I was a little saddened yesterday when I looked at the date on the newspaper and noticed the date: June 4, 2013 - Travis Alexander was murdered by Jodi Arias 5 years ago yesterday. And still, the justice system has left the fate of Arias up in the air. Will Maricopa County District Attorney Bill Montgomery follow the wishes of Alexander's family and seat a second jury to decide the penalty phase of this murder trial, or will budget considerations impact the decision and lead to a potential plea deal of life imprisonment for the 32 year old convicted murderer and wannabe-celebrity?
We can only pray that cost does not play a role in this very important decision. Cost was not a consideration in ensuring the defendant received a fair trial including two defense attorneys, several paid expert witnesses and the mitigation specialist - the victim deserves the same considerations in seeking justice for this crime. I think it would be a huge mistake on the part of Arizona's top brass to make a deal with the devil in offering her life. If a second jury cannot reach an unanimous decision, then the decision would fall to the judge, which would involve a sentence of natural life or life with the possibility of release after serving 20 years. However, there have been changes in how those convicted of first degree murders can be sentenced. In 1994, the state discontinued their parole system. And since 2012, those convicted of first degree murder receiving a life sentence do receive a natural life sentence, no getting out ever! Since the murder occurred in 2008, Arias could potentially receive a life sentence with the possibility of release after 25 years, however it is unlikely she would be released unless her sentence was commuted by the Governor. Arizona certainly has some unique characteristics to their criminal justice system.
Arias attorneys Kirk Nurmi and Jennifer Willmott, having failed at getting the death penalty taken off the table arguing lack of aggravating factors proven are now playing the mental illness card! Using Dr. DeMarte's assessment of Arias with borderline personality disorder and a lack of Jodi Arias' prior criminal history as factors they have argued Arias should not be executed. I'd argue that just because Arias hasn't been convicted of any crimes, that doesn't mean she has no criminal history. Many people (myself included) are certain she perjured herself on the witness stand, staged a break-in at her grandparents house and therefore STOLE the 25 caliber gun used to shoot Travis Alexander as well as other items taken in the staged burglary. Add to that the call she recorded between her and Alexander without his knowledge, which may or may not be illegal and slashing his tires - doesn't sound like an upstanding citizen to me! And those are just the things we know about. We also learned from her mom and dad's interviews with Detective Flores that Arias tried to grow pot on her family's rooftop. Sure, these may be considered petty crimes, but I have a feeling she does in fact have criminal tendencies. It may or may not be illegal to access someone's bank account records online and access their personal social media sites without their consent - it's the pattern of disregard for other people's privacy that we've seen evidenced throughout the criminal trial.
Travis Alexander's siblings are in favor of Arias receiving the ultimate punishment. They deserve their day in court. No deals should be made with this murderer, period! Let the citizens of Arizona decide what punishment she receives, and if they give her life at least the justice system will have played out for Travis and his family and friends and they will have the satisfaction of knowing the state did everything they could for Travis Alexander who was the true murder victim here, despite Arias' continued claims that she was a victim of domestic violence. I don't know about you, but every single time I see that damned "Survivor" t-shirt, I want to vomit. Her latest campaign is for women to document the violence inflicted on them - does she really believe this would have changed the outcome of her case and she would have been justified in slaughtering this young man even IF she were abused? The injuries to Travis and lack of injuries to Jodi tell the story of the ambush that happened in that bathroom and bedroom.
I've heard some new versions of theories around that last text message Travis sent to Jodi, where he called her the worst thing that ever happened to him, calling her evil etc. - many people are speculating that perhaps Jodi played the secretly recorded audio tape for Travis after he wouldn't change his mind about taking Mimi Hall to Cancun. Perhaps she threatened to play that tape for Mimi Hall or send a copy to his Bishop? That would certainly make a person mad enough to send that scathing text message to him. If she did play the audio tape for him, there's no way in hell he would've invited her to stop by on her way to Utah, as she claimed. If Arias was as smart as her attorneys want us to believe she is, she should have claimed she played the recording for Travis while he was in the shower - that seems like a better reason to have provoked an attack instead of the dropped camera scenario. But that would've required her to admit to being slimy enough to record that conversation and then using it to blackmail him. Who knows where she came up with the stories he ultimately testified to. She WASN'T the smartest person in the room, nor was she a good enough actress to fool the jurors. They saw through her lies for the most part. I still believe they couldn't agree on the death penalty because she is a young woman.
I don't necessarily believe in the "an eye for an eye" system of justice, but as I've said many many times there are some crimes that are so brutal and unspeakable in the pain inflicted that death seems to be the only appropriate sentence - and if this murder doesn't fit that, I'd be hard pressed to think of one that does. All I know is the thought of Arias walking out of prison at age 52 would be the biggest travesty of justice since OJ Simpson strolled out of that LA courtroom with his dream time at his side.
What's next for Arias? What will happen during the June 20th status conference?