Thursday, January 24, 2013

Jodi Arias - Travis Alexander Murder Trial - My Thoughts

Jodi Arias murdered Travis Alexander in June of 2008. She shot him twice in the head, stabbed him 27 times, slit his throat and left him for dead. She dragged him into the shower (where the attack first started), rinsed him off and left his body there. She didn’t do much cleaning of the crime scene. She did some laundry, deleted pictures from Travis’ camera and ran that camera through the wash. But there was blood everywhere. A few days later Travis’ friends, concerned that they hadn’t heard from him in a few days, went into his home and found the bloody crime scene. Jodi was mentioned in the 911 call made by Travis’ friend (not by name, just referred to as a “stalker”). From the very beginning she was a suspect and it wasn’t long until they found evidence against her. Shortly after the murder, she traveled to see another man and to have dates with him. This is astonishing!

I first heard of the story in September of 2008. I had read an article online about what happens to people’s social media profiles when they die. At the time MySpace and Facebook were the big ones, Twitter was only a little blip and Pinterest, Google+ and Instragram hadn’t been born yet. A popular site that chronicled the social media pages of the dead wrote an article about the case. (I won’t link the website here because it’s now known for infecting computers with malware). It proved to be the most popular article on their site because of the sheer brutality of the murder, the absurdity of the circumstances and Jodi Arias’ ridiculous stories.

Jodi Arias had three stories. First she said she wasn’t anywhere near Travis on the day he died. Investigators found this out to be a lie because they recovered her palm print as well as samples of her DNA from her own blood. When they presented this to Jodi, she changed her story. Her second story was that she was there and two intruders came to kill Travis. They supposedly knocked her out, killed Travis and after a few scuffles left her alive and Travis dead. The investigator didn’t believe her and frankly very few did. What was missing from her story was 1) why two intruders would want to hurt Travis and 2) why wasn’t she killed or hurt? The trial was delayed again and again. She fired lawyers and claimed she was going to defend herself. During that time Jodi came up with her third story which came in two different versions. Third story version 1 involved Travis being some sort of pedophile and Jodi killing him because of his rage. Jodi purpotedly came up with written evidence to that nature but the evidence was discounted because they were forgeries. Jodi acquiesced to having defense lawyers and third story version 2 was that Jodi killed Travis in self-defense.

I have been following this case for more than 4 years. A lot of information has been held from the public until Jodi Arias finally went to trial this January. Then there was a flood of detail. I watched/listened to about 20 hours/9 days worth of trials. I absolutely flat out refused to watch Nancy Grace or any other sensationalist reports. I watched the original and somewhat updated 48 hours reports but otherwise I stuck to the actual trials. I watched/listened to them via YouTube. I say watched/listened because it was so many hours that I found myself listening to the trial when I didn’t have time to watch.

The Jodi Arias – Travis Alexander story is one I have become emotionally and mentally invested in. And January has been quite overwhelming. The jury is currently at rest and it’s given me sometime to step back from the overload of information. Oh goodness and the pictures. Those horrific pictures. The blood, Travis’ body, their sexual rendezvous before the murder, they are all so incredibly graphic. These are pictures I was curious to see but never thought I would get a chance to.

What has surprised me about the case is that it’s not as clear cut to the Jury as it could have been. This is one of the few murder trials in which there are actual pictures of the murder as it’s happening. Pictures accidentally taken by the murderer! There is so much evidence. Time stamped photos, blood, hair, fibers, a body! Sometimes there is not even a body. Yet the question whether Jodi Arias should be found guilty for pre-meditated murder and get the death penalty or not guilty because of self-defense. I thought this was a clear cut case but there is a good chance that Jodi Arias might walk out of jail a free woman. I never thought this would happen!

The trial resumes on January 29th and there have been a lot of problems with this case so far. There are a lot of big questions that haven’t been answered. Jodi shot Travis with a .25 gun. One that she “stole” from her grandparents (she was living with her grandparents at the time). She claimed in the police interrogation that she never used a gun and that if she were to kill someone she would have used gloves. Where is the gun? Why did she carry the gun? Did anyone witness her carrying a gun? Can the prosecution demonstrate that she brought the gun with the purpose of killing Travis or can the defense demonstrate she brought it out of fear of being attacked? How did the get the knife that she used to stab him? Was it Travis’ knife from his kitchen? Neither the defense nor the prosecution have ever given a timeline of the actual murder. Plenty of the before and after but the story of what happened from the first gun shot to the final stab of the heart and slashing of the throat are missing. We just know that none of what Jodi Arias did was working to kill Travis until those two final cuts happened. At one point I heard in the trial that he was crawling away and she dragged him back (hence that incriminating palm print on the wall in the hallway). I think that Jodi thought the two gun shots would do it but was surprised to see that it wasn’t enough to kill him. Then she left for the kitchen or wherever (her car?) to grab a knife. In that time, Travis was alive but disoriented and tried to escape. She dragged him back (leaving the palm print) and proceeded to keep killing him until the job was done. To have killed someone she was so intimate with (she had a romantic and then purely sexual relationship with) she must have been in quite a rage. The defense remarked a bit about why Jodi might have gone into a rage. They said that Travis was sometimes sexually, physically and emotionally abusive. Also Jodi herself claimed on her 48 hours interview that Travis had shown her some abuse.

There are other questions too. Travis’ roommate was living with Travis’ body in another room for days. Was he involved somehow? Wouldn’t he notice the smell and Travis’ abandoned dog? I know the Jury had this question too (in Arizona, members of the Jury can ask questions) but it’s never been quite answered. The roommate claims he thought Travis was out of town. He ended up being one of the people who discovered Travis’ body when he helped two of Travis’ friends gain access to that part of the house. This seems all very fishy to me.

My thoughts have always been that Travis was stringing Jodi along, Jodi got fed up with it and when she found out Travis was going on a cruise with another woman (that woman was a witness during the trial) that she flew in a rage that killed him. A lot of stories muddle things but I still find myself going back to that. I feel bad for both Jodi and Travis. The modern day lynch mob that is following the trial want to see Jodi die for what she did. There are a few crazies that think she is innocent. I find myself in a gray area. I don’t think Jodi should have killed Travis. He didn’t deserve it. But maybe if Travis had not strung her along, going back to her for sex (which he wasn’t supposed to be having because of his Mormon beliefs), perhaps he would have still been alive today.

There is no intellectual debate or discussion about this case. It’s all sensationalism. If you want real perspective, stop going through ABC News, Nancy Grace, HLN or any of those sources that filter the news and give you sensationalism and not reality. Watch the actual trial on YouTube. Watch all of it. Don’t come to me with your Nancy Grace mindset and expect me to respect your opinion. Watching Nancy Grace for an hour is not akin to me following this case for four years. It’s just not.

I wonder what is going to happen to Jodi Arias. I really don’t know what the end result will be. I feel really terribly for Travis’ family and friends. They have all demonstrated undying love and respect for him and only had the most wonderful memories and thoughts to share about Travis. They weren’t clued into this other part of his life and maybe if they were they could have helped him before it was too late! He really didn’t deserve to die the way that he did.

I’m shutting off comments because I’m sure the only comments I would get are from the lynch mob who are out for Jodi’s head.