I haven’t blogged, or even written an article, about this case in weeks. I started a new job and didn’t want to spend my free time writing about a case that I was already spending so much time in following in the news during my spare time. I DO want to blog about my feelings about the outcome, though, if for no other reason than to have a record of how I felt when I read this two years from now. 😀
So here goes!
First of all, I am pleased as punch that the jury was able to reach the verdict of GUILTY on the count of premeditated, First Degree Murder! In my opinion, that was the most important decision that they reached. I know that this had to have been a great relief to the Alexander family and I do hope that, in the long run, this verdict will help in giving them something that at least resembles closure. It was the right, JUST decision!
Now, to the tough part – The jury hangs during the penalty phase.
Honestly, I knew that when the jury came back and stated that they were unable to reach an unanimous decision after only a few hours into deliberation, that they were not going to be able to render a verdict. I held out some hope that they would ultimately reach a verdict, if for no other reason than to bring an end to this saga for the family, but sadly that didn’t happen.
I know that many out there are incensed with the jury, but remember – this is the same jury that DID find her guilty of FDM. They all believe that what she did was especially cruel. They just did not all agree that she should be put to death. Call me some kind of idealist, but I like to think that this is what helps separate us from monsters like Arias. It SHOULD be difficult to decide to kill someone – whether it is a legal form of killing or not. With that said, if there is anyone who deserves to go to Death Row for their crime – IT IS JODI ARIAS!
Obviously, some members of the jury did buy the idea that Arias had mitigating factors that negated the punishment of death. Was it also the eighteen days on the stand? Well, one ex-juror as well as the jury foreman said that it didn’t help her. They felt that it hurt her because the longer she was up there, the more caught up she got in her lies. Personally, I think that her being on the stand could have had a subconscious effect on them. Unless she had gotten on the stand and behaved like a raging bitch from the time she got up there to the time she got off, it would be hard for them to completely loathe her.
I know, I know, the vast majority of the public thinks – “Just look at what she did to Travis! It doesn’t matter how she behaved on the stand!” I understand that point of view, truly, I do. But… Jodi Arias PUT ON AN ACT the ENTIRE time she was in front of the jury. She pulled a Casey Anthony. When the jury was in the room, it was all weepy eyes, meek looks, lowering her chair to look smaller than “Wilma,” stalking them with doe eyes, wearing her hair like she is 12 instead of 32, covering her face and crying anytime she caught glimpse of Travis’s slaughtered corpse, so on and so forth. She was always “on” in front of the jury. I will also say that I can imagine that it is quite different, from the jury box, when the defendant is sitting right in front of you (or standing before you trembling as they “plead for their life”). What we, at home, know is an act may have been seen as genuine emotion by the jury. So, I can imagine that it is harder to see her as a beast under those conditions, even knowing what she did to Travis.
The foreman said that he believes that Travis was verbally and mentally abusive to Arias. Well, that’s just disappointing… Upsetting, really. Still, we have to remember that if the jury truly adhered to the admonitions set forth by the judge, then there is no way for them to really grasp the context of those text messages and emails, or even the infamous phone sex recording. They weren’t privy to the information given by Travis’s friends and family in the way that the public was. They weren’t given possible scenarios of why Travis would comment about Arias sounding like a twelve-year-old girl having her first orgasm, or wanting to tie her to a tree in the forest. Fact is, it made him sexually depraved. Especially to older people who may not be as open to the thought of wild forest sex. I mean, do you think they read Twilight or watch True Blood? If anything, that sex tape probably should have never been allowed in, but that’s another story altogether.
So, yes, when we as the public hear the things that Travis said to Arias, it comes across differently because we have more background and can better give it context. In the end, if we are honest with ourselves, we will admit that if we heard the things that Travis said to her without having the opportunity that we have had to get to who he was, through his friends and family, we would have a negative visceral reaction to it as well. Personally, I still have a very negative reaction to the things that he said during that phone sex call. But this just brings me back to my blog post about Travis not having to be a perfect victim. The fact that he wasn’t perfect doesn’t mean that that should have any effect on the punishment that his killer receives.
The last two paragraphs is probably highlights one of my biggest problems with this trial. The defense was able to somewhat control the character that Arias presented in a way that the state was not able to do for Travis. The state wasn’t able to really parade about the good qualities of Alexander, but the defense was able to slander his character. There was no expert to get on the stand to explain why Travis said the things he said in the phone sex tape or diminish its effects. There wasn’t enough to counteract the defense’s character assassination and that character assassination may be the very thing that keeps Arias from death row. For me, it was beyond frustrating that the jury didn’t really get to hear about the good things Travis did in life. The Victim Impact Statements did that to a degree, but by that time it was probably too late to sway someone who already held the belief that Alexander was verbally abusive. At the time of the VIS, I actually wondered if they should have had more people speak. I am not sure what the procedure is, if the family thought that just having two representatives would be suitable, or what. I do wish some of his friends could have gotten up there and really drill home the person that they knew. As they say, hindsight… etc…
Finally, we also have to consider that the jurors who voted for life may have been considering Arias’s family. Maybe seeing her point them out and say that she wanted to live for them made it harder for them to sentence her to death. Maybe they felt as if they would just be adding another layer of pain to an already painful situation. These are things that we won’t know until more of the jurors decide to speak out for themselves. The foreman did say that some felt that the death penalty should be reserved for the likes of serial killers and it was an unfair decision for 12 average citizens. Really??? WHAT? (OK, I just read about that comment from the foreman. I am going to move on before I turn into one of those juror-bashers on the Twitter or Websleuths.com lol – honestly, this is probably something they should have considered before they said that they would be capable of rendering a verdict of death. But, anyway….)
In the end, I know that this was not the outcome that the Alexander family was hoping for and that is what is most heart wrenching. Listening to Steven Alexander speak of his accounts of TRUE PTSD, broke my heart. Out of all of the Alexanders, I probably worry about him the most. This murder has destroyed his life. Seeing the family react, the grief on their faces, the DISBELIEF and SHOCK, that is what was most difficult. How I feel about Arias and what she did, what I feel about the jury and their decisions, PALES in comparison to what this case means for Travis’s family.
Too many spectators have turned this into a personal vendetta. It is more about their own personal blood lust than any calls for true justice. They make ALL Trial Watchers come across as unhinged, bloodthirsty and irrational and it’s frustrating. I’m almost embarrassed to say that I follow the trial because I don’t want to be lumped in with them. There is a line that many are crossing and they are the people that make even ME think that it is probably best for trials not to be televised. I’m not saying keep the media out, but they definitely make it extremely difficult to make the case for cameras in the courtroom.
GET IT TOGETHER PEOPLE! You may THINK you are simply being strong advocates for the family, but you have completely lost perspective and your grasp on reality. It’s verging on unstable! Do you want to be the Jodi Arias in your loved ones’ lives? (OK, I hope that helped to snap you out of it. lmao)
Well, I guess that about covers it. I probably could write another 1600 words about this, but I will just leave it here. Word is that the family wants the penalty phase to be retried, and I guess for them they have already invested five years into this ordeal, another few months won’t break. They’ve been a strong and resilient clan and, no matter what the outcome, I wish for them to be able to get through this together. I want them to be able to have get togethers without feeling the hurt and the pain of Travis’s absence. I hope that they are able to put enough time and distance between the images that that monster left for them of Travis that they are able to begin to replace them with images of him in life. I am not a very religious person, but I am willing to say that I pray for this family to get through this and to one day be able to laugh and smile without guilt and learn to love life again. It is what Travis would want.
- Jodi Arias Sentencing Phase: Mistrial With Hung Jury! (radaronline.com)
- Jodi Arias Jury Foreman Tells GMA How They Reached Verdict… And Then Didn’t (mediaite.com)
- Watch Jodi Arias trial video as verdict announced: Hung jury (videos) (examiner.com)
- New jury to decide Jodi Arias’ fate after penalty phase mistrial (cnn.com)
- Arias detractor on mistrial: ‘She got into jurors’ heads’ ()
- Jury foreman says Arias testimony didn’t help her (bostonherald.com)