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Jailhouse Call; Accused Craigslist Killer's Claims; United Flight Turbulence

Aired February 18, 2014 - 12:00   ET


ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: So is she really a satanic serial killer? A 19-year-old has police scouring the cold case files in at least five states across the union after telling a reporter that she has killed more people than she can even count. That reporter joins us this hour with the rest of her astonishing story.

Also ahead -


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In a split second, we were tilting to the far right and plunging.


BANFIELD: People thrown from their seats, things flying across the cabin in turbulence so sudden and severe it sent three crew members and two passengers to the hospital.

And, are rape victims getting the runaround in Montana? Did a prosecutor really tell a mom whose five-year-old was sexually assaulted that boys will be boys? The U.S. Justice Department's stunning investigation.

Hello, everyone, I'm Ashleigh Banfield. It's Tuesday, February the 18th and welcome to LEGAL VIEW.

Some newly released jailhouse telephone calls are revealing a very defiant Michael Dunn, all of this in the days after he shot and killed 17-year-old Jordan Davis. The case is now famous. The result perhaps even more so, a mixed verdict.

Davis, just 5'11", about 145 pounds. Dunn, 6'4", 250 pounds or more. And yet Dunn insisting from the beginning that he was the one in fear for his life, that Davis, in his opinion, had a gun. No gun was found yet. The argument made, police didn't do a very good search. Martin Savidge looks at the conversation between Dunn and his fiancee, likely a conversation Dunn never wanted you to hear.


MICHAEL DUNN (voice-over): I'm the (EXPLETIVE DELETED) victim here. I was the one who was victimized. MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Prosecutors releasing audio of jailhouse phone calls between Michael Dunn and his fiancee.

M. DUNN: I mean I don't know how else to put it, like they attacked me. I'm the victim. I'm the victor, but I was the victim too.

SAVIDGE: The revealing calls recorded in the weeks after Dunn's arrest for shooting and killing 17-year-old Jordan Davis after an argument over loud music at this Florida gas station. Dunn maintains that he was threatened by Jordan Davis and his friends. In one of the nine calls released by the Florida state attorney, Dunn complains to his fiancee about being housed alone in a cell.

M. DUNN: I guess it would be better than being in a room with them animal.

SAVIDGE: Dunn was convicted on multiple counts of attempted murder on Saturday, but the jury failed to reach a verdict on the most serious charge, first degree murder. The mistrial on that count sparking outrage from some in Jacksonville. Protesters gathering at the gas station where the shooting occurred.

L'EUNA SHABAN, PROTESTER: I brought my grandson because this little man here, I love him with all my life and I don't want him or no other black child to have to continue to go through this. It has to end and it has to be now. It has to come to an end now.

SAVIDGE: Michael Dunn's daughter, Rebecca, told ABC's "Good Morning America" she hasn't stopped crying since her father was found guilty on the three counts of attempted murder.

REBECCA DUNN, MICHAEL DUNN'S DAUGHTER: I love him so much. He's my best friend. It's like -- like I can't imagine like living life without him.

SAVIDGE: Dunn says she has no doubt her father killed 17-year-old Davis in self-defense.

R. DUNN: He's going to protect himself. If he sees no other way than other - you know, to bring out his gun, that's what he's going to do.

SAVIDGE: Martin Savidge, CNN, Jacksonville, Florida.


BANFIELD: So he says he's the victim. And if it sounds like a familiar story, that's a good reason. The same thing was said by George Zimmerman. He told our Chris Cuomo as much on "New Day."


CHRIS CUOMO, ANCHOR, CNN'S "NEW DAY": The victim was Trayvon Martin and you know that.

GEORGE ZIMMERMAN: No, I certainly was a victim when I was having my head bashed into the concrete and my nose broken and beaten. So I wouldn't say I was not a victim.


BANFIELD: For the legal view I want to bring in CNN's legal eagles, the defense team of Danny Cevallos and Joey Jackson. They don't practice together, but they do here for this purpose.


BANFIELD: OK. So, look, a lot of people are seeing this as incredibly insensitive, so unfeeling, really mortifying if you think about it. But taking into perspective the time it was said, before this trial, before the outcry, before all of this, before the full story of who this teenager is and was, is it fair that we are attacking a private conversation between him and a family member, a fiancee, so to speak? You start off.

JACKSON: Well, the first thing is, should we be surprised that Mr. Dunn is insensitive? Is that really a shock to any one of us based upon the conduct upon which he engaged in? That's number one.

Number two, whenever you're in a facility, Ashleigh, you have no expectation of privacy. As a result of that, anything that you say, obviously, is fair game for everybody else. And so therefore, to the extent that we're evaluating this conversation, we need to be, because it gets us into his mind-set.

Last point, now you could argue that perhaps his defense lawyer might have wanted this into evidence. Why? Because it shows --

BANFIELD: Good point.

JACKSON: Right? It shows, hey, this was his state of mind. He really felt he was under attack.

BANFIELD: It's like you were reading my notes because I actually put the question -

JACKSON: Maybe I did.

BANFIELD: The question is, who would have wanted this suppressed? His lawyer or the prosecutor? Because it could speak to either juror that got hung up on this guy.

DANNY CEVALLOS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, I think it's bad, really, for the defendant, any time you speak -- you adhere to the old rule. Any time you speak and someone writes it down, that's something that could be used against you, and you'll have to tell a consistent story each and every time you tell a story before.

But in a case like this, what Joey will agree with, I think, is that there are two kinds of people doing time. There are people that do it and keep their mouths shut. And then there's the kind of person, when they're being held, who writes angry letters and rants and calls and this is -


JACKSON: Like Mr. Dunn?

CEVALLOS: Like Mr. Dunn. This is a huge injustice, pounding their fist. And again, the problem is, they don't realize --

BANFIELD: By the way, if it were you, though, and you were talking to a family member and you're in jail, and it stinks, wouldn't you sort of be spouting to your family member?

CEVALLOS: Oh, and that's exactly what the prosecution hopes that you do -


CEVALLOS: Because you have, as Joey said, zero expectation of privacy.


CEVALLOS: All those calls are recorded. Everything except your communications with counsel will be read, reviewed and collected. So - and you have to be aware of that.

JACKSON: And just briefly -

BANFIELD: And - and used against you.

JACKSON: And, Ashleigh, briefly on the issue as to why the defense can't use it, listen, it's bolstering and it's self-serving. Obviously it's something he wants to -- everyone to hear. I was under attack. And, of course, from a prosecution's perspective, it's not going to come in for that very reason.

BANFIELD: It might implicate (ph) the other way, though, too, that is an unfeeling man, you know, and -

JACKSON: Right. Right. Right.

CEVALLOS: It's better for the prosecution. That's my opinion. Always better for the prosecution.

BANFIELD: That's why I wanted to see the perspective.

All right, guys, hold those thoughts for a moment. I've got a lot more for you to weigh in on. I've got a couple of other news stories I want to get your way as well.

The so-called compounding pharmacy in Oklahoma has reportedly agreed not to sell drugs for the pending execution of a death row inmate in Missouri. The condemned man's lawyer sued. The condemned man sued claiming made-to-order drugs in recent executions have been contaminated, leading to, quote, "severe, unnecessary, lingering and inhumane pain." Check the Constitution. We're not allowed to do that. Fascinating argument. That story is not over.

Northwestern University's football team wants to unionize. The quarterback is testifying today before the National Labor Relations Board. The goal is to get the players in a position to bargain for things like pay and medical coverage after graduation. Northwestern argues that the players are students, not employees.

We're expecting to learn this afternoon whether an 84-year-old catholic nun will spend the rest of her life in prison. Sister Megan Rice and two of her fellow peace protesters were convicted last spring of breaking into the Oak Ridge, Tennessee, nuclear weapons complex. They spray painted and they splattered a uranium storage facility with human blood. The government is asking for five years, at least five years, behind bars.

New details on the self-professed satanic serial killer. Miranda Barbour and she's been charged with using Craigslist to lure a man to stab him to death, along with her husband. In a jailhouse interview, she claims, ah, that's not all. She claims to be a Satanist who's killed dozens more people. In fact, the reporter who got the interview was pretty stunned at the story he walked out of that jail with, and you're going to hear from him next as to just how believable this young woman is.


BANFIELD: The church of Satan would like you to know that Miranda Barbour is not one of them. And while that may sound like a point in her favor, I'll remind you that Barbour is a self-professed serial murderer and Satanist who claims have investigators actually -- her claims have investigators scrambling from Alaska to North Carolina. CNN's Rosa Flores has the latest.


ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In a recent interview, Miranda Barbour paints herself as a cold serial killer, who says she started taking lives after joining a satanic cult in Alaska at age 13.

AUSTIN RENCH, FORMER FRIEND OF MIRANDA BARBOUR: We had no idea that we were sitting in class with a murderer or an alleged murder.

FLORES: Austin Rench says he went to middle and high school with now 19-year-old Barbour. They were friends back then. He says there were no signs.

RENCH: She did dress like kind of more dark, like never bright colors or anything. But that doesn't mean you're like a killer or anything. I mean I thought that's just how she dressed. And it never, like, scared me.

FLORES: Barbour and her husband had only been married three weeks before they were accused of killing this Pennsylvania man after allegedly luring him on Craigslist with a companionship ad. The two have pleaded not guilty.

FRANCIS SCARCELLA, REPORTER, "THE DAILY ITEM": I said, Miranda, you know, as you sit here, do you have any remorse whatsoever? And she said, none. FLORES: She confessed to newspaper reporter Francis Scarcella to killing at least 22 in four other states.

SCARCELLA: I said, what's the actual number? And she said, under 100.

FLORES: Law enforcement is looking into her claims. Her husband didn't confirm or deny her account.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you think she's being honest?


FLORES: During his three-decade career, retired FBI agent Kenneth Lanning consulted on hundreds of alleged satanic ritual cases and says there's reason to be skeptical. Many of the cases he saw included fabricated details.

KENNETH LANNING, RETIRED FBI AGENT: Why would they be alleging it if it didn't happen? A lot of these individuals, particularly some of the adult survivors, have emotional and psychological problems. And a lot of their motivation is to get attention and forgiveness for various problems in their lives.

FLORES: Barbour is getting much attention.

As for forgiveness? Not from the law. So far, one murder charge stands.


BANFIELD: That's Rosa Flores, reporting for us.

And as for that disavowal from the devil worshippers, the head priest of the Church of Satan says his people believe in law and order.

And I'm quoting now, "According to our records, we have never had any contact from this woman, nor her alleged accomplice." I put the word "alleged" in there. And, "It seems to me that she is calling herself a member of a 'satanic cult,' not a legally incorporated, above-ground form of Satanism."

Legally, of course, that's rather beside the point at this point.

Joining me now with more on Miranda Barbour's jaw-dropping jailhouse interview is the man had conducted it, reporter Francis Scarcella from "The Daily Item.

Francis, thanks for joining me. I wanted to get your initial reaction. When you heard her say, "Oh, I don't know, under 100," to your question of how many people she thinks she killed, I want to ask what your reaction was, but buried deep in that question is whether you really believe this woman or not.

FRANCIS SCARCELLA, REPORTER, "THE DAILY ITEM": Well, when she said that it was under 100, I looked at her and I said "Miranda, there is nobody in the world that is going to believe that you have murdered under 100 people."

And she looked me dead square in the eye and she said, "I don't care what anybody believes, I want to get this off my chest for me."

And I said, Miranda, you have got to give me a number. And she said, "I stopped counting at 22."

BANFIELD: So the experts who are sort of trying to piece together the concept of forensics of all of this say between the ages of 13 and 19, in six short years, there is just almost no conceivable way that anybody could have carried out that many murders and not been caught, because these guys got caught with their last telephone call.

Did you get the impression that she's really scheming and clever and maybe inching towards an insanity defense with what she told you? Or that she is just downright evil?

SCARCELLA: She told me she wanted to plead guilty. She said, "I want to plead guilty to this."

And when I asked, I said, "You know, you're going to have a lot of people wondering what's going on."

And she said she would pinpoint on a map where these people are and what happened. She also told me she has surrounded herself with a lot of people. She said she would learn these people, she would follow these people, she would befriend these people and then bad things would happen.

And she said, you know -- she said she has never been questioned, and she has never been a suspect in anything, so, of course, it's a very hard tale. It's a very hard thing to believe.

The most chilling thing that she said to me, and you can throw all the numbers out, and you can get every expert in the world to say it, but the most chilling thing she said to me was if she ever gets out, she would do it again.

BANFIELD: So have the police canvassed you and asked you for anymore information?

Are they at all in collaboration with you in terms of trying to ferret out whether any of this information is just garbage or whether there is really some cold cases that could be cracked here?

SCARCELLA: Well, what happened is, I was not allowed to bring anything into the jail, so they taped the interview.

The jailhouse taped the interview, and I was asked to go and verify the tape, and to make sure that, you know, it was -- this is what she had said, and I was the person she was talking to.

So, other than that, everything else has been clearly on the tape. So there's -- other than what she said on that, there is nothing else really to say. I -- today they had brought her into -- actually brought her into the Sunbury police station to be fingerprinted, and I said, "I'll see you again Thursday," and she looked at me and nodded her head yes.

BANFIELD: You saw her this morning briefly, right? Did you get anything out of her? Anymore information from this woman?

SCARCELLA: There was a ton of media there. But she did look me right in the face and nodded her head yes about coming to see her on Thursday, so --

BANFIELD: That was it, though. She wasn't giving you any more goods at that point.

SCARCELLA: She couldn't really say -- she wasn't -- she told me she was really pretty much just telling me because she followed all of the stories that I've done on this.

I've embedded myself into this story and these people's families and friends and everybody around them, so she said she liked how I reported it and that's why she was talking to me.

But there were a lot of people around when they brought her in, so she just looked at me and said yes for Thursday.

BANFIELD: Well, you know, what, obviously this is going to continue. I don't know what to say.

I hope she proves to be a liar, but if she proves to not be a liar, perhaps this will, you know, at least give some form of closure to families who have had missing people who have come out of the woodwork and begging for information on this.

It's all distressing, any way you look at it. Will you come back and talk to us as the story develops, Francis?

SCARCELLA: Absolutely, I will. And you just said the same thing I said this morning. If --

BANFIELD: Yes, go ahead.

SCARCELLA: Oh, I'm sorry. I said, you said the same thing I said this morning.

The more concerning part of it is, if it's true, if it's one more, two more, three more or zero more, but you're right.

The thing is, you want to be able to put closure to some people's families if that's the case.

BANFIELD: Without question. Francis Scarcella, good to talk to you from "The Daily Item."

SCARCELLA: Thank you.

BANFIELD: Without warning, and really a total surprise, turbulence strikes a flight, and not the kind of turbulence you have likely experienced.

This slammed the passengers up to the ceiling, threw them out of their seats.

Listen to how a woman on the plane described what happened last night.


KERRI MULLINS, PASSENGER, UNITED FLIGHT 1676: It was just instantaneous. Everything that everybody had in their hands were flying through the air. People were screaming.


BANFIELD: So why did the plane apparently get so little or no warning, especially the passengers, riding on it?

More on that story, just ahead.


BANFIELD: We have all been on an airplane when it hits a little turbulence, kind of feels like driving over a bumpy road.

But what happened on United Airlines flight 1676 last night bound for billings, Montana, so different than anything any of us has had to go through.

Those passengers experienced something they call in the business "severe clear-air turbulence."

This is the kind of thing that shakes up everything in the cabin. It sends people flying. Honestly, people flying.

It was bad enough that several passengers and crew members ended up in the hospital after this flight.

CNN's Rene Marsh is on the story.


RENE MARSH, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: In a split second, without warning, United Airlines flight 1676 with more than 100 people on board was violently tossed in midair.

BILL DAHLIN, PASSENGER, UNITED FLIGHT 1676: There was a lot of screaming and a lot of hollering and things like that going on.

MARSH: The incident, so jarring, passengers say one woman hit the ceiling so hard, it cracked the panel above her head.

Severe turbulence rattled everyone onboard the flight from Denver to Billings, Montana, forcing the captain to declare a medical emergency.

On CNN's "NEW DAY," another passenger described what it was like on board. MULLINS: In a split second, we were tilting to the far right, and plunging.

It was just instantaneous. Everything that everybody had in their hands were flying through the air.

People were screaming. There was a lady behind me that was yelling, "My baby, my baby," so I can just assume she had an infant in her arms and let go of it. We didn't hear anything over the intercom. We spent probably the next 10 minutes or so handing items back to each other.

My cell phone and my tablet ended up a couple rows ahead of me across the aisle. The man next to me had lost his wallet. His credit cards and I.D. were all over the floor of the plane.

MARSH: Three flight attendants and two passengers were rushed to local hospitals. One remains in intensive care. The others treated and released.

One passenger says the turbulence appeared to have even take the flight crew by surprise.

DAHLIN: I think they were trying to assess things themselves, so, you know, they just didn't really offer any explanation because of what happened so quickly.


BANFIELD: And Rene Marsh joins me live now. Pretty remarkable details from passengers.

This doesn't happen as often as we think, but it does happen. What's the NTSB doing about this?

MARSH: Well, the NTSB at this point are trying to gather as much information, Ashleigh, as they can, to determine if they need to investigate. We can tell you at this hour, just an update to the injuries here, a female flight attendant remains in the hospital.

So, we do know that at this hour as we speak that female flight attendant, still receiving care.

BANFIELD: Doesn't it seem odd, though, Rene? I just -- I don't -- look, I don't profess to know what it's like to be a pilot or what kind of air information is available to them when they're flying.

But you would think that something would show up to indicate big pockets of air, because we hear the overhead announcements, ladies and gentlemen, we're going to go up or down a few thousand feet to avoid some bad weather up ahead.

We hear that kind of stuff. Why wouldn't it have happened in this kind of situation?

MARSH: That's right. Usually there is some sort of warning and oftentimes the passengers get a warning saying, "Buckle up, folks, we're about to go through some very rough air."

But most of the passengers we heard from say they didn't get any such warning.

We can tell you that the airline says that they are investigating, because they want to know what happened. They are going to want to talk to the pilot, find out if they got a heads up, if their equipment told them anything, if they got word from anywhere there was weather ahead. And, of course, they're going to want to make sure that all of the equipment was working.

At this point, why did this happen this way? We just simply do not know. We have been asking the questions, but, again, according to those people on board, they -- it came out of nowhere.

So --


MARSH: -- big question is why.

BANFIELD: Just chilling to hear a woman saying, "My baby," just terrifying, the thought of that.

That's why they say keep your seat belts on when you're in flight, even if you're -- yes, this is the reason for it.

Rene Marsh, thank you for that, live from Washington, Rene reporting for us.

In other news, and this saga just continues. Two members of that Russian punk band called Pussy Riot, detained yet again, this time briefly in, you guessed it, the place where the Olympics are being held, central Sochi.

They were meeting with journalists when police detained them on suspicion of theft at their hotel.

Family members say their hands were tied behind their backs, thrown down on the ground, and the family also says they were beaten before they were eventually released.

Devastating images of a deadly roof collapse in South Korea, 10 people killed more than 100 injured at a resort retreat for college freshmen, happened yesterday.

The authorities say there was heavy snow on the roof, and yet they still have not been able to determine if that is what caused the roof to collapse.

Police say women and children were raped and yet the officers say they found the evidence of the crimes, but they could not get the prosecutors to make a case out of it.

And now the Justice Department has come in, they have done an investigation, and it is stirring up some massive controversy in a very small place in Montana.

We're going to take you there and tell you the details. Some details you will seriously not believe.