's (ph) father, the pastor, had a startling confession.

GOETHE: It would have been OK with me if one of my sisters would have married an African-American. It would not have bothered me.

But when my daughter married one, I found that I resisted that. And I had to stand before the congregation and apologize and say, I have sinned. I'm sorry. Forgive me.

ROESGEN: For some, Calvary Baptist is a mirror image of the nation's religious self-segregation.

On the other side of town, you can see the same racial dividing line at one of Dothan's black churches.

HOLLMAN: Stand on your feet and say, reverend, I want to move and (UNINTELLIGIBLE) the supernatural power of God.

ROESGEN: Reverend Paul Hollman leads the Greater Beulah Missionary Baptist Church. White worshippers occasionally visit, but all 1,200 registered church members are black.

HOLLMAN: What color are we going to be when we get to heaven? What features are we going to have when we get to heaven?

There's just spirit that's going to go to heaven. And I dare not ask God when the angels are around heaven what kind of features they should have.

ROESGEN: Reverend Holman and Pastor Goethe both believe that changing racial stereotypes, even in church, will have to start with a younger generation. And one day, the child of the black church custodian and the white minister's daughter may worship in a church of many colors.

GOETHE: It's a different generation with a different outlook. And even those who have had to deal with prejudice are finding the joy of overcoming that.

ROESGEN: But for now, the question remains: If God is colorblind, why aren't we?

Susan Roesgen, CNN, Dothan, Alabama.


DE LA CRUZ: It's such a good point. And what that pastor there was saying, what color will we be when we get into heaven ...


DE LA CRUZ: ... I mean, it really makes you think.

MARCIANO: Well, I like to believe that it's really not about skin color as it is about subculture, you know. Maybe we self- segregate because more of a cultural thing than a skin thing.

DE LA CRUZ: Right.

MARCIANO: And that question, it may go unanswered for a long time.

Continuing our race discussion, we talked about Imus yesterday. Just how much trouble can one man get in? And Don Imus is in some hot water, for sure.

DE LA CRUZ: Yes, he is. Take a listen to this.


DON IMUS, HOST, "IMUS IN THE MORNING": Rough girls. Some rough - man! They've got tattoos and ...


IMUS: That's some nappy-headed hos there. I'm going to tell you that.


DE LA CRUZ: Now, he said "nappy-headed hos." Is it enough to get him fired?

We're going to be talking about that next in the NEWSROOM.

MARCIANO: Plus, a mother with her baby in the car. Not exactly the person you'd suspect of leading police on a high-speed chase.

DE LA CRUZ: And in prison for more than half his life for a crime he didn't commit. A Buffalo man's emotional reunion with his family. That's 20 minutes away. You're in the CNN NEWSROOM.


DE LA CRUZ: Reports out of Greece say the captain of a sunken cruise ship has told Greek prosecutors an unexpected current steered his vessel onto a reef. The captain and five senior crew members all have been charged with negligence and violating maritime rules.

A remote sea probe is to resume a search Tuesday for the only two missing passengers, a French father and his 16-year-old daughter. Some 730 Americans were among those who made it to safety during a harrowing evacuation that lasted three hours. MARCIANO: Hard to believe you'd even see that in today's time.

DE LA CRUZ: Yes, absolutely.

Well, New York talk radio show host, Don Imus, he is no stranger to controversy, as we well know.

Now he's in hot water for a comment that he made about the Rutgers University women's basketball team.

MARCIANO: And his remarks have the National Association of Black Journalists up in arms. And his station, WFAN, pledging to monitor his program's content.

Mary Snow has this story from New York.


MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT, NEW YORK (voice-over): Don Imus is apologizing for what he calls an insensitive and ill-conceived remark. But some say his apology falls short.

It all started after Tuesday's NCAA women's championship game between Tennessee and Rutgers.

Take a listen for yourself what Imus said about the Rutgers team during a conversation with sportscaster Sid Rosenberg and the show's executive producer, Bernard McGuirk.

IMUS: Some rough girls from Rutgers. Man, they've got tattoos and ...

MCGUIRK: Some hardcore hos.

IMUS: That's some nappy-headed hos there. I'm going to tell you that.

SNOW: Imus' comments were met with shock and disgust by the National Association of Black Journalists.

BARBARA CIARA, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF BLACK JOURNALISTS: We don't understand that a long-term, veteran broadcaster wouldn't think that it would hurt the feelings of student athletes.

We're talking about girls, college girls, who tried their best to win a championship, and he degrades them by calling them "nappy-headed hos."

SNOW: Imus issued an apology saying, "It was completely inappropriate, and we can understand why people were offended. Our characterization was thoughtless and stupid, and we are sorry."

MSNBC, which simulcasts the "Don Imus Show" every morning for three hours, tried to distance itself, saying the "Imus Show" is not produced by the network, and apologized for the, quote, offensive comments. Following Imus' apology, Rutgers and the NCAA issued a joint statement to what they said were the insults directed toward the Rutgers women's basketball team saying, "It is unconscionable that anyone would use the airwaves to utter such disregard for the dignity of human beings who have accomplished much and deserve great credit."

But the National Association of Black Journalists is not satisfied, and is calling for a boycott of the "Imus Show" and for Imus to be fired, if he doesn't take more action.

CIARA: Just, you know, saying I'm sorry is not going to do it. He needs to outreach. He needs to reach out to those student athletes. He needs to have a larger statement regarding what he said.

SNOW (on camera): The journalist group calls Imus' apology too little, too late. And they cite a history of racial insults on his show.

We did try contacting Imus and the others on the show when those controversial comments were made, but we were unable to reach them, and we were referred to the public apology that was made.

Mary Snow, CNN, New York.


DE LA CRUZ: All right. So, we would like to know right here what you think about Imus' comments. You can take part in our CNN quick vote poll by logging on to our Web site.

MARCIANO: Here's the question. Should Don Imus be fired for his comments about the Rutgers women's basketball team?

DE LA CRUZ: Lots of people are really angry and upset about this. The poll has been up for a little more than an hour, and it looks like it's pretty evenly split, Rob.

MARCIANO: Yes. I don't know where - which way this one's going to go. But I'm pretty sure he's going to keep his job.

DE LA CRUZ: Yes, well, who knows? You can log on to right now. Click on the CNN quick vote poll, and we're going to be checking those results again a little later in the show.

Let us know what you think.

MARCIANO: And Texas police say they didn't know an infant was riding in an SUV leading officers on a high-speed chase.

And as we hear from Chris Hawes, our affiliate at WFAA, it all ended pretty tragically.


CHRIS HAWES, WFAA TV REPORTER, DALLAS: Sometime around 5:30, police say Aimee Riza started driving this SUV so dangerously in Somervell County that other drivers called 911.

The chase was on. Riza raced east.

TROOPER EARL GILLUM, TEXAS PUBLIC SAFETY DEPARTMENT: The Cleburne Police Department spiked - used the stinger spike system to take out a couple of cars on the SUV.

HAWES: But she kept going, ripping what was left of the tires to shreds, careening along U.S. 67.

GILLUM: At speeds over 100 miles an hour, up to 110 miles per hour.

HAWES: It ended here in Alvarado.

GILLUM: She started weaving back and forth, struck the center median.

HAWES: The SUV flipped. A baby was thrown from it. And that's when this trooper says everyone realized Riza's infant daughter had been inside the entire time.

Medics tried to save her, flying her to a Fort Worth hospital, but doctors there pronounced her dead. She was just nine months old.

Chris Hawes, Channel 8 news.


MARCIANO: The mother, Aimee Riza, survived with only minor injuries. She faces, though, a long list of charges, including reckless driving and manslaughter.

DE LA CRUZ: Well, really an unbelievable story.

MARCIANO: Yes. And obviously, you don't want to be driving fast with your baby onboard, let alone leading a high-speed chase like that.

DE LA CRUZ: All right. Another unbelievable story to tell you about now. His girlfriend was raped and murdered. And now, he sits in prison in Nicaragua, sentenced to 30 years for that crime.

MARCIANO: But many say he didn't do it. We'll look at the facts and the fictions on both sides of the case. That's coming up 10 minutes from now.

But first ...

DE LA CRUZ: Two thousand years before George Lucas dreamed up "Star Wars," another empire struck back against an upstart religious cult. That cult - the early Christians.

That's straight ahead next on the NEWSROOM.

MARCIANO: And later, at some point, somehow, Jesus got mixed up with an egg-laying rabbit.

Some people are saying they've been associates for way too long.

You're watching CNN, the most trusted name in news.


MARCIANO: Well, today, millions of Christians worldwide are celebrating Easter.

DE LA CRUZ: But such celebrations were not commonplace soon after Jesus' crucifixion. Liam Neeson takes us back to the unsettling time.


LIAM NEESON, NARRATOR, "AFTER JESUS: THE FIRST CHRISTIANS": In the year 66 A.D., the Jews of Israel had seen enough of their Roman masters and launched a revolt that would end in disaster and permanently divide them from their Christian brothers.

PROFESSOR BART EHRMAN, UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA-CHAPEL HILL: There was a serious uprising in which Jews decided to try and throw out the Roman oppressors and establish Israel as a sovereign state in the land.

LIAM: The Romans sent in their legions from Assyria and fought their way south through Galilee to Jerusalem, the holy city of Judaism and fortress of the Jewish rebels.

PROFESSOR LAWRENCE H. SCHIFFMAN, NEW YORK UNIVERSITY: They made the tactical mistake of all assembling in Jerusalem around that temple. Then the worst thing happened. They started to fight among themselves about what to do and how to defend themselves.

LIAM: That's when, according to the Jewish historian, Josephus, the Roman general, Titus, surrounded Jerusalem.

Titus, a brutal warrior, cut off the city's food and water in an attempt to starve the people out.

PROFESSOR AMY-JILL LEVINE, VANDERBILT UNIVERSITY DIVINITY SCHOOL: Meanwhile, he waited for Jewish faction A to defeat Jewish faction B. He let the internal revolutionaries fight the battle for him.

LIAM: Titus and his troops then breached the walls of Jerusalem.

They attacked the temple, slaughtering more than half a million Jews with sword, fire and crucifixion.


MARCIANO: Whether you're religious or not, it is a fascinating lesson in human history. Stay tuned to CNN as we take a look at the survival of Christianity after the Crucifixion of Jesus.

Join CNN's special investigations unit for "After Jesus," tonight at 8 Eastern. And then at 9 p.m. ...


ROLAND MARTIN, "WHAT WOULD JESUS REALLY DO?": Look at the world around you. The madness, squabbling, shocking and outlandish behavior - and that's just the religious folks. And be sure to ask yourselves: What would Jesus really do?


MARCIANO: Two intriguing shows. You definitely want to check those out later on tonight.

Well, he spent more than 20 years in prison for rape.

DE LA CRUZ: And here's a catch. He didn't do it.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, I'm not (UNINTELLIGIBLE). I'm glad to be home.


DE LA CRUZ: Just in time for Easter dinner. That's coming up next on the NEWSROOM.

MARCIANO: And speaking of dinner, eating comes naturally for most people. But for one boy, the simple act of swallowing food is terrifying. His story is coming up in 20 minutes.

And still ahead ...


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is a silly little symbol and should never take the place of the true meaning of Easter.


DE LA CRUZ: Hey, what's going on here? Why so much hate for the rabbit? Is the Easter bunny a harmless tradition or a threat to Jesus?

We're going to take a look at the controversy. You're watching CNN.


MARCIANO: Turning to business now, with only four days of trading last week due to the holiday, what can we expect from the stock market this week?

DE LA CRUZ: Here is Ali Velshi who is getting down to business.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) ALI VELSHI, CNN HOST: We are still trying to get a handle on the health of the U.S. economy, and this week we'll get a feel for how other economies might be affecting matters here in the U.S. The international trade balance measures imports and exports of goods and services which can affect the value of the U.S. dollar against other currencies. U.S. exports rose in January, and that means there's good demand for American goods and services overseas.

This comes on the heels of last week's free trade agreement between the United States and South Korea. The deal is a big coup for both countries. In particular, it should help American cattle farmers, before South Korea stopped importing beef back in 2003 because of mad cow disease, that country had been the world's third largest market for U.S. beef.

Well, back home again, we'll get a good read on inflation this week with the Producer Price Index. PPI measures prices of goods at the wholesale level. Why is that important? Because it's one of the things the Federal Reserve considers when it decides on interest rates.

And speaking of the Fed, the central bank will release its minutes from its last meeting this week. Fed minutes often provide a deeper insight into what the Fed was thinking at the last meeting and what they might do about interest rates at the next meeting. The Fed left rates unchanged in March. The next meeting is on May 9.

If you want more of this sort of thing watch me on "Minding Your Business" each weekday on AMERICAN MORNING. That's it from New York. I'm Ali Velshi.



DE LA CRUZ: A Nicaraguan court sentenced him to 30 years in prison for murdering his Nicaraguan girlfriend, but Eric Volz says that he didn't do it and that the judge railroaded him. His family and friends have launched a media campaign to try to win his release. Let's get more now from CNN's Tim Lister.


TIM LISTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): February 16, anger erupts outside the courthouse in the usual tranquil town in Nicaragua. Locals demand life in jail for an American Eric Volz. Police fire warning shots to hold back the crowd. Inside, the trial of Volz enters its final stages. He and a Nicaragua man are accused of the rape and murder of his girlfriend last November. Volz had been dating Doris Jimenez (ph) for about a year. The prosecutors pointed to marks on Volz and his co-defendant. There was signs of violence on their bodies, she said. Scratches according to the medical examiner. The defense said Volz had got those scratches while carrying Doris's coffin at her funeral. No forensic evidence from the crime scene was presented and the prosecution relied on testimony from a man who had previously been charged with a crime himself. Several people said that at the time of the murder they were with Volz in the capital Managua two hours away. They said he rented a car to travel to her home after hearing the news. The judge threw out that evidence. Someone went out of their way to find witness who placed Eric Volz in Managua at the time of the murder she said. But she added with great valor, employees of the car rental company contradicted this testimony.

The judge found Volz guilty and sentenced him to 30 years in jail. After the verdict he was hustled from the courthouse wearing a protective vest for his own safety as the crowd cheered the conviction. Volz's Nicaraguan dream had turned into a nightmare. He had been in the country two years, surfing and starting a magazine. And had met his Doris Jimenez who was from a small town near Ribes (ph). But some resented the influx of Americans and after his arrest, Nicaraguan tabloids whipped up an anti-gringo campaign. The case has even led to videos on YouTube, one featuring Volz's friends.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One hundred percent beyond a shadow of a doubt that Eric is innocent. It is utterly impossible.

LISTER: Another, the murdered woman's mother claiming that Volz offered money if she would drop charges. The case now goes to a higher court where Volz's attorney hopes the nightmare will end.

"I have faith and hope we will be heard by the Court of Appeals," says Ramon Rojas. "Three people are less likely to make the same mistake." The appeal may be heard later this month, in the meantime, Eric Volz remains in a maximum-security jail.

Tim Lister, CNN, Atlanta.


MARCIANO: A similar story involving a New York man who definitely spent time in prison for a crime he didn't commit. Anthony Capozzi was convicted of multiple rape charges in 1987. He was recently exonerated when misplaced DNA evidence was found. Jim Acosta has his story.


JIM ACOSTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In prison since 1985, Anthony Capozzi was convicted of raping two women in the suburbs of Buffalo, a verdict that was based mostly on the testimony of rape victims who thought they had identified the right man in a police lineup.

FRANK CLARK, BUFFALO DISTRICT ATTORNEY: The victims certainly believed wholeheartedly that they were identifying the right person.

ACOSTA: It was a stunning discovery of DNA evidence that would set Capozzi free, a long last genetic sample, investigators say, that point to a different man. The evidence had been tucked away for years and was only recently discovered among hundreds of pathology slides at the Erie County Medical Center. As it turns out, the slides contained DNA linked to Altemio Sanchez, who was arrested and charged in January with being Buffalo's alleged bike path rapist.

CLARK: I'm sorry. I'm sure not nearly as sorry as the Capozzi family, that the existence of the slides wasn't found earlier.

ACOSTA: Capozzi, who is diagnosed with schizophrenia, has always maintained his innocence, standing by his story during a total of five parole hearings, even when an admission of guilt could have set him free years ago.

THOMAS D'AGOSTINO, CAPOZZI'S ATTORNEY: He's known what it meant to say I didn't do it. He could have said I did it just to get out, but he never did.

SHARYN MILLER, ANTHONY CAPOZZI'S SISTER: He just kept to his story and always said I don't know why I'm here. I didn't do anything to hurt anybody. I would never hurt anybody. I have sisters of my own and I love them.

ACOSTA: While overjoyed about the recent news about his son Capozzi's father says the system's mistake was devastating for his family.

ALBERT CAPOZZI, ANTHONY CAPOZZI'S FATHER: The defamation of what happened to my son, the shame we went through, the degradation and all of that. It's something you live with every day.

ACOSTA: Jim Acosta, CNN, New York.


MARCIANO: It's crazy to be locked up that long.

DE LA CRUZ: Twenty-two years.

MARCIANO: But today is a special day for him for sure.

DE LA CRUZ: That's right. It's the first Easter that he's spending with his family in those 22 years. Here we see the pictures. He's enjoying a beer and his freedom and he's surrounded by his parents, siblings, in-laws and an assortment of nieces and nephews in buffalo. Despite the wrongful conviction, Rob, Capozzi is saying he is not bitter.


ANTHONY CAPOZZI, EXONERATED BY DNA: I'm not angry at all. I'm glad to be home, that's all, glad, and -- love and glad to be home, that's all.

I love being home again. I missed everyone. I plan to be straight and do whatever my mom and dad want me to do and I'll be seeing the kids and I'm going to keep in the house and maybe take walks.

I got cheated. I never -- I looked back, I said, I'm a young man. Think back to what I did my whole life. I never raped any girl. I would never rape a girl. In fact, my sisters and my mom, they would never ever stand for that, would never let me do that, never let me rape a girl.

Because we come from a strong educated family. We're all together. I mean, I would never do anything like that, but it's all over now. It's all over now. I served the time they wanted, and now it's just -- it's just follow the yellow brick road.

Follow the yellow brick road.


DE LA CRUZ: Well said. And Capozzi will continue to receive mental health treatment for his schizophrenia which he developed as a teenager.

MARCIANO: Certainly has a good attitude.

Chicago's Cardinal George has been released from the hospital after being treated for a fall. The 70-year-old cardinal fractured his hip yesterday while blessing Easter baskets at a Chicago church. The archdiocese says the cardinal has cancelled all public appearances for the next few days including today's traditional Easter mass at Chicago's Holy Name Cathedral.

A spokesman says the cardinal had polio as a child and he wears a brace on his right leg that makes him prone to falling. At least we know one man in the cloth -- We hope he gets better -- one man of the cloth at least seems to be OK with Easter baskets and Easter bunnies.

DE LA CRUZ: Yes. Under fire this holiday. We're talking about the Easter bunny, and it's possibly the most unlikely of targets, the fuzzy little four-legged bearer of candy, eggs and goodwill. Leave the Easter bunny alone.

MARCIANO: Sounds good. Got to hop on them. A lot of folks are mad about that about the latest clash between the tradition and political correctness and some blame the bunny for ruining the true meaning of Easter. Here here's CNN's Carol Costello.


CAROL COSTELLO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): The Christian Cultural Center in south Brooklyn comes alive with the spirit of Easter -- resurrection, renewal, rebirth. But just a few blocks away, some Christians are celebrating Easter of a different kind, where bunnies fill baskets with brightly-colored eggs.

Hey, is that Jesus over there beyond the eggs?

REV. A.R. BERNARD, CHRISTIAN CULTURAL CENTER: It is a silly little symbol and should never take the place of the true meaning of Easter, which is Resurrection Sunday.

COSTELLO: The Easter bunny is under attack by some Christians who worry the bunny is doing to the resurrection what Santa did to Christmas.

BERNARD: It's the growth of religious pluralism and secularism in American culture. Vestiges of these Pagan celebrations began to come back in and threaten the original meaning of Easter to the American culture and the American population.

COSTELLO: And it's not just religious folks. St. Paul, Minnesota, removed the Easter bunny from City Hall because it was too religious. People decorated the entrance with marshmallow peeps in protest.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think Easter -- Easter is one thing, but the Easter bunny is something else.

COSTELLO: Paul Lauer, whose company marketed "The Passion of the Christ," is defending the bunny in an e-mail campaign to 100,000 Christians.

PAUL LAUER, MOTIVE MARKETING: If we expect the general secular mainstream culture to accept certain aspects of our religious expression in public life, we need to accept some degree of mainstream expression of how they celebrate these holidays.

COSTELLO: It's not clear how Easter and the bunny got mixed up with the Christian resurrection. Easter is the name of a non- Christian fertility goddess, Ishtar. Eggs and rabbits are signs of fertility.

TERRENCE TILLEY, THEOLOGY PROFESSOR, FORDHAM UNIV.: The word may come from a word for a spring goddess in German, "Eostre," or it may come from a mistranslation.

COSTELLO: But even some Christians would like a little less rabbit and a little more religion.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's not the birth of a bunny or an egg, you know. It's for Jesus.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I mean, they're cute. Everybody likes them. But it's not about the bunny. Easter is not about bunnies. It's about Jesus.

COSTELLO: Carol Costello, CNN, New York.


DE LA CRUZ: Don't go hating on the bunny.

MARCIANO: The bunny and Santa Claus should stay. The reason is because they are merely bribes for our kids to like the holiday and then later learn about what it's really about.


MARCIANO: And as adults we want to hang on ...

DE LA CRUZ: So I guess the bunny stays in the cross-hairs, the Easter bunny that is.

MARCIANO: Easy now. He's going to be on you for sure.

Well, some things we eat to stay healthy and some things we eat just because they taste good.

DE LA CRUZ: Some of us even take pleasure in the act of eating itself but what do you do when your child refuses to eat anything at all. This wasn't simple pickiness, this was a life-threatening problem. We'll have one family's story when we return.

MARCIANO: And later the world's best golfers teed it up for the final round at Augusta.

DE LA CRUZ: Rob is so bitter he wasn't there.

MARCIANO: I'm bitter I'm not wearing the green jacket, too. We're going to tell you who is wearing green later on the CNN NEWSROOM.


DE LA CRUZ: Well, I imagine many of you out there are sitting down with your family today to enjoy an Easter meal together, but for thousands of parents eating with their kids is only a dream because the children suffer from severe feeding disorders. CNN's Allan Chernoff has the story of one 10-year-old boy and his struggle to eat.


ALLAN CHERNOFF, CNN SR. CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Eight weeks ago, Patrick Kay was afraid to eat nearly all foods. This is Patrick now, after two months of feeding therapy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's unbelievable. CHERNOFF: It's nothing less than a miracle for Patrick's parents, Anne and Tim. For the first time in their son's life, he's getting all the nutrition he needs by eating.

TIM KAY, PATRICK'S FATHER: We're pinching ourselves. We just can't believe it.

CHERNOFF: Patrick's lifeline was a feeding tube that delivered liquid nutrition directly to his stomach. He would wear a backpack holding a pump to keep formula flowing all day.

Patrick was born with an esophagus that didn't connect to his stomach and a small intestine that wouldn't properly digest nutrients. Scars on his stomach are reminders of surgeries during his first days of life that corrected the problems, but Patrick still wouldn't eat.

Developmentally, he was normal. Yet, even after entering grade school, Patrick would eat only morsels of a select few foods like chicken nuggets.

T. KAY: It was so far beyond being picky. It was -- it was psychological, physical.

CHERNOFF: Two months ago, Patrick and his mom traveled from their home near Detroit to Baltimore's Kennedy Krieger Institute, which has the nation's foremost program for pediatric feeding disorders.

(on camera): Most parents might assume that eating is instinctive. But it's not. It's actually a learned process. And here at the feeding rooms of the Kennedy Krieger Institute, therapists teach children how to eat by rewarding them for every bite they take.

(voice over): The typical patient here is a toddler who may get rewarded with a toy for taking a bite.

Patrick earned time on a PlayStation.

BRIAN DUDLEY, FEEDING THERAPIST: We said, well, we're going to give you 20 minutes of play on your PlayStation if you just take one bite of green bean or one bite of carrot.

CHERNOFF: The incentive worked. One bite eventually led to a full meal.

DR. CHARLES GULOTTA, DIR., PEDIATRIC FEEDING PROGRAM: And what our program ends up trying to do is getting the child basically to trust food again and recognize that food is a good thing and not a bad thing.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Who's turn is it?

CHERNOFF: Kennedy Krieger believes three percent of all toddlers who are otherwise normal have a feeding disorder, either refusing to eat or selecting from an extremely limited menu.

Behavioral psychologist Charles Gulotta says the cause of a feeding disorder can be a complex combination of early physical trauma and severe acid reflux, making it painful to eat, which in turn can lead to a psychological block. A child will see eating as something to fear.

GULOTTA: You actually have a child that winds up learning that food is not a good thing, is not a pleasurable thing. It's actually a painful experience.

CHERNOFF: Now, at age 10, Patrick has learned eating isn't all that bad.

PATRICK KAY, KENNEDY KRIEGER PATIENT: I like oranges, apples, peaches, green beans.

CHERNOFF: If Patrick keeps eating properly, doctors will soon remove his feeding tube. That's another big incentive for baseball player Patrick, because that will allow him to slide head first into second base. One of his little league dreams.

Allan Chernoff, CNN, Baltimore. (END VIDEOTAPE)

DE LA CRUZ: Good for him.

MARCIANO: We hope that dream comes true for sure.

Coming up at the 10:00 Eastern hour of the CNN NEWSROOM, police called this case a puzzle with a thousand pieces. They suspect this man, 21 year old John Joseph Delling of killing one man and wounding two others. Two of the victims had gone to the same Idaho high school as Delling while the third was from the same area. Police also believe Delling drove thousands of miles across the West and they fear there could be more victims.

DE LA CRUZ: We'll be talking to the surviving victim and follow what's been a bizarre journey. That's all coming up at 10:00 p.m. Eastern right here in the CNN NEWSROOM.

Well, the golf world has a new master, I'm sorry to say, it's not Rob Marciano.

MARCIANO: That won't be the usual suspect and if you're thinking it's Tiger Woods you're probably wrong. We'll tell you about the unlikely end to the Masters at Augusta. That's coming up next.

DE LA CRUZ: He's got that green jacket.

And at 8:00 p.m. Christianity is the world's largest religion. But it wasn't always that way. CNN PRESENTS takes a look at earliest Christians and how they survived in the tumultuous years after Jesus' death. That's 8:00 p.m. Eastern. You're watching CNN, the most trusted name in news.


DE LA CRUZ: Well, we would like to take a minute right here to check on how you've been responding to our QuickVote poll question.

MARCIANO: We wanted to know, should Don Imus be fired for his comments about the Rutgers University women's basketball team?

DE LA CRUZ: The answer, not so clear cut according to those of you who have voted so far at With more than 12,000 votes cast, 53 percent of you are saying that Imus should be fired. Forty eight percent of you say that he shouldn't.

MARCIANO: And we want to continue the poll right on through the evening. We'll be checking the results as we go along. So keep on voting, go to and click on the CNN QuickVote poll at the bottom right hand of your screen. Is that where it's at?


MARCIANO: And we'll have more results tonight at 10:00 plus the coach of the girls' Rutgers team.

DE LA CRUZ: I'm sure she is going to have something to say.

MARCIANO: For sure.

From basketball we go to golf. New measurements for tailor at Augusta National to take in as someone other than Tiger Woods is wearing the fabled green jacket and he is Zach Johnson, a relative unknown, nine-year pro scoring his first major victory today in the fourth and final round of the Masters Tournament. It is only his second PGA tour win ever, and he's 31 years old from Iowa, fired a three under for 69 today while holding off a late-day charge from Tiger Woods, and the whole tournament is one of the highest scoring averages at the Masters in years. Two over par.

DE LA CRUZ: Congratulations. Tiger didn't need another jacket.

MARCIANO: He's got plenty, that's right.

DE LA CRUZ: He's got way too many.

MARCIANO: I'm Rob Marciano in the CNN Center.

DE LA CRUZ: And I'm Veronica De La Cruz. A check of the headlines is next and then we'll be back at 10:00 p.m. Eastern with more from THE NEWSROOM.

MARCIANO: But coming up at 8:00 CNN PRESENTS takes a look at the earliest Christians, the challenges they faced and the people who saw through them. You're watching CNN, the most trusted name in news.


DE LA CRUZ: Hey there. Veronica De La Cruz with a look at what is happening right now in the news.

Six U.S. soldiers have been killed in Iraq today. A roadside bombing killed three of them south of Baghdad and others killed fighting north of the capital.

Police suspect this man, John Joseph Delling of killing two other men and wounding a third. Two of the victims went to the same Idaho high school with Delling while another went to school in the same area. Police now want to know if there are more victims.

Coming up, we're going to have much more on this bizarre case and we'll be talking to the surviving victim