It was day three today in the retrial of the penalty phase of the State of Arizona versus Jodi Arias, trial for the murder of Travis Alexander and one that was not without drama. In yesterday’s testimony in Maricopa County Superior Court Medical Examiner Dr. Kevin Horn took the stand to testify to the order in which the events of the murder of Travis Alexander occurred. As much as the defense tried to budge Dr. Horn on his theory of the chain of events, he would not. Today the defense tried to discredit this testimony through cross examination of Detective Flores on early theories in this case, but the most drama in today’s courtroom centered around some jury flurry once again. As ABC News reports today, the Jodi Arias jury of 12 and 7 alternates “whittled to 6” on Day One of the trial for a family emergency, and a jury of 12 and 5 alternates after Day Two and some jury misconduct. An abrupt adjournment and instructions to Juror No. 17 at the end of court today have led many to speculate the Jodi Arias jury may be down to 4 alternates on Day Three.
34-year-old Jodi Arias is on day three of the retrial penalty phase of the trial of the State of Arizona versus Jodi Arias. This trial is for the murder of 30-year-old Travis Alexander. The murder of Travis Alexander in Mesa, Arizona, on June 4, 2008 involved more than 20 stab wounds, a fatal knife wound to the chest, a slit throat, and a gunshot wound to the head.
In May 2013 the first jury for Jodi Arias convicted her of first degree murder and unanimously found aggravating cruelty making Jodi Arias eligible for the death penalty. The jury was however unable to come to a unanimous decision in the penalty phase. When it came time to choosing life in prison or the death penalty, the jury was deadlocked.
A retrial on the penalty phase was called. Today was day three of this retrial, and the evidence of that fateful night has already started to make it to this jury panel. Today the jury heard more information about the order of events on the night Travis Alexander was killed, as well as information regarding the premeditation of this killing by Jodi Arias.
We have been following the tweets from reporters inside the courtroom to bring the most accurate up to date information on the Jodi Arias trial as it happens. Today’s tweets came to us from Beth Karas, Mike Watkiss from 3 TV, Jeff Gold from Fox and the Gold Patrol, and HLN’s Nancy Grace. We also followed tweets from William Pitts and Arizona Republic’s Michael Keifer.
Dr. Horn testified on day two of this trial on his theory of the order of events on the night Travis Alexander was murdered. Did Travis suffer the gunshot wound first? Or last? These are the key questions that this testimony is trying to focus on.
This is an important detail because the defense will say if the gunshot happened first, Travis could not have suffered as much as he would have if he was shot last. If he was shot last as the prosecution is contending, then he would have suffered more and this would be considered an even more exceptionally heinous crime.
Dr. Horn was the Medical Examiner that autopsied Travis Alexander. The defense is alleging that Dr. Horn has changed his theory on the order of events between his first report in 2008 and the theory to which he is testifying now. Defense attorney Jennifer Willmott did everything in court yesterday to get Dr. Horn to admit that the blood spatter at the bathroom sink occurred while Travis was still alive, but after he was slit in the throat.
The bathroom and bullet evidence can be seen in the slide show here. Jennifer Willmott also tried to get Dr. Horn to concur that Travis had been shot in the head first, to which Dr. Horn did not concur. The bullet casing presented in evidence in the slide show here shows a bullet casing that landed in blood.
The prosecution has alleged in the guilt phase of this trial that this means the bleeding had already occurred before the gunshot occurred. Travis would not be able to bleed after his heart stopped pumping. Thus a clean bullet casing landing in what appears to be dried blood suggests the gunshot occurred after Travis had died.
Another problem with the theory that Travis was shot first is the amount of blood in the scene. Had he been sliced in the throat before he went to the bathroom sink, as was suggested by Jennifer Willmott in court yesterday, there would be more blood at the sink as the jugular had been severed, as had the carotid artery and Travis’s windpipe according to Dr. Horn yesterday. There is a lot of reasonable doubt in the theory that Travis could stand at the sink in that condition.
If Travis was shot first, he would have died soon after that according to Dr. Horn yesterday. He would have stopped bleeding shortly after, and this drastically contradicts the amount of blood we see at the crime scene photos that have been entered into evidence. These evidence photos can be seen in the slideshow.
Yesterday in court Willmott tried to get Dr. Horn to acknowledge his theories had changed along the way, to which he would not concur. In court today Detective Flores was cross-examined on Dr. Horn’s first theories on this case. Detective Flores was asked what Dr. Horn’s original theory was, and if in fact Dr. Horn first thought Travis was shot first, or last.
Also discussed in court today was the infamous gas can issue. Gas can evidence was presented in the guilt phase of this trial to show a pattern of premeditation from Jodi Arias. A Walmart clerk was called and questioned about whether or not the third gas can was returned. Jodi says it was.
The Walmart employee that testified today said there’s no record. Nurmi thumped some papers. Martinez thumped back. The subject was changed very quickly to divert attention from the annoyance and thumping by Kirk Nurmi.
This point of the day led many court watchers to ask, why are the gas cans being brought up again? With Jodi Arias already being convicted of premeditated murder, why discuss the issue of premeditation again, especially if you risk confusing the jury?
As William Pitts tweeted during this exchange,
“If I’m the jury, I don’t know why the gas cans matter. But I don’t know if anyone thinks Walmart loses ANYTHING.”
The gas can evidence and the receipt evidence and the return evidence are important. What this does is establish that Jodi Arias went 90 miles and three gas cans out of her way to take a road trip that would end with the murder of Travis Alexander. She did that to make sure she would literally drop off the grid on the road trip that would take her from California to Arizona to Travis Alexander on the day that he would be killed.
The jury does not need proof that she premeditated the murder. But what Juan Martinez is doing here is showing how calculating and secretive Jodi Arias really is. The defense did not want to linger on this subject, especially when the answers became damaging, hence the thumping papers and the quick subject change.
Following this testimony police officer Kevin Freedman with Yreka, California was called to the stand. A burglary occurred shortly before the murder of Travis Alexander at the home of the grandparents of Jodi Arias. Reported missing from that burglary was a .25 caliber gun.
A .25 caliber gun was the same caliber of gun used to shoot Travis Alexander. Freedman testified on that burglary saying he found it strange that only one gun out of many in the household was stolen. Other valuables like a TV also were not stolen. Jodi who was living there at the time reported $30 being stolen, but a range of change left on a dresser was not taken by the alleged burglar in question.
Nobody has ever been charged with that burglary, the general consensus of those that support prosecution theories is that there was no burglary. This theory contends that Jodi Arias stole that gun from her grandparents and used it to shoot Travis Alexander. That gun has never been recovered.
The jury was notably curious about this witness. Jury questions came forward such as was the gun cabinet dusted for fingerprints. The answer to that question is yes but nothing came up. Some money in the form of change was left on the dresser, and was not taken by the alleged burglars. Also left in the home were two other guns. The officer also found that strange, but proceedings ended there for the afternoon recess.
When court convened from the afternoon recess is when today’s drama began according to the flurry of tweets from reporters at the court house. Another jury flurry seemed to be in progress when all juror members but for Juror no. 17 were abruptly dismissed.
Family and attorneys got brought back into chambers, again. After some time the attorneys left chambers, Jodi was led out of the courtroom holding manilla envelope according to Nancy Grace. Nancy Grace also reported that defense attorneys Kirk Nurmi and Willmott “looked happy” which is news as this is rarely reported about these attorneys. Nancy Grace tweeted when court was adjourned,
“Court done for the day because of a matter outside the control of any of the parties.”
We have heard reports on twitter that Detective Flores has confirmed that no juror was dismissed this afternoon. Jeff Gold from The Gold Patrol speculates that doesn’t mean they won’t be. Jeff Gold also said,
“My pure speculation on the latest juror furor, it was significant enough to cause another miss trial motion. Otherwise why else adjourn?”
The retrial of the penalty phase of the Jodi Arias trial will resume Monday. Here we will learn more about what happened, or didn’t happen, in court today. Will we be down another juror by Monday?
Legal expert with experience in criminal defense law and co-host of The Agenda Monica Lindstrom has been in court in the retrial of the Jodi Arias sentencing phase since jury selection started. Monica reported for KTAR News on Oct. 22 her notes she had made during jury selection and as the jury was being paneled. Here’s what Monica can tell you about the jury.
Monica reports that the jury began with 12 women and 6 men, and most appeared to be younger than 40. Monica reports all jurors appear Hispanic or Caucasian. It was one of those women that was dismissed yesterday. The jury also has a woman with a B.S. in psychology who is pro-death penalty but on a “case by case basis.”
Among the other females one is a trauma nurse, another is a kindergarten teacher who “barely knows how to use the Internet.” There is also a male appearing in his 30’s who believes the “death penalty is there for a reason.” Another of the 6 males is approximately this same age and has stated during jury selection that a show of remorse would make a difference to him when it came time to sentencing. KTAR has the full report of Monica’s analysis of the new jury for Jodi Arias.
Many have speculated that having a mostly female jury works in favor for the prosecution. Women make decisions emotionally, most of the time. The neural pathway that is required for a woman to make decisions, first travels through the limbic system. This is the system of the brain that is responsible for all of the warm and fuzzies women are known for.
And after being exposed to all of these traumatizing photos, and all of the accusations Jodi Arias hasn’t even started to make about Travis Alexander, an emotional decision made by several women may not be the best thing for Jodi arias. The best thing for Jodi to do then will be to cut the lies, cut to the chase, and own it.
Either that or show these women and men a side to her that will make it impossible to kill her. She’s going to have to get raw, and be authentically open to revealing this part of her, as she begs them to save her life. One thing Detective Flores has always stayed consistent on is this very point to Jodi Arias.
From the very first interrogation, over and over he said to her, “I can’t help you if you don’t tell the truth.” Despite how much chaos and drama has surrounded this trial, that has never changed. If Jodi doesn’t tell the truth, she’s making the biggest gamble of her life.
Many people think Jodi is not human and does not have a soul and is not capable of this decision. But Detective Flores doesn’t think that way. He saw a different part of her after spending almost 2 days straight interviewing her. And, if you watch those interrogation tapes where she’s left alone in the room, and doesn’t know she’s being recorded, you can see it too if you make a point to consider she’s a human.
It’s a part of her she fights very hard to push down, but if you look hard, you can see it. She came close to breaking down and telling Detective Flores everything several times in that interview. She fought it. When she was alone, and singing, is when that part of her began to leak out.
Her voice cracked while she was singing “Oh Holy Night” because she was holding back tears. Fighting them, actually with very fiber of her being. That’s why she sang. So she would have something else to focus on so that she wouldn’t break down and show the real her. The truth.
But if you were looking you could see it. Detective Flores saw it. It’s a part of Jodi that is rare, fragmented, and only leaks out through a crack that succumbs to the pressure of being overburdened.
The rare moments those cracks surfaces during her interrogation she fought to hide them. The stray tear was pushed away. Hair was fanned around her face. She turned away but wasn’t even really sure what she was turning away from. It was perhaps the first time her true shame came through and she owned it.
But she has been fighting tooth and nail ever since to make sure that never happens again. And she’s pretty good at it. She’s clearly a strong woman.
You would have to be to butcher someone bigger than you the way she did. Not just mentally strong to make that choice and jump off that cliff. But physically too. A wound 5 inches deep is not an easy thing to make, and then continue with more than 20 more before shooting someone. Or vice versa.
She’s clearly strong. Strong enough to put a cluster of 9 wounds into the back of someone who was clearly running away from her. Strong enough to put divots in the skull of the same person. But is she really strong enough? Does she have the emotional fortitude she needs to do the right thing? It might be the only shot she’s got to put her life on the upswing.
We know she has some emotions inside her as the rumor mill on her relationship status is in full swing. Many writers and reporters are openly speculating that Jodi has a new boyfriend and this rumor has kicked into high gear since the penalty phase started, particularly over these last few days of trial. This is not news either, as the Toronto Relationships Examiner has already reported on this relationship, and the man that our sources tell us has really been visiting Jodi regularly in jail for some time.
It begs the question, does this man know about the man who lives in Phoenix that the National Enquirer has been reporting about? Is Jodi playing two men again the way she did on the night she murdered Travis Alexander?
Jodi’s alleged boyfriend is the same person who has been allegedly working with Maria de la Rosa and who has been allegedly helping her to run her financial empire. He’s the one that reportedly manages her Official twitter account. He has a large hand in her art sales whose proceeds have been turned into her charitable donations that have led St. Mary’s the food bank and St. Jude’s the children’s hospital to feel victimized. A paper trail for the donations to those organizations track back to Ben Ernst.
A man in the life of Jodi Arias is news to the public, but he is by no means the new man in her life. We have been told that Ben has been helping Jodi Arias in a number of ways, for a very long time. So Ben is not a new man. That doesn’t mean there isn’t a new man, or only one man in Jodi’s life.
Our sources have also connected Ben Ernst to the illegally leaked jailhouse audio that Jodi Arias needed to be released to the public in order to manage some administrative matters with her finances. His photo, as one of his former mugshots, can be seen in the slideshow.
Will this information or the information on her alleged charitable donations to St. Jude’s and St. Mary’s make it into this trial? Likely not, as that would be a can of worms the defense may not want to open. The misbehavior on the part of the jail and the mitigation specialist has already been precluded from this trial.
To many the Jodi Arias boyfriend is just one more part of the Jodi Arias circus. What do you think of the Jodi Arias trial this time around? Does it seem like more of a circus to you, if that is even possible? Or has the circus part not even begun? If jurors keep dropping like this, Nurmi might get his wish sooner than he thinks. What do you think?