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Early Start with John Berman and Zoraida Sambolin

Newly Released Police Bodycam Video Shows Murdaugh Crime Scene; Michigan State Cancels Games After Deadly Shooting; Back-To-Back Storm Systems To Bring Heavy Rain And Snow This Week. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired February 14, 2023 - 05:30   ET



NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Indeed, this Ukrainian instructor we spoke to said we were given two days' notice -- literally, pulled out of the front line and given two days to get on the training. They're into it for a week and another few weeks to go, and they're just ready to take the tanks and get back to the front line and get back in the battle again.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: All right, Nic Robertson. Thank you so much for that.

All right, quick hits around the globe right now.

New Zealand declaring a national emergency after Cyclone Gabrielle pounds the North Island with relentless wind and rain leaving behind widespread flooding and power outages.

The Philippines accusing a Chinese ship of aiming a military-grade laser at one of its vessels and temporarily blinding the crew in the disputed South China Sea. China claims the vessel was trespassing.

Buckingham Palace reporting Queen Consort Camilla has tested positive for COVID and has to cancel all her public appearances for the week.

Just ahead, a challenge in court today that could set Pamela Smart free after more than three decades behind bars. And graphic bodycam footage released in the Alex Murdaugh double-murder trial.



ROMANS: Welcome back.

Court resumes this morning in the Alex Murdaugh double-murder trial with the defense cross-examining a pathologist about the fatal injuries to Maggie and Paul Murdaugh. Newly released police bodycam video also reveals what Murdaugh said to the first police officers on the scene.

CNN's Randi Kaye has more.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) POLICE OFFICER: The scene is secure. Whiskey Fox and Whiskey Mike both with gunshots wounds to the head.

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's just before 10:30 p.m. on June 7, 2021, the night Maggie and Paul Murdaugh were murdered. This is bodycam footage from Colleton County Sheriff's Sgt. Daniel Greene who was first on the scene. Moments after arriving he spots Alex Murdaugh.


ALEX MURDAUGH, ON TRIAL FOR MURDER OF WIFE AND SON: I want to let you know because of the scene I do -- I did go get a gun and bring it down here.

GREENE: OK, and it's on your vehicle?

MURDAUGH: I just --

GREENE: Do you have any guns on you at all?

MURDAUGH: It's leaning -- no, sir. It's leaning up against --


MURDAUGH: -- the side of my car.

GREENE: You're fine, man -- you're fine. Turn around for me.

MURDAUGH: I don't have anything on me.

GREENE: OK -- yes, sir. I see that.

KAYE (voice-over): Murdaugh appears to be upset but first responders have testified in court they never saw any tears. Moments after Sgt. Greene arrives Murdaugh offers up his own reasoning as to why someone would kill his family.

MURDAUGH: This is a long story. My son was in a boat wreck months back. He's been getting threats. Most of it's been benign stuff we didn't take serious.


MURDAUGH: You know, he's been getting, like, punched. I know this -- I know that's what it is.

KAYE (voice-over): A key moment in the bodycam footage comes when Sgt. Greene asks Murdaugh when he last saw his family. Listen closely to his answer.

GREENE: When was the last time you were here with them or talked to them, or anything like that?

MURDAUGH: Um, it was earlier tonight. I don't know the exact time but --


MURDAUGH: -- I left. I was probably gone an hour and a half from my mom's and I saw them about 45 minutes before that.

KAYE (voice-over): Alex told investigators he wasn't home at the time of the murders and hadn't seen his family in hours.

But remember, at trial, the state revealed evidence of a video recording extracted from Paul Murdaugh's phone. It was taken just minutes before he and his mom were killed -- recorded at 8:44 p.m. Prosecutors and more than a handful of witnesses say that's Alex Murdaugh's voice on the recording --


KAYE (voice-over): -- putting him at the murder scene around the time of the murders.

On the bodycam video, we also see for the first time this bizarre exchange between Alex and Deputy Buford McDowell who arrives on the scene. In the middle of talking to Sgt. Greene about his wife he pauses to greet the deputy.

MURDAUGH: Maggie Murdaugh. Margaret Branstetter Murdaugh. How you doing?

GREENE: What's her birthdate?


KAYE (voice-over): Alex also asks the deputies several times if his family is dead.

MURDAUGH: Did you check?

GREENE: Did I check what?

MURDAUGH: Did you check them?

GREENE: We've got medical guys that are -- that, that, that's what they're going to do, OK.

MURDAUGH: I'm not even checking (PH). They're dead, aren't they? They are dead, aren't they?

GREENE: Yes, sir. That's what it -- that's what it looks like.

MURDAUGH: (Crying).

KAYE (voice-over): On some of the bodycam video Alex Murdaugh is seen pacing around the property. He's making phone calls, including one to one of his brothers.

MURDAUGH: Yes, the police are here now. The police are here now. KAYE (voice-over): In another clip, he asks the deputies to get his surviving son Buster on the phone.

MURDAUGH: Can you all get a police officer with my older son in Columbia?


MURDAUGH: No, I haven't told him yet. It's got to be me that tells him.

KAYE (voice-over): Randi Kaye, CNN, Walterboro, South Carolina.


ROMANS: What a case. All right, Randi, thanks.

Here's today's fast-forward lookahead.

An all-senators classified briefing begins in a matter of hours on the three unidentified aerial objects shot down over North America last weekend. A separate briefing on China takes place tomorrow.

New Hampshire's Supreme Court will hear arguments today on whether to grant Pamela Smart a hearing that could set her free. Smart was convicted in 1991 of convincing her teenage lover to kill her husband.

First lady Jill Biden's valentine to the country will be unveiled at the White House later today. This year, Biden's message to the nation is to reach out with open hearts and helping hands.

All right, Michigan State is canceling classes, activities, and sports events after last night's deadly shooting there.

Carolyn Manno has this morning's Bleacher Report. Just so sad.

CAROLYN MANNO, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it is. Good morning, Christine.

And this is really the right thing for the officials to do with the campus and the community still very much in mourning. Included in the cancellation, the men's basketball game against Minnesota and the men's tennis meet against Drake, both of which were supposed to be held tomorrow night. No word yet on if or when those events might be rescheduled.


Magic Johnson, who led Michigan State to a national title in the '70s tweeting that both he and his wife Cookie are devastated, offering their prayers to everyone in the community.

Detroit Red Wings star Dylan Larkin saying that this has reopened the wounds from the Oxford High School shooting just over a year ago.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DYLAN LARKIN, CENTER, DETROIT RED WINGS: And we're all just pretty devastated by it. It's -- we dealt with this last year with Oxford and it's just not -- it just hurts the heart and we feel for everyone involved.


MANNO: The University of Michigan also offering support to their in- state rivals.

Meantime, a world away from that terrible tragedy, a special moment between Patrick Mahomes and his dad after winning the second Super Bowl of the quarterback's career. Take a listen.



PAT MAHOMES, FATHER OF PATRICK MAHOMES: I ain't never seen nothing like you. You different. You different. I love you. I love you. I love you to death, baby.


MANNO: Very sweet.

It's been a whirlwind for Mahomes and his family ever since. Another road trip to Disney, of course, where he even had a bit of downtime to sit down with our very own terribly sad, terribly biased Eagles fan Jake Tapper.


JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR AND CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT, PHILADELPHIA EAGLES FAN: Patrick Mahomes. Patrick, congratulations -- an unbelievable game. How are you feeling today?

PATRICK MAHOMES: I'm feeling good. It's been a rollercoaster and I appreciate it. Sorry I made you have a little bit of a rough night. But we had a great time. It was a great game.

TAPPER: Well, it was incredible. Super Bowl LVII was memorable and historic and an incredible game for a lot of reasons.

I'll never be allowed back into Philadelphia if I don't ask you what you thought about that holding call against James Bradberry who acknowledges he did tug Smith-Schuster's jersey but he thought that the refs would let it slide. What did you think about it?

PATRICK MAHOMES: Yes. I mean, I was throwing it to the spot where I thought JuJu was going to be at and I knew there was a reason that he wasn't as close as he was when I threw it. I couldn't see exactly. I just knew we ran that kind of double move that he wasn't going to -- that he wasn't where he usually is at. And then when you see it on film -- I mean, he tugged him and kind of forced him out of the direction of where we wanted to throw the ball. And so, at the end of the day, you've just got to play football and

the refs will make their calls the best that they can do to the best of their ability. And it went our way on that call where a couple of other ones that might have went the other way.


MANNO: Ah, the hard-hitting questions that Tapper is known for.

Next stop for the Super Bowl MVP, back to Kansas City to celebrate with Andy Reid and the rest of the crew in another parade through downtown tomorrow -- well-deserved.

This was the highest-rated Super Bowl in six years and the third most- watched ever, so around 113 million people --


MANNO: -- according to Fox, watching the game. One hundred nineteen million watching Rihanna to see her and her baby bump at halftime.

I haven't seen you since this. I'm assuming you --

ROMANS: I know.

MANNO: -- watched this. I loved this.

ROMANS: I did. I was waiting to see who the special guest was and then suddenly I was like oh, wait, there's the special guest.

MANNO: Yes, the best part. It doesn't need anybody.

ROMANS: Awesome.

All right, nice to see you, Carolyn Manno. Thank you.

All right. Coming up on "CNN THIS MORNING" America's youth and mental health. Why the suicide risk for teen girls is higher than ever.

And new details on the tragic story still developing at Michigan State. Three people killed by a gunman on campus.



ROMANS: All right, your Romans' Numeral this morning, 25 -- as in 25 percent. The chance of a recession now 25 percent. That's from Goldman Sachs, lowering the recession probability because of what it calls a strengthened case for a so-called soft landing.

Here is what Goldman says. Quote, "All four steps of the rebalancing process needed to tame inflation are now underway: demand growth is below potential, the jobs-workers gap has shrunk, wage growth has fallen, and inflation has slowed." Looking at markets around the world right now, Asian markets finished mixed. European markets are higher. Eurozone GDP growth slowed in the last three months of 2022 expanding 0.1 percent for the quarter.

On Wall Street, stock index futures leaning a little bit higher after a rally yesterday ahead of today's main event, the Consumer Price Index. The Dow, the S&P, and the Nasdaq all finishing the day up more than one percent.

Investors are expecting a moderation in consumer prices -- a sign inflation is easing. Year-over-year readings are forecast to come in at 6.2 percent inflation. That would be the lowest reading since October 2021.

Meantime, Ford has announced it will slash 3,800 jobs in Europe as it aims to lower costs and boost profit.

On inflation watch, gas prices fell a penny overnight, now at $3.41 a gallon.

All right, today we'll get that Consumer Price Index report. It's a key inflation gauge critical for the Fed. It helps determine whether the Fed will continue to raise interest rates aggressively.

I want to bring in chief financial analyst at, Greg McBride. Greg, good morning.

GREG MCBRIDE, CHIEF FINANCIAL ANALYST, BANKRATE.COM (via Skype): Good morning, Christine. Great to be with you.

ROMANS: All right, so you think there could be a risk that this CPI number disappoints today. Why?

MCBRIDE: Yes, I do. I mean, last month, for example, we saw an actual decline. It has since been revised a little bit higher in the CPI but that was aided by a decline in gasoline prices of over nine percent. Those have since reversed. So a lot of the favorable tailwinds we had a month ago -- you take those away.

And the real problem, Christine, is that we still continue to see faster-than-normal increases in a variety of different spending categories, many of which are household necessities. And that's happening month after month after month.

So until we start to see some consistent improvement there I think it's going to be difficult to really feel too good about where inflation is going. I think the progress is going to be a little bit slower in the months ahead than what we've seen in the past several months.


ROMANS: And those categories -- those troublesome categories you're talking about -- shelter, still food, electricity, apparel, vehicle insurance, household furnishings, and operations. These are things that are not negotiable for a lot of families. So even as you're seeing inflation may be starting to peak you're still worried about those kinds of categories.

MCBRIDE: Yes, absolutely. I mean, household budgets have really been stretched, strained, and broken over the course of the past couple of years because of the consistent increases in prices, but because it's also been most pronounced in those categories that are necessities. I mean, it's great that used car prices have come down for six months in a row but that really only helps if you're in the market for a car.

For people that are trying to make the rent, going to the grocery store, putting gas in the car -- those type of increases and rebound in gasoline prices -- that's what's continuing to strain the household budget month after month.

ROMANS: So, Greg, what does all this mean for the Fed do you think here and the way forward on rate hikes? What's your assumption?

MCBRIDE: Well, I think the Fed's been very clear that they're going to continue to raise interest rates. I think we can expect we're going to get another quarter percent increase in March. They will get one more round of employment and inflation reports after today's report and before they next meet in the middle of March. So I don't think they're going to get out the chisel and hammer and start carving anything in stone after today but the winds are definitely pointing in the direction that they're going to continue to raise rates.

And then the other question Christine is even once they're done they've been very clear about keeping rates at an elevated pace for an extended period of time, and that's really pushing back on this notion that many investors have that the Fed's going to be quick to start cutting rates later this year.

ROMANS: All right, Greg McBride, thank you. Eight-thirty a.m. eastern time we'll get that CPI read. Thank you, Greg.

MCBRIDE: Thank you, Christine.

ROMANS: OK, and then there's this. Toilet paper is getting more expensive. Believe it or not, you can blame the housing market slump. That has led to a lumber crisis forcing major sawmills to close and causing a wood pulp shortage. That's the raw material used in bath tissue. U.S. toilet paper prices surged about 21 percent from July 2021 to the end of last year.

All right, Barney is making a comeback.




ROMANS: The original Barney was on PBS from 1992 to 2010 as a live- action purple dinosaur. Mattel now says the new Barney will be animated for T.V., movies, and YouTube.

All right. Ahead, what we know about that Michigan State gunman and his possible motive. And new information about the unidentified object shot down last weekend over Lake Huron.



ROMANS: All right, our top of the morning, the top-earning entertainers in the world last year. Here is number one.


GENESIS, ENGLISH ROCK BAND: Singing "In the Air Tonight."


ROMANS: Phil Collins and Genesis sold their music catalog for $300 million a few months back and made another $27 million touring.

Here's number two.


STING, ENGLISH MUSICIAN: Singing "Every Breath You Take."


ROMANS: Sting also sold his catalog last year for $300 million, including his songs from The Police.

Here's number three.




ROMANS: Tyler Perry, the actor, director, writer, and studio mogul is also a billionaire.

All right. France's defense minister criticizing Marvel's "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" for its portrayal of French troops.


Clip from Marvel Entertainment "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever."


ROMANS: In the movie, a group of mercenaries is caught stealing Wakanda's resources. And a French journalist pointed out Saturday that their uniforms are similar to those of French troops who were in Mali for nearly 10 years. France's defense minister says it's a false representation but they are not asking the studio to remove the movie.

All right, two back-to-back storm systems set to bring severe weather to much of the country. CNN meteorologist Chad Myers has the forecast for us. Chad, is it possible these storms could overlap for some people?

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: A little bit, absolutely -- sure. The first brings some moisture up from the Gulf of Mexico. The second brings a cold front that could interact with it and certainly, by tomorrow the chance of severe weather.

Some very beneficial rainfall coming down right now though in a place that has the level three and even level four of four drought here across parts of Oklahoma and Texas. The only real threat of any severe weather would be about here later on today. That moves to the east and gets a little bit closer to the Gulf of Mexico tomorrow to interact with that humidity.

The wind though may be knocking down some branches and some power lines. Look at this area. Hundreds of miles -- hundreds of thousands of square miles here when we're talking about the wind advisories.

And the snow in the mountains -- the skiers will take it and so will Lake Mead later on this year when all of that snow melts. So yes, there will be snow today in the Rockies. Great skiing here. It moves into the Plains for tomorrow. Notice that big stripe across parts of the Corn Belt for Omaha, back just to the south into Lincoln, and even into Des Moines.

Now, the potential for severe weather is in the Deep South tomorrow but it does move farther to the east by the time we talk about Thursday. There will be some significant thunderstorms with the potential for tornados here. I mean, this is still almost a spring- type storm as we move our way into the end of the week.

Here is tomorrow with the severe weather and here is Thursday. All the way up even to the Ohio Valley and Cleveland.

ROMANS: OK, we'll take it, I guess.

MYERS: I know.

ROMANS: Thanks for warning us. Nice to see you, Chad Myers, this morning.

MYERS: Nice to see you.