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Jodi Arias Trial - Mysterious "Settlement Conference" Scheduled For Oct 24

It appears there are some new developments in the never-ending Jodi Arias penalty phase retrial.  The next status hearing was scheduled for October 4, 2013. However, yesterday a October 24, 2013 "settlement conference" between the two sides was announced. According to Maricopa County Attorney spokesman Jerry Cobb,the court asked both sides if they would be willing to sit down and discuss a potential resolution. "Neither side has presented an outline or agreement or an official position to the court", Cobb said. Retired Superior Court Judge James Keppel will reside over the conference.  In settlement conferences, the original trial judge is not involved.  Judge Sherry Stephens could come back into the picture to ultimately decide if Jodi Arias receives natural life, or life with the possibility of release after serving 25 years.

Neither side is revealing what prompted the settlement conference and neither side seems to have much leverage to settle - one possible scenario would be if the DA's office and Travis Alexander's family were to agree to take the death penalty off the table in exchange for Jodi Arias dropping any and all appeals.  Ironically, Jodi Arias' best chance for an automatic appeal would occur if she received a sentence of death. What prompted this settlement conference? Has the Arias defense strategy of delaying the process for as long as possible finally paid off for her? I'm sure that the defense has sought to delay the retrial all along in the hopes that the public outrage over this brutal murder would fade with time. 

I'm surprised at this latest settlement conference news. It doesn't necessarily mean there will not be a retrial. I'd love to know what prosecutor Juan Martinez thinks of the settlement conference. He seemed to be 110% for taking this trial all the way to the end, and pursuing the death penalty - with disregarding the notion of any plea deals. Has something changed?  For now, it remains a mystery, but common sense would tell us it's at least a possibility that an agreement could be hatched out to avoid the ordeal of another trial. Just my opinion, but I feel like IF this re trial would have been kept on a tighter schedule it could have been done and over with.  Juan Martinez and the court seemed ready to start in July. Arias' defense was not. Not hard to figure out who this will most likely benefit.

The saga continues!

5 Year Old Found In Trunk of Mother's Car Dies - Aquelin Talamantes Arrested

Another sad story is unfolding in Sacramento, CA.  A 5 year old child was found unresponsive in the trunk of her mother's car yesterday afternoon.  She was transported to a hospital after being discovered, but it was too late. Authorities are trying to determine how long the child may have been in the trunk - and the coroner has not released a cause of death.

Photo: Sacramento Bee

Why does this kind of horror story seem to repeat itself? From coast to coast, we hear reports of children dying or being injured at the hands of the very people who are supposed to love and protect them from danger. I don't get it. I don't want to get it.  It's just wrong on so many levels and its frightening that this has become a far too common occurrence these days.

Police are not releasing much information on this ongoing investigation, but here is what is known.  29 year old Aquelin Talamantes, the child's mother was arrested on suspicion of murder and is being held at the Yolo County jail. Talamantes arrived at a relatives Shore Park Apartment on the 7900 block of Pocket Drive in Sacramento Thursday afternoon. She was alone. Her family became concerned and suspicious when she showed up without Tatiana Garcia, her 5 year old daughter.  They subsequently called the police, who arrived at 2:35PM to conduct a simple "welfare check." When they searched Talamantes' Honda Accord, an unresponsive child was discovered in the trunk.  It was not immediately known how long she had been in the trunk, but she was rushed to the hospital where she was pronounced dead.  The coroner hasn't released a cause of death for the child.

Family, friends and neighbors in the Sacramento apartment complex where the car was parked were stunned by the discovery.  Aquelin Talamantes lives on Glide Drive in Davis, and police conducted a search of that residence Thursday night. Police believe the Davis location is where the crime was committed, and evidence was removed from the house. Neighbors on Glide Drive in Davis reportedly told authorities that Talamantes was seen or heard arguing with a man on Thursday, prior to the time they believe the child was put into the trunk of the car.  Earlier on Thursday, neighbors reported seeing Talamantes with her daughter - so when she showed up in Sacramento Thursday afternoon without the child, family members were suspicious and concerned about the whereabouts of the child. No additional details have been released by authorities.

The Sacramento Police Department are seeking tips from the public, and have set up an anonymous tip line:  Sacramento PD (916) 264-5471, or Crime Alert at (916) 443-HELP, or you can call in a tip to 274637 by entering SACTIP followed by the tip information. Callers may remain anonymous, and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.

I'm going to follow this local story and post updates as more information is uncovered.  

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