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Jodi Arias Hammered on Cross Examination

Arizona prosecutor Juan Martinez came out swinging this morning during his second day of cross examination of murder defendant Jodi Arias.  The theme of this morning's questioning was the many lies Arias told to many people in the days, weeks and months following the killing of ex boyfriend Travis Alexander.

Arias is experiencing something she didn't face during direct examination - she is being asked direct questions, and Martinez is not allowing her to back away from answering. He essentially is showing that Arias's claims that she lied to the police during 7/15 and 7/16 interrogations was not because she lacked experience with law enforcement, as she claimed during direct - or because she was ashamed of what she had done. He attempted to show, with some success, that Arias lied when her lies benefited her and a possible murder case against her.

He highlighted the many lies she told to Ryan Burns, Leslie Udy, and even a  Bishop following the killing. When his body was discovered, she received a call from Alexander's close friend Daniel Friedman who informed her of Travis's death. Martinez pointed out that she didn't tell Friedman she was responsible. She called her Bishop at 3:00AM on June 10, 2008 - Martinez alleges that she called the Bishop to find out what he knew about the case. He got her to admit that was part of the reason she called. He discussed how Arias sent Travis Alexander's grandmother a bouquet of 20 iris's, with a sympathy card on June 13, 2008 - expressing her sorrow about the loss of Travis Alexander.

He is methodically showing this jury that Arias didn't lie to protect Travis Alexander's reputation, his secrets - but rather to protect her own interest and avoid being arrested. They are taking the lunch recess now, but will update this page later!  Arias appeared fairly shaken as they called the lunch break. She looks frustrated at not being able to get away with "I don't recall", "I don't know" and "I guess so".  

Arias has stated several times that she was suicidal - Martinez replied "yes, you've said that 3 or 4 times now". He went on to recount her attempt at suicide in the Yreka jail, where she used a razor and cut her wrist, but it stung and she decided she couldn't go through with it because it hurt. In my favorite moment on the mornings proceedings, Martinez says "can you imagine how painful it was for Travis Alexander when you stabbed him in the chest with that knife"?

Martinez is making her answer definitely, and over her attorneys objections the judge is pretty much making her answer as well.  Martinez is doing a pretty good job staying on topic.

After the lunch break, Juan Martinez pulled out some additional journal entries of Jodi Arias's - in particular an entry from a date in which Arias testified Travis Alexander backhanded her while they were driving in the car.  She testified in detail how he became angry after she told him she was moving back to Yreka.  Her journal entry (naturally) says nothing about being hit, backhanded or even a fight happening between the two. I guess that doesn't mean it didn't happen, but the entry describes a nice evening including the drive. Arias does state in the journal that she told him she planned to move back to Yreka, she writes that although this will be hard and she can't imagine her life without him in it that it's for the best. She wrote "he is my best friend in the world...I love him". Her journal describes him dropping her off, and her leaning in to kiss him on the cheek and they ended up kissing "tenderly" on the lips three times....Martinez drove the point home that Arias failed to write anything about being backhanded, nor did she seek medical attention or call police. And further, despite being hit - she leans in for a "tender kiss", she writes that she loves him and he's her best friend?

Also in the journal entry...interestingly enough, Arias wrote about Travis going rock climbing or hiking with Mimi Hall! She wrote that it was their 3rd date and Travis told her it went well!  Arias actually fell asleep at Travis's house the day he had that date with Hall, and was still there when he got home. What this shows me is that she DID know Travis was interested in Mimi Hall, she knew how many dates they had (this entry was in March, 2008) and she had to be jealous.  Is it a stretch to believe Arias found out, or already knew he was taking Mimi Hall to Cancun and couldn't handle it? I don't buy her story that she believed Travis was taking his friends babysitter, was a way of paying back a debt he owed to his friend. That makes no sense. I think she was jealous, and we all know how ugly jealousy can get.

The cross continues.....

Sex, Lies, Religion and Secret Messages - The Jodi Arias Murder Trial

Murder defendant Jodi Arias will return to the witness stand today for the second full day of cross examination by Arizona Prosecutor Juan Martinez. The June 4, 2008 murder of Travis Alexander was one of the most brutal crimes committed by a woman in recent memory, and the trial has had all the hallmarks to make it a made-for-TV movie - and then some.  Travis Alexander was raised as a Mormon, and carried those beliefs into his adult life - although it's become clear he struggled with the vow of chastity after meeting Jodi Arias, the woman who would ultimately take his life.

Arias spent several weeks on the stand during direct examination by her own attorneys - during which she alleged ex boyfriend Alexander was a sexual deviant with a bad temper. She described violence that escalated after she walked in on him "pleasuring himself" to the picture of a young boy! She claims this knowing this secret put her in danger.  The prosecutor poked several holes in Arias's detailed account of these two encounters.  Arias gave specific dates for these alleged incidents, claiming she walked in on Alexander on January 21, 2008, and she testified Alexander broke her left ring finger the following day, January 22, 2008 following an argument in which he "body slammed" her, kicked her in the ribs and ultimately broke the finger when he kicked her hand.

Juan Martinez entered pages from Jodi Arias's personal journal/diary into evidence last Thursday. He had her read from the 1/21/08 and 1/24/08 entries. She wrote nothing in between those dates, but on 1/24/08 she wrote "I haven't written because nothing noteworthy to report".  The journal entries, along with copies of cell phone records and text messages between the pair seem to completely discount her testimony about these incidents. It seems apparent these things never happened. She never talked about them to a single soul, she didn't write about them in her own personal journal - she never sought medical attention for the broken finger. She claims she didn't want to get Travis in trouble for domestic violence, and that's why she didn't seek medical attention. She could've seen a doctor, and easily made up a story about how the injury occurred. The physician would have no reason to conclude she was a victim on domestic violence if her finger was in fact broken.

The text messages from 1/21 and 1/22 between Arias and Alexander were mundane, mostly in regards to them swapping cars - and said nothing about an argument, and in direct conflict with what Arias testified to Travis did not seem frantic to get in touch with Arias to discuss what she allegedly saw him doing on January 21, 2008. It would take a complete leap of faith, and the complete belief that Arias was telling the truth for jurors to take her word as gospel. There is absolutely nothing to back her claims, in fact - nothing at all. There is evidence of a normal, everyday conversation.

In a "Perry Mason moment", prosecutor Martinez pulled out two magazines and entered them into evidence. Both magazines were addressed to Jodi Arias, she received these during her incarceration. One was Star magazine, the other Digital Photo Pro.  Martinez told the jury that Arias attempted to give these magazines to friend Ann Campbell during a visitation at the jail. Because of the protocols for screening anything coming into our out of the jail, the magazines were intercepted by guards and never made it to Campbell. 

Martinez read a set of numbers that were written in pencil at the bottom of a page from the Star magazine. They read:  6, 43, 40, 56, 20, 37, 54.  He then pulled out the Digital Photo Pro magazine, turned to these pages and showed the jury what was written in pencil on the spine of these pages. Taken out of order, the writing didn't make much sense. But when put in the proper order, the cryptic message read:

"you fuc*ed up, what you told my attorney the next day directly contradicts what I've been saying for over a year get down here asap and see me before you talk to them again and before you testify so we can fix this/interview was excellent! must talk asap".

Martinez had Jodi Arias read this to the jury herself. Her defense team looked worried - how would they explain this? Martinez didn't go into the intercepted magazines and the messages much, other than stating that he believed she was attempting to have somebody alter their testimony at a hearing that was taking place just 4 days after that jail visit in which she tried to pass the magazines to friend Ann Campbell.  I previously didn't know who Ann Campbell was, or how she knew Jodi Arias. I have since found out that Donovan Bering, someone who has made several media appearances (JVM, Nancy Grace, or In Session) to speak up about the Jodi Arias she knows. Bering has been a supporter of Arias, and has said that she believes Arias defended herself against Travis Alexander.  I previously thought Donovan Bering knew Arias from Yreka or was perhaps a family friend.  That's the way her interviews came across - but now I know, Bering met Arias during her stint in the Maricopa County jail system.  Bering continued to have contact with Arias after being released, and Ann Campbell is a friend of Donovan Bering.

Since Jodi Arias doesn't have family in the Phoenix area, Bering and Campbell visit Arias on a regular basis and they talk to her frequently.  It is unknown who the magazines were intended for, not Campbell or Bering. Neither of them were witnesses in the murder case. Most believe the magazines were intended for Arias's former boyfriend Matthew McCartney.  Matthew McCartney was slated to be interviewed by the prosecutor just four days before a pre-trial hearing was scheduled.  Matthew McCartney's name has come up frequently in the case.  If Arias was trying to get McCartney to lie for her about one thing, is it a stretch to believe she would try to get him to lie about other things?

Juan Martinez is just getting started. Jodi Arias spent so much time talking on that witness stand, he has a lot of material to impeach her on.  He let her talk, and talk and talk and talk. What strikes me is the detail in which she recalls when she was being attacked by Travis Alexander - adding descriptive commentary such as "he was a wrestler in high school", yet she doesn't recall what she did to him during the fatal encounter. It had to have been a very bloody and exhausting attack. It takes a great deal of physical strength to stab somebody that many times. It takes a great deal of focus to continue attacking once you've crossed that line with the first stab. She was more than likely able to kill him after injuring him bad enough to incapacitate him. He was more than likely unable to do more than try to protect his face and body by raising his hands.  Arias was uninjured - other than a few cuts on her hands, more than likely from the blood on the knife causing it to slip down and cut her own hand.  Cuts to the hand are common injuries to the person yielding the knife.

What will today's testimony bring?  The trial has had sex, lies, religion, deleted x rated photos of the victim and his killer,pedophilia, fetishes (braids, "Spideys"), cheating, stalking, phone sex, x rated text messages, secret cryptic messages smuggled out of jail in the spine of two magazines..... Have I missed anything? 

Jodi Arias has come across as fairly confident, and almost sarcastic at times during her cross examination by Juan Martinez. They sparred on Thursday.  It was clearly a moment Martinez has patiently waited for. He seemed almost too eager and at times it was unclear what he was trying to show with his line of questioning. Hopefully he was able to calm down over the last 4 days, and he will methodically put together a cross examination that will bring the focus back where it belongs - on the murder. He does need to fully discredit Jodi Arias and if he can prove that she made up these stories about Travis, that would be fantastic.  I believe he will be able to show that her account of what happened couldn't be true, by using the evidence, the crime scene photos - that photo of Travis's closet says it all. Nothing was disturbed - had she been running through the closet with somebody in hot pursuit, its doubtful she would've had time to get to the top shelf of the closet where she claims Travis kept a .25 caliber gun. Everything was neat, nothing disturbed. She is not tall enough to jump and reach something on the top shelf. Should be easy to discredit her on these points.

Finally, if Travis grabbed her by the waist and she held the gun up and pointed it at him, with both hands - as she claims, wouldn't the gun have been right in his face? The gunshot wasn't from that close range, according to the medical examiner.  I'd remain focused on these points - but for the family, and for Travis Alexander, I'd love to see him prove the pedophile claims were a total fabrication by a defendant who had 4 1/2 years to think about things that may help paint her as a victim. What could be more distasteful? 

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