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)|
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!