Posts tagged ‘murder’

May 24, 2013

Jodi Arias Trial – Verdicts

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 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.


April 17, 2013

Jodi Arias Trial: Battle of the Experts

Juan Martinez called Dr. Janeen DeMarte to the stand to rebut the testimony of both Dr. Richard Samuels and Alyce LaViolette. In a relatively quick direct examination, Juan Martinez went over Dr. DeMarte’s qualifications as a psychologist as well as herexperience with domestic violence. Dr. DeMarte studied at Michigan State University, where she graduated in 2009. She also fulfilled an APA approved doctoral residency at Arizona State Hospital and is a licensed clinical psychologist. She currently operates a private practice in Phoenix, AZ.

Dr. DeMarte testimony hit on several areas including why she does not believe that Arias suffers from PTSD, giving direct examples that flew in the face of a true diagnosis, such as Arias attending Alexander’s memorial service, hanging out with mutual friends, sending his grandmother irises, and other actions that would require Arias to think of Alexander and the “trauma” associated with the killing. She also spoke of Arias’s immaturity, referencing her mug shot where she “smiled as though it were a high school photo” versus a booking photo of someone being charged with murder. Calling this behavior strange, Dr. DeMarte stated that Arias’s parents described her as “happy as hell” after visiting her. This behavior made Dr. DeMarte wonder if there was an intellectual deficit present, leading to Arias’s IQ test. (Arias scored 119.) Ultimately, based upon test results and other behaviors present, Dr. DeMarte diagnosed Jodi Arias with Borderline Personality Disorder.

 Click here to continue reading.

April 10, 2013

Alyce in Juanderland

Alyce-LaViolette 2Click here to read complete article over at


LaViolette has struggled with answering the prosecutor’s questions since cross examination began last Thursday, not because the questions are particularly hard to answer, but because she has this unrelenting need to predict where Martinez is going with his line of questioning before she responds. Thus, their exchanges resemble the following:

Martinez: Is the sky blue?

LaViolette: ::leans forward and squints:: I am not sure what you mean by that.

Martinez: It’s a simple “yes” or “no” question.

LaViolette: ::furrows eyebrows:: I can’t answer that question “yes” or “no” Mr. Martinez.

Martinez: Well, when you look up at the sky, it appears as if it is blue, correct?

LaViolette: ::slow smile:: Well, I guess if you want me to say that the sky is blue, the sky is blue.

Martinez: I want to know what you think about the sky’s hue.

LaViolette: ::exasperated:: I don’t really know how you want me to answer this question, Mr. Martinez. I like to look at the big picture. Why is the sky blue? What causes it to appear blue to the naked eye? Is it really blue, because it looks almost black when the sun goes down, doesn’t it? Sometimes there are stars in the sky when it’s dark, but are they always there? What about on cloudy nights? Why can’t we see them when the sun is up? Then there is that whole thing about the reflection of light and the prism of colors and how the molecules break down and all of that hooha. I mean, I am not an expert on astronomy, Mr. Martinez, and there are many other factors that I would need to take into consideration before I can give you an answer.

Martinez: Are you done?

LaViolette: You need a timeout.

The above is only a slight exaggeration.

April 7, 2013

Why Travis Alexander being a …. Doesn’t Matter

For a while now, I have been wanting to write about why the fact that Travis Alexander wasn’t the perfect gentleman doesn’t matter and this blog post inspired me to go ahead and do it.


I suppose prosecuting attorney Juan Martinez is planning to use domestic violence expert Alyce LaViolette’s remarks about “Snow White” and domestic violence as a way to call her a man-hating bitch in a desperate attempt to try and salvage his murder one case. It might also be he is going through the motions of a cross-examination knowing the murder one charge was lost a long time ago, with the introduction of the phone sex tape and text messages by the defense. What I cannot understand is why people can’t seem to believe that Jodi Arias was an abused woman. No, most abused women don’t kill their abusers, but one of the major reasons women are incarcerated for murder is because of domestic violence situations. ALL of the evidence in this trial points to domestic abuse. ALL of it. Does that mean Travis Alexander deserved to die in such a hideous manner? No, but his treatment of Jodi, confirmed through the documentary record, give us an understanding why she felt desperate enough to do what she did.

The thing that strikes me most about this post is just how much it reminds me of a time when a murdered or raped woman’s character was put on display in order to make the jury question the actions of the victim versus the actions of the culprit. What was she wearing? Was she sleeping around? Was she a bitch?  Maybe she deserved it. Remember the heat Bill O’Reilly took for suggesting that a young murder victim was partially to blame for being raped and murdered? (Interestingly enough, Alyce LaViolette spoke about this brand of victim-blame while on the stand. Perhaps victim-blaming/shaming is only wrong when it comes to women.)

There seems to be a mentality among a significant segment of the population that, if a victim isn’t all unicorns and sunshine or if they make wrong decisions (like jogging a wooded trail alone or leaving their bedroom window open), they deserved their fate. It doesn’t always manifest itself in the same way, however. For instance, people who feel that Travis Alexander had it coming may not be (and are probably not) the same people who agree that a young rape and murder victim played a part in her own demise; but, their mentality is very much the same in that they both hold the victims accountable in some way.

The individual who “penned” the blog post that sparked my own blog entry asked why people find it hard to believe that Arias was a survivor of abuse. I think the phrase she is looking for there is “no credibility.” Jodi Arias’s “credibility bank” is not only empty, but it’s overdrawn. This leaves us with examining independent evidence such as those emails and text messages. The problem with that is that people have different ways of reading things. When I read Alexander’s text messages, it comes across as someone who is reacting to another’s action. When he went off about her leaving an item behind, it comes across as a pattern that he is fed up with. He clearly finds her to be a manipulative individual. Also telling is that when LaViolette pointed to the way that Alexander spoke to other women, those interactions were mostly about his sexually flirtatious nature, which made the Mormon women he was talking to uncomfortable. None of it had to do with him calling them outside of their names or things like “sociopath.”

So the question is, would it have been best if Travis had just ignored Arias altogether? Yes, but just like LaViolette says that women stay involved in bad/abusive relationships for their own emotional reasons, the same thing can happen with men. Men DO stay in toxic relationships with abusive, obsessive, and jealous women all of the time. Men also do not tend to take women seriously when they are stalking them. In example, a recent episode of Dr. Phil featured a young woman who was seeking help due to her being obsessed with a guy she had broken up with. The guy in that case would also talk to and see her, even with knowing how obsessed she was. People don’t always make the best decisions.

While I feel like LaViolette’s testimony highlights gender inequalities that negatively impact men, that is not the primary reason I feel that Travis being a …. doesn’t matter. It’s because it doesn’t “undo” other facts in the case.

My original response to Susan’s blog entry:

Travis Alexander was not the perfect murder victim. He did have a load of problems – but so did Jodi Arias. This is evident from the fact that even her own parents weren’t shocked that she was being considered for the murder. Jodi was a strange person. Jodi had mental problems. Jodi flipped out on her mother. Jodi would hit her mother for no reason. Jodi treated her mother like crap. Jodi would be fine one minute and crying hysterically the next. Jodi was obsessed with Travis. Jodi climbed through Travis’s doggy door. Jodi was found hiding in Travis’s closet.

Jodi was 1000 miles away and did not have to go to AZ. She had full control over that action, but she went because she was obsessed with Travis and the only thing that would end that obsession was him no longer breathing. For all of this talk about Travis being afraid of losing Jodi, where was the evidence of him pursuing her? He was scheduled to visit her in CA, wasn’t he? Didn’t he cancel that? That isn’t the hallmark of a man who doesn’t want to let go. Talk to REAL female DV victims. The man always goes to the woman to get her back. Always. Nowhere in those texts does Travis ask Jodi back. To the contrary, he states that he’s glad to be moving on and had plans to go out of the country with another woman.

I also find it interesting that you say that “all of the evidence” points to domestic violence. Intriguing. What about a gun of the same caliber being “stolen” from Arias’s home days prior to Alexander being killed points to DV? What about not telling anyone she was heading to AZ sounds like DV? What about her making sure that there were no records of her in AZ sounds like DV? What about dying her hair on the trip down sounds like DV? What about borrowing and buying gas cans so that there are no records of her buying gas in AZ sounds like DV? What about anything she did to cover up the crime after the fact sounds like DV?

When her mother asked her if she was in AZ, Arias’s response was that she had gas receipts to prove that she wasn’t. How many people, who aren’t business owners or on business trips, care about saving gas receipts? Consider that she had a well traceable paper trail before and after her trip to AZ. She used credit cards everywhere else, and conveniently her phone is dead/off the entire time she is there. How does any of that EVIDENCE not sound like premeditation? If this were a man being accused of killing an ex-girlfriend, would you see this evidence as anything other than what it is?

Finally, her explanation of how the crime happened is entirely improbable. How she managed to take on a man 1 on 1 and only walk away with some small cuts (if you buy her story) and a bruised head that she has no evidence of, is remarkable when you consider the damage to Travis’s body. Not to mention that the ME’s findings state that Travis was shot last. She wants us to believe that she “came to” in the desert with her hands covered in blood and barefoot, when no blood was found on any doorknobs. She also wants us to believe that she had to stop for gas on the way out of the state, and since she didn’t use any credit cards, she had to pay cash. A barefoot woman covered in blood certainly would have stood out, don’t you think?

I have seen cases with far less evidence result in murder 1 convictions. If Arias gets anything less than that, it will be because she is a woman who killed a man, and not vice versa. Look at the Scott Peterson trial – case was entirely circumstantial, but it’s OK to use common sense when convicting men. With women, many people want a Point A to Point Z road map with every alphabet in between covered.

And that’s why Travis being a …. doesn’t matter.

April 2, 2013

The Psychology of Jodi: Madwoman or Abuse Survivor?

Jodi Arias smiles in her mugshot after being arrested for brutally murdering her ex-boyfriend, Travis Alexander.

Jodi Arias smiles in her mugshot after being arrested for brutally murdering her ex-boyfriend, Travis Alexander.

With taking the stand, Jodi Arias gave the world a rare glimpse into the mind of a suspected sociopath. Spending 18 days on the stand, Arias walked the jury through the details of her life with Travis Alexander, the man she is accused of murdering in cold, premeditated, blood.

During her time on the stand, Arias explained to the jury how she and Alexander first met, how she broke up with her boyfriend of four years after knowing Alexander for only a week, and divulged more details about anal sex than many people care to hear about outside of (and in) their own bedrooms. Arias spent weeks weaving a tale of a rocky and contentious relationship fueled by allegations of abuse, jealousy, forbidden sex, and the spiritual contradictions it all caused within their Mormon faith. The height of Arias’s testimony centered on her version of the events that unfolded on June 4th, 2008. Details became murky when she hit a mental “fog” that rendered her incapable of recalling anything other than shooting Alexander in the face. According to her, she has no memory of stabbing him 29 times and slashing his throat.

When it comes to someone like Jodi Arias, it is easy to throw around the word “sociopath.” She has shown little remorse for ending Alexander’s life, her affect is often blank and empty, her eyes are dark and cold, she is inappropriately vain and she has told so many self-serving lies that it is difficult to separate fact from fiction. But, is she a sociopath? Can an online checklist really give us a true and accurate depiction of the psychology of Jodi? (Click here to read entire article.)

April 1, 2013

Jodi Arias Trial: Expert Witnesses for the Defense

Jodi AriasJodi Arias Trial: Expert Witnesses for the Defense

As we enter the fourth month of the Jodi Arias trial, the nation could not be more riveted. Arias is accused of killing Travis Alexander on June 4th, 2008. The prosecution has maintained that Arias is guilty of premeditated murder and is seeking the death penalty. Arias is claiming self defense and that she had no choice but to brutally murder Travis that day, inflicting 29 stab wounds, slashing his throat from ear to ear, and shooting him once in the face.

For months now, spectators have been drawn into the World of Jodi where sex, lies and audiotape has been on full display. Most recently, the defense has put forth experts to try to explain away Arias’s odd behavior after the crime and why she has no complete memories of what took place during and directly after the murder. (continue reading)

March 21, 2012

Zimmerman’s Authority to Escalate Violence

Much has been written about the recent death of Florida teen, Trayvon Martin, over the last several days. The response to this shooting tends to vary depending upon where you are reading about the story. On websites like the Huffington Post, the majority of the posts – that are being let through – are in support of the family and their quest to see Zimmerman brought to justice. There are other sites, however, where the heavy hand of censorship is not present and that’s where you will find the Zimmerman apologists and those justifying his actions. What none of these people can tell me, however, is this:

What authority did Zimmerman have to approach Trayvon? In one “discussion” I was asked:

Do you remember any times when you had to confront an aggressive, angry black kid with an attitude?

Let’s ignore the ignorance of this question, and instead ask, Why did Zimmerman have to confront Trayvon? He is not a cop, a sheriff, or a deputy. He was not wearing an uniform to announce or display that he was in a position of authority (because, AGAIN, he is not in one). He was just an average looking CIVILIAN, stalking a young man who was not familiar with the inhabitants of the neighborhood he was visiting.

What I find most dumbfounding about the police investigation is that they seem to have accepted Zimmerman’s word from the start. They’ve said that the evidence that they’ve gathered points to self defense, the strongest “evidence” seems to come from Zimmerman. With the reports of witnesses being LED to provide statements that are consistent with Zimmerman’s assertion of self defense, one would have to seriously question their claim.

Here is what we have to consider when it comes to SPD’s dynamics with the shooter; Zimmerman is very well known to them having made dozens of calls, over the last year, while in his self-appointed position of neighborhood watch captain. It stands to reason that he has become relatively friendly with the cops that patrol that neighborhood. It also stands to reason that his relationship with real law enforcement officers buoyed him in his position of pseudo cop. Something told Zimmerman that he had the same authority as an actual cop. You know, cops who have actually gone through training and have actually earned the right to approach, question and detain suspects? The kicker here is that it seems as if law enforcement has given him that cover.

Escalation of Violence

Zimmerman apologists have suggested that Trayvon should have not run away from Zimmerman, because it makes him look guilty, and that he should not have engaged in a physical altercation with his pursuer. After all, if he would have just listened to the strange man stalking him through the rain and darkness, maybe he would still be here. Let’s just pretend that is even remotely rational for a moment. Even if the case is that George Zimmerman ran after Trayvon and didn’t lay his hands on him first, is it really OK to escalate from a fistfight to gunfire? Do we want to live in a country where that is a rational next step?

Law enforcement officials cite bruises “consistent with self defense” as their proof that Zimmerman, indeed, acted in self-defense. But, where is the proof that Zimmerman could have reasonably assumed that he was in danger of losing his life? If anything, he may have been in danger of losing a fight, but again is that really grounds to shoot someone? We all know, at this point, that Martin did not have a gun, a knife, a sword, a crossbow, a catapult,  an IED, or any other deadly weapon. Did Zimmerman think he was going to kill him with his bare hands? Does law enforcement?

In the end, it seems as if this case will rest squarely on the controversial Florida law, “Stand your Ground” which reads:

A person who is not engaged in an unlawful activity and who is attacked in any other place where he or she has a right to be has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.

Wow. Can you be any more broad? And is LE saying that Zimmerman was at risk of “great bodily harm” when Martin has few signs of a struggle present on his body? It is no wonder that this law met such strong opposition from prosecutors and law enforcement officials when it was introduced into legislation in 2005.

Florida’s elected leaders ignored the overwhelming opposition of prosecutors and law enforcement to the law, including the National District Attorneys Association, the Florida Prosecuting Attorneys Association, multiple State Attorneys, and police chiefs from cities like Miami and St. Petersburg. (Source)

Yup, I think we can safely call this law a license to kill and/or a get out of jail free card.

For me, this all circles back to the first question I posed in this post: What authority did George Zimmerman have to approach Trayvon Martin? What means did Trayvon Martin have to defend himself from George Zimmerman and why is there any expectation that he should not have been able to?

There are several petitions circling the internet to bring George Zimmerman to justice, but even if 99.9% of the population of the United States sign that petition, I fear that it won’t make a difference. If it is found that George Zimmerman acted in accordance to the laws of Florida, as it is written, he will remain free. Stand Your Ground has thrown all, that should be, common sense into question. Therefore, it is a real possibility that the only true justice seen in this case will come in the form of repealing this Freedom to Kill and claim Self Defense law.

Here is a link to sign a petition to repeal this law: Speak Out Against and Repeal All ‘Stand Your Ground’ Laws As of now, it only has 39 signatures, so we have a long way to go to get it well circulated. I will sign it and make it 40. I hope that you will do the same, and pass it along.

Rest in peace, Trayvon Martin. May your death not be in vain.