Defense attorney Kirk Nurmi finished up his redirect of murder defendant Jodi Arias on Tuesday, her 15th consecutive day on the witness stand. More than 50% of court time has featured Jodi Arias, something relatively shocking in a day where most defendants never take the stand in their own defense. Arias had no choice but to take the stand due to the overwhelming physical evidence gathered from the Mesa crime scene, and the vicious nature of the murder of 30 year old Travis Alexander.
Arizona courts allow the jurors to ask questions of the witnesses in a case, and yesterday it was revealed that the Arias jury has submitted more than 100 questions throughout her 15 days on the witness stand. When cross examined by prosecutor Juan Martinez, Arias was often times combative, dismissive and otherwise uncooperative - answering "sure", "OK", "I don't recall", "I don't remember", and "I don't understand what you are asking me". She will not be able to take this tactic with the jury who holds her fate in their hands. The jury will want answers.
I find it unfortunate that while the jury has heard and seen Jodi Arias on the stand for the last 15 days, they have had little exposure to the murder victim Travis Alexander - and what they have heard of him hasn't been good. They were subjected to a graphic XXX rated audio recording made by Arias, in which the pair talk in graphic detail about things they would like to do to each other. The defense has painted Travis Alexander as a sexual deviant, a man who secretly had an attraction to young boys, who used Arias for kinky and degrading sex acts and brutalized her on several occasions. There is no proof that any of the alleged incidents of violence ever occurred, other than Jodi Arias's word that they did. There is no proof that Alexander had inappropriate feelings for young boys. The defense took a sentence that he uttered on the now infamous sex tape and built the lies around what little "proof" they had to work with. Arias contends she taped the May 2008 call at the request of Travis, but after hearing the tape it seems clear to me that he had no idea it was being recorded.
If only the jury could ask Travis Alexander how he felt when he was first stabbed, and realized it was the woman he had just been intimate with. If only Travis could testify about how scared he was when he had a gun pointed at his face and was shot. If only he could tell the jury how having his throat cut by Jodi Arias felt. If only.....
The defense still has more witnesses to call in their case in chief. Expect to hear expert witnesses in the area of battered woman's syndrome, PTSD and maybe even domestic violence testify. Since they have all formed opinions based on what Arias has told them and considering they are witnesses for the defense, I'd expect they will testify that Arias shows signs of being a battered woman - this will be hard to sit through. Expect Juan Martinez to cross examine them, and ask them if their opinions would be invalid if Arias was found to be lying to them. Expect Juan Martinez to call experts for the State during his rebuttal case. Then closing arguments will begin - followed by the jury instructions and deliberations. When will this all end? The judge appears to be erring on the side of caution in giving the defense a great deal of latitude in their testimony and lines of questioning, as is such with a death penalty case.
There were a few comments about the gun evidence in this case. If this gun could possibly help Jodi Arias, I believe the defense would have found it. They've had years and years to have Jodi Arias guide them to an approximate area where she tossed the gun in the desert. I believe that IF the gun was in fact not her grandfather's stolen .25 caliber gun, she would've had no reason to take it and dispose of it. She took the gun because it could be linked back to her grandfather and to her. If the gun wasn't Arias's grandfathers, that would go a long way to showing Arias did not have premeditation in bringing that gun with her. Yesterday, she added a detail to her gun story. She claims that when she went into that closet on 6/4/08, she didn't go in with the intent of getting the gun (her use of words, "intent" is obvious), rather she thought of it after she was already in the closet. She added a detail we hadn't heard before, saying the gun used to be kept in a holster on the top shelf. She believes that adding such a detail gives her story more credibility, it does just the opposite, it makes her look even more deceptive to me.
Jodi Arias is trying to escape punishment for brutally and viciously killing this man she claimed to be in love with. When it helps her to say she loved him she does, yet when it makes her look bad (obsession) she claims she only loved him as a friend. They have put their own spin on the little they have to work with in defending this woman, but did they go overboard in their attempts to paint him in such an unflattering light? It angers me when the murder victims seem to be forgotten in these trials where it becomes all about the defendant and all the people who have wronged them, and all the abuse they suffered as a child and adult. What about Travis Alexander? I hope the jury remembers who the true victim is, I hope they look carefully at the crime scene photos and the vicious nature of this attack, and I hope they apply their own common sense to reach the appropriate conclusion. This just doesn't look like self defense, regardless of how they are trying to make Travis Alexander look like a deviant. That is not even relevant, if you do believe Arias.
The jury questions are supposed to begin today. It's being reported that the judge and attorneys are meeting early this morning to begin reading though them - the judge must decide which questions can be asked, and then Arias will have to answer to the jury! Can't wait.
The attorneys, prosecutor and judge are reviewing the jury questions now. It looks like many of these questions won't be asked. They have already thrown out several questions that cannot be asked for legal reasons. They are now going through each question that the defense doesn't want to be asked, defense gives their reason for objecting to the question and the judge asks for the State's stance, and then she decides if the question is in or out.
So far, I've heard the defense try to get 9 questions tossed, and the judge has overruled their objection on about 50% of them so far. We aren't hearing the questions, only the objections from either side and the basis of the objection (such as relevance, and I Nurmi argued a question went into attorney-client privilege on one question).
I'll bet the "attorney client privilege" question was a good one! Will be interesting to hear these questions, that's for sure. Jodi Arias is staring off into space with a blank look on her face as this process is unfolding. It's unclear whether Arias will have access to the questions before they are asked. Will she be caught off guard, like she was when Juan Martinez asked her something she wasn't expecting? She tried to buy some time to formulate her answer by stating "you haven't asked me about that before". Aha.
Well, it's now 10:57AM PST and the judge just took the attorneys to her chambers. Not sure what's happening now.