Friday, February 22, 2013

Admitted Killer On The Witness Stand In Arizona Is Resonating And Polarizing In Familar Ways

Posted by Sailor

Something apparently unique in American legal history is now taking place in Phoenix, Arizona, complete wth realtime TV feed from the courtroom

It is the weeks-long examination and cross-examination on the stand of Jodi Arias, who is accused of killing her ex-boyfriend and continuing sex partner Travis Alexander with at least 29 stab wounds and a slashed throat. In a few days she could be stuck with a death sentence, or conceivably even walk free.

We have often wondered how Knox would perform unfettered on the stand, as she may feel compelled to do if Cassation requires a reworking of the appeal verdict and sentence arrived at at the end of 2011.

There are some similarities and some differences.


The similarities involve her lying and her seeming callousness and attempted cover-up which suggest her mental acuity and balance are okay. The quotes below come from the ABC News account of Arias’ trial:

Arias “eventually confessed to killing her ex-boyfriend, but insisted it was self defense.”

And “the main reason (for lying) is because I was very ashamed of what happened. It’s not something I ever imagined doing. It’s not the kind of person I was. It was just shameful,” she said. “I was also very scared of what might happen. I didn’t want my family to know that I had done that, and I just couldn’t bring myself to say that I did that.”

The other parallel to Amanda Knox is Arias’ behavior after the murder.  To avoid calling attention to herself, Arias carried on as if nothing had happened.

“Arias drove on to Utah where she was supposed to meet up with friends and a new romantic interest, Ryan Burns, for the rest of her roadtrip, she testified. There, the pair kissed and cuddled on Burns’ bed just 24 hours after Arias had stabbed and shot Alexander.”


The differences involve her family and the nature of Travis’s connection with the fervent local arm of the Mormon Church, which is especially fervent about no sex before marriage. .

Unlike Knox, whose father shut her up when she seemed to be getting close to confessing in Capanne Prison soon after her arrest, Arias credits her loving family with giving her the support that allowed her to finally admit what she had done.

“My family remained very supportive, and told me ‘it doesn’t matter what happens, we love you anyway.’ I realized even if I told the truth they would still be there and wouldn’t walk away,” she testified.

“By the time spring, 2010, rolled around, I confessed. I basically told everyone what I could remember of the day and that the intruder story was all BS pretty much.”

Travis Alexander was not only a fervent mormon - he was an elder in his local church where any pre-marital sex would taint both partners for life.

Having secretly slept with Jodi Arias for a long time, he discarded her as a “tainted” girlfriend (who he himself tainted) in favor of a virgin Mormon girlfriend - but continued to chase Arias down for sex anyway. 

This is a take by an insightful reader calling herself Janine on the website Wild About Trial which seems to resonate with many, especially women.

Since Travis’s emails were read in court and the phone sex tape was heard in open court, it shows Travis’s personality in a dating situation. He had a Madonna Whore complex”¦ the Mormon girls he would not touch because they were pure, then putting Jodi into the Whore category in which no form of sex or degradation was denied. IMO Travis should have paid for sex and not manipulating and degrading women who had fallen in love with him.

He treated her horribly. Her self esteem was obviously very low or she would not have permitted nor enjoyed being treated in this manner. He was chasing her as well, if only for a booty call. He was playing mind games when surely he must have known the person whose mind he was messing with was unstable. He didn’t care, as long as he could get the kind of sex he wanted when he wanted it and with no strings attached.

She slashed his tires, watched him, read his emails and he is still reeling her in and playing mind games a week before the murder. He messed with the wrong girl. She is guilty but not of murder one or two. I believe crime of passion or manslaughter. He had some culpability here even though I believe he did not deserve what happened. After a year of Travis’s form of abuse, she just snapped. He pushed her over the edge. And, yes, you would have to be unstable to be pushed over the edge but I believe he knew that she was.

She certainly gave him plenty of evidence that she was.

Even though Arias is now fighting to avoid the death penalty, she exudes a sense of peace that seems to have eluded Amanda Knox. The truth shall set you free!

First image below: this shot was taken by Jodi just minutes before Travis’s death


I haven’t followed the Arias case as closely as the Knox case, but my feeling is that Janine is far too kind to her.

Arias does not fit the profile of abused women who one day snap because they have no other way out of their predicament.  These women tend to be trapped in abusive relationships due to economic and social dependency (no money of their own, no freedom or means to pursue a career, and no support network).  Also, they tend to be mothers, and the desire to protect their children, either out of fear that the abuser will turn to them or out of desperation that he already has, is probably a big factor in their decision.

As far as I understand, Arias was independent, had family and friends, and her ex had formally broken up with her.  If his behavior was indeed as Janine described it, I do feel compassion for her.  At the same time, the sane course of action would have been to walk away and learn from her experience, or otherwise seek help if she couldn’t do it on her own.  All of us, sooner or later, end up dealing with disappointment, rejection, and bad relationships, but we somehow find ways to heal and alter our selection criteria.  It may take a long time and it may require emotional support, but most people don’t go on murderous rampages to solve their problems.  There was absolutely nothing forcing Arias to keep sleeping with Travis Alexander, especially that she was an attractive woman with many romantic prospects (including one she was obviously pursuing at the time).

So forgive me if I have trouble viewing her as a desperate woman.  While using someone is pretty despicable behavior, last time I checked, it’s not considered a crime.  Arias had the option to block his calls and emails and avoid him.  She didn’t need him to secure basics and she had no children to protect. If she thought she was about to snap, she could have told someone and visited a counselor.  Obviously, a family who can come to terms with murder could have come to terms with the fact that their daughter/sibling needed to see a counselor for a while.

I also think that this is insulting to women who do need to resort to desperate means to protect their lives and their children’s lives.  It sounds to me like Arias is highly narcissistic and may be a psychopath.  She obviously couldn’t deal with rejection, to the point where securing other romantic connections didn’t make her feel sufficiently vindicated.  She had to make him disappear, possibly as a way of erasing her failure.

She lied repeatedly, just like Knox, but has been cornered to the point where her defense likely decided that she had to tell the truth so it could be spun into an abuse story. It’s far easier to do so when the victim is male and may have engaged in some questionable behavior.  Obviously, not something the Knox defense could do, given that her victim was just a sweet, social girl who’d made public attempts to help Knox.

Posted by Vivianna on 02/22/13 at 08:46 PM | #

Hi Vivianne

Thanks for a thoughtful assessment. To some of us here aspects sound familiar.  We have the live TV feed here and it’s really hard to know which way it is going to go.

Arias gets sympathy for their seemingly both having been in love and, she thought, set on marriage. Then he dropped her down a peg as being debased and pursued a virgin Mormon girl right in her face. In France this might look like a crime passionel.

Its not unlike watching Casey Anthony and her prosecutor. In Casey Anthony’s case we thought she did it but the prosecutor was aggressive to the point of having ticked off the jury and the death penalty (which a higher court just confirmed as an option for Arias) looked like heartless overkill.

At the same time Casey Anthony was know to love her baby, and it was hard to prove intent to kill even though computer searches by someone suggested a method might have been sought. In this Arzona case there were all the knife wounds PLUS the shot to the forehead and images for the jury.

By the way the Massei jury saw images from Meredith’s autopsy, in closed session, adn were extremely affected, whereas the Helllmann jury was never led through them with all the implications (though they were in the evidence file).

We dont know any objective person who followed the Massei trial and was often in the court who found it other than a wholly convincing case. The defence then floundered, and several times paused for days.

Then the Hellmann court (illegally) adopted the same scope as the trial, but with everything back to front, the defense first presenting its case, and the prosecution constrained to what the defense and Hellmann and Zanetti wanted in.

Cassation know the difference between a good second level (appeal) report and a truly terrible and highly embarrasing trial report which ignores countless guidelines - which is precisely what the Hellmann & Zanetti report looks like.

Neither Hellmann nor Zanetti were criminal judges, and their couple of criminal cases many years in the past also produced outcomes of complete farce.

Judge Chiari should have retained the job of lead appeal judge (he was appointed and then bumped) or failing that, the appeal should have been punted to good criminal judges in a court in Florence.

Umbria’s chief judge has himself come down a few pegs for his terrible Hellmann-Zanetti selection.

The entire judiciary and prosecution presence in Perugia seem to be pulling for the appeal. Nobody is concerned that the appeal if it is re-run will be heard in Florence, because the one small element there gunning for Mignini has just been squashed like a bug (see Yummi’s post above).

This seems to have absolutely escaped the attention of Dalla Vedova, also not a specialist in criminal law or winning in criminal court. What matters in Italy is the END GAME.

Two weeks ago Dalla Vedova very foolishly asked for Knox’s calunnia trial to be punted to Florence in the hope she’d find a sweeter court there. She wont, Florence will refuse it, it will be punted back to Perugia - and any sympathy for Knox will only be less.

Hellmann, Zanetti, Dalla Vedova, and the FOA - what to they have in common? Extreme amateurs in Italian criminal law and court practice, to the very last one.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 02/23/13 at 01:45 PM | #

The very best way to examine this and anything else given any similarity (Knox Arias Anthony etc:) is to look for the simplest reason. If you examine Arias history you will note that she always adopted the personality of whoever she was going out with at the time. Her history indicates that she has no personality of her own at all but just like Knox parasitically attached herself to whom ever she is/was with. Therefore Arias enthusiastically became what Tavis Alexander wanted her to be. In other words a whore. She did this in the hope that he might marry her (Shades of Susan smith who drowned her kids so that she might ‘marry up.) and when Alexander told Arias to get lost she killed him in a fit of rage. Don’t forget that Arias had her entire future planned out including where they would live how many kids etc including where they would vacation. I have absolutely no mercy for her at all. I doubt she will get the death penalty but will rot in jail for about 35 years. This is a good thing because she should never be allowed into society again. Hopefully this will also happen to Knox.

This after all is Knox’s personality (If I can use that term.) In order to become exceptable to others Knox, (the same as Arias) chameleon like changed her persona. All that is except for her attempt to manipulate any sexual situation she could in order to bolster her feelings of worthlessness and make her feel she had some power over men i/e Curt Knox her father.

All it took was Sollicito and the right set of circumstances to pull the switch. Same as Arias because the circumstances and built up rage over years finally exploded when she was turned down. Never let a woman imagine that she is being laughed at.

No! I have absolutely for no mercy or sympathy for people like this and lastly I find Sailors depiction of Travis Alexander to be an insult not only to him but to any woman who has really been abused. The thing to remember is that any Mormon because of their code is almost entirely sexually innocent of the real world and what goes on in it. Therefore any temptation into sexual gymnastics is not to be taken lightly and is very difficult to turn down. Travis Alexander is therefore innocent and dead.

Posted by Grahame Rhodes on 02/23/13 at 08:34 PM | #

Hi Grahame.

Hmmm. Lets not take things out on main posters?! Sailor quoted a view which is common enough on the web and posted mostly by women themselves. He didnt just make that up. I saw it many places too. Nor about that particular local arm of the church, which is said to be unusually hardline.

Even you concede a mindset which seems more or less close to being unwell: morphing to accommodate to the guy she loved. She evolved later in ways Knox didnt (or wasnt allowed to) which Vivianne above thinks was expeditious but as Sailor says the jury may not. We perhaps wouldnt mind a Knox who evolves even as late as now, if she utters contrition and solace to Meredith’s family?

That’s sorta the Italian way, for better or worse. But if you say it would be 4-5 years too late and way too many have been hurt most here can understand that too. What we have heard of Knox’s book makes it sound like her anger still burns bright.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 02/24/13 at 01:06 AM | #


Here is an interesting “tidbit” : 

Both Knox and Arias are born on the same day: July 9 ... [also OJ Simpson was born on July 9].

Both Knox and Arias used a knife/knives to kill their victims with multiple stab wounds ...

Arias changed her story several times before finally admitting to killing her victim ...  but is now “claiming” “self-defense” ...

Knox changed her story several times, admitted to being in the house when Meredith was killed—but—changed her story to “I wasn’t there” ...

I have been following the Arias trial since it started, and in my opinion, the prosecutor has aboslutely proved pre-meditated murder by Arias ...

Arias drove over 1,000 miles to Travis’ home when to kill him—they were “broke up” ... she borrowed gas cans from a former bf for her “road trip” ... she rented a car 90 miles from her home, and returned the rental car with NO floor mats per the testimony of the car rental place—as well there were “stains” in the car which the car rental place thought was “kool-aid stains” ... it has been proven that she “dyed” her hair so as not to be recognized ...

The gun that was used by Arias was a .25 caliber, and what a “coincidence” that Arias’ grandparents—whom she lived with at the time of the murder—reported a .25 caliber gun stolen about a month before the murder ... hmmm…

Bombshells were dropped in court on Thursday when the Prosecutor produced 2 magazines that Arias obtained while she was in jail.  These magazines had “cryptic and coded” notes on various pages ... Arias gave these magazines to a friend who came to visit her at the jail and this “friend” was to pass the magazines to another “friend”  ...  But the guards at the jail checked out these magazines before they left the jail and wow, there were coded messages so it was seized by jail and turned over to prosecutor.

And more bombshells are expected to come out ...

Next month, we will have a verdict from the Supreme Court in Italy, and hopefully, there will be a verdict on Arias ...

Have a nice day / evening everyone ...

Posted by MissMarple on 02/25/13 at 03:51 AM | #

Oops ... I forgot to mention in the post above that the “coded” messages in the magazine were written by Jodi to a friend with respect to what this friend would testify to !

Oh another thing I just thought regarding both Knox and Arias : “sex” !  We heard all about Knox’s “sexual activities”, and we heard ad nauseam all about Arias’ “sexual activities”, which I won’t go into either one here.

I know there’s more, and if I think of anything important, I will post if it’s okay !

I am so looking forward to hearing what the Supreme Court has to say about Knox and Sollecito next month !

Posted by MissMarple on 02/25/13 at 05:43 AM | #

I was under the impression that women just don’t stab people. That that’s just not something that females do. (Unless it’s gang violence.)

Can’t remember where I heard that, but I’m always reminded of it whenever there’s a case of a woman stabbing somebody. (Which seems to happen quite a lot for something that never happens.)

Posted by Jeff Friend on 02/25/13 at 10:53 PM | #

Hi Jeff,

Steve Moore claimed that women don’t stab each other. Here are some of cases from Britain:

Karla Biddle stabbed Emma Bradshaw to death.

Catherine Grant stabbed Michelle Reid to death.

Harmohinder Sanghera, a dental student, stabbed Sana Ali to death.

Julia Davidson, a doctor, stabbed Fiona Wood to death.

Alethea Foster, a hospital consultant, stabbed Julie Simpson 17 times.

Charlene Wilson stabbed her friend Gail Russell to death.

Carly Fisher stabbed her partner Carly Fisher in the back.

Amanda Keane stabbed her partner Lorraine Ozkan to death.

Paula Outlaw stabbed Kim Morgan in the face.

Danika Douglas stabbed Emma Elliot three times in the back.

Paula Hawkins stabbed Julie Tinsely 8 times.

Sandra Cheatle stabbed Angela Archard twice in the stomach and once in the chest.

Mayer Palmer stabbed Lauri-Ann Lewin in the neck and severed a main artery.

The above cases show why it’s important to base your opinions on facts rather than preconceived ideas and beliefs. It’s worth noting some of the professions of the women above. They include a doctor and a hospital consultant.

Posted by The Machine on 02/26/13 at 12:17 AM | #

Thanks Machine.

For the record, I was mocking Moore’s idea that women don’t stab others. (Sometimes my dry sense of humor isn’t obvious.)

Clearly, none of the women you list grabbed a knife and thought “Whoa, how un-feminine of me. Stabbing is just not what we women do.” LOL

Posted by Jeff Friend on 02/26/13 at 03:24 AM | #

If she had inflicted 1 stab wound then I could see the argument for self defence, however, 29 stab wounds, a slashed throat and a gun shot, murder, end of.

Posted by Urbanist on 02/26/13 at 08:28 AM | #

In the defense phase of her testimony Jodi Arias went for a sympathy plea. The mitigating circumstances that Sailor describes well.

Now in the prosecution cross-examination she seems stuck for an explanation of why the “overkill” of all the wounds. The point Urbanist etc above make well.

Seems to me today that the jury could buy one or the other. If they are quirky like the Casey Anthony jury, she might get off light. If they are hardline, no way.

Knox lost serious points when on the stand for testimony limited to her Patrick framing (for which she served three years), but she also seemed to gain points because she made impromptu self-serving statements and because her family was always represented in the court.

Tough call whether she will testify if there is a next time around. Most of us’d like to see her in the hot seat, no holds barred. The Arias outcome might determine that.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 03/01/13 at 03:38 PM | #

Agree with pre-meditation.  Agree with mentally unstable, sociopath

Sex was being used on both sides - Travis for his own pleasure,

Arias to snare guy(s), seems to be her only attribute - dyed blond hair and implanted boobs and non-stop sexual activities (no talk of their intellectual rapport is there?)

What puzzles me is the last hour - they had all that sex and took nude photos of each other, including him in the shower.  What exactly made her snap - maybe she thought all that sex equalled love, did he then say ‘actually I was just using you all along, I have no intention of giving up my new virgin Mormon girlfriend, never wanted to marry you’ - SNAP

There seemed to be then some kind of struggle/dragging between the bathroom and the bedroom - where did he get shot?  Did she cut his throat while he lay helplessly wounded by gun shots and stabbings - that’s really cruel.  Did she then drag him back into the shower to allow the blood to drain out?  She must be quite strong.

I’m not taken in by the tales of abuse or the sweet voice on the witness stand.  She was so confident that she would never be convicted in her TV interview.  She’s really scary. Definitely a dangerous woman.  Travis was a jerk but he didn’t deserve to be killed like that.  She needs to be locked up for a long time.

Posted by believing on 03/01/13 at 04:10 PM | #

Hi Jeff

Yeah I smiled at your mention of Steve Moore’s odd claim. Moore may have been a willing soldier in the lower ranks of the FBI but I see no signs that he investigated much mainstream crime. The FBI doesnt, that is mostly at local level, but it does keep national stats and databases and Moore could have checked them in a heartbeat before that unwise claim. Useful list by the Machine.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 03/01/13 at 04:16 PM | #
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