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Northeast Buried By Winter Storm; Hundreds Of Thousands Without Power; New York City Mayor Under Fire; Virginia Same Sex Marriage Ban Overturned; : Self Defense or Murder?; New Pictures in Pistorius Case

Aired February 14, 2014 - 06:00   ET



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's crazy. I wish the winter would stop. We keep getting hit over and over.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking overnight, the storm that just won't quit. Heavy snow drops overnight across the northeast. Some getting more than two feet. Chaos at the airports ahead of the holiday weekend as hundreds of thousands struggle in the dark down south, and there may be more to come.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Also breaking overnight, overturned. A federal judge strikes down Virginia's ban on same-sex marriage opening up the next front in the state by state battle. We're live with the latest.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: Inside the jury room. We're heading into day three of deliberations in the so-called loud music trial. The jury asking the judge even more questions. Are we heading for a hung jury in what many viewed as a slam dunk case?

CUOMO: Your NEW DAY starts right now. Good morning. Happy Valentine's Day.

BOLDUAN: Happy Valentine's Day.

CUOMO: How lucky am I and to you as well, happy Valentine's Day. It is Friday of course, February 14th, 6:00 in the east. Now the bad news, a hundred million Americans are waking up on this Valentine's Day to misery, cold, power outages. We are going to tell you about all of this because the back end of this massive nor'easter still battering the northeast.

A relentless storm is being blamed for at least 16 deaths, one of them in New York where a pregnant woman was run over and killed by a Bobcat snow plow in a grocery store parking lot. Right now parts of Maryland are buried under two feet of snow and there is more on the way.

BOLDUAN: Power is still out for a half million people from Arkansas all the way to Maine. Ice covered tree limbs taking out power lines all over Georgia and the Carolinas. Just look at the video. Nearly 8,000 flights have been canceled since yesterday. And then there's this. As we speak, there is snow on the ground in 49 of the 50 states if you can believe it.

We have a team of reporters covering the extreme weather this morning beginning with meteorologist, Indra Petersons in White Plains, New York right outside New York City. Indra, what are we looking at today?

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Perfect description or name, right, White Plains because that is what we're dealing with out here today, still snowing even right now. And we are making friends because take a look behind me. Dave, we have known him since yesterday. He comes out every hour and has been shoveling. It is 6 a.m., guys.

Forget Boston Strong. Try New York Strong because he is not the only one. Remember, 6 a.m., take a look here behind me as well. Ted is also shoveling this morning. This is a tough morning because we have good three to four foot berms out here. Good news though, notice, we have the snow plows.

They had been out. I see them about every 15 minutes or so. So by the time you try and get up and go to work this morning, things should be a lot better. And of course, if you look all the way down the street, you're going to see a lot of people out here this morning still shoveling.

Here's the problem. You have a lot of snow on top. Down on the ground, we have a lot of ice. So it's this bottom layer that's going to be very tricky for you this morning. And I know it's not just here in New York. It's looks like a hundred million people this morning are going to be dealing with the effects of winter weather.


PETERSONS (voice-over): Overnight the backside of the monster nor'easter slammed the north coast again.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's crazy. I wish the winter would stop. We keep getting hit over and over.

PETERSONS: Along with the pummeling snow, flashing light. Portions of the north east hit by a phenomenon called "thunder snow" caused by thunderstorms producing snow instead of rain. The first round of snow, sleet and ice making travel nearly impossible on Thursday, cars sliding, tires spinning and people unable to dig out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Come to get a couple things from the store, and we got truck.

PETERSONS: In Maryland, tractor trailers jackknifed near I-95 Corridor losing traction crashing into guard rails and sprawling across the highway. Officials say this monster nor'easter arrival passed epic storms in upstate New York.

JOSH SHAPIRO: We saw a more damaged, more power outage in this storm than during Sandy. PETERSONS: The crippling blast proving deadly from Texas to Connecticut. In New York, a pregnant woman was fatally struck by a small snow plow, rushed to the hospital, her baby delivered by C- section.

LINDA PEREZ, BROOKLYN, NY RESIDENT: It is terrible. She just gone to the supermarket and this happens.

PETERSONS: In Connecticut, record breaking snowfall up to 6 inches an hour combined with winds up to 45 miles per hour causing whiteout conditions.

GOVERNOR DAN MALLOY, CONNECTICUT: What's going on right now is a very serious band of snow.

PETERSONS: In New Jersey, the weight of nearly 9-inches of snow collapsed the roof of this Verizon parking lot.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's amazing. I think three guys got a couple scratches.

PETERSONS: This nor'easter topping Philadelphia's fifth snowiest winter on record with some parts of the north east seeing upwards of 24 inches of snow.


PETERSONS: So it has been a tough winter guys. Just keep in mind, I'm about 5'7 and take a look at these berms here behind me. We have so much snow here. The last thing anyone wants is more snow. And unfortunately, that is the case. We are still dealing with the system exiting out this morning.

You can see on the radar. We are still going to be talking about a couple flurries until about 10:00 or so in the morning in the big cities. If you're in Vermont, if you're in New Hampshire and also through Maine, still looking for the system making its way and exiting out the northeast this morning.

But that's not the snow I'm talking about. We're going to get a little bit of a break in these big cities today, but tonight again, we're talking about the next clipper. There's a system already in the Midwest producing snow today. It looks for Valentine's Day dinner time in Ohio Valley, but by tonight and through tomorrow, more snow, several inches, in towards the east coast, guys.

CUOMO: Can't believe there's more coming. Great demonstration out there, Indra, of showing how people are already out there at 6:00 in the morning in the east. The plows are working, but that ice under the snow is going to be a big problem and an even bigger problem for power lines.

We are going to talk about that now, 490,000 customers still without power in the eastern U.S. Why? Wet snow and ice means too much weight for power lines. They go down. The roads are slick. It's nasty out there. That means repair crews are delayed. So all across the eastern seaboard specifically and even worst in the southeast, people are in the cold and the dark. Ed Lavandera is in Atlanta for us this morning. What's the status, Ed?

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, I think there are two main things that people will be thinking about throughout the southern part of this storm system, Chris, is traffic this morning and also those power outages. Just under 200,000 people left without power in the state of Georgia.

Remember the city of Atlanta, which was paralyzed by that ice storm two weeks ago will be heading back out this rush hour morning. They've been off the roads for the last three days because schools and businesses have been shut down. This morning will be their first time back out on the roads in a few days.


LAVANDERA (voice-over): As if the east coast hasn't gotten the memo by now, winter is still here, big time. Icy roads, snow piling up, power lines down by fallen trees all wreaking havoc in the storm weary southern states.


LAVANDERA: Hundreds of thousands are still cold and in the dark without electricity. As crews work to get things back up and running, Atlanta resident, Bob Clark, was one of the first to lose power Wednesday morning.

(on camera): How quickly is the temperature drop in your house after you lost power?

BOB CLARK, ATLANTA RESIDENT: It's almost as cold as everywhere in the house, but the main hallway. It's as cold inside as it is out right now.

GOVERNOR PAT MCCRORY (R), NORTH CAROLINA: We're still expecting hazardous road conditions. The bottom line is this storm is still very dangerous.

LAVANDERA: Officials in the Carolinas and Georgia sending that message loud and clear yesterday wanting to avoid Wednesday's gridlock in Raleigh with drivers abandoning their cars on the highway.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My mission today is to try to get home.

LAVANDERA: Hoping to prove lessons from the last snow storm that paralyzed Atlanta trapping thousands overnight in schools and on highways, this time people seeming to take the warnings seriously.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's not worth getting out there. I think the governor said it pretty clearly. Just stay home.

LAVANDERA: Luckily for the south, the temperature is warming. There are even signs of sunshine, melting the ice and snow, but not before providing at least a few with a little fun.


LAVANDERA: And it was quite a scene yesterday on the roads. As soon as that sun broke through and people here in the Georgia area had seen that sunlight for the first time in three days headed out onto the roadways.

The city of Augusta, Georgia really one of the hardest hit areas and they have the most clean up from power line and downed tree limbs will be cleaned up. They are starting to be cleaned up today -- Kate.

BOLDUAN: All right, a lot to look forward to today or not look forward to in terms of clean up. Ed, be careful out there. Thank you so much.

The snow just now ending in New York City, but there was chaos and sure a lot of confusion and now backlash for the big city's mayor and school chancellor. They're facing angry parents for keeping schools open during the storm yesterday.

And they are now pushing back themselves. CNN's Rosa Flores is in Midtown Manhattan with much more on this. So what happened?

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, let me check with the temperature right now, Kate. It's about 30 degrees with a feel like temperature in the 20s. Let me just tell you that the wind sometimes just slaps you in the face. Here's what commuters are dealing with today. Take a look.

Lots of slush and I can say they're probably one of the best plowed streets here in New York City, but this is what folks have to deal with. Even to just get here to Pen Station, deep potholes. The advice is, yes, keep your nice shoes at home.

Now about the schools here in New York City, lots of controversy involving Mayor Bill De Blasio because he opened the schools yesterday, a day when the governor even declared a state of emergency for this area.

And of course, the controversy was coming from parents saying, wait a minute, you're sending mixed messages here because you're telling people that the roads are not safe to be on, but a lot of students have to get on buses, which are on the roads to get to school so a lot of controversy.

The schools, of course, today are open. That is not the controversy because as you can see, the conditions are a lot better. It's just cold. The people here in New York City, Chris, are definitely used to this winter weather. Yesterday, however, was a different story. By the way, Happy Valentine's Day.

CUOMO: Happy Valentine's Day to you. And you get a special one because you're out there in the real bad stuff this morning. Rosa, thank you very much. The point about schools and whether or not to close them, that's a pretty hot debate. We are going to take it on later on in the show. This is not as simple as it seems for a lot of people.

But there is another legal story for you as well this morning, breaking overnight, a federal judge once again enforcing equal protection rights striking down Virginia's ban on same-sex marriage as unconstitutional. This follows similar rulings in Kentucky, Oklahoma and Utah.

The judge however, did stay her decision. That means it can be appealed. So same-sex couples won't be able to marry right away. CNN's Joe Johns is live in our Washington Bureau. Good morning, Joe.

JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Chris. Potentially a huge legal moment in the south for supporters of the marriage equality movement, an eloquently written opinion going to the heart of the constitutional question on same-sex marriage that's been left undecided by the United States Supreme Court.

In Norfolk, Virginia, a federal judge named, Arinda L. Wright Allen, her words on the page that our constitution declares all men are created equal. Surely this means all of us. Allen's ruling declares Virginian state laws against same-sex marriage unconstitutional.

And also says, Virginia must recognize same-sex marriages that were performed legally in other states. The judge stayed her decision pending appeal and there will be an appeal. Opponents of same-sex marriage are expected to take this all the way to the Supreme Court if necessary.

Important for a bunch of reasons, first, because it comes in the fourth circuit which would apply to the Carolinas, West Virginia. The plaintiffs in the case are two men from Norfolk who tried to get a license and were denied, and two women from Virginia who were legally married in the state of California, but have tried and failed to get the state of Virginia to recognize their marriage.

Also worth pointing out, this was another Virginia case called loving versus Virginia that led to legalization of interracial marriage back in the 1960s so a lot of potential history here. Chris and Kate, back to you.

PEREIRA: I'll take it here. Yes, we know the loving case very well. Joe, thank you so much for that, and happy Valentine's Day. I like that red tie. It's strong.

CUOMO: It's strong.

PEREIRA: Let's take a look at some of our headlines right now. It's 12 minutes after the hour. AP is reporting the Obama administration may be willing to wait a little longer to get a security agreement signed with Afghanistan. The White House wanted a deal by this spring before President Karzai leaves office. Now, they may be willing to wait for whoever replaces Karzai to hammer out an agreement. Breaking overnight, three people have been killed by a volcano eruption in Indonesia, 75,000 people have been told to evacuate. The eruption has caused buildings to collapse and flights at area airports to be canceled because of spewed ash.

Questions about motive this morning in a deadly bombing at a rural Tennessee home. We told you this story here on NEW DAY. Investigators are being tight-lipped about the murder case against 49- year-old Richard Parker. But they say this is the man, he is the sole suspect. Investigators did reveal they found a note that may have been attached to the package bomb, but they would not discuss what it said. The bomb killed his in-laws, Jon and Marion Setzer.

Veteran character actor, Ralph Waite has died. You know him because he played the tough but kind hearted papa in the 1970s TV series "The Waltons."


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There were a million men killed there. One of them was my best friend. That's a lot of suffering no matter how you look at it.


PEREIRA: The Waltons ran for nine seasons and really made Waite a star. Back in 2004, he was ranked third on a list of all-time television dads by TV Guide. Ralph Waite was 85 years old.

Pope Francis playing cupid this Valentine's Day hosting thousands of engaged couples for a very special general audience at the Vatican. He is not only speaking, he is expected actually to answer some of the couple's questions. It is called the journey of yes, forever. Imagine getting to be in that audience for that.

CUOMO: Pretty cool. I like that he's taking it on.

BOLDUAN: I myself throughout my life have been both sides on Valentine's Day.

PEREIRA: I'm both sides every day.

CUOMO: Love it hate it. Love chocolate. The interesting thing is that --

PEREIRA: That's a whole blog entry by the way.

CUOMO: No, no, no, no. I have a lollipop right here. I'm definitely down with it. You Google Valentine's Day, it's got a great history that goes way beyond the sugary romanticism. Its roots aren't that at all. It's about friendship and recognizing people who are good to you and how to be good to each other.

PEREIRA: Let's take that then.

CUOMO: If you don't have enough going on already. BOLDUAN: It's 6:15 so you can have sugary whatever you can get your hands on.

CUOMO: When we come back, we're going to take on some big issues for you today. Self defense or cold-blooded murder? That is the question that the loud music trial comes down to. We're beginning day three of deliberations. We have a rare opportunity. You're going to hear the case from the defense counsel and we're going to test it and you can decide.

BOLDUAN: Also ahead, Oscar Pistorius speaking out, if you can believe it, one year now after shooting his girlfriend to death. This morning, exclusive new pictures of the couple and we're going to tell you what the track star is saying about that deadly day.


CUOMO: Welcome back to NEW DAY.

In less than three hours, jurors return for a third day of deliberations in the so-called loud music murder trial. Now, the jury is grappling with the question of whether the defendant, Michael Dunn, is guilty of first degree murder of Michael Davis or if the shooting that followed an argument over this loud music coming from the car was self defense.

CNN's Alina Machado is in Jacksonville -- Alina.

ALINA MACHADO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Chris, this is the hardest part usually of a trial, waiting for a verdict. That's what both sides are doing right now as they wait for this jury of five men and seven women to reach a unanimous decision.


MACHADO (voice-over): The first day of deliberations ended without a verdict and it started with this.


MACHADO: The surveillance video capturing the sound of gunfire, the night 47-year-old Michael Dunn shot and killed Jordan Davis at this Jacksonville gas station. It was the first of several requests made by the jury.

They watched 20 minutes of footage of the incident from all angles.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They're definitely being methodical. It usually means they're working through every piece of evidence.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you get that dummy with the sticks?

MACHADO: That was the jury's next request, referring to this mannequin used by both the defense and the prosecution to show the path of the bullets through Davis' body. That request was denied. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We cannot send that back to you as it was a demonstrative exhibit. It was not offered into evidence, therefore, it cannot be sent back.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That was a big point on both sides. I thought Cory Strolla really sort of brought some questions to bear on that science. And he said, look, that's junk science, junk in, junk out. They might want to test that back in the jury room, but they're not going to be able to do that.

MACHADO (on camera): This is what an actual jury room looks like inside the courthouse. There's not much in it. There's a table, some chairs and even a bathroom.

When they have a request or a question, they'll write it on a piece of paper, walk over her, push this button, and hand that request or question to the bailiff.

(voice-over): The jury also had a question about details of a letter Dunn wrote to family and friends, sharing his version of events surrounding, and they asked for an easel.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Either they're going to be reenacting what they think is a science, because they ask for that right after the dummy, or maybe they're listing the pros and cons. The fact that there's still a jury and the jury's out, as we like to say, means that this is an arguable case.


MACHADO: This jury has now been deliberating for about 12 hours. They're scheduled to back at it today at 9:00 Eastern -- Chris.

CUOMO: All right, Alina. Thank you.

You know, most often, you can't tell what it means as deliberations extend. Although more often than not, it means that you wind up having divided jury. So, what we're going to do is we'll bring in experts to discuss it, but more importantly, we're going to bring in Michael Dunn's attorney. He's going to make the case for why the right decision here is an acquittal, a not guilty verdict.

We'll test it, you can be the judge. It matters here administer more than a lot of cases because this case is going to have implications after the verdict.

BOLDUAN: Absolutely right, especially for that community. Today marks one year since South African athlete Oscar Pistorius shot and killed his model girlfriend. This morning, the Olympian released a statement saying he's consumed with guilt over Reeva Steenkamp's death. And now, we're getting a look at some of the last pictures ever taken of the couple.

CNN's Robyn Curnow is live in Johannesburg.

Robyn, you have been following this case, this tragic story from the very beginning. What's the latest?

ROBYN CURNOW, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hey there, Kate. Well, in these photographs given to CNN by a source close to Oscar Pistorius, you see what appears to be a couple very much in love, quite happy. In all of them, Oscar and Reeva are touching or hugging. Obviously, this doesn't give any bearing into his innocence or guilt, but it does paint a picture essentially of the state of their relationship perhaps and also their shared experiences.

Meanwhile, you referred to that statement that Oscar Pistorius made on this anniversary of her death. He's essentially said his silence, making a rare public statement. In it, he said, "The pain and sorrow, especially for Reeva's parents, family and friends, consumes me with sorrow. And the loss of Reeva and the complete trauma of that day I will carry with me for the rest of my life.

Of course, the trauma of that day is getting repeated over and over again. The trial, the murder trial starts on March the 3rd.

BOLDUAN: All right. Robyn, thank you so much. From what Robyn has been telling me, it's been a very confusing pretrial to this point. I think it's going to be a very confusing trial when it begins, with so many witnesses that they're considering bringing on.

CUOMO: Let's take a break right now. The northeast as you know is getting pummeled and it's happening right now. So, we already see the most flight cancellations already this winter. This is a holiday weekend. Are people going to be able to get out, more snow is on the way. We'll follow it all for you.

BOLDUAN: Also ahead, a new cause for Senator Ted Cruz. The conservative form Texas is taking on gay marriage but for a measure that is sure to go nowhere in the Democratically controlled Senate. Is this still a winning issue for Republicans?


CUOMO: Welcome back to NEW DAY. Look at that. Suck in progress as the blowers are out trying to get people back to work, get back to normal life here. It's going to be a long time because millions of people are still digging out from a deadly winter storm.

Right now, parts of New York still getting hit, on the back of what's been a bone chilling northeaster. Nearly half a million people without power this morning. Most of those people in Georgia and the Carolinas. Airports in Washington, Philadelphia, the New York area, socked in close to -- ready? -- 8,000 flights canceled in the last 24 hours. That's the most we've seen.

Biggest problem: snow and ice keep coming. Parts of Maryland digging out this morning from over two feet. So, let's look at the status and bring in Erin McPike, live from Walkersville, Maryland, that's 50 miles north of Washington, D.C.

And what are you dealing with there? ERIN MCPIKE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Chris, last night, this area got freezing rain on top of everything else. So, as you can see, a lot of the ground here today is really slick. That's another headache today.

Now, they got about 19 inches here in Walkersville. You can see it behind me. And this whole region of Maryland got about a foot and a half of snow. Parking lots this morning have huge heaps of snow just like this from snow being plowed. Now, on top of that, we're looking at another 1 to 3 inches tonight. So, this is not over yet -- Kate.

BOLDUAN: All right. Erin, thank you very much. I think appropriately, or maybe not, you're next no the snow cone truck right there. I'm sure it will be open today.

All right. Let's talk about travel which you know is always the first problem, the first thing to get hit when the snow comes into town. It's been a week of chaos and frustration for air travelers. More than 10,000 flights canceled since Monday. And with the backend of this northeaster all kinds of problems, airports from Washington to New York have been paralyzed as we head into a very busy holiday travel weekend.

CNN aviation correspondent Renee Marsh is looking at that.