Susan Atkins – Manson’s little Miss Murderess

Susan Atkins really stepped in it

Fact based reporting by

Rob Roman

 

This is the first article in our Monkey see – Monkey do series.

Warning – Some pics may be disturbing to some people.

 

Of course Susan Atkins (Sexy Sadie) saw Charles Manson act violently and she did … just like him. Then she monkey stepped into a big, steaming pile of wet Monkey poo – She got what Charlie got. She got Life (almost 40 years) in prison. She would be there today if she didn’t get brain cancer and die.

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Many Manson Aficionados will know this information, but I didn’t know all these details until recently. I thought some people would like to know how it all fits together. That’s what we do at Spotlight On Law. We research things and we bring you all the highlights and put them in one place. We are hoping to shed new light on cases, for people who are not familiar with them. But, even if you know the Manson cases really well, we hope you will still find something interesting in this article.

 

How does a sexy and attractive young lady who sings in the church choir, and had her choir members sing Christmas Carols under her dying mother’s window, turn out to be Charles Manson’s little Miss Murderess? How could she watch with gusto and glee as innocent people were massacred? She was a Mom who would go on to show zero mercy to another young mother, 8 months pregnant, and even tell her so.

 

How can that happen?

 

“Bad chemicals and bad ideas are the Yin and Yang of madness” –  according to the late, great author Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

 

Well “Sexy Sadie” (or Sexy Sadist) had a truckload of bad chemicals and bad ideas inside her when she was doing the old Charlie Manson monkey see – monkey doo. So, young Susan Atkins, only 21 years old, went ahead and stepped in a motherload of wet monkey poo. She went to jail and then prison and never ‘saw the light of day’ again.

 

Susan Atkins aka Susan Atkins Whitehouse aka Sadie Mae Glutz aka “Sexy Sadie”

 

“Susan Denise Atkins (May 7, 1948 – Sep 24, 2009) was a convicted American murderer who was a member of the “Manson family”, led by Charles Manson. Manson and his followers committed a series of nine murders at four locations in California, over a period of five weeks in the summer of 1969. Known within the Manson family as Sadie Mae Glutz or Sexy Sadie, Atkins was convicted for her participation in eight of these killings, including the most notorious, the “Tate/LaBianca” murders.

 

She was sentenced to death, which was subsequently commuted to life in prison. Incarcerated from Oct 1, 1969 until her death – a period exactly one week short of 40 years – Atkins was the longest-incarcerated female inmate in the California penal system, having been denied parole 18 times.” – Wikipedia

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She was a middle class girl who sang in her school glee club and in her church choir. Her mother died of cancer when Susan was 13. “Two weeks before her mother was hospitalized for the final time, Susan arranged for members of the church choir to sing Christmas carols under her bedroom window. After Jeanette Atkins’ death, relatives were asked to help look after Susan and her two brothers.” – Wikipedia

 

Susan moved from home to home and was abandoned by her father. In High School, her grades took a nose dive. At the age of 19, she moved in with friends in 1967, but when the house was raided for drugs and shut down, she became homeless once again. Charlie Manson was one of the people who showed up at parties at that house playing guitar, and he told her he was planning a road trip in a school bus and he asked her to join his “Family”. One of Charlie’s people made her a fake ID using the name Sadie Mae Glutz -1.

American-cult-leader-and-mass-murderer-Charles-Manson

 

Flash forward to October, 1968. Susan is 20 and she gave birth to a boy that Charlie named Zezozose Zadfrack Glutz. The father’s name was Bruce White, and they were all living at Spahn’s movie ranch in the San Fernando Valley of Southern California. Flash forward to the Summer of ’69. The heat is on, as too many hot vehicles and underage runaways are showing up at Spahn’s Ranch and the police are starting to get all too curious. Then, an accident happens that really was the catalyst for all the murders.

 

I really never knew where Spahn’s Movie Ranch was, either. Here’s where:

spahn ranch

 

A family member named Charles “Tex” Watson tried to pull a drug scam on a black man named Bernard “Lotsapapa” Crowe. Crowe threatened retaliation and could identify Tex. Manson took that famous long nosed .22 revolver that was used in the Tate killings – the same one that was found by the little boy in the canyon. Manson shot Crowe and thought he killed him, and he thought Crowe was a Black Panther. Crowe was not a Panther and he was still alive.

long nose 22

 

Manson had a number of people with money that he, in turn. supplied with drugs, connections, “party people” and women. One of these was the owner of Spahn’s movie ranch – “old man Spahn” (George Spahn). Another of these people was Dennis Wilson, the drummer from the Beach Boys. Dennis picked up a couple of the Manson girls in his Ferrari as they were hitchhiking, and he brought them home. Big mistake there, because the very next day, more Manson women were coming to live there. More and more Manson flunkies showed up at Dennis’ house, bringing drugs and providing sex.

 

Then Charles Manson would demand that the “Tab” be paid.

 

He also showed up at Wilson’s home playing guitar, which is why Dennis and Manson hit it off in the first place. Charles Manson is an accomplished guitar player and musician. Words were said about Dennis maybe helping Manson record a record.

 

Take a look at this:

“”Never Learn Not to Love” is a song recorded by the Beach Boys, credited to co-founder Dennis Wilson. It was released as a B-side to their 1968 single “Bluebirds over the Mountain” and subsequently appeared on their 1969 album 20/20. It is a rewrite of “Cease to Exist”, a song written by murder-conspirator Charles Manson.” – Wikipedia

 

Yes, Charlie – A song called “Cease to Exist” is a little rough for the entertainment biz, no?

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Charlie, Leslie, Patty, and Suzie

 

Flash forward half a year later – Manson invited Dennis and his record producer friends to a party at Spahn’s Movie Ranch. They never showed, and Manson was piping hot about that.

Manson shows up at a Beach Boys recording session. He wants to know when the f*ck he’s going to get his album. Now the record has become an entire album that Manson is demanding. Dennis and the boys try to pacify Charlie.

Recording producer Terry Melcher, son of actress Doris Day, tells Manson to get the f*ck out of his recording studio session. Manson gets super pissed. He had been at Melcher’s home for a few parties with all those rich Hollywood “big wigs” at 10050 Cielo Drive in Benedict Canyon, north of Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, California.

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from left – Charles Manson, Dennis Wilson, Brian Wilson

Manson knows that lots of rich “jerks” were hanging out at 10050 Cielo Drive. Manson went there one day to talk to Terry Melcher. Some guy answered the door and told the scraggly bum that knocked on the door to go look elsewhere. Terry Melcher had moved out, and the place was leased to Roman Polanski, a movie producer / director and his pregnant wife, actress Sharon Tate.

 

All these people were young people, in their twenties or early thirties.

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The home at 10050 Cielo Drive – Scene of the Tate Murders

 

10050 Cielo Drive was bought by the rock group “9 Inch Nails” and used as a recording studio before it was torn down.

 

A PHD and music teacher and friend of Manson family members, who also purportedly manufactured synthetic mescaline was a man by the name of Gary Hinman. This was another of a long list of people Manson thought “owed” him for “services rendered”. Like he did with Dennis Wilson and old man Spahn, Manson supplied Hinman with party friends, drugs, and women. Manson heard rumors that Gary Hinman had just come into a large sum of money. Now, Manson needed money and he demanded that Hinman’s “tab” be paid immediately.

 

At this stage, Manson needed money, since the police were starting to get very curious about what the hell was going on at this Spahn’s Ranch, and Charlie wanted to move the Family “to the desert”. Also, people were starting to leave the family and Charlie needed a new way to make his followers fear and/or respect him, as he was losing confidence in his magnetism and charm and he was also starting to get paranoid.

 

Charlie Manson sent Bobby Beausoleil, Mary Brunner, and Susan Atkins to Hinman’s home on July 25, 1969 to collect his “tab”.

Murderer Bobby Beasoleil

 

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Music teacher Gary Hinman

 

Now Bobby Beausoleil was a very well liked and valuable member of the Manson family. He was high up there in the brains department. He was also a great musician and Leslie Van Houten’s Lover, and they were crazy about each other. Long story short, the Manson crew demanded big money from Hinman– Gary says no, he doesn’t have any. They kind of hold him prisoner in his own home. Manson shows up and nearly cuts Gary’s ear off with a sword and then leaves, giving orders to take care of Hinman. Charlie demands that his “orders” be followed to the letter.

 

Manson’s 3 person crew holds Gary Hinman for two days, forcing him to sign over the titles to his cars. Bobby Beausoleil then stabs Hinman to death. This is where Susan Atkins has big problems with the parole board later on because she would never own up to her part in this killing, saying she wasn’t there, she was there but didn’t participate, she was there but didn’t know what was going on, blah blah blah. Well, after being at least an accessory in at least 8 murders, they were never going to let her out of prison anyways.

 

Bobby put a handprint paw and writings on the wall in Hinman’s blood to try and place blame on the black panthers. They take whatever they can. Off they go.

 

Now, Charlie Manson is upset because of the “messy” killing. He needs his people to now be proficient killers, especially the ladies, because no one will suspect females. Bobby gets caught asleep in one of Hinman’s cars wearing the bloody clothes from the killing. Good thing they didn’t have DNA testing back then.

 

On August 7th 1969, Bobby’s in jail and Manson is worried he might squeal. He also needs Bobby to help run the Family.

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Actress Sharon Tate

 

This all really helps to explain:

 

  • Why the girls participated in the Tate LaBianca murders
  • Why Susan Atkins was a major player
  • Why the “Pig”, “Political Piggy”, “Healter Skelter (sic)” and other writings in blood were left on the walls, the Tate front door, and the LaBianca refrigerator.
  • Why the murders needed to be particularly gruesome.
  • The motive behind the killings – to free Bobby Beausoleil from suspicion in the Hinman murder and to get him released from jail.
  • Why Leslie Van Houten felt so obligated to participate in the murders – Because it was all being done to help free Bobby, and because she felt she owed Charlie.

 

10050 cielo drive 2labianca-fridge

It was also a way for Manson to exert power over the family. It’s a classic violent criminal organization move. You involve your underlings in felonies such as murder, which binds them to the group, and you have something to pin on them and extort them with, should they leave.

 

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Bobby Beausoleil

 

My personal theory is that Charlie Manson also thought he was such a gifted control freak who could control anyone to do anything – and he wanted to prove it by turning flower children into murderers. He also always wanted revenge against the upper class his entire life for being made a prisoner and an outcast of society.

Therefore, a caper is needed that will look like the Hinman murder. Something big was needed to get the police super involved so they will hopefully drop everything they were looking at related to the Family and go investigate this new frightening series of crimes.

 

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Far Side of the Polanski / Tate Mansion

 

Hopefully, they would let Bobby out of jail and no longer see him as a suspect. Hopefully, the police will stop nosing around the Spahn Ranch and will stop taking a closer look at the Manson Family.

 

Manson demands a spectacular crime – far from the Manson clans normal stomping grounds, and hey, why not some really rich folks, because they deserve it?

 

tate murders

So just two days after Bobby Beausoleil’s arrest, another Manson crew sets out to follow his orders to kill. Manson sends them to what he thought was Terry Melcher’s home at 10050 Cielo Drive.

 

Tex Watson, Susan Atkins, Linda Kasabian, and Patricia Krenwinkel were sent to murder whoever was there, make it look horrific, and leave signs on the walls to look like the Hinman murder. They wanted to point the finger at black suspects.

 

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The actual Manson Murder Car
10050CieloDriveAugust91969TateLaBian[23]
A replica of the Manson Family’s Ford Fairlane Murder Car

That rope from the crime scene was brought by the Manson Family crew. Their original plan included hanging everyone from the rafters, removing the vicitim’s eyeballs and smashing them on the floor, or hanging and dismembering them on the front porch. The crew was also instructed to go to the surrounding homes and do the same. Fortunately, this crew was too spooked and paranoid to complete their task, or they ran out of time and it was already starting to get light out, or both.

 

Linda Kasabian was new to the clan and not really a fully drug-indoctrinated member yet. Charlie chose Linda, another young mother, to test her, and also because she was one of the few with a real driver’s license. Linda Kasabian looked very straight and innocent, and she was also in the car for the LaBianca Murders. She would later run away from the Manson family, and go home to her family in New England. She later returned to LA to turn state’s evidence against the Family.

 

before the murders
The Living room before the Tate murders

 

Linda Kasabian stayed outside the Polanski / Tate Mansion as a “lookout” and did not have the stomach to participate in the murders.

 

Linda Kasabian later ruined things for Susan Atkins.

 

At first, authorities could not find Linda and she did not come forward. The state was forced to rely on the testimony of Susan Atkins against the other family members in order to convict Manson, Tex Watson, Pat Krenwinkel, And Leslie Van Houten.

after the murders
The living room after the Tate murders

 

Charlie Manson needed to see Sadie Mae personally in order to try and use his mind control to stop Susan Atkins from testifying against him and the Family. He accomplished this by having his attorney demand that he and his client be allowed to talk to Susan Atkins, since she was a state witness. This was their right.

 

After that meeting, Susan Atkins tried to back out of a deal that could have seen her released from prison decades earlier.

 

Also, Vincent Bugliosi, the prosecutor, thought Susan Atkins was a risky, unreliable, flake of a witness, with her constantly changing stories and her refusal to take any kind of responsibility for any part in the murders. He started looking for a more reliable witness, which is how Linda Kasabian became the state’s chief witness. When finally contacted, Linda Kasabian agreed to return to Los Angeles to testify.

 

Susan Atkins would get no deal.

 

One more thing:

Months and months prior to the murders, one of the “jobs” of Manson’s Family members, besides panhandling, dumpster diving,  drug dealing, prostitution and stealing cars, was to dress in dark clothes and go at night to homes in the richer areas of LA.

Early in the morning, while the occupants were sleeping inside, these Manson crews, 4 or 5 of them together, would go “creepy crawling” through the homes.

 

Leslie-Van-Houten-Patricia-Krenwinkel-and-Susan-Atkins
Guess who is who. They shaved their heads in protest and something else, too.

 

This meant they would take off their shoes and go into the house very quietly to sneak around and take whatever they could. They became very adept at this game, even going into the very bedrooms of the homeowners as they slept to steal their stuff. They had weapons on them just in case someone woke up or heard them. So this was the precursor, the skill sets used in the later murders.

You can say that the two crews Manson selected were the All Stars of these “creepy crawler” escapades. If not for this “practice”, they may never have had the nerve to be ‘successful’ at 10050 Cielo Drive. Even so, Tex Watson, shot 18 year-old Steven Parent four times in his car outside the home, but this noise failed to alert the others inside.

 

Like young Ron Goldman (25) in the OJ murders, Steven Parent (18) was in “the wrong place at the wrong time”.

 

Look at this from Wikipedia:

“In July 1969, Parent picked up William Garretson, who was hitchhiking in Beverly Hills. Garretson was a caretaker at 10050 Cielo Drive in Benedict Canyon, which, at the time, was being rented to director Roman Polanski, and his wife, actress Sharon Tate. After Parent gave Garretson a ride back to the estate, the young caretaker thanked him and invited Parent to stop by anytime he was in the area.

 

5-Tate-Victims-AP-573x226

 

Victims: Voytec Frykowski, Sharon Tate, Steven Parent, Jay Sebring, and Abigail Folger

 

 

On August 8, 1969, after working at both of his jobs, Parent drove to Benedict Canyon and arrived at 10050 Cielo Drive at about 11:45 p.m. He had hoped to sell a Sony AM-FM Digimatic clock radio to Garretson. He demonstrated the clock radio for Garretson, but the caretaker did not want to buy it. Parent then placed a telephone call to Jerrold Friedman, a friend for whom he was going to build a stereo, and hung around long enough to drink the can of beer Garretson gave him. At around midnight, Steven Parent said goodbye to Garretson and left the guesthouse.

Unbeknown to Parent, Garretson, or any occupants of the main house, members of the Manson family were entering the property at that moment, with the intentions of killing the residents. Parent got into his father’s 1966 white AMC Rambler and backed up into the split rail fence. He drove down the parking area and stopped to push the button that operated the electronic gate. As Parent rolled down his window, he was met by a dark figure who shouted, “Halt!”

The figure was Manson “family” member Charles “Tex” Watson with a 22 revolver in one hand and a buck knife in the other. As Watson leveled a 22-caliber revolver at Parent, the frightened youth begged Watson, “Please don’t hurt me. I won’t say anything.” Parent raised his arm to protect his face as Watson swung the knife at him, giving him a defensive slash wound on the palm of his hand (severing tendons and tearing the boy’s watch off his wrist).

Watson then shot Parent four times in rapid succession, hitting him in the face, chest, and abdomen. Watson then ordered Manson Family associates Linda Kasabian, Susan Atkins, and Patricia Krenwinkel to help push the car further up the driveway. After traversing the front lawn and having Kasabian search for an open window of the main house, Watson cut the screen of a window. Watson told Kasabian to keep watch down by the gate; she walked over to Steven Parent’s Rambler and waited. He then removed the screen, entered through the window, and let Atkins and Krenwinkel in through the front door.

On the morning of August 9, 1969, the bodies of Steven Parent, Sharon Tate, Jay Sebring, Abigail Folger and Wojciech Frykowski were discovered by the Polanski housekeeper, Winifred Chapman, when she arrived for work. The only survivor, Garretson, had escaped detection and told authorities he had heard nothing from his cottage. He said otherwise in an interview 30 years later.

As Parent was carrying no identification when his body was found, for a short time he was known to authorities only as “John Doe 85”. The body was identified later that afternoon by the Parent family’s parish priest, who went to the coroner’s office after Parent’s family had informed him that he was missing.” – Wikipedia

“Parent’s father, Wilfred, was highly critical of the way his son’s death was treated. He stated that he was told by telephone of the murder by a Los Angeles Police Department detective. He also criticized the manner in which the media focused on the more famous victims while showing little interest in his son.

In recent years, Janet Parent, Steven’s sister, began attending the killers’ parole hearings. She has also publicly spoken out against Susan Atkins’ and Charles “Tex” Watson’s requests for parole.

William Garretson, the young caretaker at Cielo Drive whom Parent had visited before being murdered, indicated in a television program broadcast in July 1999 on E!, that he had, in fact, seen and heard a portion of the Tate murders from his location in the property’s guest house.

– Wikipedia

 

One thing many people don’t realize is that the “All Stars” or top people in Manson’s Family were not idiotic and robotic “dirtbags” or stooges. Some of these were honor roll students, attractive, and from very good upper-middle class families. Susan Atkins was a glee club and choir member, as I stated earlier.

Leslie Van Houten was beautiful and super-intelligent cheerleader and homecoming queen at her High School.  Bobby Beausoleil was attractive and highly intelligent and an accomplished musician who went on to create critically acclaimed music from behind prison walls.

Charles “Tex” Watson, before he destroyed his mind with drugs, was a star athlete and football player is High School and very popular. He is one of the most unlikely supremely vicious and super violent murderers of all time. Tex is now a charismatic evangelist broadcasting on the web, but from prison.

 

atkins a
Tex Watson, then and now

 

Now, remembering that this article is about Susan Atkins, another thing Susan Atkins never got straight at her many parole hearings was the level of her participation in the Tate and LaBianca murders. It really didn’t matter, because she was there and she participated in the felonies, making her guilty of the felony murders regardless of her level of involvement.

Tex Watson and Leslie Van Houten

She was convicted of the Hinman murder, the Tate and Labianca murders just due to her being “on the scene”. The parole board was supposedly looking for the truth from her, however. Susan said yes she was the one who stabbed Sharon Tate, and no, she only stabbed her a few times and Tex did the rest, and no, she wasn’t sure, and no, she only held Sharon Tate but did not stab her. It was never made clear from Susan exactly what actions Susan actually did. Even so, you can bet that she relished and enjoyed the murders and the excitement factor immensely, and she played a big part in the Hinman murder as well. None of that gore stopped her from being in the car for the LaBianca murders the very next night, either.

 

The Tate murders did not go as planned. It became a bit of a cluster f*ck, as they say. Tex broke a knife and Jay Sebring tried to fight back. He started to defend himself from the stabbings, so Tex shot him.

frykowski autopsy
Wojciech Frykowski Autopsy

 

Wojciech Frykowski started fighting back against Susan Atkins. He was winning. Tex had to come to her aid. Then both Abigail Folger and Wojciech Frykowski took off and ran for their lives out different doors, with Patricia Krenwinkel chasing after Abigail out the back, and Tex chasing after Wojciech out the front door, leaving Susan Atkins guarding Sharon Tate, who was too big with her pregnancy to run.

Susan Atkins said that when they first entered the home, Frykowski was asleep on the couch. Jay Sebring and Sharon were talking in her bedroom and Sebring was possibly smoking pot. Susan passed by an open bedroom and spotted Abigail Folger reading a book. Susan smiled and waved and Abigail waved back. As Susan and Patricia made their way to the back of the home, Sharon and Jay were chatting in the master bedroom.

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“Just prior to leaving the residence, Atkins wrote “PIG” on the front door in Sharon Tate’s blood.” – Wikipedia

The LaBianca Murders were also planned to be even more than it ended up to be. They were supposed to split into two groups and create at least two separate murder scenes. Charlie Manson at first stopped by a Convent. He got out and contemplated killing some nuns inside. Anyways, he mooned the nuns, got back in the car, and they left. Charlie was the one who went alone into the home of Leno and Rosemary LaBianca, supermarket chain and dress boutique owners who had recently returned from an all day boating trip with their daughter and her boyfriend. Charlie wanted to show them how to do the job cleanly, without scaring the victims and without them being able to run away.

LaBianca Murders

The LaBianca residence was selected because Charlie knew the area. He had partied with their neighbor and the house was sort of isolated and up on a hill.

3301-Waverly

Charlie threatened the LaBiancas, but he was very polite about it. He made them sit on the couch as he tied their hands and feet. He took their purse and wallet. Then Charlie left with other Family members, including Susan Atkins and Linda Kasabian. This left Tex, Van Houten, and Krenwinkel to complete the murders, “leave something witchy” on the walls, and find their own way back to Spahn’s Movie ranch.

Charlie Manson was possibly enjoying himself and this second crew went to the ocean rather than committing another set of murders. They left Leno’s wallet in a gas station men’s room in the “black side of town”, hoping it would throw the police onto the trail of the Black Panthers. The wallet was never recovered.

labianca family
Leno and Rosemary LaBianca

 

Susan Atkins, aka Sadie Mae Glutz was also the major reason Manson and his Family were finally caught,

because Susan could not keep her big mouth shut. When the family members were arrested for completely other reasons (runaway minors at Spahn ranch and car thefts), they were held for a few weeks.

Susan Atkins, maybe because she was bored and also because she was trying to protect herself in jail, bragged to another inmate that she was one of the murderers at the Polanski / Tate residence. Susan then told this inmate some very horrific details.

 

la bianca
The LaBianca devestation

Susan really stepped in a big, steaming pile of wet monkey poo there, because this fellow cell mate now had some important info she could use to help her get out of her own personal jam. Of course, her fellow inmate told the authorities. Now they had confirmation that the Manson clan was indeed behind the Tate LaBianca murders.

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Leslie’s handiwork on Rosemary LaBianca

 

So,

1) Susan Atkins was the one who blew the lid off the whole thing

2) Patricia Krenwinkel and Tex Watson participated in both murder operations. Krenwinkel had no problem murdering two females (Abigail Folger and Rosemary LaBianca). As for parole, neither was ever going to be released – and never should be.

3) Susan Atkins also participated in both murder operations and the Hinman murder. She was never going to leave prison.

4) The only one I believe should have been shown some mercy and given parole long ago was Leslie Van Houten.

She testified that she did stab Rosemary LaBianca, but only superficially in the back of the thighs and her butt. This bears out in the evidence. Leslie said at first she could not participate and tried not to get involved. She was finally forced to participate by Tex Watson, as Manson demanded everyone have a hand in the killings. Van Houten was also doing this for her love, Bobby Beausoleil, and she felt she owed Manson.

5) Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme, another Manson Family member felt guilty for not having participated and not being jailed in the murders. She felt compelled to try and assassinate President Gerald Ford in order to “help” the Family. She did her sentence and is now back out in the world.

Bobby Beasoleil had been cheating on Leslie Van Houten all along with a 17 year-old.

After all, it was the “Summer of Love”.

 

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ALL MANSON FAMILY “KILLS

(I’m pretty sure that is NOT Gary Hinman, but is actually Bobby Beausoleil, Gary’s murderer)

 

Susan Atkins was the longest serving female in the California prison system, due to her young age when she began her sentence. She became a born-again Christian and was a model prisoner, but none of that helped her to gain her freedom.

 

All the Manson people, including Manson, were sentenced to Death, but all the sentences were commuted to life due to California overturning its Death Penalty statute in the early 1970’s. Many people felt they should have been lucky just to have life, never mind being freed from prison.

Family members of the victims made sure to be at the parole hearings to see that none of them were ever released. Sharon Tate’s mother was an extreme advocate for no parole. Rosemary LaBianca’s daughter, however, lobbied hard for Tex Watson to be released, maybe because he was “cute”. – Incredible.

 

Tex had also become a born again Christian, and a pastor in prison who wrote Christian books. He has a wife and kids due to conjugal visits.

 

Fromme-Hi-Res
The cute girl next door? ….. or ….
fromme
“Squeaky” Fromme

 

Of course Tex Watson, regardless of what he has become, relished and enjoyed the brutal killings and most of the deep, penetrating stabs to the victims, done with a bayonet, were Tex’s handiwork.

 

What more to say about Susan Atkins aka Sexy Sadie aka Sadie Mae Glutz? She contracted brain cancer and was denied a humanitarian release so she could die in peace. She died reciting the 23rd Psalm.

 

Many women imprisoned with Susan Atkins were grateful for her selfless giving, her counsel and her prayers. Susan did a lot of good for many inmates. People in their twenties or younger should not have to pay with the rest of their lives for even really awful mistakes, in my opinion.

 

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Sharon Tate

 

Here was the state of California saying that Charlie was responsible for all these heinous murders because of his incredible control over the hearts and minds of these young kids. At the same time, the state also wants to put the full responsibility onto these very same kids Charlie had such power over. I don’t think they can have it both ways, …. but they do. Krenwinkel, Watson, Beausoleil, Manson, Atkins, and Van Houten were certainly made an example of.

 

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Manson and his murdering family probably would have been caught even if Susan Atkins did keep her mouth shut. She did it, she bragged about out and she paid dearly for her actions. She had that queezy feel and the sickly smell of that wet monkey poo stuck between her toes for nearly the next 4 decades.

 

10050 cielo dfive today
10050 Cielo Drive today

 

Like Jodi Arias, Susan Atkins didn’t respect human life and they both made a series of bad and fateful decisions. These bad choices caused them both to lose their freedom, earning them both a life sentence in prison.

 

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NEW ARTICLES – Jodi Arias Wannabees (Feb 6, 2016)

Monkey See, Monkey Do, Monkey step in a big steaming pile of wet Monkey-Poo.

Past and Present Female Murderers

Fact-based reporting by

Rob Roman

 

monkey 1

Okay, so there is a little more to say about Jodi Arias, and there are 3 more articles on the way. One is an article about Jodi’s Support. Are there any supporters left and if there are, who are they? There will be one article in particular about one ardent supporter named Kareem “Lefty” Williams and his high-jinx and adventures with ‘the Joadster’. There will be one article about a new theory I have come up with called the 6-6-6 theory of Jodi Arias.

There is not going to be much more to say about Jodi Arias for a while, so here at Spotlight On Law, we are going to move onto other things. What we will be moving on to will be called Jodi Arias Wannabees Past and Present.

The sub-title will be “Monkey See, Monkey Do, Monkey step into a big steaming pile of wet Monkey Poo”.

bad girls jodi wannabees
All suspects, accused, and defendants are to be considered innocent until proven guilty in a Court of Law.

Can you identify any of the above by either first or last name (both is even better)?

No cheating, now (No Googling or looking for articles allowed).

The thing about the fairer sex, the life givers and nurturers, being involved in murders is that it’s much more rare and it’s usually very varied as to motive and circumstance. Instead of patterns of criminal activity and violence, there seems to be more of a pattern of relationships and mental illness or mental breakdown.

Are any of these women just plain evil and born as a demon? We will take a deeper look at the facts, the crimes, and the circumstances to find out.

We will look at some older cases, some famous cases, but mostly recent cases either in court or recently committed murders. What are the known facts, what are the disputed facts, what evidence is there, and who will the witnesses be?

Did the defendant have good representation? How were the Prosecutors? Was it a fair trial? Was it a fair sentence or a just outcome? Any chance they are not guilty as charged?

As a warm up, no cheating now, can you name at least six of these accused / suspects / defendants? Can you name at least 6? For bonus points, can you name at least one victim each? Can you name more than 5 off the top of your head?

numbers

Use the comment Section to give your answers.

What happened to each of these women that possibly made them flip their burgers and kill a human being? Do they regret their activities after they realized that they had stepped in a big pile of fresh poo?

step in poop 2
Yeah, that’s not gonna work out too well for this person, will it?

 

Okay, so we’ll be coming back at you with a new article on Jodi Arias, then one of these Jodi Wannabees of the past, and then we will bring you a present day Jodi Wannabee. We’ll take it from there and see what other cases we can find. Hopefully some lesser known cases as well as the more interesting of the well known cases.

Okay, have a happy! But, don’t make a rash decision then step in some Crappy.

Promise?  🙂

 

The Tables Have Turned (part 5 – Scenario plus 30 Things you must believe)

tables in court arias med

The SpotlightOnLaw murder scenario

What really happened (In my view)

In Article #5 of the series, we are looking at a scenario based on fact, of what could have happened between Jodi and Travis especially on June 4th, 2008. After that I list 30 things you must believe in order to believe that Jodi Arias is NOT guilty of 1st degree premeditated murder.

What was really going on in the “relationship”

Jodi Arias did in fact try to intimidate and chase away Travis’ girlfriends and she did monitor his activities and keep tabs on what he was doing in any way she could. Her brief romance / relationship with Travis failed and he returned to or continued to, as always, look down other avenues.

fc Travis jodi 1

Jodi Arias did in fact catch Travis having intimate communications with other women at the end of June, 2007. Travis would have called it quits there. The relationship having failed, here comes Jodi Arias trying to go ahead with plans for something that had already failed, a key personality feature of Jodi Arias.

Jodi Arias thought the distance would work for her because it would make Travis long for her and he would have to go on trips with her in order to have sex. Travis spent way too much on these out of state trips and he had to chill down. Now, the trips had come to an end. Jodi Arias moves to Mesa, Arizona after she realizes that Travis might be getting sexual with other women. That was always her trump card, as Travis was trying to be a devout Mormon, but now, she wasn’t so sure.

Travis C

Jodi Arias can fix things

Remember, Jodi Arias walked out on Darryl and the mortgage payments and bill payments and left him hanging, but even so, he feels very close to her. It seems that one can be up to their chin in muck that Jodi Arias caused and one phone call or one letter sweeps it all away, and the sun shines, the rainbow comes out, and sparkly unicorns appear.

unicorn

 

 

More about what was really going on

Definitely Alexander and Arias had arguments and fights, definitely it was a tempestuous relationship, definitely it brought out the worst in Travis, and definitely he was violating all his own voluntarily agreed to morals, tenets and precepts of the LDS / Mormon religion. In addition, Travis had emotional problems, anger issues, intimacy issues, stemming from his childhood, and he did act out very inappropriately on plenty of occasions.

Jodi Arias was perfect for him at the time, even after he found out she wasn’t what he thought she was, because she was not demanding of that kind of intimacy and she put up with and even normalized his inappropriateness and his dark side. Jodi Arias turned out to be a wonderful petri dish for Travis Alexander. He could use her as a sounding board and experiment with her in all sorts of ways.

Travis Alexander felt at some point that he had been cured of his intimacy issues enough to continue pursuing a chaste Mormon girl, and he wanted to fall back on that. Jodi Arias was not going to allow that. She was not going to be Travis’ Personal Brigham Young University of kinky sex and secret intimacy only for Travis to use all these new found skills on another woman.

jodi arias on stand

The religion angle

In spite Of Jodi Arias having read and remembered passages from the Book of Mormon, it is apparent from the trial that Jodi Arias was not interested in seriously pursuing the LDS Mormon religion or developing friendships within the church in any meaningful way.

Travis went to Palm Springs to baptize Jodi
Travis went to Palm Springs to baptize Jodi

Psychological processes

Between July and December of 2007, in this six month period, there were various back and forths, sexual dalliances, while Alexander was dating another woman (Lisa Andrews – Daidone). Intense Psychological Processes are involved here. This is Travis (heavy build, strong personality, dominant) representing Jodi Arias’ father who had abandoned her emotionally, in Jodis’ mind, for a younger girl – her younger sister, Angela.

lisa andrews daidone lt

Travis’ former girlfriend, Lisa Andrews Daidone, ended up marrying a friend of Travis’ roommate Zach Billings

The other thing in Jodi’s mind is she always feels both big and important, beautiful, powerful and sophisticated and at the same time she also feels, small and insignificant, ugly, powerless, and crude. This is why she has such a difficult time with her mother, as she sees in her mother what she does not want to see in herself. Not to say that Sandy Arias actually encompasses these negative qualities, but she does in Jodi Arias’ mind. This explains the constant berating of the mother and the correcting of everyone’s grammar, etc. The third thing in Jodi’s mind is she had been betrayed / cheated on twice before and she wasn’t going to let that happen again

Travis' former date MArie
Travis’ former date Marie “Mimi” Hall – Boyce

Following through on a plan that had already failed

So there is this going back and forth of Jodi Arias monitoring Travis’ activities, fearing abandonment, trying to get him to turn back towards her, making her feel bad about herself, feeling like she had sacrificed a lot for this relationship, and at the same time trying to put the pieces back together after it had already failed. This is very different than what’s going on in Travis’ mind. He’s is going along with it and taking what Jodi Arias is dishing out, and he’s happy to get the sex, but he’s not thinking too much of it and he’s  still pursuing his other romantic interests.

The trips reveal the relationship

The Havasupai / Grand Canyon Trip shows perfectly the Arias Alexander relationship: insecurity – dissatisfaction – jealousy – anger – misunderstanding – arguing – yelling – drama – the silent treatment – the trip – forbidden and secret sex – closeness and re-establishing of all those peak emotions.  Look at the photo. This was right after the sex after a morning of arguing and then the silence treatment. This trip is the whole relationship in a nutshell.

Here are Jodi and Travis with Dan Freeman at Havasupai Falls. Note Trav's baseball cap and the bathing suit under Jodi's blouse.
Here are Jodi and Travis are photo-bombed by Dan Freeman at Havasupai Falls. Note Trav’s baseball cap and the bathing suit under Jodi’s blouse.
Josi is now in the bathing suit and wearing Travis' hat.  Earlier that day they had a huge argument and fight, a long, stony silence, and then sex outdoors.
Josi is now in the bathing suit and wearing Travis’ hat. Earlier that day they had a huge argument and fight, a long, stony silence, and then sex outdoors.

Jodi Arias stated she was wearing a “tank top” on the day of the killing. I believe the blouse above may be the tank-top she wore, as this seems to have some important meaning for her and is dark in color.

Alyce LaViolette was right about the above cycle in Travis and Jodi’s relationship, but wrong about the cycle being about physical abuse.

Jodi’s destabilization

Prior to 2006, Jodi Arias had a wonderful relationship with Darryl Brewer, seemingly free of problems. I believe this was due to stability. Darryl brought lots of structure and stability to Jodi Arias’ life. A person with her Personality Disorder needs this in order to thrive. When she started her pursuit of Travis and all the things she thought she was missing out on, she began to destabilize. This continue to get worse and worse, until  it hit the breaking point.

In late 2007, after a big blowup with Travis, Jodi cries on the phone to Matt McCartney, and Matt calls Jodi’s Mom, saying she needs help and she may may be BiPolar. He thought that because she was really freaking out uncontrollably.

January 2008 and Travis’ big plan

By January, Dan Freeman is threading the needle between his two friends, Travis Alexander and Jodi Arias. I suspect Arias kind of wheedles out of Freeman what Travis is up to. (Someone should check to see if there are any phone records between Jodi Arias and Dan’s younger brother Josh. Apparently Jodi was getting inside information from somewhere).

Dan and Jodi continued to be friends and Jodi is friends of the Freeman family, while Travis is going to Dan Freeman and confiding in him about Jodi Arias.

Travis has a sort of recipe for success,like a present day Tony Robbins
Travis has a sort of recipe for success, like a present day Tony Robbins

 

Every year, Travis makes a long list of goals and his strategies for achieving those goals. Among his top goals for 2008? End it totally with Jodi Arias.

Travis tells Daniel Freeman he is intending to get rid of Jodi Arias totally by the end of January. He is evidently unsuccessful. No doubt there were large arguments and lots of drama, but whether Travis started getting physically violent with Jodi Arias, we don’t know. There is no evidence whatever of it, however.

The Lisa Andrews and Mimi Hall tug of war

Travis is not successful in getting rid of Jodi Arias, and there are some big tugs of war involving Travis, Jodi, and Lisa Andrews Daidone all the way through February. Maybe Jodi Arias will expose Travis’ escapades to his other women and the LDS church, maybe they can somehow end it amicably. After February, Lisa Andrews has had it with Travis (mostly because of all the problems with Jodi) and she stops seeing him. Jodi Arias has won. But then, Travis moves on to Marie “Mimi” Hall in April, 2008. Hey, that’s the same time frame that Jodi Arias left Mesa, Arizona. Imagine that?

Jodi Arias has to start all over again. No doubt the Mimi thing, coupled with Jodi Arias running out of funds and employment culminated in her breaking down, and asking her mom for help. Travis is pulling away and he’s becoming stubborn and losing patience with the entire Jodi Arias “thing”. A plan is made for Jodi Arias to move back to Yreka to recoup and regroup. All this in the midst of fighting and yelling with Travis, a continuing of the monitoring of his activities and a invasion of privacy, and Travis even flipping Arias the double bird from his front steps as she threatens to leave.

Arias tries to minimize Mimi Hall, but somehow, I get the feeling she knew everything that was going on. How she got the intel (hacking into e-mails and facebook, or from  an informant in Mesa, or both, no one knows).

http://jodiarias.blogspot.com/

http://www.travisalexanderjustice.com/

Arias tries to keep fires burning with Alexander from a distance 

Jodi Arias’ Mom gets in contact with Jodi and offers to help her move home. Jodi Arias reluctantly agrees. This is when Sandy Arias comes down to Arizona and they get a U-haul. A lot of her stuff is Stored at Travis’ house, so that gives her a reason to try to continue to be close to Travis. She offers to buy his BMW on credit, and this is where she hooks it up wrong and blows the engine. On the way up to Yreka, she visits Gus Searcy, who gives her the Helio phone with the recording function and she visits her half-sister

Maybe Jodi Arias thought the increased distance would bring them back together, maybe she just wanted to end things amicably, maybe she knew this relationship was just too volatile,  who knows?

There seems to be a sort of dueling banjos as Travis starts blogging, and Jodi Arias tries to harmonize with or outdo him. He blogs, then she blogs. Apparently, a few of their phone calls devolve into phone sex. Jodi Arias is constantly trying to arrange a meeting between the two, but Alexander is trying to avoid this.

“May 2, 08- EX 392-Text about Little Red Riding Hood
May 2, 08- EX 391- Long nasty text about photo shoots and sex
May 3, 08- A few texts where Jodi is hooking up with Ryan Burns
May 10, 08- Phone Sex Tape
May 10, 08- EX 495- Jodi admits to JM that she used the term “fuck you” on this day.
May 10, 08- EX 448-The text message about Steve Carrol
May 10, 08- EX 425, 426, 427-Breast pictures. (These were not shown in court) but they are pre surgery breast pictures before Jodi’s surgery in June 06
May 10, 08- Jodi posted the last entry to her blog. It reads, in part: “I cannot ignore that there is an ever-present yearning and desire that pulses within me. It throbs for gratification and fulfillment.”

May 11, 08-EX 499- The text where Travis tells Jodi she looks beautiful in her photos
May 15, 08- EX 452- The picture of Jodi and her sister with the blondish highlights
May 16, 08- EX 406- Long email that Jodi wrote to Travis
May 18, 2008-Travis makes a blog post titled “Why I want to marry a Gold Digger
May 19, 08- EX 399- The poem Jodi wrote to Travis
May 22, 08- Jodi says on the stand that she changed her passwords to all her accounts.

May 25-26, 08- EX 450- The text where Travis calls her a sociopath.
May 25 to 26 Jodi says she remembers that night very well! She called Travis about the pedophile pamphlets she sent him and Travis got upset. They had phone calls and text messages over the fight.
May 28, 08- Jodi’s grandparents home is robbed. A gun is stolen
May 28, 08- Jodi tells JM that this is the date she found out Travis was taking MiMi to Cancun. (She admitted this on Day 3 of JM’s cross of Jodi)

May 31, 08- EX 506 & 507- Jodi’s bloody finger she cut at work, then took pictures with her cell.
May 2008- Jodi answers the jury questions and says this is when Travis “hit her in her car.”

June 2008

June 08- Travis mentions to a friend that Jodi hacked his facebook account

http://mydeathspace.com/vb/showthread.php?26892-Jodi-Ann-Arias-shot-and-stabbed-her-ex-boyfriend-Travis-Alexander-to-death-(Part-II)

 

Jodi Arias is very unhappy that she helped Travis edit his first chapter for his intended book called Raising You. Instead, Travis gave editing credit online to his friend Katie Barnes (possibly his newest love interest), although Jodi claimed that 3 women helped him (Travis’ spelling and some grammar were atrocious).

Travis with FHE friend Katie Barnes
Travis with FHE (Family Home Evening) and UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) friend Katie Barnes

 

From the sex tape, you can see it is very evident that Travis is being very gracious yet balking at any mention of the two getting together. This is early May. Then we have the giant fight. Travis is unmovable and he wants Jodi Arias to admit she lied to him or to never speak to him again. She will not admit it, and she is now in a quandary. In spite of trying every manipulative trick she knows, Travis wouldn’t budge. Six hours later, it was the end. Travis had achieved his goal of ending it totally with Arias, albeit in a very messy and hurtful way. Jodi Arias was left broke, humiliated insulted, and made a fool of.  It was beginning to burn in.

A plan of revenge

Sometimes I think, as many others do, that Jodi Arias may have commenced stealth hostilities against Travis starting in April 2008, when she was forced to move back to Yreka, or even sooner, in March 2008, after Travis Alexander confessed he had been seeing Lisa Andrews the entire time Jodi was living in Mesa, or even before that, in July 2007, after Jodi believed Travis had cheated on her.

No doubt that there is a direct relationship to the words spoken on that day, and Alexander’s murder. This was the real motive and the reason he died, I believe.

Two days later the gun is stolen from the grandfather’s home where Jodi is staying,  and ASAP, Jodi Arias finds her way to Mesa. It’s difficult to tell whether they had sex or not. Probably. It seems that Jodi Arias threw it at him in every way she could.

Some people think that Jodi stole a chef’s super-sharp butcher’s knife from her work, and I think that’s probably true. She did not take anything out of Travis’ house that was his if she could avoid it, and I think the same goes for the knife and gun. I do not think she would risk leaving the murder knife in Travis’ dishwasher, etc. She brought them to the house and she took them away with her, in my opinion.

“Diversion to Mesa”

Arriving AT 4 am, Jodi Arias either parks the car in the garage and at some point, or backs it into the driveway. The front license plate is already off, and she removes the rear license plate. Now what I’m thinking is that Jodi Arias took off the front plate in Pasadena, like she said. But she wouldn’t risk turning the rear plate upside-down. The knife is in her purse. Before she arrived, Arias probably removes the gun from it’s place taped up under the hood in the rental car, and dumps in two of the cans of gas. The gun goes in her purse as well. She may have bought ammo for the gun and she may have practiced firing it with Matt McCartney, before they went out to Karaoke. Somehow it is very important to Jodi Arias that both former boyfriends participate in this murder in some way, in my opinion.

They go to sleep soon after Arias shows up, and in the morning, Jodi plays with the camera to put Travis at ease.

Understanding Jodi a little better now, it’s entirely possible that she got to Travis’ and he was already asleep. She fooled around on his computer for a while, looking at what he was looking at, or maybe just looking at stuff she found herself., then she just snuck in his bedroom. She did note that Travis was cleaning the floor and had moved chairs on top of the couch, etc.

The camera comes into play

I did note that the case for the camera was near the beanbag chair in the upstairs loft area. I’m thinking she grabbed it out of Travis’ office before he awoke, and she was messing with it (ie Looking through the pictures, etc.)….

Theory: Arias goes downstairs in the afternoon and takes the camera from off Travis desk where the camera box is.
Theory: Arias goes downstairs in the afternoon and takes the camera from off Travis’ desk where the camera box is.
Theory: Arias takes the camera up to the bean bag chair and searched the pics.
Theory: Arias takes the camera up to the bean bag chair and searches through the pics.
The camera case knocked over by the bean bag chair in the hallway
The camera case knocked over by the bean bag chair in the hallway / loft
Theory: Arias then proceeds to the chair next to the bed where she snaps the nude photo of Travis.
Theory: Arias then proceeds to the chair next to and behind the bed
Theory:Arias snaps the nude photo of Travis
Theory: Where she snaps the nude photo of Travis

 

….. at the beanbag chair in the hallway outside his bedroom. Alexander is surprised but playing along. He joins in the fun, but takes photos that are more revealing of his attitude towards Arias.

Arias nude a

jodi arias nude b

I believe Jodi and Travis hung out and ruminated over the good times, while Jodi continued to try to see when they could get together again. I think Travis either balked at this or led her on. Around 5:00 PM, Travis mentioned he had to get back to work and Jodi should get on with her trip. I think she packed up and may have been having cold feet about killing Travis. I think Travis was getting ready to take a shower when Jodi Arias brought up the idea about taking the photos in the shower. Travis reluctantly agreed to it as doing so was the best way to eventually get rid of her. He figures he’ll just delete the photos after she leaves.

shower pic lt

travis-alexander-slumped-over-in-shower-5-30-pm-june-4-2008-lt

Alternatively, she may have asked Travis to take the photos and he refused. she may have gone out to get in her car to leave as Travis went into the shower. Then in the garage, she hears the hot water heater kick on and she knows he’s in the shower. She turns around and heads up the stairs into Travis’ bedroom and she grabs the camera.

Arias carries out the plan

I think at that point she made the most fateful decision of her life, She grabbed the camera and went into the bathroom. She just started taking photos of Travis, who was oblivious to her being there.  When he finally noticed she forced or charmed him into sitting down in the shower enclosure, They had a very emotional conversation when Jodi Arias became overwhelmed and shot him aiming at his head from behind him. Travis had no idea what had just happened to him. When he came to, he was dizzy, bleeding and in pain and shock. He crawled out of the shower and this is when Jodi Arias flailed back and hit the button on the camera, taking the ceiling shot.

She stepped back, blocking the exit and she may have put the camera down on the floor by the linen closet. Jodi watched Travis writhing around in pain on the floor. With the exit blocked, Travis may have realized it was Jodi who did this and he may have tried to lock himself in the toilet room. Jodi Arias may have kicked Travis at this point.., leaving the blood spatter on the door frame of the toilet room.

crime scene toilet door frame 2 lt

Travis wasn’t dying, he was continuing to move, he is confused about what was happening to him. He was trying to get up on his feet and perhaps get a towel off the rack. There is blood spatter high on the blinds on the window by the bathroom scales. That could be Travis flinging the blood off of his hand or Jodi striking him with something, or it could be from Jodi cleaning up later. The gun isn’t firing again, Travis is not dying, he’s getting to his feet. Jodi needs another weapon. A real sharp knife form the restaurant may have been in her purse. She goes to her purse or to the kitchen to get a knife, leaving the camera on the floor.

This is when Travis is able to get to his feet and get to the sink. At some point he slipped and fell or collapsed and wound up on his back. Here Jodi Arias re-enters the bathroom with a sharp butcher knife and steps in front of Alexander, stepping on or kicking the camera she set down earlier, taking the foot photo, She lunges down and strikes sending the knife deep into his heart. He blocks the next few strikes with his hands, incurring deep wounds.

Travis suffers more stabs including a deep stab to the abdomen. This is when he flips over and tries to protect himself. Arias shifts over him and strikes at his back over and over. Travis gets up all the strength he can muster and manages to slowly scurry away. As he struggles down the hallway, Joid Arias is stabbing at him all the way. He’s trying desperately to get out of the bathroom.

Jodi Arias follows striking him in the back of the head and neck and his upper back. She is still stabbing at him as Alexander tries to get to his feet shouts that he can’t feel his legs and collapses into the wall right near the carpet. Jodi Arias straddles him as he continues to struggle, getting onto the carpet area. Jodi Arias cannot allow him to get out of the bedroom or mess up the carpet and she cuts his throat.

Covering her trail

Alexander is continuing to bleed out, the blood is blocking her escape. In a typical Jodi Arias move, she grabs him by the arms and spins him around pulling him down the hallway and back into the shower, as was the original plan. Doing this, she kicks the camera and it takes the “baseboard photo”. She uses water and a towel to clean the floor of footprints and excess blood, she deletes the photos. Jodi Arias gathers up the gun and knife and some bloody clothes and she finds some plastic bags. She showers over Travis, to remove her blood from his body, and she puts on clean clothes.

The plastic cup was found on top of the body
The plastic cup was found on top of the body

She goes down to the laundry. Earlier in the afternoon, Jodi and/or Travis brought the bed sheets down and threw them in the washer. That cycle had already finished. She throws the sheets in the dryer and throws the bloody clothes and towels in the wash. She grabs the camera, looks at it for a while, then dumps it in the water of the washer.

Knowing that water killed her old cell phone, she expects the water to kill the camera. besides, her prints are all over the camera in blood.

The killer was very concerned about DNA evidence. Note the camera to the left.
The killer was very concerned about DNA evidence. Note the camera to the left.

Jodi Arias loads up the car quickly in the darkness of the garage or in the driveway. She puts the back plate on hurriedly, but puts it on upside-down. She waits for a while, then she’s off on her way. Jodi Arias scoots almost all the way out of Arizona using the remaining gas in the gas cans, and she finally calls Leslie Udy, Ryan Burns, and Gus Searcy to re-establish her alibi. Leslie tells Jodi she called Travis but only got his voice mail. This is when Jodi Arias gets the idea to call Travis and leave a message. The message is so strangely carefree and even done in a joking manner.

Message

Playing possum

She feigns surprise and sadness when Travis’ body is found, 5 days after she thought it would be discovered. Jodi Arias goes to the memorial service, goes to the Police with friends and voluntarily submits to fingerprinting and DNA swab tests. Then they all go for a ride past Travis’ house. Jodi posts a memorial to Travis on her MySpace.

A funny thing here is that you can tell that Jodi is out of touch with Travis, because Jodi posts Travis’ comedy video of Eddie Snell’s “Possum balm” (instead of “Tiger Balm”), but she lists it as “Eddie Snell’s Paustenbalm”, proving that she has no first hand knowledge from Travis of this event. She is just going by phonetics.

She contacts Detective Flores and assists him in his investigation, calling him daily. After the DNA, the prints and the recovered photos all point to Jodi Arias, she’s indicted by a Grand Jury and Arias is arrested and interrogated, giving the intruder story, after first giving a flat out denial. Detective Flores and Detective Haney both suggest she contact Travis’ family.

The letter Jodi Arias wrote to the family, as her stories in the interrogation, were all about Jodi Arias, and hardly about Travis Alexander at all.

And this brings us to the present day.

Premeditation

The turning off of the cell phone, removal of the front plate and possible flipping of the rear plate, and the filling of the gas cans all at Pasadena makes this much more than a chance or casual connection. Jodi Arias is clearly trying to create the impression she got on the I-15 highway from Pasadena to Las Vegas on her way to Ryan Burn’s home in West Jordan, Utah.  This is why she keeps the Walmart receipt from Salinas, because it helps with her alibi, even as it hurts her with the purchase of the 3rd gas can.

What next for SpotlightOnLaw?

I think I will move on to other cases, old and new. There are many interesting cases out there and so little really written about them. It’s always good to try to bring a lot of different information about a case all together in one place.

What about Jodi’s Supporters?

I hope Jodi Arias will retain her good supporters and gain some new support. I can support her as far as wanting her to be treated humanely and fairly. I will support her efforts to win an appeal, but I don’t see how she could prevail in a new trial and convince all twelve jurors to give here a better outcome. Outside of this speculative scenario, I have tried to stick with the established and provable facts. I have deliberately avoided educated guesses, half-truths, speculations, and theoretical possibilities.

I challenge any reader to name one fact we mentioned in this set of articles (or anywhere on this blog), that is wrong, mistaken, or mere speculation. I have to go with the facts, and this is what the facts say. Jodi Arias is where she belongs and she’s proven it many times over with her behavior since the start of the trial.

What punishment does Jodi Arias deserve?

In spite of what she did, I don’t wish her spending her natural life in prison. This to me was a heat of passion domestic homicide, augmented by a very destabilized state of mind. I hope she gets out some day after getting the healing and therapy she needs. I think I have fought for her in every way I could. I’m not disappointed that I advocated for her. In spite of what she did, there is only one person, male or female, on Death Row, with a fact pattern anywhere near that of the Jodi Arias case. That person is Isiah Patterson, who really shouldn’t be on Death Row either, in my opinion.

This was a man who chased his wife naked out of their apartment building and stabbed her to death in front of eye witnesses, then coldly walked back into the apartment after calling her a whore. That’s not enough for the death penalty, in my book, and neither is this. This is biblical law Arizona style, and it’s disgraceful. This only brings all Arizonians down to the level of an Isiah Patterson or a Jodi Arias.

Reversal of the conviction possible?

I really do hope she gets the reversal, even though I feel there is no way she can get a better outcome, whether it’s 2nd degree murder, manslaughter or a complete acquittal. But an unfair trial is an unfair trial, and I know one when I see one, and this was one. I’m happy for the Alexander family that there was no death sentence. That would have dragged this on for decades, and Jodi Arias would have become the victim and the spotlight would be on her for years and years and years to come. This all would have continued to only about her.

gif unicorn 4

SJ and JAII’s support of Jodi Arias

I hope Simon Johansson packs up and gets out of the Jodi Arias biz, as he is a very bad representative of Jodi Arias or anyone, for that matter. The hard core “fans” surrounding him need to come to their senses and realize that this case is exactly what it looks like.

Even Supporters will realize the truth

If I do any more Jodi Arias projects, the one at the top of my list is to debunk the articles of the only ones left who have some form rationality. I won’t bother with the rest.

Little by little and more by more, people will see the truth, no matter what side they’re on. Supporters who stand by Jodi Arias should know that she’s gonna have the same address for decades to come. It’s gonna be a long ride, so settle back, people.

*******************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************

30 things you MUST believe in order to believe Jodi Arias is

NOT GUILTY of

First Degree Premeditated Murder

So let’s evaluate and review: In order to believe that Jodi Arias is not guilty by reason of self-defense, one has to believe all this

1) Two days After Arias has a fight with Travis Alexander on multiple methods of communication lasting over 6 hours, someone else breaks into Arias’ grandfather’s home, where Jodi Arias is staying, and steals a .25 caliber gun, ignoring other things of much greater value.

 

Police photo of bureau in Arias' Grandfather's house
Police photo of bureau in Arias’ Grandfather’s house

2) The Monday after this huge argument, which is the end of the work week for Arias, she just happens to decide to go on a week long vacation, even though she just started the job and has very little money.

3) She just happens to decide to see a number of people who live south enough in California to bring her into close proximity to Arizona.

4) A friend’s baby (Darryl Brewer’s sister Laura) she wants to photograph in the Los Angeles area, the Hotel del Coronado in San Diego, a place in the “1,000 places to see before you die”, are some of the lame excuses Jodi Arias gives for continuing South another 319 miles (I was waiting for Laura to call me back, etc.), when Arias could have continued from Monterey / Salinas on to Utah via I-80 near Sacramento.

5) One would have to believe that even though Jodi Arias had no plan other than a vague mention of Death Valley, to go into remote desert areas, and even though her whole trip is on the Interstate highway system, that Jodi Arias makes a point of making sure Darryl Brewer had two gas cans for her before she left for the trip, and 30 minutes after securing those gas cans, she decides she needs a third can, but this is all happenstance. Three is better than two. A young woman is afraid for her safety, so she drives in the southwest in the summer with 3 full gas cans in the trunk of her car, because she might ‘go somewhere in the desert’?

6) Even though she claims she was thinking about a trip to Death Valley, one of the “1,000 places to see before you die”, her phone calls to Darryl reveal she needs those gas cans much more than merely just thinking about it.  Pasadena to Death Valley is 259 miles and Death Valley to Las Vegas is 150 miles for a total of 409 miles (1 gas tank full). There are plenty of places to get gas in between.

7) You have to believe that Jodi Arias, who had been calling Travis Alexander throughout her trip, suddenly decided to go see him on a whim, and left her new love interest she planned to see, hanging. If you believe that, please see the next and final article of the series.

 8) You have to believe that Jodi Arias had to fill those cans in Pasadena instead of anywhere else further South or West by happenstance, and not just because Pasadena was right at the beginning of I-15 to Las Vegas, the route Jodi Arias apparently wanted it to look like she took to West Jordan, Utah.

 9) You have to believe that

– at that key point in Pasadena,

– where Jodi Arias is supposed to be traveling north west on I-15

– where she filled the 3 gas cans and filled her tank, giving her an extra 450 miles of range

– and a total range of 855 miles

just then is when either:

a) Jodi Arias’ battery on her phone ran out of juice and she misplaced her charger and she just didn’t have time to find it.

b) Jodi Arias decided to turn off her phone because she didn’t want Ryan Burns calling her and interrupting her or making her feel bad for not getting to West Jordan quicker.

c) Jodi Arias’ phone ran out of juice and she lost her charger and had to buy a new one.

Jodi Arias gave all three answers. “Take your pick”.

Total range Jodi arias needs to sneak in and out of Arizona (701 miles)

Total range Jodi Arias has with 2 gas cans (705 miles)

Total range Jodi Arias has with 3 gas cans (850 miles)

Estimated Distance, in theory, Jodi Arias traveled since filling up 3 cans in Pasadena (15 gallons x 30 mpg = 450 miles) + (11 gallons x 30 mpg = 330 miles) = (780 miles)

Distance Pasadena, CA to Mesa, AZ to Las Vegas, NV (701 miles)

Distance Las Vegas to Mesquite, NV (82 miles)

Total Pasadena to Mesquite, NV (783 miles)

Coincidence?

Earlier, I had thought that Salinas was right next to Pasadena. I did not see the significance of all this until I checked it out carefully on a map. I didn’t realize that all these things Jodi Arias did that look like preparations All happened in Pasadena. I didn’t realize, until Brad Smith of Justda Truth pointed it out, that ok, maybe it’s possible that Jodi Arias can fit 2 more gallons into her car somehow, than everybody else, but in order to do that, the tank has to be completely and totally empty, which was so unlikely as to be pretty much impossible.

Pasadena is also where Jodi Arias’ license plate gets taken off the front of the rental car and magically gets flipped upside down on the rear of the car.

Jodi Arias is leaving from Pasadena at 9:00 PM (just happens to be just after dark) on a 386 mile,  5 and ¾ mile trip to Mesa, Arizona. This should easily get her there by 3 AM. Add the 1 hour time difference, and you get 4:00 AM, just as Jodi Arias stated.

10) You have to believe that Jodi drove all the way from Salinas, CA to the border of Arizona (530 miles 7 hrs 50 min) with no front license plate and an upside-down rear license plate and no one noticed. She drove all the way to Mesa, Arizona (692 miles, 10 hours 11 min) and no one noticed (someone beeping and pointing, the police, etc.)

11) You have to believe that both a 1 1/2 inch butcher knife and a loaded and cocked gun were within easy reach of the master bathroom, just by happenstance, on the one day that Travis Alexander decided to lunge at Jodi Arias and threaten to “kill her life”.

12) You have to believe that Travis Alexander would bend Jodi Arias over his desk and have sex with her when the bedroom is just upstairs and anyone could have come in the house.

13) You have to believe that Travis Alexander would agree to being photographed nude in his shower by Jodi Arias, when he is generally known to be very private about his showers and was not liking the idea in the past. By the way – anyone seeing these photos of a naked Travis in the shower, a supposedly devote Mormon, is going to wonder who was in the bathroom taking these photos of Travis, right? Why would Travis have wanted that? He wasn’t going to show those photos to nobody.

14) Additionally, do any of these photographs, with the possible exception of one, look professional?

shower 4shower 7shower surprise ltshower 6

15) Additionally who really takes a few photos, then discusses which to delete, takes a few more, then decides which to delete? Don’t people usually take a whole slew of photos and then delete the ones that they don’t want afterwards?

16) You have to believe that Jodi and Travis played sex games with a rope that was so long it needed to be cut, with a butcher knife, though the rope length used, the remaining rope, and any packaging the rope might have been in were never found (Brad Smith of Justda Truth came up with that on, too).

(show video)

17) You have to believe that Travis Alexander, after all the restraint he showed in the major conundrums with Jodi Arias, flew into a rage and lunged out of the shower, slippery and naked, wet on a tile floor, trying to assault Jodi Arias.

18) You have to believe that Travis Alexander, naked and wet, would chase Jodi Arias around the bedroom instead of just finishing his shower.

19) You have to believe that Jodi Arias stopped running away from Travis long enough to climb up the shelving in the bedroom closet to get the gun, the same caliber as the one stolen from where she was staying just 7 days before, placed in the only area of the closet that was not thoroughly photographed. You have to believe that Jodi Arias, in a panic and emotionally stressed, climbed up on the shelf disturbing absolutely nothing in the closet whatever, including the bench right in the middle .

show photo

20) You have to believe that Jodi Arias, having never fired a gun before or hardly ever, by accident and under duress, aimed and fired at a moving target and hit Travis in the skull above his right eyebrow – by accident.

21) You have to believe that Travis, once shot in the face with a bullet that crashed through his skull into his jaw and caused profuse bleeding, nevertheless, shrugged it off, and continued his deadly attack.

By The Way, Jodi’s story of shooting Travis  (“Oh crap” *)  by accident and then the two of them falling to the floor in the back of the bathroom together, side by side – does that remind you of anything?

  • Jodi Arias used the words “Oh, crap” to describe shooting Travis – a word that Travis specifically told Lisa Andrews that he hated and did not want her to use.

22) You have to believe that even after being stabbed with a deep wound to the heart, a deeper wound to the abdomen, 14 knife wounds to the back, and 12 other knife wounds, with his back and his neck and his head and his hands and his face all bleeding profusely, and after being down and bleeding in 2 other places in the bathroom, and after trying to get out of the bathroom and away from the other person, that Travis was still continuing to attack Jodi Arias and still posed a deadly threat to her.

Yet, Travis, as a Mormon, didn’t do drugs or even drink coffee or other caffeinated beverages.

23) You have to believe that Travis Alexander, with all those wounds and all that damage to his body and blood loss, still needed to have his throat slit to stop him and came after Jodi Arias in attack mode, covered in blood, with his chin tucked into his chest.

24) You have to believe that Jodi Arias remembers none of this after the gunshot until she is out of the state, – but she does, – but she doesn’t.

25) You have to believe that Jodi Arias killed Travis Alexander on autopilot, and in that autopilot mode, remembered to delete photos, attempt to destroy evidence, clean the area of some blood and prints, and remove items from the scene, leaving only a few small drops of blood beyond the main crime scene.

Evidence screener hand print

26) You have to forget Jodi Arias’ description, at the interrogation, of Travis shot and bleeding and letting out a high pitched wail as he is crawling around on his hands and knees (“Travis was just ………. there.”), as well as her reporting of Travis remaining stationary on his hands and his knees.

27) You have to forget about Jodi Arias’ description at the interrogation, where she stated twice that after being shot, Travis was left there alone for quite some time.

28) You have to believe that in spite of claiming PTSD from the trauma of being forced to kill in such a gruesome way, that Jodi Arias went to Travis’ memorial service, took a DNA test, and then took a sightseeing ride back to Travis’ house and scene of the crime and also, she qualified for and purchased a 9 mm handgun.

29) You have to believe that the 9 mm handgun, which was hidden so well and so cleverly in her second rental car that is wasn’t found for over a week, was taped to the hood of the car with duct tape and was the first time Arias had ever concealed a handgun in a car in that way.

30) You would have to believe that in January, Arias helped Travis put away Christmas decorations which she said were stored in the attic, when she came back and caught him masturbating to photos / computer images of young children, when the lead detective said the attic was utterly empty.

>>>>>>>> If you are still skeptical, what would you think if you saw a photo from June 10th 2008 of an empty attic? If I saw that, that photo alone would prove to me this was a 1st degree premeditated murder. <<<<<<<<<<

31) You would have to believe that Arias, a person who complained about her hurt toe from June 4th to Travis’ family, sustained a broken finger from Travis kicking her in the ribs, yet she never mentioned it to anyone or took a photo of it or was able to produce any witness to verify it.

32) You would have to believe that Arias unintentionally and meaning well, wrote the letter she wrote to the Alexander family and made her remarks to the judge at her sentencing.

33) You must believe that the strikingly insensitive comments in both instances were just completely misunderstood by nearly everyone.

34) You would have to believe one or more of George Barwood’s theories:

a) The special, extra large gas can that Jodi’s rental car had but no one else in America had.

b) That Jodi was-making-bandages-for-Travis’-head-after-he-got-shot-when- Travis-suddenly-started-attacking-her-again-theory. Even though people in America do not make bandages and no evidence of home-made bandages was ever found.

c) That Travis-slipped-and-fell-in-the-hallway-and-landed-on-the-carpet-and-“bled-a-bit”, -before-getting-up-and-running-back-down-the-hall-into-the-bathroom-to-attack-Jodi theory.  That,-therefore,-Travis-was-down-on-the-floor-bleeding-for-quite-some-time-now-in-three-(not just two)-different-places,-yet-this-was-still-self-defense theory.

Here, Travis
Here, Travis “slipped and fell while chasing Jodi, bled a little bit on the carpet, then got back up and ran back down the hall into the bathroom to continue his attack”.

d) The “4 gas can theory” (The Jodi-borrowed-2-gas-cans-from-Darryl- Brewer,-then-bought-a-3rd-gas can-immediately-returned-it,-then-bought-one (5 gallon)-or-two (2.5 gallon)-more-can(s)-in-a-fog-after-the-killing-theory).

4 can theory

35) You would have to believe that even though Jodi Arias wrote a letter to the Alexander family in July 2008, detailing how Travis Alexander abused and beat her, leaving bruises, that the reason she told the Ninja story to the authorities which completely absolves her of any responsibility for or any participation in the murder, that Jodi did this for the main purpose of protecting Travis Alexander’s reputation.

36) You would have to believe the prosecutor and the prosecution witnesses and the defense attorney and the jury and the media and the social media and judge were all in on the conspiracy to find Jodi Arias guilty of 1st degree murder and to get her the Death Penalty.

37) You would have to believe that Travis begged Jodi Arias to come to Mesa, Arizona and move to Mesa after they had broken up, even though Alexander was hot on the trail of other women.

38) You would have to believe that Deanna Reid and / or Chris and Sky Hughes are devious people and possibly murderers who wanted kill Travis Alexander and frame Jodi Arias.

39a) You would have to believe that this is the Travis we never saw:

Help! Help! He is choking me.
Help! Help! He is choking me.
Oh, you dropped my camera?
Oh, you dropped my camera?
“Effing Kill you, Bitch!!!!”

39b) Fill in your own:

You would have to believe _______________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________________.

Would you believe ...... ?
Would you believe …… ?
Would you believe ..... ?
Would you believe ….. ?

By the way – In Estrella Jail, Jodi Arias called her first Boyfriend “86”, and he called her “99” (The secret agent numbers of Maxwell Smart and his partner).

40) Finally, you would have to believe that this guy, this guy who would sexually abuse young children as well as Jodi, the guy who choked Jodi to unconsciousness (Even though she said in the 48 hours interview: “I was never in fear of my life”), …

… the guy who kicked her in the ribs to the point of breaking her finger, body slammed her on solid tile, and continued to attack Jodi Arias and threatening to kill her, is the same person in the following video:

Okay, I promised you 30, but you got 10 bonus ‘things you would have to believe’, not including the one you were supposed to come up with. 🙂

Did you catch all that?

Im-So-Confused,-Mantled-Howler-Monkey

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Reader: Your Arias trial ‘Holy Grail’ felony murder charge article is baloney

Reader: Your Arias trial ‘Holy Grail’ felony murder charge article is baloney

by Rob Roman & Amanda Chen

liberty-bell-at-independence-hall-1901-padre-art

Did “Cate” decimate our Arias trial felony murder arguments?  It’s complicated.

“Like a wrecking ball’ –  One of our Readers decimates our Arias Trial felony murder argument?

miley_cyrus_wrecking_ball

One of our readers read our Holy Grail article about how we believe the 1st degree Felony Murder charge was bogus.

https://spotlightonlaw.wordpress.com/why-the-felony-murder-charge-is-the-holy-grail-of-the-jodi-arias-case-nov-5-2014/

“Cate” believes that Judge Stephens and Juan Martinez were correct and that Kirk Nurmi, Vladimir Gagic, Amanda Chen and Rob Roman are wrong about the validity and the application of the Felony Murder charge. “Cate” supplied some very good case law on this issue.

 

In our last article, we were asking a number of questions about the Felony Murder Charge:

  • Does it make sense that in Arizona, you can find someone guilty of BOTH Felony Murder (an unplanned murder) AND Pre-meditated murder (a planned murder)?
  • Does the felony murder charge correctly apply to the Arias case, or was the charge kept solely to give the jurors another choice of 1st degree murder (in a sort of heads I win, tails, you lose situation for the prosecution)?
  • Can you be found guilty of felony murder (A death occurs in the course of another dangerous felony) based on burglary with intent to commit the murder?
  • Is this a legitimate charge under the facts of State v. Arias?
  • Were the 7 jurors who found for felony murder correct or not?

It's complicated lg

We needed to dig deeper into the issue to get to the bottom of who’s right and who’s wrong about this. I’m going to make this as easy to understand as possible, easy enough for even me to understand. The citings and cases are all here for you to look at in more detail if you like.

“Cate” offered up an appellate case which had most of the relevant case law regarding the felony murder rule in Arizona, and how the elements of the felony and the elements of the murder can now be, in some cases, the same.

The appelate case is State v. Moore, argued in the Arizona Supreme Court.

az_moore_j

State v. Moore

http://supremestateaz.granicus.com/DocumentViewer.php?file=supremestateaz_34a4d3c5c51b1eedea7eb5b74365035c.pdf&view=1

Moore: It’s not felony murder because I can’t be charged with felony murder based on a burglary that is itself based on the intent to murder.

The Court: Yes, you can, and you did.

 

“Relying on State v. Essman, 98 Ariz(1965), Moore also argues that under the merger doctrine, felony murder cannot be predicated upon a burglary that is itself based on the intent to murder.”

State of Arizona v. Julius Jarreau Moore is an appeal of a death sentence for a man who killed 3 people. One murder victim was outside the house with a woman who also was shot, and 2 murder victims were inside the house. Sergio Mata, Guadalupe Ramos, and Delia Ramos were all shot to death in their rental home and Debra Ford was shot and survived. The crimes took place during a flurry of crack smoking.

'This is a textbook case of homicide.'

“Debra Ford went to the Phoenix apartment of Sergio Mata, Delia Ramos, and Guadalupe Ramos to purchase and smoke crack in the late evening hours of November 15, 1999. In the early hours of the 16th, Moore came to the apartment looking for Debra. When Debra came out to see Moore, they talked for a bit and smoked some crack.

Shortly after, Sergio came out of the apartment and Moore shot him in the head, killing him and then turned to Debra and shot her in the neck.

Debra remained alive and conscious while praying for her life. She heard several additional shots fired while she was on the ground. When police arrived and went into the apartment, they found Guadalupe on the couch and Delia inside the bedroom closet. Both were shot to death. Debra survived and testified against Moore during trial.”

Sergio was shot outside the apartment building in a public area, and there was evidence of pre-meditation, so his murder was charged as a premeditated murder. Guadalupe and Delia were shot inside the home, it appeared as if Moore’s motive was to steal drugs, and there was some reflection, so those two murders were charged as both premeditated and felony murders.

The felony murder was first based on burglary – theft, but the prosecution changed it later and based it on burglary – assault, possibly because they had more evidence of the assault than the theft.

The trial was in 2002, the jury found for the aggravator of multiple murders, but did not reach consensus on the aggravator of cruelty. The case is interesting because right during the penalty phase, Moore’s medical expert had a heart attack, causing a mistrial. Moore had a new aggravation and penalty phase in 2007, the jury found the same aggravator and sentenced Moore to death.

 

Our felony murder argument being destroyrd by one of our readers.
Our felony murder argument being destroyrd by one of our readers.

In the mandatory appeal before the Arizona Supreme court, Moore cites a number of issues. The relevant one to the Arias case is this:

Relying on State v. Essman, (1965), Moore also argues that under the merger doctrine, felony murder cannot be predicated upon a burglary that is itself based on the intent to murder.

 

State v. Essman (1965)

Essman: It’s not felony murder because the felony and the murder are the same thing.

Felony Murder does not apply when the felony is included in (Merged into) the charge of homicide.

Court: Yes, we agree.

 

Essman is in itself an interesting case. Essman was home and cleaning his gun with his daughter in a near bedroom. He began playing around with the gun. His wife came home and told him to put the gun away before someone gets hurt.

Essman said something like “See? It’s harmless”, as he pointed the gun at the family dog and fired twice. Nothing happened because Essman had emptied the revolver. Then he aimed the gun at his wife and pulled the trigger. The gun went off and killed her. Apparently there was one bullet left in the chamber. Jerk.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ylqEN7J3GLA

 

In his instruction on second degree murder the judge in Essman instructed the jury that the felony-murder doctrine applied where the felony was assault with a deadly weapon. The pertinent portion of the instruction was “when the killing is done in the perpetration or attempt to perpetrate a felony such as assault with a deadly weapon.” The felony-murder doctrine does not apply where the felony is an offense included in the charge of homicide.

The felony murder doctrine basically states that any death caused during a dangerous felony becomes a 1st or 2nd degree murder.

 

The decision quoted People v. Moran 246 N.Y. 1927

“The acts of assault merge into the resultant homicide, and may not be deemed a separate and independent offense which could support a conviction for felony murder.”

 

In the appeal of State v. Moran, Chief Judge Cardozo quoted State v. Huter

“To make the quality of the intent indifferent, it is not enough to show that the homicide was felonious, or that there was a felonious assault which culminated in homicide”. People v. Huter 184 N.Y.

“Making the quality of the intent indifferent” means that the intent needs to be to commit a felony which causes a death, rather than an intent to commit a murder. Remember in felony murder, the death caused could be accidental (heart attack, death of a bystander, etc) or intentional (sudden decision to kill, foreseeable consequence of felonious activities).

“Such a holding would mean that every homicide, not justifiable or excusable, would occur in the commission of a felony, with the result that intent to kill and deliberation and premeditation would never be essential.” People v. Wagner 245 N.Y.

 

– And this is why most states practice this kind of common law.

“The felony that eliminates the quality of the intent must be one that is independent of the homicide and of the assault merged therein, like robbery or larceny or burglary or rape.” 246 N.Y.

This is the Merger Rule. When the predicate felony of a felony murder merges with the actual murder itself (assault, aggravated assault, assault with a deadly weapon), the merger rule applies and the crime cannot be charged as a Felony murder.

It's complicated

 

Why is this so important?

In the case of 1st degree murder, if the crime can be charged as a Felony Murder, two things happen:

 

First, there are no lesser included offenses or degrees of the crime. You either get convicted of the highest degree of murder, or you are not convicted. It’s all or nothing.

With Pre-mediated Murder, the jury can decide on lesser offenses and lower degrees of the crime (2nd degree Murder, Heat of Passion, Manslaughter), so you do not necessarily get convicted of the highest degree of murder.

 

Second, intent to murder no longer  has to be proven, only that a death occurred during an intent to commit a dangerous felony.

It might be advantageous for the prosecution to charge felony murder over premeditated murder, because a conviction would be of the highest degree, and intent to kill doesn’t need to be proven.

 

This is why the Merger rule is meant to prevent a murder with no dangerous felony other than the murder itself from being charged as a felony murder.

A serious problem with the Arias case is that the prosecution never really specified prior to trial exactly what the felony defining the burglary was, meaning the Felony part of the felony murder is Burglary with intent to …….?

 

It’s not even specified in the jury instructions, the way it is in other cases. It merely says burglary with intent to commit any theft or felony.

So what’s the felony in the felony murder charge in the Arias case?

 

SWCC bell

In Moore, State v. Miniefield is also cited. You can hear Kirk Nurmi discussing this on day 9 of the trial (we included the video and where to find it in the Holy Grail article).

Miniefield basically got drunk and went ballistic trying to kill a guy he got angry at. He had at times, a handgun, a shotgun, and finally, Molotov Cocktails. He finally managed to set the guy’s house on fire and the guy’s young daughter was burned to death.

Kind of makes it difficult to root for this guy in his appeal, doesn’t it?

 

It's complicated lg

 

State v. Miniefield (1974)

http://law.justia.com/cases/arizona/supreme-court/1974/2763-0.html

This guy wanted the felony murder conviction dropped so badly, he was even willing to admit to pre-meditated murder.

stock-footage-activist-man-face-violence-molotov-cocktail-burning-danger

 

Minefield: It’s not felony murder because I intended to murder the victim.

It’s not felony murder because the arson was not independent of the homicide.

Court: Yes, it is felony murder and the arson IS independent of the homicide.

 

“Later Arizona cases implicitly rejected the broad language in Essman suggesting that the predicate felony must be “independent of the homicide.” For example, in State v. Miniefield, the defendant argued that it was fundamental error to charge him with felony murder by arson because “the arson was merely the use of fire to attempt to kill the victim.”

The Court rejected this argument by noting that the felony murder statute provided that when a person commits arson and the arson results in death it is first-degree murder. “The statute does not draw a distinction between a person who intends to kill another by fire and one who only intends to burn down a dwelling house and accidentally kills one of the occupants.”

 

tumblr_me2rxePYB71qzabkfo1_500

See the logic there? Arizona doesn’t care if premeditated murder and felony murder, seemingly mutually exclusive, are both charged and both found as long as the basic elements of each theory are proven.

Most recently, the Court distinguished Essman in State v. Dann (Dann I), (2003).

“There, the defendant argued that because he intended to murder a victim rather than assault him, he could not be convicted of felony murder.

 

Noting that the defendant did not dispute that felony murder could be predicated on burglary based on intent to commit assault, the Court held that sufficient evidence supported the finding of the predicate offense. The Court further observed that the merger rule does not apply in cases in which the separate crime of burglary is alleged.”

Meaning that it helps a felony murder charge, to have a separate charge for the felony.

The Jodi Arias case did not have a separate charge for felony.

 

“Moore complains that the State, while charging felony murder based on burglary, did not specify until the settling of jury instructions, and after the close of evidence, that burglary would be defined by his intent to commit murder rather than theft.”

Prosecutor

Arizona prosecutors sure like to keep secrets from the defense, don’t they?

“We agree with Moore that Blakley implies that the state should identify before trial the particular felony that will be used to define burglary when the latter crime is the predicate for felony murder.”

 

Moore was indicted for and convicted of two counts of premeditated and felony murder for the murders of Delia and Guadalupe, one count of premeditated murder for the murder of Mata, one count of attempted first-degree murder for the injuries to Ford, and one count of first-degree burglary. The trial court was to sentence Moore in August 2002, but the hearing was vacated after the Supreme Court held that Arizona’s capital sentencing scheme was unconstitutional. See Arizona v. Ring (Ring II), (2002).

 

Clarence Thomas, Antonin Scalia, John G. Roberts, Anthony M. Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor, Stephen Breyer, Smauel Alito Jr., Elena Kagan

Arizona v. Ring (Ring II), (2002). Is a landmark case which held that juries, not judges, should decide the death penalty mitigators and aggravators and decide on life or death.

 http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/us-supreme-court-ring-v-arizona

Landmark cases are sometimes based on the trials of real pieces of ……… work, like Ring.

 

“In November 2004, the trial court empanelled a jury to determine Moore’s sentence. The State alleged two aggravators: that Moore murdered Delia in an especially cruel manner, and that Moore murdered multiple persons on the same occasion. The jury did not reach a verdict on the (F)(6) aggravator, but did find the (F)(8) aggravator. Before the penalty phase concluded, the court declared a mistrial because Moore’s medical expert suffered a heart attack.

Moore was another endless case.

 

Why felony murder is so contentious:

Remember that Felony Murder means that if someone dies in the course of a dangerous felony, that death can become a 1st degree murder. A defendant could get life in prison or the death penalty. While Premeditated Murder includes lesser charges a jury could decide on.

There’s a famous case where a man goes into a home with a gun to rob it. He hears a sound and changes his mind and runs out of the home. On the way, he trips over a wire falls and the gun goes off. Unknown to him, there was a person behind the wall who was shot and killed. The man leaves thinking the worse thing he did was the gun went off. He was arrested for felony murder and faced the death penalty. This is because he attempted a burglary and in the course of the attempt, he caused the death of a person.

This is the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case of Furman v. Georgia.

http://www.floridalawreview.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/ShatzA2.pdf

 

images

Scary to think that because of the felony murder law, the man faced the death penalty for what was otherwise an accidental shooting. Without the felony of burglary – theft, this would normally be a 2nd degree murder at most or manslaughter.

So, there are lots of consequences, sometimes unintended, when applying the law to the facts of a case or deciding how a defendant will be charged.

– and sometimes they are intended.

 

dann_20120308094336_640_480

State v.Dann (2003)

http://supremestateaz.granicus.com/DocumentViewer.php?file=supremestateaz_510ea0c0c124b6f12fd2ce54a0d0ad2d.pdf&view=1

Dann: It cannot be Felony Murder if I enter the home in order to commit premeditated murder.

Court:  It is felony murder because the felony was burglary with intent to commit assault. In the course of that felony, you caused the death of a person. There is sufficient evidence to find intent to assault.

 

“The jury found Dann guilty of felony murder on all three murder charges. The predicate offense for the felony murders was burglary, which, in turn, was predicated on an intent to commit aggravated assault. The State charged that Dann went to the apartment intending to shoot Andrew, which constitutes an aggravated assault.

Dann asserts that the evidence showed that he entered Andrew’s apartment intending to murder Andrew, not assault him; therefore, he argues, the only felony offense to support the burglary charge was murder, not aggravated assault.”

 

“This results in ‘bootstrapping’, Dann maintains, because the State is saying that he committed felony murder because he entered the apartment intending to commit premeditated murder.”

 

 

 

The Court held that sufficient evidence supported the finding of the predicate offense. The Court further observed that “merger does not apply in cases in which the separate crime of burglary is alleged and established.”

“Dann I and Miniefield defeat Moore’s argument that felony murder cannot be predicated on a burglary that is based on the intent to murder. The felony murder statute, A.R.S.§ 13-1105(A)(2), does not distinguish between burglaries defined by intent to commit assault versus intent to murder.”

130712171019-04-zimmerman-0712-horizontal-gallery

 

In Arizona, yes you can!

So who is right about the Arias case? “Cate” and Juan Martinez and Judge Sherry Stephens and The Supreme Court of Arizona or Amanda Chen and Rob Roman and Kirk Nurmi and Vladimir Gagin?

“Cate” made the comment that legal interpretations and decisions should be left to the professionals (Prosecutors and Judges), and not to layman blog writers. She forgets that Nurmi and Gagin are experienced criminal defense attorneys in Arizona, and they say the felony murder charge is in error.

 

“Cate” also forgets I went to law school as did Amanda, I’m a paralegal working in Federal and State Civil Litigation with an emphasis on the Disabled. I think I can give it a shot.

 

“Cate” made a big legal boo-boo. She forgot that in State v. Moore, all those cited cases and the appeal apply to State v. Moore. They do not necessarily apply to State v. Arias.

 

Now let’s bring down all the questions from the top of this article and see if these cases have answered our questions:

  • Does it make sense that in Arizona, you can find someone guilty of BOTH Felony Murder (an unplanned murder) and Pre-meditated murder (a planned murder)?

Yes, it makes sense – in Arizona. You can find a defendant guilty of both premeditated murder AND felony murder. You can see that it’s a correct verdict in State v. Moore, because Moore was convicted of both 1st degree premeditated murder and felony murder of 2 victims.

 

So, to clarify, you can be found guilty under both theories of first degree murder IF, in the course of a dangerous felony, you commit pre-meditated murder. That’s the reality in Arizona.

This seems to be only in Arizona, as far as I know. It seems like this gives prosecutors two bites at the apple, though.

 

Arizona seems to like those second bites at the apple, as shown in their nifty little ‘if at first you don’t succeed (at the death penalty) try, try again’.

  • Does the Merger rule apply in Arizona? Can you be found guilty of felony murder based on a burglary with intent to commit murder?
  • Can Juan Martinez use an intent to assault or murder as the basis for the Felony burglary in State v. Arias?

 

If the felony merges with the murder, then any murder would be a felony murder and there would be no need to prove pre-meditation, deliberation, or an intent to kill.

This is the law in most states. This was the law in Arizona. But, Arizona didn’t like that too very much, so they do it their way.

 

Later Arizona cases implicitly rejected the broad language in Essman suggesting that the predicate felony must be “independent of the homicide.”

These next three cases reflect that rejection of Essman:

 

 It's complicated lg

 

Moore:  How can I be guilty of Felony Murder based on a burglary with the intent to commit pre-meditated murder?

Court: Because we find you committed burglary with the intent to commit assault. In the course of this felony, you caused the death of a person. Have a nice day.

 

Other states have held that a felony-murder conviction cannot be based on a burglary intended solely to murder the victim. Arizona don’t give a squid what them there other states do.

“We have already recognized that Arizona’s felony-murder statute identifies burglary based on assault as a valid predicate offense”.

 

Miniefield: It’s not felony murder because I intended to murder the victim

Court: Your intention to murder the victim is of no consequence for the purposes of felony murder. Your intention was to commit arson because you did commit arson. Whether you intended to kill or not, doesn’t matter in felony murder. You set the building on fire and someone died as a result, Jerk.

 

Miniefield: I did not intend to commit arson, my intent was to kill the victim.

Court: You lit the Molotov cocktail and you threw it at the house.  How was that not your intention, sir?

 

Dann:  How can it be Felony Murder if I enter the home in order to commit premeditated murder?

Court: We have proof you entered the home to commit an assault. Also, we have a separate felony charge

 

Felony murder can be predicated on a burglary that is based on the intent to murder.

The felony murder statute does not distinguish between burglaries defined by intent to commit assault versus intent to murder.

 

  • Does the felony murder charge correctly apply to the Arias case, or was the charge possibly kept solely to give the jurors another choice of 1st degree murder, (in a sort of heads I win, tails, you lose situation) for the prosecution?

curious george

I would not put it past a prosecutor who tries to bring in evidence of “animal cruelty and torture” based on a vague, 3rd party report of a too tightly squeezed cat. After that monkey business with the order of injuries, I wouldn’t trust him anyways, nohow.

  • Can you be found guilty of felony murder (A death occurs in the course of another dangerous felony) based on burglary with intent to commit the murder?

Under some circumstances, yes you can.

  • Is this a legitimate charge under the facts of State v. Arias?

No. They can charge whatever they want, but then you have to wonder if there is an ulterior motive.

  • Were the 7 jurors who found for felony murder correct or not?

Incorrect. (but, it’s complicated)

 

It's complicated lg

 

CONCLUSION:

In Arizona, Yes You Can:

  • Prosecutors can charge a defendant with BOTH 1st degree pre-meditated murder AND 1st degree felony murder of a single victim. (Guess what? You can charge a defendant with anything you want – but, then you have to prove it)
  • Jurors can find a defendant guilty of BOTH 1st degree pre-meditated murder AND 1st degree felony murder (The verdict form proves it and State v. Moore proves it) (A juror can make any decision allowed by the jury instructions).
  • Arizona’s felony murder statute recognizes assault as a valid predicate offense.
  • prosecutor_tsukichima_in_action_by_tsukichime-d5v3t03
  • In Arizona the Merger Rule doesn’t always apply. The felony can incorporate some parts of the murder.
  • In Arizona the felony predicate does not need to be independent of the homicide
  • In Arizona, felony murder can be predicated on a burglary that is based on the intent to murder.
  • In Arizona, burglary does not distinguish between an attempt to assault and an attempt to murder.

 

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So, are Juan Martinez and Judge Stephens correct that the felony murder charge is a viable extra 1st degree murder charge under the facts of the Jodi Arias case?

Has “Cate” decimated all the arguments we made in the Holy Grail article?

Do Nurmi and Gagic and Chen and Roman have it all wrong and are their arguments are no good?

 

Uh………no. They’re still good. Here’s why:

 

In State v. Arias,

There is insufficient evidence to support the finding of the predicate offense of burglary with intent to commit theft.

There is insufficient evidence to support the finding of the predicate offense of burglary with intent to commit assault.

 

Although the Essman ruling used to be the law, where the merger rule always applied and a predicate felony needed to be independent of the homicide, that’s no longer true, because of the decisions in the above cases

Later Arizona cases implicitly rejected the broad language in Essman suggesting that the predicate felony must be “independent of the homicide.” The key here is “the broad language” That does not mean that the Merger rule never applies or that felony predicates can always be the same as the elements of homicide.

 

The important thing is that each element needs to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt to the jury. This means that to find for pre-meditated murder or felony murder, each element of the charge needs to be proven according to the requirements of the two separate theories.

 

So let’s take another look at the chart from the Holy Grail article, and see if we can find Jodi Arias guilty of Felony murder under the facts of the case.

To find Arias guilty of 1st degree felony murder, we need:

  • A predicate felony (We are told it is 2nd degree burglary)
  • A death caused in the course of that felony.

 

Jury Instructions:

CHARGED OFFENSE – FELONY MURDER

As stated earlier, Count 1 also charges defendant with First Degree Felony Murder. The crime of First Degree Felony Murder requires the state to prove the following two things:

  1. The defendant committed or attempted to commit Burglary in the Second Degree; and
  2. In the course of and in furtherance of committing Burglary in the Second Degree, or immediate flight from it, the defendant caused the death of any person.

An “attempt” requires the state to prove that the defendant intentionally did something which, under the circumstances she believed them to be, was a step in a course of conduct planned to culminate in the commission of the offense. The crime of

Burglary in the Second Degree requires proof that the defendant:

  1. Entered or remained unlawfully in or on a residential structure; and
  2. Did so with the intent to commit any theft or felony therein.

 

#1 As far as the first part of burglary, I will accept Juan Martinez’ explanation for now that once Jodi Arias started stabbing Travis Alexander, he revoked his permission for her to be there, and she was now remaining unlawfully in the residence.

Many people believe Alexander was shot first. Then, let’s say that once Arias ‘began her assault’ on Travis, she was no longer welcome and she was now remaining unlawfully in the residence.

 

Problem: Wait a minute, Juan is assuming intent to assault or intent to kill – take your pick. We don’t know exactly what happened in that bathroom. Reporters still want to ask Arias that question.

Let’s ignore that for a moment and move on.

 

#2 Remained unlawfully in the residence with the intent to commit any theft or felony therein.

Juan Martinez gave us the theft of the gun as defining the burglary. If we believe Arias’ account of the crime

(No premeditation, she brought no weapons with her, A fight breaks out, Arias shot Alexander with his own gun in self-defense, he kept attacking, she finishes him off with a knife, she steals his gun).

 

I say “No pre-meditation”, because for felony murder, pre-meditated or not makes no difference. Only an intent to commit the dangerous felony matters. You cannot use your finding of premeditation as proof of intent in a felony murder.

So theft of the gun fails as defining the burglary right here. Why? Because, Juan Martinez did not PROVE WHEN the intent to take the gun was formed. The intent could have been formed AFTER the killing (and most likely was). This means that the death would not be caused “in the course of and in furtherance of the burglary”.

 

Do you understand?

A death has to be caused as a consequence of Arias trying to steal that gun. If she forms the intent to steal the gun after he’s already dead, then the death is not a consequence of the theft.

“Cate” made a remark that maybe Juan might have been being facetious about the gun. I thought of that also, but I hope not, because this is somewhat of a serious matter.

 

So the gun theft fails. Let’s move on to the assault.

Jodi Arias remained unlawfully in the home. She did so with the intent to commit assault upon Travis Alexander.

Problem: Where is Juan Martinez’ proof beyond a reasonable doubt of intent to assault? There isn’t any, because Nurmi was right, there is no other felony. There is no other felony because Juan Martinez failed to PROVE it.

 

Well, I believe she pre-meditated the killing, isn’t that intent?

  • No, because pre-meditated or not makes no difference. It cannot be an element of intent to assault, or intent to kill. That has to be proven separately. Well, that’s really bizarre. Yes, but law is very bizzare sometimes.

Well, there’s the crime scene and the stabbed and shot body. No one else was there. It had to be Arias. Isn’t that intent to commit assault?

  • No. Because Juan Martinez didn’t prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Arias intended to assault Alexander.

 

Well, what about all that case law above?

  • Right. Did you see the Judge say hey, Moore, You were convicted of both premeditated AND felony murder? You dispute the felony murder, but, you premeditated it, so there’s the intent. He didn’t say that.

Did you hear the judge say, hey, Moore, you see that dead body? That proves your intent. He didn’t say that either.

 

What the judge said was, it doesn’t matter what’s in your mind, we have evidence that you were heavily engaged in crack smoking throughout, that you got a gun, that you told your gf you “weren’t going to stand for it” and to come and find you if you didn’ return. You showed a friend the gun and asked him for hrlp to “get”the victim. You entered the home with a weapon. There’s an eye witness. That’s proof of intent to assault. And people died in the course of the assault. That’s felony murder.

 That kind of evidence does not exist in the Jodi Arias case.

In Minifield, it was proven that he took a Molotov cocktail, lit it, and threw it at the home. That’s proof of intent to commit arson. A little girl died. That’s felony murder.

 That kind of evidence does not exist in the Jodi Arias case.

In Dann, he claimed there was no other felony except the murder. The State charged an intent to kill, but later changed it to an intent to commit aggravated assault. Dann told the court he intended to kill the victim, not assault him, so there is no other felony.

The court replied that we have testimony that you borrowed a gun from your ex-gf, you tried to boorow another “untraceable gun” from a friend, you told your friend you intended to “straighten out the problem, you entered the home with the gun, you called your ex-gf and told he you just shot three people, and that’s proof of intent to assault. As a consequence, someone died. That’s felony murder.

 That kind of evidence does not exist in the Jodi Arias case.

liberty_bell

– Well, what if we forget about pre-meditation for now, and let’s say Jodi Arias was proven to be going to Alexander’s home after preparing for a nefarious purpose of some kind, isn’t that proof of intent to assault?

No. Because we don’t know when or where or if she formed the intent to assault, no proof.

– Well, it’s a reasonable assumption that Jodi brought a gun and/or knife to Mesa and into Travis’ home. Isn’t that proof of intent to assault?

No. There’s no proof that Jodi brought the gun or the knife to the crime scene.

In Moore and Dann, there was proof they were armed when they entered residences. Moore was also charged separately with a felony, so for the facts of his case, the merger rule doesn’t apply anyways.

 

Arias was charged with the felony predicate of 2nd degree burglary – assault. They used 2nd degree instead of 1st degree precisely because the state could not prove she brought a weapon into the house.

– Well, she said she did it. She said she did it all. So, if I don’t believe her self-defense story or that Travis attacked her, or if I believe she went way too far, then that proves her intent to assault, doesn’t it?

No, I don’t think so. I wouldn’t rely on her word about anything. I see the merger rule coming into play here, as there’s no distinct felony here, just like Nurmi said. I don’t see how there’s a clear intent to kill or assault, beyond a reasonable doubt.

 

She was an invited guest, they did interact and have a good time, she was there over 12 hours, then something happened, and I believe there will always be some doubt there as far as what exactly happened. Apparently, it wasn’t very clear to 5 of the jurors.

Now, I believe the only way that felony murder makes any sense at all in this case is if the gunshot was first. Think about this: She shoots him in the shower, as part of a plan to kill him, only he doesn’t die. Jodi Arias doesn’t leave the residence, and she doesn’t call for an ambulance or for help. At this point, she’s remaining in the residence unlawfully. It’s burglary – assault. Jodi Arias then picks up a knife and finishes him off.

 

Here I would say this is a clear burglary – assault, and in the course of and furtherance of this felony, she caused the death of Alexander. The other way, it’s not so clear at all. Maybe Juan Martinez wanted it that way.

That’s another reason why the change in the order of injuries by the prosecution is problematic. The felony murder charge certainly fits much better with the gunshot first murder theory. I believe that when the prosecution changed the order of injuries to gunshot last, they forgot that this new theory doesn’t fit felony murder. I believe that later, they stubbornly refused to drop the charge, for fear it would draw attention to the fact that they swcithed the order of injuries intentionally to squash Jodi Arias’ self-defense claim.

 

– Well, what is your reasoning for felony murder not working the other way, with the stabbings first?

I see a merger rule problem with that theory. I just don’t see clear proof of intent either to kill or assault, to make this strictly a felony murder.

 

“Cate” said something to the effect of, well, if the felony murder charge really didn’t make sense, why weren’t the legal minds in the major media discussing it? This is her type of street logic that I just don’t get, using something that didn’t happen to prove that something else did.

Remember the saying – “Evidence of absence is not absence of evidence.”

You drive me crazy that way, Cate, I have to admit.

 

Maybe they weren’t discussing it because the prosecution was pushing pre-meditation, or because pre-meditation elements and the lesser included offenses that go with it are more interesting to talk about. Or maybe the viewers weren’t asking about it. Who knows?

If Arias was found unanimously guilty of felony murder 1 instead of premeditated murder 1, maybe they would have talked about it then.

Who are these legal experts she’s talking about, anyways? Dershowitz? Beth Karas? Vinnie Politan? – Please!

 

Is there a quote or an article or a video from anyone about how the felony murder charge is correct?

I couldn’t find any major media Legal Eagles speaking on the soundness of the charge, but I did find one legal commentator who said what Nurmi said – that there was nothing there. Does the name Monica Lindstrom ring a bell?

 

This case is not the same as the other cases cited above. This is the only case of the above in which I see no clear felony outside of the murder, despite the Arizona way of not always using the merger rule and sometimes allowing the felony to incorporate certain parts of the murder, which certainly seems to favor the prosecution.

  • Why was the prosecution so reluctant to explain to the defense exactly what their felony murder theory was in this case?
  • Why was there was a lot of contention in motions in 2010, before Nurmi took over the case about this exact question?
  • Why did the prosecution argue for pre-meditation all day every day and then spend just 5 minutes arguing felony murder?
  • Why didn’t the prosecution specify the exact felony (assault, murder, theft, etc.) defining the burglary, even in the jury instructions? Other cases do.
  • Why was the prosecution intentionally ambiguous about it, and why did they spend so little time explaining it?

That’s just more than a little fishy when the felony murder is obviously not as clear-cut and much harder to understand.

 

Maybe Nurmi was right: “(This) is either a premeditated murder or it’s not, and the felony murder burglary charge is just an “empty vessel” in order to seek a first degree murder conviction”. 

 

images (1)images (2) 

It certainly seems that felony murder charge was left there more to ensure a first degree murder conviction than because the prosecution honestly believed it was a legitimate charge.

Good job rejecting it, jurors!

 

  • Again, the predicate felony = remaining unlawfully in the home (via killing Alexander) with the intent of committing any further felony (killing Alexander) and the murder part of the felony murder is (killing Alexander).

circular_logic_by_mestafais-d5vm1d1

 

  • Even in Arizona, and even considering all the cited cases above, “Felony-murder still cannot be charged if all the elements of the felony are included in the elements of the murder”. This is the merger doctrine in Arizona. 

 

  • The gun theft fails, timing of the intent to steal the gun – not proven – therefore no burglary, therefore no felony murder.

 

  • The assault fails – no clear and convincing of proof of an intent to assault, therefore no burglary, therefore no felony murder.

 

  • Remaining unlawfully in the home. No clear proof of intent to assault – therefore no proof of revocation of consent to be in the home, therefore no burglary, therefore no felony murder.

 

The charge should have been dropped.

We invite any legal expert, especially those who practice criminal law in Arizona to explain to us why the felony murder charge in the Jodi Arias case makes any sense at all.

Monica Lindstrom Legal Commentator After the prosecution rested in the Arias Trial guilt phase: “I think the Court has every reason now to kick that felony murder count or alternate theory out, because there’s nothing that I’ve seen, and I don’t think anybody else has seen anything that will go to that.”
Monica Lindstrom Legal Commentator After the prosecution rested in the Arias Trial guilt phase:
“I think the Court has every reason now to kick that felony murder count or alternate theory out, because there’s nothing that I’ve seen, and I don’t think anybody else has seen anything that will go to that.”

What is YOUR opinion?

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The Felony Murder charge is the Holy Grail in the Jodi Arias case

Why the Felony Murder charge is the Holy Grail

of the Jodi Arias case

Fact based reporting

by Rob Roman & Amanda Chen

 

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Much has been made of the 1st degree Felony murder charge in the Jodi Arias case. The popular consensus is:

 

1) This is a totally legitimate charge under Arizona law.

2) The prosecution can charge whatever they want. It’s still up to the jury whether or not to convict on each charge.

3) Arias’ defense attorneys are a “joke” and “do not know what the hell they’re talking about”.

4) “F*ck Off, f*cktard!!”

5) Nobody cares / It doesn’t matter, because the jury did not find Jodi Arias guilty of 1st degree Felony Murder.

6) The jury instructions said that jurors can make a finding of both 1st degree AND felony murder, and that’s what some of them did. So what?

7) Jodi Arias butchered Travis Alexander. She was unanimously found guilty of first degree Premeditated Murder by a jury of her peers, so f*ck off!

8) It was Felony Murder, because it was a felony AND it was a murder. – It’s not rocket science – Duh!

“Ladies and Gentlemen: There’s nothing.

It’s silly. It’s fearful. That charge is there out of fear.

It makes no sense …. not under any scenario does that make any sense.

Either she was there to kill him … or she wasn’t.”

– Defense Attorney Kirk Nurmi

 

What does he mean by “Either she was there to kill him … or she wasn’t”?

What does he mean by “That charge is there out of fear”?

 

Law_Society_of_England_and_Wales.svg

Now is a good time to review the different charges for a murder:

 

1st degree Premeditated Murder: A deliberate plan to kill or a “period of cool deliberation”.

It’s deliberate and there is an intent to kill in the person’s mind. It’s also called a “cold-blooded murder”. It’s considered worse than 2nd degree Murder because a person calmly made a decision to murder, reflected on it, and then carried it out.

1st degree Felony Murder: A deliberate plan to carry out a dangerous felony (other than 1st degree murder) and in the course of that felony, a death occurs.

The primary or “predicate felony” is the main intent of the person. The person usually has no premeditation to commit murder. As a result of and in the course of carrying out that dangerous felony, somebody dies.

2nd degree Murder: There is no deliberate plan to kill nor a “period of cool deliberation” or it cannot be proven in court, but the person intentionally caused the death of another person.

There is no provable deliberation, but an intent to kill is formed in the person’s mind. It is a murder born of unplanned circumstances. Often, this would be called a “hot-blooded murder”.

If a jury finds that this 2nd degree murder was committed in the intense emotional turmoil called a “heat of passion”, Arizona law requires that the charge be reduced to Manslaughter.

Manslaughter: There is no deliberate plan and no intent to kill, but the person negligently or recklessly caused the death of another person.

Justifiable Homicide: A murder is justified because a person was defending their life or the life of another person.

martinez-01

We have a situation in a Capital murder case, where the prosecution is pushing hard for a 1st degree murder conviction, this will mean lifetime imprisonment or the Death Penalty.

The defense is pushing just as hard to get, at the least, a 2nd degree murder conviction, where the Death penalty cannot be applied and the defendant has some chance of parole and one day getting out of prison. Of course, a heat of passion manslaughter verdict or an acquittal would be even better for the defense and Arias.

The Defense in the Jodi Arias case had a primary goal or mission to get anything BUT a 1st degree murder conviction for the same reasons.

Can the additional but bogus charge of 1st degree felony murder assist the prosecution to achieve their goal of a 1st degree murder conviction?

 

Now, let’s review the actual instructions that the jury was given and that Judge Stephens read word for word to the jury.

 

“THE CHARGED OFFENSE – PREMEDITATED MURDER

Count 1 charges the defendant with First Degree Murder. Arizona law

recognizes two types of First Degree Murder – Premeditated Murder and

Felony Murder. The state has charged the defendant with both types.

The crime of First Degree Premeditated Murder requires the state to prove the following:

  1. The defendant caused the death of another person; and
  2. The defendant intended or knew that she would cause the death of another person; and
  3. The defendant acted with premeditation.

“Premeditation” means that the defendant intended to kill another human being or knew she would kill another human being; and that after forming that intent or knowledge, reflected on the decision before killing. It is this reflection, regardless of the length of time in which it occurs, that distinguishes First Degree Murder from Second Degree Murder.

While reflection is required for First Degree Murder, the time needed for reflection is not necessarily prolonged, and the space of time between the intent or knowledge to kill and the act of killing may be very short. An act is not done with premeditation if it is the instant effect of a sudden quarrel or heat of passion.

The crime of First Degree Premeditated Murder includes the lesseroffense of Second Degree Murder. You may consider a lesser offense if either:

  1. You find the defendant not guilty of First Degree Premeditated Murder; or
  2. After full and careful consideration of the facts, you cannot agree on whether to find the defendant guilty or not guilty of First Degree Premeditated Murder.

You cannot find the defendant guilty of any offense unless you find that the State has proved each element of that offense beyond a reasonable doubt.

 

SECOND DEGREE MURDER

The crime of Second Degree Murder requires proof of one of the

following:

  1. The defendant intentionally caused the death of another person; or
  2. The defendant caused the death of another person by conduct which the defendant knew would cause death or serious physical injury; or

Under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to human life, the defendant recklessly engaged in conduct that created a grave risk of death and thereby caused the death of another person. The risk must be such that disregarding it was a gross deviation from what a reasonable person in the defendant’s situation would have done.

The difference between first degree murder and second degree murder is that second degree murder does not require premeditation by thedefendant.

 

CHARGED OFFENSE – FELONY MURDER

As stated earlier, Count 1 also charges defendant with First Degree Felony Murder. The crime of First Degree Felony Murder requires the state to prove the following two things:

  1. The defendant committed or attempted to commit Burglary in the

Second Degree; and

  1. In the course of and in furtherance of committing Burglary in the Second Degree, or immediate flight from it, the defendant caused the death of any person.

An “attempt” requires the state to prove that the defendant intentionally did something which, under the circumstances she believed them to be, was a step in a course of conduct planned to culminate in the commission of the offense. The crime of Burglary in the Second Degree requires proof that the defendant:

  1. Entered or remained unlawfully in or on a residential structure; and
  2. Did so with the intent to commit any theft or felony therein.

Residential structure means any structure, movable or immovable, permanent or temporary, that is adapted for both human residence and lodging whether occupied or not.

“Intentionally” or “with the intent to” means, with respect to a result or to conduct described by a statute defining an offense, that a person’s objective is to cause that result or to engage in that conduct.

There are no lesser included offenses for First Degree Felony Murder.

http://archive.azcentral.com/ic/pdf/arias-jury-instructions.pdf

 

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Okay, I hope you lived through that. If so, you may have noticed a few things. First, it seems as if juries were very confused about how if they decide it’s a second degree murder, then they must decide if it was a “sudden heat of passion” killing. If the jury decides it is, then the 2nd degree murder is reduced to manslaughter. The instructions repeat so many times on this that it seems that there was trouble with the comprehension of this instructions.

The 1st degree pre-meditated murder charge includes the lesser offenses of 2nd degree murder, sudden heat of passion murder, and manslaughter. The Felony murder charge has no lesser included offenses.

The jury is informed that all can vote for premeditated M1, or all can vote for felony M1, or all can vote for both, or there can be any kind of mixture, as long as they are all unanimous that it’s a first degree murder.

In order to make a finding of Felony murder in this case, the jurors need to find that the defendant committed or intended to commit 2nd degree burglary. In Arizona, this only means that a defendant entered or remained unlawfully in a residence with the intent to commit any other theft or felony.

 

holy-grail

 

Can two people both be guilty of felony murder with one victim? Yes they can.

Example: Joe Blow and Lou Blew go to rob a horse track. Lou Blew blows away a cashier. Both Joe Blow and Lou Blew are guilty of felony murder.

Can one person be guilty of felony murder with two victims? Yes they can.

Example: Snidely Whiplash is in his Humvee being chased by the police. The police car smashes into a motorcycle, killing Hairy Ryder. Snidely runs over Midge, a little old lady with a walker who was trying to cross the street. Snidely Whiplash is guilty of two counts of felony murder.

Can one person be guilty of both felony murder and premeditated murder with two victims? Yes they can.

Example: Robin Redrum plans on killing Bumptious Q. Bangwhistle in his home a month in advance. She goes to his home and shoots him dead. Bumptious’ brother, Sumptious Z. Bangwhistle, is visiting that day. He hears the gunfire and comes out of the bathroom and Robin shoots him dead. Robin Redrum is guilty of one count of 1st degree Premeditated Murder and one count of 1st degree Felony Murder.

Now, can one person be guilty of BOTH felony murder and premeditated murder with a single victim? Only rarely, and it would take some doing and some verbal gymnastics to explain how this could be so without a separate felony.

 

Premeditated murder is a planned murder, or at the very least, the person had a moment of cool reflection.

 

Felony murder is an unplanned murder. The person plans another felony, and in the course of and in furtherance of this felony, a death occurs. (The victim could have a heart attack, your accomplice could murder the victim, the police could shoot the victim by mistake when trying to shoot you, or you could be surprised by an unexpected victim and kill them, or you could just suddenly decide to kill somebody. All these are examples of felony murder).

 

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How does one person commit BOTH a planned and an unplanned killing with a single victim? Not very easily, BUT Arizona law does allow jurors to find both pre-meditated murder 1 and felony murder 1 concurrently under certain circumstances.

Doesn’t that seem like a blessing for prosecutors?

 

A) Let’s say Horatio Hornblower plans to tie up and rob little Billy Pilgrim. He ties him up and steals his computer and big screen TV. He drives away, then he thinks again and drives back to Billy Pilgrim’s house and kills him with a George Foreman 3 minute hamburger grill. Now, is this felony murder or premeditated murder or both?

B) Let’s say Horatio Hornblower again plans to tie up and rob little Billy Pilgrim. He ties him up and steals his computer and big screen TV. Billy tells Horatio that he’s a useless cowardly thieving dirt bag. Horatio Hornblower then brains Billy with a George Foreman 3 minute hamburger grill. Is this example felony murder, pre-meditated murder, or both?

C) Let’s say Robin Redrum has NO intention to kill Sweet Polly Purebred in her home by suffocating her with a plastic bag. Robin is a welcome guest. A fight breaks out. She puts a plastic bag over Polly’s head, but she’s not dying. She’s injured, but not dead. So Robin stabs her with Polly’s knitting needle 99 times until she dies. She takes the bag and the knitting needle with her. Is this premeditated murder or felony murder or both?

D) Now, let’s reverse that and say that Robin Redrum plans for months to stab Sweet Polly Purebred to death in her own home with Robin’s knitting needle. She stabs her 99 times, but she doesn’t know if she’s dead or not. She puts a plastic bag over her head just to be sure and takes her own knitting needle. Is this felony murder or premeditated murder or both?

 

The last example is the equivalent of the prosecution’s theory in the Jodi Arias case (gunshot last, pre-meditation, Jodi brought the gun). The one before that is the alternate theory of murder in the Jodi Arias case (gunshot first, no pre-meditation, Jodi used and stole Travis’gun).

 

Now, can you apply the jury instructions to these 4 cases? What do you come up with?

 

A) Under the laws of California and many other states, this would be premeditated murder. It starts out as a felony, but Horatio leaves, then deliberates and after cool reflection, decides to go back and kill Billy Pilgrim. For me, this would be 1stdegree premeditated murder plus separate kidnapping and burglary charges.

In Arizona, however, this fulfills all the requirements for a finding of BOTH Pre-meditated M1 AND Felony M1.

B) I would call this felony murder. Horatio intended to commit a felony. While engaged in the felony, he becomes enraged at Billy Pilgrim and, without a plan or cool reflection, murders him. I would charge felony murder and add on the kidnapping and burglary charges.

C) This would seem to me to be premeditated murder or it could be 2nd degree murder, depending on the details. Robin Redrum didn’t plan the murder. There was no intended felony. A fight broke out and Robn went wild. If there was a cooling off period proven, then it’s 1st degree premeditated murder. If there was no time for reflection, then it’s 2nd degree murder. If the jury finds it’s a sudden heat of passion killing. (Robin and Polly had an intimate relationship of some kind), then the charge could be reduced to manslaughter.

D) This would also seem to me to be premeditated murder. Robin Redrum planned the murder and carried it out. There doesn’t seem to be any intended felony or further felony other than the murder itself.

 

Did you come to the same conclusions as I did?

In the Jodi Arias case, there were 7 out of 12 jurors who found that it was BOTH a felony murder and a premeditated murder. How did that happen? There were also 8 jurors out of 12 jurors who voted for death. Since I do not know, I think it’s a very good educated guess that the 7 who voted for both felony and premeditated murder AND 7 of the 8 jurors who voted for death are the same people.

I would love to hear their explanation as to how this is BOTH. I would love to hear anyone’s explanation as to how this can be both a planned AND an unplanned murder.

UPDATE:

In Arizona, there IS an explanation:

If the prosecution proves that a death occurred “In the course of, and in furtherance of, another intended felony”,  a juror can make a finding of Felony Murder 1, even if that same juror also made a finding of Pre-meditated M1.

images (3)

monty_python__the_holy_grail_by_eleth89Kirk Nurmi argued that since there is no predicate felony, there is no Felony Murder. So, it is either 1st degree premeditated murder, which the prosecution argued almost exclusively, or it is a LESSER CHARGE, such as 2nd degree murder or heat of passion manslaughter. Here’s what he said about this in the guilt phase part of the trial in 2013:

 

“Remember when we heard the charge of Felony Murder yesterday and the state making an argument that was….incomprehensible? This idea that well…if you believe Jodi’s version of events she’s guilty of felony murder because she went to Travis’ home, and she decided to steal his gun, and in the course of trying to steal his gun, she shot him. She went there, they had sex, they did all these things, then she decided she wanted his gun, and decided to take it, and wanted it so bad that she was willing to kill him.

That’s the theory of felony murder they have put forward. That shows a little fear, and we’ll talk about some of the fear that the state has demonstrated throughout this case, but that’s just some of it – alright? We also heard this idea that….well, she was unwelcome once she put the weapon upon him and she was there to commit a burglary or another felony ….. there’s no other felony.

Ladies and Gentlemen: There’s nothing. It’s silly. It’s fearful. That charge is there out of fear. It makes no sense …. not under any scenario does that make any sense. Either she was there to kill him, because the state said “Hey this is a plot that began in May”. Either she was there to kill him … or she wasn’t, and that’s ultimately what we’re here to determine.”

– Defense lead attorney Lawrence “Kirk” Nurmi in the guilt phase closing argument.

Start at 9:15

 

So, in his closing statements, what does Kirk Nurmi mean by “Either she was there to kill him … or she wasn’t”?

What he means is that this is either a deliberate pre-planned, cooly reflected upon murder, or it should be a lesser charge.

The reason why he’s saying this is because he doesn’t see an underlying felony in the felony murder charge. Martinez’ answer during Nurmi’s motion to dismiss the felony murder charge is that the underlying felony can be any lesser offense of Premeditated Murder. This is after he states once again the reasons why this is clearly a premeditated murder. Then Martinez offers up “assault” as the underlying felony in the felony murder charge.

We are well on our way up the hill to the Holy Grail, I promise. But first, let’s take a small detour and look at the genesis of the felony murder charge. It never changed from the time of the indictment, although premeditated and felony murder are clearly stated as ALTERNATIVES.

Here’s the relevant wording from the original indictment on July 9th 2008 (Jodi Arias’ birthday):

 

“The Grand Jurors of Maricopa County, Arizona, accuse Jodi Ann Arias on this 9th day of July, 2008, charging that in Maricopa County, Arizona:

Count 1:

JODI ANN ARIAS, on the 4th day of June, 2008, intending or knowing that her conduct would cause death, with premeditation caused the death of TRAVIS V. ALEXANDER, in violation of A.R.S. $$ 13-1101, 13-1105, 13-702, 13-703, 13-703.01 and 13-801.

The State of Arizona further alleges that the offense charged in this count is a dangerous felony because the offense involved the discharge, use, or threatening exhibition of a .25 caliber handgun and/or knife, a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument and/or the intentional or knowing infliction of serious injury upon TRAVIS V. ALEXANDER, in violation of A.R.S. $$ 13-604 (P).

OR IN THE ALTERNATIVE

JODI ANN ARIAS, on or about the 4th day of June, 2008, acting either alone or with one or more other persons, committed or attempted to commit Burglary, Second Degree, and in the course of and in furtherance of such offense, or immediate flight from such offense, JODI ANN ARIAS or another person caused the death of TRAVIS V. ALEXANDER, in violation of $$ 13-1105, 13-1101, 13-702, 13-703, 13-703.01 and 13-801.

The State of Arizona further alleges that the offense charged in this count is a dangerous

felony because it involved the discharge, use, or threatening exhibition of a .25 caliber handgun and/or knife, a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument and/or the intentional or knowing infliction of serious physical injury upon TRAVIS VICTOR ALEXANDER in violation of A.R.S. $ 13-604(P).

http://jodiariasisinnocent.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/Jodi-Arias-Court-Docs-1.pdf

 

Did you see that? Premeditated Murder OR, IN THE ALTERNATIVE, felony murder. Not both, how could it be both? You either planned a murder or you didn’t, right? In Arizona, for whatever reasoning, a juror can find both if the pre-meditated murder happened “In the course of, and in furtherance of, another intended felony”.

In Arizona, you get to

have your cake and eat it too

I’m going to throw out a word to you now – Boilerplate. It’s a legal term meaning a standard way of wording things such that there are few problems understanding it. The exact same, time-tested phrasing is used every time. July 9th was just a month after the body was found.

JODI ANN ARIAS, on or about the 4th day of June, 2008, acting either alone or with one or more other persons, committed or attempted to commit Burglary, Second Degree”. This standard boiler plate language should be narrowed down to exactly what the evidence shows by the time of the trial.

 

ravenAt that point, Jodi could have been hiding and protecting an accomplice who actually did the killing while she just watched. She would still be guilty of 1st degree felony murder, because she was a willing accomplice. Someone could have assisted her, even if Jodi did the killing. Maybe it would turn out that either Jodi didn’t premeditate the murder OR there was not enough evidence of premeditation.

winchester .25 auto

So that boilerplate wording on the indictment including the felony murder charge are there as a catch-all or a just in case. They’re basically a one size fits all. Three or Four years later, you would think the prosecution would know if it was felony murder or a premeditated murder. Everyone knows what they are going to try to prove and what their theory of the case will be.

 

– But they left the defense guessing.

Kirk Nurmi made two major points in his closing about the Felony Murder Charge. It makes no sense, and it’s only there because of “fear”.

“Either she was there to kill him, or she wasn’t”.

 

In Arizona, there are 16 statutory (witten in the law) predicate felonies for felony murder. These are:

1) Sexual Conduct with a minor

2) Sexual Assault

3) Molestation of a child

4) Terrorism

5) Marijuana offenses

6) Dangerous drug offenses

7) Narcotics offenses

8) The use of minors in drug offenses

9) Drive by shooting

10) Kidnapping

11) Burglary

12) Arson

13) Robbery

14) Escape

15) Child abuse

16) Unlawful flight from a pursuing law enforcement vehicle”

 

Jodi’s predicate felony is burglary? You’ve got to be kidding me. Incredibly, Juan Martinez sold that B.S. To the jury, or to many of them, anyways. I don’t think you can stretch, mutilate, and warp a law any more than Martinez did here. Then he sold it to them, because he is the fireside story teller. There were five astute jurors, though, who weren’t buying it at all.

The State has put forth that the felony predicate is burglary. In Arizona statutes, burglary is akin to trespassing with the intent to commit any felony. Jodi Arias at some point became an uninvited guest in Travis Alexander’s home. When, exactly did Jodi Arias become an unwelcome guest in Travis’ home? According to the twisted logic of the State, Jodi Arias became an unwelcome guest as soon as she began her premeditated murder of Travis Alexander.

According to the state, when Jodi Arias began killing Travis Alexander, at that point in time, she is no longer welcome in Travis’ home and is now guilty of 2nd degree burglary.

 

Monty_Python_Holy_Grail

 

“The crime of Burglary in the Second Degree requires proof that

the defendant:

  1. Entered or remained unlawfully in or on a residential

structure; and

  1. Did so with the intent to commit any theft or felony therein.”

– Arizona 2nd degree burglary statute.

Here there is a situation where, as soon as Jodi Arias starts killing Travis Alexander, she is now guilty of second degree burglary, because Travis obviously would not want her in his home at that time = remaining unlawfully in a residential structure. That same act of starting to kill Alexander also serves as the further felony Arias intended to commit. So the killing of Alexander serves as the reason why she is guilty of 2nd degree burglary, plus it is the further felony Arias intended to commit, plus it is the killing that was committed in the course of the burglary.

 

resized_philosoraptor-meme-generator-circular-logic-is-the-best-logic-because-it-is-circular-fa4a24

 

Do you see why this is insane circular logic? As a matter of fact, that’s what Kirk Nurmi argued when he asked the court to drop the Felony Murder charge after it became clear that the State was arguing just about exclusively for 1st degree premeditated murder. He said this is circular logic. The murder and the predicate felony and the further intended felony cannot be all the same thing.

Not only is it circular logic, but also, there’s a law against it:

 

circular_logic_by_mestafais-d5vm1d1

 

Felony-murder cannot be charged if all the elements of the felony are included in the elements of murder. This is known as the merger doctrine, which holds that if the underlying felony merges with the killing, the felony cannot constitute felony-murder. For example, all of the elements of the crime of Assault and Battery with a deadly weapon are included in murder. If a killing, therefore, occurred during the course of this crime, the accused would be charged with murder.”

Yet this is exactly what Martinez is putting forth. He wrongly divides a stabbing murder into a series of assaults with a knife, and calls the intended further felony “assault”.

 

Update: It has come to my attention that, In Arizona, Martinez and Judge Stephens correctly cited the law when stating that the intended felony defining the burglary can be assault even if the victim was murdered.

http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Felony-Murder+Rule

Again, the predicate felony = remaining unlawfully in the home (via killing Alexander) with the intent of committing any further felony (killing Alexander) and the murder part of the felony murder is (killing Alexander).

For this charge of Felony Murder, aren’t all of the elements of the felony predicate “merging” with the murder?

 

You cannot do that. Yet, Martinez and the state of Arizona did do it. Sound familiar?

It seems that in the Bizarro world of Arizona, a murder can be divided up into a series of assaults.

 

Raven1

Now, let’s entertain the theory that it was Travis’ gun that was used in the killing. Besides the fact that this significantly weakens the State’s case for pre-meditation, this scenario doesn’t work so hot either. That’s because the State would have to prove that Arias’ stated intention was to remain in Alexander’s residence with the intent to steal that gun, and in the course of committing this felony, she was willing to kill Alexander.

He would have to prove that Arias intended to steal the gun prior to, rather than after, the murder.

Following this theory, the death occurred while she was in the process of stealing Travis’ gun, which was her primary intention. This is absurd. Since she got rid of the gun, one can then be confident that her main purpose was not to be in the home unlawfully in order to steal his gun.

 

 

Travis Alexander as Eddie Snell from Alabama
Travis Alexander as Eddie Snell from Alabama

There’s a much better argument for that:

What if, she broke into the home, was in there without Alexander’s consent or knowledge, and then he caught her with the gun in her hand? She shoots him and kills him because he identified her in his home when she was supposed to be 1,000 miles away in Yreka. This is a much clearer case of felony murder. But, as we know, Travis let her in the home, Jodi knew what he was watching on his computer (You tube: “Harder Better Faster Stronger”).

We know they took pictures of each other, and we know they had sex a number of times. One could have confidence that she was welcome in the home (at least, at first).

Neither theft of the gun, nor “assault”, nor the killing of Alexander can fulfill the “intent to commit any felony” part of the Felony Murder Statute, according to Nurmi. The intended felony must be separate from the killing.

scoob1Update: It has been brought to my attention that Arizona does not recognize the merger rule in all instances, meaning if a person is murdered, you can break down that murder into a series of assaults and you can use assault as the felony defining the felony predicate of burglary.

 

 

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The prosecution, after being asked over and over again by the defense about their intentions with the felony murder charge, in 2010, finally stated what they would be using “any of the lesser included offenses” (murder 2, manslaughter). Later, they added “aggravated assault” and “theft” as the intended offense beyond 2nd degree burglary (remaining in the home unlawfully). Doesn’t this show that they have no clear theory?

Nurmi brought up a motion to dismiss the felony murder charge on the ninth day of trial, in open court minus the jury, on video. There he states that there is no underlying felony for the felony murder charge (video below). Nurmi said “The essence of the argument, your honor, is that there was nothing facilitated, at all. There was no distinct offense for this burglary….and the assertions of felony murder based on that should not stand.” Here he is saying that there was no intent to commit a theft or any felony other than the killing itself.

HolyGrail051

Juan Martinez states that the further felony is assault, now her status has changed to an unwelcome guest, the assault, and the stabbings that happened after that become the felony. Nurmi responded that it is either a premeditated murder or it’s not, and the felony murder burglary charge is just an “empty vessel” in order to seek a first degree murder conviction. (The motion was denied by Judge Sherry Stephens).

 

 

The defense motion to dismiss the felony murder charge.

Start at 47:15

 

Do you remember this? Jodi must have forgotten her glasses or something and is wearing a different pair. Nurmi and Martinez fight it out over the felony murder charge

 

At SpotLightOnLaw, we have talked about the felony murder charge a lot. Now, we hope you will soon understand why. Who gives a hoot about the felony murder charge when it’s old news? It’s over and done with, the jury was unanimous for pre-meditated murder anyways, and Nurmi is a blooming idiot!

 

Tim-monty-python-and-the-holy-grail-591629_800_441

 

No, there’s something to this. Either this is Martinez’ trick, or it’s just bad common law. Not the first time we’ve seen a poorly worded statute interpretated poorly in Arizona.

Nurmi seems to feel internally that this is incorrect. He’s not wrong, but his argument is not persuasive enough. He didn’t invoke the merger rule and he couldn’t find any case law specific enough to this issue. He’s a really good attorney, but he’s lacking as a trial lawyer.

 

images

 

I will reiterate this now in a visual format, so I hope you can see that this felony murder charge is ridiculous. It’s ludicrous. It makes no logical, practical or legal sense, does it?

Juan's interpretation of the law is on the left and Kirk's interpretation is on the right. Who is correct?i                                                                Click to Enlarge
Juan’s interpretation of the law is on the left and Kirk’s interpretation is on the right. Which is correct?
Click to Enlarge

 

Stay with me, now. I hope you will see that this is at the root of what’s wrong with the Jodi Arias case. The Holy Grail is in sight!

What do you believe is the theft or felony that Jodi intended to commit or committed? No, Juan Martinez and Judge Stephens, it cannot be the murder itself.

But, wait. According to Arizona law, and only Arizona law, Juan Martinez and Judge Stephens are correct in saying that assault CAN be used as the the felony defining the burglary. 

 

Martinez in closing arguments of the guilt phase discussing the felony murder charge

Starts at 23:30 then he picks it up again at 37:30

Now, if you don’t believe me, look at what a very good attorney in Arizona has to say:

 

Vladimir Gagic, Criminal Law Attorney

Phoenix Arizona

“That, for the moment, leaves the felony murder charge, which is count two in the indictment. At common law, felony murder meant that someone could be charged for murder even if they never intended to kill a person, so long as the a death was the foreseeable result while the defendant was committing a dangerous felony.

The classic example of a felony murder is when a kidnap victim dies from a heart attack while stuffed in the trunk of a kidnapper’s car. Thus, even though the kidnapper never intended to kill his victim, he is still guilty of felony murder because the death of his victim was a foreseeable consequence of the underlying predicate felony, kidnapping.”

“Another example is when during a bank robbery the police shoot and kill a bank robber’s accomplice. Even though the bank robbers certainly never intended the police to kill one of them, that result was foreseeable, and thus felony murder. Other common law predicate felonies included rape and burglary. Assault is not a predicate felony in Arizona for the felony murder rule.”

The important point with the felony murder rule is that the predicate felony is different from intent to murder, depraved indifference murder, manslaughter, or any other homicide charge because the goal of the felony murder rule is to deter the predicate felony itself, while non-felony murder homicide and murder laws deal with homicide charges directly.”

 

Monty-Python-and-The-Holy-Grail-monty-python-16580771-845-468

 

As most of you are aware, the government has charged Ms. Arias with felony murder, with the predicate felony being burglary. The important point here is that while even though common law burglary required breaking and entering with the intent to commit a theft therein, in Arizona, which follows the model penal code, defines burglary more broadly as (see “Arizona Revised Statute ARS 13-1506 and 13-1507):

Entering or remaining unlawfully in or on a nonresidential structure or in a fenced commercial or residential yard with the intent to commit any theft or any felony therein; and A person commits burglary in the second degree by entering or remaining unlawfully in or on a residential structure with the intent to commit any theft or any felony therein.”

“The prosecutor does not allege Ms. Arias entered into Travis Alexander’s home with the intent to kill him or commit any felony, for that matter, at the moment of entry. How could he when all the evidence shows Mr. Alexander invited Ms. Arias into his house? The evidence is clear she spent at least 8 hours in his house, and during that time together they had sex multiple times.”

 

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“Instead, the prosecutor’s argument is that felony murder applies because at some point Mr. Alexander revoked permission from Ms. Arias to be in his house, and at that point, she was “remaining unlawfully in… a residential structure”. This is where things get quite silly for the government’s felony murder allegation:

if in fact at some point Jodi Arias was still in Mr. Alexander’s house without his permission (we can call that point T1), what felony was Ms. Arias’ intending to commit at T1? If she was intending to kill him at T1, then that would be the exact same thing as count one, murder in the first degree intent to kill, premeditated murder.”

“The defense filed a motion to dismiss the felony murder charge, stating quite correctly the allegation makes no sense. In response, Judge Stephens ruled Ms. Arias’ intent at T1 could have been assault, not intent to kill Mr. Alexander. I believe that ruling is in error because of something called the merger rule.

 

arias22n-1a-web

 

To count any death that occurred during the course of an assault as felony murder would obliterate the distinction between assault and murder. And even more importantly, there would be no distinction between second degree depraved indifference murder and first degree intent to kill murder.”

“P.S. What I mean by merger rule is that the predicate underlying dangerous felony, the dangerous felony of felony murder, must be different from the actual murder charge itself; that is why assault is not a predicate in felony murder. If it was a predicate, then every murder would automatically be felony murder because every murder involves an assault. In other words, proving the murder would automatically prove the assault as the evidence is circular. And thus, there would be no degrees of murder charges (first degree, second degree) as there are now.”

http://www.azcriminallawsexcrimes.com/violent-crimes/why-the-felony-murder-allegation-against-jodi-arias-is-nonsense/

 

There’s more to it. Let’s move on to the other pieces of the puzzle.

This explanation makes good sense and it’s the law in most states. Here is another instance, like the F(6) cruelty aggravator, where the statute is poorly written, coupled with illogical jury instructions or case law, that leaves Nurmi and Gagic and I, feeling like something is not quite right. That’s my overall feeling about the Jodi Arias case, too.

 

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What did Kirk Nurmi mean by “That charge is there out of fear”?

Now, we are getting to what Kirk Nurmi said about the prosecution’s ”fear”. What’s the distinction between 1st degree Felony Murder and 2nd degree Murder? Both involve no pre-planning, and in both, the person must have an intent.

The difference is that in Felony Murder, as normally observed, there must be an intent to commit another dangerous felony (where a death is foreseeable). There must be a primary or “predicate felony” OTHER THAN THE KILLING, with no pre-planned intention to kill. In the course of committing this dangerous felony, a death occurs.

Martinez argued premeditation throughout this case. He even argues a short moment of cool reflection in the bathroom was also possible, in case the jurors don’t accept the long premeditation theory. The – Travis was “killed three ways” argument is also meant to show deliberation and premeditation. He argued throughout the case that Travis didn’t own a gun, and that Jodi brought the gun with her from Yreka.

Now, Martinez is telling the jury that according to Arias’ version of events, Travis did own a gun and he’s arguing that she did steal it and that makes theft the felony defining the burglary. He’s arguing that Travis Alexander was murdered, and in the process of the murder he was assaulted, making assault the felony defining the burglary.

Martinez is telling the jury that yes, you can find that this was both a felony murder and a pre-meditated murder if the premeditated murder happened in furtherance of the burglary. He’s telling them that as soon as Arias first assaulted Alexander, that at that point, she was now unwelcome and unlawfully in the home. He’s telling them that this fits the Arizona burglary statute.   

Who’s right and who’s wrong?

 

Holy_Grail_tapestry_The_Failure_of_Sir_Launcelot

Why is he doing this? What is going on here?

Imagine there are 4 rooms, like motel rooms. Imagine there is a door to each of these rooms. The first room is 1st degree pre-meditated murder, the second room is 2nd degree murder, the 3rd is manslaughter and the 4th is justifiable homicide. Which door will the jury walk through?

 

holy_grail_png_by_erdmute-d1nodd1

If some jurors are unsure about premeditation or if some feel it’s a heat of passion homicide, they could have a compromise verdict and choose to walk through the door of 2nd degree murder. But what if the state is allowed to add the door of 1st degree felony murder? In this motel scenario, that extra door would lead into the same room as the 1st degree pre-meditated door, (or they could be connected rooms). In any case, it’s another choice for the jury.

It’s another choice which gives the prosecution another opportunity for the jurors to go into the room they want. That’s only fair, Martinez would say, because the defense has 3 doors and 3 rooms and we only have one. Now, it’s more fair because they have 3 doors and we now have 2 doors.

That’s what’s really going on here. He wants it to be as ambiguous as possible.

 

images (1)

 

Whether Jodi Arias is  completely innocent or whether she is a cruel and evil, cold-blooded murderer shouldn’t even matter. Does what Jodi did give officials the right to do what they’re doing here, or what they have done and continue to do in the State of Arizona?

Maybe the statute and/or the interpretations of the statute is just plain wrong.

In the beginning of this case, Juan Martinez had much less information about the gas cans than he did by the end of the trial. The major evidences of pre-meditation at the beginning of the trial were the license plates being tampered with, the car being rented 90 miles from Yreka, the borrowed gas cans, the hair coloring, the phone being off, and the recovered bullet being the same caliber as the gun stolen in Yreka.

All these occurrences could have nefarious explanations, but all these could have innocent explanations. If I were the prosecutor on this case, I would have been a little worried. Maybe that explains, both the change by the prosecution in the order of injuries from gun first to gun last (with the help of Dr. Horn), AND the retention of the felony murder charge. Is it just a coincidence that both of these absurd assertions help to dramatically increase the odds for the prosecution?

The biggest untold embarrassment of this trial is that there was division in this jury. They could not agree on the essentials of this case, and they disagreed 8 to 4 over the death penalty. Seven jurors voted for BOTH felony murder and premeditated murder.

Just because the boiler plate jury instructions state that you can vote for both felony murder AND premeditated murder doesn’t mean that voting for both in any way applies to this particular case.

 

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These 7 people were following Juan Martinez’ interpretations while the remaining 5 were at least considering some of the defenses’ arguments.

 

All this is the Holy Grail of the Jodi Arias case.

 

Remember the list of 16 predicate felonies?

If you or someone with you causes the death of a person in the course of one of these dangerous felonies, the killing is elevated to 1st degree murder. You could say that 1st degree Felony Murder is when a person commits a 2nd degree murder in the course of one of these dangerous felonies.

 

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Notice that 1st degree premeditated murder is not on that list. Premeditated murder cannot be the predicate felony for felony murder. Assault with a deadly weapon also is not on this list. Assault can be the further intended felony that’s required in 2nd degree burglary, but it cannot be the predicate felony for felony murder.

So, 2nd degree murder and 1st degree felony murder have A LOT in common. Also, 2nd degree murder and 1st degree premeditated murder have A LOT in common, particularly when the period of cool deliberation or reflection is very short.

 

This caused a legal expert to say:

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“The point is that in jurisdictions where no time is too short to support a finding of actual thought and reflection, sufficient to establish premeditation, the dividing line between first and second degree murder is extremely murky, to put it mildly”.

http://books.google.com/books?id=f9vrpYcRBAAC&pg=PA137&lpg=PA137&dq=example+of+premeditated+murder+brief+period+of+reflection#v=onepage&q=example%20of%20premeditated%20murder%20brief%20period%20of%20reflection&f=false

 

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They could fear that they would lose the case. Remember, Juan Martinez, as shown in his prior and current cases, will cheat even when he has a slam dunk case. (State vs. Morris, State vs. Dixon, State vs. Gallardo, State vs. Lynch). But we know that Juan will cheat even more when he fears he may lose the case (State vs. Falater, State vs. Grant, State vs. Carr, Robert Towery commutation hearing, State vs. Chrisman).

 

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For Juan Martinez, not getting a 1st degree murder conviction would be a LOSS in the Jodi Arias case. The Death Penalty would be off the table and Jodi Arias would get out of prison one day. That’s unacceptable to the prosecution. This case has been widely viewed throughout the United States and the world. People are getting a good look at Arizona Justice, and this trial was on live TV. Also, the 2nd penalty phase will be available on video and transcripts after the sentencing.

 

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This case is a very big deal in Arizona. There are plenty of biblical law types, who demand the most severe punishment possible when a woman kills a man. The Mormons are a very powerful political base of themselves, and they support the ultra conservative right which reigns supreme in Arizona. Woman’s Death Row just lost one woman (due to a wrongful conviction), so there are now only two women on Death row in Arizona. Isn’t it awful expensive to run a maximum security Death Row for only two women?

 

Monty Python

Remember that Juan does not like to lose a case, and anything less than 1st degree murder would be a loss. Remember also that Juan did not really have a handle on the gas can situation until late in the trial. As things stood in 2011, this is too risky for a guy like Juan. He wants every advantage possible. He got that advantage by changing the order of injuries and not dropping the felony murder charge, for starters.

Now, I hope you can understand this just a little better and we hope you will start to see why we consider the retention of the felony murder charge, along with the one-two switcheroo of the order of injuries to be the Holy Grail of wrongdoing by the prosecution.

What is YOUR opinion?

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