Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Jodi Arias Explains Killing Travis Alexander

The court is having their noon recess now, so I wanted to post an update on what we've heard so far this morning from murder defendant Jodi Arias.  When court resumed this morning, testimony began with the photos that were taken of Travis Alexander in the shower on June 4, 2008. Travis had been getting in shape in anticipation of this the upcoming June 10, 2008 trip to Cancun that he won through his employer, Pre Paid Legal. He had been dieting and exercising since mid 2007 to get himself to a shape and weight he desired. Jodi Arias agreed to take photos of him in the shower, using the water for artistic value.

This doesn't surprise me at all but she claims to have very little memory of the actual killing. The defense has spent hours and days going over every detail of their sex life and Jodi Arias's previous relationships, her childhood - things that are not of vital importance, yet they spent around 5 minutes talking about the actual killing. I'm sure they will have expert witnesses lined up to talk about how common these "blackouts" or memory losses during traumatic events are.  Here's how the violence unfolded, according to Jodi Arias:

They were taking photos of Travis in the shower - Jodi was dressed, they were having a good time and looking at the photos as they took them. They deleted the one's that they didn't like, and at some point Jodi says the camera slipped out of her hand and bounced off the floor mat and hit the tile. According to her testimony, this absolutely enraged him. He got out of the shower, grabbed her and "body slammed" her to the floor.  This is the second "body slamming" reference I can remember so far.  He began yelling at her, telling her "a 5 year old can hold a camera better than you". She got up off the floor and began running down the hall, but instead of heading out a door she ran into his closet.  She then told a story of a previous fight they had (one we haven't heard before) in which he got angry and chased her down the hall and she couldn't make it out the door. She based her decision to run into the closet on this previous event.

Once in his closet, she grabbed a gun that Travis had hidden on the top shelf of his closet - she testified that she previously found the gun while cleaning his house, although this is the first we have heard about Travis Alexander owning a loaded gun. The defense showed a photo of the closet, and she identified the shelf where the gun was hidden. It appeared to be fairly high, so I'm wondering how she was able to get to the closet and jump up to grab that gun! Didn't look like she could've reached that high without a chair or ladder, but hard to tell. After grabbing the gun she ran out of the closet and ended up back in the bathroom where the argument began. Travis followed behind, she turned around and pointed the gun at him. She claims that he grabbed her by the waist and lunged at her - the gun went off. She says she didn't mean to shoot him, and didn't immediately realize that the shot actually hit him.

They both fell to the ground. She testified that Travis started to get on top of her and was grabbing at her clothes but she got away from him. As she broke away from him, he yelled "I'll f***ing kill you bitch". She explained that Travis was a wrestler and very strong, so she felt afraid that he might really kill her this time because she claims he nearly killed her before by choking her. After shooting him, "he kept coming".  She doesn't have any clear memory after the shooting. When asked if she remembered stabbing him, she said "no". She said "I don't remember a lot from that day, there are gaps". She didn't remember dragging him across the floor when shown the picture they recovered of him on the floor, with her leg in the photo. She didn't remember putting Travis's body in the shower.  The only thing she remembers is that she had to get away from him.

The next thing she remembers is being in the bathroom, dropping the knife and hearing it hit the tile floor - and then she screamed. She believes she may have put the knife in the dishwasher, but couldn't say for sure. She described being in "mortal terror" of Travis after dropping his camera? She said that she believed he wasn't going to stop coming after her. She has no memory of stabbing this man 27 times? Or slitting his throat so savagely? I find this very disturbing. I know that people can block trauma from their memory, but her actions following this killing makes me question her convenient memory loss.


She said she started driving, but became lost because she "didn't have her GPS".  I'm not sure what she meant by that, but maybe it was because she HAD to keep her cellphone off so they couldn't trace her through the cell towers and find out she had been in Arizona? She doesn't remember taking the gun from the house when she left, but she does recall throwing it out in the middle of the desert.  She also took the rope, and she put that in a dumpster behind a gas station.  Her memory seems to be crystal clear on some points. Isn't the fact that she disposed of these items in separate places show a consciousness of guilt? She says she was dazed and couldn't believe what had just happened. She said that she knew her life was probably over at this point - later she would say that she was going to kill herself.  If she wanted to kill herself, why not do it with Travis Alexander's gun, out in the desert?

When she stopped the car, she grabbed some bottled water from her trunk and washed the blood off of her hands, and put on some shoes. She found her cell phone charger and plugged her phone in and listened to her voice mails. Realizing a lot of time had passed and Ryan Burns and Leslie Udy were expecting her in Utah, she made the decision to go there and act as normal as possible - "delaying the inevitable". She said she knew she "messed up pretty badly". When asked why she hadn't simply called 911 after this fight, she said she was scared and couldn't imagine telling the police or anybody else what she had done. She admitted that Travis had attacked her in the past and nothing really happened, but claims this time the anger was heightened.

She admitted on the stand that she took steps to try to cover the fact that she had been at Travis Alexander's house during this trip. She explained why she left the voicemail on his phone after she left the house - she admitted she left the message to divert suspicion away from her. She said the first few times she attempted to leave a message, she had to delete them and start over because she was crying. She continued on to Utah to Ryan's where she attempted to act as normal as possible. When asked about kissing and being romantic with Ryan Burns, she said she felt safe there, and just wanted to feel normal, like nothing had ever happened. She was anxious to get back home to Yreka and she planned to show up at work for her next shift.

After she got home, she says that she contemplated committing suicide - she had the perfect opportunity in the Nevada desert before she tossed the gun she shot Travis with! Instead, she bought a gun between the time she got home and the time she was arrested, a step towards that goal according to Arias. She seemed to know she would eventually be arrested. She (again) talked about committing suicide, and she even bought a gun. She thought about going to Monterey or killing herself. She tooks steps to get rid of the things she wouldn't want anybody to find, such as the Spiderman underwear, and I'm not sure what else because she didn't elaborate. 

There's a lot more Arias needs to explain.  I am very surprised at how little detail was given about the actual killing.  Kirk Nurmi has spent so much time discussing other aspects of Arias and Alexander's lives, their relationships, and the events that lead up to 6/4/08.  Yet the actual killing was barely touched on.  How could you NOT remember stabbing someone you love that many times? I would imagine you may want to forget doing something like that - but that's something you'd have nightmares about.

She clearly alleges she shot him first and foremost. The evidence suggests she didn't. There was dried, pooled blood under the shell casing. She claims she didn't realize she shot Travis, or that the shot actually hit him. Would'nt he have bled all over her, if he got on top of her as she claims? Would it have been physically possible for Travis to "keep coming" after her after being shot in the head with a .25 caliber?  These are the details that will be absolutely crucial to this case.  Nothing I heard today changes my opinion about the self defense allegations. I can't see a person getting mad enough to KILL someone over a dropped camera.  People have testified that Travis did not own a gun.  These issues, along with the lack of clear memories about the details that really matter makes it look very bad for Jodi Arias.

I do believe part of her testimony is genuine today. I believe she WAS scared. At least she has admitted that she knew what she did was bad and she admitted to trying to cover it up or "delaying the inevitable" as she said. But it's too little, too late. Finally, we have heard her (third) story about what happened that day. I'm still shocked at the very limited testimony about the details of the murder.  More to come.....

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