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There's Something About Jodi Arias's "Broken" Finger

32 year old murder defendant Jodi Arias has testified in court about the emotional and physical abuse she suffered during her relationship with the man she is on trial for murdering. Arias has made unsubstantiated claims of physical violence against her by former boyfriend and murder victim Travis Alexander. Arias cited four such incidents of physical violence, including a claim involving her left ring finger. In court testimony, Arias recounted a fight between the pair in January of 2008, in which Travis Alexander allegedly "body slammed" Arias to the ground in the bedroom of his Mesa Arizona home, and while she was on the ground she claims he began to kick her in the ribs. She raised her left hand towards the jurors in court under direct examination and displayed a bent finger.

She believes her finger was broken during the January 2008 kicking incident, when Arias raised her hands to protect herself against the kicking from Travis Alexander. She claims she never sought treatment for the finger because she didn't want Travis Alexander to get in trouble, and she never wrote about it in her personal journals or told another sole about the incident in part because she didn't want people to view Travis negatively and also because of her belief in the "Law of Attraction".  Arias has used "The Law of Attraction" as a scapegoat, for the lack of any type of abuse reporting because the "Law of Attraction" tells you not to focus on or think about negative things in your life.

NancyB, one of our regular readers who has made some great observations and comments on this blog wrote that she thought Arias's bent finger appeared to be the result of a torn tendon that never healed properly. Many of us on this forum believe that Arias injured her finger during the attack on Travis Alexander, but I thought I'd see what I could find out about what an unhealed torn tendon might look like on a person's finger or hand. It looks like NancyB could be right on the money! From, on "Why Won't My Finger Straighten Out":

Answer:  "In most cases, the reason a finger won't straighten out is because the tendon that does the work is stretched or torn.  Sometimes, when a finger won't straighten it's because the bone where the tendon is attached has broken off (avulsion fracture).  A finger that won't straighten out is called a "mallet finger" or a "mallet fracture". Tendons are like cables attached to muscles on one end and bones on the other.  When muscles contract, they pull the tendon and move the bone. It's very similar to the way hand brakes work on a bicycle or the way flight controls work on an airplane.

Fingers are special because many of the muscles that move are pretty far away, on the forearm.  Some of the tendons for the fingers run past the wrist all the way down to the tips.  There are tendons on the palm side of each finger to make it close and tendons on the back side (dorsal) of each finger to extend it (make it straighten). If you tear or stretch the tendons on the dorsal side of the fingers, they won't properly straighten out.  

The bones on your finger are called phalanges and there are three for each finger.  The one at the tip only has one tendon to pull it out straight. If it is damaged it won't straighten out all the way. There are three ways a tendon can be damaged:

  1. Stretched out. The tendon is still attached but now it's too long.
  2. Torn or cut.  The tendon has been torn or cut and now it can't pull like it's supposed to.
  3. Avulsion fracture.  The tendon is still there and not necessarily stretched out, but the bone where it's supposed to be attached is broken
The website says this type of injury may result in a deformation of the finger if not properly treated, but it's not the type of injury where you need immediate "emergency room" treatment unless you see blood under the fingernail or the fingernail is coming off.  Obviously if you were in pain, you'd see a doctor regardless. 

I wonder if the State can compel Arias to have the finger examined by an ortho doctor to get a more conclusive diagnosis if the finger is broken, or if this could be the result of a tendon that was cut during the knife attack on Travis Alexander? The jurors asked a great question of LaViolette yesterday involving the finger. They wanted to know what kept Arias from seeking medical treatment for the finger and simply lying about where the injury came from. Does anybody believe a simple broken finger ER visit would result in the police being called in to take a domestic abuse report? I think it's more reasonable to think that Arias knew an ER visit would create a paper trail, and if she were treated for cuts to her finger or hand, she would have had some explaining to do to law enforcement.

She seems to have worked her self inflicted injuries into the domestic abuse allegations and used it against the man she murdered. I don't think it will work. Putting a new spin on an infamous OJ Simpson trial phrase, "if the stories don't fit, you must convict"!! In other Arias trial news, Sandy Arias has confirmed that her daughter's jailhouse artwork has been selling well, and she recently sold a drawing of Frank Sinatra for $1,075.00! Another piece is being offered for $2,000.00, which "includes shipping". This is OUTRAGEOUS. Apparently there are currently no laws in Arizona that would prevent her from doing this - I thought there were some states that had a more broad interpretation of "Son of Sam" laws that extended not only to people convicted of a crime, but it prohibits those accused of a crime from profiting from their new found notoriety from said crimes. The Arias family is also receiving donations from Jodi-supporters, and these funds are reportedly being used to offset the costs associated with the Arias family attending the out of state trial.

What about the Alexander family's trial costs? I'm not sure if they have discussed suing Jodi Arias for the wrongful death of Travis Alexander, but that is one way they could stop her and her family from profiting from the death of another human being. Arias's defense price tag is already estimated at $1.4 million dollars. Shouldn't any funds that she makes while a guest of the State be put towards her own defense? Why are the taxpayers stuck with the tab, while she sells artwork for a premium from her Estrella jail cell? I hope the Alexander's do go after Arias for wrongful death. She should not be profiting in any way for her story. Nobody should profit from murder, nobody. And if Arias's defense team wants to continue complaining about prosecutor Juan Martinez's "rock star" persona, they ought to take a look at how their client is "tweeting" her followers, sending her personal thoughts via old jailhouse bud Donavan Bering and selling her artwork "authenticated" with Arias's thumb print! Who's acting like a rock star here? I think Arias is using the media while Martinez was simply being polite to members of the public in HIS town. He represents the citizens, he is the only voice Travis Alexander has right now. Just because he chose not to blow off the few people who admire him and wanted a photo is not grounds for prosecutorial misconduct.

Is there anything that can be done to prevent Jodi Arias or her family from making money off of the grief of the Alexander family? We know there is a petition for "Travis Alexander's Law" that we can sign, which may or may not enact some change in the evidenciary process in murder trials. I'd really like to put an end to the blatant profiteering from Jodi Arias via her artwork. How much jailhouse junk food does Arias need? We saw this with Casey Anthony in Orlando, complete strangers sending money orders for her commissary account. It's strange. But for Arias to make thousands of dollars while claiming that she can't afford to pay for her own attorneys is just yet another slap in the face to the people who will ultimately pay the bill. She may have some followers/supporters, but I suspect this behavior may backfire on her. She seems to be taking advantage of everything she can, and it's her "in your face" manner that is appalling.

Alyce LaViolette was photographed sharing a meal with attorney Jennifer Willmott and the mitigation specialist - I'm not sure when the photo was taken, but it was televised last night and some believe it amounts to witness tampering. I don't know if I'd go that far, I'm sure they have become friendly over the course of this trial. All I have to say about that is I hope Alyce picked up the tab!!


  1. I thought the same thing about her finger but I think the state at this point has no way to show when the injury occurred and so won't pursue it. Definitely the Alexander family should file a (much easier to prove) civil suit so that any money she has goes to them. I think that once she is convicted is the key to she to when she can no longer profit from a crime, right now she has the presumption of innocence. I commented before as a victim of dom. violence that I felt LaViolette would be reasonable but I have been sorely disappointed! I can't believe she would be so clearly biased after how long it took for us to get things like mandatory arrest laws, etc. In one instance the cops actually came to my house and took the guns out of the house, took my statement within earshot of him and then left so he could beat me more! (California late 80's) Thank god JM is showing her as the true abuser and hopefully that she escalated to murder. BTW male victims don't show fear the same way b/c they are in fact male and think they can "handle" a female.

    1. Thanks, Anon. Alyce has been so disappointing. She really seemed OK at first, although I think we all were wondering why she was on the defense team. Thanks for sharing your story. Geez. It is awful that the cop took your statement so that he could hear. It really is disgusting. I hope life is much better now.


    2. Thanks Sue! This was my first boyfriend many years ago and I never even knew that men hit women! Luckily I had a good supportive family growing up that gave me the strength to leave with the clothes on my back and a 10-month old baby... I hid with my baby for 7 years until he finally died b/c I would not risk some judge telling me he had a right to see her. He had previously hung her by her feet and threatened to drop her, etc, etc. Even worse than the cop taking my statement within earshot of my abuser was the nurse at the hospital we went to after he broke my nose. He stayed the car with my baby so he could take off if need be. The doctor slipped me a card for the domestic violence shelter the nurse came after and berated me that if I didn't leave right now that I must like it. I knew that the cops would not be able to take a baby from the father without proof. I called the shelter and I was right, I had to get out with her and I did. I was 18. I am very grateful to ALV for her work and the many people she must have helped but sooo angry that she would risk making BWS a joke. I spent some time educating myself as to healthy behaviors (unfortunately it seems there are a lot of people who have unhealthy behaviors) and I am supremely happy now in a very healthy relationship :)


  2. I wonder what percentage of the public defender's total budget has been spent on the Arias case.

  3. Son of Sam’ statutes: federal and state, CA. and
    AZ. both have Son of Sam laws. can't profit from their crimes.

  4. Anonymous (4/12/13 at 8:10AM),
    It would be interesting to have a medical doctor's opinion on the finger after taking XRays and doing diagnostic testing. It could be a wealth of info! I truly hope that the Alexander family pursues a wrongful death suit, and yes the burden of proof is much lower in a civil suit. If nothing else, this would put an end to the money-making endeavors of Arias & Co! Thanks for your comments!

  5. I wish they could look into that finger. So to speak. And the fact that she is making thousands off her art. . ? . : ( I guess Ted Bundy's stuff would be worth a lot now....but sometimes I get so discouraged with some humans.


  6. I so enjoy this blog. I just want to point out that "mallet finger" is incorrect, as it occurs at fingertip joint, thus the "mallet" appearance. What Jodi has is more accurately called tenosynovitis, which is inflammation of tendon & its sheath, caused by- in this case- injury (such as gripping, deep cut, or infection), & ironically known in the medical profession, as "trigger finger" (most commonly on 3rd or 4th digit- middle or ring finger). Though she initially denied her crime, her own injury was "fingering"- implicating her as the perpetrator. This to me, was one of the most damning lies. She said she came out of her fog near the Hoover Dam, when she saw blood on her hands. We know she washed Travis' body & I'm certain she washed the blood off her own & changed clothes before leaving his house, or she would've dripped blood throughout his house, left bloody handprints on doorknobs, car door/trunk handles & seat. Think: she couldn't leave his house & drive away looking like CARRIE (Sissy Spacek) at the prom. Therefore, the only blood on her hands that supposedly yanked her out of her fog in the "oh crap" moment (conveniently before the police checkpoint) would've come from that cut finger, which she denied happened June 4th. I also wonder if anyone has considered that this crime was planned by her as a murder/suicide, but she covered her tracks before & after, in case she "chickened out" as her history of suicidal ideology indicates. I write this because she said in her 2nd interrogation w/ Det. Flores (after being locked up overnight & inventing the "2 ninjas did it" story) that she "chickened out like a little bi%#h." Much gold, in those police tapes, regarding the crime. Remember how she described her botched suicide attempt w/ the Bic razor in jail. She planned to stab Travis (more painful, vicious & personal) & shoot herself (which she told Flores was a "more humane" way of killing someone. That could explain the sex-photos montage, before the murder, in her demented Romeo & Julie scenario. She's classic Cluster B personality disorder, having characteristics of all 4categories (antisocial, borderline, histrionic & narcissistic). She not only stalked Travis, but after she murdered him, she stalked his family (20 irises to his grandmother). The 48 Hours interview regarding the "baby names" Reagan, Iris, Hinkley... was a direct reference to TAXI DRIVER. Remember the marquis poster "a nobody who wanted to be a somebody". This was Travis Bickle's (DeNiro's character) "manifesto". John Hinkley wanted to impress Jody Foster (who played "Iris") by killing Ronald Reagan. She's using her despicable crime to gain infamy. She wanted who Travis was- a person she could never be.

    1. Great points, Anon! A number of people have posted on several other sites about Jodi's movie references that may be obscure to many people -- some of them sure were to me! The resemblance of the shower scene photos to the original movie "Psycho" are pretty obvious, but people have pointed out that the actual killing itself seemed to copy a killing scene that involved a "lunge" in another movie (I can't think of the reference right now). Plus, the way Jodi seemed to be making up her stories from whole cloth as she proceeded through the various interviews with Det. Flores and the female detective have reminded many people, including me, of how Kevin Spacey's character manipulated the police in "The Usual Suspects." Jodi is truly a diabolical actress, and I hope that she gets her comeuppance!

    2. Opal: "Comeuppance"- I love it. THE MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS, 1942 Orson Wells classic! Yes, I immediately thought of TAXI DRIVER, when I heard those names. She's a voyeur, like serial killers revisiting their crimes (remember her "drive-by" w/ Travis' roommate, on the way to the memorial & wanting to see the crime-scene photos?). Her sociopathology is blatant. Thinking she's the smartest chick in the room... she didn't know the difference between plywood & veneered particle board. She claimed the shelves in Travis' closet were made out of plywood (which they were not) because the weight rating/tensile strength would've been much greater than 40lbs. That's why pins, not screws were used to support shelves. Not too smart, by half. Jodi claimed to, as stated in 1st Flores' interview, see things in pictures, because she's a photographer. She's living her life through a distorted lens. I also question the testimony of her friend & mentor, Gus. I'm sure he's a nice guy, but he's been duped. He said in an interview on Greta Vansussteren & I think on Jane Velez, that Jodi called him around 3-4am, following the murder. He stated she was crying & told him Travis was dead. The first question out of his mouth was, "Are you ok?" Now when anyone who's below the age of an octogenarian dies, your 1st question is "how?" Yet, he never asks. Instead he asks if she needs a ride. This to me is bizarre & seems to indicate he thought she was at the scene in Mesa, near his trailer in Vegas (1.5 hrs drive); not northern California, which is 5.5 hrs (minimum drive) away. Who would offer an 11 hr. round trip "lift", in the middle of the night? Also, she may have used this mentor as an alibi after slashing Travis' tires. He testified that Travis had called Jodi while she was at his trailer, & Travis' screaming made her, "duck, like she was dodging a bullet." Odd choice of words, or Freudian slip? She then proceeded to continue the call outside. Possibly so her mentor couldn't hear her using him as an alibi. She seems to use men to distance herself from her crimes, like Ryan Burns in Utah. Isn't that a pattern, ALV! Bobby J, to escape her family conflict (of her own making); Matt to have an excuse to continue insinuating herself in Bobby's life; Darryl as a means to escape living in less than desirable conditions; Travis as an upwardly mobile person on the social ladder, etc. Also, for AVL to support Jodi's perverse use of the power of positive thinking (via THE SECRET), is fantastical. It's termed "magical thinking", which is seen in children, primitive people & certain types of mentally ill patients (schizotypal, for instance). It's a condition that thinking equates w/ doing; characterized by a lack of realistic relationship between cause & effect. Any 1st year med school grad on core psych rotation knows this.

    3. You are spot on, Anon, on so many levels, many of which I hadn't even considered, and I love your analysis! I saw the Gus Searcy story a little differently, in that I think his 15 minutes of fame went to his head and he had the wrong date for that early morning call from Jodi. I remember clearly that in response to someone's question on HLN as to why he didn't call the police after he received that call, he said that he thought Jodi was in California, so he never associated her with Travis's death, and, more importantly, that he was LEAVING FOR CANCUN the very next day (which I took to mean later that day, since it was so early), so he was very busy leaving the country. I don't think he even realized what he was saying, i.e., Jodi was advised on the night of June 9th that Travis had died, so she could not have called him early in the morning of June 5th if that was the day he was leaving for Cancun. There is no way that Jodi called him hours after she committed the crime, because (1) that would have shot her so-called alibi to hell, and (2) the police obviously retrieved all of her phone calls around that time, and would have seen that she made that call to him. He apparently was really disappointed that the prosecutor did not consider him to be important enough to call as a witness at trial, which you know he would have done if Jodi had, in fact, called him hours after the murder to tell him that Travis was dead. Meanwhile, even though I have not been a psychologist for many years, I still have the education, training, and experience that I always did, and I cannot fathom how Dr. Samuels or Alyce LaViolette failed to use the common sense that the average lay person watching this trial has, let alone their clinical training, to comprehend that Jodi was playing both of them, big time! As my father used to say, "You can have a lot of degrees and no common sense." Actually, he used to say that to me sometimes, as he tried to emphasize the importance of developing and using my common sense, even though I had "book smarts," and I don't think he was ever quite convinced that I had enough common sense to "come in out of the rain!"

    4. Opal: I had missed the "mentor's" testimony (due to work schedule) & only watched his interviews. Going back over his media statements & then reviewing his testimony, I agree w/ your 15 min. of fame comment. He actually made some slight revisions- in his favor- which now makes me think he was trying to be relevant, in some weird way. I think you're right about his confusing the dates, since she called her bishop around that same time period, the night she claims she learned of his murder. She was probably trying to gather as much info as possible, to concoct her story. I do believe she may have used him (remember he gave her the Helio phone) as an alibi for the tire slashing. Maybe a, "I'm here in Vegas w/ Gus; nowhere near you, in Mesa. How could I have slashed the tires?" Travis was on to her, & that's why he may have been screaming. Travis had written more than once, that she was a liar. I also hope the jury uses their good common sense, to see through the defense's smokescreen. All the sex crap, alleged abuse & unsubstantiated PTSD fog is doesn't add up to nearly decapitating an already neutralized, dying victim. I am curious as to how she hacked into Travis' computer, bank accounts, etc. She's no hacker, since she failed to remove the sd card from the camera, thinking that delete removes things forever. She did work for PPL & one of their divisions has an ID theft dept, which helps clients who've been victims of identity theft... Kind of like LifeLock. Just wondering if she may have schmoozed someone there to help her "spy on her cheatin' man." I would think that Travis would've taken precautions, after his brother had stolen his ID (pretending to be Travis) when arrested for a bar fight. Maybe good ol' Gus, her shoulder to cry on & play the victim to, was feeding her info, hoping for an "in" for himself. We all know that type of guy, who senses a vulnerability & is conveniently waiting in the wings (w/ delusions of grandeur).

  7. Should read, "Romeo & Juliet". Spell checker has a mind of its own!

  8. I still think she's mastered the art of faking the bent finger. When I see her sitting in the courtroom, there are moments where she doesn't appear to have any issues with her finger, then as if to be warned, she will bend her finger.

    How important would it be for someone to seek medical help when a finger has been broken? Wouldn't the pain be unbearable? We all know why she hasn't included any of these incidents in her journals, they never happened but there are a few interesting things. From what I remember, she wrote in her journal the day of and the following day after having a broken finger. She states she's ambidextrous, great, but wouldn't the writing styles be different? Need to check this. There is no way she would be able to write the same with her left and right hands? If this actually happened, why is there no text or email from Travis saying he was sorry for kicking her or breaking her finger? Didn't he apologize for other things? Wouldn't he for this? Don't abusers always say they are sorry eventually?

    This and the glasses are just 2 of many that illustrate what a pathological liar she is and also she may have been planning this horrible murder for some time.

  9. My dad cut himself fishing and the way his finger healed is exactly like Jodi's! It's a tendon injury! Plain and simple!

  10. I have several friends that are double jointed and can do exactly the same thing with their fingers,hands and feet. They also do yoga to keep that ability.

  11. I am surprised the prosecution has not further delved into the cause of her finger deformity. From what I have seen the deformity was not evident in her initial interviews with the detectives. Over time the finger has taken on the PIP joint flexion contracture, sparing the DIP joint.

    I surmise she received a laceration on the palmer or volar surface of the ring finger PIP joint(knife slipping in her hand) which disrupted the volar plate, resulting in a Pseudo-Boutonniere deformity.

    Proving that would certainly show it was not caused by a kick to the hand. MRI the finger!

  12. I seriously wonder if the fact that it happens to be her left hand ring finger enters into it. You know, the finger where an engagement ring would be worn.
    Maybe, just maybe...she tried on the engagement ring that Travis had bought for someone else (when she stole it)and had a really hard time getting it off and damaged her finger trying. Definite possibility.


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