Coming up Wednesday

Wildfires burn through Colorado causing thousands to evacuate, and protests in Turkey are in 13th day. Tune in at 7am ET.
January 31st, 2013
11:53 AM ET

New doc takes fresh look at the making of serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer

Jeffrey Dahmer was one of America’s most notorious serial killers, murdering and dismembering 17 young men and boys. In some cases Dahmer ate parts of their bodies. In 1994, Dahmer himself was murdered while in prison.

A new documentary,"The Jeffrey Dahmer Files," explores how a seemingly normal person becames a serial killer. The film features an interview with one of the lead detectives on the case, Patrick Kennedy and his chilling experience uncovering details during the investigation.

This morning, now-retired Detective Kennedy and director Chris James Thompson join “Starting Point” to discuss the new documentary.

Kennedy, who served the Milwaukee Police Department for 21 years, says he had “seen many shootings and many dismemberments and some gory things” but what he uncovered at Dahmer’s home was truly surreal. He recalls being there to arrest Dahmer and feeling an “overwhelming irrational fear” even though he knew he was not in any danger.

Thompson grew up in Milwaukee, and says he remembers people in his neighborhood discussing the serial killings of Jeffrey Dahmer as if it were “a flood or a was a disaster that affected a lot of people.” He adds that in other places like Madison people discussed the killings as if “it was a movie that was coming out next Friday night.”

Ultimately Thompson says his curiosity of how the Dahmer case affected people over a period of time led him to make his film. He says taking a look back 20 years later for those closely involved in the case like Kennedy, the medical examiner and others gives them “some 20/20” to see how it affected them over the years.

Filed under: Crime
January 31st, 2013
11:24 AM ET

Sen. Grassley (R-IA): Senate will not pass assault weapon ban

This morning on "Starting Point with Soledad O'Brien," Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) weighs in on Wednesday's hearing on gun control and gun violence.

Grassley, who voted against requiring background checks on all firearm sales at gun shows, says the issue of background checks is “something that’s going to get a good look and it ought to have a good look. But expanding it...I’m not sure that we know where we’re gong in that direction.”

He adds that there are several other areas where Congress will be legislating regarding the prosecution of straw purchasers, beefing up the database in Washington D.C. and doing more in the area of mental health.

Regarding assault weapons Grassley says he does not believe a vote to ban them will pass due to the Second Amendment, noting that the Columbine High school shooting took place while the federal assault weapons ban was enacted. He adds that the stolen guns used in recent high-profile shooting tragedies in Tucson and Newtown would not be covered by the ban.

During the hearing, Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin cited the death of a 15-year-old Chicago teenager killed just a week after she performed in President Obama's inauguration as more evidence of the need for stronger gun control. But Grassley says the focus in Chicago should be on “the issue within our society of black violence on blacks.”

Filed under: Gun control • Gun violence • Guns
January 31st, 2013
11:02 AM ET

Community prays for rescue in child hostage standoff – Pastor Michael Senn on how the town is coping

Pastor Michael Senn on how the Midland City, Ala. community is coping with an ongoing hostage situation.

Filed under: Hostage standoff
January 31st, 2013
09:57 AM ET

'Kid President' viral video takes web by storm – Robby Novak shares his advice for President Obama

"I think we all need a pep talk."

Those are the opening words from a video by the "Kid President" – a nine-year-old 3rd grader from Tennessee.

His real name is Robby Novak, and his videos have been seen by more than 5 million people. He's inspiring people to make "the world awesome" and to "be a party."

Kid President Robby Novak and brother-in-law Brad Montague talk with Soledad on "Starting Point" this morning. They talk about the surprise success of the video, and Robby shares advice he would give to President Obama.

Filed under: A little fun
January 31st, 2013
08:29 AM ET

Sen. Blumenthal: The case for background checks is 'irrefutable'

Democrats face a tough road ahead if they are going to convince Republicans to support new gun control laws, a reality that President Obama acknowledged in an interview with Univision yesterday.

"My suspicion is we're seeing more bipartisan discussion on the immigration issue, than on the gun issue," Obama said.

These remarks came after a tense hearing on gun violence in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee, in which former Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords urged legislators to act. "Americans are counting on you,” Giffords said.

Senator Richard Blumenthal joins Starting Point this morning to discuss the hearing, noting that Giffords' statement was "one of the shortest but most powerful public statements before any congressional hearing I've ever heard."

Calling the case for background checks "irrefutable" and noting that that the country "needs more rigorous and vigorous enforcement of existing gun laws," Blumenthal expresses confidence that gun control legislation will pass because the "American people are on the side of the sensible."




January 31st, 2013
08:11 AM ET

What is 'deer antler spray' and how does it help athletes? Elizabeth Cohen explains

Pro golfer Vijay Singh has admitted to using "deer antler spray," a substance meant to enhance athletic performance that is advertised as containing a hormone called "IGF one."

The performing enhancing substance, which is banned by both the PGA tour and the World Anti-Doping Agency, has been linked to the Ravens player Ray Lewis and the Alex Rodriguez scandal in reports this week.

In a statement, Singh admits to using the spray, but says that "at no time was [he] aware that it may contain a substance that is banned under the PGA tour anti-doping policy."

CNN's senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen explains what the substance is and how it's used by athletes on Starting Point this morning.


January 31st, 2013
07:58 AM ET

Family of boy being held hostage in Alabama 'holding on by a thread'

A hostage situation in Alabama stretching into a third day this morning, with the life of a five year old boy hanging in the balance.

The child is being held in an underground bunker by a man who shot and killed a school bus driver Tuesday before dragging the boy off of the bus.

Alabama state Representative Steve Clouse has been in touch with the boy's family, who he describes as "holding on by a thread" and "hoping for a peaceful resolution to get their little boy back" on Starting Point this morning.

Referring to the situation as related to a "mental health issue," Clouse says that he thinks the man holding the boy hostage, identified as Jimmy Lee Dykes, is "relatively new to this particular neighborhood."

Clouse says that the community is in shock by the incident and that the family of the slain bus driver is devastated.

"He started the day off as a school bus driver and he ended as a hero," Clouse says.

January 30th, 2013
12:26 PM ET

Challenges of bringing the book 'Life of Pi' to life on film – screenwriter David Magee explains

The journey of "Life of Pi" from page to screen is about as improbable as that of the story's central character – a boy name Pi who is adrift at sea on a lifeboat with a hungry Bengal tiger named "Richard Parker." Conventional wisdom and much of Hollywood felt the surreal novel could not be made into a movie. But director Ang Lee and screenwriter David Magee met the challenge. "Life of Pi" now has 11 Oscar nominations including one for Lee and the writer David Magee who joins “Starting Point” this morning to discuss his success.

Magee says he originally read the novel for fun and was not sure if the story could be made into a film but when Lee approached him it all seemed possible.

“Ang has the ability to take material that most people wouldn’t take a second look at and convince studios that he can do it because he can,” Magee says.

Magee, who previously earned an Oscar nomination for his first screenplay “Finding Neverland,” says that translating books onto the big screen is a discipline.

“Any book that runs 300… 400… 500 pages – there’s going to be material in it that there’s no way that you can capture all of that on screen in a two hour time period. It’s probably a tenth of the actual number of words...It’s finding the essence of the book that you want to bring out,” he adds.

On his chances of winning an Oscar, Magee says he “would be very disappointed if we didn’t recognize the work of the visual artists.” He adds that while he would love to run away with an Oscar he does not “want to spend the next four weeks worrying about what my chances are when I should just be having fun going to these parties.”

Filed under: A little fun • Oscars
January 30th, 2013
12:17 PM ET

Fmr. Rep. Bono Mack: Immigration is chance for Obama to lead, put partisanship aside

Fmr. Congress Reps. Connie Mack & Mary Bono Mack weigh in on President Obama's immigration proposal.

Filed under: Immigration • Immigration reform • Politics
January 30th, 2013
11:57 AM ET

Fmr. Sen. George Mitchell raises questions, concerns on new MLB doping allegations

On Tuesday the Miami New Times released a report alleging that Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez purchased human growth hormone and other banned substances from an "anti-aging" clinic in Miami called "Biogenesis," which is now closed. The Times also names several other big league players in the report as well as a man named Anthony Bosch who ran the clinic and reportedly kept sloppy records. CNN has not been able to reach Bosch for comment and the DEA would not comment on whether Bosch or Biogenesis are being investigated.

This morning fmr. Senator George Mitchell, who authored the famous "Mitchell Report" on doping in baseball in 2007 joins “Starting Point.”

Mitchell says the unauthenticated and “dramatic” report raises questions about why someone would keep a journal with the baseball players real names because “it not only implicates the players… it implicates him.” He says the records also name players who have “previously been implicated and after some periods of denial have been admitted they used them.”

Mitchell says sports industries are facing a constant battle and trying to play catch-up with a “large illicit industry [of] people engaged in making these drugs for profit.” He adds that Major League Baseball in particular faces a lot of problems with doping because they’re a private organization and “they don’t have the power of government to compel testimony. So if a person won’t speak to them or won’t give them records voluntarily it takes a lot of sort of hard work to get to building a case and sometimes impossible.”

Filed under: Doping • Drugs • Sports
« older posts