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Defending Jodi Arias - Murder Trial Resumes Tuesday

The Jodi Arias murder trial is scheduled to resume on Tuesday, January 29 2013, 12 days after Prosecutor Juan Martinez and the State of Arizona stood before the jury and rested their case.  The State put on several key witnesses during their case in chief, putting the pieces of a complex puzzle together for jurors to see.  Did they prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Jodi Arias planned this murder?  I guess that will depend on the jury's understanding of the word "reasonable".  A jury in Florida famously seemed to confuse "reasonable doubt" with "no doubt at all", letting Casey Anthony walk away from the more serious charges against her.  I'm no lawyer, but since when does NOT reporting your child missing (or dead/drowned) for 31 days NOT equal aggravated child abuse or neglect??  

Anyway, that was a different time, place and case. Despite the comparisons being drawn between Casey Anthony and Jodi Arias, the only thing these two have in common is the ability to lie, and to stick with the lie until the lie no longer holds water.  Then they shift to a NEW lie, and so on and so forth.  The Florida jury didn't have the benefit of knowing for certain how little Caylee Anthony died, or if she was killed.  This is a VERY different set of circumstances. Jodi Arias killed Travis Alexander on June 4, 2008.  She has conceded as much, but not admitting it because it was the right thing to do, or because it weighed heavily on her conscious - she only admitted to it when she knew the police had recovered the photos, and she left a bloody palm print.  Then, and ONLY then, she admitted to being there. But guess what, she still didn't tell the truth.  The second story was far more outrageous than her outright denial of being there in story #1.  Did she really think anyone was going to believe the story of two masked intruders? Watching her police interrogation, you could actually see her pausing to think up the next lie.  Kudos to Detective Flores for trying to keep Arias's rants on topic.  People with something to hide tend to ramble, and Jodi Arias was rambling.  He let her. She talked herself right into a corner - somewhere between story #2 and obtaining defense attorney Jennifer Willmott, we were presented with story #3 - self defense.

How will Willmott & Co. handle the damage control? It's got to be difficult to defend a client who has lied so many times and told so many stories.  I think the self defense story is just as ludicrous as story #2, the masked intruder story. All that's missing now is a one-armed man.....Many people, myself included were surprised at the sudden resting of the prosecution's case, but they must have their reasons for the timing.  According to some reports, there was a lot more evidence the jury could've heard, including the report that Arias was allegedly seen packing up her car and it appeared she was going to bolt. There were also some very interesting diary entries. Perhaps these things will come out during the State's rebuttal case.  The defense's witness list includes a former boyfriend of Jodi Arias from California, two of Travis Alexander's friends who the defense alleges he was dating at the same time as he was dating Jodi Arias (so, is that a crime?), a local psychologist and expert on sexual violence cases named Richard Samuels, Kimberly Ross - one of Jodi Arias's former "cellies" and Jodi Arias herself appears on the witness list.  Will she take the stand?

It appears the defense will do their best to paint Travis Alexander as a womanizer, a man who was leading a "double life" and kept the helpless Arias as his "dirty little secret" while presenting himself as a devout Mormon and inspirational man of integrity.  They want to make him look as bad as possible, without outright attacking him as juries historically don't like it when a defense attorney blames the victim for their own murder. Do they stand a chance?  If the jury sticks to the known facts of this case, I don't believe they do.  In my eyes, it comes down to this:  Jodi Arias claims Travis Alexander became enraged at her when she dropped his new digital camera. He was in the shower, naked - and supposedly "lunged" at her. Had that happened, I believe Arias had every opportunity to simply run away! Would a naked man run out into the street of his own neighborhood to chase her down?  Even IF he lunged at her, and he managed to get to her - she just happened to have a knife handy to protect herself in that bathroom? Are we really supposed to believe it happened this way? If she had to retrieve the knife from her purse or luggage, that took time - time she SHOULD'VE used to run away, not murder him!  I just don't see any way the self defense claim rings true.  She either had the knife on her person while taking those shower pictures, or she had it in her purse.  If she had to leave the bathroom, in fear for her life to get to that knife, than in my opinion she had ample time to remove herself from the situation by leaving. The only other option is that she had the knife ON her when taking the shower photos. Looking at the time stamps on the recovered photos, that seems to be the most likely scenario.  Either way, she murdered him.  People actually do manage to defend themselves when they are truly in danger without hacking the person to death.  Even if you give her the benefit of doubt and believe her claim, one stab to the arm or leg would've enabled her to get away from him.  There was no need to stab him 28 times, slit his throat and shoot him in the head!  There's no justification for what she did.  Many of those stab wounds were to his back - how does Arias explain why she had to stab him in the back?  

She would've been better off claiming temporary insanity than self defense.  There must be some legal reason that she is going this route, but every way I look at her claims I cannot find justification or anything close to justification. The only question is how much planning will the jury believe was involved in this murder.  There's the mysterious robbery at her grandparents home, where a .25 caliber gun was taken, she rented a car in another city with her hair dyed another color than it was when she returned it, there's the lack of receipts during the time she was in and going through Arizona, her phone was off during the time she was in and around Arizona, it appears the weapons came with her to the crime scene and weren't weapons of opportunity - there is her "normal" behavior immediately after killing another human being that she supposedly loved, the make out session with Ryan Burns just hours after brutally killing the man who baptized you in the Mormon church...I could go on and on.  I didn't even mention all of the lies in that summary.  Jennifer Willmott has her work cut out for her next week.  Sorry, the name of Arias's other defense attorney escapes me at the moment!

What a tragic story this is.  Sure, maybe Travis Alexander wasn't as perfect as friends and family believed he was.  He was HUMAN after all.  I'm sure he made many mistakes, who hasn't?  He may have dated more than one woman at a time, he had sex with Jodi Arias who wasn't his wife - did he deserve to die for these things?  Absolutely not.  I obviously didn't know Travis Alexander or Jodi Arias.  But everything I've read or heard about him tells me he was a good man, an inspirational and generous man. He was generous with his time, his home, he really wanted to help other people.  He seemed to be larger than life.  Despite a really bad childhood that included drug addicted parents, he accomplished so much during his brief life.  I have to say that I think I would've really liked Travis Alexander. I pray for justice for him, for the sake of the many friends and family members who loved him and will miss him every day for the rest of their lives.  Trial coverage resumes on In Session next Tuesday.  The defense has had 12 days to think about how to best defend their client.  Do you think the State has proved their case beyond a reasonable doubt?  Please let me know your thoughts!  

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  1. I think the State has proven their case. I hope there will be justice for Travis.

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