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Jodi Arias GUILTY Of 1st Degree Murder

Jodi Arias has been found guilty of first degree murder for the June 4, 2008 killing of Travis Alexander. Arias sat with her attorneys, dressed in black as the jurors entered the courtroom. She tries to make eye contact with each one of them, even taking a step behind Jennifer Willmott to look directly at them as they are taking their seats.  It was a packed courtroom, they were filled to capacity and then some while hundreds of people assembled outside the Superior Court building to be a part of the resolution of this tragic 5 year case.

Jodi Arias appeared genuinely surprised when the guilty verdict was read, her mouth dropped slightly - as she looked to attorney Jennifer Willmott and then looked at the jurors. The Judge announced that 5 jurors found Arias guilty of premeditated 1st degree murder and 7 jurors found Arias guilty of both premeditated AND felony murder. I can't say enough about the job prosecutor Juan Martinez did with this case, granted he had a lot of evidence in his favor going into this case, but the way he presented the idea of premeditated and felony murder to this jury left little doubt that she was quite possibly guilty of both. Jodi Arias' downfall was not only her lack of honesty, but the unbelievable and distasteful allegations she made about the man that she murdered. She not only blamed the victim, she portrayed Travis as a perverted sex fiend, who used her for sex much like a prostitute. Yet in her journal entries and in her own testimony she talked about how much she admired and loved this man. Her emotions were not genuine, her stories were not believable and she absolutely dragged his name through the mud. All the while, knowing there really was no way for the prosecutor to disprove the things she was saying. Who does that? A manipulator and sociopath does that. 

As the jurors were excused, again Arias took a step back behind Jennifer Willmott in an attempt to make eye contact with the jurors.  She reportedly gave a brief interview after the guilty verdict to Fox affiliate KSAZ and said she was overwhelmed and surprised by the verdict because she doesn't believe she committed first degree murder. She reportedly would prefer death over life in prison. She was also quoted as saying "death is the ultimate freedom".

"No jury will ever convict me, mark my words". I wonder if those words are as bitter to swallow as she told the jury they would be? We didn't get to see much of Arias after the verdict was announced and the jurors were individually polled and then excused for the day. It has been reported that Arias was seen lashing out at her attorney(s) after the jurors left the room. Is she really going to blame her attorneys now? I doubt self defense was their first choice when they were assigned to this case. Arias wanted to get off completely, as in a justifiable homicide - a big gamble that she lost. Thanks to NancyB, we know that Jodi Arias personally appealed to the judge in a 5 page handwritten letter in which she was insistent that Kirk Nurmi remain on as her counsel. She said that he was a person she trusted and who knew her case inside and out, and she felt if he were to be replaced it would be highly detrimental to her case. She wanted Nurmi on the case, and that was in her own words. 

The Alexander family cried and hugged one another. Their journey isn't over, but it just took a mighty step in the right direction with Arias' conviction on the highest charge. The jurors were polled one by one by Judge Sherry Stephens, as Arias looked each and every one of them in the eyes as if she were pleading for mercy as they confirmed their guilty verdicts. They were instructed to be back in the court room tomorrow at 1:00PM to begin hearing arguments on the next phase of this trial. Aggravating factors will be argued as the jury decides if the State has proven at least one of these factors has been met. The aggravating factor in this case is the cruel and depraved manner of death inflicted on Travis Alexander.  How in the world does the defense argue against this, the most obvious of all facts in this case? Whether or not Travis was shot or stabbed first, we do know by the evidence and crime scene photos that he was still alive after the initial wound, as he bled over the sink and staggered down the hallway in an attempt to escape his killer. The blood evidence suggests she chased him down and executed him by slicing his throat while he was on the ground, already dying from the stab wound to the chest. What could the defense possibly say? This was the definition of cruel and depraved.

After hearing arguments over the aggravating factors, the jury will then decide whether Arias should be eligible for the death penalty. They will then deliberate again and they must be unanimous in their decision. If they are unable to reach an unanimous decision, a new jury could be empaneled for this phase of the trial!

Next would be the mitigation phase - the mitigation specialist and attorneys would argue the reasons that Jodi Arias' life should be spared, what her positive attributes are and how she could contribute to society. The jury would likely hear from family and friends and Jodi Arias herself during the mitigation phase of the trial.

The same jury that found Arias guilty of first degree murder could sentence her to death in the coming weeks. The guilt phase is over, but this story is far from over. I'm satisfied and relieved that this jury saw through the "field of lies" that indeed sprouted around Arias on that witness stand. But it was the nature of the lies about Travis Alexander were especially cruel and heinous. She went for the most vile accusations you could make about a person, she went for the hot-button topic of pedophilia - something people do not tolerate in others. The Maricopa County jury pool was right on the money, they found the truth through the fog of lies.  Juan Martinez got more than half of the jurors to agree that Arias was guilty of both felony and premeditated murder, and that bodes very well for the State.

Tomorrow will be a riveting day in the Superior Courtroom we have become so familiar with. A collective sigh of relief can now be breathed as the Alexander family can now rest assured that Jodi Arias did not and will not get away with murder. My faith in the justice system has been fully restored. I can't wait to discuss this and hear all of your reactions to the verdict and look forward to continuing our forum all the way through sentencing!  Have a fabulous day and thank you for stopping by to take part in this blog. I really appreciate each and every comment.

Congratulations to Juan Martinez and Esteban Flores for putting together an air tight case. Great police work from the lead detective, who has one of the best interview styles I've seen in a long while. And say what you will about Juan Martinez, and his pit-bull style - but the man gets the job done!! Seeing Juan Martinez standing next to Kirk Nurmi during a sidebar gave you the feeling of David vs. Goliath. Our justice system worked today. We didn't have to sit through the agony of another OJ Simpson or Casey Anthony moment and the truth finally shined through.

Looking forward to seeing this trial out to the very end! Goodnight one and all.

Wendi Andriano Jury Speaks To The Arizona Republic

This is off topic, but since the Wendi Andriano murder trial has been compared to the Jodi Arias trial because of the similarities (outrageous self-defense and abuse claims) between the cases - including having the same prosecutor, I wanted to post a link to an Arizona Republic article where the jurors discussed the great emotional toll the case had on them.

It's such an interesting read that I thought it would be worth posting it here, especially in light of the fact that Jodi Arias is facing similar charges, and was prosecuted by the same man who put Andriano on Death Row. The article outlines all of the things that happen after the guilt or innocence phase of the trial is over. This may be a template for Jodi Arias' immediate future. Somebody had posted a comment here yesterday asking where I got the jury deliberation time for the Andriano case (15 minutes), this is one of the sources I used when I was researching Andriano's trial.

I've also heard the 15 minute time frame discussed recently on HLN during the Arias deliberations. The Andriano jury took much longer to decide other issues following the guilt phase. If you have an interest, here is the link to the Arizona Republic article from Jan 24, 2005 called "Deciding life, death takes toll on jurors". Have a great day!

Jodi Arias Jury Reaches A Verdict!

It was just announced that a verdict has been reached in the Jodi Arias murder trial! The verdict will be announced at 1:30PST, according to HLN News. This is the moment we have all been nervously waiting for folks. I have to admit to being very very nervous about this verdict. After hearing months of testimony, the jury realizes the seriousness of the charges and the potential implications for Jodi Arias. 

Arias reportedly has been held in a cell or room in the basement level of the Superior Court House during jury deliberations for the last several days. This has to be surreal for her - nearly 5 years after killing Travis Alexander, she will finally be held accountable for this brutal crime. The only thing that remains to be seen is the extent of her punishment. As she sat through her own death penalty trial, often times she seemed disconnected to what was going on around her as she doodled and wrote in the small composition book at her defense table. It was almost as if this was somebody else's reality, not hers. Do you believe Arias thinks there was any way she would be acquitted for this murder? Does she seem remorseful, all these years later?

I'm surprised that Arias' attorneys haven't come down on her for continuing to send tweets via Donovan Bering from behind bars. Her often snide comments about the prosecutor and the media may very well come back to haunt her during sentencing. It certainly doesn't make her look good to be carrying on as if she was a misunderstood B-List celebrity wanna be. She never really showed any real compassion for Travis Alexander or his family, although she really wanted the world to think she was protecting his secret. Kirk Nurmi kept referring to sex, lies, love and dirty little secrets during his closing arguments. I'd say a more accurate depiction would be dirty little lies. 

Jodi Arias had a big credibility issue going into this trial, before she ever opened her mouth on that witness stand. Her outrageous accusations against the man she murdered made her appear even more cold blooded, manipulative and just plain evil. Had there been just one little fact that could back up any part of her abuse claims, she may have stood a chance at selling the self-defense story. But to get on the witness stand and call someone a pedophile is just as heinous as the murder was. Jodi Arias knew that Travis or anybody else wouldn't be able to prove that she was lying. She carefully chose her accusations so they could not be disproved by the prosecutor or any other witness. Big miscalculation on her part, because if it comes down to believing Jodi Arias or believing Deanna Reid, Lisa (Andrews) Daidone or Mimi Hall about the way Travis Alexander treated women - Jodi Arias will lose the credibility battle. Has the nature of her lies angered and outraged the jury? 

We are very close to finding out! The verdict will be announced in 90 minutes, there's little we can do but wait - but I'm still praying the verdict is fitting for this crime. There should be no room for compromise with murder - manslaughter should not even be a consideration, and I hope the jury didn't split the difference and go with second degree murder. There is no verdict that can bring Travis Alexander back to his family and his friends. There is only one just verdict in this case. May the verdict bring a little peace and comfort to everybody who has followed this case. Updates to follow!

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