In less than 48 hours, Jodi Arias will be walking back into the courtroom of the Maricopa County Superior Court in Phoenix, Arizona. While it won’t be the first time she appeared in court since her jury deadlocked in 2013, it will be the first day of many in the retrial of the sentencing phase in the case of the State of Arizona versus Jodi Arias, trial for the murder of her lover Travis Alexander. In 2013 a jury found Jodi Arias guilty of first degree murder with the element of aggravated cruelty that made her eligible for the death penalty. The jury was unanimous in those decisions, but unable to come to a unanimous agreement during the penalty phase of the Jodi Arias trial. A retrial of the penalty phase was scheduled, and jury selection for this phase will begin on Sept. 29 in Maricopa County Superior Court. CNN is reporting today that they have spoken with players close to the defense team, and have learned there will be some suprses in the Jodi Arias trial this time around. We have also spoken with players close to the defense team, and have learned some additional surprises as well.
Since Jodi Arias was convicted of first degree murder in May 2013, she has appeared in court multiple times for one motion or another related to preparations for the retrial of the penalty phase. In a previous court date it was learned the jury selection is still on schedule for September 29, and is expected to last at least 2 weeks. With opening arguments expected to begin mid-October, a previous court hearing suggested that the retrial of the penalty phase is expected to last until at least December 12 of this year.
In June 2008 Jodi Arias killed her lover Travis Alexander in a brutal fashion. Travis was found with more than 20 stab wounds, with one of them being a fatal wound to the heart. Additionally his neck was severed to the point of near decapitation. He was also shot in the head. Jodi has been found guilty of the murder, what remains to be seen is her sentencing.
Jodi Arias appeared in court yesterday to finalize details before jury selection Monday. According to ABC 15, defense attorney for Jodi Arias Kirk Nurmi filed his last motions to the court, asking Judge Sherry Stephens to sequester the jury and to change the venue of the penalty phase of the Jodi Arias trial. These motions were prompted by a cartoon that appeared in a local newspaper recently that compared Jodi Arias to an ISIS beheading depiction.
Prosecutor for the State Juan Martinez argued that he agreed the cartoon was offensive, but that its effects on the jury pool would be minimal. Judge Sherry Stephens agreed and denied both of Nurmi’s motions on the basis that Arizona has not sequestered a jury for over 80 years. This is not the first attempt of Nurmi to sequester the jury, however it will be his last as now the jury selection is expected to resume on schedule this Monday September 29.
CNN is reporting today that they have spoken with some sources close to the defense that have given a bird’s eye view at what may occur in the upcoming penalty phase of the Jodi Arias trial. One person they have spoken to is Donovan Bering, a name that is well known in the Jodi Arias camp and by both Travis Alexander supporters and Jodi Arias supporters alike. Bering told CNN,
“She’s very scared. Things changed for her. She came to the realization that she didn’t want the death penalty. She wants to be able to see her mom and her family.”
CNN also spoke with a former juror that served for the first Jodi Arias trial. This is one of the jurors that voted unanimously to convict for first degree, but was unable to come to a decision when it comes to sentencing. The only task facing the new jury will be to provide the penalty of either life in prison, or the death penalty.
Jury foreman William Zervakos told CNN that he has met with the defense team since the last trial, and has offered what he feels will be practical advice going into the retrial of this phase. He said,
“Jodi Arias is her own worst enemy. She’s a terrible defendant. I was candid with them. I told them it was best if she were not on the stand.”
A source close to the defense has also confirmed with CNN that Jodi Arias will not be taking the stand this time around.
“The strategy this time is to keep Jodi off the stand. However, Jodi has a mind of her own.”
The source close to the defense also said that there were problems with witnesses in this case. They said,
“It’s impossible to get a fair trial with all the publicity this case has received. We had several witnesses back down because they are so afraid to support Jodi.”
As Jodi Arias goes into the retrial of the penalty phase of the Jodi Arias trial, both the State and the defense have very clearly different perspectives. The State contends that the killing of Travis Alexander was exceptinally heinous, and death penalty eligible. The defense will provide a list of mitigating factors that they are hoping will save Jodi from the death penalty all together.
Abuse is expected to play a large role in the retrial of the penalty phase. Jodi has contended she killed Travis in self defense. She has also cited abuse allegations against Travis Alexander, however has not been able to provide significant evidence to substantiate those claims. Will she in the retrial?
Time will tell. Donovan Bering hinted to CNN that some surprises are in store,
“There will be people testifying that now feel safe where they didn’t before. I think there will be a lot of surprises.”
There was an outcry during the first round of the Jodi Arias trial that defense witnesses were allegedly being threatened. It was alleged that they chose not to testify in light of those alleged death threats. Bering’s comments suggest that there may be some witnesses with a change of heart this time around.
In the meantime, there are many different key players close to the defense that are making preparations of their own as the retrial of the penalty phase of the Jodi Arias trial draws nigh. Those preparations appear to be financial in nature. We have been reporting on the behind the scenes dealings of Jodi Arias, and her multiple financial endeavors.
One of those endeavors is the Jodi Arias auctions that have been reported this month by multiple media outlets. Last week we reported on the Jodi Arias auctions, and the truth about her rose colored glasses that went up for auction earlier this month. The truth about that auction was that just to participate, a $250 deposit needed to be made for glasses with a starting bid of $500.
Some truths about who is connected to the monies for those auctions was also revealed. According to the official Twitter account for Jodi Arias, those glasses have been sold. The official Twitter account for Jodi Arias announced this week,
“THE AUCTION WAS A SUCCESS!!! Jodi’s glasses have found a new home. The highest bid was $1000. Proceeds will be donated within a week.”
The auction has confused the public. There were some heated reactions to this announcement. We reported on some of them last week, namely that no charity has been listed for this auction, and that nobody really knows where the money is going.
The public has been confused by this as well, and when the Jodi Arias account tweeted this announcement, the public response was heated.
@iLeahh tweeted @JodiAnnArias, “Are you human? Can u not see how morally wrong this is?”
@BlountGlbount61 tweeted @JodiAnnArias, “You must think we are stupid! She’s doing this for herself. She needs a mitigation factor!”
Is this, the sale of Jodi’s art to charity, one of the surprises the Jodi Arias defense has in store. Or are there others?
Are her art sales and donation to charity a mitigating factor for Jodi Arias? We know from several sources as reported last week that mitigation specialist Maria de la Rosa has been connected by name to the PayPal account that was originally associated with these auctions. That money is allegedly going to charity, according to the Jodi Arias page, but the page has been reluctant to provide evidence of that.
If this is all legitimate, and this is actually a mitigating factor for Jodi Arias, why haven’t they released what charity this money went to? Was it St. Jude’s? Was it PITA? Was it banka de la Rosa?
Or is Aunty Sue taking care of things? Aunt Sue has provided a global statement via Facebook as well on Jodi’s finances.
“Jodi donates only her art or tee shirt sales. Any money donated to her appellate fund goes directly to the appellate trust account that I setup legally through a lawyer. Contrary to what others have posted, I do not take any of this money. Not even a fee for running the trust. 100% goes to the trust account which is setup to only make a withdrawal for an appellate attorney so she can hire someone who cares and knows what they are doing.
Also contrary to what the haters say, I have not or will not use any of this money to pay for a trip to AZ. I do have a job and I did at her first trial. I was blessed with having an employer give me three months off to attend the trial. So all of you who think you know it all, I say, go eat rocks!”
Aunt Sue wants the public to know that she is not charging anyone for taking their money. She also wants the haters to go eat rocks. Aunt Sue also has no information in this quote on what charity Jodi’s art proceeds are allegedly going to.
Nobody really seems to want to reveal this information. This is one part of the Jodi Arias financial empire that makes the connections between mitigation specialist Maria de la Rosa, to Jodi’s money, seem suspect. This appellate trust that Jodi’s Aunt Sue is talking about also seems a little strange on first glance. What is the truth about this trust?
Those in the Jodi Arias camp refer to people that don’t buy into everything that Jodi Arias says and claims as “haters.” Thus, anyone that doesn’t believe a relative of hers, such as Aunt Sue, will also be referred to as such. Aunt Sue will not tell any story other than this one, and refers the haters to rocks.
An investigation online in the world of social media and the court of public opinion that is also “trying” this case, reveals some interesting information about the truth about this trust fund. Once again, we have another mysterious connection between Maria de la Rosa and the money of Jodi Arias.
The Administrator of a Facebook page called, “Simon and Aunt Sue’s Fake Trust Fund” offered a public quote on the matter on September 8. They said,
“The artwork money was originally going to parolee Sherry Tanner in Phoenix. After that was exposed, Sue-Simon-Maria R.-Benjamin McMichael Ernst switched it to Ben’s P.O. Box in Moline, Illinois, just outside of where he lives, in Bettendorf, Illinois (also has an address in Devenport, Illinois.)
These are the scammers you Jodi lovers fell for! Bwahahahaha! P.S. Don’t ask where your money went, you will be banned from jodiariasisinnocent! Bwahahaha!”
Once again we are seeing Maria de la Rosa connected to a conversation about money. So this tells us that at some point, some money was allegedly going to an alleged parolee Sherry Tanner, but is now allegedly being funneled to a P.O. Box for Ben Ernst in Illinois. That’s the artwork money. That is the money that is supposed to be going to charity, as one of Jodi’s alleged mitigating factors.
What about the auction money? Is this going to an un-named charity? Jodi Ann Arias refuses to provide evidence. And as far as the $250 deposit to bid on the auction? Supporter for Jodi Arias, Pandora Paik, said in an online discussion that,
“The 250$ starter fee is good enough amount to keep idiots from bidding that don’t want to buy the glasses — just want to stir s*&% up. That keeps them away.”
Another source has revealed that Aunt Sue’s trust fund is indeed a fake. That source said,
“If Aunt Sue had a real trust fund, she wouldn’t be so cautious about telling all her Jodi lovers to call it a ‘gift’ everywhere. Further proof doners are lining Sue’s pockets with cold, hard, cash. A real trust fund, you could say ‘your donation will go directly to the trust fund’. Instead, Sue’s says, ‘your GIFT will go to my PayPal account, so I hope you think I’m doing the right thing.’ Shady acres!”
So it does look like there are two funds going, or at least the appearance of two funds are in play. One is allegedly going as gifts to Aunt Sue, another is allegedly going to Ben Ernst in either Illinois or Iowa. This decision was allegedly a joint decision by Maria de la Rosa, Ben Ernst, and Simon Johannson.
We previously reported that Ben Ernst has an extensive rap sheet in criminal activity, with some of his criminal activity allegedly involving minors and cocaine. Whether he is pocketing the money remains to be seen. We have not seen anyone come forward saying they received $250 refund for bidding on the auction.
Maria de la Rosa is also frequently connected by association to this criminal Ben Ernst. In a Facebook discussion on Aunt Sue’s trust fund, an individual posted on the matter in light of the recent allegations against Maria de la Rosa. They said,
“Why isn’t Maria coming here to speak for herself instead of hiding in the vent room??”
The vent room we have learned is a secret Internet room secretly located on JodiAriasisInnocent.com. It is here where key players discuss strategy that is financial in nature for the defense, or defense strategies as well. We have been told by a source close to the defense that Maria, Simon, and Ben frequently meet in this room to discuss confidential financial strategy.
This quote about Maria “hiding in the vent room” taken from a public Facebook page seems to corroborate that story. Is Jodi Arias aware of any of this? She is confined to a cell 23 hours a day and has few visitors or contact with the outside world. Even so, it appears that she does. Long time supporter of Jodi Arias, an individual known as Edd Stark, wrote on a support page for Jodi this past week on how Jodi gets information from “the outside”. In answering another supporters questions on the matter, he said,
“You will be very surprised to find out for yourself. Jodi does actually see us and is remarkably and highly informed. It blows my mind almost every time I talk to her and think I’m giving her some news she already knows it or even stuff that nobody knows yet. It’s funny. She’s like an eye in the sky.”
How is Jodi “remarkably and highly informed”? We believe that she is informed by people that see her regularly. How else would she be informed? Who would those individuals be then?
We know that Maria de la Rosa is one of those individuals. As a mitigation specialist, it is her duty to remain in regular contact with Jodi. This also comes in handy if Maria is as involved in Jodi’s financial affairs as she is appearing to be.
We also know that Ben Ernst is another, and are told by a source close to the defense that Jodi “flies Ben in” every few weeks or so for a visit, and likely for an “informational conversation.” Is there more to this relationship than meets the eye? Is there more to the relationship between Jodi Arias and mitigation specialist Maria de la Rosa than meets the eye.
We are continuing to follow the story. As we do, we are hearing from many individuals related to this story, and not all of the reactions are positive. Those that are hoping the truth does not come out, are refusing to answer any honest questions on the matter, and behaving rather inappropriately on social media as a result. This behavior is revealing in itself.
There is a saying, “You give a person enough rope, and they will hang themselves.” In light of recent reactions by key players close to the Jodi Arias defense camp, it appears that one only needs to suggest that the rope exists in order for this to be the case.
Stay tuned as we follow this story and continue to reveal the many surprises those close to the Jodi Arias camp have in store. Jury selection will begin this Monday in Maricopa County Superior Courts as planned. Maria de la Rosa is under scrutiny, but remains a key member of the defense assisting Jodi in her efforts to establish mitigating factors to avoid the death penalty. What surprises do you think she will have in store for the upcoming retrial of the penalty phase of the Jodi Arias trial? Will she behave a little more appropriately while court is in session than she did in the video shown here, from last year’s Jodi Arias trial?
Will she be key in helping Jodi escape the death penalty? Or do you think there are other secrets and surprises about Maria de la Rosa and those she is connected to, that will come to light?