Yesterday the third and final phase of the Jodi Arias death penalty murder trial got under way with opening statements and victim impact statements in the sentencing phase. Jodi Arias has not been silent since the reading of the guilty verdict, and it's become more apparent that her attorneys are frustrated with their lack of control over their client. Arias, famous for giving media interviews before and after her trial seems to want to continue talking despite her attorneys advice.
The differences between Jennifer Willmott, Kirk Nurmi and Jodi Arias reached a peak last week when the defense team petitioned Judge Sherry Stephens and asked to withdraw from the case. Apparently Arias wants to run the show, and I suppose it IS her trial - but despite what we may think of her distasteful defense, these two attorneys have gone to battle for her. And how does she repay them? Not an hour into her conviction of first degree murder the finger pointing began, or as I like to say the broken-finger pointing began! By the time Jodi Arias sat down with Fox's Troy Hayden she was already proclaiming her innocence and alleging that her attorneys chose not to introduce key evidence that may have helped her at trial.
Per the Superior Court of Arizona, Maricopa County website's minute entry from 5/14/13, Judge Stephens ruled on several outstanding issues:
IT IS ORDERED there shall be no further media interviews with the Defendant pending further order of the court.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED the Maricopa County Sherriff's Office shall not approach the Defendant with any media requests pending further order of the court.
Discussion held regarding Defendant's Request that Victim Impact Evidence be Presented via Videotape.
IT IS ORDERED denying the Request for reasons stated on the record.
Discussion held regarding the Defendant's Motion for Discover of Victim Impact Evidence.
IT IS ORDERED denying the Motion.
Discussion is held on Counsel for the Defendant's Motion to Withdraw.
IT IS ORDERED denying the Motion
10:59 a.m. Status Conference concludes
You can read all of the court minute entries at clerkofcourt.maricopa.gov. Although the reasons for the request to withdraw as Counsel is unknown, we do know they have tried to withdraw from this case at least twice. So what gives, are Nurmi & Willmott just plain sick of Arias' hijinx and thirst for media coverage? What do you do with a client who refuses to listen to your advice? At this late stage of the trial, apparently there is nothing they can do. The trial will go on, and there's nothing Arias can do to stop it. Maybe she believes if she causes enough disruption she will get a do-over? Perhaps her defense team are just the latest victims in her trail of destruction and wreckage.
Meanwhile, Jodi Arias seemingly isn't letting a little thing like a murder conviction slow down her tweeting and self-promoting. Just hours after the jury concluded the aggravating factors were proven by prosecutor Juan Martinez, making her eligible for the death penalty, Arias took to Twitter (through friend Donovan Bering) to announce the arrival of her "Survivor" t-shirts. Arias tweeted a link to her website, where the t-shirts are on sale for $15.00 - a disclaimer on the site claims "a portion of the profits generated from the sales will support other survivors of domestic violence, and go to non-profit domestic violence organizations selected by Jodi". Also noted on the site "no refunds or returns are accepted". Yes, you heard it right. I think if she replaced "Survivor" with "Murderer", I might buy one myself.
In another tweet, Arias quotes Dieter F. Uchtdorf - "God's love is so great that He loves even the proud, the selfish, the arrogant and the wicked". Looks like Arias has her Book of Mormon in her cell. When the sentencing phase continues next week, we should hear again from former boyfriend Darryl Brewer and an old friend of Jodi Arias named Patty Womack. Womack is the witness who didn't want her face to be broadcast during her testimony. That was cited as one of the reasons the trial did not resume after the afternoon lunch break - perhaps they had technical difficulties or needed to make adjustments to accommodate the request?
Naturally we will hear more from Jodi Arias next week as well. She is expected to tell the jury about the person she was prior to 2006 when she met Travis Alexander. I'm not sure what the logic in that time frame is, it seems to me that the jury should be looking at the person she is now, not 7-10 years ago! They need to decide if the person before them should be given the opportunity to live and spared the death penalty. That requires that they consider who she is now, not who she used to be! Just my opinion.
In the meantime, enjoy your weekend and talk to you next week!