One of the most anticipated trials in recent memory is under way, and so far it's lived up to the media hype. After 4 1/2 years of delays, changes in defense attorneys, alibi's and accounts of what happened to murder victim Travis Alexander - the trial began on January 2, 2013 to a packed courtroom in Phoenix, AZ. The State of Arizona vs. Jodi Arias promises to be full of real life drama. Much like the Casey Anthony case, the case is now being covered by shows such as "In Session", "Jane Valez-Mitchell" and "Nancy Grace".
Travis Alexander was found murdered in the shower of his Mesa Arizona home on June 9, 2008. His body was discovered by close friends, who had become concerned when they couldn't reach him for several days. He was supposed to leave for Cancun, Mexico on June 10, 2008. He was taking a young woman named Marie ("Mimi") Hall. They were friends who met through their Mormon Church. Alexander's friends were shocked and horrified when they found their friend - not only was he dead, he had been brutally murdered.
Jurors have heard the 911 call made on that awful day. Travis Alexander was a 30 year old motivational speaker who worked for Pre Paid Legal. He was a published author and by all accounts a great guy who was always making people laugh. Friends immediately suspected Alexander's ex-girlfriend, defendant Jodi Arias was involved and they gave police her information. Arias and Alexander met at a conference for Pre Paid Legal and had dated for only a few months, but maintained a physical relationship after they broke off their relationship.
Prosecutor Juan Martinez played a recorded police interview with Jodi Arias for the jury. During the initial interview, Arias denied any involvement - telling police she hadn't seen Alexander in several months. She tried to point the police towards one of Travis's roommates early on. At this point, police hadn't gotten the results of the evidence gathered at the crime scene and had no probable cause to arrest Arias.
As the evidence soon revealed, Arias had been at the crime scene. She left a bloody palm print on a wall, her blood was found mixed with Travis's and photos were recovered from a digital camera that provided police with a time/date stamped look at the crime unfolding. Jurors were shown three sets of photos, recovered by police technicians, although they had been deleted - presumably by Arias. The photos were so upsetting that the jurors asked for an extra day off.
Defense attorney Jennifer Willmott is doing what defense attorneys do when faced with a mountain of physical evidence against a client. Arias is facing the death penalty. Willmott opened with some shocking allegations of emotional and physical abuse by Travis Alexander, portraying him as a man who seduced Jodi Arias, calling her his "dirty little secret" because the sexual relationship they were engaging in is in absolute conflict with the Mormon beliefs. Willmott will have to try to explain away the many documented lies Arias has told in a very public way. After being arrested just months after the crime, Arias gave several jailhouse interviews in which she lied about her involvement in the crime.
During one interview, Arias stated steadfastly denied being anywhere near Mesa Arizona at the time of the murder, calling the crime "heinous". The lies come easy to Arias. During a second interview, after evidence had revealed she was at the home, she adjusted her lies and told the interviewer that she and Travis had been attacked by two armed intruders. She claimed she narrowly escaped with her life but was too afraid to call police, fearing the intruders knew where she lived and would come for her.
It wasn't long before the photos came to light and Arias once again had to adjust her lies to fit the evidence that authorities had against her. The defense is now claiming that Arias did indeed kill Travis Alexander, but it was self defense. This is the defense of last resort. The "Hail Mary" defense is what I like to call it. It's self defense or insanity. I think Arias is much too vain to want people to believe she was crazy - although Travis's friends already thought she was!
Arias has been her own worse enemy in the case against her. I believe her own words will contribute to her conviction. Blaming the victim may also backfire on Willmott. It's offensive. Jurors are smart enough to see through these ploys to paint Alexander as a dangerous man and Arias as a demure woman who was used by him for sex, but wasn't considered "marriage material". Arias has no credibility at this point. Why should we believe the story she's telling now, after seeing how easily she has lied in the past?
This is one creepy woman. The tears she is shedding now may be real, she may truly be sorry for what she did. Hard to tell with a sociopath.
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