Return to Transcripts main page


Amanda Knox Breaks her Silence; Woman Shows World Her Face Transplant; Final Witnesses in Arias Murder Trial; "Arrested Development" Makes Comeback; Free Airline Upgrades Endangered; Hiccuping Weatherman

Aired May 1, 2013 - 10:30   ET


NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Amanda Knox's freedom is again on the line. An Italian court has ordered a retrial. After a repealed conviction she may find herself again very soon Carol back in an Italian courtroom pleading her case proclaiming her innocence.

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: So she seems to be on this PR campaign to clear her name. She was on "Good Morning America" this morning too. And I'm sure she'll be talking to other media types in the future. Will this help though with Italian authorities?

VALENCIA: Well that's what she's hoping it will help. She's on this major PR offensive hoping to clear her name. She made a very emotional plea last night as well to the Kerchner family -- Kercher family. Of which she said she's very sorry about the death of their daughter. They're not buying it, they said they're not going to read the memoir and I doubt that they actually even watch.

COSTELLO: Nick Valencia many thanks to you.

And good morning, thank you so much for being with us. I'm Carol Costello time to check our top stories. It is 30 minutes past the hour. Testimony resumes in a little more than an hour the Michael Jackson wrongful death trial. A police detective -- says he believes Dr. Conrad Murray's financial situation may have led him to quote, "break the rules during Jackson's treatment." The Jackson family is suing concert promoter AEG Live. The Jackson says AEG hired Dr. Murray. AEG says Michael Jackson hired the doctor.

Senator Barbara Boxer of California has announced plans to hold hearings in to the April explosion that killed 15 people I the town of West Texas. Boxer is the chairwoman of the Environment and Public Works committee. She also said she'll look at whether chemical safety laws are being enforced and if they need to be strengthened.

And the FDA is now allowing girls as young as 15-years-old to buy the morning after pill without a prescription. The agency says data shows these girls as young as 15 understands how the pill called Plan B One- Step work and how to use it properly. Proof of a would be required to purchase Plan B One-Step and it cannot be sold where age cannot be verified.

All right, we have to tell you about this medical miracle. A mother of two left horribly disfigured after a domestic attack is about to show the world her new face. Carmen Tarleton is just the fifth woman to have a face transplant at Brigham Women's Hospital in Boston. Now just months after a long and arduous transplant Tarleton is stepping away from the curtains and she's about to speak at a news conference. We'll take you there in just a moment.

But first let's talk more about this woman and the transplant before she faced the cameras this morning. Carmen sat down for an exclusive interview with senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen. And it's a sad story and a remarkable story and --

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: It is all of that put together. I mean how she got injured is so awful. Her estranged husband doused with her industrial strength lye, 80 percent skin burned and not just superficially but all the way through. And so doctors said, wow, maybe we can give you a face transplant. And it took a long time to find a match, but they eventually did. So just the whole concept of having a face that once belonged to somebody else who's now passed away --

COSTELLO: So introduce us.

COHEN: Well her name is Carmen Tarleton and here is the interview I did with her earlier this week.


COHEN (voice over): Carmen Tarleton loved her husband, but when their marriage fell apart he attacked her dousing her with industrial strength lye. Her beautiful face destroyed. Deep burns on over 80 percent of her body. More than 50 surgeries saved her life but doctors couldn't erase the scars.

(on camera): You're the head of a major burn unit. Have you ever seen a burn injury like this?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Never. Never seen anything like this.

COHEN: Ten doctors at Brigham Women's Hospital in Boston came up with an idea. How about taking a face from a woman who died and giving it to Carmen. In a 15 hour surgery doctors replaced Carmen's skin, muscles, tendons and nerves with those from the donor. Now for the first time Carmen is revealing her new face three months after her surgery.

(on camera): How does it feel to go from having this horribly scarred face to having a face without scars?

CARMEN TARLETON, FACE TRANSPLANT RECIPIENT: It's -- well it's -- I'm thrilled -- I'm thrilled with what I've got.

COHEN (voice over): And she doesn't just have a new face. She also has new man in her life -- her piano teacher Sheldon Stein.

(on camera): So you walked in for a piano lesson.

TARLETON: Right. COHEN: And you got --

TARLETON: I got the love of my life. How lucky was that?

COHEN (voice over): Sheldon fell in love with Carmen a few weeks before she got her new face.

(on camera): What about Sheldon touched your heart?

TARLETON: That he was able to see me through my scars at the time.

COHEN: I'll be honest with you. A lot of men couldn't handle all of this.

TARLETON: Oh I guess I didn't know that.

COHEN: But Sheldon.

TARLETON: Sheldon is different.

COHEN: Sheldon when you look at Carmen what do you see?

SHELDON STEIN, CARMEN TARLETON'S BOYFRIEND: I see an incredible woman. I see a woman that loves strength; with inner beauty and outer beauty.

COHEN: Right now Carmen doesn't have much control over her face. Can you smile? That's great.

TARLETON: Yes a little bit yes.

COHEN: Doctors tell her it will keep getting better and better. I can't -- I can't pucker and feel yet. But I am looking forward to that day because I know that day will come --


COHEN: She's a wonderful woman.

COSTELLO: Can she see?

COHEN: She has partial sight in one eye. So you saw one eye was closed. And that's because her eyelids don't work, so they let that eye close because can't see.

The other eye, I don't know if you noticed that there was a little piece of tape holding it open and because she can't hold it open on her own. So they let that one stay open, she's got a little bit, when I -- when I talked to her, I made sure that I was sitting right there in front of her. She's got some visioning, you saw she could play the piano. But legally, she is actually blind.

COSTELLO: Now there has to be psychological scars too. I can't even imagine.

COHEN: Absolutely. I mean so this attack was 2007. And she now -- when she talks about it, she is not emotional about it. She sort of just says it like it is. She does the same thing in her book which she's just written. And I sit there with Carmen, how can you -- how can you be so sort of evolved?

I mean look at what this guy did to you and she said well, it really helped to forgive him. She said I forgave him. I know. And I said how could you forgive someone who soaked you with lye and burned your whole body and she said, Elizabeth you don't forgive for the other person. You forgive for yourself.

COSTELLO: That's right.

COHEN: She said when you forgive it allows you to move on? And now she --

COSTELLO: Hate takes a whole lot of energy right?

COHEN: Exactly, exactly.

COSTELLO: So -- so the estranged husband is now in prison.

COHEN: Is now in prison right. And will be for a very long time.

COSTELLO: Sheldon, the wonderful Sheldon.

COHEN: And the wonderful Sheldon.

COSTELLO: My God he's so awesome. So how long will it take before she -- before her face gets better and she can smile fully and she can pucker up and kiss Sheldon?

COHEN: Right to open up that eye completely.


COHEN: You know her doctor said in the coming months he expects to see a lot of improvement already in the beginning so back in February when she had the transplant. She can hardly do anything with her face and now you see she can smile a little bit. She can do a little bit of movement. So they say it'll just keep getting better. Even just a month or two from now, they expect it to be different.

COSTELLO: What a fabulous woman.

COHEN: Yes she's really amazing, really inspirational.

COSTELLO: Elizabeth thanks so much.

COHEN: Thanks.

COSTELLO: We'll be right back.


COSTELLO: We may soon learn the fate of accused killer Jodi Arias. And I say that -- ok I say that even knowing that in just a few hours the final two witnesses will head to the stand for a day of testimony that, yes, could go on until midnight.

Ted Rowlands has more from you from Phoenix.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth so help you God.

TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Jodi Arias was the defense star witness, spending 18 days on the stand trying to save herself from a possible conviction and death sentence.

JODI ARIAS, ON TRIAL FOR MURDER: I really thought he had intentions to kill me.

ROWLANDS: Arias insist it was self defense when she killed her boyfriend Travis Alexander in June of 2008 saying he attacked her after she accidentally dropped his new camera while she was taking these photos of him in the shower.

ARIAS: So he lifted me up as he was screaming that I was a stupid idiot and he body slammed me again on the tile.

JUAN MARTINEZ, PROSECUTOR: You needed to go get that knife at that point, correct?

ROWLANDS: Despite days of grueling cross-examination --

MARTINEZ: You never told us that he had any (inaudible), did you?

ARIAS: No, I wasn't asked.

ROWLANDS: During the testimony, Arias never seemed to de deviate from her version of what happened rattling off specific dates and details of her life. The one thing Jodi Arias claims she can't remember is the actual killing of Travis Alexander.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you have any memories of slashing Mr. Alexander's throat?


ROWLANDS: Some of the toughest questions came from jurors who were allowed to submit them to the judge.

SHERRY STEPHENS, PRESIDING JUDGE: Why is it that you have no memory of stabbing Travis?

ARIAS: I can't really explain why my mind did what it did.

ROWLANDS: Since her arrest more than four years ago, Arias has told three different versions of what happened. First claiming she wasn't even there.

ARIAS: I wasn't there.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Be honest with me, Jodi.

ARIAS: I was not at Travis' house.

After police confronted her with evidence proving she was there, Arias told police she and Alexander were victims of a home invasion robbery.

STEPHENS: After all the lies you have told, why should we believe you now?

ARIAS: Lying isn't typically something I just do.

ROWLANDS: The defense case also featured the X-rated details of Arias' sex life. Jurors saw nude photos and even heard a phone sex recording between her and Alexander.

TRAVIS ALEXANDER, MURDER VICTIM: You cannot say, "I don't work that booty".

ROWLANDS: The defense used two expert witnesses. A psychotherapist testified that she believes Arias was a victim of domestic abuse. And a psychologist testified that the holes in Arias' memory were likely because of PTSD.

ARIAS: When I sort of came out of the fog. I realized, Oh crap, something bad has happened.

ROWLANDS: And Carol today is day 55 in this trial, the last day of testimony as you mentioned. The judge has extended the hours to make sure they finish today. Closing arguments are set for tomorrow.

The jury should finally have this case by Friday -- Carol.

COSTELLO: I'll believe it when I see it. Ted Rowlands reporting live from Phoenix.

Let's talk about something good now, shall we? The "Arrested Development" gang is back together again. After 7 years, the series is poised to launch a brand new season and according to one cast member, there could be more arrested developments to come. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COSTELLO: It was a dysfunctional family reunion, but then again what family reunion is not dysfunctional? Anyway, it's this year's premier of Season 4 of "Arrested Development". After a seven-year hiatus, the sitcom is back. 50 new episodes are set to release May 26th on Netflix.

Here's a sneak peak.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Life was confined to a smoke filled room having found a way around both the buildings' strict no smoking policy and the fact that her ankle monitor.

(END VIDEO CLIP) COSTELLO: That made me a little sick. A.J. Hammer -- it makes you sick and then you laugh. I don't understand it. Anyway, this is just the beginning right?

A.J. HAMMER, HLN HOST: Hopefully, fans are hoping that they are going to get a big screen story about the Bluths family. Star Jason Bateman says the cast is on board for an "Arrested Development" movie if they can get it all together. And he told us that they're thankful Netflix and the show's creator were able to revive the show.

Watch what he said.


JASON BATEMAN, ACTOR: Netflix made it happen and Mitch Hurwitz. We all would have done it a long time ago and we'll do it all more in the future if they'll have us. The movie is not written nor is there a deal yet for it, but Mitch has the whole story worked out. And it is a three-act story that was too big to put in feature script so we put the first act in these episodes and the movie will be acts two and three.


HAMMER: And Carol, Jason recently told us that he's always been so thankful for his role in "Arrested Development" because had it not been for this role, he would have been working, as he put it, in fast food the way his career was going.

COSTELLO: Really? Without that?

HAMMER: So, a lot of good reasons to celebrate. The show is still going on.

COSTELLO: I doubt that. I love him. Thank you so much. A.J. Hammer reporting live for us from New York.

We'll be right back.


COSTELLO: The free airline upgrade -- seasoned travelers know it can turn a trip of drudgery into one of comfort. But be warned weary fliers that free bump ups to business class may become the casualty of a new auction service. And yes I don't have any idea what that means either. But Alison Kosik does. Explain please.

ALISON KOSIK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Ok. So I'm going to walk you through this. This is a new program called Plus Grade. And what it does Carol, it lets you bid for upgrades on flights that you're already booked on.

So let's just say you have, let's say coach seat, booked for your Virgin Atlantic flight to London. And if you have the winning bid, you can get upgraded to business class for less money that if you just let's say booked a business class seat to begin with. Now this is not available for every passenger. Plus Grade tells us that it varies from airline to airline as to who they invite to use the service. Airlines may call the auction program something different than Plus Grade. So be aware of that.

And you know, from a carrier standpoint, it is pretty smart. It lets them generate extra revenue on seats that may have otherwise gone unused. Problem, of course, for you and me is that it means fewer upgrades for the people who would traditionally get them at the gate -- also frequent flyers -- Carol.

COSTELLO: Thank you Alison -- Alison.

Checking our top -- at 52 minutes past the hour, drugs prescribed for treating attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or ADHD are facing more scrutiny this morning. That's according to the "New York Times". The paper says many colleges are tightening rules on diagnosis and treatment. Some schools even require students to sign contracts saying they will not misuse or share their pills.

All Boeing 787 Dreamliner should be flying by early next month. The Dreamliner, as you know, had been grounded globally for more than three months due to a faulty battery system. Last week the FAA cleared Boeing to make fixes to that system.

Colorado is getting a blast of spring snow today. The state's northern cities could see as many as eight inches of snow by tonight. Denver could break the record for the coldest ever first day of may.

Pretty though. We'll be right back.


COSTELLO: I'll be the first to tell you live TV has its hazards. One Houston meteorologist weathered his own personal storm. Here's CNN's Jeanne Moos.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Talk about high pressure. There is never a good time for hiccups but this was a bad one.

When KHOU meteorologist David Paul started his forecast for the Houston area he hoped it was just a passing hiccup.

DAVID PAUL, METEOROLOGIST: But you get outside the -- it is really Highway 6.

MOOS: But the involuntary contractions of the diaphragm continued.

PAUL: Excuse me. I have the hiccups of course.

MOOS: David told us he had been having bouts of hiccups all day but usually they stop when the red light on the camera comes on.

PAUL: Some redevelopment of thunderstorms right in here -- excuse me. It was the most helpless feeling I have ever had on live TV. That was a mess.

MOOS: Sure other meteorologists have suffered a single hiccup.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Close to 60 -- excuse me. That is what Dr. Pepper does to you.

MOOS: We have seen talents sneeze on air.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But you know what -- excuse me.

MOOS: We have even seen an Australian weatherman pass out while doing the weather, pulling 8 G's in a stunt plane. But this was no stunt.

PAUL: -- had some rain shower developing, as well. I did put a storm track on this.

MOOS: What we need is a hiccup tracker.

In a forecast that lasted about three minutes we counted a total of 14 hiccups and seven "excuse me's". David did try one last ditched trick.

PAUL: I slowed down and I thought, well, I'm just going to try to speak slowly and swallow and maybe they'll go away.

At least street flooding so I am monitoring that very carefully this evening. So far so good there. Here is the -- excuse me -- big picture.

MOOS: Even a drink of water didn't help.

PAUL: Thank you. Appreciate it.

MOOS: But at least he is getting praise for soldiering through and maintaining his dignity. All those hiccups are nothing to sneeze at.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wow, that's a first.

PAUL: All I have heard today is hey, it's the hiccupping weatherman.

MOOS: Forecasting a 70 percent chance of scattered hiccups. Jeanne Moos, CNN --

PAUL: Here is your extended forecast -- excuse me.

MOOS: New York.



COSTELLO: I'm Carol Costello. Thank you so much for joining me today.

CNN NEWSROOM continues right now.

ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks very much -- Carol. Hello everyone. I'm Ashleigh Banfield reporting live in Boston Massachusetts.