Monday, 5 January 2015

Jodi Arias - Does she Deserve to Die for her Crime?


Jodi Arias mugshot from 2008

The Jodi Arias case has been a constant source of frustration for me, and I am in no way related to the case, live 1000s of miles away and have never met any of the individuals involved. Convicted of the first-degree murder of her ex-boyfriend in 2013, the jury were unable to reach a unanimous decision whether Arias should live or die during the penalty phase. The penalty phase retrial, initially scheduled for July 2014, began on Monday September 29th 2014 and, to this day, is still being heard. 

The toxic, troubled and deeply obsessive love affair between Jodi Arias and her Mormon on/off boyfriend, Travis Alexander, ended in his murder on June 4th, 2008. As the prosecution in the Arias trial would later say, Mr Alexander was murdered three times over - after being stabbed 30 times, shot and having his throat cut from ear to ear. Travis Alexander's body lay undiscovered in the shower at his home until concerned friends broke in and found him. Arias initially denied all knowledge of Travis' murder, instead playing the distraught friend and former love. Unbeknown to Arias, her name had already been mentioned to police by Travis' friends, as early as the 911 call from his home on June 9th. Arias was formally questioned by police on June 14th where she stuck to her story of knowing nothing. However, the physical evidence at the crime scene was beginning to tell a different tale, and Arias knew her game was up when police revealed they had found her hair and blood mixed in with Travis' at the crime scene. Rather than confess any wrongdoing, she told her second set of lies. Weaving a some what elaborate tale of how she and Travis were attacked in his home by two masked ninjas. Travis, she said, had desperately fought for his life. Probably the only true sentence she uttered in her deceitful web of lies. After learning from friends of Travis, his own emails and texts and Arias' own emails and journals, a picture of a beyond obsessed jilted lover soon emerged. She had manipulated Travis Alexander into taking her into his bed by conforming to his Mormon faith and acting like the demure girlfriend in public and a slut in the bedroom. Arias was indicted by Grand Jury for first-degree murder on July 9th 2008 and arrested on July 15th. Following her extradition to Arizona, Arias officially pleaded 'not guilty' on September 11th, 2008. 



The object of Jodi Arias' obsession
Travis Alexander


Due to a number of delay tactics by the defence, including having Arias submitted for an IQ test to assess competency, it was the summer of 2011 when Arias submitted a request to represent herself at trial. Judge Sherry Stephens,presiding over the upcoming trial, agreed to this although she specified that Arias' defence counsel (Victoria Washington and Kirk Nurmi) stay on in an advisory capacity. Later in the same year, Arias requested letters sent to her by Mr Alexander in the weeks leading up to his death be admitted into evidence. According to her, these letters were proof that Travis Alexander was not only a paedophile, but he was also abusive, controlling and violent towards her. Judge Stephens denied the request. She also denied the defence's motion to have the death penalty removed as potential punishment. Shortly after, Victoria Washington's request to step down as Arias' defence counsel was accepted and she was replaced by death penalty qualified attorney, Jennifer Wilmott. Around Christmas 2011, Jodi Arias' sister Angela appeared on a special edition of 48 Hours. During the programme, Angela Arias said her sister's claims of being attacked by ninjas was false and that Jodi Arias herself had killed Travis Alexander in an act of self defence after an abusive Alexander had attacked her. It was, therefore no surprise, when Arias' trial finally opened on January 2nd that she claimed she was guilty of killing Alexander but only because she was defending her own life. It was also no surprise that she had decided to hand over her representation to her attorneys. 

During opening arguments, Maricopa County Prosecutor Juan Martinez pointed out the many lies Jodi Arias had told before settling with her self defence motive. He highlighted the fact that, up until then, she had told many lies and two other versions of the events of June 4th 2008. He pointed out that, not only did Mr Travis Alexander have significant self defence injuries, he had actually been killed three times over. He concluded his opening argument with a segment of interview from July 2008, before Arias claimed stories of ninjas and self defence, where she said "I did not kill Travis. Mark my words, no jury will convict me". Arias' defence team told a much different tale. Telling the jury that Travis Alexander, who appeared wholesome and devoutly Mormon to his friends and loved ones, was actually an aggressive bully who bullied Arias into having both anal and vaginal sex. On June 4th 2008, Alexander had become violently outraged when Jodi Arias accidentally dropped his new camera. Warding off his violent attack, Arias had been left with no choice but to fight back, seemingly to the death. During the trial, Juan Martinez brought several female friends of Travis Alexander to the stand. All testified that Alexander was kind, devout to his religion and that they all felt safe in his company. Police Detective Esteban Flores who had interviewed Arias way back in 2008, remembered her calling him in the days after Travis Alexander's body was found. He told how Arias had said she and Travis were 'friends or buddies', she said they had once had an intimate relationship but that they had broken up as she suspected him of 'cheating...plus he got upset real easy'. He also recalled Arias telling him that she had been told the crime scene was a bloody one and enquiring whether a weapon had been recovered at the scene. Finger print experts, the Medical examiner, forensic firearms experts and blood spatter specialists all took the stand to explain the physical evidence. On January 9th 2013, Ryan Burns a once potential new love interest for Arias, took the stand and revealed how he and Jodi Arias had enjoyed an intense make out session on the day after Travis Alexander was killed. Burns also testified how Arias showed up at his home several hours late and with two fingers covered by bandages. He concluded his testimony by stating that Arias was 'fit' and 'much stronger than she may appear'. Jodi Arias would also take the stand, in fact she testified for 13 long days. During this time she appeared confident, almost emotionless. She was not swayed by the fact the Alexander family were in court,nor was she bothered when she revealed how she had been physically abused by her parents as a child. All this as her mother sat in court in support of her.


The long  trial came to a close in May 2013. The prosecution had painted her as manipulative, obsessive and absolutely determined to 'have' Mr Alexander at any cost. When it looked like he was potentially thinking of marrying someone else, her plan to murder him was put in place. Her active cover up both before and after the murder were proof of premeditation and the prosecution had no doubt if she were to be set free it would only be a matter of time before she killed again. The defence painted an altogether more different person. Jodi Arias, who had been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder since the murder, was deeply in love with Travis Alexander and only ever sort to please him. Her testimony that he was a paedophile and that she had caught him getting aroused over pictures of young boys, was proof that she loved him. She had kept his secret, hoping to help 'cure' him. She put up with abuse and violence from Travis because she saw the good in him. Why, she even chose to enter his religion, because she loved him. Of course, she was actually scared of Alexander and complied with his sexual requests, which she actually found debasing, because she was too scared to say no. The day of the murder, says Arias, Travis flipped and, although she couldn't remember a lot of what happened due to a 'brain fog'. She knew Travis was going to try and kill her.


The jury found Jodi Arias guilty of First Degree murder on May 9th 2013. While the same jury panel found Arias guilty of committing murder in an especially cruel and unusual manner, they could not reach a unanimous verdict on the appropriate punishment - death or life without parole. The jury was dismissed and Judge Sherry Stephens ordered a retake of the penalty phase with a new jury. And that brings us to today, January 5th 2015, some seven years after Travis Alexander's death. The retrial of the penalty phase, which began in October 2014, was originally scheduled to be over by December,2014. However, due to the long list of mitigating factors introduced by the defence, secret testimony by Jodi Arias and a plethora of witnesses still to give evidence it looks like we won't be seeing a verdict soon. 


So, what is your view? Is Jodi Arias guilty of cold, calculated murder and therefore should receive the death penalty? Or does her self defence story have a ring of truth to it, can a jury be happy beyond a reasonable doubt that she DID kill Travis Alexander in cold blood or is there an element of doubt that means she should be sentenced to life without parole?


Update

On April 13th 2015, following a second hung jury, Judge Sherry Stephens sentenced Jodi Ann Arias to life in prison with no chance of parole. 


Jodi Arias refused to give any interviews without makeup or
in her prison stripes.

5 comments:

  1. We are indeed fascinated with Jodi Arias. According to the law in Arizona, this convicted female is eligible for the death penalty because of especially cruel and heinous nature of the crime.
    The whole self defense theory does not hold a ring of truth for me. I look at the pictures for example. Travis naked body, on the bed and in the shower, has no obvious bruising. Travis autopsied body has several areas of defense wounds including bruising not associated with lividity. Jodi however, observed by witnesses after the murder had a few cuts on her hands, not really indicative of a brutal struggle for your life.
    The lies after are not really indicative of a self defense theory.
    The one that bothers me the most though. Maybe no one paid much attention to this.
    Travis is alleged to have "exploded" when Jodi dropped his new several hundred dollar camera, but did not "explode" when she damaged his several thousand dollar car while hitched to the u-haul. He only made her pay for it.
    Nothing Jodi says has any ring of truth to it. However, I don't think anyone should be executed. I would prefer for Jodi to spend the rest of her natural life behind bars where she will outlive her celebrity, parents, fan base, and exhaust appeals quickly.

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    1. You make a very good point about the camera and the car! It is something I hadn't thought about before now! I am in the middle of reading her journals, or what of them are available online anyway. Interestingly,in the days following Travis' murder she wrote about how devastated she was and how shocked she was that there was a human alive who could commit such a violent act. At the end of one entry she puts 'is it so wrong that I want the person who did this to get the needle?'.Obviously now we all know it was her who killed Travis her stance on the death penalty has changed. It is scary to see just how far she went to cover her tracks in those journals.

      In the journals, which span from 2006 to 2008, she does nothing but say how amazing Travis is, how brilliant, kind and loving he is. She makes no mention of any abuse, any flashes of temper or even an angry moment - beyond the odd time Travis was frustrated with something. Her argument that she never wrote anything negative in her journal is a joke, is that not exactly what a journal is for? to air ones private (and real) thoughts and feelings. For someone who insists on being positive, she makes plenty of mentions of suicide and feeling unloved, unwanted etc. Her journals are negative about her troubled finances, the fact she lived with her Grandmother,,couldn't hold a job. The only positives in fact, were Travis. And yet she insists he was an aggressive, highly strung, sexist paedophile.

      IF, there was any ring of truth to her self defence plea - why the overkill? You don't stab someone 30 times, shoot them and then slit their throat from ear to ear and walk away with a couple of cuts to the fingers. If you kill someone in self defence you don't leave them dead in their bathroom, you call 911 ASAP. If you kill someone in self defence, you don't first deny it, then change the story to being attacked by two masked ninjas. You tell the truth!

      Jodi Arias concocted her elaborate plan to murder Travis when she found out she wouldn't be joining him in Cancun! She planned everything in minute detail, EXCEPT what would happen during and directly after the murder. She couldn't have gauged how strong a fight Travis would put up, or how much blood would be everywhere! Hence the chaotic crime scene, the incriminating physical evidence and the camera left behind and the pictures. She couldn't plan that, she didn't know that once the red mist cleared and she saw the horrific scene she had caused that she would just want to get the heck out of there and as far away as possible. She may as well of left a note with her name on it! I originally wanted her to die, I hate the thought of her turning into another Darlie Routier - still spitting out excuses and managing to avoid execution some 18 years later. But now I think locking her in a tiny cell among a gaggle of women who all wear the same as her for the rest of her life would be a much worse punishment for her.

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  2. She should die! A needle in the arm is a lot better than having 30 stab wounds, a slit throat and a gun shot to the head. She won't have to lay on a shower stall floor undiscovered for five days. Her family and loved ones won't have to wait nearly 8 years for justice or have to look at her badly decomposing remains via autopsy pictures at a trial. She committed murder,- in an especially cruel manner - she should receive what is perceived to be the cruellest punishment.

    I firmly believe that LWOP will suit this psychopath down to the ground. For starters, she won't have to do any real work, which considering she hasn't managed to hold down any sort of real job before the murder is going to thoroughly please her. She also loves leaving beyond her means and given she has supporters who will send in anything from art supplies and paper to beauty products and money, she wins again. She gets three square meals a day, delivered to her cell and she gets her own place, where she can paint, write crap in journals or send letters to her supporters all day, every day. I wouldn't be so sure that Arias will just fade away with a LWOP sentence. She won't let it happen - her 'team' won't let it happen. She will be advocating for DV victims, calling herself a 'survivor' and making silly T shirts. She will KEEP herself in the spotlight, just as her and her 'team' have managed to keep this case in U.S courts for an unprecedented seven and a half years.

    Aside from anything else, I genuinely don't think she can be rehabilitated and even a LWOP sentence doesn't guarantee she will die in there. It only takes a governor's change of heart five or ten years down the line or for an appeal to be successful on a technicality and she could well be out....at some point! God help Juan Martinez and the list of others that will be stacked up in her brain - and they will.

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  3. And today April 13, 2015 Judge Sherry Stephens gives the victims family relief and justice. They will never have to attend a parole hearing, the appellate process is brief and has little hope for real scrutiny. Jodi got LWOP and that suits me just fine.

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  4. Thanks for the info admin, I am also glad that Arias received LWOP. Here is hoping the Alexander family can now grieve properly for Travis. Arias and her defence team made sure Travis Alexander's character was dragged through the mud several times over, I am glad it is finally over. May he now rest in peace.

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