Many court watchers, myself included were surprised yesterday when prosecutor Juan Martinez stood up and rested its case in chief against murder defendant Jodi Arias. According to reports, there were many more witnesses that were on the witness list, going into next week. This happens frequently and isn't necessarily a sign of anything. I really don't think anybody expected the State to rest after hearing the testimony of Arias (and Alexander) friend Leslie Udy. If the State wanted to go out with a "bang", many feel they missed their mark!
Although Udy was called as a prosecution witness and did provide a first person insight into how Arias behaved in the days that followed this brutal murder, she also bolstered the defense's portrayal of Jodi Arias as a "soft spoken & kind" person. How much weight will this have on the jury's perception of her? The State must have strategic reasons for ending their case in this manner.
Much has also been made about the questions jurors have been asking in open court. They have asked about the recovery of the weapons used to kill Travis Alexander, they have asked about the alibis of Alexander's roommates and about fingerprint and other forensic evidence that was or was not done within that crime scene. These questions have been a topic of discussion on Jane Valez-Mitchell's and Nancy Grace's shows - both of which have been reporting on this trial from the start.
I think the jury is just being thorough. The questions they are asking seemingly have nothing to do with what we already know - after all, Arias has (finally!) conceded that she killed Travis Alexander. It's not a question of "who", but "why". With that in mind, why would it matter if the crime scene technicians checked prints and alibi's of the roommates? They did - however, it really makes one wonder what the jury is thinking. They now have nearly 12 days to ponder the State's evidence before returning to hear the defense case. The number one question on everyone's mind, will Jodi Arias take the stand?
If she does take the stand, how much weight will be given to her version of events given the fact that the jury has viewed hours of Arias interviews with Detective Flores in which she piles lie upon lie? How are we to believe anything she says when we've seen her lie repeatedly? Just because she swears to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth - why would she?
Jodi Arias has dug herself into a huge hole. I've tried to keep an open mind with this case, but thus far I haven't heard anything that would make me believe this was a case of self defense. Under the law, even if you BELIEVE she feared for her life in that moment in the bathroom, she is ONLY lawfully able to respond with LIKE force. If Travis did "lunge" at her, she cannot stab him 28+ times, she cannot slit his throat and shoot him! She can only use enough force necessary to escape the perceived threat. Not one person, even Arias herself has ever said anything about Travis Alexander being abusive, violent or threatening. Just the opposite.
Much has been made about Travis living a "double life" and keeping Arias as his "dirty little secret". EVEN IF that is somewhat true, that doesn't justify this homicide. SHE brought the knife and gun into that home. SHE killed him. Hearing her tell Detective Flores that IF she had it in her to kill Travis, she would've done it in a more "humane" fashion has to infuriate Travis's family and friends. This was anything but humane. He suffered - the medical examiner testified that death wasn't immediate for him. I can't imagine what he went through in his final moments. Judging by her lack of injuries, this was in NO way a fair fight. She had the upper hand by bringing those weapons in, and using them on a defenseless man who was just taking a shower.
She lulled him into a false sense of security by having sex with him, and under the rouse of taking pictures of him in the shower, she attacked him when he was most vulnerable. This is despicable. Don't feel sorry for Jodi Arias. She is not the victim here. What is going to happen when the defense presents their case? What do the jury questions say about their thoughts on the State's case?
I believe that ultimately the jurors will come back to the facts in this case. She admitted to killing him - but only when she could no longer deny it. She tried to sell another story that put her at the crime scene, but pointed at two masked intruders as the culprits. What battered woman would do this? I think too much is made about her mental state and the simple facts are overlooked. It's just hard for people to believe that a petite, nice looking well spoken WOMAN could be responsible for such a horrific murder. "There must be a reason"....there was a reason - jealousy. Pure and simple.
I truly believe that Jodi Arias, knowing how persuasive Travis Alexander is - he courted her for several months, may fall in love with Marie Hall on that Cancun trip. Even if Hall stated that she wasn't interested in Travis Alexander romantically, and she told him as much - Arias didn't know that! She probably pictured the two of them, falling in love - she knows how charming her ex boyfriend can be. She could not stand the thought that she may be replaced by another woman. This is what the timing of the murder tells me. She couldn't and wouldn't take that chance. I really believe it's that simple.
Travis Alexander was pulling away from Jodi Arias. He appears to have been thinking a lot about his life, and getting married and having a family. She wasn't part of his master plan. I've heard her talking about "her faith", meaning her Mormon faith. She wasn't raised Mormon! This is something she did for Travis. She believed this would bring them together, perhaps making her "wife material"? Sure, Travis was carrying on an intimate relationship in direct conflict with the Mormon beliefs he was raised with. He may have kept that part of his life secret - maybe he was ashamed. He wasn't living the life he wanted to live. Did he deserve to die for his indiscretion? No, he didn't.
Perhaps Travis Alexander wasn't as perfect as friends have portrayed him to be. None of us are. But from all accounts, he was an inspirational person who helped and touched many many people. That's what you hear about Travis from the people who knew him. He was larger than life. She wasn't. She may have felt used and betrayed. I think we can all understand those emotions. We have probably all felt similarly in our lives. That does not give her a pass on murder!
Many have compared Jodi Arias to Casey Anthony, and have drawn comparisons between the two woman and the two trials. They both were caught lying in very public manners. But that's where the similarity ends. Casey Anthony ended up walking on all serious charges against her. The prosecution couldn't say how little Caylee died, so it's understandable that they had some concerns about putting Casey away for life with so many pieces of the puzzle missing. Sure, I believe Casey Anthony lied right up until the end of her trial. She is the only person alive who knows what really happened to her daughter. It's unbelievable that she would put her family and the entire country through what she did. All of the resources that were wasted during the many searches for Caylee could've been better spent on a child that was really missing. She will have to live with the truth for the rest of her life.
But this is a whole different case. The jury knows how Travis Alexander died, they know when he died. They have seen pictures of him moments before and moments after he died. They know Jodi Arias was the only person there. They know she has admitted to killing him. The only thing in question is "why"? Look at who had the weapons. Look at how the weapons got to his home. Ask yourself why she would carry a knife into the bathroom. I hope the jury will remained focused on the why and not the who.
Thankfully, the State will ultimately have the last word in that courtroom before the jury gets the case. They will have the opportunity to bring this all back into focus after the defense puts on their case. It will be fascinating to see if Arias herself takes the stand. Will the jury believe her? How will the defense explain away all of the lies, the manner in which Arias tried to conceal her trip to Mesa? Why wouldn't she simply claim self defense right after this happened? Why call the victim's cellphone and leave him voice mails when she knew damned well he was dead? She went to great lengths to distance herself from the scene. Thankfully she underestimated the Mesa Police Department and the technicians who were able to bring the deleted photos back to light. Had it not been for the photos, this would've been a tougher case to prove.
Court resumes on January 29th, when the defense will put on their case. Will they have anybody other than "experts" on battered women? During Arias's interrogations, she NOT ONCE talks about being abused or afraid of Travis Alexander. She describes them as best friends. She told the same thing to her friends and family. I expect the experts to claim that this is common behavior of a battered woman, keeping the abuse secret. It may come down to credibility. Arias has none.