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Texas Town on Edge; Police Search for Suspect in San Francisco Shooting; Interview with Christopher Tritico; Your Home Could be Your Tax Haven; Louisville Player Injured in NCAA Game

Aired April 1, 2013 - 13:00   ET


MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: Not that I don't love spending time with you, but we'll do it again tomorrow.

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN ANCHOR: We'll do it again tomorrow.

HOLMES: All right, you carry on working.

MALVEAUX: All right. See you, mate.


MALVEAUX: Who's killing prosecutors in Texas? Police, the Texas Rangers and the FBI are all trying to find out after a district attorney and his wife are shot down in their home, assassinated just two months after the assistant D.A. in the same county was killed.

A brand new video of Kevin Ware up and around, just one day after the horrendous injury on the basketball court. Find out his prognosis and what Louisville players are doing to honor him today.

And in the age of "American Idol" and "Real Housewives," who would think a show about the bible would create so much buzz. We're going to look at the "History" channel's surprise hit. This is CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Suzanne Malveaux. It is all happening now.

A Texas community is now on edge. There is a massive man hunt that is underway. Authorities, they are on high alert after a second prosecutor is killed within two months. Kaufman county D.A., Mike McMullen, and his wife Cynthia were found shot to death in their home. This is just two months after an assistant D.A. was gunned down in broad daylight. After his colleague was killed outside the courthouse in January, McLelland promised to put away the guys responsible. So, here's what he said at the time.


MIKE MCLELLAND, KAUFMAN COUNTY D.A.: I hope that the people that did this are watching because we're very confident that we're going to find you, we're going to pull you out of whatever hole you're in, and we're going to bring you back and let the people of Kaufman County prosecute you to the fullest extent of the law. Anything that you people can do to accelerate the -- our -- getting our hands on this scum will be appreciated.


MALVEAUX: So, the guy you've just saw there, he has just been murdered. Yes. A local judge says he believes there is a strong connection between these killings. He says the community is now in a state of disbelief.

George Howell, he's joining us live from Kaufman, Texas. It is just east of Dallas. And, George, first of all, it is uncanny when you see this. And I imagine there's quite a bit of nervousness on the part of law enforcement there when you've got a D.A. and the assistant D.A. both gunned down, assassinated within a two-month period. What is the move there?

GEORGE HOWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, Suzanne, the mood here, people are uneasy, people are on edge, people are scared, fearful. Given the fact that you have two prosecutors killed in the span of two months and you have people asking, is there a connection, is there a link? And when you talk to investigators about this particular case with Mr. McClelland and his wife, they say that they're not making any sort of connection between this murder and what happened just a month ago -- or, rather, two months ago with Mr. Hasse.

But, again, when you talk to public officials -- we talked to a few public officials and they say that these two prosecutors, they worked on cases -- very similar cases and they believe that these hits may have been revenge hits. And you talk to people on the streets, Suzanne, one woman who just told me, you know, one and one seem to add to two. This just seems to be connected. But, again, investigators are not making that connection, at this point.

MALVEAUX: And, George, you say the people they went after, their cases they prosecuted are very similar. Who did they go after? I mean, do we know anything about who might be seeking revenge?

HOWELL: And, again, you know, what we're hearing from investigators, we're not hearing much. So, not getting any indication from investigators but people have brought up this concept about the Arian Brotherhood here in Texas. And here's the thing with that, back in December, Suzanne, the Texas Department of Public Safety, the Texas DPS, they put out a bulletin stating that they had credible information that the Arian Brotherhood would actively target law enforcement. And so, that question came up after Mr. Hasse's death. And Mr. McClelland, at the time, said that anything looking into that would just be merely just speculation. The question has come up again, but, again, investigators are not saying whether that could be connected. Fair to presume, though, Suzanne, they are looking at all angles in this case as they try to find the killer or killers.

MALVEAUX: There's a lot of still unanswered questions. George, thank you very much.

As he had mentioned, you have two prosecutors shot and killed within a two month period. Investigators are trying to figure out whether or not these are connected, certainly people would assume that that could be a real possibility here that they're targeting prosecutors. And it's quite alarming for that community. I want to bring in somebody who knows what it's like clearly to deal with dangerous defendants. Christopher Tritico, he's a criminal defense attorney. He represented Oklahoma City bomber, Timothy McVeigh. What do you believe when you see this? Do you think it's a coincidence? More than a coincidence? I mean, how do you assess this?

CHRISTOPHER TRITICO, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Suzanne, I -- you know, Suzanne, I've only -- I can only remember the last 25 years four or five prosecutors being targeted, these two included. And so, it's such a rare event and to have two random acts of violence against prosecutors in a small community like Kauffman, Texas is just -- I can't -- I don't square that. And so, I don't know how we can turn a blind eye to the issue of whether or not these are linked and somehow tied to the same case. I think it almost has to be. We'll see where it goes though. But I don't know how you cannot find that link.

MALVEAUX: Chris, how important is it when you look at the kinds of cases they prosecuted in leading you possible suspects here, people who might have a motive for revenge?

TRITICO: That's the first place to look is what cases have been prosecuted in the last year, two years to see if you can find that link. You know, what we do, Suzanne, in the criminal defense field or the criminal law field, we're exposing raw nerves every day in our courtrooms. And this is as high powered as it gets with respect to the emotion that's going on inside of a courtroom, both from the prosecutor's side and from the criminal defense attorney's size. And so, that's where we need to look to find this because that's probably where this link's going to be.

MALVEAUX: And, Chris, I have to ask you, because you represented a guy who a lot of people certainly didn't like, timothy McVeigh. Did you ever feel like there was a need for security, for your own security? Did you ever feel, as somebody who was representing somebody like, that you could be a target?

TRITICO: Well, you know, when I got hired or when I got appointed to that case, I took extra security measures at my house, because I live in Houston and I was leaving for Denver for about seven or eight months. And so, I did some things at home to ensure that my family would be safe. And I'm happy that the entire time that I represented Tim McVeigh, not one time did anyone ever then me in any form or fashion or my family. And it's testament to our belief in your system, that I didn't get threatened, that doesn't mean it doesn't happen. It has happened to me in other cases. But it does -- it's a testament that we understand that we all have a job to do, the prosecutor, the defense has a job to do, and we do that job and we didn't buy the problems that we're -- that we're litigating.

MALVEAUX: Chris, do you think, though, there could be a chilling effect on prosecutors, I mean, people who take on these cases and they're representing some pretty rough guys and these people are gunned down?

TRITICO: Well, I -- it's going to have an immediate impact. I know in Harris County, our brand-new D.A. and his family was given 24-hour security yesterday by the Harris County Sheriff's Department to ensure his safety. And I think it's going to cause everyone in the short- term here to be a little bit more vigilant and a little bit more to look around a little more and pay attention to what's going on around you. But it's not going to stop the justice system from moving forward both from the prosecutor's side or defense attorney's side.

MALVEAUX: All right. Chris, thank you very much. Chris Tritico, appreciate it.

TRITICO: You bet.

MALVEAUX: You bet.

He is accused of opening fire in the Colorado theater in July, you'll recall. Well, now, prosecutors say they're going to seek the death penalty for James Holmes. Last week, defense attorneys for Holmes offered to plead guilty in exchange for avoiding a death sentence. But the district attorney says, quote, "In this case, justice is death." Holmes is charged with 166 counts of murder and attempted murder. Twelve people died, 58 wounded in the theater shooting. Holmes' trial date now set for August fifth.

Police in New York say what looked like a kidnapping caught on camera was actually a hoax. Police released this surveillance video, you see it here, that shows a couple, they're walking near -- this is a New York City park. Seconds later, there's a man in a mask, races around the corner after them, followed by another person with a plastic bag over his head. According to our affiliate, ABC, witnesses told police they saw one of the men force the woman into a minivan and speed away. Well, now, police say it was all a hoax among friends to celebrate one of their birthdays.

And in San Francisco, the hunt is on for a killer of a college athlete. Nineteen-year-old Jacob Valdobzi (ph) -- Viezo, rather, was home on spring break visiting family when he was shot outside his home early Saturday morning. Investigators believe the gunman mistook him for a gang member while he was an honor student and a star player on his school's football team.

Here's what we're working on as well for this hour. So, if you like to tweet on the job, yes, you probably do, we have some good news for you and your boss. Turns out that using social media at work might actually make you a better worker.

And what is it about Jodi Arias that the country is so transfixed by? We're going to take a look at this obsession, how far some people willing to get a glimpse, just a glimpse of the trial.

And a somber moment on baseball's opening day. Derek Jeter talked to CNN about what the New York Yankees will do to honor the victims of the Newtown school massacre


MALVEAUX: Even though it's a holiday for some, markets are open here in the U.S. Things looking a little bit slower because there was no European trading so you see the Dow down by eight points or so. It was, however, really strong the first quarter for markets here, but the next big test, that's going to come on Friday. That is where you're going to see the monthly jobs report coming out. We're going to keep our eye on that as the week progresses. But the Dow down about nine points now.

So, big question, if you are banned from using Facebook, Twitter, social media at work, right? You know, a lot of people say you should not do it. But there's a new study that actually has some surprising findings. Laurie Segall, she is joining us from New York. And is this a good thing? A bad thing? You know, I mean, does it make us better?

LAURIE SEGALL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: For us, this just means we get to -- we can tweet each other more, Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: I'll tweet you now.

SEGALL: Essentially, the study found that, you know, in the past, people have said social media, digital, that's a distraction and this found the complete opposite. Now, it was a University of Warwick study, and they went in and they actually followed a European company -- a big European company for two years, as they integrated digital and Facebook and Skype, and they found that actually it was very helpful for the business. It helped employees be more connected. It also -- you know, it helped people connect to customers, helped them close deals.

And another big one, it helped to track young talent because a lot of the people that are going in the workforce, these are young, digitally savvy individuals and so they are able to kind of attract those people. So, in short, you know, this is kind of saying that the modern day workforce is going to look very different and digital will be a part of it -- Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: It's all about multiple tasking, I suppose. Because for some, it could be distracting, for others, it could really help you with your job, I imagine. And you actually had a chance -- you spoke to Bill Gates, right, recently about social media at work?

SEGALL: I did. I asked him because he's a huge proponent of digital at the workplace, and he talks a lot about this. Listen to what he had to say to me, Suzanne.


BILL GATES, MICROSOFT FOUNDER: A lot of jobs require face to face collaboration, but if you've got development centers all over the world, you've got a sales force that's out with the customers, the fact that tools like Skype and digital collaboration are letting people work better at a distance, that is a wonderful thing and there's just more and more of that flexibility.

(END VIDEO CLIP) SEGALL: So Suzanne, you might remember Marissa Meyer banning employees from working at home. But what Bill really said to me, and this is, you know we have a changing workforce and we have flexibility and there's no longer just the 9 to 5. And that's what this study really showed.

MALVEAUX: All right. So, anybody's who's watching, you can tweet us, it's ok, at Suzanne Malveaux. Tweet away. All right, Laurie, thanks. Good to see you.

We have been talking about the housing market starting to come back to life of course, now there's also some new tax breaks out there that could actually help homeowners. Christine Romans is going to walk us through it.


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Your home can sometimes be a money pit. But come April 15, your daily shelter could become your tax shelter, first you could deduct mortgage interest. It's the third most valuable tax break in the country, worth nearly $100 billion a year.

When you're looking at your house for deduction, the biggest chunk is on the interest you're paying for your mortgage.

GARY DUBOFF, MANAGING DIRECTOR, CBIZ: There is a limitation on mortgage interest. The first 1 million of debt on a property is tax deductible and your primary residence, and your second residence combined.

ROMANS: Mortgage insurance is also deductible. So are state and local property taxes, but if you lost money when you sold your house, too bad.

DUBOFF: Unfortunately, you can't deduct the loss on the sale of a personal residence, however the IRS would want to tax the gain.

ROMANS: The first $250,000 of that gain is tax free if you're single and $500,000 if you're married. So, get your calculator and any receipts for work that boosted your home's value.

DUBOFF: Your basis, your original cost plus any closing costs, legal fees and of course any improvements that you may have made throughout the course of the ownership of that home.

ROMANS: So like everything in taxes, keep good records.

Good records are also key if you're taking a home office deduction, figure out how much square footage you use for business and deduct that portion of your home's expenses. But be careful. If you have an office someplace else, but you're working at home a lot, can you use a home office deduction?

DUBOFF: No, actually, as an employee working for an employer, it really has to be for the convenience of the employer. So, if you just decided that you you want to work from home on a Friday, for example, you won't be able to deduct those expenses as a home office.

ROMANS: Next year, you can use this formula from the IRS. $5 per square foot, limited to 300 square feet, for a maximum of $1,500.

DUBOFF: They simplified it with no questions asked so there's no risk of being audited if you're eligible.

ROMANS: Two more tax goodies hiding in your house. Certain energy efficient improvements can knock $500 bucks off your taxes although that's down from $1,500 in 2011. And if you move more than 50 miles for a job, you can deduct those expenses too.

Christine Romans, CNN, New York.


MALVEAUX: Just the shocked faces of the teammates, it really says it all. Up next the latest diagnosis for the Louisville basketball player Kevin Ware and his team is doing today to actually honor him.


MALVEAUX: By now you've probably seen or heard about what happened yesterday to basketball player Kevin Ware, he's the Louisville player who broke his leg during the NCAA regional final in Indianapolis. And he was trying to block a shot, you see when it happened, it was so bad, you know, we are blurring it so you don't actually see it. It was pretty awful. But just take a look at the reaction from the bench, the guys who were with them. They were just one guy fell to his knees, somebody was crying, and I mean it was just so disturbing.

What is good, however, is that we do have some good news here today, if you take a look, there he is. He looks like he might be able to come home for the final four in Atlanta. There's here next weekend. We certainly hope and wish him a good recovery. He had are two-hour surgery to reset his leg. You see he's on crutches now. But without nerve damage or complications, he should be able to go back on the court in about six months. That is what we're being told.

So joining us is our sports expert, Carlos Diaz. Carlos, what do you think? You think he can?

CARLOS DIAZ, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: I think six months is ambitious.

MALVEAUX: It's ambitious?

DIAZ: Although, there are precedents. This, in fact, Louisville football player Reggie - excuse me - Michael Busch suffered the same kind of injury during his last few years at Louisville. He sat out his senior year, sat out his next year at Oakland and then has had a productive NFL career. So Michael has proved that it can happen. But, this six months I think is ambitious, they do want to get him back on the bench for this weekend's game here in Atlanta against Wichita State, they're going to be using him basically as an inspirational tool because the game was tied against Duke and he goes down with that injury and they came out on fire in the second half. And they actually blew out the Blue Devils. But Kevin is from here, he's from Atlanta, so it's one of these things that it's a great story for a great team by the way, he's the number one seed and they're expected to win it all this coming weekend.

MALVEAUX: Tell us about his team, the reaction from his team. Because it was pretty extraordinary.

DIAZ: You couldn't have put him closer to the bench. He jumps up to block a shot. He breaks both bones in his legs and it's a compound fracture and then turns and shows an exposed bone coming out of his skin to the bench. There are reports, you can see Rick Bettino wiping away tears. That guy has seen everything. He was tearing up. Some players reportedly got physically ill after they saw that on the bench. Several players crying, Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, hey, can we have these guys warm up, the beak was so long, when he was being moved off the court. There was no thumbs up. He was basically almost out at that time. He was telling his teammates, don't worry about me, win the game over and over again. And that's what Rick Bettino used in his half time speech.

MALVEAUX: How rare is that, to see that? Because I mean everybody was reacting to it. It was just extraordinary. And the fact that it was live, it was on television. I mean everybody got to see it.

DIAZ: It was a complete freak accident and the thing is too, Joe Theismann who suffered the same kind of horrific injury to his leg on Monday night football, he tweeted out watching Duke-Louisville, my heart goes out to Kevin Ware. He actually texted Kevin Ware, and apparently called him as well. Michael Busch has called him as well. A lot of athletes are reaching out to Kevin Ware and he's getting that kind of support and you better believe he'll get support from the university. They'll want him back on the court, use him as a motivational tool and Rick Bettino will point to him and say, we take care of our own. And it'll be kind of a recruiting tool for him in the future.

MALVEAUX: Sure, absolutely. Where are we? Tell us where we are in March Madness.

DIAZ: Well, we're down to the final four. I picked none of these teams to be in the final four. That's what I know. You've got Louisville against Wichita State, that's the early game coming up this Saturday at 6:00, here in Atlanta. Then Michigan against Syracuse at 8:49. That's a marquee match-up of two number four seeds, two teams that have battled in the past, we could have a Louisville-Syracuse Big East match-up in the last game. But I've got to tell you, I got the blue socks on. I'm a big ten guy. So we have my last big ten team is in. My IU Hoosiers got knocked out. Ohio State got knocked out. Michigan state, so we got Michigan state is the last team in.

MALVEAUX: Carlos, you're turning red.

DIAZ: Well that's because of IU. I've got to get the red going.

MALVEAUX: I'm a Louisville fan, so I'm still in for Louisville. We'll see you tomorrow.

Here's the story you're going to actually have to see to believe. This is a guy who drives more than ten feet into the Walmart, jumps out, starts attacking people. We're going to tell you how this all ended.


MALVEAUX: Story is hard to believe. This is a man who's under arrest after police say he plowed his car into a California Walmart, the, starts attacking customers. Now, the car smashed through the front doors of the store, this happened in San Jose, slams into a beer display. One witness says he almost ran me over. Nick Valencia is live with some of the details. How did that happen? Was it a mistake? Was it an accident?