As Jodi Arias's defense attorney Jennifer Willmott finished her direct examination of expert witness Alyce LaViolette yesterday afternoon, prosecutor Juan Martinez couldn't get up fast enough to start firing away questions at the domestic abuse expert from Long Beach.
Yesterday afternoon, Willmott and LaViolette discussed the text messages between murder defendant Jodi Arias and her ex boyfriend Travis Alexander, and LaViolette concluded that Travis Alexander had been in fact abusive to Arias. Other facts came to light yesterday, through discussion of Travis Alexander's text messages with other women, as the defense rattled off a half dozen women that Alexander was in contact with in the months leading up to his death. Some of the text messages were sexual in nature, and the defense described him as somebody who preyed on "vulnerable women", and somebody who pushed these women's sexual boundaries to see how far they would go. Talk about character assassination? Wow. They are shooting dirty pool.
What did the defense really prove through this testimony? To me, they proved little more than Travis Alexander was a 30 year old man who was interested in women. Is it that highly unusual for a man of his age, who may have been shy growing up but now more confident to seek out the company of multiple women? Friends have referred to Travis as "the biggest flirt west of the Mississippi". Did he deserve to die for being a womanizer? I think not. I'd be interested to know if Jodi Arias knew about all of these other women Travis was in communication with. The defense tactics of trashing a man who was brutally slain may backfire on them, Travis's other women could be seen as further motive for Jodi Arias to have wanted him dead!
Whatever was going on in that relationship, again - if you follow the law, has nothing to do with whether or not Jodi Arias needed to respond in such a vicious manner IF you believe Travis lunged at Jodi. When Arias chose "self defense" as her reason for killing Travis Alexander, those were the parameters she set around her defense. Would any "reasonable person" have felt the need to react in such a manner to a lunging gesture? This is all going to come down to who the jury believes. IF they believe Arias and think a dropped camera would provoke an angry Travis to threaten to kill Arias, they still need to decide whether or not Arias needed to continue her assault on Travis Alexander once it became clear he was no longer a threat to her. I don't believe any "reasonable" person would think so - IF Jodi Arias showed up in Utah battered and bruised, I might have a slightly different opinion but her complete lack of any serious injuries calls her entire story into question.
Did Arias know Travis Alexander was sending these suggestive text messages to other women? I think she was happy when she believed that she was the only woman who was willing to be intimate with him. Discovering these text messages likely would've sent her into a rage - we now know from her own parents that even at a young age, Arias was capable of being sweet one minute and rageful and mean the next. That says EVERYTHING when your own parents are afraid of you. By the time Jennifer Willmott was finished with LaViolette I was completely disgusted with this entire defense team. Kirk Nurmi with his mistrial and sequestration demands, Willmott's pleas with the Judge to allow her to ask certain inappropriate questions and the general shifty tactics of the defense to portray Travis Alexander as a womanizing opportunistic man is as low as it gets.
By the time Juan Martinez stood to begin his questioning of Alyce LaViolette, he was so fired up that he seemed to have trouble asking the questions! He was angry, and it certainly showed. I can't say I blame him - he's had to endure weeks of testimony from this expert, listening to them rip apart the victim while casting an almost saintly light on a murderer. Before Willmott handed LaViolette over to Martinez, she sarcastically asked her "have you given any books to Jodi Arias"?, LaViolette answered "yes, I have - I gave her 4 books and a magazine subscription". Willmott then asked "is that because you have FEELINGS for the defendant?" LaViolette chuckled and answered "no". Arias supporters must have gotten a kick out of that.
Martinez didn't have much time to question LaViolette yesterday since the defense took most of the court day, but their exchanges were heated - even more heated than Martinez and Dr. Samuels. At one point, LaViolette asked the prosecutor "are you angry with me Mr. Martinez?" Arias supporters laughed loudly, and were scolded by the judge who asked them to cease with the outbursts. Martinez began by questioning LaViolette's credentials, pointing out that she is not qualified to administer certain psychological tests - he also pointed out that "battered women's syndrome" is not listed in any diagnostic book. He referred to a speaking engagement LaViolette had in which she concluded that Snow White was a battered woman. He seemed to ridicule her for finding the symptoms of a battered woman in a fairy tale character. Good one Juan! I was thinking the same thing, that by Alyce's standards, most men and many women could be called batterers - including Jodi Arias. Does LaViolette find it conclusive evidence that Arias was not jealous or obsessive with Travis because she didn't READ anything in her journals or text messages to indicate she was?
I'm happy that the defense will have to sit down and shut up for the next few days. They have had the "stage" for 3 months now, and it's time to bring the focus of this trial back to the real victim here - Travis Alexander. No amount of womanizing, insults, rude text messages or even the mild "abuse" justifies what happened to him on June 4, 2008. If that were the case, I'd expect to see thousands of murdered men all over the country because Travis Alexander's behavior doesn't seem to be that different than any other young man. Did the defense expert convince those jurors that Arias had cause to be in "mortal fear" of Travis Alexander that night? Only if the jury believes those incidents of escalating violence, most importantly the alleged choking incident - if not, her fear was not reasonable.
Or the jury may completely disregard the fear factor altogether. Remember, none of the alleged incidents of violence were ever reported to law enforcement, never discussed with a close friend, a bishop, a priest, her family, and although she may not have been close to her mom, didn't she call on good old mom for help moving? She was reportedly fairly close with her sister Angela, yet nobody ever saw any signs of physical abuse whatsoever. I don't want to sound disrespectful to abused women - I understand that the bruises can be hidden and covered, and often times the attacks go unreported. I guess I just don't believe Jodi Arias. I don't believe Travis broke her finger, I don't believe he choked her and I'm not sure he slapped her in the face. Her stories just don't ring true to me, and for somebody who faithfully wrote in that journal, she wrote nothing about abuse. She thought that through with this "Law of Attraction" excuse, but I don't buy it. She had no reason to fear Travis would read her journal - she wasn't even living in the same state for much of their relationship, and I don't see him driving to Yreka and sneaking into her house to read the journals. It's just more BS. I don't think anybody who's watching this trial believes her allegation about the January 21 incident where Arias catches Alexander with a photo of a little boy. Most pedophiles are not also womanizers, so they can't have it both ways. Seems they are trying to cover too many bases and none of it is realistic.
It's been reported that there aren't any questions from the jury for Alyce LaViolette. Does this mean they believe her, or they understand her testimony? Or could it be the jury is feeling the fatigue from a lengthy trial and they are eager to move forward? I can't say I blame them. If they have questions, I have a feeling they will ask. They are taking their jobs very seriously by all accounts. I believe LaViolette is the final defense witness, which the State will finally get their rebuttal case in front of this jury. I, for one cannot wait. It's been excruciating to listen to the defense methodically trashing Travis Alexander, and watching Jodi Arias sit at that defense table and draw her sketches, or whatever she's doing - does she think she has succeeded in pulling the wool over everybody's eyes? You can see her scanning the courtroom and she seems to be trying to gage whether people are believing what her expert witness is saying.
I also noticed yesterday that Arias seemed to be staring at Jennifer Willmott, almost in a loving manner. Is she going to go into law now, like Casey Anthony wanted to do during her incarceration and trial? Difference between Jodi Arias and Casey Anthony is this: I seriously doubt Jodi Arias is going anywhere for a very long time. There's little to no chance of her walking away from what she has done, the only question is whether she lives or dies. Will she spend 20 years to life in prison, or will she join the other women on Arizona's Death Row? We'll know soon enough.
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