Amazon banner

Will Drew Peterson Ever Stand Trial For Stacy Peterson's Murder?

In my last blog post, I wrote about the new TNT show “Cold Justice” that debuts next Tuesday night.  The show features former Texas prosecutor Kelly Siegler and Las Vegas CSI Yolanda McClary who travel across America’s small towns taking a second look at some unsolved cold homicide cases.  I’m excited about the show, mostly because I’m a fan of Siegler’s work as a prosecutor but also the premise of the show seems different than many of the present formatted crime shows.  I believe they will be looking for unsolved murders that happened in rural areas where law enforcement resources were sparse.  But wouldn’t it be cool if they could get to the bottom of some of the more well known unsolved homicide/missing person cases?  At the top of my personal wish list:  the disappearance of Stacy Peterson. 

Most people believe Stacy Peterson is not simply missing, she was killed.  The prime suspect in the case has always been her husband Drew Peterson.  Stacy Peterson met and married the much older Drew Peterson after meeting him while he was on duty as a Bolingbrook police officer.  He was married to Kathleen Savio at the time, but the two quickly began a romantic relationship and when she became pregnant with his child Peterson and Savio began bitter divorce proceedings.  Savio was Peterson’s third wife, Stacy would be wife #4.  After the divorce was final, Drew married Stacy – the only thing remaining aside from the custodial arrangements of Peterson and Savio’s children was the division of property and assets.  Savio didn’t live to make it to court for the decision on division of assets, she was found dead in her bathtub.  Originally ruled an accident by the coroner, many of Kathleen’s family and friends were convinced her abusive ex husband killed her.

A little more than 4 years after Stacy married Drew Peterson, she simply disappeared.  On October 29, 2007 she was reported missing but not by her husband, she was reported missing by her sister Cassandra Cales after Stacy failed to show up for plans they had and nobody could reach her.  The last time family or friends heard from Stacy was on October 17, 2007 when she left a voicemail message on her father’s answering machine – in the message, Stacy left a new cellphone number for her family.   Stacy’s family knew there had been trouble in the marriage for some time, with Drew becoming more and more controlling over Stacy – insisting on knowing where she was at all times and who she was with.  Stacy wanted out of the marriage, but she feared Drew – and for good reason.  Stacy had been holding on to a secret that more than likely got her killed.  She knew that her husband had left their home on the night of Kathleen Savio’s death (murder).  She woke up in the middle of the night and he was not in bed.  She later found him in the laundry room, dressed in dark colored clothing and putting women’s clothing as well as his own clothes in the washing machine.  This was of particular interest because Drew never did his own laundry.  Where did the women’s clothing come from, and why did Drew have it? What was he doing out in the middle of the night and why did he coach her on what to tell police about that night during routine questioning after Kathleen’s death?  We know the answer to those questions now.  It took Stacy’s disappearance for law enforcement to take a second look at the suspicious death of Kathleen Savio.

Drew Peterson was eventually arrested for the murder of Kathleen Savio.  After her body was exhumed, a second autopsy proved crucial in showing her death was not an accidental drowning.  Drew Peterson was tried and convicted of killing Kathleen Savio in 2012 after a trial that was as much of a media circus as the Jodi Arias and Casey Anthony trials – although Peterson’s trial did not have cameras in the courtroom, it was still widely covered and discussed nightly on a national level.  Peterson was convicted in part due to a controversial new law enacted for this case.  Dubbed “Drew’s Law”, state prosecutors were able to use statements Stacy Peterson made to her pastor Neil Schori and divorce attorney Harry Smith at trial.  Stacy went to the pastor and told him she believed she helped her husband Drew get away with murdering his ex wife Kathleen Savio. She feared the knowledge put her in danger, and she was right.  Peterson’s defense team made what turned out to be a crucial mistake at trial by calling attorney Harry Smith to the stand as a witness.  The prosecution pounced on the opportunity and elicited some very damaging testimony from Smith regarding conversations he had with Stacy Peterson before her disappearance.  Smith told jurors that Stacy Peterson asked him if she could use her knowledge of Drew’s involvement in Kathleen’s death/murder as leverage against him in divorce proceedings.  Can you say M-O-T-I-V-E???

There are a few things Drew Peterson would not stand for from the women in his life.  He WAS married four times, almost five times.  Drew sought to control his women.  Whether it be what they wore, how much makeup they applied, who they talked to on the phone, who they e-mailed and who they saw.  He had to know everything at all times.  Was the much older Drew not the confident, self assured police officer he portrayed himself to be?  Was he really an insecure, middle aged man who feared the much younger and attractive Stacy would leave him and take half of his assets?  Drew Peterson’s ego could not stand for any woman leaving him – and he made it known to more than one person that he wouldn’t give half of his assets to any woman.  That was HIS money.  He didn’t believe in community property, and there’s no way he was going to share his hard earned pension and other assets with a young attractive woman who could have easily started a new life with someone more age-appropriate and less controlling.  I think that thought just ate at him.  He avoided the division of property with wife #3 by killing her and making it appear to be an accident. He bragged to Kathleen AND Stacy that he had the knowledge to kill them and make it look like an accident, and he nearly got away with it with Kathleen.  His ego unchecked, he has attempted to dispose of Stacy without having to part with his assets and keeping his ego in tact.

Drew Peterson is currently serving his 38 year sentence at the Menard Correctional Center in Illinois.  He will be 93 years old at the earliest possible release date, barring any successful appeals he will more than likely never see the light of day again.  Does that mean this man should go unpunished or untried for the murder of Stacy Peterson?  Will States Attorney James Glasgow pursue new charges against Drew Peterson in connection with his missing and presumed dead 4th wife Stacy?  I think if there is any chance to nail him, they will.  Peterson isn’t going anywhere anytime in the near future.  The problem is, much of what they know or suspect Peterson did is circumstantial and with Stacy’s body never having been recovered, it’s notoriously difficult to prosecute a no-body homicide.  Thankfully there is no statute of limitations on murder, however as time ticks away, witnesses forget details or move away and in some cases they die.  Time is of essence if they hope to try Peterson for the murder of Stacy.  What do police know, and how much of what they know have they shared with the public?  I don’t know very much in the way of details, but it seems likely that the best evidence against Drew comes in the form of statements made by his stepbrother Thomas Morphey.  Morphey told police he helped Drew carry a large and heavy 55 gallon blue drum/container from his bedroom to Peterson’s SVU right after Stacy’s disappearance.  He allegedly has said the container was warm, and it was large enough to hold Stacy’s body.  Distraught after the revelation that Stacy was missing, Morphey attempted to kill himself when he realized that he may have inadvertently helped dispose of Stacy’s body.  Morphey’s statements were downplayed by Peterson’s defense attorneys, claiming his drug and alcohol problems make him an unreliable witness who should not be believed.  Peterson’s longtime friend Rick Mims corroborated the blue container story in that he told police he was with Drew when he purchased 3 such drums from a cable company the two had worked for part time back in 2003. 

That blue container has never been recovered.  I remember years ago, a news story came on where the police were called to a nearby lake or river after people fishing reported a large blue container floating in the water.  They retrieved the container, but it did not contain Stacy’s body.  The million dollar question is what did Drew do with the container that may have concealed Stacy’s body?  Did he bury it? Did he throw it in some body of water?  Seems to me that he must have buried it or disposed of it in a body of water large enough to where it would never be found.  Drew had a small airplane.  Could he have loaded the barrel in the plane and flown over water and tossed it over?  Can Drew be prosecuted without Stacy’s body being found?  I certainly hope so.  I hate to think that people are rewarded for their skill at concealing a body.  But with a purely circumstantial case such as this, and double jeopardy in play, the police are likely taking their time with this case.  I don’t believe Stacy’s case has been forgotten.  I hope to someday see Stacy’s killer standing trial for her murder.


Drew Peterson is another high profile defendant who courted the media, and then turned around and complained about the pre-trial publicity harming his case.  Drew is probably the only person I can think of who could be compared to Jodi Arias in their hunger for media attention before, during and after their trial.  While Stacy was missing, Drew Peterson appeared on Larry King Live and publicly proclaimed his innocence and told viewers Stacy had up and left him for another man, taking only her bikini with her. How ridiculous of a notion is that?  Stacy would never have left her children behind, and especially not with Drew. Drew often toyed with the numerous reporters who camped out in his front yard.  He even pitched the idea of a contest “Win a Date With Drew” to the media.  While he was being held in jail awaiting trial, he called radio personality Mancow Muller from jail and suggested a new contest – “Win a Conjugal Visit With Drew”.  How disgusting is this man?  Peterson ALMOST snared another wife after Stacy’s disappearance.  In December of 2008, he announced his engagement to 23 year old Christina Raines in a television interview.  Raines at the time believed in Drew’s innocence, but that would change months later when she called off the engagement and moved out of the home he used to share with Stacy in January 2009.  Thankfully, Raines family and friends convinced her that she was making a MONUMENTAL and dangerous mistake in trusting Drew Peterson – a man who was married four times, of which one wife died under suspicious circumstances and the other was “missing”.  Game over Drew.  I have the feeling we have not heard or seen the last of Drew Peterson.  He may have disappeared from the spotlight at the insistence of his new attorney(s), but I don’t think his personality will ever let him completely fade into the background.  I truly hope to see justice for Stacy Peterson during my lifetime. Her family deserves to know where she is and what happened to her. That’s the only card Drew has left to play.

Ready For Some "Cold Justice"? Former Prosecutor Kelly Siegler Teams With CSI Yolanda McCleary on TNT

Are you ready for some Cold Justice?  TNT Network hopes that you are.  I’m pretty excited about this new real-life crime series that premieres Tuesday, September 3rd on TNT.  The series is produced by Dick Wolf of Law & Order fame, and pairs former Texas prosecutor Kelly Siegler with former Las Vegas crime scene investigator Yolanda McClary.  This could be considered a non-scripted reality show, and for true crime fans this looks like a refreshing change of pace.  Although I haven’t seen the show and only know what’s been previewed in commercials – there are so many things I like about this show and it’s concept.  Let’s start with the cast.  I am a big fan of former Texas prosecutor Kelly Siegler.  She racked up a 68-0 record prosecuting murder cases, pretty impressive!  She may be most famous for her courtroom performance while prosecuting Susan Wright for the murder of her husband, Jeff Wright in 2003.  Jeff Wright was reportedly stabbed 193 times by wife Susan, then buried in the backyard.
When Susan Wright took the stand at her trial, Siegler was in her face asking her “didn’t your arm get tired after the 37th stab, how about the 38th”?  In a dramatic move, Siegler had the Wright’s bed reassembled in the courtroom, right in front of the jury box.  She re enacted how she and the state of Texas believed Susan Wright tied her husband up under the pretense of wanting to have kinky sex – before stabbing him with two different knifes.  This was the stuff movies are made of.  Siegler is tough, some believe she was the toughest prosecutor in the state of Texas.  With a 68-0 conviction rate on murder cases, I'd say she’s earned that title.  The story of Jeff Wright’s murder and Susan Wright’s subsequent trial inspired a Lifetime movie called “Blue Eyed Butcher”.  I know, no surprise there. 
Siegler is no nonsense, tough yet fair and a true advocate for justice.  Siegler, who was called in to handle the retrial of Anthony Graves, a man who had been convicted of murdering 6 people in Somerville Texas back in August of 1992.  45 year old Bobbie Joyce Davis was murdered along with her teenaged daughter and four of her grandchildren in her own home before the house was set on fire.  A man named Robert Carter was arrested soon after drawing suspicion to himself after showing up at his 4 year old son’s funeral with bandages on his face and hands.  Carter’s explanation for the burns to his face and hands were quickly discredited, and he eventually confessed to the murders of the 6 people, one of the youngest victims was his own son.  Apparently he didn’t want to pay child support and decided to handle it by murdering his own child. Carter named Anthony Graves as his accomplice, and law enforcement locked onto Graves and never let go.  Graves didn’t know the victims, had no motive to kill any of them and had a solid alibi.  Both men were tried and convicted of murder in separate trials – and both were sentenced to death.  In May of 2000 before his execution, Carter recanted his testimony about Anthony Graves, stating on the record that Graves was not present at the crime scene and he was the only person responsible for the murders.  Carter claims he tried to recant his statements against Graves before Grave’s trial began, but the prosecutor threatened to arrest Carter’s wife if he didn’t cooperate in Grave’s trial.
Anthony Graves spent 12 years on Death Row, and maintained his innocence from day one. His plight caught the attention of the Innocence Project, who began looking into his original trial and found many glaring errors and inconsistencies – they worked on getting Graves convicted overturned for many years. In March of 2006 his conviction was overturned by a 3 judge panel who concluded the original prosecutor Charles Sebesta intentionally withheld crucial evidence that could have helped Graves.  But the state of Texas wasn’t ready to let Graves off the hook. He spent the next 4 years in solitary confinement awaiting retrial.  Kelly Siegler was to be the prosecutor this time.  After reviewing the evidence, Siegler was convinced that Anthony Graves was wrongly convicted.  She was critical of the previous prosecutor’s mishandling of the case, calling his actions unethical.  Finally in October 27, 2011 Graves was released from jail, and all charges against him were dismissed by Burleson County Special Prosecutor Kelly Siegler who concluded early on that she could not prosecute an innocent man.  She dared to call out the egregious and unethical behavior of Charles Sebesta, who still maintains he didn’t withhold anything.  Graves won $1.4 million dollars from the state of Texas for the wrongful conviction. Good for him.  Siegler was instrumental in helping the Innocence Project and Anthony Graves’ attorneys get to the truth once and for all. She wasn’t afraid to expose the former prosecutor who mishandled the original case.  That’s what I love about Siegler.  She’s the real deal.
Back to Cold Justice. Yolanda McClary is a former Las Vegas Crime Scene Investigator who is said to be the model/inspiration for the character Marg Halgenberer played on the hit show “CSI”.  McClary has 26 years of experience and worked on more than 7,000 cases during her career in law enforcement.  Pairing McClary with Siegler is a brilliant move – a “dream team” of sorts.  Together, they are heading across the country in an attempt to help solve open homicide cases in many of the small or rural areas that may lack the resources of big city police forces.  This should be good!  This is advertised as real life crime solving, non-scripted stuff.  In the premiere episode, Siegler and McCleary are headed to Cuero Texas to look at the 2001 death of a woman named Pam Shelley.  Shelley was found with a gunshot to the head and her death was ruled a suicide, although police suspected her boyfriend Ronnie Hendrick of murdering her.
Hendrick says it was suicide, but Shelley was shot point blank in the head in front of her children.  Siegler and McCleary retrieved the evidence and picked up veteran homicide detective Johnny Bonds and headed to Cuero to meet with Shelley’s now 23 year old daughter Kayla.  Kayla was just 11 years old at the time of her mom’s death, but she has always pointed to Hendrick as the killer of her mom.  Hendrick has always said it was a suicide.  Hendrick was never arrested for this crime.  I’m not sure how this episode will end, given they only have a one hour time slot!  I was curious to see what may have come of the renewed investigation, knowing this was likely filmed awhile ago.  According to a story posted on elpasotimes.com on October 4, 2012, Ronnie Hendricks was indicted for the murder of Pam Shelly.  He is being jailed on $500,000 bond and awaiting trial in Texas.  Looks like Siegler and McClary may have jump started the long road to justice for Pam Shelly and her children.

 I’ll be interested to see how they format this show and how many cold cases they are able to actually get results on.  The closest thing I can think of to this show would be something like “The First 48”.  Real crimes, real detectives, real defendants and real victims.  If you tune in to Cold Justice next Tuesday, please let me know what you think.  I for one can’t wait!

Comparing Other High Profile Trials to Jodi Arias Trial

Following the latest status hearing to decide when the retrial of the penalty phase of Jodi Arias’ trial will begin and given the numerous delays in the trial process,  I wanted to compare some of the statistics from this trial to other high profile trials to see if anything stands out as excessive.  There were some interesting data points when I looked at some of the trial data from the Scott Peterson and Wendi Andriano trials – both of which were high profile murder trials that received extensive media coverage.  Scott Peterson’s trial in particular became a national story from the moment his beautiful young and very pregnant wife Laci was reported as missing in Modesto, California.  Peterson’s trial was covered extensively, although it did not have the gavel to gavel media coverage that Jodi Aria’s trial received.

Some interesting points:  The State of CA v Scott Peterson lasted 5 ½ months and had testimony from 184 witnesses.  The defendant never took the stand.  The jury deliberated over guilt for more than 44 hours after 2 jurors were removed from the panel.  One juror was removed for conducting independent research on the case and the jury foreman reportedly asked to be removed from the panel.  Despite the jury issues, no mistrial was declared and after the 2 jurors were replaced with alternates, the panel deliberated for 44 hours over a period of 7 days before finding him guilty.

The prosecution team was greeted by cheers and applause from members of the public following the verdict – there were no arguments of “rock star treatment” or prosecutorial misconduct because of the public’s reaction of gratitude towards the prosecution team.  During the sentencing phase, jurors deliberated for 11 ½ hours before handing down the death sentence.  This was a highly publicized trial and Scott Peterson was public enemy number one during this period of time.

The State of Arizona v Wendi Andriano – Joe Andriano was murdered on 10/8/2000 in the Ahwatukee luxury apartment he shared with his wife Wendi and their two young sons.  Joe Andriano was fighting terminal cancer and the chemotherapy treatments left him very weak.  Andriano argued she killed her husband in self defense after he attacked her following an argument about an affair Wendi had disclosed to her husband.  Wendi Andriano was arrested and charged with first degree murder, the state notified the court they intended to seek the death penalty.

The Andriano trial started on 8/23/04, a little less than 4 years after the killing of Joe Andriano.  Wendi Andriano had no criminal record and was 29 years old at the time of the murder.  Andriano took the stand for 9 days and testified about abuse she suffered at the hands of her husband during their marriage. She told the jury that she and Joe had a suicide pact, and Joe wanted to die because the cancer was causing him to suffer. Evidence that Andriano poisoned her husband with Sodium Azide was also uncovered during the trial, and she tried to have a large insurance policy on her husband reinstated fraudulently shortly before his death.

The jury found Andriano guilty of first degree murder on 11/18/04.  Following the guilt phase of the trial, jurors heard 1 week of testimony on aggravating factors, followed by 6 days of mitigation testimony.  Andriano’s mitigation included the assertion that 1) she was a good mother, and 2) she did some missionary work in Mexicali at age 19, her age at the time of the murder and her lack of criminal history were also presented by the defense – in all, they listed 23 mitigating factors to the jury!The jury found the aggravating factor (cruel and heinous manner) was present in the way Joe was murdered, and the death penalty was on the table.  Deliberations for the penalty phase began on December 16, 2004.  Shortly after the jury began deliberating they took an initial poll, which showed 3 jurors were in favor of the death penalty, 4 were in favor of life and the rest were undecided.  Following a 3 day weekend, they resumed deliberating and weighing the specific mitigating factors against the aggravating factors. The jury discussed this at length, and by the next vote they had swung to 11-1 in favor of the death penalty.  One hold-out juror was said to be a senior citizen who adamantly opposed the death penalty.  How did somebody who “adamantly opposed” the death penalty land on the jury?  On the third day of deliberations, each juror discussed the 23 mitigating factors given by the defense and they ultimately decided they did not outweigh the brutal manner in which Joe Andriano was murdered.  One juror pointed out “does a good mother kill her husband”? 

The jury reportedly also discussed the fact that if they gave Andriano life, they would have no control over what the trial judge gave her – natural life, or life with possibility of parole/release after 25 years and jurors did not want Andriano to receive a 25 year sentence.  On December 22, 2004 the jury unanimously voted for the death penalty for Wendi Andriano.  It wasn’t an easy road for any of the jurors.  Did Jodi Arias’ jury deliberate for long enough?  Did they throw in the towel too soon?  Looking at these other two lengthy media-driven trials, some may say it appears they did.  But this is our judicial process.  Here are some statistics for the Jodi Arias trial:

June 4, 2008 – Travis Alexander was murdered.
June 9, 2008 – Travis Alexander’s body was discovered by concerned friends.
July 15, 2008 – Jodi Arias is arrested in Yreka, CA
September 5, 2008 – Jodi Arias is extradited to Phoenix, AZ
September 11, 2008 – Jodi Arias pleads not guilty to charge of 1st degree murder
October 31, 2008 – State of AZ files notice of intent to seek death penalty

December 10, 2012 – Jury selection begins
January 2, 2013 – Trial begins with opening statements, prosecutions case in chief begins
January 17, 2013 – The State of Arizona rests after 9 days of testimony
January 29, 2013 – The defense case begins
February 4, 2013 – Defendant Jodi Arias takes the witness stand, remains on stand for 18 days
April 15, 2013 – Defense rests after 38 days of testimony
May 2-3, 2013 – Closing arguments are given
May 3, 2013 – Jury begins deliberations
May 8, 2013 – Jury delivers guilty verdict
May 21 – 22, 2013 – Jury deliberates on sentencing
May 23, 2013 – Jury unable to reach unanimous decision
May 23, 2013 – Mistrial declared by Judge Sherry Stephens.  Retrial date set for July 18, 2013
July 16, 2013 – After 3 minute court session, status hearing rescheduled for August 26, 2013
August 26, 2013 – After 5 minute session, status hearing on retrial rescheduled for September 15, 2013


It just seems to me that other high profile cases have been handled much more swiftly and efficiently than this one has been.  The Peterson trial ousted 2 jurors during deliberations!  Wendi Andriano’s defense team presented 23 mitigating factors (versus zero for Arias), Andriano was around the same age as Jodi Arias AND she was the mother of two small children.  What happened here?Following the latest status hearing to decide when the retrial of the penalty phase of Jodi Arias’ trial will begin and given the numerous delays in the trial process,  I wanted to compare some of the statistics from this trial to other high profile trials to see if anything stands out as excessive.  There were some interesting data points when I looked at some of the trial data from the Scott Peterson and Wendi Andriano trials – both of which were high profile murder trials that received extensive media coverage.  Scott Peterson’s trial in particular became a national story from the moment his beautiful young and very pregnant wife Laci was reported as missing in Modesto, California.  Peterson’s trial was covered extensively, although it did not have the gavel to gavel media coverage that Jodi Aria’s trial received.

Some interesting points:  The State of CA v Scott Peterson lasted 5 ½ months and had testimony from 184 witnesses.  The defendant never took the stand.  The jury deliberated over guilt for more than 44 hours after 2 jurors were removed from the panel.  One juror was removed for conducting independent research on the case and the jury foreman reportedly asked to be removed from the panel.  Despite the jury issues, no mistrial was declared and after the 2 jurors were replaced with alternates, the panel deliberated for 44 hours over a period of 7 days before finding him guilty.

The prosecution team was greeted by cheers and applause from members of the public following the verdict – there were no arguments of “rock star treatment” or prosecutorial misconduct because of the public’s reaction of gratitude towards the prosecution team.  During the sentencing phase, jurors deliberated for 11 ½ hours before handing down the death sentence.  This was a highly publicized trial and Scott Peterson was public enemy number one during this period of time.

The State of Arizona v Wendi Andriano – Joe Andriano was murdered on 10/8/2000 in the Ahwatukee luxury apartment he shared with his wife Wendi and their two young sons.  Joe Andriano was fighting terminal cancer and the chemotherapy treatments left him very weak.  Andriano argued she killed her husband in self defense after he attacked her following an argument about an affair Wendi had disclosed to her husband.  Wendi Andriano was arrested and charged with first degree murder, the state notified the court they intended to seek the death penalty.

The Andriano trial started on 8/23/04, a little less than 4 years after the killing of Joe Andriano.  Wendi Andriano had no criminal record and was 29 years old at the time of the murder.  Andriano took the stand for 9 days and testified about abuse she suffered at the hands of her husband during their marriage. She told the jury that she and Joe had a suicide pact, and Joe wanted to die because the cancer was causing him to suffer. Evidence that Andriano poisoned her husband with Sodium Azide was also uncovered during the trial, and she tried to have a large insurance policy on her husband reinstated fraudulently shortly before his death.

The jury found Andriano guilty of first degree murder on 11/18/04.  Following the guilt phase of the trial, jurors heard 1 week of testimony on aggravating factors, followed by 6 days of mitigation testimony.  Andriano’s mitigation included the assertion that 1) she was a good mother, and 2) she did some missionary work in Mexicali at age 19, her age at the time of the murder and her lack of criminal history were also presented by the defense – in all, they listed 23 mitigating factors to the jury!The jury found the aggravating factor (cruel and heinous manner) was present in the way Joe was murdered, and the death penalty was on the table.  Deliberations for the penalty phase began on December 16, 2004.  Shortly after the jury began deliberating they took an initial poll, which showed 3 jurors were in favor of the death penalty, 4 were in favor of life and the rest were undecided.  Following a 3 day weekend, they resumed deliberating and weighing the specific mitigating factors against the aggravating factors. The jury discussed this at length, and by the next vote they had swung to 11-1 in favor of the death penalty.  One hold-out juror was said to be a senior citizen who adamantly opposed the death penalty.  How did somebody who “adamantly opposed” the death penalty land on the jury?  On the third day of deliberations, each juror discussed the 23 mitigating factors given by the defense and they ultimately decided they did not outweigh the brutal manner in which Joe Andriano was murdered.  One juror pointed out “does a good mother kill her husband”? 

The jury reportedly also discussed the fact that if they gave Andriano life, they would have no control over what the trial judge gave her – natural life, or life with possibility of parole/release after 25 years and jurors did not want Andriano to receive a 25 year sentence.  On December 22, 2004 the jury unanimously voted for the death penalty for Wendi Andriano.  It wasn’t an easy road for any of the jurors.  Did Jodi Arias’ jury deliberate for long enough?  Did they throw in the towel too soon?  Looking at these other two lengthy media-driven trials, some may say it appears they did.  But this is our judicial process.  Here are some statistics for the Jodi Arias trial:

June 4, 2008 – Travis Alexander was murdered.
June 9, 2008 – Travis Alexander’s body was discovered by concerned friends.
July 15, 2008 – Jodi Arias is arrested in Yreka, CA
September 5, 2008 – Jodi Arias is extradited to Phoenix, AZ
September 11, 2008 – Jodi Arias pleads not guilty to charge of 1st degree murder
October 31, 2008 – State of AZ files notice of intent to seek death penalty

December 10, 2012 – Jury selection begins
January 2, 2013 – Trial begins with opening statements, prosecutions case in chief begins
January 17, 2013 – The State of Arizona rests after 9 days of testimony
January 29, 2013 – The defense case begins
February 4, 2013 – Defendant Jodi Arias takes the witness stand, remains on stand for 18 days
April 15, 2013 – Defense rests after 38 days of testimony
May 2-3, 2013 – Closing arguments are given
May 3, 2013 – Jury begins deliberations
May 8, 2013 – Jury delivers guilty verdict
May 21 – 22, 2013 – Jury deliberates on sentencing
May 23, 2013 – Jury unable to reach unanimous decision
May 23, 2013 – Mistrial declared by Judge Sherry Stephens.  Retrial date set for July 18, 2013
July 16, 2013 – After 3 minute court session, status hearing rescheduled for August 26, 2013
August 26, 2013 – After 5 minute session, status hearing on retrial rescheduled for September 15, 2013

It just seems to me that other high profile cases have been handled much more swiftly and efficiently than this one has been.  The Peterson trial ousted 2 jurors during deliberations!  Wendi Andriano’s defense team presented 23 mitigating factors (versus zero for Arias), Andriano was around the same age as Jodi Arias AND she was the mother of two small children.  What happened here? 

Jodi Arias Status Hearing - Justice Delayed AGAIN! Next Hearing 9/15/13

Another status hearing has come and gone, with no new trial date in sight for convicted murderer Jodi Arias.  Judge Sherry Stephens concluded the brief court hearing by setting the next status hearing for September 16, 2013.  The judge stated she was not ready to set a firm retrial date without first reading through the many motions filed by Arias’ defense team Kirk Numi and Jennifer Willmott.  Will this trial ever happen?  Will a sentence ever be rendered in this case?  Here’s the burning question in my mind.  I understand these things take time, but at the last status hearing Judge Stephens instructed attorneys on both sides that all motions must be filed by August 5th, 2013.  What’s been happening between August 5th and August 26th?  I know the judge likely has a full court schedule, but this is reaching a point where I’m beginning to wonder IF a conclusion will ever be reached.

The defense seems to be using these stall tactics on the penalty phase retrial, arguing over everything from the issue of cameras in the courtroom, change of venue, witness intimidation and jurors use of social media tools.  They are hoping that with the passage of time, the public outrage over this murder will dissipate and perhaps the state will fall back on some sort of plea deal.  I doubt the Alexander family will sign off on any proposed plea deal that allows Arias to escape a potential death penalty after what she did to their brother.  Let a jury decide.  I have to wonder if Jodi Arias was a man who butchered and shot an ex-girlfriend if we would be still discussing this case.  It is my opinion that if Arias were a male, a death penalty would have been easier to reach by Jury #1.  Gender bias does exist in death penalty cases, and this is a prime example.

How much longer will the family have to endure living in this legal limbo?  The Alexander’s have reportedly hired attorneys to handle a wrongful death civil suit against Arias, however that will not likely move forward until the conclusion of the criminal trial – as is standard operating procedure.  Criminal trials take precedence over civil trials.  This has got to be beyond frustrating.  I’d like to know, don’t victims of violent crime have a right to a speedy trial?  Do murder victims deserve swift justice, or is that a right that is reserved for living victims?  Although I’m not completely surprised that today’s status hearing came and went without any major decisions or dates being set, but at some point this has got to come to an end! 


With so many outstanding issues left to deal with before we even get to choosing Jury #2, will the penalty retrial happen before 2014?  Now we are seeing the witness intimidation's issues coming up again, with domestic violence “expert” Alyce LaViolette and Arias’ childhood friend (her name escapes me now, but she is the one who reportedly had substance abuse issues and had potentially failed to report income received from selling childhood photos of herself and Jodi Arias) talking about the threats they have received from members of the public.  Ad to that, cameras in the courtroom, potential change of venue, sequestering the jury, requests from Jodi Arias’ defense for individual voir dire of potential jurors and all I see in the foreseeable future are delays and more delays.  Aren’t there any guidelines to sentencing following the verdict in a murder trial?  Is it standard operating procedure to let these things linger on without any real end in sight?  There should be.  A person convicted of 1st degree murder should be sentenced in a reasonable amount of time.  I feel Judge Stephens, had she stuck to her firm deadline on when all motions had to be filed (August 5th), she should have already reviewed the motions filed and had some rulings during this mornings status hearing.  Instead, Arias reportedly made a 5 minute appearance before a new status hearing date was set for mid September and she was led out of the courtroom and presumably taken back to her digs at the Estrella jail – where she has 16 hours to meander outside of her cell, use of the telephone and cable TV, a library and has time to create more “artwork” to sell.  I guess I have a different idea of how a defendant who claims to be indigent should behave, especially given the state of Arizona has spent over $1.6 million bucks on her defense.  Judge Stephens, please set some firm deadlines and force each side to stick with them.  We already know the jury selection process is going to be time consuming.  Can we get through the motions filed by Nurmi and Willmott and get the show on the road already?  Enough is enough.

Arias Retrial - Status Hearing Monday, Aug. 26th

The next status hearing for Jodi Arias’ sentencing retrial is on the Superior Court of Maricopa County’s court calendar at 8:30AM on Monday, August 26 2013.  It’s been nearly 4 months since the jury found Arias guilty of first degree murder and eligible for the death penalty, but a mistrial was declared after the same jurors were unable to agree on the appropriate sentence for this crime.  We know the wheels of justice move slowly, but in this case the wheel seems to be flat.  Although nobody is quite sure what to expect going in to this new “mini-trial” one thing seems certain – this is going to take a long time.

With so many unresolved issues at hand such as the venue for the retrial, finding potential jurors who can be impartial following the media saturation and how the information from the 5 month long trial will be presented to these jurors are just a few of the questions that we don’t know the answers to.  Jerry Cobb, the public information officer for the Maricopa County District Attorney’s office told HLN News that the new jury will be informed that Jodi Arias was found guilty of first degree murder and that she committed the murder in a cruel manner.  Cobb said the judge and attorneys will need to figure out how the testimony and exhibits from the first trial will be presented to the new jury.  It sounds like negotiations will be necessary, and if we learned anything from trial #1, the prosecutor and defense attorneys are likely to fight tooth and nail over the smallest detail!  I can’t even imagine how long this process is going to take.

HLN News also reports there’s a chance Arias could testify again during this phase of the new trial, and she will have another opportunity to give a statement to this jury without being subject to fierce cross examination from prosecutor Juan Martinez.  I’d say if past behavior is any prediction of future behavior, there is no way Jodi Arias passes up a chance to speak to the new jury.  Remember how she made it a point during trial #1 to turn her head and upper body towards the jury and carefully answer each question from her defense attorneys, doing her best to make eye contact and connect with the people who held her fate in their hands?  Arias has had time to look back on her previous court performances, I’d bet money that she has read much of what has been written about her in the media and will present a refined version of herself to the new jury. 

The jurors that spoke to media after the first trial seemed to confirm what we speculated on from hearing the jury questions to Arias – many of them didn’t believe her testimony, many of them believed she lied under oath.  Those jurors opinions and notions don’t matter in the retrial.  Did the state miss their best chance at capital punishment when the mistrial was declared?  We’ll have to see how this pans out.  The first thing that they probably need to address is where the trial will be held, and if Judge Stephens feels the potential jury pool in Maricopa County is tainted, she could grant a change of venue.  But let’s be realistic – this trial was covered nationally and nightly.  It’s hard to blame the media for the over saturation of coverage when Jodi Arias was holding her own press junkets, even talking to Fox’s Troy Hayden in the hours after her conviction.  “Do as I say, not as I do” seems to be the defense mantra, especially as hypocritical as the defense’s recent motion to have all members of the new jury disclose any Twitter accounts and the names they use. It’s not that it’s an unreasonable request, but given that their client took to the Twitter airwaves before, during and after her trial – using her own name, it seems a little laughable that she is concerned what people are saying about her on Twitter.  Arias used social media to smack down Nancy Grace, Juan Martinez and even her own defense attorneys.  What Arias has done could be construed as attempting to taint the jury pool, the tainting of the pool can go both ways!!  It’s anyone’s guess if there will be a change of venue in the retrial, but if I were a betting gal, I’d say Judge Stephens keeps the trial in Maricopa County. 

Another issue that remains unresolved from trial #1:  Kirk Nurmi and Jennifer Willmott’s repeated requests to withdraw the attorneys of record.  I honestly don’t know if their requests were because they couldn’t seem to control the actions of their client and they wanted off out of sheer frustration, or if this was just another ploy to buy Jodi Arias more time – to perhaps give the public a cooling off period?  They made several motions to withdraw, but Judge Stephens wisely did not allow them to retreat at such a late stage in the trial.  Will they renew their motion to withdraw when they appear in court, or will they do the right thing and see this case through?  Having new attorneys probably wouldn’t be in the best interest to Jodi Arias.  These two attorneys have fought for her, and they know the case inside and out.  They may not have gotten her the acquittal she was looking for – but hey, they couldn’t change the facts and evidence of this case.  Hopefully Nurmi and Willmott stay on as defense counsel of record.  I still don’t know what happened to Maria DeLaRosa, the mitigation expert.  A new name appears on court minute entries for mitigation expert on this case.  Many people out there are wondering why Arias chose to NOT put on any mitigation witnesses in trial #1.  They had to realize there was a very good chance she would be convicted, and they should have been ready for that likely scenario – yet when it was time to call their witnesses, their case seemed to fall apart.  They fell back on blaming the prosecutor, for what they referred to as “prosecutorial misconduct” or bullying Arias’ childhood friend into not testifying on her behalf.  Mitigation witnesses are something I’ve rehashed too many times so I won’t go there!

As of April 25, 2013 – the tab for Arizona v. Arias was estimated to be $1,687,238.21, according to information posted on HLN News’ website.  DA Bill Montgomery has repeatedly said the cost of the retrial would not be taken into consideration when discussing any potential plea deal with Arias.  Instead, Montgomery has said he would only consider a plea with considerable input from Travis Alexander’s family and prosecutor Juan Martinez.  I’m sure he wouldn’t mind saving the taxpayers some money, but I strongly hope any decisions are not made on cost-considerations.  The victim deserves a full trial, with the same budget afforded to the woman who killed him.  The Maricopa County public information officer also revealed what a day in the life of Arias is like.  I was surprised to see how many hours of time she has outside of her cell, given that she’s now housed in a high security cell after her conviction.  According to the information posted on HLNTV.com, Arias is locked in her cell from 10:00PM to 6:00AM daily.  Inmates have up to 16 hours in the day-room area, where they have access to telephones and (limited channels) cable TV, an hour of outdoor recreation up to 4 times per week. Inmates have access to a library, although have to request books through an inmate request form and the number of books they can have at one time is limited – there are also many programs inmates can sign up for including religious services, GED and other educational programs.  Arias sleeps in a bed with pink sheets, and her cell contains a writing desk, toilet and sink.  Breakfast is served after 7:00AM and dinner is served after 6:00PM.


It seems she has a lot more freedom than you’d expect, only being locked in her cell for 8 hours a day and having access to other areas and services for 16 hours per day.  It’s no wonder she has had the time to start online book clubs and communicate so freely with the outside world.  Will Travis Alexander ever have his day in court?  That’s all people really want here.  Justice.  This trial was supposed to be about the life of a promising young man being cut short, but it turned into something much different.  It’s time to remember who the real murder victim is and sentence the person convicted of killing him.  Jodi Arias had her day in court, and she lost.

Arias Attorneys Want Jurors To Disclose Twitter Accounts

Defense attorneys Kirk Nurmi and Jennifer Willmott have asked Judge Sherry Stephens to ask all jurors in the upcoming penalty phase retrial for Jodi Arias to reveal if they have Twitter accounts.  Hmmmm….seems the Arias defense camp is concerned that jurors may send or receive tweets during the upcoming trial.  Isn’t that a little ironic, coming from a defendant who is notorious for sending out tweets out during the guilt phase of her own murder trial? 

In a motion filed by the Arias defense team, they claim one of the alternate jurors, Tara Kelley (Juror #17) used Twitter and had communicated with a member of the media via Twitter. They further claim Kelley made a comment on Facebook about Jodi Arias’ temper.  Apparently Kelley believed she could view social media as long as she didn’t discuss the trial.  I’m not sure what part of Judge Stephens daily admonishment about discussing the case in any manner this alternate juror did not understand, but I’d hate to be the juror who’s action gives Arias grounds for an appeal.


Yes, social media SHOULD include the use of Twitter, and nobody involved in the trial should be engaging in this type of activity during a trial.  Nurmi and Willmott argued in a motion that “Twitter allows those who would like to influence Ms. Arias’ jury  to communicate in a way that could go undetected”. For once, I agree with the defense in that all members of the jury (even the alternates) should be prohibited from using all social media during the trial and deliberations.  This should naturally include Jodi Arias as well.

Jodi Arias Trial - August 26 Status Hearing Approaches

As August 26, 2013 approaches, I’m wondering what we will learn about the next steps in the sentencing retrial of Jodi Arias.  Will this be another 5 minute hearing, where the defense team will ask for another delay?  I can think of several potential issues Kirk Nurmi and Jennifer Willmott have previously raised or could potentially raise in their efforts to put off the retrial of the sentencing phase of their client.  When will this end?

They will more than likely ask for a change in venue, arguing the media publicity of the trial unfairly tainted the potential jury pool – naturally, they will fail to mention their client’s part in the media feeding frenzy that surrounded this trial.  Arias famously scheduled numerous interviews after the verdict was handed down during the guilt phase, and has drawn attention to herself virtually from the start – beginning with the 48 Hours, Inside Edition and other jailhouse interviews back before she admitted to killing Travis Alexander.  Throughout her trial, she assured the spotlight would be squarely on her by tweeting messages to her “supporters” through friend Donovan Bering and hawking her artwork in online auctions.  She taunted and criticized Nancy Grace and HLN News for targeting her.  How dare the media portray her in such a fashion!  The message here is Arias seems to believe in the media, but only when it’s her that’s doing the talking.  Anybody who disagrees or questions her details or lack of details around the murder is a hater.

So will Judge Sherry Stephens forge ahead with a firm date to start jury selection, or will the train derail before it even leaves the station again?  I don’t envy this judge, having her first death penalty trial be THIS trial.  She’s bound to draw criticism and praise with her decisions.  I think most people just want to know that the end to this 5+ year saga is coming to an end.  So what does prosecutor Juan Martinez need to focus on during the penalty retrial?  What could potentially sway the jury to the sentence the state is seeking?  Looking at the problems with the first trial, it seems at least one juror who spoke publicly took some pity on Arias, believing Travis Alexander did in fact verbally and emotionally abuse her.  This was based for the most part on those angry text messages and e-mails from Travis to Jodi.  I think the state needs to do a good job of telling the jury WHAT could have prompted such angry responses from Travis.  I think many people believe Jodi threatened to play that sex tape to the woman Travis was planning to take to Cancun, and potentially other people within his circle of friends.  She had to have known this would have infuriated him, or anybody for that matter.  He had to be outraged and disgusted when he found out she recorded that call in early May.  He absolutely did not ask for a phone sex tape.

What else could have prompted him to tell Arias that she was absolutely the worst thing that ever happened to him?  Two days before the 25 caliber gun was reported stolen from Arias’ grandfather’s home, Travis sent Jodi a text message calling her evil.  The sequence of events seems fairly clear, although somewhat circumstantial – I don’t see Jodi Arias as a victim of emotional or verbal abuse.  Juan Martinez needs to drive these points home, that Jodi Arias seems to be the only person Travis Alexander spoke to in this manner and there was a reason behind it.  Without delving into these reasons more, and with the defense focusing on these angry exchanges it didn’t make Travis look good.  I believe it took a great deal of deceit and disgust for him to get to that point with Arias, and by the time she started to threaten to use his own words against him he had probably had it with her.  He undoubtedly regretted letting the relationship go on as long as it did, and she played on his guilt like she played Jury #1.  The defense also went to great lengths to portray Arias childhood as traumatic and difficult.  Her mom carried a wooden spoon in her purse and beat her with it, and her father was an imposing figure who was critical of Arias from an early age.  We never heard from anybody in the Arias family during the trial, and you really have to wonder why.  All we have to go on is the parents (concerned) behavior during the police interviews, and comments from those who knew the family growing up.  I personally don’t recall hearing anybody even hint that her parents were abusive.  I heard “strict”, but I think any parents who caught their child growing marijuana on the roof of the house would have reason to be strict.

There’s no doubt that Jodi Arias murdered Travis Alexander.  She’s been found guilty of first degree murder, and the jury found the manner in which she killed him was cruel and depraved.  These factors have been decided.  I hope the next jury panel will look at the totality of this case, and remember that Travis Alexander was a real man with a family and friends who loved him.  Too often the victims seem to fade into the background as all focus is placed on the defendant in an attempt to understand why this happened.  What could have possibly caused Arias to unleash such fury, anger and utter violence towards a man that she loved so much?  People seem to need to believe there was a triggering event, that somebody who outwardly appears “normal” and incapable of such savage actions must have been pushed beyond her limits.  I suppose it helps us to believe that something like this could never happen to ourselves or somebody we love.  But sometimes the person is the problem. I think Jodi loved Travis so much that the rejection she faced from the planned June 9 trip to Cancun was too much for her to mentally and emotionally handle.  But make no mistake, she planned this.  Why else go to the trouble of stealing and concealing a gun?  The May text messages, e-mails and the phone sex tape are the key.  Without Travis Alexander’s angry words to Arias, what does the defense have to explain Arias’ alleged abuse?  They have next to nothing.  Take away those angry words by Travis and you also take away the sympathy for Jodi.

No doubt Juan Martinez is a seasoned pro in the courtroom.  When Judge Stephens declared a mistrial, the look of complete disappointment and total frustration was all over Juan Martinez’s face. He wants to get justice for Travis and his family.  You can tell he takes his cases very seriously, all of them – not just the high profile cases.  I think taking away the sympathy factor in the re-trial will be on his to-do list.  Hopefully he has listened to media interviews given by those jurors who spoke out following the mistrial and has learned from their words and their points of view. Arias’ post-conviction media blitz may be another damaging piece of evidence to be used at the retrial.  She would be wise to lay low.  But I seriously doubt that is going to happen!  By now she’s a fame junkie, looking for her next fix from behind bars while she should be seriously considering the possibility that she may end up on Arizona’s Death Row.  If Jodi Arias truly wants to live, she should give some serious thought to showing remorse, being humble and taking full responsibility for the wake of destruction she left in her path.  She still hasn’t offered a real apology.  She continues to sell “Survivor” t-shirts.  She just doesn’t seem to get it.


What will happen during the next status hearing on August 26th?  Will we get a firm date to begin the jury selection process?  Will there be a change of venue?  Will this jury be sequestered?  Will Jodi Arias put on real mitigation witnesses this go around?  Will Jose Baez join Nurmi & Willmott at the defense table?  Anything is possible with this trial!  Have a great week.  

Did Expert Witness Testimony Effect Sentencing in Jodi Arias Trial?

What effect did the expert witness testimony ultimately have on the outcome of the Jodi Arias murder trial?  Although Arias was found guilty of first degree murder, in the end the jury was split on sentencing 8-4 in favor of the death penalty – in Arizona, even a 11-1 split equals a hung jury.  The jury rejected the self defense claims and agreed an aggravating factor existed making this case eligible for capital punishment.  That much we know.  But how is it that those same jurors could end up so divided on punishing Travis Alexander’s murderer?

Jodi Arias spent an unprecedented 18 days on the witness stand, and post verdict interviews with jurors confirmed the defendant didn’t make a good witness.  She contradicted herself, butted heads with prosecutor Juan Martinez, and tried her best to paint Travis in the worst light possible while claiming to want to preserve his memory and character.  She was caught in numerous lies and inconsistencies by the time Martinez got his shot at her.  But it seems at least one juror believed that Arias had in fact been the victim of some type of abuse at Alexander’s hands.  Although there was no documented reports of the abuse incidents Arias spun into her testimony, her journals and personal diaries made no mention of being kicked, body slammed or slapped, the defense brought in a maverick for the cause of domestic violence in Alyce LaViolette to testify on Arias’ behalf.  She told the jury she believed Travis did abuse Jodi, while discounting any direct evidence that Arias engaged in stalking behavior with Travis.

How did this impact the jurys ability to hand down the death penalty?  Dr. Richard Samuels was another defense expert who was clearly in the Arias camp and testified to her favor that she suffered from PTSD.  However, prosecutor Juan Martinez effectively neutralized Samuels testimony by pointing out numerous errors and omissions in Samuels scoring of critical psychological tests that supported a PTSD diagnosis – he also was effective in suggesting Samuels was “taken” by Arias, bringing her gifts in the form of books during his jailhouse interviews with her.  Dr. Samuels failed to sway the jury and was criticized for his sloppy reporting methods as he was unable to explain why he hand scored the tests multiple times until he achieved the desired results.

Alyce LaViolette initially appeared to be a good witness for the defense. Her credentials and legitimate early work in the field of domestic violence gave her credibility and she was a likeable character during her first few days on the stand while being questioned by the defense.  LaViolette became combative during her cross examination with Juan Martinez, refusing to answer questions in a yes/no manner, talking over the prosecutor and she grew increasingly more defensive of her interview tactics as her days on the stand stretched into weeks. The biggest problem I had with LaViolette is that she firmly formed an opinion on Arias being abused based only on the written and spoken words of Jodi Arias.  She didn’t interview close friends or family members of Arias or Alexander who may have provided her with a way to prove or disprove her findings or corroborate what Arias told her about the complex relationship she had with Travis.

Then we learned that LaViolette had spent more hours with Arias than was clinically necessary, and had also given her books and reading materials that could have furnished her with a blueprint to support her in court performance as a domestic abuse survivor.  LaViolette refused to entertain the thought that Arias may have played her like a fiddle, she told the jury she fully believed everything Arias told her without question.  That’s where she lost all credibility in my book.  Believing the words of a woman with everything to lose is a dangerous proposition and to this day, I don’t understand why LaViolette would jeopardize her standing in her field for Jodi Arias.  Many of the jury questions seemed to ask these same questions regarding the methods of both expert witnesses, and there was no evidence to indicate there was any physical abuse. 

I read an article recently written by Michael J. Perrotti PhD that outlined some of these problems in psychcentral.com (link provided below).  Perrotti has served as a clinical and forensic neuropsychologist expert for more than 20 years and he wrote of many omissions of crucial standards in the Jodi Arias trial. He points to the lack of collateral interviews of third party informants such as family and friends, who could have provided valuable perspective on the person being evaluated.   He states “collateral parties can help confirm or disconfirm the evaluators impressions.  This did not appear to be done in the Arias’s trial”.   An evaluation of only the defendant can be weighted towards the defendant’s self-report.

He wrote “it is difficult to understand how Arias was considered a victim of abuse when there did not appear to be any police reports or documented incidents of domestic violence.  Additionally, there did not appear to be any consideration of her abusive behavior (for example, she was alleged to have slashed the tires on the victims car and peeked into the window of the victim’s house).”  He also pointed to the experts focus on PTSD and memory issues and not neuropsychological issues.  Perrotti also believes the purchase and filling of the gas cans were a sign of her pre-meditation.   “It is important to integrate the physical findings at the crime scene with the psychological profile of the defendant”, he wrote. “None of the experts appeared to have evaluated or considered crime scene evidence with their findings”.

Perrotti specifically points to Alyce LaViolette’s testimony that the report of Arias peeking into Alexander’s window while he was with another woman was not stalking as “difficult to understand” given the research of “The Reference Manual For Scientific Evidence”, which defines stalking as “to annoy or harass, with fear being a main component”.  What I found most important in Perrotti’s article was his take on the importance of an the evaluator being an objective expert and avoiding the appearance of bias.  Having two separate experts giving Arias books is seen as problematic, and one expert apologizing to the defendant for reading her diary/journals as another potential conflict.  “It is difficult to understand how this occurred when contraband is not allowed in correctional facilities”, he wrote.  The RMSE provides guidelines for what evaluators should do when deception is detected from a defendant.  He firmly believes there were significant omissions by the defense experts in the Arias case.  I think it’s important to note that the prosecution’s expert, Dr. Janeen DeMarte seemed to follow the guidelines in making a fair and impartial assessment of the defendant.  She spent enough time to evaluate Arias, but not enough time to form a relationship with her.  She made no apologies, and she didn’t feel the need to bring her any reading materials to pass her time in jail!  In my opinion, she was the only expert who was credible whatsoever.  Thankfully, the jury found her guilty of first degree murder – but it’s fair to wonder if the sentencing phase outcome was effected by Alyce LaViolette’s firm belief in Arias as an abuse victim.

As the August 26th status hearing approaches, I wonder if Arias’ post guilty verdict jailhouse ventures will figure into the mitigation case.  She appears to be trying to make good on her campaign speech to jury #1 by starting an online book club of sorts – more of a book review website in reality.  But I have faith in Juan Martinez, and I’m hoping he will quickly point out the same website is accepting donations for Arias’ commissary account and has links to other supporter run sites where donations are taken for her families travel expenses to and from court, and she has made an undisclosed amount of money from her artwork and those Survivor t-shirts.  Such the humanitarian.  With two new books based on Arias’ life and the trial, a Lifetime movie that already came out and reports of a new made-for-tv movie in the works, I’m afraid Jodi Arias isn’t disappearing from the spotlight any time soon.  The penalty retrial could take weeks, if not months. I’m not familiar enough with a penalty do-over to make an educated guess on how long this could run, but the sooner this case is put to rest the better.

Judge Sherry Stephens, do the right thing and get this retrial scheduled and keep it moving.  The victim may not be here, but he has rights too.  The link to the Michael Perrotti article is listed below.  While it’s nothing new, it’s an interesting read nonetheless.  Have a great weekend!

Arias Defense Motion To Vacate Jury's Finding Of Aggravating Factor Denied

Jodi Arias’ defense attorneys motion to vacate the jury’s finding of an aggravating factor in her murder trial has been denied by Judge Sherry Stephens.  Kirk Nurmi’s motion challenged the landmark 2002 Ring v. Arizona Supreme Court ruling finding that allowing the sentencing judge, without a jury, to find aggravating circumstances necessary for the imposition of the death penalty violated the Federal Constitution’s Sixth Amendment right to trial by jury.

The motion was always a stretch, but the defense’s motion argued that the jury lacked the legal knowledge and expertise to recognize what made a particular murder more cruel and heinous than another.  With the motion denied, the trial jury’s finding of the aggravating factor stands – making Arias eligible for the death penalty when her sentencing retrial begins.  The next status hearing is scheduled for August 26, 2013.

As Arias sits in jail waiting to learn her fate, she continues to promote books and magazines she has received from her “supporters”.  Her latest tweet says she’s maxed out on the number of books she’s allowed to have, so if you were considering sending her one, don’t! Yeah, that was meant to be sarcastic.  The murderer turned humanitarian says “when Jodi finishes reading, at her request, every book, periodical and newspaper she receives are donated to less fortunate inmates”.  Potential jury pool, did you hear that?

It seems people are at odds at whether the State of Arizona should go through with the time and expense of choosing a new jury for sentencing.  I feel that since expense was not a consideration in Arias’ defense during the guilt phase, it’s only fair that Travis Alexander have the same consideration in sparing no expense to ensure a jury decides his killer’s fate.  It’s the law in Arizona, like it or not – a jury, not a judge decides.  Unless the second jury deadlocks, at which time the death penalty is taken off the table since a judge cannot impose it.  I suppose we should take some solace in knowing the most lenient sentence she could receive is life with the possibility for release after serving 25 years.  Having the possibility of release doesn’t mean she will be released, it just makes it a possibility. 

The decision will ultimately come down to the decision of County District Attorney Bill Montgomery’s office and the Alexander family’s input will be of great importance.  I think the defense is hoping these delays in sentencing will serve as a cooling off period in the court of public opinion, and they hope people will lose interest in this case and it’s outcome.  I don’t think that is going to happen.  While it appears Arias has people who support her while in jail, the public’s shock and sorrow over what happened to Travis Alexander is not going to fade until Arias has been sentenced and sent to prison.


What will happen at the next status hearing?  Will Judge Stephens set a firm date to begin jury selection?  Will the prosecution do anything differently during jury selection to ensure they have a death penalty qualified jury?  I’m not going to criticize the first jury on their decision, mostly because I wasn’t in the jury room and didn’t hear their arguments.  It can’t be easy to sentence somebody to death, but they clearly knew it would be a possibility in this trial.  I don’t know what prosecutor Juan Martinez could have done differently.  The State put on a great case, the defense offered no REAL mitigation – yet the jury deadlocked.  Sentencing can’t be put off forever.  There will be justice for Travis.

Convicted Murderer Jodi Arias Has A Online Book Club?

Think you’ve seen or heard it all when it comes to the behind-bars antics of Ms. Jodi Ann Arias?  Think again! The convicted murderer now has her own online book club!  Yes, you heard me correctly – another website somehow controlled by a “close custody” inmate!  When will it stop, and how is it being allowed to happen?  Never in my life have I seen a convicted murderer have so much control of social media from behind bars – while I don’t know if she is breaking any laws by (obviously) having somebody create and maintain these websites displaying and selling her “artwork”, t-shirts and whatever else she’s hawking these days.  What’s next, Tupperware?  Avon?  Amway?

The convicts’ newest online venture is Jodispage.com, and it’s a bright yellow website with a big picture of Arias, in the infamous white hooded parka – holding her beloved camera, atop some snowy mountaintop.  The audacity. The nerve.  The never-ending self promotion.  Please make it stop!
The site currently includes 7 books and includes pictures of the book cover, information on the author and publishing company as well as Jodi’s personal review of the book.  Looks like at least one of the books was sent or given to her by somebody on the outside.  She names the person, which may be bad news for the sender of said book!  There are notations such as “Jodi is currently reading” on the books she has yet to finish reading, and her literary opinions of the ones that she has read.  So now she’s an Oprah wanna- be, or a literary critic?  Her twisted and fictitious resume continues to astonish me. 

How is it that she has managed to accomplish more from behind bars than she did from the free world? On this site, her recent tweets are posted, and she thanks somebody named HeinzFrick for “Jodi’s Page”.  An August 6th tweet from Arias mentions Lifetimes movie as “a hatchet job”, and she openly calls for producers “interested in making a film about the truth”.  Yes, she is soliciting movie offers on Twitter now.  In addition to her recent tweets, the site has a Q & A page, where she instructs people how to fund her commissary account, send her mail – and specific information on sending books, magazine subscriptions, and instructions on how people can visit her in jail!  Has your jaw hit the floor yet? She includes links to her artwork that is for sale, and of course that “Survivor” t-shirt.  The art website lists what appears to be a phony address of 333 Fun St., San Francisco, CA 12345 under “Contact Us”, and the telephone and fax number listed are both 123-456-7890. Is this her attempt at being humorous?

Does anybody else find this behavior completely outrageous?  How can an INMATE operate so many outside websites and continue to sell things?  Or is this a ploy in anticipation of her penalty phase retrial, where she can use the promise of book clubs and recycling programs in prison as mitigating factors to keep her off Death Row?  You be the judge!  I am just at a loss for words.  And it takes a lot for that to happen to me.  It’s like she’s living in the Twilight Zone, unaware that she’s in jail for MURDERING another human being. Jail and prison are punishment, not a place to launch a reality show.  Somebody please make it go away! Sheriff Joe, where are you?  Are these shenanigans protected by free speech? Just seems wrong, that’s all – plain and simple. An inmate should not be able to use their incarceration as a launching pad to online infamy.

In other Arias related news, Jane Valez Mitchell’s new book titled “Exposed: The Secret Life of Jodi Arias” hits the book stores on August 20, 2013 and has been getting rave reviews.  It promises shocking and disturbing new information about the convicted murderer and her revenge plot against Travis Alexander – using sex as a means to get close enough to kill.  Included in the book are “Five lessons learned from the Jodi Arias trial”.  To summarize:

   1)    Don’t sleep with the enemy!

        2)  Pathological liars are very dangerous people

      3)    Be wary of people with transient lifestyles.  Jodi Arias couldn’t hold a job for long, moved from place to place and from man to man.  From an early age, Arias moved from Yreka to Santa Maria, to Medford OR, to Big Sur, to Palm Desert, to Mesa and back to Yreka. During this time frame, she held numerous miscellaneous waitressing jobs. JVM says this is a symptom of borderline personality disorder, characterized by her inability to fit in.  Jane’s advice:  when you begin dating somebody new, it’s important to get a real sense of where they come from, what they do for a living and where they have been in their lives. As an added rule of thumb, she suggests getting an in-depth bio prior to getting too romantically involved with a person.

    4)   TRUST YOUR GUT INSTINCTS! Perhaps the most important of this list, it is so important to trust your own intuition.  We heard throughout the trial that 90% of all communication is non-verbal.  Many of Travis’ friends reported having bad vibes about his new love interest, some referring to her as “creepy”.  They were able to see what he didn’t, couldn’t – or chose to ignore. There were many clues pointing to a mentally and emotionally unstable woman. Travis’ friends tried in vain to convey their feelings that something was off with Arias. They felt she was unbalanced and perhaps even dangerous.  Trust your friends opinions.  They always have your best interest at heart.
    5)     WOMEN CAN BE VIOLENT!  Towards the end of their relationship, Travis expressed fear of Jodi. Some of his friends believe he may have been lured into a false sense of security by her petite stature. Statistics also show that violent crimes are mostly perpetrated by men, not women. Perhaps that’s why America was so fascinated with women on trial for violent crimes?  It’s not the norm, thankfully.  However, it’s certainly and sadly not unheard of.
“Exposed” is expected to be one of the most provocative crime books this year, packed with exclusive new information and psychological insight.  A portion of the profits are going to charity.  Jane Valez Mitchell dedicated this book to victim Travis Alexander and his siblings.  Should be an interesting read.  Hey, maybe it will earn a mention on Arias’ book club website?  Wouldn’t that be ironic…….

Can we please empanel a new jury and get this show on the road?  What’s next, a Jodi Arias action figure?  Rental-car, .25 caliber gun and camera sold separately.  Sorry, I hope that didn’t offend anybody but I couldn’t resist.  The last thing I’d ever want to do is to make light of this tragic murder.  Those of you who have been following this blog know that. 

 I personally feel Arias continues to exploit her name recognition – even though for most people in America, her name is more associated with evil than anything else to further her own agenda.  She wants the pool of potential jurors to see “all the people she could help” while in prison. The book club was mentioned in her mitigation multi-media slide show/campaign speech.  If anybody has any ideas on measures we can take to ensure any/all sales this convicted felon makes make it into the hands of the victim’s family – please speak up.  Let’s put our collective minds together and be sure she is not profiting from the murder of another human being.




Mass Shootings in America - The Numbers Keep Rising

Since 1982 there have been more than 85 public mass shootings in America in 34 different states.  48 of the shootings have occurred since...

Most popular posts