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Fingerprint Found on Bomb Debris; Boston Terror: "Danny" Speaks; FBI Affidavit in Ricin Investigation; Snow in May?

Aired May 1, 2013 - 05:00   ET


ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: Another key clue in the Boston terror attack. What investigators are saying about a fingerprint found on a bomb fragment.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: So politics turns into punches. Take a look at this all out brawl that left some lawmakers bloody and bruised. Not supposed to play like that.

SAMBOLIN: No, you're not.

So, the calendar might say May, but the forecast says something else. You're not going to believe it -- snow. Yes, you are going to believe it because we talked about it yesterday.

Good morning. Welcome to EARLY START. I'm Zoraida Sambolin.

Look who is back.

BERMAN: I'm John Berman.

SAMBOLIN: We are so happy to have you here.

BERMAN: I'm in New York.

SAMBOLIN: Yes, I know.

BERMAN: I'm right here, like I'm actually --

SAMBOLIN: I know. What's it feel like to be sitting behind the set and having all these people doting on you?

BERMAN: I have to put a tie on.

SAMBOLIN: Oh, that's the problem?

BERMAN: That's a bad part. That's the part. I'm wearing a tie.

It is Wednesday. I'm informed fully that it's Wednesday.

Back in New York, but we're going to start in Boston because there's a lot of news out there. New developments in the investigation up there.

We'll begin with one man's terrifying encounter with the Boston marathon bombing suspects. Tsarnaev's carjacking victim known only as "Danny" is coming forward, describing a scene of sheer terror, his daring escape, and the 911 call he made that help take the brothers down. All this as investigators uncover potential key evidence, spotting at least one fingerprint on bomb debris. And there's been another intriguing development as well.

For the first time, we're hearing Tamerlan Tsarnaev speak out on a video that just surfaced.

Pamela Brown is in Boston following the latest developments for us.

Good morning, Pamela.

PAMELA BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning to you, John.

A very busy week in the investigation. We're also getting unique insight into Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and the relationship between the two siblings turned suspects from the carjacking victim who spent a harrowing 90 minutes in a car with them.


BROWN (voice-over): For days after the Boston marathon bombings, Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev hid in plain sight until investigators say they killed MIT police officer Sean Collier and then carjacked a Mercedes SUV. The man inside that SUV, a Chinese immigrant who had moved back to Cambridge only two months earlier. He wants to remain anonymous and is calling himself Danny.

He describes his terrifying moments with the two alleged bombers and the taped interview with CBS News.

DANNY: They asked me a question, like, "Did you know the Boston explosion on Monday?" I said, "Yes". And he said, you know, "I did that, and I just killed a policeman in Cambridge."

BROWN: Danny told me in a face to face conversation off camera that the older brother was talkative, outgoing, but also threatening. At one point warning him, "Don't be stupid. If you're cooperative, I won't kill you."

Danny finally saw his chance to make a run for it when they pulled over for gas.

DANNY: I was counting, I was counting, "One, two, three, four." And I just do it. And I did it. And I can feel Tamerlan trying to grab me. I was running. I was just running as fast as I can and I never, I never looked back. >

BROWN: This as investigators continue painstaking forensic work. Sources say they found a fingerprint on the remnants of one of the bombs. But as of yet, no match.

Scrutiny of a different sort as critics question the FBI's handling of intelligence received from Russia about the older brother. The president staunchly defending the agency's handling.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The FBI investigated that older brother. It's not as if the FBI did nothing. They not only investigated the older brother, they interviewed the older brother.

BROWN: And, for the first time, we're hearing Tamerlan talk, introducing himself in this boxing video that aired on "Entertainment Tonight."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you excited?

TAMERLAN TSARNAEV, SUSPECT: Yes, why not? You know.

BROWN: Meanwhile, Tamerlan's widow has given the medical examiner's office consent to release his body to his family.


BROWN: And one more sign the city has changed forever -- on Tuesday, the city's semi- pro women's basketball team announced it is changing its name from the Boston Bombers to the Boston Bulldogs -- John.

BERMAN: Pamela, you also had a chance to sit down, to meet with this carjacking victim, Danny, he's being called. What did he tell you about that night?

BROWN: Yes, I spoke with Danny for about an hour and 15 minutes in a face to face conversation, John. And what's so interesting is he was really able to paint a picture of the relationship between Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and Tamerlan Tsarnaev during the 90 minutes in the car.

Danny told me that it was very clear that Tamerlan was the ring leader, that he was the one calling the shots and spearheading everything. He said that Tamerlan kept asking questions, was very talkative, very outgoing, and that Dzhokhar, once he abandoned his car and got in the car with them, was very quiet, he sat on the back seat, didn't say much, only asked a question or two, asked how much his car payments were.

And whenever Tamerlan wanted something done, he would ask Dzhokhar, and Dzhokhar would immediately do it. It seemed like, according to the victim, that Dzhokhar was at his beck and call. So, interesting to learn more about their dynamic there -- John.

BERMAN: So interesting. What an unbelievable seat this guy had next to the whole thing, and he's lucky to be alive and quite brave, too.


BERMAN: Pamela Brown, thanks very much.

SAMBOLIN: Five minutes past the hour.

New developments this morning in the Mississippi ricin investigation, and the arrest of suspect James Everett Dutschke. Dutschke is accused of sending letters tainted with the deadly substance to President Obama and two others.

An FBI affidavit says items recovered from his former martial arts studio tested positive or ricin and traces of the poison were found on the floor of the studio and inside the drains as well. It also says a witness told agents Dutschke claimed to know how to make ricin, but there's no mention of a possible motive.

BERMAN: In Valley Springs, California, a vigil for 8-year-old Leila Fowler. The little girl was found stabbed to death in her home on Saturday. The mourners gathered at Jenny Lind Elementary School holding candles, wearing purple and pink, the third grader's favorite colors.

Leila Fowler's mother addressed the crowd.


KRYSTAL WALTERS, LEILA FOWLER'S MOTHER: I just want to thank the entire community and all of our family and friends for the overwhelming support that you've given my family. It will never be forgotten.


BERMAN: The Calaveras County Sheriff's Department is now interviewing registered sexual offenders who live in that area. They're not saying whether Leila assaulted when she was killed.

SAMBOLIN: And the FDA OKs a prescription-free morning after-pill for girls 15 and older. So, that means they'll be able to buy the plan B emergency contraceptive over the counter. Earlier this month, a federal judge in New York ruled there should be no age restrictions for plan B. There's also no requirement for parental consent, I might add.

BERMAN: New York City police preparing to remove a plane part discovered at Ground Zero. They're doing that in just a few hours. This is believed to be from one of the jets that crashed into the World Trade Center in 2001. The rusted chunk of wing flap support was found last week in a narrow alley between buildings. Crews are expected to begin hauling it away at about 8:30 Eastern Time.

SAMBOLIN: In Venezuela, life after Hugo Chavez is proving to be pure chaos. The country's disputed election leading to violence in parliament.


SAMBOLIN: That's where the mess we showed you earlier happened. Amateur video captured some of the mayhem, opposition leaders trading punches with members of the united socialist party. The opposition angry they were not allowed to speak unless they first agreed to recognize Nicolas Maduro as Chavez's rightful successor. Maduro won the election with just 51 percent of the votes. The opposition is protesting the votes.

BERMAN: You know, we always complain about the gridlock and the partisanship in our Congress. You don't see that on the floor of Congress, as bad as things are, you don't see those dudes fighting.

SAMBOLIN: No, all those punches. That's something. Hopefully, they'll figure it out, right?

BERMAN: Yes, I hope so.

All right. So, new this morning, the threat of historic snow. In fact, it is May, May, and a winter-like storm front is bearing down on the Rockies -- this is bearing down in the Rockies and the High Plains. We're expecting unprecedented snowfall. Jennifer Delgado is tracking the system from the severe weather center, and Jim Spellman is live with a heavy jacket on in Boulder, Colorado.

Jim, let's start with you. You poor, poor thing. Look at you.

What's going to get hit by this storm?

JIM SPELLMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Look at this, John. I have the very first snow of May here in Boulder, Colorado. Just shifting over here, as we speak. It could be up to 10 inches up in Cheyenne, Wyoming. It could be more like three to four inches in Denver.

They're doing the usual 60, 80 plows out, de-icing planes at the airport.

You know, it's not unprecedented to have snow in May here. They usually get about 1.7 inches. But, yesterday, I was wearing flip flops, today, snow boots. So, that is always unusual.

All of this moisture is heading into the Midwest and down into the Deep South. Last week, we were in Missouri and Illinois, where some communities along rivers that were hard hit. They're going to have problems dealing with this extra moisture.

Here in Colorado, it's a real Godsend, though. It's really helping with the outlook for wild land fires. Monday, I was up in the mountains for the first time in probably two years. I saw the signs that said, "fire danger moderate." For what seemed like forever it had been on extreme.

So, we're appreciating the moisture here in Colorado -- John.

BERMAN: The moisture is, in fact, a good thing. And from flip-flops to snow boots, Jim, you always have the proper footwear. So, thank you so much for that.

SAMBOLIN: Well, he's finally wearing a hat, which is really good. I suspect it's very cold there.

Thank you, Jim.

And conditions have to be just right this late in the season for storm to actually dump significant snow.

Jennifer Delgado live from the CNN weather center.

What can we expect? It does say May 1st on the calendar.

JENNIFER DELGADO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: It does. It's May Day. And, you're right. Conditions do have to be right, and they are.

We are going to see snow piling up as we go through today, tomorrow, even into Friday.

Look at the radar now for Denver. As Jim just said, they're starting to get some of that snow working. Yes, it's coming down in Cheyenne, but as we look to the north, we're still looking at some heavy rain. That is eventually going to be changing over to snow as well.

What's helped track this for you, as we start this, we are going to looking at these winter storm warnings in place, as we go through the next 24 hours. These totals are going to be impressive in parts. For parts of Colorado, we're talking Denver, Cheyenne, we could see six to 12 inches of snowfall. We're talking for areas like Nebraska, you're going to be looking at snow.

Can you tell where the freeze line is, where the snow is going to be setting up for parts of Minnesota? And that location, maybe three inches of snowfall.

The good news is, because it has been so warm, a lot of this is going to be melting. But it is still eventually going to be piling up. Now, down towards the Southeast, it's a different story there. Have a little questionable area of low pressure just spinning right off the Gulf Coast. That is going to continue to bring storms as well as a lot of lightning to parts of Florida as well as the potential for some flooding problems.

On a wider view today, severe storms across parts of Texas as well as Oklahoma due to that boundary system. But as we've been talking about the snow, cold air, of course, is going to be filtering in. You can really see where the blue is, and that signifies the change.

Look at those temperatures for Wednesday, 33 degrees for high for Denver. Keep in mind, yesterday, the day before, 83 degrees. Hello, this is a shock to the system. And the temperatures will continue to fall over the next couple of days.

For New York, you're going to get spoiled. Zoraida, you're always asking for more better weather. You're going to get it through the end of the week.

SAMBOLIN: Look at that.

BERMAN: She's always asking for something.

SAMBOLIN: Thank you, Jennifer. We'll take it. We appreciate it.

BERMAN: Some nice weather. That's nice. SAMBOLIN: I know, but the folks who are suffering, I really feel for them, especially when they had rain and there's more rain on the way, and they're trying to figure out how to clean up their homes. It's just horrible.

All right. Still ahead --

BERMAN: Still ahead, "I am not a murderer." Those words from Amanda Knox, speaking publicly for the first time about her murder conviction, the year she spent in an Italian prison, and even thoughts of suicide.

That coming up. You're watching EARLY START.


SAMBOLIN: Welcome back to EARLY START. It is 15 minutes past the hour.

It is Amanda Knox in her own words. Knox is speaking publicly for the first time just over a month after Italy's highest court ordered her to be tried again for the murder of her roommate Meredith Kercher. Knox and her boyfriend spent four years in prison in Italy before their convictions were tossed out in 2011. Now, with a memoir out of the way, she is out to set the record straight.

More from CNN's Nick Valencia.


AMANDA KNOX, AUTHOR, "WAITING TO BE HEARD": I was in the courtroom when they were calling me a devil. I mean, it's one thing to be called certain things in the media, and it's another thing to be sitting in a courtroom, fighting for your life, while people are calling you a devil. It's not true. For all intents and purposes, I was a murderer, whether I was or not.

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In an exclusive interview with ABC News, Amanda Knox opened up for the first time in years about her murder conviction and her ordeal in the Italian courts and prison.

Speaking to Diane Sawyer, Knox talked about her roommate Meredith Kercher, the girl she was convicted of murdering, and what happened a day in 2007, that would change her life.

KNOX: It bothers me when people suggest that she wasn't my friend. I was stunned by her death. She was my friend.

VALENCIA: But that's not how much of the media saw it at the time, as prosecutors painted a picture of a kinky sex game gone wrong, Knox was dubbed the femme fatale, and the media ate it up. At the crime scene in the immediate aftermath of her roommate's death, it was actions like this, kissing her ex-boyfriend, who would eventually be convicted along with Knox in Kercher's death, that made critics question her innocence. DIANE SAWYER, ABC NEWS: People kept saying, where is the anguish? Where is what we think we would do if this happened to our friend?

KNOX: I've seen the same picture, liking kissing just can't stop. And that's not what that was. I want the truth to come out. I'd like to be reconsidered as a person.

VALENCIA: Which is why she agreed to the interview and released a memoir. She hopes it will help clear her name.

SAWYER: Did you kill Meredith Kercher?


SAWYER: Were you there that night?


SAWYER: Do you know anything you have not told police, that you have not said in this book? Do you know anything?

KNOX: No. I don't. I wasn't there.

VALENCIA (voice-over): Amanda Knox's freedom is now back on the line. An Italian court has ordered a retrial of her appealed conviction, and Knox may once again find herself pleading her case in an Italian court, proclaiming her innocence -- John, Zoraida.


SAMBOLIN: You know, when she asked about whether or not she would return to Italy in order to be tried, she said that her family absolutely, positively said, no way, but that she is actually thinking about it.

BERMAN: Her lawyer thinks it's a bad idea. I don't think that will happen.

SAMBOLIN: No, I don't either. I don't either.

BERMAN: It's fascinating to hear her talk about this. It really is.


BERMAN: Eighteen minutes after the hour.

Let's bring you up-to-date.

So, Danny, the man who was carjacked by the Boston bombing suspects, is telling his story of terror, describing to CBS News how he feared for his life, also talking about his decision to make a very daring escape.


DANNY: I was counting. I was counting, "One, two, three, four." And I just do it, and I did it. And I can feel Tamerlan trying to grab me.


BERMAN: A law enforcement official says investigators have uncovered potential key evidence, lifting at least one fingerprint from bomb debris.

SAMBOLIN: The death toll on that devastating building collapse in Bangladesh has now risen above 400. Word overnight from a military official on the scene that 402 people are now confirmed dead, and the bodies are still being found in the rubble.

A full week after Bangladesh's deadliest industrial disaster, hundreds of people are still believed to be missing.

BERMAN: So, police in Honolulu say that a 21-year-old woman who told authorities she found a newborn baby girl on a sandy beach is actually the baby's mother. Tiala Simiona (ph) was arrested Tuesday for filing a false report and released after posting $250 bail. The 8-pound newborn is said to be doing well at the local hospital. The State Department of human services is investigating this case.

SAMBOLIN: And Garden Staters will be seeing and hearing a lot more from their governor in the weeks ahead. Chris Christie's bid for re- election is about to kick into high gear. He is set to unveil the first TV of the 2013 campaign today. Team Christie is spending $1.5 million on a 60-second spot to appear on broadcast and cable stations statewide.

BERMAN: That is a big, expensive buy for the campaign.

SAMBOLIN: Yes, ka-ching.

BERMAN: So, why would a company sitting on billions of dollars in cash need to borrow money? The story behind Apple's big financial maneuver, coming up.


BERMAN: We're minding your business this morning. The headlines from Wall Street are just amazing. S&P 500, record high. NASDAQ, 12-year high.

SAMBOLIN: Hip, hip, hooray.

BERMAN: And take a look at these numbers for April. The major averages are all up nearly 2 percent. The S&P's winning streak is now six months and counting. We haven't seen a streak that awesome since 2009.

SAMBOLIN: Doesn't that make you nervous?

BERMAN: I know, I know, exactly.

SAMBOLIN: Another record on Wall Street, this one from Apple. The company is selling $17 billion in corporate bonds, the biggest sale in U.S. history.

CNN's Zane Asher is here for Christine Romans, with all the details on this.

ZAIN ASHER, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Right. Yes. It's a huge amount. Seventeen billion dollars. No other company has done this in history, issued this much debt. What you've got is Apple taking advantage of low interest rates to get their hands on more cash. People are asking themselves, why does Apple need any more cash than it already has? It actually already has $144 billion worth of cash on its books already.

But the problem is all of that cash is actually parked overseas, right? So, companies typically for tax reasons keep their cash overseas. When it's time to repatriate those funds, they end up having to pay a huge tax bill.

So, one of the ways around this problem is by issuing debt. They're issuing $17 billion worth this time around.

Tim Cook basically wants to give investors back dividends. That's what he's trying to use the money for. I'm going to show you why: Apple's stock price has literally plummeted by so much in the past year. We've all heard the stories, literally painful to watch.

Seven hundred and five dollars, that's what it was trading at in September. Now it's trading at roughly $444. Part of the reason is the disappointing launch of the iPhone 5. Also facing increased competition from Samsung.

So, but the good news about the $17 billion actually is that it's proved to be unbelievably popular. Investors are literally tripping over themselves to get their hands on this debt.

We did reach out to Apple for comment. Their lips are sealed. They're not saying anything at all.

BERMAN: Interesting. A way to avoid taxes and make investors happy all at the same time.

ASHER: All at the same time.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Thank you, Zain.

BERMAN: All right.

So, coming up next on EARLY START, why Florida's controversial "Stand Your Ground" law will not be part of George Zimmerman's defense when he goes on trial for shooting Trayvon Martin.


BERMAN: His bold move helped bring down two terror suspects. We are hearing in person from the man carjacked in Boston by the Tsarnaev brothers. SAMBOLIN: And she is a hero who likely saved lives at a local Starbucks. What one customer did to keep people from drinking poisoned orange juice and helped police catch the suspect.


So, sheriff's deputies on safari in a helicopter. Here's what they saw overnight while on the trail of a black bear. You have to see this to believe it.