It's been nearly 5 years since Travis Alexander was viciously attacked and killed in his Mesa Arizona home. Justice for Travis Alexander and his family is finally in sight as 32 year old Jodi Arias was found guilty of first degree murder with aggravating circumstances that make her eligible for the death penalty.
The aggravation phase of the trial was brief, lasting only a day and the outcome was widely expected as even Arias did not appear to be surprised the same jury that convicted her last week found Alexander's death was especially cruel, heinous and depraved. Her attorneys did not put up much argument yesterday - arguing that 27 stab wounds, a slashed throat and a gunshot to the head wasn't cruel would seem futile. The jury took around 90 minutes to reach their "proven" verdict, meaning the state had provided sufficient evidence to justify the death penalty.
This morning the defense is expected to begin arguing why the jury should spare Jodi Arias' life. I've been scouring the web for a witness list but came up empty. Potential witnesses for the defense could be Arias' family members and friends, ex-boyfriends, psychiatrists - anybody who has known Jodi Arias and could sway the jury that she could have a meaningful life behind bars. I heard Alyce LaViolette's name mentioned as a possible witness for Arias. Would the defense call LaViolette back to the stand after the jury seemingly rejected her opinion that Travis Alexander was physically and emotionally abusive to Jodi Arias? LaViolette's testimony during the guilt phase of the trial set off a firestorm of public backlash from domestic violence victims as well as trial watchers who wondered how a woman with three decades of service in area of battered women could side with Arias given the complete and total lack of corroboration. Her books were largely trashed on Amazon.com and petitions were created to remove LaViolette from speaking engagements.
I personally don't feel that further testimony from LaViolette would be of any help to Jodi Arias' defense! What about the Arias family? If the defense calls mother Sandy Arias, she's sure to face a fiery cross examination from prosecutor Juan Martinez - at which time, she would surely be questioned about the "wooden spoon" Jodi Arias testified she hit her with when she was growing up, as well as an incident where Jodi kicked her. Jodi's father William was portrayed at trial as an imposing man who was critical of Arias from a young age. During a 2008 interview with Detective Esteban Flores, Bill Arias described his daughter as "a strange person" who treated her mother poorly and lashed out at his wife often. He told Flores that Jodi had serious trust issues with both he and his wife and was very secretive about her life. Both interviews were telling, in that neither parent seemed above suspecting that their daughter may have been involved in Travis Alexander's murder - her mother went as far as asking her if she had gone to Arizona when she was supposed to be in Utah. Jodi Arias has four siblings, including two younger brothers, one sister and an older half sister as well as the grandparents she was living with in Yreka at the time of Alexander's murder.
It's anyone's guess who will take the stand to speak on behalf of Jodi Arias during this last phase of the trial. The defense will likely put up as many people as they can find, and this phase of the trial could take weeks. During this phase, we can also expect to hear from the Alexander family. I've heard that Samantha and Steven will be representing the Alexander siblings in reading the victim impact statements, which may or may not be accurate. This will be one of the most widely anticipated moments of the trial, aside from the guilty verdict - as you know, the Arias defense filed a motion with Judge Stephens asking for the victim impact statements to be delivered via videotape versus being made live to the jury and to Jodi Arias! I'd be shocked if this motion were granted - the Alexanders have every right to confront their brother's killer in court, and to look her in the eyes (if they choose to) and tell her exactly what she has taken from them. No court in the world would take that right away from a family who has suffered so much.
I have a feeling we will hear from Jodi Arias as well during this last phase of the trial. Despite her public statements that she does not wish to live out the rest of her life in prison, and she'd prefer the death penalty ("death is the ultimate freedom", she said) - I seriously doubt that is in fact the truth. So little of what we've heard from Jodi Arias is the truth, this is widely seen as another manipulation on the her part. According to Stephanie Grisham, spokeswoman for Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne, if Arias really wants death, she could be executed in as little as four years. She told the phoenixtimes.com that the state grants one automatic appeal to inmates who are sentenced to die regardless of their wishes. If the appeal fails and an inmate continues to want death, the state would then order a psychiatric evaluation to ensure the person is mentally competent. In theory, the process could take as little as four years.
Does Jodi Arias enjoy her infamy too much to really have a death wish? Throughout her 18 days of testimony, I lost count of the number of times that suicide was mentioned either by Arias or via her journal entries. She's had access to a gun on at least two instances that we are aware of, the .25 caliber she shot Travis Alexander with, and the .9 millimeter handgun she purchased before her arrest. If she really wanted to die, wouldn't she have taken action when she had these opportunities? I don't want to minimize a suicide threat, I do realize there are people out there that contemplate it and grapple with the decision, and people at times do not seek professional help when they are having suicidal thoughts. With Jodi Arias however, her actions do not match her statements. Coupled with her credibility issues and her complete lack of remorse, I just don't believe she really wants to die. I believe she doesn't want to spend the rest of her life in prison!
What will happen during the sentencing phase? Who will take the stand on Jodi's behalf? Will Arias finally apologize for the life she has taken and accept responsibility or will she continue to claim she was wrongly convicted? Will the jodiariasisinnocent people put a file in a cake as a last ditch effort to free her from the Estrella jail before she heads off to prison? In this trial, anything is possible! Have a great day......