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Jodi Arias Takes The Stand - Will It Keep Her Off Death Row?

Wow, another surprising day today in the Phoenix, Arizona courtroom where murder defendant Jodi Arias was called to the stand.  Many court watchers expected she would have to testify since thus far the defense hasn't been able to bring forth any testimony of violence or violent tendencies from murder victim Travis Alexander.

Arias was called to the stand late in the afternoon, following testimony from a defense expert who examined a hard drive, camera and phone for the defense earlier this year. They submitted into evidence a photo taken with a camera owned by Arias which displayed a pair of woman's underwear with the words "Travis'" on them, along with the T-Shirt many of us have already seen photos of Arias wearing that had the words "Travis Alexander's" printed on it.

Prosecutor Juan Martinez was able to show that the photo of the underwear and T-Shirt were taken on July 11, 2008 - just 4 days before Jodi Arias was arrested and charged with 1st degree murder of Travis Alexander, and curiously they were taken more than a month after the murder! So why did Arias feel the need to take a photo of these items? Did she take them in anticipation of her impending arrest?  I can't think of any other reason.

When she got on the stand, she looked at the jury and told them that she had killed Travis Alexander.  When asked why she killed him, she told the jury that he attacked her and she "protected herself".  Very cold, very unmoving testimony. Arias showed no emotion, in stark contrast to the sobbing we saw during the prosecution case where pictures of the aftermath of this murder were being shown in court.  Was she acting then, and/or is she acting now? Her performance thus far is flat. Disingenuous and rehearsed.

The defense has only begun their direct questioning of Arias. Martinez is just listening, not objecting excessively as we've seen through many of the defense witness testimony.  He's watching and waiting for his turn.  THAT will be something to see. Arias attempted to explain away her comments during a television interview in which she boldly predicted that "no jury will convict me, and you can mark my words on that", "because I'm innocent". Remember, this woman has had almost 5 years to try to fine tune her story.  She now states the reason she said that is because she "planned to kill herself" and therefore wouldn't be in court facing these charges.

This brings an interesting possibility to my mind.  Could this have been a murder-suicide plot from the start? Did she go to Mesa to kill Travis and herself, to bond them forever in death?  I doubt it, seems like another self serving comment to me.  Why didn't she kill herself?  If she contemplated suicide, how did she end up in Utah hours after the murder,acting completely normal and initiating intimate contact with a new man, Ryan Burns?  Seems to me she still can't get her story straight. 

The defense is going way back to Jodi's childhood to discuss the "abuse" she suffered at the hands of her mother, and her father. She told the jury that her mother hit her with a wooden spoon and her father was also abusive, but not as much as her mother.  She discussed how prior boyfriends cheated on her. What does this have to do with self defense?  Nothing.  They are going to have to dig a whole lot deeper and tell the jurors more about the incident that does matter - and that's June 4, 2008. 

In the state of Arizona, self defense means using an amount of force necessary to neutralize the immediate threat.  Even if you believe Alexander lunged or threatened Jodi Arias, ONE stab wound should've been enough to render him helpless or at least unable for the "attack" on her to continue - leaving her plenty of time to flee the scene and call for help.  If not the first stab wound, certainly the second stab wound would've stopped him. She wants a jury of her peers to believe defending herself REQUIRED 29 stab wounds, a slit throat - and a gunshot to his face?  It took ALL of that to stop him from coming at her ("lunging")? And all of this allegedly over a dropped camera??  Come on!

Tomorrow should be one of the most interesting days in that courtroom when her testimony continues.  I cannot wait to see the prosecution's cross examination of Jodi Arias. She will some explaining to do - we've seen Martinez's approach to witnesses, and he's not going to let Arias off the hook. More tomorrow, stay tuned!

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