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Lifetime Releases Clip From "Dirty Little Secrets"

It's been 4 days since a mistrial was declared in the sentencing phase of the Jodi Arias murder trial, but the shock is still fresh.  We are all left to wonder what happened in that jury deliberation room, why couldn't they reach a unanimous verdict?  Why was the 8-4 split something that couldn't be overcome?  It's my opinion that Arias' gender played a role in those 4 jurors inability to hand down a death sentence, and statistics seem to back that theory. According to Richard Dieter, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center, women commit roughly 10% of murders - yet women represent 2% of death row inmates. Slightly less than 1% of those executed in the US are women, of 1300 inmates executed since 1976, only 12 were women.

Murder is an equal opportunity crime, why isn't the punishment?  My questions now are will the State of Arizona ultimately empanel a new jury for the sentencing phase, as Judge Stephens indicated after declaring the mistrial? For the sake of murder victim Travis Alexander, and all of the Travis Alexanders out there, I certainly hope so.  Jodi Arias deserves to have her fate decided by the citizens of Arizona, cost should not be a deciding factor.  Cost wasn't a factor in granting Arias a defense - the family of the victim deserve no less!  We will see, when that June 20th status hearing occurs.  In the meantime, Lifetime Movie Network has released some clips of their upcoming movie on the case, set to air on June 22, 2013.  I've seen two clips, one is a 30 second clip that depicts Arias standing over a washing machine with blood on her shirt, and then answering questions after her arrest. There isn't much to the clip, but I found another one that's longer in length and has commentary from the actress playing Arias:

Jurors have been speaking out on what they called a "gut-wrenching" experience during their deliberations. Diane Schwartz, juror #6 is a retired 911 operator who spoke to about her experience in this trial. She voted for a death sentence, and she is the juror who was widely reported as mouthing "I'm sorry, I'm so sorry" as the jurors walked out of the court room. She called Arias' testimony "scripted" and "repetitive" and she believes that Jodi Arias was being untruthful in her testimony. Schwartz says the decision was not easy for any of them, and she personally had to do some soul searching before making her decision - but after considering the aggravating factors against the mitigating factors, she looked at the planning and cover up, the continual lying and the mechanism of death before voting for death.

Another juror in favor of death was Marilou Allen-Cougan, who believed Arias was playing the jury. Allen-Cougan said the State proved their case of premeditation.  Juror #13 was banker Kevin Spellman, who was also in favor of the death penalty.  In some other states, such as Florida - an 8-4 vote would have been good enough for sentencing, but in the state of Arizona there must be a unanimous verdict. I've been unable to find any comments or interviews for jurors in favor of a life sentence for Jodi Arias.  The three jurors who spoke to abcnews seemed very solemn, saying they felt like they failed the justice system by not rendering a verdict. That's got to be a very unsatisfying feeling to sit through 5 months of testimony and not see the case through to the finish.

What do you think Arias' chances will be with a new jury?  Will a new jury have less of a connection with Jodi Arias, not having spent 5 months looking at her in that court room? Will a new jury be able to take a more objective view of the crime, the aggravating and mitigating factors?  Depending on what testimony is included in this phase, I think the prosecutor may have an edge with a new jury. What do you think? On one hand, the original jury got to listen to the far-fetched stories straight from the mouth of Jodi Arias. Many of the jurors reported they didn't believe much of her testimony.  Lying to the jury doesn't win Arias points, and obviously the savage nature of the murder doesn't earn her points.  Will the defense attempt to get a change of venue for the re-trial?  Would a change of venue matter in this case? 

I haven't been able to find much information on actual cases that had sentencing phases re-tried, so I don't have a feel for what will be introduced or how this works. Obviously the jury has to accept the guilty verdict and the aggravating factor was established. They will need to know about the testimony during the first trial, but will that come from trial transcripts or will the new jury hear new testimony from any of the witnesses? If anyone is familiar with how this process works, please comment!  I'll continue to look for information in the meantime.  Did Sheriff Joe Arpaio shut down the Jodi Arias interviews? I thought I heard that he did - he would be wise to shut this activity down out of consideration to Travis' family, who must cringe every time she appears on their TV screens.  If the Sheriff won't shut her down, the media should! On Friday, a judge ruled that "America's Toughest Sheriff" was guilty of racial profiling.  Will Sheriff Joe become the newest pawn in Jodi Arias' defense team's shell game of blame?

It wouldn't surprise me, but then again nothing about this case surprises me anymore.  Despite being behind bars, Jodi Arias' twitter activity continues. Her last tweet was on May 25 and read:  " wow"  If you look at that website, it's an anti-Nancy Grace, anti HLN website that is critical of their handling of coverage of the Jodi Arias trial, among others.  I'm sure Arias is completely flattered at all of the attention she's received and continues to receive.  I really have to wonder if she could really be so clueless that she is not well-liked, as she talks about the outpouring of love she feels from her supporters.  Can it really be equal to the number of people who feel she is a cold-blooded killer?

Dark Day In Phoenix - Arias Remains Unsentenced

I am still shaking my head in disbelief this morning, following yesterday's "non-verdict" in the sentencing phase of the Jodi Arias murder trial.  Disappointment, shock and heartache were on the faces of each and every one of Travis Alexander's family members and friends as the decision was read in court yesterday.  I can't express how badly I feel for that family. After losing their beloved brother to a vicious and senseless murder, they sacrificed the last 5 months of their life away from their homes, their jobs and their lives - to be sure Travis' death did not go unpunished.  Sure, Jodi Arias was convicted of first degree murder with an aggravating factor, but this nightmare will not be over until Arias has been sentenced.

For the rest of us who have been following this story since 2008 and have watched this trial as it unfolded, it's disappointing and frustrating that justice has once again been delayed!  I just looked back at my first few posts for this blog, back in November and December of last year and it reminded me of how many delays there were in this trial - even in the jury selection process. I have so many questions on how this will play out.  Will Jennifer Willmott & Kirk Nurmi be allowed to now withdraw from the case? I thought I heard they were remaining on to see the case through, but I'm not certain.  With Arias criticizing them publicly after the work they have put in for her, I can't say I blame them.  They had a difficult job with a even more difficult client. I don't agree with their distasteful trial tactics but they did their jobs. 

If they were allowed to withdraw or if Arias were to get new representation, can you imagine how long this could be delayed? If anybody knows for certain if Willmott/Nurmi are staying on the case, could you please post the info? If they remain as attorneys of record that should speed up the process in empaneling a new jury.  I have no idea what the rules are around the voir dire process, or what Juan Martinez needs to do in order to get the best death qualified jury he can.  I don't understand how this jury became so splintered (reportedly 8-4 in favor of death), after agreeing on guilt and aggravating circumstances.  I don't know how they viewed the jury instructions, they seemed long and over-complicated to me. Is it possible there were jurors on the panel who could not hand down a death sentence to a female regardless of how they answered their jury questionnaires?

Murder is an equal opportunity crime, however it seems that juries have a harder time sentencing women to death than men. I don't know what the jury went through during their deliberations, however the jury foreman spoke to my new favorite reporter, Ryan Owen - he told Owen there was a significant split on sentencing from the start.  He also said he thought Jodi Arias made a poor witness and she didn't do herself any favors by being on the stand for 18 days.  I wonder how these jurors are going to feel once they have seen how this woman has been conducting herself during the trial, during their deliberations?  Will they feel duped, scammed, played? Would it have made a difference if they had seen the real Jodi Arias before sentencing? I think it would have gone a long way towards showing the arrogance and self-centered Arias has no real remorse for what she did. When she talks about this being "the worst thing she's ever done", that's about the closest she came to taking any responsibility for the lives that she's ruined.

I don't know what to say at this point! I don't think Sheriff Joe is going to  to allow Arias' media tour to continue - that would be a good start. At least Arias is now in a single cell situation,  no more dormatory-style setting with other inmates to hang out with. The Alexander siblings are expected to file a wrongful death suit against Arias, I hope the sentencing delay doesn't interfere with anything they have pending. I suppose now that she's been convicted of murder, they could proceed whenever they wanted but clearly this is their first priority. 

I have to run right now, but I will continue to post information here as things play out. I'd miss reading your comments too much to stop this blog now. Have a great weekend!

Jodi Arias Trial - Life Behind Bars In Arizona

The jury is expected to return to their deliberations later this morning in the Jodi Arias death penalty trial.  They have deliberated for more than 7 hours without reaching a unanimous verdict.  While I find this concerning, as I pointed out in yesterday's post, this can happen in death penalty trials - and the "Allen" instruction Judge Sherry Stephens read to the jury yesterday is the exact same instruction the Wendi Andriano jury was read when they appeared to initially be hopelessly deadlocked. They ultimately continued deliberations, and after four days came back with a sentence of death.

In my April 27, 2013 post, I wrote about what life would be like for a female serving a life sentence in the Perryville Prison Complex in Goodyear, Arizona - and what life on Death Row would be like.  Considering the jury could potentially decide to show Jodi Arias the mercy she failed to show Travis Alexander and sentence her to life in prison, I wanted to take another look at the conditions Arias would face if sentenced to either natural life or life with the possibility of parole after serving 25 years.

The level of activities an inmate has access to likely depends on their classification.  When an inmate is received into the prison system, they go through an "Inmate Assessment" and take part in an orientation and are classified under the Offender Classification System. Upon entering the Department's custody, each offender is assessed for security and custody risk and for special services such as medical, mental health, substance abuse or sex offense treatment and/or programming needs such as education, vocational training and work skills and other placement considerations.

The classification profile consists of an offender's custody classification and internal risk level as well as programming needs. Offenders are reviewed on an annual basis. Classification scores are adjusted based on information received during the review period and include behavior, time left to serve and overall history. An offender's placement is changed when the custody classification indicates the offender no longer meets the custody/security designation of the current unit assignment.

All inmates serving a natural life or life w/possibility for parole:

  • Life sentence with 0-2 years served = Maximum Custody
  • Life sentence with 2-5 years served = No less than Close Custody
  • Life sentence with 5+ years served  = No less than Medium Custody
As you can see, the custody level could become less restrictive as her sentence plays out and with good behavior, after 5 years served she could be in Medium Custody.  Let's take a look at the custody levels:

Maximum Custody:  Inmates who represent the highest risk to the public and staff and require housing in a single-cell setting. These inmates have limited work opportunities within the secure perimeter and require frequent monitoring. These inmates require escorted movement in full restraints within the institution.

Close Custody:  Inmates who represent a high risk to the public and staff. These inmates shall not be assigned to work outside the secure perimeter of an institution. These inmates require controlled movement within the institution.

Medium Custody: Inmates who represent a moderate risk to the public and staff. These inmates shall not work outside the secure perimeter of an institution and require limited controlled movement within the institution.

Minimum Custody:  Inmates who represent a low risk to the public and staff. These inmates may work outside the secure perimeter of an institution, to include community work crews, and do not require controlled movement within the institution.

This information was taken directly from website.  I'm wondering if under "Close Custody", Arias would still remain in a single-cell situation.  I believe she thinks she will be free to congregate with among the women in the general prison population - it's unclear if she would have that option, at least for the first several years of her incarceration. Arias' high profile status may make her a prime candidate for some type of segregation - although she truly seems to believe she is a likeable person, there may be other inmates who won't take to her diva-like ways or the nature of her crime.

Visitation for Maximum Custody inmates is limited to one 2 hour block per week. Close Custody inmates visitation varies, depending on their "phases" - anywhere between one "block" per week to three "blocks" per week. There appear to be three such "phases" for Close Custody inmates. Medium Custody inmates can receive anywhere from one "block" per week to four "blocks" per week.  Minimum Custody inmates receive anywhere from one to four "blocks" per week as well.  Certain holiday allowances are made for visitation for all custody classifications.

All custody levels of inmates receive a minimum of 6 hours of exercise time per week.  There are "hobby and craft" services available for inmates, depending on their "Phase" classification. UURRGHH, it appears that inmates who participate in the hobby/craft activities are afforded the opportunity to SELL their work through the Arizona Prison Arts And Trades Outlet! The more I dig into the prison system services for non-death row inmates, the more it appears that Arias may end up having a lot more access to the things that drive her ego.  I'm in no way implying that incarcerated women shouldn't have access to education, work, exercise and other activities that may help them serve out their sentences while gaining valuable skills that may help them when they are released - it's just that if Jodi Arias is given what I would consider the ultimate and unwarranted gift of life, it sickens me to think of her furthering her "artistic" ventures and having these opportunities that Travis Alexander will never have.

Inmates have access to a maximum of 16 television channels, based on local availability and as determined by the Warden. They include major channels such as NBC, ABC, Fox, CBS as well as Discovery Channel.  Also listed under "Recreational Activities":  outdoor exercise, athletics, Unit intra-mural activities, Complex intra-mural activities, in-house hobby crafts, cultural activities and special events. All of this, in addition to potential work programs!  If Arias had acted differently before, during and after her trial, I may have a different view on what a suitable punishment for her would be. She claims to want "everybody's pain to stop", yet each time she plops herself down for another self-serving media interview, she assaults the Alexander siblings all over again. For somebody who claims the media is one of the reasons she has not received a fair trial, she is directly responsible for creating the media circus this has become.

She really seems to see herself as some sort of reality star, and this is her show.  I think her poorly timed and ill-advised media blitz was prompted because she knows when the sentencing is handed down, she is not likely to get these kind of opportunities in prison.  She's heading to prison either way, it's just a matter of whether she will sit on Death Row or not. If she could be handed down a life sentence with no possibility for parole, and serve in max custody for her entire sentence that would be A GIFT.  A gift that many people don't feel she deserves, given the lives she has ruined.  I know that sentencing her to death will not bring back Travis Alexander. But Jodi Arias has shown the world who she really is over the course of this trial.  It's just a plain shame that this jury hasn't had the opportunity to see who they are sentencing, and I'd expect they may have some remorse if they give her the gift of life after they see how she has conducted herself during these proceedings.

They may feel angry, upset and duped! I think a system that allows someone like Jodi Arias to use the media to further her own selfish reasons, while she cites it as a major factor around her receiving a fair trial is severely damaged and in need of reform.  The networks need to take a moral stand!  I think Ryan Owens is the only interviewer who called Arias to the mat, asking her the tough questions and not tap dancing around what really happened, her lack of remorse and the absent apology during her allocution to the jury. The other media outlets seemed to cater to her diva-like demands, even providing her with makeup.  Just when you thought you'd seen it all......

Will the jury come back with a unanimous decision today, ahead of the 5 day weekend ahead?  Will the state be forced to begin the costly and difficult process of finding another 18 jurors who could make this final sentencing decision?  I am praying she receives the most severe punishment available to the jury.  I think we are all with Steven Alexander in that we don't want to see Travis Alexander's murderer any more!!  What do you think?  

Have a fabulous day!

Arias Jury Having Trouble With Unanimous Decision

Oh no. After only 3 hours of deliberating over life and death for Jodi Arias, the jury has sent Judge Stephens a note that they were unable to reach a unanimous decision.  Judge Stephens spoke to the jury in court and encouraged them to continue to forge ahead, and if they have any questions on the law she encouraged them to ask her.

I'm surprised that after such a short time, they are seemingly deadlocked!  I don't know how unusual this is for a jury, but I'd imagine it's a difficult decision for each of them.  If they are unable to reach an unanimous verdict, a mistrial will be declared for this phase of the trial - they would then potentially enpanel a new jury to handle the sentencing phase. The new jury would have to accept the guilty verdict, complete with aggravators. The decision would be life or death.  How long would this process take, if they had to choose a new jury? Given the pace of the current trial, this could potentially drag out for some time - also the media coverage around the case may require them to go to another county to find jurors who haven't been saturated with news coverage on this case!  Is this part of Arias' media ploy? Is she trying to reach the next group of potential jurors?  Having listened to some of her interviews from last night, it seems clear to me that she does not believe she will receive a death sentence.

Arias was described by one reporter as a "diva" - calling the shots on what they could ask her and how she should be photographed. She insisted on the chains and jail stripes not be in the shot!  She did not want to be taped fussing over her hair, her makeup had to be perfect. Can you believe this woman? Who does she think she is?  What she said was shocking as well.  If you've seen GMA's interview between Ryan Owens and Jodi Arias, she was outright defiant. He asked her some blunt questions. He asked her why she didn't apologize to the Alexander family, Arias insisted she did apologize. Owens pressed her, "you didn't use those words".  She said that she felt the words "I'm sorry" would have been meaningless to them. Owens talked about Arias' change of heart regarding the death penalty - he asked her "why don't you give this family some closure, you know they want you dead".  Arias fell back on her family, saying killing her would only cause them pain and she said she doesn't believe in capital punishment!  Guess she doesn't believe in it, when she's facing it!

Ryan Owens asked Arias "are you ever going to tell the truth about what happened in that bathroom?"  Arias said she had told the truth, and then said "I didn't know you were a hater when you asked for this interview"!  She's using her jodiisinnocent website language, "haters".  After hearing two of her interviews, I was shocked that she seems completely unaware of how negatively people view her, that she is one of the most hated women in America! Instead, she talked about the outpouring of love and support she has received from people who want to help and support her.  UURRGGHH!!
I don't know about you all, but after watching these interviews and hearing her speech yesterday, I don't know how much more of the Jodi Arias show that we can handle - and imagine how horrible this is for the Alexander's siblings. They must cringe each and every time they see her smug mug on the television, claiming to be a "Survivor" and wanting to live so she can further the cause! Give me a break!

Let's pray that we have a positive outcome people.  We can't take another 6 months of Jodi Arias! I'm posting a link to an interesting article about the jury deliberations in the sentencing phase of Wendi Andriano trial.  It was very much a split decision, and it took them more than 4 days to reach an unanimous verdict - it wasn't easy. It took time. This gives me hope! On their 1st vote, there were 3 for the death penalty, 4 were for a life sentence and the remaining jurors were undecided.  The next vote they got to 11-1 for death, but they were on the verge of being deadlocked with one senior citizen holdout who was against the death penalty.  In the end, after weighing the mitigating factors versus the brutality of killing her husband (and her childrens father) - the mitigating factors just were not enough and they sentenced her to death.  Interesting to read how they struggled with the decision.  Here's the link:

Let's hope this jury can render a verdict and justice will finally be served in this case!

Jodi Arias' Arrogance Evident From New Media Interviews

Photo by Ross Franklin, AP News
One would think that a person convicted of first degree murder and waiting to hear whether they will be sentenced to death would be solemn and silently hopeful. Then again, we've never come across the likes of Jodi Ann Arias before.  Arias, shortly after delivering her allocution to the jury via a PowerPoint presentation was returned to the Estrella jail in Phoenix and promptly began what is expected to be a flurry of media interviews.  Are you kidding me? Why is this happening? Why did Judge Sherry Stephens lift the media ban for this convicted murderer? Aren't her attorneys complaining about the excessive media coverage as grounds for a mistrial?

My shock and outrage is beyond words. I suppose we could blame the media for feeding into Arias' ego by eagerly sitting down and talking to this woman, or we could lay blame with the public. Like a automobile accident, the wreckage is horrific yet you can't look away.  I would have hoped the media would shut Arias down, much like they did with Casey Anthony when the public vowed to not allow Anthony or her family to receive money for interviews, photographs or anything else relating to the death of little Caylee. The public in that case vowed to boycott any media outlet that dealt with the Anthony family. Why isn't the same thing happening now?

The way in which Jodi Arias has handled herself since her arrest is nearly as shocking as her crime.  In her latest interview last night with the Associated Press, she publicly denounced prosecutor Juan Martinez's portrayal of her as someone who sought fame and the spotlight - funny, coming from the woman who demanded hair and makeup products be provided to her for the very interview she sat for. Attorney Jennifer Willmott told the jury yesterday how low Jodi's self esteem was, saying she has "no ego"! Really? No ego or self esteem?  She seems perfectly happy as long as those cameras are rolling and the focus is squarely on her.  She is still alleging to be a victim in this trial. 

I haven't seen the entire interview yet, but as predicted she's already pointing the (broken) finger at her attorneys, throwing them under the bus along with her mother and father. It must be getting crowded under that bus! She repeated her self-serving statement about her desire to avoid a trial, hoping instead to have plead guilty to second degree murder which carries a maximum sentence of 22 years in prison.  Yeah, it's the state of Arizona's fault they didn't make that deal?  In this country, we don't plea bargain to avoid trials. I'm certain a plea deal would have saved the taxpayers a boatload of cash, but a plea deal would not have given Travis Alexander or his family the justice he so deeply deserves.

Arias insists that her attorneys let her down by failing to call at least three witnesses who allegedly saw bruising around her neck from the alleged choking incident. Notice I'm using allegedly a lot, that's because I don't believe she was choked and I never will. She's already saying she did not receive a fair trial and blames the media and her attorneys, among others. She said last night that her attorneys felt a little "betrayed and blindsided" by her post-conviction interview but gave her their blessing for last night's interview - warning her to be cautious! Arias was evasive when asked about her conflicting stories and cited possible appeals for her non-answers in certain areas.

Arias said that she wishes she never met Travis Alexander - yes, I'm sure he wishes he never met her too. She firmly believes had she never met Travis, she would now be a "happily married woman with children, good finances and a successful wedding photography business".  No, she doesn't have an ego or self esteem.  This case has sickened me to the point where I can hardly stand to watch anything related to Jodi Arias anymore.  I want to hear the sentencing, and I pray that justice will prevail.  But I've really heard enough of Arias self-serving statements about all of the good she can still do - she said yesterday in court that her previous claims of wanting the death penalty "lacked perspective".  That may be the biggest understatement of them all. 

Throughout the trial we have heard Jodi Arias, her attorneys and their experts talking about Jodi's death wish and the numerous suicide threats. A week ago she made the same claims, since that's all we have heard coming out of her mouth, it seems more likely that those claims were made for the sole purpose of garnering sympathy and not a sincere wish to be dead. She has played the jury, she has played the public and she's playing the media still.  Her continued assault on Travis Alexander is unforgivable. She's still attacking him, with her veiled statements and her "Survivor" t-shirt.

Also concerning:  Jennifer Willmott & Kirk Nurmi have made pleas to the judge that the jury isn't seeing "the whole picture" in the mitigation phase.  I happen to agree with that statement in that the jury hasn't seen how Arias has really been spending her time behind bars.  I understand, it would be "too prejudicial" for them to know most of this stuff, but I truly believe it could make a legitimate difference on what they sentence her to.  They have no idea that Arias has been making money selling her "art" (some appear to be simple tracings of magazine ads), they have no idea of the snide comments that Arias has been tweeting from behind bars, they have no idea of all of the money she has pocketed for commissary items and funds that have been funneled to her family for travel expenses - and the biggest deception of all, yesterday she told that jury 100% of the proceeds from sales of those Survivor t-shirts was going to non-profit domestic violence organizations! As early as last week, Arias' art website said "a PORTION" of the proceeds would be donated.  That may mean 1% for all we know.  How is the jury supposed to make an informed decision about this woman's integrity and her life when they don't have the whole picture?

I honestly believe if Arias is given life, she will continue to torture the Alexander family with these activities and God knows what else.  I am saddened that Travis never had a trial, he never had the benefit of legal counsel or a jury - he was simply executed.  That's exactly what she did to him, yet she's crying foul because the jury simply rejected her far fetched stories during her 18 day testimony under oath.  She will blame everybody around her, she will blame the system, her attorneys and her parents. She accepted very little responsibility for her horrendous actions. Very little.  And the thing that angers me the most is that we will probably hear a number of additional interviews before this thing is over, feeding into her enormous ego and this is making her far too important. If Arias and her attorneys are so concerned about her case being tried in the media, why does she keep seeking out the media for interviews?  She can't have it both ways!

What, if anything can we do?  We can collectively vow to not watch these interviews, we can vow not to read any book she or her family writes and we can vow to never spend one red cent on anything remotely related to Jodi Arias. I have no idea how many interviews Arias has lined up, but the AP article I just read said that Sheriff Joe Arpaio's office reported they went well into the night. Here is the link to that article:

While the jury weighs the punishment Jodi Arias will receive, I pray the decision they make will bring a little sense of relief to Travis' family and friends.  While I understand that people make mistakes and I truly believe in forgiveness and mercy, and every life has value and most people have redeeming qualities that make it difficult to vote for a death sentence - I hope the jury remembers that Travis' life had value too. I have no doubt that he had much to offer to the world before Jodi Arias decided he didn't deserve forgiveness or mercy. His life was worth sparing. 

How long will it take for the jury to decide life or death for Jodi Arias? Will this jury be able to reach a unanimous verdict, or will there be another hung jury?  What do you think she deserves, and what do you think the jury will decide? If she's given a life sentence, how do you think the other inmates will react to her? Did Arias come across like she was a better class of inmate than the other poor illiterate women in prison?  I thought her words to the jury sounded more like a campaign speech, complete with prison reform initiatives and the promises of book clubs, art lessons and recycling programs to create jobs.  All of this from the woman who just last week said she prefers a death sentence to life in prison. Just goes to show that she really hadn't come to terms with the fact that the jury found her guilty and she wasn't going to be going home any time soon.

What are your thoughts? 

Jodi Arias' Fate Is Now In the Jury's Hands

Well folks, the decision over Jodi Arias' life is now in the hands of the jury.  After a 90 minute delay this morning, Jodi Arias stepped up to the podium and delivered what seemed to be more of a campaign speech than a plea for mercy.  Using a Powerpoint presentation, Arias flashed photos of herself as a baby, a small child - family photos taken during holidays through the years.  Sure doesn't look like a family that was abusive and not supportive.  This was one of the problems with the mitigating factors the defense presented to this jury.  While on one hand, they described Jodi's family as being neglectful and abusive to her while she was a child and as an adult, all the while these family photos are being shown.

There's a reason her family can't testify for her, and the fact that we know that makes this hard to listen to and even harder to swallow. Back to Arias' 19 minute speech. At times, she seemed to be on the right track while discussing a jail visit from her mother in which her mom was stopped at a signal and looked over and saw the Alexander siblings in a car next to her. She said she and her mother talked about how horrible this must be for his family and what they must be going through. "I caused that", Arias said. She seemed to be ready to own up to the pain she has caused everybody, but just when it seemed she may be ready to show some emotion, regret and remorse - it went back to Jodi. She ultimately came across flat, with a lack of affect and she never did what she needed to do most and that is to apologize.

Arias seemed to be campaigning for public office, talking about the things she has done while awaiting trial and the programs she would like to enact if she is given life in prison. She talked about setting up a recycling program at the prison, which would create jobs and keep materials out of the landfill. She talked about starting a book club! Teaching other inmates how to read, how to speak Spanish or teach them sign language.  Yes, those are all good and positive things she could do if given mercy and being allowed to live. But the way she presented this, and the things she didn't say and needed to may overshadow her visions to make prison a better place for the inmates she believes she can help. She told the jury that during her incarceration, she has been donating her hair to "Locks of Love", and vowed to continue to donate hair if allowed to live. I'm not saying that is not an admirable thing. But when I look at her behavior over the last 5 years and the self-serving endeavours she has taken on, it makes me wonder how much good will she has in her heart for causes that don't further her own agenda.

In the middle of her Powerpoint presentation, she actually pulled out one of her "Survivor" t-shirts and showed the jury!! She said "I know some people don't believe I was a victim of domestic violence, and you are entitled to your opinion". She told jurors that 100% of the proceeds from these t-shirts is going to domestic violence non-profit organizations! Hmmm...I just saw on her tweet and her website that a PORTION was going to domestic violence centers, and the portion she was donating is questionable!  Her speech on how much she could help other women from inside prison came across as crass - sort of like she was a better class of inmate than the women who are incarcerated.  She wants to teach illiterate women how to read? Too little, too late. 

She then talked about everything she will miss in life due to her bad decisions. "I won't be at my sister's wedding and I won't get to take her wedding photos", and "I missed my brother's wedding" and talked about getting to know her nieces through a glass partition. "Ill never get to be a mother", she said. No emotion, she was just speaking the words. I discussed her televised lies, her artwork and she said she loved Travis Alexander and put him on a pedestal. She talked about how Steven and Samantha's victim impact statements touched her and she acknowledged that she caused their pain. She claims she didn't know Travis' grandmother had died until she heard it in court last week. But ultimately, she lacked the emotion I think she needed to show. It was like a business proposal. She said that although she has talked about suicide and wanting to die, she has had a change of heart and now believes she can have contribute to the world if given the chance to live her life in prison. 

She talked about the pain she caused her family, and asked the jury to spare her life for their sake! There was a lot more than this, I'm paraphrasing. Those are just the highlights.  Before the lunch break, Judge Stephens read the jury instructions, very lengthy - after lunch, Jennifer Willmott spoke.  Her message was basically "people are better than their very worst deed". That was the argument, Jodi Arias did something horrendous and these mitigating circumstances are not excuses. Willmott argued that Jodi has much to contribute and her life is worth sparing. She showed more passion in her closing argument than Arias showed in her 19 minutes at the podium. Willmott described Arias as "an amazing poet (doesn't she just quote other poets?), an amazing writer (because she journals?) and mentioned her desire to help other victims of domestic violence. Again with the domestic violence. Didn't the jury reject that argument already?

Willmott's other theme was to argue the abuse and neglect Arias allegedly suffered from her parents, "they weren't there for her when she needed them". "They punished her for inexplainable reasons", Willmott said. Didn't the punishment/grounding start when they caught their 14 year old daughter growing pot on the roof? She left that factoid out. She seemingly is not embracing DeMarte's diagnosis of borderline personality disorder, referring to it as mitigating factor and a result of the abuse and neglect suffered at the hands of her parents! "People with BPD are prone to violent outbursts, is that what happened here?", Willmott asked. She argued there was so much mitigation in this case, and just one aggravating factor. I'd say that's a very big aggravating factor.  "Two wrongs don't make a right", Willmott said and asked the jury to show mercy on Jodi Arias and give her a sentence of life.

Juan Martinez told the jury that Travis Victor Alexander will always be 30 years old.  Referring to the photos Arias displayed, showing her as a small child and age-progressing over the years, yet Travis will never have the opportunity to age. "Travis' family tries to remember him the way he looks in this photo", Martinez displayed a photo of Travis smiling. "But they cannot forget the pain, the suffering and the agony", he said - and you shouldn't forget this either - he displayed one of the crime scene photos of Travis.  I noticed that the prosecutor allowed the defense to give their closing statement without much interruption, yet I counted 14 objections by the defense while Martinez was delivering his closing argument!

He went through each one of the mitigating factors cited by Jodi Arias, and carefully examined each one and explained why these were not mitigating factors at all. He told the jury Jodi's age at the time of the crime should not be a mitigating factor - she was over the age of 18 and had experienced life. She wasn't under the age of 18, she was an adult. Again, he reminded the jury Travis would always be 30 years old. He did this with each one of the mitigating factors one by one.  If I were delivering a closing argument, I would have talked about the fact that Travis Alexander was executed by Jodi Arias, he had no trial - no attorneys. Jodi Arias was the judge, jury and executioner.  I would have talked about the mitigating circumstances that were not considered before Travis was murdered. Travis Alexander had a truly hard upbringing complete with neglect and abuse! There is real evidence there  in the form of his 7 siblings and his grandparents.

Travis was a good friend, evidenced by the sheer number of people who have spoken out on his behalf about the inspirational and big-hearted person he was. He helped people, he had a ton of potential that will never be realized. Travis had no criminal history, he had a lot of talents. There are probably dozens of additional factors I am not aware of since I didn't know Travis.  My point is that Travis was shown no mercy. Yet Jodi Arias expects to be given mercy?  The death penalty really should be reserved for the worst of the worst. I'm neither pro or con the death penalty, but I do believe there are some cases where there seems to be no other appropriate penalty but death. What Jodi Arias did to Travis Alexander during the course of the murder, and what she did to him after killing him in that court room - she is the worst of the worst, in my opinion.  Mercy is given where mercy is shown.

Willmott had the final word, but I don't have time to elaborate on it now.  All in all, I think Jodi Arias' presentation was too business-like, lacked emotion and was completely self-serving. Bringing out that Survivor t-shirt was a huge mistake! Again, Arias has overestimated her "skillset" and underestimated the seriousness of her crime.  I don't think she came across as sorry.  The case is in the hands of the jury now. What do you think? Did she do enough today, or did she fall flat? Will she get death, or life?

Jodi Arias' Lies Prevent Character Witness Testimony

Wow. It's almost a full day later and I'm still left with "wow"!  Jodi Arias is expected to speak to the jury this morning at 9:30AM PST and with all that has happened during this trial, I'm hesitant to speculate on whether or not that will even take place.  Yesterday, the defense was supposed to call character witnesses to speak on behalf of convicted murderer Jodi Arias - childhood friend Patricia Womack was supposed to speak first.  When she declined and was a no-show in court, a meeting in the Judge's chambers ensued. Another trial delay was no surprise in this trial, where on most days delays have become standard.

What happened after the parties came out of chambers was shocking.  If you read yesterday's post or watched the trial, you know what happened.  Womack apparently had second thoughts about publicly testifying in this trial, but the reasons for her reluctance vary depending on whether you believe the prosecution or the defense. The defense claims Womack chose not to testify because of threats to her life, basically witness intimidation. Prosecutor Juan Martinez says otherwise. When he interviewed Womack on May 15th, he apparently had done his homework on Womack and uncovered skeletons in her closet that included drug use, income that was potentially not reported and other things that have not been publicly disclosed. Womack became nervous during her interview with Martinez on May 15th when asked about her prior drug use - she left the room briefly with Arias' attorneys, and when she returned she asserted her fifth amendment rights and refused to answer Martinez's questions.

After several motions by the defense failed yesterday, including a motion for a mistrial, motion for Nurmi & Willmott to withdraw from the case and a motion to stay the penalty proceedings, Nurmi stood before Judge Stephens and said the defense would not be calling witnesses, in light of the courts rulings.  He was rude and aggressive to the Judge and seemed critical of her handling of the trial and previous motions. That being said, Judge Stephens offered a remedy to Womack's concerns about publicly testifying - she, or any other witness would be allowed to testify outside of the presence of the media in a sealed proceeding. Not good enough for Arias & Co.

When you step back for a moment and look at all of the people the defense could call, but won't - and peel back the layers of this smelly onion of Jodi Arias' creation, it's not difficult to see how she has sabotaged her own witnesses. Her lies have created so many conflicts and issues.  Let's break it down:

Sandy Arias - Mother
Jodi & Sandy Arias (Daily Entertainment News)
If the defense were to call Jodi's mom Sandy, she would be subject to cross examination by Juan Martinez.  It's public knowledge that Sandy Arias approached the National Enquirer and tried to sell them copies of letters allegedly written by Travis Alexander to Jodi Arias in which he admits to being abusive and a sexual deviant. The letters were rejected as evidence and are believed to be forgeries.  If Mama-Arias got on the stand, Martinez would be able to cross examine her and these issues would come to light.   Martinez would also be able to ask her about the alleged childhood abuse and the wooden spoon she supposedly beat Jodi with.  Who knows what else would come to light, but these facts alone make her an unlikely witness for her daughter. Again, this mess was created by Jodi Arias, not Juan Martinez or the media or Judge Stephens.

William Arias - Father
William Arias In Court

They could potentially call Papa-Arias to the stand to beg for his daughter's life. I'm not aware of any issues involving Jodi's father that would prevent him from testifying - other than his interview with Detective Esteban Flores, in which he called his daughter "strange" and "secretive". He also told the detective that Jodi was very abusive to his wife Sandy, and that they did not maintain a close relationship with their daughter after she moved out of their home at age 17. Arias was unable to follow the rules of the house and moved in with then-boyfriend Bobby Juarez.  Martinez, on cross examination would be able to ask Jodi's father about the alleged abuse at the hands of both parents.  This is the only issue I'm aware of involving Bill Arias. Arias has been at the trial off and on, he suffers from medical issues that prevent him from attending the trial regularly as his wife does.

Matt McCartney - Ex Boyfriend and Friend
Although we have heard an awful lot about former boyfriend Matt McCartney, he didn't testify during the guilt phase of the trial and I've never seen a photograph of him.  Arias has testified that McCartney is a person who would never let her down, and she claims that she and Matt maintained a close friendship years after their romantic relationship ended.  There is one big thing the prevents McCartney from coming forward on Jodi's behalf now.  During the guilt phase of the trial, Juan Martinez presented evidence that suggests that Jodi Arias attempted to give magazines to friend Ann Campbell during a jail visitation. The magazines were intercepted and examined by jail personnel and they were found to have secret-coded messages in the pages of two magazines. The magazines were seized, and while the intended recipient is not known they were believed to have been meant for Matt McCartney who had an upcoming interview with prosecutor Juan Martinez just days away.  The message, when "de-coded" seemed to ask that he change or alter his testimony in the interview with the prosecutor.  Here is the content of the message:
"You fucked up. What you told my attorney next day directly contradicts what I've been saying for over a year. Get down here ASAP and see me before you talk to them again and testify so we can fix this. Interview was excellent. Must talk ASAP".
I seriously doubt Matt McCartney wants to be subject to perjury charges and has wisely backed away from Jodi's defense. Again, Jodi Arias' lies and manipulation has blocked another defense witness from testifying on her behalf.  This is not the media's fault, not the prosecutor's fault and not Judge Stephens fault!

Patricia Womack - Childhood Friend
Jodi Arias & Patricia Womack (Nancy Grace)

Patricia Womack is a long-time friend of Jodi Arias. She has appeared on several television shows including Nancy Grace's show and talked about the Jodi Arias she grew up with. She is probably the person who has known Arias the longest and she was supposed to testify in last Thursday's afternoon proceedings. That session was abruptly halted for reasons unknown. Some of those reasons came to light yesterday. Womack apparently has some substance abuse issues that would become public knowledge if subject to cross examination by Juan Martinez. There has also been talk of Womack receiving "licensing fees" for the photos of Arias she has shared/sold to the media. I heard something about these funds being unreported, although I'm not sure if that means she failed to report the funds as income or if it somehow involves the public assistance she either is receiving or had been receiving.  Many cans of worms with this witness. She formally is claiming the reason she doesn't want to testify is because of death threats she is receiving - were these threats discussed on May 15th when she was interviewed by Juan Martinez, when she invoked her fifth amendment rights against self-incrimination? That's the big question here. The defense is playing this card close to the vest. They are presenting Womack's reluctance as "witness intimidation", by the prosecutor and the public at large.

Donovan Bering - Friend

Donovan Bering (Channel 5 News)

Donovan Bering met Jodi Arias while she was housed in the Estrella jail. She has been a supporter of Jodi Arias since the trial began, and is frequently seen in court with the Arias family. There are several problems with calling Bering as a character witness. It was Bering's friend Ann Campbell who Arias tried to give those coded magazines to.  Bering is also a convicted felon, and it's widely known she is the person who "tweets" on behalf of Jodi Arias. If you put Bering on the stand, those tweets would more than likely be introduced.  Bering is technically prohibited from associating with Jodi Arias now that she has been convicted of murder. Bering herself is on "Supervised Probation for a Class 2 Felony Conviction (ARSON)". Her probation officer has been notified of her affiliation with Arias, and if Bering wants to remain on parole/probation, she would be wise to stay away from Arias' questionable fundraising activities and Twitter account!

In a dramatic rant yesterday, Kirk Nurmi rattled off the defense witnesses who were being threatened and likened Jodi Arias' trial to a Salem Witch Hunt or a public stoning!  Are you kidding me?  There is still one viable witness they could call, and that's Darryl Brewer. HLN News reported yesterday that Brewer was ready and willing to testify yesterday. He was actually staying in the same Phoenix-area hotel where the HLN staffers were, and they spoke with him briefly and he confirmed his readiness and willingness to head to the court room and testify.  Seems Brewer is the only witness Jodi Arias hasn't tainted to the point of rendering them more harm than help.  But Arias' defense attorneys are now choosing to abort any/all defense character witnesses, putting on no mitigation case.  The way in which Kirk Nurmi delivered his speech to Judge Stephens yesterday was rude, unprofessional and bordered on contempt of court in my opinion!  Seems that since the judge denied their numerous motions, they want to take their ball and go home.

I personally believe the defense wants a new jury altogether.  They probably sense that this jury heard enough from Jodi Arias' 18 days of testimony and their guilty verdict is a signal that they did not believe what Jodi Arias said about Travis Alexander being abusive.  If they can't get a mistrial, they are going for the next best thing - a new jury. The only way they can get a new jury is if this jury is hung.  Is their decision to not present mitigating defense witnesses a reason for Arias to potentially win an appeal?  I don't think so.  This judge has done everything she can possibly do to remedy these problems and her patience was really put to the test yesterday after Nurmi attacked the entire trial process and her prior rulings.  I haven't agreed with some of her rulings, I feel she has been overly lenient with this defense team.  Will Nurmi & Willmott try to use Stephens lack of experience in death penalty trials against her?  Or are they just throwing anything and everything against the wall to see if something sticks?

Is Jodi Arias behind these defense decisions?  Do you believe she will speak today? This trial has been one for the books. I thought the Casey Anthony trial was the biggest circus on the planet - until the Jodi Arias trial.  Even Casey Anthony had the sense to stop talking after her numerous lies were uncovered. Jodi Arias will never stop talking or trying to make money off of the people out there who either believe her stories or feel some sort of empathy for her.  One thing is certain, she is one of the biggest manipulators ever to step foot inside a United States court room!

What will happen today?  Will Judge Stephens ask to withdraw from this trial? Will Nurmi & Willmott show up to represent Jodi Arias today, and will Jodi Arias actually take the stand?  Will Arias have a last minute migraine?  Will the defense ever take advantage of the mitigation specialist who has billed the state for at least 100 hours of time, that we are aware of?  Just when you thought you've seen and heard it all, something else happens.....

Have a great day!

Justice Delayed - Jodi Arias Penalty Phase

This morning, mitigation witnesses for Jodi Arias were supposed to begin testifying in the penalty phase of the death penalty murder trial - if you recall, childhood friend Patricia Womack was supposed to testify on Thursday but court was abruptly cancelled after the lunch break.  The reasons for the shortened day on Thursday were unknown, but there was speculation that Womack did not want her face to be shown in the televised proceedings.

Court was supposed to begin at 10:00AM PST today, but there were several motions that delayed the proceedings - all I can say is "wow"! We have learned that the defense filed a motion for mistrial, citing three main issues:

1)  Biased media coverage
2)  Witness intimidation (Patricia Womack, Alyce LaViolette)
3)  Failure to sequester the jury

Kirk Nurmi argued that Jodi Arias has not received a fair trial from the start. He alleged that the extensive media coverage has made it impossible for her to have a fair trial. This argument is coming from the attorney of a defendant who has actively sought out the media and the spotlight in general? Has Nurmi not seen all of his client's tweets, interviews and her website? Are you kidding me? 

His second point stemmed from the failure of Patricia Womack to show up to testify in court today. He is alleging that prosecutor Juan Martinez intimidated her to the point where she does not want to appear and testify on behalf of Jodi Arias! Apparently there is some truth to those rumors about Womack's drug use and her general history with law enforcement.  Much of what was argued about Womack's change of  heart was discussed behind closed doors in a sealed proceeding. From what I understood from Juan Martinez's statement to Judge Stephens, he interviewed Patricia Womack on May 15 - and she failed to answer his questions about her previous use of illegal drugs. At that time, Womack left the room briefly with Kirk Nurmi and Jennifer Willmott who are Jodi Arias' attorneys, not hers. Martinez argued it was inappropriate for Nurmi or Willmott to advise Patricia Womack in any manner since they represent Jodi Arias.

When Womack, Willmott & Nurmi returned to the interview with Juan Martinez, Womack asserted her fifth amendment right to remain silent! Apparently Martinez has uncovered some of Womack's dirty laundry, and it sounds as if there may potentially be some things she could be potentially prosecuted for.  There was a reference made to photographs and unreported income, but no specific details were made available. I think this may be related to Womack's media interviews and the "exclusive" photos she shared with Nancy Grace. Could it be that Juan Martinez asked her if she was paid for the photos and/or the video footage of her wedding, where Jodi Arias was a bridesmaid?  Did she fail to report that as income on her taxes?

Martinez argued to the judge that they don't know the reason why Womack failed to show up but he added that an attorney, Kenneth Countryman was made available to her last week and he is the person who should have been advising Patricia Womack on whether or not it would be in her best interest to assert her fifth amendment rights. Juan Martinez submitted a taped copy of his interview with Patricia Womack from May 15, 2013.

Judge Stephens offered a remedy to the issue of any witness who may be apprehensive about testifying in the penalty phase of this trial - she said this witness could be called and testify in a sealed proceeding, which she offered as a remedy to the Patricia Womack issue.

The motion for a mistrial was denied.  Kirk Nurmi promptly stated that he and Jennifer Willmott wanted to withdraw from the case.  Judge Stephens denied his request. Kirk Nurmi then stated that they would not be calling any mitigation witnesses in the defense's case.  Judge Stephens appeared to be getting agitated with the defense's attempts to halt the proceedings. Can you blame her? Nurmi ranted about the court's failure to protect the rights of Jodi Arias by allowing the prosecution to attack their expert witnesses in the presence of the jury (that's called a cross examination, isn't it?!), and now the court has allowed the prosecutor to intimidate a mitigation witness into not testifying by calling into question her prior substance abuse issues.

Nurmi insisted that the jury be read a statement as to why Patricia Womack would not be testifying in the penalty phase. The judge agreed to read a statement, but not the statement Kirk Nurmi wanted. She would only agree to tell the jury that Ms. Womack was unavailable to testify, and they should not speculate as to the reasons etc. The defense still has Darryl Brewer, so why is he not being called? They didn't get their way on the motion for mistrial, so they tried to withdraw from the case, that was also denied - so now they are going to not put on a mitigation case? Is this a ploy so that Jodi Arias has an argument that her defense attorneys were ineffective? It appears to be some type of strategic move on their part.

Kirk Nurmi made a final plea to stay the penalty phase, which was also denied by Judge Stephens.  Jodi Arias is expected to speak on her own behalf tomorrow morning when court begins at 9:30AM PST. What a morning it was. I'll update this when/if more information becomes available. I am constantly surprised at the shenanigans of this entire defense team. I've never seen any thing like this! It was almost like a temper tantrum, listening to Kirk Nurmi this morning in that courtroom. The more denials he heard from the judge, the more visibly upset he became.  It was almost as if he was threatening to derail the entire 5 month long trial, by not putting on any type of mitigation witnesses now because of Judge Stephens decisions!

How is it Judge Stephens or Juan Martinez's fault that Patricia Womack decided it wasn't in her best interest to testify under oath in a court of law? What is she personally hiding that could be that bad to make her back out of this whole thing? Whatever it is, I'm fairly sure it involves her and not Jodi Arias. That is not the court's problem, it's Womack's and it's now Jodi Arias' problem. A mistrial is not a remedy for choosing a poor character witness to speak for your client. Why not call Jodi Arias' family to speak on her behalf? They still have viable options! This whole trial has become a mockery - Arias has received more leniency than most murder defendants do.  Her out of court profiteering hasn't been made known to the jury, she's received every possible consideration.  

So many things happened in that abbreviated court session.  Is the defense just trying to throw a wrench in the trial, fearing that Jodi Arias is likely to be sentenced to death?  Do you think that Nurmi & Willmott should be allowed to withdraw from the case at this late phase of the game?  What could potentially happen if Arias' defense chooses  not to put on a single mitigation witness and they simply choose to rest their case? Will Jodi Arias still testify tomorrow as scheduled, or is she going to try to play the martyr card in addition to the falsely convicted?

Anything is possible in this trial! And I honestly mean that! Have a great day - I'll post updates if more information becomes available. Until tomorrow.....

Jodi Arias Trial - Dirty Little Secrets Or Dirty Little Lies?

The Lifetime movie based on the murder of Travis Alexander, "Dirty Little Secrets: The Jodi Arias Story" is reportedly set to air on June 22, 2013 on the Lifetime Movie Network.  The cast and crew who have been filming for several months halted the filming to watch as the verdict aired live in mid May.  The ending is being re-worked to include the guilty verdict.  

Actors Jesse Lee Soffer and Tania Raymonde are playing the lead roles and are pictured below in character as Travis and Jodi:

Photo From NY Daily News
What do you think of the casting? Some believe Raymonde to be a ringer of Arias. Appears close enough, although I believe Travis was a little heavier than Soffer appears in this photo.  Nonetheless the docudrama airs in around a month.  I think a more appropriate title would be "Dirty Little Lies: The Jodi Arias Story", but that's just my opinion!

The Arias defense team takes center stage tomorrow as the sentencing phase of Jodi Arias' trial resumes in Phoenix.  As mentioned in previous postings, the only two witnesses in addition to Jodi Arias are expected to be childhood friend Patti Womack and former boyfriend Darryl Brewer.  Seemingly absent from the witness list are Arias' immediate family members and longtime trusted friend Matt McCartney.

The question on everybody's mind is whether the defense will be able to sway the jury into granting Jodi Arias the mercy that was absent when she killed Travis Alexander.  Arias is big on quoting other people.  I'd say to her, "mercy is given where mercy is shown", in other words - too little and much too late.  She has had many chances to show remorse and to accept responsibility for her heinous crime, yet she refuses to acknowledge the life she took or the lives that she forever ruined.  She seems to have never looked back on the wreckage left in her destructive path.  Will she be able to find the words that may now convince the jury of her sorrow and remorse over her actions?  More importantly, will anybody believe her words? Her own lies have destroyed her credibility and her actions before, during and after the killing make her appear more of a sociopath than someone who snapped and made a regrettable mistake.

Looking at her behavior during the trial, and through what we have learned about her through her own testimony and expert witness testimony, she certainly appears to have many of the traits sociopaths display.  Some of the key interpersonal traits of sociopaths identified in a checklist by Dr. Robert Hare, PhD (from's Protect Yourself From Sociopaths: Learn To Recognize The Traits - Then Stay Away) :

  • Glib and superficial
    • It has been observed that sociopaths can be witty and articulate.  They are often amusing and entertaining conversationalists who tell unlikely but convincing stories that often cast themselves in a positive light.  They can be very effective in presenting themselves well and are often likable and charming. Typically sociopaths attempt to appear experts in sociology, psychiatry, medicine, psychology, philosophy, poetry, literature, art or law.  A signpost to this trait is often a smooth lack of concern at being found out that they are not.
    • Egocentric and grandiose
    • Psychopaths have have a narcissistic and grossly inflated view of their self-worth and importance, a truly astounding egocentricity and sense of entitlement. They see themselves as the center of the universe, as superior beings who are justified in living according to their own rules. 
  • Lack of remorse or guilt
    • Psychopaths show a stunning lack of concern for the devastating effects their actions have on others.  Often they are completely forthright about the matter, calmly stating that they have no sense of guilt, are not sorry for the pain and destruction they have caused and that there is no reason for them to be concerned. Psychopaths lack of remorse or guilt is associated with a remarkable ability to rationalize their behavior and to shrug off personal responsibility for actions that cause shock and disappointment to family, friends, associates and others who have played by the rules. Usually, they have handy excuses for their behavior, and in some cases they deny it happened at all.
  • Lack of empathy
    • Psychopaths display a general lack of empathy. They are indifferent to the rights and suffering of family members and strangers alike. Because of their inability to appreciate the feelings of others, some psychopaths are capable of behavior that normal people find not only horrific but baffling. For example, they can torture or mutilate their victims with about the same sense of concern that we feel when we carve a turkey for Thanksgiving dinner. 
  • Deceitful and manipulative
    • Lying, deceiving and manipulation are natural talents for psychopaths. Given their glibness and the facility with which they lie, it is not surprising that psychopaths successfully cheat, bilk, defraud, con and manipulate people without the slightest compunctuation about doing so. 
  • Shallow emotions
    • Psychopaths seem to suffer a kind of emotional poverty that limits the range and depth of their feelings. While at times they appear cold and unemotional, they are prone to dramatic, shallow and short-lived displays of feelings. Careful observers are left with the impression they are play-acting and that little is going on below the surface. 
  • Impulsive
    • Psychopaths are unlikely to spend much time weighing to pros and cons of a course of action or considering the potential consequences. More than displays of temper, impulsive acts often result from an aim that plays a central role in most of the psychopaths behavior: to achieve immediate satisfaction, pleasure or relief.  Psychopaths tend to live day-to-day and change their plans frequently. They give little serious thought to the future and worry about it even less. 
  • Poor behavior controls
    • In psychopaths, inhibitory controls are weak, and the slightest provocation is sufficient to overcome them. As a result, psychopaths are short-tempered or hot-headed and tend to respond to frustration, failure, discipline and criticism with sudden violence, threats and verbal abuse. It's not unusual for psychopaths to inflict serious physical or emotional damage on others, sometimes routinely and yet  refuse to that they have a problem controlling their temper.
  • Need for excitement
    • Psychopaths have a need for excitement - they long to live in the fast lane or on the edge where the action is. Psychopaths are easily bored and you will not likely find them in occupations or activities that are dull, repetitive or that require intense concentration over long periods.
  • Lack of responsibility
    • Psychopaths are frequently successful in talking their way out of trouble. They are almost as successful in convincing the criminal justice system of their good intentions and their trustworthiness. Although they frequently manage to obtain probation or early release from prison, they simply ignore the conditions imposed by the courts.
  • Early behavioral problems
    • Most psychopaths exhibit serious behavioral problems at an early age. These may include persistent lying, cheating, theft, fire setting, truancy, class disruption, substance abuse, vandalism, violence, bullying, running away and precocious sexuality. Early cruelty to animals is usually a sign of serious emotional and behavioral problems. Cruelty to other children, including siblings is often a part of the young psychopath's inability to experience the sort of empathy that checks normal people's impulses to inflict pain, even when enraged.
  • Adult antisocial behavior
    • Many of the antisocial acts of psychopaths lead to criminal convictions. Even within prison populations, psychopaths stand out, largely because of their antisocial and illegal activities are more varied and frequent than those of other criminals.
Do any of these sound familiar when reflecting on what we know about Jodi Arias?  I see a lot of symptoms that seem fitting. In particular, the lack of responsibility, lack of remorse or guilt, lack of empathy, deceitful and manipulative and shallow emotions seem spot on. Will Kirk Nurmi and Jennifer Willmott now try to paint Jodi Arias as a mentally flawed individual who was not capable of understanding the implications of her actions, or will they continue to portray her as a victim of abuse - shifting blame to her parents and away from Travis Alexander?

What would you do? Is there anything Arias can do or say that will even come close to swaying the jury to spare her life, or was this crime too vicious for any such mercy? Does Jodi Arias truly have a death wish, preferring a death sentence to living her life in prison?

 Arias' court room behavior, the jury's perception about the honesty or dishonesty of her testimony, the brutal nature of the murder, her lack of genuine remorse and her continued refusal to accept responsibility for what she has done are things that may put her on Death Row. These factors will be weighed against those mitigating factors Kirk Nurmi outlined on Thursday. Will it be enough? Could it ever be enough? We are very close to finding out.

Enjoy your Sunday!

The Arias Defense Witnesses - Sentencing Phase

The sentencing phase of the Jodi Arias murder trial is expected to resume on Monday following the sudden cancellation of the Thursday afternoon court session.  The reason for Thursday's delay is still unclear, but rumors point to a potential issue with defense (character) witness Patti Womack not wanting her face to be shown during testimony.  Womack is one of two known witnesses who are expected to speak on Arias' behalf - former Arias boyfriend Darryl Brewer is the other.  I didn't know who Patti Womack was, but when I did some digging around, I quickly recognized her from her telephone interview with HLN's Nancy Grace.

In case you don't watch the HLN News lineup, Patti Womack is described as a "close childhood friend" of Jodi Arias.  When interviewed by Nancy Grace recently, Womack shared childhood photos of the pair and video of her wedding in which Jodi Arias was a bridesmaid.  This is Arias and Womack in an undated photo from HLN's website.  Womack described the Jodi Arias she knew and grew up with - naturally, she was shocked to learn her friend was involved in the murder of Travis Alexander.

From HLN News

There are some rumors on the web that one of Arias' character witnesses may have some issues of her own to contend with, reportedly a DUI arrest involving drugs. I'm not trying to fan the flames around Arias' character witness, however there is a  clip on You Tube where Womack is seen sitting in the court room with Sandy Arias back in late January - the two are laughing and Womack appears to be under the influence of something.  You can check out the clip and judge for yourself! Womack is the woman with the black and white zebra-striped shirt with numerous tattoo's on her left shoulder and arm. I'm not implying that tattoos are in any way associated with substance abuse, just pointing out the tattoos so you don't miss Womack in the short clip!  I'm having issues trying to post the clip on this page, but it's easy to find on You Tube.  

Patti Womack/Sandy Arias, YouTube
I'm not implying that Jodi's friend is a drug addict or a criminal. I simply find it interesting to look at the back story of this cast of characters because it's usually interesting and surprising what we find. Is anybody else curious as to why the mysterious Matt McCartney won't be testifying on Jodi's behalf?  During the trial, Arias described McCartney as somebody who would never betray her - she told the jurors what a great post-relationship friendship they maintained. So what gives?  Does Matt McCartney know too much, and would his testimony become a liability given that Juan Martinez would get to cross examine him? I sense that is the case. Could that be who Arias referred to as having let her down, in her post-conviction interview?

So many twists and turns - this trial has taken on a life of it's own.  It feels like Jodi Arias is handling her infamy almost as if this was a career. Have you ever seen a person facing the death penalty plan a media blitz, selling t-shirts, tweeting and "fund raising" in the manner Jodi Arias has? It's got to be a first. I know I have posted some of her tweets here previously, but I'm constantly astonished at her shameless self-promotion.  She is definitely a case-study in sociopathy.  I have yet to see or hear a single word of apology, regret, sorrow or remorse from the convicted killer.  Any empathy or understanding she may have garnered from people who are against the death penalty is quickly dissolving as her true nature is revealed through her own actions and words.  

Her Twitter activity has slowed down considerably since she was convicted, but her words are reflective of her greed, denial and refusal to take responsibility for the crime.  How fitting that she had these t-shirts printed up, as many people will always suspect Arias herself had the "Travis Alexander's" t-shirt and shorts printed up herself.

" and are the only 2 sites where my art is guaranteed authentic" 1hr

"God's love is so great that He loves even the proud, the selfish, the arrogant,and the wicked" - Dieter F. Uchtdorf  May 15

"If you preorder at "Survivor" tee, shipping began Mon. Thx for furthering the cause" May 15

"Any donations to my family or me are made only at Any other source asking for donations is fraudulent. Thank you"  May 13

"N DisGrace has set back the cause of all women who have survived domestic violence. Her circus makes a mockery of something very serious"  May 6

"RE: commissary, many of the items I didn't receive were for indigent girls less fortunate then me. I thankfully have a mini surplus of food"  May 6

"I wanted so much to avoid trial but the State forced it. My only other option was suicide and well..."  May 6

"I would have signed a plea deal years ago to avoid this disaster, but I was refused a plea as the State and the family refused to settle"  May 6

The victim impact statements read by Samantha and Steven Alexander on Thursday will be hard to follow on when the defense returns to court to beg the jury to spare Arias' life on Monday. With only two (known) character witnesses and Jodi Arias expected to testify on her own behalf, the sentencing phase may not take as long as anticipated.  Many legal analysts believe having Arias on the stand for an unheard of 18 days was a crucial mistake on the part of the defense. Daniel Gibb, dismissed Juror #8 told Dr. Drew that he found much of what Arias said "too far out there". He clearly felt she spent too much time on the witness stand.

Will we see a different Jodi Arias when she makes her final plea to this jury? Will she show any genuine remorse, or do you believe she is incapable of real emotion around this murder? We know she is sorry she got caught, but is she really sorry she did it? How will Arias handle being cross examined by Juan Martinez one last time?  Expect the unexpected with this trial.

Have a great weekend!

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