Specializing in the representation of crime victims, women and children.


By Wendy Murphy    May. 05, 2013

Jury BoxJODI ARIAS CASE FINALLY GOES TO THE JURY — One side will win, the other will need to take a shower and beg forgiveness.

Anything but a conviction for premeditated first degree murder would be a huge victory for the defense.  But there will be no defense victory because the prosecution evidence is monumentally strong.

It almost seems unfair to point out things that were good about Juan Martinez’s closing argument, but a couple of things are worth noting.

1. There were records of Jodi Arias’ every move in the days before and after the murder, EXCEPT when she was in Arizona murdering Travis Alexander. This is because Arias took steps to hide the fact that she was in Arizona at the time of the crime.  Her cellphone was off so there were no pings, she removed the license plates on her car so nobody would be able to say that her car was at his home on the night in question, and she purchased and filled several gas cans in California to ensure that she would not have to stop for a refill in Arizona.

2. To believe there was no premeditation, the jury would have to believe Jodi Arias was telling the truth when she said she was acting in self-defense because without her testimony, there is ZERO evidence of self-defense.  Even with her testimony there is ZERO evidence of self-defense because her claim is preposterous and the jury can’t believe any of it because she is a liar.  She lied about everything, to everyone, including most importantly, the JURY.  And she lied not about silly things like what color socks she was wearing, but about important facts such as whether she returned one of the gas cans for a refund, to the same store where she bought it, before she drove to Arizona. If true, it would mean she did not have enough gas stored in cans in her car when she left California to be able to make it back and forth to Travis’ home without filling up in Arizona.  But the prosecution proved that she lied because the store where she purchased the can said there was no record of a return.

The strength of the prosecution’s case could go on for pages, as could the weaknesses of the defense case, but here are just a few:

1. The best that can be said of the defense is that they made a few good points about small things.  For example, if Jodi Arias premeditated the killing, why didn’t she didn’t take the camera with her when she left Travis Alexander’s home? One could certainly argue that she didn’t take it with her because she feared it might be found after she disposed of it.  Putting a camera in a washing machine, she thought, would best ensure that no photographic evidence would be found implicating her as the killer.  Still, it’s a fair point that it would have made more sense to just take the camera along with the murder weapons and and get rid of all of it.  The problem with this defense point is that her choice to launder the camera instead of taking it with her didn’t do anything to water down, ahem, the strength of the prosecution’s case.

2. The defense also rightly pointed out that if Arias were really planning to kill Travis Alexander, wouldn’t it have been easier to simply shoot him while he was asleep – or when his back was to her in the shower.  It does seem a more reasonable plan, but Jodi Arias isn’t exactly a reasonable person, and considering how brutal the crime was, it can be inferred that she didn’t shoot him because she really wanted to slice him up so she could get intense personal satisfaction out of the murder.  Why else would she have been prepared with knives in her hands in the bathroom unless she was planning something more gruesome than a clean and easy gunshot murder? This wasn’t a mob hit, it was a rage-filled execution. Maybe she cared more about expressing her evil and making him suffer than in getting the job done neatly and quick.

It’s also possible that she lacked confidence in her ability to manipulate the gun fast enough, and with sufficient precision, in the few seconds she would have to get Travis good with her first hit.  A missed shot would have liberated Travis to turn around and whale on her, but a big knife would at least disable the guy and give her the upperhand, so that if she didn’t kill him with the first stab, she could dominate him enough to keep stabbing him until he died.

3. Another seemingly good point the defense made involves the claim that if Arias were going to lie about what happened at the time of the murder, why  claim to have no memory at all? Why not lie and say she DID remember killing him and that she CLEARLY recalled that it was in self-defense.  Having a good memory, especially for false claims about self-defense, is usually a better strategy.  The problem is, it doesn’t work if there’s no storyline that rationally connects a self-defense theory to the physical and forensic evidence.

Put another way, no matter what lie she told, she had no hope of persuading even a single idiot juror to believe that 27 stab wounds were necessary for self-defense.  27 is about 25 too many for a legitimate claim that stabbing was a reasonable amount of force.

Plus, how could she possibly explain a need to stab so many times AFTER shooting him in the face?  A jury would quickly decide that one bullet to the forehead is enough to repel a naked guy without a weapon no matter what he was doing to make her feel afraid.

And while there’s no doubt the gunshot came AFTER all the stab wounds, she also had no choice, if she was willing to lie under oath, but to say that the the gunshot came first because shooting a guy in the head AFTER stabbing him 27 times and slitting his throat is even worse than shooting him before all the stabbing.

But claiming the gunshot was first meant Arias would have to explain the need for ONE stab wound, much less 27 plus a slit throat, and there was no way to do that.  So she had to come up with the biggest (and dumbest) lie of all and claim she had no memory for any of the stabbings.  Without a memory, the jury couldn’t find fault with her attempted explanations for all the knife injuries because she would simply and conveniently say that she couldn’t remember.

Of course, because the “I have no memory” claim is absurd, it not only undermines her self-defense theory, it adds to the prosecution’s theory that Arias is the “type” of person who can kill (even if she doesn’t look like one) because a person who can cavalierly lie under oath in a serious judicial proceeding has no conscience, just like someone who can slaughter a man and slit his throat, then drive away and engage in sexual activity with another guy.

Despite months of ridiculous defense witnesses, hired gun experts and irrelevant testimony about sexual fantasies, there’s no hope jurors will will distracted by Jodi Arias’ nonsense, no matter how titillating.  They will find Arias guilty of first degree murder because that’s what the evidence shows.  And because Arias lied directly to the jury and tried to manipulate them with particularly grotesque false claims about Travis Alexander being a pedophile, they will also vote for the death penalty with a vengeance, to punish her for disrespecting the man she slaughtered rather than showing remorse for having caused his death.

Jurors can find humanity in even the most vile criminals but not if the courtroom becomes a toilet where the accused dumps crap on our precious Constitution, and then forces jurors to listen to it as if vicious and degrading lies are entitled to respect in the name of due process.

Jurors want to be fair, but they don’t want to be treated like fools.

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