Jodi Arias: Hell Hath No Fury

Jodi Arias found guilty of first degree murder


Jodi Arias testifies during her murder trial in Maricopa County Superior Court, Monday, Feb. 25, 2013, in Phoenix. Photo / AP - The Arizona Republic, Tom TinglePHOENIX (AP) – Jodi Arias was convicted of first-degree murder Wednesday in the gruesome killing of her one-time boyfriend in Arizona after a four-month trial that captured headlines with lurid tales of sex, lies, religion and a salacious relationship that ended in a blood bath.

Arias fought back tears, and family members of the victim wept and hugged each other as the verdict was announced in the hushed, packed courtroom.

Outside, a huge crowd that had gathered on the courthouse steps screamed, whistled and cheered the news in a case that has attracted fans from across the country who traveled to Phoenix to be close to the proceedings. Some chanted, “USA, USA, USA!”

The jury of eight men and four women took about 15 hours to reach its verdict after four months of testimony, including 18 days on the witness stand by the 32-year-old Arias. The jury will return to the courtroom Thursday to begin the next phase of the trial that could set the stage for her being sentenced to death.

Arias was charged with first-degree murder in the June 2008 death of Travis Alexander in his suburban Phoenix home. Authorities said she planned the attack in a jealous rage after being rejected by the victim while he pursued other women. Arias initially denied involvement then later blamed the killing on masked intruders. Two years after her arrest, she said it was self-defense.

Testimony began in early January, with Arias eventually spending 18 days on the witness stand. The trial quickly snowballed into a made-for-the-tabloids drama, garnering daily coverage from cable news networks and spawning a virtual cottage industry for talk shows, legal experts and even Arias, who used her notoriety to sell artwork she made in jail.

Jurors got the case Friday afternoon. They deliberated for two full days this week before reaching a decision late Wednesday morning. The verdict was announced at about 2 p.m. local time.

The trial will move into a phase during which prosecutors will argue the killing was committed in an especially cruel, heinous and depraved manner, called the “aggravation” phase. Both sides may call witnesses and show evidence during a mini trial of sorts. If the jury determines the killing was cruel, heinous and depraved, then another phase will begin to determine whether she should get the death penalty.

A mob of spectators gathered outside the courthouse to learn the verdict, while TV crews, media trucks and reporters lined nearby streets. Family and friends of Alexander wore blue ribbons and wristbands with the words “Justice For Travis.”

Alexander suffered nearly 30 knife wounds, was shot in the forehead and had his throat slit before Arias dragged his body into his shower. He was found by friends about five days later.

Authorities said Alexander fought for his life as Arias attacked him in a blitz, but he soon grew too weak to defend himself.

“Mr. Alexander did not die calmly,” prosecutor Juan Martinez told jurors in opening statements.

Arias said she recalled Alexander attacking her in a fury after a day of sex. She said Alexander came at her “like a linebacker,” body-slamming her to the tile floor. She managed to wriggle free and ran into his closet to retrieve a gun he kept on a shelf. She said she fired in self-defense but had no memory of stabbing him.

She acknowledged trying to clean the scene of the killing, dumping the gun in the desert and working on an alibi to avoid suspicion. She said she was too scared and ashamed to tell the truth. However, none of Arias’ allegations that Alexander had physically abused her in the months before his death, that he owned a gun and had sexual desires for young boys, were corroborated by witnesses or evidence during the trial. She acknowledged lying repeatedly before and after her arrest but insisted she was telling the truth in court.

Arias spent 18 days on the witness stand describing an abusive childhood, cheating boyfriends, dead-end jobs, a shocking sexual relationship with Alexander, and her contention that he had grown physically abusive.

Psychologist Richard Samuels testified for the defense that Arias suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and dissociative amnesia, which explained why she couldn’t recall much from the day of the killing. Another defense witness, psychotherapist Alyce LaViolette, concluded that Arias was a battered woman.

Their testimony would be crucial to convince jurors that, one, Arias wasn’t lying about her memory gaps from the day of the killing, and two, that she did suffer physical abuse by Alexander. Defense attorneys had to get jurors to believe that despite no evidence of Alexander ever having been violent in the past, he had attacked Arias on several occasions, and did so again on the day of his death.

After all, there was no dispute that Arias killed Alexander.

It was the first thing Arias’ defense acknowledged as the trial began.

“Jodi Arias killed Travis Alexander,” Arias attorney Jennifer Willmott told jurors in opening statements. “There is no question about it. The million dollar question is what would have forced her to do it?”

Martinez worked feverishly to attack the credibility of the defense experts, accusing them of having sympathy for Arias and offering biased opinions.

He later called his own expert, clinical psychologist Janeen DeMarte, who told jurors Arias didn’t suffer from PTSD or amnesia, and that she found no evidence that the defendant was a battered woman. Instead, DeMarte said Arias suffered from borderline personality disorder, showing signs of immaturity and an “unstable sense of identity.”

People who suffer from such a disorder “have a terrified feeling of being abandoned by others,” DeMarte told jurors.

The case had devolved into dueling expert witnesses.

Aside from her lies, Arias had another formidable obstacle to overcome.

Her grandparents had reported a .25-caliber handgun stolen from their Northern California home about a week before Alexander’s death – the same caliber used to shoot him – but Arias insisted she didn’t take it. Authorities believe she brought it with her to kill him. The coincidence of the same caliber gun stolen from the home also being used to shoot Alexander was never resolved. It would be left up to the jury to decide if it made sense.

Then there was Arias’ account of Alexander’s killing. She said she shot him first, but he kept coming, forcing her to grab a knife and defend herself.

However, Dr. Kevin Horn, a Maricopa County medical examiner, testified it would have been highly unlikely that Alexander could have sustained so many defensive wounds from the knife attack had he been shot in the head first. Horn said the gunshot would have rendered the victim incapable of fighting back.

Meanwhile, the entire case devolved into a circus-like spectacle attracting dozens of enthusiast each day to the courthouse as they lined up for a chance to score just a few open public seats in the gallery. One trial regular sold her spot in line to another person for $200. Both got reprimands from the court, and the money was returned.

Many people also gathered outside after trial for a chance to see Martinez, who had gained celebrity-like status for his firebrand tactics and unapologetically intimidating style of cross-examining defense witnesses.

The case grew into a worldwide sensation as thousands followed the trial via a live, unedited Web feed. Twitter filled with comments as spectators expressed their opinions on everything from Arias’ wardrobe to Martinez’s angry demeanor. For its fans, the Arias trial became a live daytime soap opera.

Adding to the spectacle, Arias sold drawings from jail throughout the trial on a website operated by a third party, said her mother, Sandra Arias. According to the site, some pieces were fetching more than a $1,000, and Sandra Arias said the money was being used to help pay for family expenses. Nothing prevented Arias from profiting from her notoriety given she hadn’t been convicted of a crime.

BRIAN SKOLOFF

Follow Brian Skoloff at
http://twitter.com/bskoloff

Source: AP

Copyright 2013 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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Comments

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LoveBunny says:

I *heart* Juan Martinez!

   
Deela says:

I totally agree with you. What the hell?. Faux at it again. Then they say “exclusive”. Screw them. One more reason not to watch that network.

   
Sara says:

@Lisa – People get riled up becuase she MURDERED him, lied numerous times and dragged his name through the mud. We may not have “met” him, but we sure feel like we know him.

   
Lisa says:

Why are you people getting so riled up? She’s a complete stranger to you and so was Travis. Sheesh. What a mob mentality.

   
Patricia Nelson says:

No we are not saints, we have all been left by someone and it hurts but you get through it. YOU DON’T DRIVE TO THEIR HOUSE AND MURDER THEM, JUST BECAUSE THINGS DIDN’T GO YOUR WAY.

   
Patricia Nelson says:

She is not a criminal she is a MONSTER, something very wrong with her!!!!!

   
Tammi says:

Omg Juan this Juan that. U people act like he is the second coming. Why are u so impressed with a little man degrading people on the stand, do u have low self esteem???

   
Joey Zasa says:

JM did an awesome job as prosecutor! This woman brutally slaughtered another human, tried to cover it up, and lied until the verdict was read. This is fact! Your comment about self-esteem places you in the same company as “I Luv Laviolette” and the crazy “Dr. Samuels Luvs Jodi” crowd! Excellent job Martinez! Someone should place a picture of his face on a Tee shirt with the caption “Do you have problems with your memory?”

   
susansayshi says:

Juan was doing his job! He had to ensure this monster was convicted.

   
paullegal says:

all those passing judgment on the trial are saints ? sure jodi is a criminal, but how many wife bashers, cheaters and liars are there on this forum ? lets not spike the football and let there be closure…enough…no winners from this terrible tragedy !

   
Tammi says:

None

   
professor3rdEye says:

Way to go Juan Martinez! The “juanliners” that are going around the internet are very funny. Hopefully, some talented folks will put it into a book to give people a bit of comic relief.
More drama from BitchJodi keeps saying to the press she wants the needle/death penalty so she “can more quickly find freedom”… Now this is where my brain gets ugly…
In this case I don’t believe for a second that applying an “eye for an eye” would make the world blind, rather it would send a message to other narcissistic whacko’s who disregard human life. . .
I say give her 29 excruciating stabs slowly and deliberately, then a shot to the head followed up by slitting her throat from ear to ear as she finally dies. The exact way she slaughtered Travis Victor Alexander – that amazing, unselfish, brilliant young man just beginning his life in the light of our universe. If I’ve offended anyone, I,m sorry for your discomfort. This is how I feel right now.
Airyass is the Devil and I still see evil in her eyes and demeanor.

   
Patricia Nelson says:

SHE LOOKED TODAY I AM THE VICTIM , SO CREEEPY , THERE IS SOMETHING WRONG WITH THIS PERSON, EVIL SIMMERING.

   
Gayle says:

Thank goodness the people of Arizona are not afraid to stand up for truth and justice! Too many cases like this have gone unpunished. The rest of the country should learn from this.

   
Patricia Nelson says:

I KEEP HAVING MY SAY, I CAN NOT STOP!!!!! SAY YOURS

   
Patricia Nelson says:

GO STRAIGHT TO DEATH ROW SHE CUT HIS HEAD OFF, THAT IS NOT ARE SOCIETY, I HATE SNEAKY THAT IS WHAT IS SHE WAS.

   
Patricia Nelson says:

I have nothing more to say, done.

   
Patricia Nelson says:

LORD YOU HEARD OUR PRAYER,THANK YOU,YOU WERE ALWAYS WATCHING, SHE IS GOING TO DEATH ROW. NO MORE QUESTIONS ASK.

   
Don says:

I wish they could put Lavolete in the same cell with her.

   
Bill says:

He’ll Hath NO Fury like a Prosecutor who KNOWS his stuff!!!!!thanks Jaun Martinez for showing us there is Still Justice in the US of A….!!!!!

   
Bill says:

GREAT job by a top Prosicutor…

   
paullegal says:

u mean prosecutor ?

   
Julia says:

Martinez didn’t even have to work feverishly to discredit those two. They discredited themselves every time they opened their mouths, making it too easy for him!

   
Courtney says:

God your will was done here on earth. Amen!!!!

   
LoveBunny says:

Thank goodness the Devil won’t be dancing tonight like he did with Casey Anthony!

   
Patricia Nelson says:

Congratulations Mr. Martinaz you were awesome bringing it home!

   
LoveBunny says:

Juan Martinez IS a true Rock Star!

Thank you Prosecutor Juan Martinez!!!

   
Vena says:

Should have Martinez on the Casey Anthony trial.

   
LoveBunny says:

SWEET JUSTICE!!!! YEEEEEESSSSSS!!!!!

   
Patricia Nelson says:

Justice was served today straight up. Rest in Peace Travis Alexander.

   
Big Lar says:

Kill that f…ing bitch today not 12 years from now!!!

   
PJs says:

Guilty of 1st degree murder, justice is being served!!

   
Patricia Nelson says:

I am having a panic attack with this waiting and I am not even on trial!!!!!

   
dmarsh says:

Wish it was already read it 12 minutes seems like forever OMG

   
Tara Donahue says:

Feel nervous! I hope it’s first degree! Can’t even imagine what Travis’s family is going thru right at this moment.

   
dmarsh says:

Oh has to be guilty !

   
Trial watcher says:

Fry the bitch!!! Premeditated murder!!!

   
Patricia Nelson says:

It better be good meaning murder one.

   
Whovian says:

OMFG!!!

   

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