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|
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 www.lovefraud.com'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.
- 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!