Thursday, January 31, 2013

Graphic Photo of Travis Alexander Shocks Courtroom In Jodi Arias Murder Trial


There were tears and audible sobbing heard in the courtroom yesterday in the Jodi Arias murder trial after Prosecutor Juan Martinez suddenly displayed a graphic photo of a deceased Travis Alexander's throat, which was cut by defendant Jodi Arias.

There is a slideshow of 161 photos associated with this crime/trial on the Huffington Post's website.  I have to tell you how graphic they are. We've all heard the injuries to Travis Alexander described in detail during the court proceedings and prior to, but seeing them puts it in a whole other context. They are awful. It still stuns me that a person is capable of doing this to another person - let alone somebody they claim they love so dearly.  I'm not sure if the link below will work for you, but the slideshow is not hard to find. Just be warned....there are several heartbreaking photos of the victim, left to decompose in the shower of his own home. Even if you are opposed to the death penalty, I understand why it exists - for cases where such cruelty and great pain was inflicted that no other punishment is great enough:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/04/jodi-arias-crime-scene-photos_n_2412031.html

Member's of Travis Alexander's family ran out of the courtroom in tears - not expecting to be shown the graphic photo of their brother during the cross examination of defense witness Lisa (Andrews) Diadone.  Defense attorney Jennifer Willmott focused much of her questioning of the witness around a e-mail Diadone sent to Alexander after she became aware that he had lied to her about the nature of his relationship with Jodi Arias.  The e-mail itself was not admissible (hearsay), however Willmott highlighted the areas that seemed to show Alexander had lied to Lisa Diadone and cheated on her during their 7-8 month relationship.When it was time for the prosecutor to cross examine Diadone, Martinez tried to put the e-mail in it's context - with Diadone confirming she had written it at a time when she was extremely upset with Alexander and admitting perhaps it was an unfair depiction of their true relationship.  He brought the focus back to what this trial is about - physical abuse, asking her if he ever harmed her physically or acted aggressively towards her, and she said she was  never afraid, threatened by or forced to do anything she didn't want to do during their relationship.  It became clear that he was more serious about the long term potential and possible future with Diadone (then, Andrews) in a way he wasn't about Arias.  I think this is the crux of the issue.  Arias may have felt slighted by Travis Alexander - but the defense really didn't score any points in my mind because Diadone was able to better explain that angry e-mail and put it into it's proper context through the cross examination.

Did the prosecution cross a line by throwing that graphic photo up on the screen, bringing Arias, Travis's family and friends and many in the courtroom gallery on both sides to tears?  The State must have felt this was necessary, to show that during Lisa and Travis's relationship, they had many of the problems Jodi and Travis had - the lying and cheating in particular, however - Diadone didn't kill him, she reacted like most of the population does and broke off the relationship.  I think Martinez wanted to drive that point home, and I think he felt the focus needed to remain on the brutal nature of this murder and not become an examination of Travis Alexander's personal flaws.  After all, he is no longer here to defend himself.

Again, I know the defense is doing its' best to set a theme here that Travis was misleading the Mormon community by claiming to be an honorable virgin while having premarital sex with Arias - but I think too much is being made of this point. There's a big difference between lying to people about your virginity and being a domestic batterer. Let's keep the focus where it should be.  What matters here is can Willmott persuade the jury that Jodi Arias, after telling three versions of what happened felt at that moment that Travis Alexander was about to kill her for dropping his digital camera?  So far, nothing points to him as having a bad temper or being a bully.  He may have been ashamed at the physical nature of his relationship with Arias, but let's not forget that Arias herself converted to Mormonism too and was professing to her former boyfriend that she was now "saving herself for marriage" after they had had a long term relationship that included a sexual relationship.

Although that graphic photo wasn't shown on television, you could see Jennifer Willmott jumping up in protest of the photo calling it "irrelevant", after which the attorneys on both sides were called to the judges chambers and outside of the presence of the jury, the courtroom gallery was reminded by Judge Sherry Stephens that they should not react audibly to the testimony or evidence that was being presented.  Wow, it was quite a moment.  Lisa Diadone helped the State more than they helped the defense, in my humble opinion.  Testimony continues this morning - will Jodi Arias have to take the stand to tell her own story? I don't think the words of an expert witness are going to be enough to convince a jury that she was a battered woman or somebody who experienced post traumatic stress disorder. She is the only person who knows exactly what happened and how she felt. Problem is, she has little credibility after telling so many lies and the jury knows this.

I think she has to take the stand and that's what many people are waiting for.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Travis Alexander's Former Girlfriend Testifies in Jodi Arias Murder Trial

25 year old Lisa (Andrews) Daidone, a former girlfriend of Travis Alexander took the stand today as the defense's third witness in the Jodi Arias murder trial.  Travis Alexander's friends have talked about Lisa (then) Andrews and how serious Travis was about his relationship with her - some referring to her as "the love of his life".  We finally saw Lisa, and it was interesting to me that Jodi Arias seemingly couldn't take her eyes off Lisa when she was testifying.

This was one of Arias's biggest obstacles in getting to Travis Alexander.  Alexander was reportedly seeing both of them at the same time, giving some credit to Jennifer Willmott's opening statement in which she referred to Jodi as Travis's "dirty little secret".  Lisa is now married and goes by Lisa Daidone, and she seems like a lovely and genuine woman who's testimony was honest. I liked her. Attorney Jennifer Willmott questioned this witness, and that seemed to be a good decision because she is more personable than Mr. Nurmi. She was very respectful of this witness - through the many objections from Prosecutor Juan Martinez who objected to many of the questions Willmott was asking.

Lisa Daidone met Travis Alexander through their singles ward for the Mormon church and they dated from July, 2007 until late February, 2008.  Alexander was 10 years older than she was, and she described their on again off again relationship.  It came out through her testimony that Travis Alexander was seeing Jodi Arias at the time he was supposed to be in a committed relationship with Lisa, and although he denied being romantically involved with Arias, one of his roommates eventually told Lisa of the relationship between Arias and Alexander. This led to trust issues and one of their breakups.

We also learned that Travis Alexander was serious about Lisa Andrews "pretty fast" and he discussed marriage with her often. She felt she was too young, only 19 years old and this became one of the issues that would lead to another breakup.  Willmott was able to get testimony out to the jury, through Lisa, about the frequency in which Alexander talked about sex and how she didn't like the fact that he discussed it so much.  Lisa Daidone believed in the Mormon views around sex before marriage and she thought Travis did as well. She stated that she was surprised to find out after his death that Travis wasn't a virgin.

Much of the testimony seemed to be following a e-mail that Daidone sent to Alexander.  There have been so many sidebars throughout this morning's testimony, but from what I can gather, Willmott was following along a lengthy e-mail Lisa sent to Travis which described many of the problems the two were having in their relationship. In the e-mail, she wrote that she was sick of hearing Travis talk about Jodi Arias, she felt he hadn't been honest with her about his relationship with Arias - and how she felt that Alexander frequently needed his ego stroked, often wanting so many compliments from Daidone that it bothered her. He didn't approve of the profession Lisa wanted to go into, teaching.  He didn't care about her problems, but wanted her to care alot about his.  He didn't come across too well during this testimony - but again, this was one e-mail that was sent.  Again - this trial isn't about whether or not Travis Alexander was a virgin, whether he was truthful, honest or respectful to the women in his life.  It's about his murder.  Was he physically abusing Arias and about to kill her on June 4, 2008?

It will be interesting to see how the prosecutor handles his cross examination of this witness.  His style and aggressive mannerism shouldn't matter, but it can be annoying to the jury if he consistently attacks everyone who takes the stand. Especially this woman. I'm sure she doesn't want to say anything to hurt Travis Alexander - she loved him and she seems genuine and honest. She has to be conflicted being called to testify about somebody she cared a great deal about.  One thing I took away from her testimony so far is this:  Travis lied to her and apparently cheated on her too.  But she didn't KILL him, she broke off the relationship, like normal people do. If being lied to and cheated on was justification for homicide, I'd estimate 50% of the population could be at risk.  It's not pretty, but we are human and nobody's perfect.

Hopefully Martinez will question Diadone in a respectful and non confrontational way, and bring the focus back to the facts.  Was Diadone afraid of Travis? Was he ever rough with her? Did he ever act in a physical or threatening manner?  These are pertinent questions.  Sure, the victim in this case may not have been as honorable as his family and friends believed he was.  But everybody has their secrets.  I don't believe being a cheater and liar makes you fair game for a brutal rage killing. Willmott will continue her questioning of this witness after the afternoon lunch break.


Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Fireworks In The Courtroom - Jodi Arias Murder Trial Resumes

Fireworks erupted in the Phoenix, Arizona courtroom yesterday as Jodi Arias's attorneys made claims of "prosecutorial misconduct".  The scope of their claims are a mystery at this point, but their was an oddball witness named Gus Searcy called to the stand who sparred with Prosecutor Juan Martinez - twice he corrected Martinez's use of the English language which seemed to further infuriate Martinez.  Searcy repeatedly pointed out that Martinez's questions contained "double negatives", and he seemed to take pleasure in poking at the prosecutor.

I hope Jodi Arias was paying attention!  She got a preview of the fury she faces if she is brazen enough to take the stand and lie under oath.  Nobody really knows what this alleged prosecutorial misconduct is all about.  All I could make of Gus Searcy's trip to the witness stand is that he seems to be an arrogant man, who smiled and seemingly laughed at Prosecutor Martinez's questions - not wanting to answer directly, rather he seemed to want to control the questioning, prompting Martinez to tell him "you don't get to ask the questions here"!  Searcy was defiant at times and seemed pre-occupied with his cellphone?  I believe Searcy also works for Pre Paid Legal or he works closely with them and that is how he became involved with the Arias case.

Apparently Searcy had attempted to contact the prosecutor's office at some point over the last 4 1/2 years and was not called back.  This is what was reported yesterday, although that would not seem to constitute misconduct unless Searcy had some type of exculpatory evidence that would help Jodi Arias and the State knowingly witheld that information from the defense.   The defense team seems to be grasping at straws here.  They've made motions for dismissal and mistrials, both of which were denied.

The various news outlets covering the courtroom activity yesterday streamed headlines that seemed to imply there was a witness who had information that could either be very good for Arias or very bad for Arias.  Very confusing.  The misconduct issues will continue today.

Yesterday, Nancy Grace reported that Jodi Arias tried to get a plea deal with the State of Arizona, offering to plead guilty to 2nd degree murder in exchange for a "light" sentence.  I believe 2nd degree murder would only carry a sentence of 10-25 years in prison, the State declined to take her plea.  I don't know the timing of this reported plea offer by he defense, it wasn't clear by the information being reported yesterday.  Nancy Grace is in Arizona reporting for her show on HLN.  She toured the Estrella Jail facility where Arias has been held since her arrest in July, 2008. She spoke to some of the women who are in Arias's "pod", and many of those people reportedly believe Arias's claims of self defense.

The question on everyone's mind is will Jodi Arias take the stand? I'm sure Nancy Grace wants to be in that courtroom when the verdict is handed down! Expect it to be raining "bombshells" on verdict day with Nancy Grace in the house......



Saturday, January 26, 2013

Defending Jodi Arias - Murder Trial Resumes Tuesday

The Jodi Arias murder trial is scheduled to resume on Tuesday, January 29 2013, 12 days after Prosecutor Juan Martinez and the State of Arizona stood before the jury and rested their case.  The State put on several key witnesses during their case in chief, putting the pieces of a complex puzzle together for jurors to see.  Did they prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Jodi Arias planned this murder?  I guess that will depend on the jury's understanding of the word "reasonable".  A jury in Florida famously seemed to confuse "reasonable doubt" with "no doubt at all", letting Casey Anthony walk away from the more serious charges against her.  I'm no lawyer, but since when does NOT reporting your child missing (or dead/drowned) for 31 days NOT equal aggravated child abuse or neglect??  

Anyway, that was a different time, place and case. Despite the comparisons being drawn between Casey Anthony and Jodi Arias, the only thing these two have in common is the ability to lie, and to stick with the lie until the lie no longer holds water.  Then they shift to a NEW lie, and so on and so forth.  The Florida jury didn't have the benefit of knowing for certain how little Caylee Anthony died, or if she was killed.  This is a VERY different set of circumstances. Jodi Arias killed Travis Alexander on June 4, 2008.  She has conceded as much, but not admitting it because it was the right thing to do, or because it weighed heavily on her conscious - she only admitted to it when she knew the police had recovered the photos, and she left a bloody palm print.  Then, and ONLY then, she admitted to being there. But guess what, she still didn't tell the truth.  The second story was far more outrageous than her outright denial of being there in story #1.  Did she really think anyone was going to believe the story of two masked intruders? Watching her police interrogation, you could actually see her pausing to think up the next lie.  Kudos to Detective Flores for trying to keep Arias's rants on topic.  People with something to hide tend to ramble, and Jodi Arias was rambling.  He let her. She talked herself right into a corner - somewhere between story #2 and obtaining defense attorney Jennifer Willmott, we were presented with story #3 - self defense.

How will Willmott & Co. handle the damage control? It's got to be difficult to defend a client who has lied so many times and told so many stories.  I think the self defense story is just as ludicrous as story #2, the masked intruder story. All that's missing now is a one-armed man.....Many people, myself included were surprised at the sudden resting of the prosecution's case, but they must have their reasons for the timing.  According to some reports, there was a lot more evidence the jury could've heard, including the report that Arias was allegedly seen packing up her car and it appeared she was going to bolt. There were also some very interesting diary entries. Perhaps these things will come out during the State's rebuttal case.  The defense's witness list includes a former boyfriend of Jodi Arias from California, two of Travis Alexander's friends who the defense alleges he was dating at the same time as he was dating Jodi Arias (so, is that a crime?), a local psychologist and expert on sexual violence cases named Richard Samuels, Kimberly Ross - one of Jodi Arias's former "cellies" and Jodi Arias herself appears on the witness list.  Will she take the stand?

It appears the defense will do their best to paint Travis Alexander as a womanizer, a man who was leading a "double life" and kept the helpless Arias as his "dirty little secret" while presenting himself as a devout Mormon and inspirational man of integrity.  They want to make him look as bad as possible, without outright attacking him as juries historically don't like it when a defense attorney blames the victim for their own murder. Do they stand a chance?  If the jury sticks to the known facts of this case, I don't believe they do.  In my eyes, it comes down to this:  Jodi Arias claims Travis Alexander became enraged at her when she dropped his new digital camera. He was in the shower, naked - and supposedly "lunged" at her. Had that happened, I believe Arias had every opportunity to simply run away! Would a naked man run out into the street of his own neighborhood to chase her down?  Even IF he lunged at her, and he managed to get to her - she just happened to have a knife handy to protect herself in that bathroom? Are we really supposed to believe it happened this way? If she had to retrieve the knife from her purse or luggage, that took time - time she SHOULD'VE used to run away, not murder him!  I just don't see any way the self defense claim rings true.  She either had the knife on her person while taking those shower pictures, or she had it in her purse.  If she had to leave the bathroom, in fear for her life to get to that knife, than in my opinion she had ample time to remove herself from the situation by leaving. The only other option is that she had the knife ON her when taking the shower photos. Looking at the time stamps on the recovered photos, that seems to be the most likely scenario.  Either way, she murdered him.  People actually do manage to defend themselves when they are truly in danger without hacking the person to death.  Even if you give her the benefit of doubt and believe her claim, one stab to the arm or leg would've enabled her to get away from him.  There was no need to stab him 28 times, slit his throat and shoot him in the head!  There's no justification for what she did.  Many of those stab wounds were to his back - how does Arias explain why she had to stab him in the back?  

She would've been better off claiming temporary insanity than self defense.  There must be some legal reason that she is going this route, but every way I look at her claims I cannot find justification or anything close to justification. The only question is how much planning will the jury believe was involved in this murder.  There's the mysterious robbery at her grandparents home, where a .25 caliber gun was taken, she rented a car in another city with her hair dyed another color than it was when she returned it, there's the lack of receipts during the time she was in and going through Arizona, her phone was off during the time she was in and around Arizona, it appears the weapons came with her to the crime scene and weren't weapons of opportunity - there is her "normal" behavior immediately after killing another human being that she supposedly loved, the make out session with Ryan Burns just hours after brutally killing the man who baptized you in the Mormon church...I could go on and on.  I didn't even mention all of the lies in that summary.  Jennifer Willmott has her work cut out for her next week.  Sorry, the name of Arias's other defense attorney escapes me at the moment!

What a tragic story this is.  Sure, maybe Travis Alexander wasn't as perfect as friends and family believed he was.  He was HUMAN after all.  I'm sure he made many mistakes, who hasn't?  He may have dated more than one woman at a time, he had sex with Jodi Arias who wasn't his wife - did he deserve to die for these things?  Absolutely not.  I obviously didn't know Travis Alexander or Jodi Arias.  But everything I've read or heard about him tells me he was a good man, an inspirational and generous man. He was generous with his time, his home, he really wanted to help other people.  He seemed to be larger than life.  Despite a really bad childhood that included drug addicted parents, he accomplished so much during his brief life.  I have to say that I think I would've really liked Travis Alexander. I pray for justice for him, for the sake of the many friends and family members who loved him and will miss him every day for the rest of their lives.  Trial coverage resumes on In Session next Tuesday.  The defense has had 12 days to think about how to best defend their client.  Do you think the State has proved their case beyond a reasonable doubt?  Please let me know your thoughts!  

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Jodi Arias Artwork Selling on eBay?

Just when you think the Jodi Arias murder trial couldn't get any weirder, the "ick" factor goes up another notch. ABC News is reporting that Arias's jailhouse artwork is up for sale on eBay! Arias currently is being held on a $2,000,000 bond in the Estrella jail in Maricopa County, where she has been since her arrest on July 15, 2008.

According to published reports, Arias has two sketches up for sale with the online auction site eBay.  The sketches were done using colored pencils, one is of Grace Kelly and the other is an unknown female (jailhouse model??). The same report states that any/all proceeds will be used for Jodi Arias's family's travel expenses during her trial.  The trial began on January 2, 2013, and many people were surprised when Prosecutor Juan Martinez stood and told the court that the State rested their case last week.  There were several additional prosecution witnesses scheduled to testify this week.

The trial is set to resume on January 29th, when the defense will put on their case.  They are expected to call "experts" on domestic violence and/or battered women, but many believe Jodi Arias herself will have to take the stand to explain her "self defense" defense!  Had "self defense" been her story from day one, this may be an easier sell for Arias.  However, since "self defense" was her THIRD account of what happened on June 4, 2008, she has some explaining to do.  Her first statement simply was "I wasn't there", "I wasn't anywhere near Mesa or Phoenix" and "I didn't hurt Travis".  

She went as far as to tell Detective Esteban Flores "IF I had done this to Travis, I'd BEG for the death penalty!".  Wow.  They couldn't write a script to match the drama of this case.  There is a mountain of physical evidence against Arias.  With that being said, Arias herself has been her worst enemy.  She has given many interviews in her jailhouse stripes, the first of which she denies any involvement in Travis Alexander's death.  "I am innocent", "I would never hurt Travis" - she goes as far as to call the killing "heinous".  In another interview, after being confronted with the evidence that she WAS there, she changed her story to "two masked/armed intruders" came in and killed Travis. She said that she barely escaped with her life.  Why didn't she immediately call the authorities? After all, she claims that Travis was still alive when she "got away".  The masked intruders had pulled out her driver's license and knew where she lived. They threatened to kill or harm her family.  Did she really think a jury will buy this?

I think the self defense (or as I call it, her "hail Mary" defense) claim came after she obtained a decent attorney who brought her back to the planet Earth and she finally realized the charges she was facing.  I think Arias is used to using her looks and her soft spoken mannerisms to make people believe what she is saying.  This is different - this is murder, and she faces the death penalty.  Prosecutor Juan Martinez sent Wendy Aronson to death row in 2004 for murdering her terminally ill husband Joe.  He knows what he's doing, and he is not charmed by Arias.  You cannot judge a book by it's cover.  Just because Arias may not look like a killer doesn't mean she isn't one.  Arias tells Detective Flores during one of their taped interviews that "all of her ex-boyfriends are still alive"!  Wow.  What does that prove?  She seemed to come very close to confessing during one of those interviews, saying "what IF I did this......".  The old hypothetical.  She ultimately retreated to her state of denial.

I think Detective Flores was brilliant in his interviews with this serial-liar.  He was patient but firm - he didn't bully her, he didn't interrupt her - he let her talk, and talk and talk and talk.  He let her paint herself right into a corner.  So many times you see law enforcement talk over the person they are questioning.  They ask a question, and then interrupt when they start talking. Flores didn't do that.  He kept his calm demeanor, all the while letting Arias know that the jig was up.  He KNEW she was there - he KNEW she did this to Travis Alexander and he wasn't having any more of her lies.  I don't have any experience in law enforcement whatsoever, but I thought he did a great job with Arias.  

So now with this gaping break between the State's case and the defense case, what's happening?  I'm trying to not read too much into the State's sudden resting of their case, or the break between the prosecution and the defense case.  Ultimately, the state will have the last word.  The jury will be properly instructed by the judge and the jurors will be left with the facts presented in the courtroom.  Who has credibility and who doesn't?  How much weight should be given to the testimony of a person who has lied repeatedly IF she takes the stand?  Do you believe placing her hand on the Bible and swearing to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth will compel this defendant to TELL THE TRUTH??  I'm not so sure.

Since Jodi Arias hasn't been convicted of a crime (yet), I don't believe she's breaking any laws by selling her "artwork", although it's probably poor taste to buy it.  I personally don't believe murderers should profit from their notoriety - ever.  But what do I know?  The one (non-Grace Kelly) sketch I saw on the ABC news story online actually wasn't bad - but why do so many people seek out the artwork of murderers?  I know, I know - Jodi Arias has not been convicted of any crime.  But do you honestly think her sketches would be fetching "hundreds of dollars" on eBay had it NOT been for her incarceration or her trial?  I don't think so.  We know that Charles Manson has fashioned "spiders" out of human hair. People serving life have a lot of time on their hands.

I don't mean to sound insensitive to Jodi Arias's family.  I've seen her mother in the courtroom, and this has to be hell for her. This is her daughter.  She's had to sit through some pretty bad stuff.  Horrific crime scene photos, the accidental photos and the infamous nude photos recovered from Travis Alexander's new digital camera.  Her daughter has admitted to killing him.  Looking at the aftermath of that June 4, 2008 evening has to be surreal to her family.  They may not have the money to handle the expenses of traveling to Arizona for a prolonged trial. I do feel for them.  I just don't feel for Jodi Arias.  Had she been honest about what happened - maybe I could feel something for her, a little bit of empathy?  But given the fact that she hasn't told the truth - and I don't believe she is telling the truth now with the self defense, I have no sympathy for her.  Not only did she physically kill this man, she is now dragging his name through the mud when he isn't around to defend himself.  That's what Juan Martinez has to do for him.

I don't know who or how her sketches are being sold outside of the jail system - somebody is facilitating these auction items.  I'm sure Jodi has many "supporters" outside of the courtroom who are willing to help her.  I just think it's in poor taste given what she allegedly did to another human being.  Thank God for the photos, and thank God for technology and the Mesa police department.  Had it not been for the recovered photos, people may have had a difficult time believing such a petite and soft spoken woman would be capable of such a brutal murder of a man who was much bigger than she is.

The photos say a lot.  There are no weapons visible in the shower photos of Travis Alexander. No weapons on the sink or near the basin - had Travis Alexander been the aggressor in this fight, wouldn't Jodi Arias have had some marks, bruises or other defensive wounds on her person?  She had some cuts on her hand - we all know that this is common when somebody attacks another person with a knife.  The knife becomes slippery with blood, and the person holding the knife ultimately cuts themselves with their own weapon.  At least two people saw Jodi Arias the day after this murder - neither of them report her having any bruises, scratches or any other defensive wounds to her person.  Just the cuts. She even lied about the cuts - telling those who noticed that she cut herself on a broken glass while working at Margaritaville. FYI, there IS NO Margarittaville in Yreka, CA where she lived and they have no record of her ever being employed there in any of their REAL locations.

So I'll leave you with this.  IF a person feels the need to lie about the little things, do you really think she'd have a moral issue lying about the BIG things that matter, like murder?  IF you were really a victim of domestic violence, or had gotten into a physical confrontation with someone you were close to, how could you NOT tell somebody what you just went through? Would you be able to go on with your plans and act as if nothing had ever happened?  How could you hold in the hurt and the trauma of what happened?  Wouldn't you want someone to know the truth?  There would be no reason to lie. There would certainly be no reason to lie twice!  But now, we are expected to believe the latest story because she is telling this story in a court of law?

Good luck - Jennifer Willmott & team, you have a tough sell ahead of  you.  I don't believe there are enough expert witnesses out there to change my mind about what happened to Travis Alexander, and why.  And I won't be bidding a red cent for an Arias original sketch either!!

Friday, January 18, 2013

The Prosecution's Case Against Jodi Arias

Many court watchers, myself included were surprised yesterday when prosecutor Juan Martinez stood up and rested its case in chief against murder defendant Jodi Arias.  According to reports, there were many more witnesses that were on the witness list, going into next week.  This happens frequently and isn't necessarily a sign of anything.  I really don't think anybody expected the State to rest after hearing the testimony of Arias (and Alexander) friend Leslie Udy.  If the State wanted to go out with a "bang", many feel they missed their mark!

Although Udy was called as a prosecution witness and did provide a first person insight into how Arias behaved in the days that followed this brutal murder, she also bolstered the defense's portrayal of Jodi Arias as a "soft spoken & kind" person.  How much weight will this have on the jury's perception of her?  The State must have strategic reasons for ending their case in this manner.  

Much has also been made about the questions jurors have been asking in open court.  They have asked about the recovery of the weapons used to kill Travis Alexander, they have asked about the alibis of Alexander's roommates and about fingerprint and other forensic evidence that was or was not done within that crime scene.  These questions have been a topic of discussion on Jane Valez-Mitchell's and Nancy Grace's shows - both of which have been reporting on this trial from the start.

I think the jury is just being thorough. The questions they are asking seemingly have nothing to do with what we already know - after all, Arias has (finally!) conceded that she killed Travis Alexander.  It's not a question of "who", but "why".  With that in mind, why would it matter if the crime scene technicians checked prints and alibi's of the roommates?  They did - however, it really makes one wonder what the jury is thinking.  They now have nearly 12 days to ponder the State's evidence before returning to hear the defense case.  The number one question on everyone's mind, will Jodi Arias take the stand?

If she does take the stand, how much weight will be given to her version of events given the fact that the jury has viewed hours of Arias interviews with Detective Flores in which she piles lie upon lie?  How are we to believe anything she says when we've seen her lie repeatedly?  Just because she swears to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth - why would she?

Jodi Arias has dug herself into a huge hole.  I've tried to keep an open mind with this case, but thus far I haven't heard anything that would make me believe this was a case of self defense.  Under the law, even if you BELIEVE she feared for her life in that moment in the bathroom, she is ONLY lawfully able to respond with LIKE force.  If Travis did "lunge" at her, she cannot stab him 28+ times, she cannot slit his throat and shoot him! She can only use enough force necessary to escape the perceived threat.  Not one person, even Arias herself has ever said anything about Travis Alexander being abusive, violent or threatening.  Just the opposite.

Much has been made about Travis living a "double life" and keeping Arias as his "dirty little secret". EVEN IF that is somewhat true, that doesn't justify this homicide.  SHE brought the knife and gun into that home.  SHE killed him.  Hearing her tell Detective Flores that IF she had it in her to kill Travis, she would've done it in a more "humane" fashion has to infuriate Travis's family and friends.  This was anything but humane. He suffered - the medical examiner testified that death wasn't immediate for him.  I can't imagine what he went through in his final moments.  Judging by her lack of injuries, this was in NO way a fair fight.  She had the upper hand by bringing those weapons in, and using them on a defenseless man who was just taking a shower.

She lulled him into a false sense of security by having sex with him, and under the rouse of taking pictures of him in the shower, she attacked him when he was most vulnerable.  This is despicable.  Don't feel sorry for Jodi Arias.  She is not the victim here.  What is going to happen when the defense presents their case?  What do the jury questions say about their thoughts on the State's case?


I believe that ultimately the jurors will come back to the facts in this case.  She admitted to killing him - but only when she could no longer deny it.  She tried to sell another story that put her at the crime scene, but pointed at two masked intruders as the culprits.  What battered woman would do this?  I think too much is made about her mental state and the simple facts are overlooked.  It's just hard for people to believe that a petite, nice looking well spoken WOMAN could be responsible for such a horrific murder.  "There must be a reason"....there was a reason - jealousy.  Pure and simple.

I truly believe that Jodi Arias, knowing how persuasive Travis Alexander is - he courted her for several months, may fall in love with Marie Hall on that Cancun trip.  Even if Hall stated that she wasn't interested in Travis Alexander romantically, and she told him as much - Arias didn't know that!  She probably pictured the two of them, falling in love - she knows how charming her ex boyfriend can be.  She could not stand the thought that she may be replaced by another woman. This is what the timing of the murder tells me.  She couldn't and wouldn't take that chance.  I really believe it's that simple.

Travis Alexander was pulling away from Jodi Arias.  He appears to have been thinking a lot about his life, and getting married and having a family.  She wasn't part of his master plan.  I've heard her talking about "her faith", meaning her Mormon faith.  She wasn't raised Mormon!  This is something she did for Travis.  She believed this would bring them together, perhaps making her "wife material"?  Sure, Travis was carrying on an intimate relationship in direct conflict with the Mormon beliefs he was raised with.  He may have kept that part of his life secret - maybe he was ashamed.  He wasn't living the life he wanted to live.  Did he deserve to die for his indiscretion?  No, he didn't.

Perhaps Travis Alexander wasn't as perfect as friends have portrayed him to be. None of us are.  But from all accounts, he was an inspirational person who helped and touched many many people.  That's what you hear about Travis from the people who knew him.  He was larger than life.  She wasn't.  She may have felt used and betrayed.  I think we can all understand those emotions.  We have probably all felt similarly in our lives.  That does not give her a pass on murder!

Many have compared Jodi Arias to Casey Anthony, and have drawn comparisons between the two woman and the two trials.  They both were caught lying in very public manners.  But that's where the similarity ends.  Casey Anthony ended up walking on all serious charges against her.  The prosecution couldn't say how little Caylee died, so it's understandable that they had some concerns about putting Casey away for life with so many pieces of the puzzle missing.  Sure, I believe Casey Anthony lied right up until the end of her trial.  She is the only person alive who knows what really happened to her daughter.  It's unbelievable that she would put her family and the entire country through what she did.  All of the resources that were wasted during the many searches for Caylee could've been better spent on a child that was really missing.  She will have to live with the truth for the rest of her life.

But this is a whole different case.  The jury knows how Travis Alexander died, they know when he died.  They have seen pictures of him moments before and moments after he died.  They know Jodi Arias was the only person there.  They know she has admitted to killing him.  The only thing in question is "why"?  Look at who had the weapons.  Look at how the weapons got to his home.  Ask yourself why she would carry a knife into the bathroom.  I hope the jury will remained focused on the why and not the who.

Thankfully, the State will ultimately have the last word in that courtroom before the jury gets the case.  They will have the opportunity to bring this all back into focus after the defense puts on their case.  It will be fascinating to see if Arias herself takes the stand.  Will the jury believe her?  How will the defense explain away all of the lies, the manner in which Arias tried to conceal her trip to Mesa?  Why wouldn't she simply claim self defense right after this happened?  Why call the victim's cellphone and leave him voice mails when she knew damned well he was dead?  She went to great lengths to distance herself from the scene.  Thankfully she underestimated the Mesa Police Department and the technicians who were able to bring the deleted photos back to light.  Had it not been for the photos, this would've been a tougher case to prove.

Court resumes on January 29th, when the defense will put on their case.  Will they have anybody other than "experts" on battered women?  During Arias's interrogations, she NOT ONCE talks about being abused or afraid of Travis Alexander. She describes them as best friends.  She told the same thing to her friends and family.  I expect the experts to claim that this is common behavior of a battered woman, keeping the abuse secret.  It may come down to credibility.  Arias has none.  



Thursday, January 17, 2013

The Prosecution Rests In The Jodi Arias Murder Trial

Wow - the State of Arizona just rested it's case this morning in the Jodi Arias Murder Trial after calling the "Custodian of Records" from Sprint phone company, Detective Esteban Flores and Leslie Udy, a friend of Arias who saw her on June 5, 2008 in Utah.  

The Sprint representative explained phone records, but Leslie Udy provided a look into how Jodi Arias behaved when she saw her the day after Travis Alexander was killed.  Leslie Udy met Jodi Arias at a Pre Paid Legal conference in June of 2007, and they continued to keep in touch.  Udy stated that when she saw Jodi Arias on June 5, 2008 "she was Jodi", nothing seemed out of the ordinary.  Arias told her that Travis Alexander had invited her to stop in Mesa on her way to Utah, but she declined in part to put some distance between them.  She further stated that although they were no longer together, they were "best friends".

I was fairly surprised when Prosecutor Juan Martinez rested his case this morning.  It seemed sudden.  They have put on a ton of evidence in the case already, still it seemed sudden.  The judge instructed the jury that they would not be required to come back to court for an extended period of time, I believe  she said January 29th?  The defense is arguing for the dismissal of some charges at the moment.  I believe they are arguing about the first degree murder charge specifically.

There are numerous problems with the self defense claim by Arias.  As we have seen by the layout of Travis Alexander's home, it was a fairly large master suite they were in during the June 4, 2008 visit.  They took nude photos of each other, Jodi Arias took photos of Travis Alexander while he was in the shower.  He appeared to be in a relaxed state.  What the recovered photos show me is that he was completely unaware of what was about to happen to him. He was posing for the camera.  There are no weapons showing in the shower or bathroom photos - Travis Alexander did not have ANY weapons with him.  This means that Jodi Arias HAD TO HAVE taken a knife into that master bathroom with her.

She had to have gone presumably into the other room, perhaps in her purse - and get that knife.  There is no evidence that the knife came from the crime scene, she brought it with her.  Had he "lunged" at her as she has alleged - that would put him OUT of the shower.  The State believes he was stabbed inside the shower, at least initially.  The attack appears to have moved into other areas of the bathroom, but it began while he was in the shower.  Defenseless.  I believe she caught him completely off guard and he probably was so shocked at what was happening that he had no time to react.  He had defensive wounds to his hands, he was stabbed in the back and head. All evidence points to Arias as being the absolute aggressor in this case.

Jodi Arias has lied from the very start.  She stuck to the "I wasn't there, I didn't do it" story right up until the time that Detective Flores put the recovered photos in front of her.  Even then, she says "that LOOKS like me".  She also asserts that photos can be "altered" and that she doesn't trust date and time stamps.  ONLY WHEN she couldn't deny that she wasn't there did she change her story.  And even then she didn't tell the truth.  She simply altered the story to fit the evidence she believed the police had against her.  Deny deny deny.  Detective Flores never believed the first or second stories she told him.  During the second police interview shown from July 16, 2008 (the day after her arrest), Arias is still lying and won't tell him the truth.

She tries to sell a story that two masked/armed intruders came into the home and killed Travis and threatened to do the same to her.  This was her opportunity to tell the police that she was abused and acted in self defense!  If it had truly been self defense, why would she make up these stories?  Wouldn't it have been easier to just tell the truth?  I believe if the police hadn't been able to recover those deleted photos, she may never have admitted to anything!

There are just too many things that point to premeditation and against self defense.  The 2,834 mile trip in a rental car, the .25 caliber gun that was "stolen" from Jodi Arias's grandparents home in Yreka, CA, the photos that appear to show a very consensual interlude between Arias and Alexander - Arias remaining at the crime scene and washing the sheets/camera and the victims body, Arias appears to have called Travis Alexander's voice mail and listened to his personal messages 6 hours after she killed him, Arias herself called Travis's cellphone several times and left messages for him - in an appearance to create an alibi - I could go on and on and on!

There hasn't been a single person the defense could call to the stand to verify Arias's claims of abuse at the hands of Travis Alexander.  The defense hasn't put on their case yet, but I expect the only witnesses they will call will be "expert witnesses" to testify about the way a "battered woman" would act.  It will be interesting to see what the defense tries to do when they put on their case in chief when the trial resumes.

Prosecutor Juan Martinez secured a first degree murder conviction with the death penalty attached just about 8 years ago when he prosecuted Wendi Andriano in 2004 for the murder of her terminally ill husband Joe.  Andriano also claimed she killed her in self defense.  Her husband was terminally ill, yet she tried to poison him with sodium azide, and when that didn't do the trick she struck him more than 20 times with a bar stool before stabbing him.  She is sitting on death row in Arizona, and Juan Martinez put her there.

Wow, what a day in that courtroom!



Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Lies, Lies, Lies - Jodi Arias Murder Trial Continues

My, my, my!  The Jodi Arias murder trial continued yesterday and oh my - the lies just get more outlandish every time Jodi Arias opens her mouth.  Yesterday, the jury was shown parts of the 7/15/08 and 7/16/08 police interviews/interrogations between Arias and Detective Esteban Flores.  Knowing what we now know about what Jodi Arias's role was in this senseless and brutal murder, it's just unreal to watch and listen to what she initially tells Detective Flores during those two interviews following her 7/15/08 arrest in Yreka, CA.

I think Detective Flores did an outstanding job with these interviews with Arias.  One of my biggest pet peeves is that often times during these interviews, the detectives interrupt the perpetrator or don't allow them to fully answer a question before moving on to the next question.  This doesn't appear to happen here, and Detective Flores just lets Arias talk, and talk, and talk!  If Arias doesn't end up taking the stand, the jury will have at least had an opportunity to view these interrogations and see how easily she seems to formulate her stories and lies.  During the 7/15/08 interview, Arias sticks to her story "I wasn't there", even when Flores states that he has proof she was.

You can almost see the wheels turning in Arias's head at those points - I really don't think she believed she would be suspected or caught for this murder.  As she tries to explain away things that Detective Flores confronts her with, such as the pictures recovered from the digital camera - it's almost as if she truly believes if she adds just one more tidbit of information or another detail that her story will be believed.  Flores doesn't give an inch - he is calm and very confident. 

Story/Version #2 is given by Arias during the 7/16/08 interview, where she concedes that she WAS there, but they were both attacked by two armed intruders.  She gives small details to Flores, about what the "intruders" said to her and even to one another.  Her story is so unbelievable - she clearly didn't think this through when she fabricated story #2! It makes absolutely no sense that these two intruders would come into the house, kill Travis Alexander and let a eyewitness walk away.  It's also unbelievable that HAD that really happened, SHE WOULD'VE DIALED 911!  Is it reasonable to believe she could really just walk away from the scene she described, in which she claims Travis Alexander was still alive when they let her go?  Lame story.

My thoughts are this:  how is a jury going to believe anything that Arias says after seeing and hearing the numerous lies and stories she has been telling law enforcement officials throughout these interviews?  Credibility is the one asset that a defendant MUST have, and she clearly has blown hers out of the water.  Her lies don't even make sense, they are self serving and I think the jury will see through the "self defense" claim.   Wow, the prosecution has done an excellent job putting forth this evidence in a clear and concise manner.  There is so much physical and forensic evidence against Arias, the defense has to be reeling at this point.

As an average citizen, I personally don't feel that Jodi Arias acted in self defense - rather, this was a rageful, spiteful, callous execution.  She couldn't stand the though of Travis Alexander moving on in his life without her in the picture.  The 6/10/08 Cancun trip may have pushed her over the edge - here they are, taking pictures of one another with the brand new camera he purchased - possibly to take on the Cancun trip, and he was taking another woman.  She snapped.  She would've been much better off just telling the truth from the beginning.  I think people would be more compassionate for somebody who "snapped" and did something they really regretted, IF they took responsibility for the crime right away.  She did the opposite.  She lied and tried to cover her trail.  

She is probably kicking herself in the a@@ for leaving that digital camera behind....the weapons have not been recovered, but if the police didn't have that camera, she may have been able to weave a little more elaborate web of lies.  It certainly would've left more room for "reasonable doubt" if not for the photos, but those photos tell the truth for Travis Alexander.

Coverage continues today!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Phone Records Examined in Jodi Arias Murder Trial

The jury in the Jodi Arias murder trial is hearing testimony this morning from a representative from Verizon, Jody Citizen.  Mr. Citizen is breaking down the phone activity on Travis Alexander's cell phone on June 4, 2008 - the day he was murdered.

Prosecutor Juan Martinez has been able to show the jury, through the phone records that somebody used Travis Alexander's phone for approximately 16 minutes AFTER the time he was presumably dead.  The photo evidence shows that he was more than likely dead around 5:32PM on June 4, 2008.  The records show that later that evening, well after 5:32PM, someone accessed his  phone for nearly 16 minutes.  The most likely scenario is Jodi Arias taking the time at the crime scene to listen to Travis's voice mails.

Wow.  How does the defense recover from this type of phone activity and testimony? What explanation can they come up with to counter this?  Further, the phone records show that two calls were made from Travis Alexander's phone to Jodi Arias's cell phone after the time of his death.  Was she trying to further bolster her alibi? 

The defense is going to have a hard time explaining these details. Defense attorney Jennifer Willmott looks a little bewildered as she hears these details.  This would seem to support the "stalker" mentality of Jodi Arias. She remained at the crime scene long enough to clean herself up, wash off Travis Alexander's body and "stage" the scene with him stuffed into the shower - and then she took the time to call his voicemail and listen to his messages?  Do these sound like the actions of a woman who killed only in "self defense"?

If I'm a juror, my thoughts would be NO!!  I don't envy the defense in this case. If there are two calls from Alexander's phone to Arias's phone AFTER the time he was known to be dead - who else could've made those calls, and WHY?  Wow.  Thank God for technology!


Monday, January 14, 2013

More Testimony on Recovered Photos - Jodi Arias Murder Trial

During the first two weeks of this action packed trial, the jury has heard from several first responders, the friends of murder victim Travis Alexander - who had the unfortunate task of finding him dead in his home after he had been killed 5 days earlier, forensic experts, latent print experts - all from Maricopa County law enforcement agencies as well as hearing from an officer who responded to a reported gun theft from Jodi Arias's grandparents home in Yreka, CA just about a week prior to the murder.

30 year old Travis Alexander was found dead in the shower of his Mesa, AZ home on June 9, 2008. He had been stabbed more than 27 times, had his throat slit and had been shot in the face.  Evidence recovered from the crime scene included a bloody palm print of Jodi Arias, as well as several photos that had been previously deleted from the victim's digital camera that placed Arias at the scene on the day police believe he was killed - June 4, 2008.  Photos that were taken, and later deleted (presumably by Arias) captured Alexander and Arias in various states of undress and they appeared to have been having consensual sex during that visit.

The recovered photos also depict some photos of Travis Alexander that were taken in his shower, while he was alive - followed by pictures that would seem to represent a fierce struggle between the two.  Finally, photos of a dead or dying Alexander were captured, then deleted.  It is unknown if Arias meant to take those final pictures.  The recovered photos have been essential in breaking down Arias's previous lies to police - she denied seeing Travis in several months, then claimed 2 armed intruders killed him. When the overwhelming forensic evidence started coming back proving she was there, she adjusted her story and claimed she killed him in self defense.

Just to recap - my understanding of self defense is, that you defend yourself with enough force to escape the immediate danger.  This killing involved the victim being stabbed 27-29 times, several of those stab wounds were to his back, his throat was slit from ear to ear before finally being shot in the face with a .25 caliber gun.  Coincidentally, Arias's grandparents - where she was living in Yreka, CA reported a break-in at their home on 5/28/08 where a .25 caliber gun was "stolen". The prosecution has alleged Arias took the gun with the intent of using it on Travis.

Alexander was set to leave on a Cancun, Mexico vacation with friend Marie "Mimi" Hall on June 10, 2008.  When she hadn't heard from Travis in several days, friends went to his house to see if he was alright.  How horrifying to walk into that bloody crime scene where Travis's body lay for 5 days.  Nobody should have to see things like that.

Arias's demeanor in court has been somewhat subdued - she seems to cry at the appropriate moments. It's hard to tell if she is really upset, seeing what she ultimately did to this man that she loved or if she is crying for her potential death sentence she faces if convicted. Maybe it's a little of both?  She has been taking notes and sharing them with her attorney Jennifer Willmott throughout the testimony of the Yreka police officer. Perhaps she's offering insight into things that are being alleged? Who knows for sure.  

What we do know is that she FINALLY, when backed into a corner of physical and forensic evidence admitted to killing Travis Alexander. I don't believe this was a case of self defense, as the defense has alluded. This was a rageful and out of control blitz attack on Travis Alexander. I don't think Arias could handle the fact that Travis chose to take another woman on the Cancun trip - a respectable woman from the Mormon church.  She was not going to let that trip happen!  Just my humble opinion.

She's going to have to take the stand if she's going to claim self defense....or will she?


Jodi Arias Murder Trial Enters Into Third Week

Testimony continued this morning in the Jodi Arias murder trial.  This morning, the jury has heard testimony from Officer Kevin Friedman from the Yreka Police Department in regards to a reported burglary on 5/28/08 at the home of Jodi Arias's grandparents home - where she was living at the time.  Among the few items reportedly stolen from the home was a .25 caliber handgun, the same caliber used to shoot Travis Alexander in the face on 6/4/08.

Jurors viewed photos of Arias's grandparents home and heard from Officer Friedman on the items that were reportedly taken:  the handgun, $30 in cash and a DVD player were taken. Just as importantly, Prosecutor Juan Martinez pointed to items that weren't taken, such as the television, Arias's laptop, and stacks of quarters were located immediately above the cabinet where the 25 caliber gun was taken.  Other guns remained untouched in the home.

The prosecution is trying to show the link between the reported burglary of this gun and suggest this was the gun used to shoot 30 year old Alexander in his Mesa Arizona home on 6/4/08.  This would go a long way to show Arias's intents on that fateful night.  

Arias's credibility has been greatly damaged due to the many stories, outright lies and inconsistencies she has given about these events in a very public fashion. She gave at least 2 interviews while being held on $2MM bail at the Estrella Jail in Maricopa County where she first denied seeing Travis Alexander for several months prior to his murder, then changed her story to say that 2 armed intruders came into the home and attacked them both - she was able to escape unharmed but never reported the attack on Alexander to police.

Finally, when confronted with indisputable evidence that she was in the house on 6/4/08, she confessed to killing Travis but said she did so in self defense.  The jury is out on a lunch break now, but when they return they will hear more testimony from Maricopa County Office Michael Melendez - he is the technician who recovered deleted photos from Alexander's digital camera that seem to show the crime as it was happening.  The pictures have been called the "smoking gun" in the case, but Arias also left a palm print and other DNA evidence at the crime scene.

More to follow as the day progresses.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Ryan Burns Takes The Stand In The Jodi Arias Murder Trial

Testimony continued yesterday in the Jodi Arias murder trial. The jury heard from the newest man in Jodi Arias's life - Ryan Burns.  Arias met Burns at a Pre Paid Legal conference, where Burns had received a "Rising Star" award and the two began corresponding.  At the time, Arias was living in Yreka, CA while Burns lived in Utah.  After killing Travis Alexander in his Mesa, Arizona home on 6/4/08, Arias drove her rental car to visit Burns in Utah.  Arias maintains she killed Travis Alexander in self defense.  

Ryan Burns testimony provided crucial insight into Arias's state of mind just one day after the brutal murder. The jury heard from Burns that Jodi Arias arrived dressed in a long sleeved shirt despite the summer heat. He saw no major injuries on Arias, with the exception of some cuts on her hands. She told him the cuts were a result of breaking a glass. He testified that Arias never mentioned having seen Travis Alexander, let alone being in a "life or death" struggle with him. She arrived a day later than Burns expected. He reportedly called her several times around 6/4/08 - when he finally reached her, she told him she had gotten lost and pulled over to sleep.  

Knowing what he now knows about where Jodi Arias really was, and what she allegedly did to Alexander, he was "shocked" at her lack of effect. She kissed Burns "aggressively", and climbed on top of him at one point, but Burns stopped the advances before "any clothes came off".  He described Arias as "stronger than she looks", stating that despite her small stature, she knew how to handle herself.

Both Travis Alexander and Ryan Burns worked for Pre Paid Legal, and both men met Arias at conferences related to their work for the firm.  Although Burns knew Alexander professionally, the two weren't friends. He further testified that he believed that Arias and Alexander had ended their romantic relationship months prior to his death in June of 2008. 

Jurors also heard more testimony from the medical examiner, who described many of the stab wounds to victim Travis Alexander. More graphic crime scene photos were entered into evidence and shown to the jury.  Alexander's body lay undiscovered in the shower of his Mesa home until friends made the horrific discovery on June 9, 2008.  Friends became concerned when they were unable to reach Alexander for  several days. He was due to leave on a trip to Cancun, Mexico on June 10, 2008 with a woman he met through his Mormon church, Marie "Mimi" Hall.  

Testimony continues today.....


Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Medical Examiner Testifies In Jodi Arias Murder Trial

Medical examiner Kevin Horn took the stand in the Jodi Arias murder trial in Phoenix, Arizona and described the numerous wounds to Travis Alexander's body which resulted in his death.  30 year old Travis Alexander was murdered on June 4, 2008 in the bathroom of his Mesa Arizona home. His body lay undiscovered for nearly 5 days, until concerned friends entered the home and found him on June 9, 2008. He was due to leave on a trip to Cancun, Mexico on June 10th, with a woman he had met through his Mormon church.

32 year old Jodi Arias, Alexander's ex-girlfriend has admitted to killing him, but claims it was in self defense. The self defense story is her third account of what happened that awful night.  Arias initially claimed she was not involved, but after police discovered her bloody palm print and photographic evidence on a digital camera, Arias adjusted her story and claimed that she and Travis were attacked by two armed intruders. Her third and current claims are that she killed him in self defense.

The trial began on January 2, after more than 4 1/2 years of delays. Travis Alexanders sisters and brother have been seated in the front rows behind the prosecution team's table every day. The testimony has been difficult. The crime scene photos have been unbearable for them.  The medical examiner has been explaining to the jury the effects of decomposition on the body and the wounds. The very graphic photos depict a violent and vicious attack, in which Travis Alexander did not die quickly.  The State believes Arias attacked an unprepared Alexander while he was in the shower.  His injuries include 27-29 stab wounds, a gunshot wound to his head and his throat was slit from ear to ear.

This was a life and death struggle. The defense has alleged that Alexander become "enraged" after Arias dropped his new digital camera - the same camera that captured this attack unfolding. Arias attempted to delete those photos, but police technicians were able to recover the deleted photos. These are being shown to the jury as well.  As the medical examiner described each wound, Alexander's sisters shielded their eyes and faces from the graphic photos - they left the courtroom for part of this testimony. I can't imagine seeing a loved one in that state. My heart goes out to them.

The prosecution has alleged that Arias blitz attacked Alexander while he was in a seated position in his shower.  A struggle ensued, yet he was able to get out of the shower and was at the sink/basin area, bleeding profusely.  The blood spatter evidence led Prosecutor Juan Martinez to believe that Travis was leaning on the sink when Arias slit his throat. The medical examiner testified that the neck wound was so deep it nearly severed his spinal cord.  9 of the 27 stab wounds were to his back, some were deep enough to nearly reach his heart. He was stabbed in the head with enough force to chip bone away from his skull.

The medical examiner believes Travis Alexander was dead by the time he was shot in the head with a 25 caliber gun. The defense has alleged the gunshot occurred first, after Alexander initiated the attack on Arias, and the other wounds occurred during a "life and death" struggle for her life. They are attempting to paint Arias as an abused woman who was seduced, used for sex and kept hidden from friends before being discarded by Alexander.  Alexander was a devout Mormon, and much has been made about the sexual relationship between he and Arias.

Testimony continues today. On deck:  the male friend who Arias visited less than 12 hours after killing Travis Alexander.  Arias drove from Mesa Arizona to Utah in a rented car, and never mentioned anything about the incident to this man. He has reportedly said that despite the seasonal heat, Arias arrived dressed in a long sleeved shirt and had dyed her hair brown.  

This is a death penalty case - will Arias become Arizona's fourth woman on death row?  

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Jodi Arias's Web Of Lies Unravels.....

One of the most anticipated trials in recent memory is under way, and so far it's lived up to the media hype.  After 4 1/2 years of delays, changes in defense attorneys, alibi's and accounts of what happened to murder victim Travis Alexander - the trial began on January 2, 2013 to a packed courtroom in Phoenix, AZ.  The State of  Arizona vs. Jodi Arias promises to be full of real life drama.  Much like the Casey Anthony case, the case is now being covered by shows such as "In Session", "Jane Valez-Mitchell" and "Nancy Grace".

Travis Alexander was found murdered in the shower of his Mesa Arizona home on June 9, 2008.  His body was discovered by close friends, who had become concerned when they couldn't reach him for several days. He was supposed to leave for Cancun, Mexico on June 10, 2008. He was taking a young woman named Marie ("Mimi") Hall.  They were friends who met through their Mormon Church.  Alexander's friends were shocked and horrified when they found their friend - not only was he dead, he had been brutally murdered. 

Jurors have heard the 911 call made on that awful day.  Travis Alexander was a 30 year old motivational speaker who worked for Pre Paid Legal. He was a published author and by all accounts a great guy who was always making people laugh.  Friends immediately suspected Alexander's ex-girlfriend, defendant Jodi Arias was involved and they gave police her information.  Arias and Alexander met at a conference for Pre Paid Legal and had dated for only a few months, but maintained a physical relationship after they broke off their relationship.  

Prosecutor Juan Martinez played a recorded police interview with Jodi Arias for the jury.  During the initial interview, Arias denied any involvement - telling police she hadn't seen Alexander in several months.  She tried to point the police towards one of Travis's roommates early on.  At this point, police hadn't gotten the results of the evidence gathered at the crime scene and had no probable cause to arrest Arias. 

As the evidence soon revealed, Arias had been at the crime scene. She left a bloody palm print on a wall, her blood was found mixed with Travis's and photos were recovered from a digital camera that provided police with a time/date stamped look at the crime unfolding.  Jurors were shown three sets of photos, recovered by police technicians, although they had  been deleted - presumably by Arias.  The photos were so upsetting that the jurors asked for an extra day off. 

Defense attorney Jennifer Willmott is doing what defense attorneys do when faced with a mountain of physical evidence against a client.  Arias is facing the death penalty.  Willmott opened with some shocking allegations of emotional and physical abuse by Travis Alexander, portraying him as a man who seduced Jodi Arias, calling her his "dirty little secret" because the sexual relationship they were engaging in is in absolute conflict with the Mormon beliefs.  Willmott will have to try to explain away the many documented lies Arias has told in a very public way.  After being arrested just months after the crime, Arias gave several jailhouse interviews in which she lied about her involvement in the crime.

During one interview, Arias stated  steadfastly denied being anywhere near Mesa Arizona at the time of the murder, calling the crime "heinous".  The lies come easy to Arias. During a second interview, after evidence had revealed she was at the home, she adjusted her lies and told the interviewer that she and Travis had been attacked by two armed intruders. She claimed she narrowly escaped with her life but was too afraid to call police, fearing the intruders knew where she lived and would come for her.

It wasn't long before the photos came to light and Arias once again had to adjust her lies to fit the evidence that authorities had against her.  The defense is now claiming that Arias did indeed kill Travis Alexander, but it was self defense. This is the defense of last resort.  The "Hail Mary" defense is what I like to call it. It's self defense or insanity.  I think Arias is much too vain to want people to believe she was crazy - although Travis's friends already thought she was!

Arias has been her own worse enemy in the case against her.  I believe her own words will contribute to her conviction.  Blaming the victim may also backfire on Willmott. It's offensive. Jurors are smart enough to see through these ploys to paint Alexander as a dangerous man and Arias as a demure woman who was used by him for sex, but wasn't considered "marriage material".  Arias has no credibility at this point. Why should we believe the story she's telling now, after seeing how easily she has lied in the past?

This is one creepy woman. The tears she is shedding now may be real, she may truly be sorry for what she did. Hard to tell with a sociopath.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Who Was Travis Alexander? The Jodi Arias Murder Trial

Much has been said about 32 year old Jodi Arias, who is standing trial for the June 2008 murder of 30 year old Travis Alexander in a Phoenix, AZ courtroom. We are learning more about the actions and reactions of Arias in the months, weeks and days leading up to this murder. We've seen clips of her "Inside Edition" interviews, taken while she was being held at the Estrella jail in Maricopa County, we are hearing bits and pieces of stories about the relationship between the victim and defendant from friends and family. Much has been made about Arias's looks and "charm" - and the lies she has told law enforcement, family and friends. Spending a few hours online this morning, I'm learning more about who Travis Alexander was. Aside from Arias's defense attorney Jennifer Willmott, I've yet to find or hear any negative comments about Travis Alexander. We know he was a devout Mormon, he worked for Pre Paid Legal and he's been described by friends as a "funny guy". In his brief life, he accomplished alot. He was born on July 28, 1977 in Riverside to drug addicted and neglectful parents. He was ultimately raised by his grandparents who introduced him to the Mormon faith. After his high school graduation, he went on a two year Mormon mission in Denver, CO. He authored a book, entitled "Raised You". He appears on the cover of Time magazine in a suit, the title "Alexander The Great" appears next to his photo. He was a motivational speaker, he had a blog - his entries are still online(travisalexander.blogspot.com). His blog was titled "Travis Alexander's Being Better Blog". His last blog entry was on May 18, 2008 - just weeks before being killed by ex-girlfriend Jodi Arias. In reading his blog entries, it seems clear that Travis had very high expectations of himself, spiritually, emotionally and financially. He was a good writer! He speaks openly about becoming renowned for being single. Most of his friends were married and had children. This seems to be the direction Travis wanted his life to go in. He refers to his "solitary status" and being lonely. He goes on to talk about turning 30 years old and says: "around that time I realized it was time to adjust my priorities and date with marriage in mind". That's eerie. Jodi Arias's comments can be found on many of his blog entries, so we know she was reading this. He writes "not to ask someone out on a date because I planned on marring them, but to date someone to look for the possibility of marriage with them". And the most haunting of all entries, "desperately trying to find out if my date has an axe murderer penned up inside of her...". Was he referring to his experiences with Arias? He did believe her to be responsible for twice slashing his tires, breaking into his Facebook and e-mail accounts. "2008 Affirmation" - Travis wrote "this year will be the best year of my life. This is the year that will eclipse all others. I will earn more, learn more, travel more, serve more, love more, give more and be more than all of the other years of my life combined." Sadly, 2008 would be the last year of his life. Arias claims she killed Alexander in self defense, after he became enraged when she dropped his digital camera in the bathroom of his Mesa, AZ home. Although I have tried to keep an open mind about this case until all evidence has been presented in court, it's difficult to overlook what is already known. The lies Arias told the authorities and interviewers, the stalking behavior, the computer hacking and tire slashing - the June 10, 2008 trip to Cancun that Travis was taking with another woman (his body was found on June 9, 2008), the car Arias rented in another city and drove all night from California to Arizona, the bloody palm print and the photos which memorialize the attack unfolding....no gun has been recovered, but the gun "stolen" from Arias's grandparents home a few weeks before this crime is the same caliber gun used to shoot Travis. It's not a leap to believe she brought the gun with her. Did the blog topics about marriage and the trip to Cancun push her over the edge? It's not a stretch. I've yet to find or hear anything negative about Travis Alexander. He overcame a tough childhood, until his grandparents took custody of him and his siblings. Instead of becoming a product of his early environment, he developed into a remarkable young man who had many many friends who loved him dearly. He accomplished so much. Coverage of the State of AZ vs. Jodi Arias begins on In Session on Monday, January 7, 2013.