Monkey See, Monkey Do, Monkey step in a big steaming pile of wet Monkey-Poo.
Past and Present Female Murderers
Fact-based reporting by
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”.
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?
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?
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.
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”?
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.
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:
The defendant caused the death of another person; and
The defendant intended or knew that she would cause the death ofanother person; and
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:
You find the defendant not guilty of First Degree Premeditated Murder; or
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
The defendant intentionally caused the death of another person; or
The defendant caused the death of another person by conductwhich the defendant knew would cause death or serious physical injury; or
Under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to humanlife, the defendant recklessly engaged in conduct that created a grave riskof 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:
The defendant committed or attempted to commit Burglary in the
Second Degree; and
In the course of and in furtherance of committing Burglary in theSecond Degree, or immediate flight from it, the defendant caused the deathof 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:
Entered or remained unlawfully in or on a residentialstructure; and
Did so with the intent to commit any theft or felony therein.
Residential structure means any structure, movable orimmovable, permanent or temporary, that is adapted for both humanresidence 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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
Kirk 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:
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).
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
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 4thday 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.
At 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.
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
5) Marijuana offenses
6) Dangerous drug offenses
7) Narcotics offenses
8) The use of minors in drug offenses
9) Drive by shooting
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.
“The crime of Burglary in the Second Degree requires proof that
Entered or remained unlawfully in or on a residential
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 2nddegree 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.
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:
“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.
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.
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.
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.
Update: 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.
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.
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!
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.
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?
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
“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.”
“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.”
“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.
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 murderbecause 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.”
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.
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?
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?
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 2nddegree 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’sreally going on here. He wants it to be as ambiguous as possible.
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.
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 1stdegree Felony Murder is when a person commits a 2nddegree murderin the course of one of thesedangerous felonies.
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 2nddegree burglary, but it cannot be the predicate felony for felony murder.
So, 2nddegree murder and 1stdegree felony murder have A LOT in common. Also, 2nddegree murder and 1stdegree 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:
“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”.
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).
For Juan Martinez, not getting a 1stdegree 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.
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?
Remember that Juan does not like to lose a case, and anything less than 1stdegree 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.
“Somebody lied to you about important facts in this case.” – Juan Martinez
“If you believe what the defendant is telling you, then all the arguments begin to make sense.” – Juan Martinez
According to Juan Martinez:
If it is written down, it’s the truth. If it’s not, it’s a lie. A white lie is just as bad as a regular lie. Not telling the full and complete truth at all times is a lie. Omitting details is lying. Anything that anyone says happened that is not in their diary is a lie. If you are attacked or beaten by your partner and you don’t document it, tell someone or call 911, it never happened and you are a liar.
You are a liar if, after you do something unspeakable, you do not tell every person you meet what you can remember about what you have done.
Somebody did lie about important facts in this case, and we’re not talking about Jodi Arias. We have broken these lies down into five categories. The headings in bold type are assertions made by Juan Martinez in his closing argument . These are the categories of lies:
White Lie Typically a white lie is a harmless lie that is often done to be polite. Here, it’s a lie that plays into Martinez’ themes and theories, but it’s immaterial to the murder charge. These white lies are far from harmless. Exaggeration Something from the facts or testimony is taken out of context and magnified. It’s a fish story where a mountain is made out of a molehill.
Misrepresentation This includes presenting mere speculation as fact, and changing the meanings of facts. It’s a deliberate effort to skew a fact to align it with other facts in the case.
Mirror It’s a manipulation of the jury. Juan Martinez is projecting his own feelings, motives and ideas, or those of others, onto the defendant. (see more about the this in the previous article, Lies and Juanipulation: The Mirror Crack’d) Whopper It’s an obvious untruth in light of the facts. It’s deceitful and a breach of integrity Let’s examine more of the territory covered in the prosecutor’s all-important closing arguments:
The Manifesto and Salt Lake City
“She has signed a Manifesto just in case she becomes famous” – Juan Martinez
This is another thing Martinez dug up in Alyce LaViolette’s notes. The prosecution had no witnesses attesting to any “Manifesto” and it was never entered into evidence, even though Martinez wants the jury to believe that Arias made copies and autographed the copies in jail in Yreka. Even if she did, it’s just the same “intruder story” again, and Arias has already claimed she invented the story as a stalling tactic.
Reporters have requested proof of the Manifesto from the prosecutor’s office, and they’re still waiting.
“This woman who claims she never went to Salt Lake City” – Juan Martinez
Martinez tells the jury Jodi testified that she was never in Salt Lake City, Utah. She was in West Jordan, on the far outskirts of Salt Lake City. This honest answer is a lie and a manipulation, according to Martinez, because a gas receipt near West Jordan states “Salt Lake City”. This is simply a trick of semantics.
“Staging The Scene”
Arias believes “she will not be convicted, after she has staged the scene for you”. – Juan Martinez
It’s The Mirror. The most important question here is why does Martinez feel he needs to add all the ornamentation you see throughout the trial? This is yet another behavior that El Espejo, the mirror, attributes to Jodi Arias. Juan tells the jury that “in the light of truth you can see who she really is.” “This is an individual who is manipulative.” “This is an individual who will stop at nothing and will continue to be manipulative and will lie at every turn and at every occasion that she has.”
This from the man who peppered the trial with lengthy inquiries and discussions about Bobby Juarez, high school era windows and doors, happenings from Arias’ life when she was 5 and 8 years old, the backspace button, the criminal, the stupid sister, the gopher, the dog, the chameleon, the wildebeest, that thing, Snow White, the Shack, the Christmas tree, the Ring and The Fog.
Yet in his closing argument, when referring to Arias’ answers to mostly irrelevant questions, Juan says “There’s nothing, absolutely nothing important about that as it applies to the killing other than to try to manipulate you, to try to shock you…”
Who is really “staging the scene” here and who is really the manipulator? Who uses lies to kill instead of a gun or a knife? Who is “not a very nice person”?
Arias Has Memory Problems
This is one of Juan Martinez’ favorite tactics and he uses this often at trial. Everyone who testifies will have some discrepancies in their testimony. Martinez seizes on this to discredit witnesses. He will claim that there is a memory problem and that it must be because the person is lying. Martinez says that Arias has trouble remembering things, but yet he says “she has an incredible memory for her fantasy world”.
The events were over 4 1/2 years before. Arias used photographs, her bank records, and her journal to try to remember dates and times. The evidence showed that Jodi has a very good memory.
Juan likes to say “with the the truth, you ain’t go to remember nothing” – This is false for an event that happened 4 ½ years ago. Any honest person trying to accurately recall an event will remember things incorrectly and will correct themselves as related facts are brought to light.
Jodi does not have memory problems.
Arias Is a Manipulator Because in 5th Grade She “played the victim”
Can this seriously be presented as evidence? There’s not one detail or example about how Jodi “played the victim”, other than the statement itself. This is another Martinez Special, and he serves these up frequently throughout the trial. What is going on in this death penalty case with this kind of “evidence”?
What did you do in 1st through 5th grade? Anything different now? This is a self-defense case. Of course, Arias is claiming the victim attacked her and she was forced to protect her life.
Jodi is not playing the victim.
Jodi Arias Is a Criminal
Martinez said during the trial that Jodi does in fact have a prior record because: She’s a liar and a murderer. She probably has committed crimes and engaged in criminal type crime behavior in the past. She has engaged in criminal behavior during the trial. She would not hesitate commit plenty of crimes if she could, but she’s in jail, so she can’t.
Prior to this trial, Jodi had no prior convictions for any offense, and had nothing more than a few traffic tickets. Of course, Martinez tries to fit her into the category of hardened criminal or insane psychotic, both proven to not be true.
She was convicted of 1st degree murder in an unfair trial, but Jodi Arias is not a criminal.
Jodi Was Not Abused by Travis
Jodi was abused by Travis throughout the relationship as demonstrated by testimony, facts and evidence. Travis called Jodi a “skank” and a “pathological liar” behind her back within two months of meeting her. One and a half years later, he is still fanning the flames in phone sex conversations, conducting various business deals with her (including having her clean his house), and jumping into bed with Jodi Arias.
He had to have known she has a mental illness, it’s obvious to anyone who has some experience with the mentally ill and watched the trial. He confided in no one about her, and he took the relationship underground early on. He hid her away and berated her to his friends and acquaintances. He is the one who made it a sex only relationship. He used her for sex and he threatened her. Then, he blamed her for the whole thing.
All these things are excused by his community, the media, and his LDS Church because of his terrible demise.
Travis Alexander callously tampered with Arias just like someone would recklessly play with explosives. The result should have been readily foreseeable.
Jodi was abused by Travis, without question.
Nothing Is Jodi’s Fault
Juan claims in his closing argument that Jodi refuses to take responsibility for any problem. She blames others for everything and she projects her problems and bad qualities onto other people. Juan is saying this after he himself invited a completely non-threatening and amiable woman in her sixties to “spar” with him in open court.
Jodi accepted responsibility for killing Travis Alexander. She has stated numerous times that her dealings with Alexander were the results of her own bad choices and bad decisions and they are entirely her responsibility. Jodi Arias has shown remorse and regret for her acts on numerous occasions, both in and out of the courtroom. She has shown sympathy for the victim’s family, regret for her false stories, and has shown concern that the victim’s family “can somehow find peace”.
Jodi Arias has stated that she will accept her punishment, whether it’s execution or a life sentence, and “deal with it”. She said “I will be sorry for the rest of my life, probably longer.”
According to Juan, everything is Jodi’s fault. He even says it’s Jodi’s fault that Darryl Brewer did not want to commit to her or start a family with her after almost four years of being with her. How does that make any sense?
Yet when Deanna Reid testified to the exact same thing about Travis Alexander, it was perfectly reasonable.
Jodi accepted responsibility for her actions and for Travis’ death.
Arias Targeted a Good Mormon Boy
“She decides those boys from the Mormon faith are people with lots of family values and they’re successful hard workers and can give her what she needs.” – Juan Martinez
Jodi Arias did not target a Mormon boy. She met someone who happened to be Mormon who often gives a book of Mormon to non-LDS friends and girlfriends.
Travis Alexander actively sought converts as part of his position in the church. The evidence strongly suggests that Jodi Arias, far from being dependent on a man, went to Las Vegas to the PPL convention not to meet a Mormon boy, but to start a new, independent career for herself.
She was met by some good Mormon boys doing what they were normally doing at PPL conventions: Trying to set one of their away from home friends up with a potential sex partner by impressing her with an Executive Dinner.
These friends of Travis lied when they tried to suggest they were setting Travis up with a future wife. Jodi wasn’t LDS. They knew she was with him in his hotel rooms in the early months of the relationship. These were hypocrite phony Mormons and they knew exactly what was going on. Non-LDS girls are fair game for trysts for single and married Mormon men alike, because they don’t count.
Travis’ Mormon friends targeted Jodi Arias. They set her up with him. They provided Alexander with cover in their homes where they went to hook up. They warned Travis not to play games with her. They then began to warn Travis about Jodi when she began to take the relationship too seriously. Alexander then took the relationship underground. Why? Because Arias was bad for church and business, but good for some guilty pleasure.
Jodi and Travis met and talked about common interests and they quickly fell for each other. Jodi was looking for a religion where there are strong family values and the men do not cheat on their wives. It appears that in this case, the LDS Church was not the answer to Jodi’s dreams.
Travis knew that Jodi was not ready to be baptized into the church and he was not qualified to baptize anyone due to his behavior. This shows his utter disregard for the teachings of the church. Travis is the only one to blame about that.
Jodi fell in love. She did not target a good Mormon boy, and she did not even target Travis Alexander
Mormon Rules Were Arias’ Responsibility
Did Jodi corrupt Travis by offering him a Strawberry Frappuccino, (a caffeine beverage not allowed by the LDS church)?
“There’s a word in the English lexicon called ‘No’ that you can use when you don’t want a person to do something.” – Juan Martinez
Juan Martinez claimed that Jodi blamed the young missionaries who came to her home in California for not teaching her the specifics about the law of chastity. He claims that Jodi blamed Travis for telling her that avoiding vaginal sex was the really important principle. Juan is suggesting that it was Jodi who manipulated Travis to accept this interpretation.
– “It’s unconscionable to blame Travis Alexander when she had the same knowledge and same position as him.” – Juan Martinez
Jodi Arias was giving literal answers to literal questions. She was asked if the missionaries taught about the details of the vow of chastity and she answered the question. It’s obvious that she didn’t want to say “No” to Travis. They both knew what the Mormon rules are relating to pre-marital chastity and they both broke the rules. Jodi said that there is no commandment that says “Thou shalt not fornicate”. She also said that “If it’s wrong, I don’t want to be right”.
However, Jodi was not an ordained leader of the LDS Church. She was not an active member of the LDS Church for 20 years. Travis introduced the religion to Jodi. Travis baptized Jodi into the church. Is there any evidence at all that he tried to get her to follow the rules? We have never seen any.
One guess is that the younger generation of Mormons probably follow the guidelines of the Law of Travis more often than strictly adhering to the laws of chastity. “Grinding”, heavy petting, and even oral sex are probably rampant, but it’s a big secret.
So it seems Jodi is much more knowledgeable than Juan Martinez about the vow of chastity, at least for many young Mormons. Jodi did not have the same position as Travis. Who would you rather ask important questions about the LDS Church? A novice or an ordained elder who has been involved in the church for twenty years?
Juan Martinez must be snorting some crystal blue meth.
Arias Made Her Own Rules
As far as when Jodi and Travis were not exclusive, Jodi seemed to be more concerned that they were being honest and open with each other, which Travis never was, and not hiding things from each other, like Travis often did.
Jodi told Travis all about her date with Abe Abdelhadi and about Ryan. Travis responded with Jealousy and threats of violence towards Abe.
Travis may have been lying to Jodi, or Jodi may have been lying to herself about Travis. In any case, there seemed to be a big communication problem going on there.
Jodi didn’t make her own rules, She was sticking to the rules she followed long before Travis, rules that many people have. Being intimate together means commitment. Exclusivity is expected in a relationship and if it’s not exclusive, they want to know if and who the other person is seeing.
There’s an important reason for this, it’s called STD’s.For Travis, being intimate meant exactly the opposite. It meant there was no commitment, not now and not in the future. Here is the confusion. As long as Travis kept coming back to Jodi, she thought she still had a chance with him.
Jodi Arias wasn’t following her own rules, Travis Alexander was.
Arias Moved to Mesa to Stalk Travis
This is what’s really important to the “stalker” question. What happened in the summer of 2007 when Travis and Jodi “broke up” and Jodi moved to Mesa? Juan thinks that this is the the fulcrum of an obvious stalking that led to murder, that Jodi is a liar and her witnesses are all liars because they base their conclusions on Jodi’s lies.
Since the defense is just one big lying lie, Juan thinks whatever bull he digs up or says should automatically become the truth by default.
There is no evidence that Travis discouraged the move. In all the communications, there was no evidence presented that Travis didn’t want Jodi in Mesa or that Jodi was unwelcome at Travis’ home. There were late night calls and late night rendezvous sessions. Travis was seeing both Lisa Andrews-Daidone and Jodi Arias at the same time, and neither of them knew about the other for quite some time. That doesn’t sound like stalking. It sounds more like Travis was not being honest with Jodi or Lisa Andrews, ….. or Mimi Hall.
Jodi was confused about what was going on in the relationship. This is what the evidence says. This was the testimony. Jodi was going over the line in trying to find out what was really going on, but there’s no intimidation or threats of violence.
Jodi was fighting for Travis. She was not threatening him or attacking him. It’s not a typical “fatal attraction” situation because Alexander continued to get together with her time and time again.
Here are the ten stalking acts attributed to Jodi Arias form that dubious source, Radar Online:
There’s a rivalry going on, and Travis is not stopping it. He’s actually stoking the fires by continuing to play Jodi and lie to Lisa and he’s refusing to honestly deal with the situation. Lisa Daidone testified, and she offered very little knowledge about what was going on. Dan Freeman also knew almost nothing about it either, other than Jodi was confused about the relationship and that Travis planned on ending it with her in January, 2008, but he didn’t really get around to it until March and April.
Arias was not “stalking” Alexander.
Arias Displayed Stalking Behaviors
Here is the entirety of Jodi’s so-called “stalking behavior”: 1) When they were firstseeing each other, Travis and Sky and Chris Hughes left her alone in their house and the three went to the master bedroom to discuss Jodi. This is rude behavior. Jodi was wondering what was going on (which we all sometimes do) and may have been eavesdropping (which we all sometimes do). She became angry at this, which is understandable.
2) She went into Travis’ e-mail and phone at least once. Many people check up on their partners and spouses. 3) She went over to Travis’ house, found Lisa-Andrews with Travis, and left immediately. 4) Travis had his tires slashed, which was never linked to Jodi. If she did this, this is known to often be a passive-aggressive behavior designed to get a person’s attention. Maybe she was saying “stop avoiding me. Communicate with me.” 5) A letter was sent to Lisa Daidone, supposedly by Jodi, warning her to not sin with Travis.
Two of these so-called stalking incidents are these: Mimi Hall said that Travis “thought Jodi had followed him on a date”. Lisa Daidone said that “a home security alarm alerted that a door was open”. Of course, why would a smart professional like Alyce LaViolette challenge and question this so-called evidence in a capital murder trial?
The legal definition of stalking revolves around an intent to instill fear or injury. There is no intent to instill injury whatsoever. There is no intent to instill fear. Jodi is either trying to find out what Travis is up to, or she wants proof of what he is doing. These are techniques law enforcement uses all the time.
This is the time when some intervention should have been done, yet other than a police report, nothing was done. With all these incidents going on, there is no sign of a big fight between Travis and Jodi until after she leaves Mesa. Travis did almost nothing to allay her concerns.
A person with a mental illness showing obvious signs of distress and confusion over a relationship is not “stalking behavior”.
Travis Claimed That All He Was to Jodi Was a “dildo with a heartbeat”
Here, Travis gives Juan a run for his money as far as reflecting his own deviant thoughts and behaviors onto others. Like Travis’ addict parents, Travis and Juan are both snorting the crystal blue meth.
It was Jodi who wanted a full relationship, it was Jodi who was in love. It was Travis who forced the relationship into a secretive, sex only situation. Travis was conjuring up all kinds of sexual scenarios. Travis’ actions are wholly devoid of any caring, love or romanticism, save one candlelit bath with flower petals and one instance of leaving a pastry on her car. The romanticism was directed towards the good Mormon girls.
Jodi, probably due to childhood issues and mental illness, thought she could rescue the relationship. She was staying loyal to him. She was in love with Travis Alexander and Eddie Snell, the late night guy we hear on the sex tape.
This remark that Travis made does not make any sense and actually applies to himself, based on what the trial revealed. Travis is going to extraordinary lengths to keep the lid on what he had done and what he was doing. What’s the reason? The LDS church is the source of his business, his customers, and his community.
A more accurate version is that Jodi was nothing more to Travis than a living blow-up doll with a heartbeat. It’s an addiction with just as many disastrous consequences.
This is not the entire truth, though. Jodi seemed to be smitten with Travis because the relationship embodied secrecy, chaos and the emotional extremes from her unresolved childhood. Travis seemed to be drawn in by the love/hate relationship he may have had with his mother or both parents from his childhood.
The more he kept getting back with her, the more he unleashed blame, repulsion, and hatred onto Jodi Arias that was better reserved to himself. Tensions were increasing, and Jodi was beginning to lose her already tenuously balanced mental stability.
One can assume because Jodi was ready with her Helio phone to record their sex conversation in May, 2008 that this must have been a regular thing. He was calling Jodi late at night again while continuing with Mimi and who knows who else, in the light of day.
Travis’ friends didn’t call him T-Dawg for nothing. It seems that he continued this dating of multiple women the entire time, using his traveling and long hours to keep the women separate and at bay. It was ideal to have Jodi in Palm Desert, California and he just added her to his list. Jodi started to cramp his style when she moved to Mesa, but Travis seemed to think he could control it and handle her and he just kept on with his game plan.
Jodi Arias probably got closer to the real Travis than anyone had. Jodi Arias to this day is still enchanted by her memory of Travis.
It’s clear that Travis Alexander was much more than just sex to Jodi Arias.
Jodi Was a Peeper and a Stalker (because she refused to let Travis play her)
Much was made by Martinez about the “peeping incident”, even though Jodi went over to Travis’ unannounced, which she did all the time, found the doors locked and went around to the back only to see Travis on the couch with an unknown woman. She peeped for a while and then she left. Most of Jodi’s so-called stalking behavior seems to be intelligence gathering. This is the same thing people do when they hire a detective, or go on a show called “Cheaters”.
She wanted to know the truth, she felt she was being played, and it appears she was right. This peeping incident is interpreted not as Jodi doing what she normally did, heading over to Travis’ for a nighttime rendezvous and being surprised, but something much more sinister. This is because Juan fits it into his stalking theory, and cleverly persuades others to do the same.
This theory makes all the sense in the world, had Jodi been scorned, but she had not been scorned.
The trial shows us that Travis is talking to Jodi late nights regularly over the span of their relationship. He is meeting Jodi first in hotel rooms and on trips away from home, on secret trips to his friends homes in California, and then in secret trysts in his bedroom. But he never gave Jodi any status among his friends and acquaintances, and that’s what her e-mails show.
Additionally, after Jodi left town, Travis was also being very helpful to two married women who were having problems at home, Ashley Reed and Shannon Crabtree. Both ladies had been over his home a number of times. One admits to at least kissing him and the other was planning on living at his house during her separation.
These two appear to be possible replacements for Jodi. This could mean more secrecy, late night sex, and no obligations or emotional involvement. Amazingly, after Juan Martinez forces Arias to reveal the name of one of the married women on national television over Arias’ protests, Juan then claims in his closing arguments that Arias could not name any “other women”.
Arias also knew that Deanna Reid was Travis’ first sexual experience, which was confirmed by Deanna on the stand. Arias was telling the truth here, and it also shows that Travis did confide in her.
Arias seemed to be okay with Alexander dating other women as long as “she knew where she stood”. The two did discuss their other love interests with each other at times, according to communications shown in court. At the very least, it appears Jodi did not know where she stood at times.
Are we to believe that Arias was so powerful as to push and control Travis and constantly invade his life and he was completely powerless to stop her? Are we to believe that Alexander was just too nice a guy to not be honest with her and end the situation?
He never sought help or the counsel of anyone, Mormon or not. Jodi was pushed to fall prey to her own mental illness and to perhaps become unstable due to Travis’ dishonesty and contradictory communications.
These were not “stalking behaviors”.
Regan Housley’s IM’s Prove Jodi is a Stalker
Travis needed to make excuses to his dates and friends for why Jodi is seen late at night at his home, why she was contacting him and why she was often around Travis. When Jodi was in Yreka, California in May, 2008, Travis was communicating with non-Mormon Regan Housley, telling her that he had a stalker and he was extremely afraid, they even joked about the possibility that Jodi could be seeing their IM’s and be privy to their conversations.
Juan Martinez makes this a huge point, stating that this proves that Alexander was in fear of Jodi. But Regan Housley was never called to testify as a witness, and why not? You just have to wonder if there was something damaging she could have revealed about Travis.
Yes, he was extremely afraid, but of what? That he would be exposed? That the lid would be blown off all the things he had done and was still doing?
Arias was 1,000 miles away.
This is another big hole in the prosecution case. We know Travis must have been annoyed and agitated by what had been going on. After all the warnings and all these incidents, he is still engaging in phone sex with her, still complimenting her, and still encouraging her, right up until the end of May. That’s the reality that Alyce LaViolette was pointing out.
This does not add up with the prosecution’s view of stalking, in spite of Juan’s skill in forcing unproven allegations to become reality via clever interrogation tactics on the witness stand.
Regan Housley doesn’t prove a thing.
Jodi Arias “scammed” Travis Alexander
This is yet another charge just thrown out there by the prosecutor and Travis’ text message with nothing to back it up. How did Jodi “scam” Travis? There was nothing brought out at trial that gives any credence to this idea other than the statement itself.
It sounds like Jodi may have been threatening to play the sex tape or go to the Bishop and expose Travis in some way. This is a huge threat to Travis’ standing in the community and his business affairs. He and Deanna went to the Bishop about their one time dalliance and Travis was punished. He did not go to the Bishop about all the sins committed since then. Travis would be a two-time offender in the LDS church which would require an excommunication for a period of time.
Jodi had every right to go to the Bishop and confess about her relationship with Travis. Travis should have gone to the Bishop himself when he made his clean break in April, 2008. Had he done so, there would be nothing to allegedly bribe him with.
Travis, from PPL Team Renew seemed to be engaging in a little of the “law of attraction” himself, just hoping this whole thing would just go away and writing his blog about how great he was going to be in 2008. Trial watchers forget that though we assume that Jodi was going to cause Travis some kind of problem or exposure, it was Travis who actually threatened Jodi, and that’s right in the communications.
Gus Searcy from Jodi’s PPL Team “Freedom” is another witness who testified that Travis was chasing down Jodi, at least on the phone, and that his call to Jodi when she was with Gus in Las Vegas made her very upset, even terrified.
In Las Vegas, it was Gus Searcy who gave Jodi the Helio phone, one of the few at that time with a recording function.
How did Jodi “scam” Travis Alexander? Were there any facts, evidence, or testimony in support of this? Travis said this to Jodi in a text message. Does that make it true? This scam idea sounds really good, it sounds so devious, but it’s meaningless.
A white lie, by definition, is a harmless lie sometimes meant to be polite or courteous. This is far more than a white lie from the mouth of Juan Martinez.
Jodi did not “scam” Travis. This is Travis projecting his own behavior again. Travis, the influential and highly organized motivational speaker, who could did the work of 20 people, according to his friends, scammed Jodi.
There is zero evidence of Travis trying to get some help for Jodi. He lied to everyone for his own selfish interest. He scammed everyone that he tried to recruit into the Church and his entire LDS community. He scammed everyone in the LDS church that he taught about the tenets of the Church in his bible studies and everyone he baptized into the church.
This is not “trashing Travis”, it’s just the truth. Jodi did not “scam” Travis.
Jodi Lied Because She Did Not Masturbate Properly
According to Juan, Jodi owes Travis a sincere apology for not properly masturbating while having phone sex with him and allegedly faking an orgasm. She’s manipulating it. She’s faking it, when she’s “squealing like a cat” according to Martinez. She’s being insincere, because Jodi usually used two hands, and she needed one hand to hold the Helio phone.
She’s lying even during the phone sex. Juan wants the jury to remember this vital fact. This is in the closing statement in a search for the truth, capital murder case, after all.
Jodi Is a Stalker (because she hid a sexual relationship)
To Jodi and her defense team, “it was really, really bad that someone had sex and didn’t want other people to know about it.” –Juan Martinez
They were both enjoying and hiding a sexual relationship. Arias’s defense doesn’t dispute that, and Arias doesn’t dispute that. Who was the controller and who was the controlled? That’s where the dispute is. Because of the nature of the secretive relationship, Jodi is at a distinct disadvantage in knowing what Travis is up to.
Jodi is being loyal to Travis. She can’t go to the suspected other woman or to the other woman’s circle of friends, because that could expose Travis. She can’t seek outside help or seek the counseling of the Bishop or a friend like Dan Freeman, because that could also expose Travis. What little she could do to assert herself and have some idea of what the truth was about her relationship with Travis is confined to actions that seem stalking- like in nature, because of the secrecy.
Travis Bears No Responsibility (because he hid a sexual relationship)
Juan tries to portray Travis as adapting to sexual encounters that Jodi Planned and provided. This is nothing more than convincing and persuading the jury to accept a simple tale that just doesn’t hold up under scrutiny.
It’s a campfire monster story, and it sounds so very convincing coming from a very good story teller. Watch the trial video and you can see Dennis Alexander just eating it up.
This is Juan’s career and his talent. Jodi’s the violent sexual deviant, the instigator and the aggressor, while Travis is the befuddled and hapless victim. Jodi is some kind of insect that blinds and overpowers Travis with her outlandish mating rituals. Jodi is the toxin that poisoned the relationship.
It’s nothing more than some really good Crystal Blue Persuasion.
Travis Was Not That Into Jodi
This is simply not true. Instead, they were attracted to each other and they hit it off. The evidence strongly suggests that they were into each other not just due to physical attraction and common interests, but also because they subconsciously recognized certain psychological deficits in each other.
This was a meeting between two highly charged and ambitious young people. Most likely, Travis also had an untreated mental illness. Travis is often commenting on Arias’ beauty and sexiness throughout the relationship and states that he loves her.
Judging from many communications, including the sex tape and the way Travis carefully hid his relationship from his friends, there must have been more to this for Travis than just sex. He was carefully managing and controlling these relationships.
It was like an addiction. The deviancy, the illicit secrecy seem to strongly appeal to “Eddie Snell form Alabama”, Travis’ hidden alter-ego. This is why there was so little testimony about what was going on in that relationship. No witness came to the stand to shed light on what was going on from Travis’ point of view. Out of all his friends all over, Mormon and non-Mormon, he confided in no one about this.
Who did this troubled man confide in? Jodi Arias says he confided in her. Why should we be so quick to disbelieve her? Travis was very much “into Jodi”. She was fun to talk to and to be with. He even once said she was beautiful, inside and out.
Travis was always denying the relationship and being derisive towards Jodi to his friends. So, of course they would say that he was “not that into her”. Travis needed to marry eventually, and that meant he would have to get rid of Jodi. She wasn’t a true Mormon and she didn’t count, anyways. Maybe this was the real crux of the problem.
There’s no question that this was a volatile and combustible relationship, and the evidence shows that Travis was encouraging it by fanning the flames. He did not want it to end.
Jodi was an outlet for Travis’ deviant alter-ego. He even confesses to this hidden side of him in his blog.
– “Desperately trying to find out if my date has an axe murderer penned up inside of her and knowing she is wondering the same thing about me. That’s usually when I think myself into a panic and start acting weird in consequence to trying so hard to act normal.”
– “I realized the reason I wasn’t married wasn’t because the type of person I was looking for doesn’t exist but that the type of person I wanted wouldn’t be interested in me.”
– “What they usually don’t understand is those same character flaws are in them too. In fact that is usually at least partially what attracted them to each other.”– Travis Alexander, “Being Bette” Blog, May 15, 2008
Not to blame him, but Travis, a high school drop-out and a poor speller from the looks of his e-mails and text messages, required the services of at least two women to help him write his rather simple blog.
This hidden side emerged way before Jodi entered his life and probably extends back to his background as a child of meth-addicted parents. With Jodi, it was okay to act weird and to be himself. This Eddie Snell character looks like a way that Travis Alexander could bring his deviant and crude side out into the open. “Woman, I will beat you dead.” and “Hit a woman every now and then.” were two “jokes” Eddie Snell told at a conference full of salespeople in Las Vegas. He also joked about Vegas being full of “shows and hoes” and he talked about chlamydia being something that happens in Vegas, but doesn’t stay there.
Is this really appropriate for a mixed group of salespeople, many of whom are Mormon? Is this something more than a comedy act? Travis appears to have been addicted and like a conflicted addict, he was very into Jodi at times and pushing her away at other times.
Travis was very into Jodi, but not in a healthy way.
Friends of Travis Said Jodi Was Stalking Him
One friend of Travis stated that Jodi basically pulled him into her world, and he just couldn’t get himself away from it. Knowing Travis’ horrendous childhood and the deep psychological trauma and emotional scars he must have had, this is too simple an analysis. There was something very compelling in this relationship for Travis and it wasn’t just sex. It had to be psychologically magnetic, too.
It must have been a full blown addiction. It attracted him like no other, and it repulsed him like no other. Alexander is projecting his own thoughts and behaviors onto Arias, and his own self-loathing and guilt manifest into a palpable hatred and anger directed at Jodi Arias.Unlike so many of Juan’s claims, this is right in the testimony and it’s right in the evidence.
One popular blogger thought that this was a classic example of the Madonna Whore complex, where a child has both great love and great disgust with his mother, and this manifests in later life with a powerful fascination for women that he can both worship and hate. This seems to fit very well into what the evidence shows. Travis’ friends had no idea what was really going on.
Travis is the Hapless Victim Jodi Targeted, Stalked, and Finally Murdered
This defies the evidence. People vilified Alyce LaViolette, because she was showing how this charge does not comport with the evidence. In just the 10 months since the “break up”, Alyce rattles off a whole list of women that Travis appears to be involved with. Of course, just messaging and communicating doesn’t mean that anything more is happening. But it’s indisputable that Travis is involved with more than Jodi Arias and the good Mormon girls he dates with an eye towards marriage.
Juan wants the jury to believe that it’s all Jodi, that she’s the one coming at him, showing up unannounced, reeling him in with sex, and forcing herself into his life. That Jodi is the scorned woman stalking the hapless Travis is refuted by Travis’ own words:
– “I want you to ride my face like a horse.”
– “When I’m all by my lonesome I have nobody else to think about in my scandalous fantasies.”
– “I’m gonna take you like youvé never been taken before. When it’s done the intensity will make you feel like you’ve been raped, but you will have enjoyed every delightful moment of it.”
– Jodi Arias? ‘She’s a skank!’
– “I love you.”
– “It will be like…legitimate rape”.
– “This photo shoot is gonna be one of the best experiences of your life and mine.”
– “You’re Evil….soulless… a corrupted carcass.”
– “I haven’t stopped thinking about the pics I’m gonna take, The progressiveness of it, from the very clean to the very dirty and everything in between.”
– “It will tell quite a story and be a lot of fun and not a day has gone by that I haven’t dreamt about driving my shaft long and hard into you.”
– “Nothing from my own experience, nothing is even enjoyable compared to you.”
– “You are beautiful inside and out.”
– “You’re a whore and a slut.”
Travis was the up and coming salesman and motivational speaker. He was extremely persuasive and endearing. He had the strength of an entire Mormon community behind him. He had many friends, a vast network of social and business connections, and he was an ordained elder priest holder in the LDS church. Jodi was under his influence and she was influencing him.But by March, 2008, she was on the outside looking in.
In the midst of the break up and chaos in early 2008 as Travis is trying to keep the lid on and trying to end things with Arias, she claims she was physically assaulted by Alexander several times. Arias, who is supposed to be so obsessed with Alexander, suddenly moves 1,000 miles away, home to Yreka, California. Travis had lost control of Arias. He was also going to lose his “sex slave”. Jodi was looking for a new partner and she is undeniably faithful and exclusive to her partner. Travis has shown jealousy before. Jodi Arias may have told him she was going to the Bishop to confess the entire relationship, so she could start clean with a new boyfriend.
Travis Alexander had very compelling motives for both assault and murder.
Travis Alexander was conflicted by his success, and his wholesome-pretense exterior, not unlike the outstanding and very promising medical student, Philip Markoff, the Craigslist Killer. Travis Alexander was conflicted and driven by his hidden inner demons, just like the pillar of the community, John Wayne Gacy, the bisexual control-freak serial killer.
Would Travis have become a killer like Markoff or Gacy? That’s doubtful, but all the same precursors existed in his personality and his psyche, especially a stunning lack of empathy or insight into his own behaviors and their potential causes.
Travis was the hapless victim? Only in Juan’s World with his misrepresentations, his inability to see things from a different perspective, his many lies and his crystal blue persuasion.
Martinez even managed to get seven of the eight death jurors to vote for both of two mutually exclusive theories of 1st degree murder. Translation: They were following Juan’s erroneous facts and his seasoned gifts of persuasion. Some jury members clearly didn’t understand the facts and they weren’t following the law.
The defense team claimed that much of this trial was all about lies, but many of the lies didn’t come form Jodi Arias. The prosecution claims there is no corroboration of Jodi’s testimony. There is plenty to suggest that Jodi’s story is highly plausible if not probable.
It is the prosecution that cannot corroborate many of it’s claims other than sneaking things in on re-cross and re-direct, alluding to what someone might have said, and speaking of evidence and witnesses never presented at trial.
Martinez’ closing arguments were an exaggeration, a misrepresentation, a speculation, a consternation, and a detestation. The point is simply this: He lied.
That’s okay, because for Juan, Jodi Arias is a liar and a murderer. She doesn’t count. She’s not entitled to a fair trial and he is justified in getting the conviction and a death sentence by any means necessary. This makes Juan Martinez a very dangerous person.
Staple an American flag to it, say that it has God’s blessing and say something about “justice”, and we might just get a death sentence out of this complete embarrassment of a trial.
What does this say about America and our deeply entrenched inability to see that all stories have two sides?
There is no “Justice for Travis”. There is either Justice for all or there is no Justice. The insistence on the Death Penalty in this case has prolonged suffering for all involved and has actually obstructed justice.
Jodi Arias lied to live, while Juan Martinez lies to kill. Just ask the family of Robert Towery. Juan Martinez is a bigger, more sophisticated and accomplished liar, manipulator, and persuader than Jodi Arias could ever hope to be.
Let us know what you think. Your opinion matters. Opposing views are welcome!
Heroes, Zeros, and Geniuses in the Jodi Arias Case #2 Lights Out
The Jodi Arias Murder Trial: The Other Side of the Story
Fact – Based Reporting by
Rob Roman and Amanda Chen
Well folks, we now know that Jodi’s motion to dump her lead attorney was denied. The defense motions for a change of venue and individual voir dire (questioning) of the jury were also denied. The motion to obtain the Twitter handles of jurors was denied and the defense motion to sequester the jury was denied.
Just a few days ago (Dec. 5), renewed motions again asking for a change of venue and individualized voir dire were denied again.
Judge Sherry Stephens has now officially become the Queen of Denial. We can call her Cleopatra. It seems the motion to move in slow motion was granted.
Jury selection is imminent, and the trial is scheduled to begin sometime in Mid-February, 2014.
A motion to limit media coverage was granted. It’s lights out for the 2nd penalty phase. We will have to depend on the few reporters who will be inside the courtroom.
So, it’s time for another Heros, Zeroes, and Geniuses segment. We have some from the original penalty and guilt phases as well as some current treasures, in both the normal and ironic senses of the word.
Cameras will still be in the courtroom, however, and we will be able to watch the trial after it’s over. The entire original trial exists on YouTube and other internet sites for everyone to see. It’s your decision whether this was a fair or unfair trial. We say “No way, Jose!”
When hearing reports in the second penalty phase, it’s important to realize just who is doing the reporting and whether what is being reported is factual, or biased speculation. If the person making the report just happens to be hawking their latest book about Jodi Arias at the same time (like Josh Hoffner, the author of “Killer Girlfriend”), be cautious.
This is the guy who claimed he had a “stare down” with Jodi Arias in the courtroom, even though Jodi probably had no idea who he was and was just wondering who this man was who had appeared on her side of the courtroom. This Associated Press Journalist with lots of experience went on CNN’s headline news, but tellingly, had nothing other than that to report as he hawked his equally speculative book about the killing.
Also on Jodi’s side of the gallery almost every day of the trial was Jodi’s jailhouse friend, Donavan Bering. If the chips are down, and the whole world is against you, this is the friend you would want.
Ms. Bering was one of the few guests talking to reporters in support of Jodi Arias. She was a guest on CNN’s Headline News studio a few times, where she reportedly burned the house down!
Sorry, Donavan, just joking. Donavan showed a rare phenomenon in a friend known as loyalty, and she stuck by Jodi’s side through hell and high water.
Now free on parole from an arson conviction, Donavan, was absolutely vilified and lambasted by the media, for being nothing but a good and true friend. The world needs more people like Ms. Bering, who by many accounts is a really nice and caring person.
Not nearly enough attention was given to the truly heartfelt and heroic closing statements delivered by Arias’ 2nd chair attorney, Jennifer Willmott form the original penalty phase.
Just listen to it one more time (below). This was a visceral and heart-felt plea for sparing the life of Jodi Arias. Ms. Willmott may have been responsible for the 4 jurors who would not back down on their votes for life.
When you have a tragedy, especially with Arias’ circumstances of good character, nothing more than a traffic ticket, and a lifelong mental illness, you try to salvage what is left from the tragedy. You don’t throw a person’s life away on the basis of what’s been presented in this case. Execution still hangs over Jodi Arias’ head, and it will be interesting to see which defense attorney does the closing arguments this time.
Troy Hayden (Fox News Phoenix)
and Ryan Owens (ABC correspondent)
This man is the Fox News reporter located in Phoenix, who interviewed Jodi Arias after the guilty verdict (see the video below). What Jodi said in this interview was the reason why she was confined to the jail psychiatric unit for 3 days after the guilty verdict (risk of being a danger to self). His interview was very fair, compared to the interview from Ryan Owens, an ABC correspondent.
Ryan Owens lied to Arias when he agreed not to show Jodi’s prison stripes or leg chains, as a condition of the interview. His reasoning was he didn’t have to abide by this agreement because it was made with Jodi Arias. Ryan Owens aggressively attacked Arias in the interview, demanding of Arias ‘When are you going to finally tell us what really happened in that bathroom?
Jodi spent a lot of time under oath explaining what happened in the bathroom. What really didn’t happen in that bathroom is what the prosecution says happened, because the forensic and crime scene evidence contradicts their theory.
Last week, Troy Haden reported that he had interviewed a former cell-mate of Jodi’s who claims Arias wanted to know why Juan Martinez doesn’t love her and that Arias threatened to have Juan Martinez killed by way of “Mafia Bow tie” or slit throat.
We became immediately suspicious because
A) No details were provided such as when was this said? Where was this said, under what circumstances was this said? How long was she cell-mates with Arias?
B) No details were given about this cell-mate such as what was her crime, what is her current status, etc.
C) No other statements were given from the former prisoner, besides the derisive statements about Arias. What else happened while the two were cellmates? Are there any positive things that happened?
No real reporter could take this report seriously. Yet all the major outlets and all the most popular blogs, and all the social media parroted it like it was gospel.
Few people reported any facts at all about this prisoner, who appeared to be quite obviously mentally ill.
Since there is now a media blackout, the media will be dependent on the reporters who are actually in the courtroom and viewing the trial live. So, it’s no small wonder what Troy Hayden was trying to do. Troy Hayden is another opportunist who wanted to get a scoop so he could set himself up as the go-to guy for the 2nd penalty phase. It’s really that simple.
At least we know Nancy Grace is not liked by people on all sides of this case, regardless of her odes to the fallen heroes in Afghanistan.
Nancy Grace did everything in her power to incite the lynch mob against Jodi Arias, including declaring her guilty of premeditated murder a few days into the trial, because Travis was stabbed in the back. Actually, the stabs in the back may actually be defensive blows made by Arias while under or face to face with Travis Alexander. The description, shape and pattern of these wounds are much less likely to be made in an offensive manner as they would in a defensive manner.
Nancy was much more fair to Brett Seacat (fair trial – guilty – private legal team) and Dr. Martin MacNeil (fair trial – guilty – private legal team). See if you can spot the differences.
The good news is that CNN and Headline news are now under a shake-up due to low ratings. The new boss has promised that CNN and HLN will be unrecognizable in 2014 from what they are now .
We hope this means Nancy grace will lose her show and get the old Heave-Ho. We are tired of watching her be rude to guests who disagree with her, hang up on them, talk over them, or disconnect them in mid-talk as she has done to Beth Karas and others so many times.
Sheriff Joe Arpaio
Jodi Arias reported that a toilet near her cell was running continuously and yet no staff did anything about it for days. These are people who are supposed to notice stuff like that. So, it’s small wonder that other prisoners at the jail have cried and screamed for basic medical attention and nobody ever came around, after which they needed to be hospitalized and some died in their cells.
Joe made our list by reducing visiting hours just in time for the holiday to .5 hours per week (probably to save on overtime). Sheriff Joe also took all meat out of the prisoner’s meals to save money. He boasted that he had gotten Thanksgiving dinner down to a cost of just 60 cents per meal. Way to go, Joe!
Joe is such a good, frugal money saver, especially in election years in Arizona. So allow me to mention this fact from Wikipedia:
There have been two thousand lawsuits and the 43 million dollars in payouts against Sheriff Joe. That’s “50 times as many prison- conditions lawsuits as there were in New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Houston jail systems combined” (Sources: Wikipedia and AZCentral.com).
For a guy who sure can save that money, you sure are losing a damn awful lot of money. Say it ain’t so, Joe!
Okay, look at this hairdo and look at the facial expression. I don’t mean to be judgmental, but this was immediately indicative of mental illness, having worked in this field.
But that didn’t stop Troy Hayden from broadcasting every inflammatory word this woman had to say about Jodi Arias, including that Jodi Arias allegedly posed for Cassandra naked with her buttocks jacked up like she was in that famous photo that Travis took, and asked Cassandra “Does this look forced to you?”
Readers who know the facts later determined that Cassandra Collins was Jodi Arias’cell mate sometime in 2009. If we wanted to research this for consistency and reliability, a good reporter would get the month and date these supposed things happened and see if they match up with testimony given in pre-trial hearings, etc.
Jodi Arias denies this account. She also denies that she threatened to have prosecutor Juan Martinez killed if she received the Death Penalty, by way of a “Mafia Bow tie”.
A “mafia bow tie” is not listed in the urban dictionary at all, and is nothing but an actual bow tie. A Columbian or Mexican Neck tie, is when someone slits a victim’s throat and pulls their tongue through the slit, as a message to rivals.
Although, this was mildly amusing, few people reported the fact that Cassandra Collins was found to be incompetent to stand trial (not mentally capable of understanding the difference between right and wrong). Not only that, she was adjudicated as being “not likely to become competent any time in the near future”.
How do we know this? Jodi’s proxy tweeted the court records out on Twitter.
Did Jodi get naked and up close and personal to get Cassandra the hell out of her cell? I wouldn’t blame her. Most likely, Cassandra made the whole thing up because she wanted to ride on the Jodi train.
Good luck Cassandra in your future pursuits (of fame).
Twitter Twits in the Twitterverse
I always want to check on what facts and relevant information the Prosecution Supporters are working on. Here is what I found:
– Why should it? It’s not credible. It’s being investigated by both the defense and the prosecution, so we will be hearing more about this. If she did this, bring her up on charges! You never will, because it’s ridiculous.
– Michael Kiefer, the only fair reporter out there.
Another reason we wanted to draw attention to some of these tweets is because they are a precise blueprint for how to stalk and bully on the high – tech Interweb.
Free speech is free speech. If you want to scream to the world that you are an ignorant fool, have at it.
I don’t know the age of these people, but what are these people teaching their sons and daughters, sisters and brothers, or their children when they use the social media to attack a person like this?
It makes people feel bigger when they can project their own evilness and sickness onto soneone they feel deserves it, and gain some friends for good measure. I am the coolest because I threw the biggest rock at Jodi Arias! The kicker is that Jodi will never see these Tweets.
Great way to show us your naked cruelty, aggravation, and penchant for vengeance. Really Nice!
Great way to memorialize Travis!
So while these Twitter Twits of the Twitterverse are sharpening their claws on Jodi Arias, who are they stalking and attacking in real life? Who are they teaching to do the same?
These geniuses are pitiful, ignorant and maybe a little bit funny if they weren’t so sad.
Jeffrey Martinson 9 years in prison: Case dismissed
Maricopa, Arizona Prosecutors
PHOENIX, Nov. 20 (UPI) — “Citing “a pattern and practice of misconduct” by prosecutors, an Arizona judge has freed a man charged nine years ago in the death of his son.
Judge Sally Duncan dismissed first-degree murder charges against Jeffrey Martinson in the 2004 death of his 5-year-old son, Josh, and ordered the father be released Sunday, The Arizona Republic in Phoenix reported Tuesday.
Duncan dismissed the charges “with prejudice,” meaning Martinson cannot be tried again on the same charges.
In a 28-page ruling, Duncan detailed what she called the prosecution’s “win-by-any-means strategy.”
Duncan said Deputy Maricopa County Attorney Frankie Grimsman charged Martinson with felony murder, then tried him as if he were charged with premeditated murder.”
Here we go with the felony murder vs. premeditated murder thing, again.
Let’s do a review.
Felony murder is usually when an unintended murder is a by-product of another intended felony.
You go to rob an empty home. Someone is unexpectedly there or shows up unexpectedly and you kill them. That’s felony murder,
You go to rob a bank and the teller has a heart attack and dies. This can be felony murder.
You rob a bank with a friend and the friend shoots and kills a cop. You and your friend have both committed felony murder.
You rob a bank with a friend and the friend gets shot and killed by a cop. You have committed felony murder.
You go to a home to kill someone and after that, you decide to rob him. Tthat’s premeditated murder and a separate charge of burglary.
So, what happened in this case? Martinson was accused of child abuse and the death of his 5 year-old son. It was a death penalty case.
The prosecution theory is that Martinson abused and drugged his child many times, and one time when he was abusing him, the child died.
The case was presented to the Grand Jury, charged, presented to the court, and presented to the defense attorneys as a first degree felony murder. In the course of the defendant committing the felony of child abuse, the child died. The Aggravator making the case death penalty eligible was “ extremely heinous, cruel or depraved”, stating that it was depraved because it was a “senseless murder”.
Shortly before trial, in spite of objections from the defense and warnings from the judge, the prosecution presented the case as a first degree premeditated murder.
This means that they must have discovered at the last minute that they couldn’t get a conviction on their original theory, so they changed it. But the prosecution did not inform anyone about this change, but they tried to hide it.
In addition, the aggravator of senseless depravity is not relevant to premeditation in this case. The prosecution refused to admit this error and violation of the rights of the defendant to know what crime he is being charged with .
This dismissed case was a Death Penalty case. The man was in jail and prison for 9 years. You do not play games when someone’s life is at stake.
If you have read some of the other articles on this site, you will know there is a clear pattern of “get the conviction at all cost no matter what the facts and the evidence are” in Maricopa. Arizona.
….and the mainstream media will never report about that!
At the trial, Jodi Arias said something very true about Dr. Horn and the prosecution. She said “I disagree with the order of injuries”.
The diagram above is how Jodi explained the gunshot. A not incapacitating shot stunned Travis, and he fell to the bathroom floor, before going to the sink. This diagram is not scientific. The shot (red line) would have to come from above Travis’ head and to his right on a roughly 45 degree downward angle.
This theory fits the forensic evidence. Jodi Arias may have gone to his aid, when the deadly struggle resumed. Dr. Horn made the jury and all of us certain that this could not be so. So we should take a look at the very important testimony of Dr. Kevin Horn.
There are many ways a prosecutor can win a case. There is hard work, attention to detail, experience, excellent direct and cross-examination of witnesses, and preparation. There is also a fierce devotion to the job of bringing a dangerous criminal to justice. Finally you will need a good grasp of the evidence, and know how to explain and persuade a jury that your evidence is sound.
Detective Flores was very convinced before the trial that the gunshot was first. He told the 48 hours interviewer three times that this was so. Was this because he trusted what Jodi Arias told him? I don’t think so. Detective Flores said that he is not a medical doctor and he cannot determine the order of injuries. He must rely on the medical examiner to be so confident that the gunshot was first or last.
Why does it matter? If the gunshot was last, this means many things that Jodi Arias said on the stand about June 4th, 2008 must be lies. It means that the attack on Travis Alexander began with a knife. After so many knife wounds and slitting the throat of her victim, Jodi then shot Travis in the head in cold blood, just to be sure he was dead or maybe to create the illusion of two attackers. Here, there is no possibility of self-defense.
Pretend that it was proven that the gunshot was first. What does this mean? Here, there are two possibilities. Jodi shot Travis while he was sitting in the shower. The shot did not incapacitate or kill him and he was still moving about in pain. Jodi could not call the police or get help, because it looks very bad for her. So she gets a knife and “finishes him off”.
The other possibility is that Jodi was telling the truth. She shot him in self-defense and he continued to come at her, so she got hold of a knife and fought back. Then in a highly charged state fueled by adrenaline, she went too far. Her memory was impaired in some way.
If even one juror could believe this possibility, this jury could “hang”. If more jurors see the possibility, Jodi might not be found guilty of 1st degree murder. This is not a good position for the prosecution. Jodi Arias already tried to plead guilty to 2nd degree murder. Every member of the jury must be convinced that the gunshot was last for the prosecution to be certain of winning this case.
Then we are introduced to Doctor Kevin Horn. Dr. Horn proved convincingly that the gunshot was last. During his testimony, the prosecutor asked over and over about this point. Dr. Horn testified three times during the trial, and each time he gave more testimony about the gunshot and the order of injuries.
A medical examiner is a trusted public servant, a scientist, and something of a detective. They are experts in their field and we can be sure what they say is true, right?
If you saw the trial of George Zimmerman, you will remember Dr. Shipping Bao testifying for the prosecution. First he said Trayvon Martin could only live 3 minutes after being shot. Then he said Martin could live 10 minutes. He thought Martin could have been shot from .4 inches away or maybe from 4 feet away.Bao said Trayvon would be immediately incapacitated. Later, he said Martin could have walked 20 feet. He said that many things were “not my job”. He read from notes that no one ever saw before. He admitted to improper procedures before, during and after the autopsy.
Why do I bring up Dr. Bao? It took Dr. Vincent DiMaio, a renowned medical examiner and gunshot expert, to discredit Bao’s testimony. It seems that many times, lower level workers and assistants do a lot of the work, and a supervisor signs off.
Dr. Bao said something very interesting. ‘My opinion is mine, it belongs to me. I can change any time, my right to change.’ But a change in opinion in a capitol murder case can mean the difference between life and death.
There’s always plenty of other evidence and witnesses in a case. Can the testimony of a medical examiner be so critical to a case? Can a small change in the medical examiner’s report or opinion change the outcome of a trial? Let’s look at some recent cases:
“Dallas, Texas — A jury found appellant, Victor Hugo Quinonez-Saa, guilty of murder and assessed punishment at 75-years confinement and a fine of $10,000.
In his first point of error, appellant asserts that the admission into evidence of autopsy photographs was reversible error because the medical examiner who testified had not performed the autopsy or viewed the body of the deceased. The autopsy had been conducted on the deceased by Dr. Auerlio Espinola, an assistant medical examiner.”
“BROCKTON, Mass. — Massachusetts prosecutors have taken the highly unusual step of charging one of their own expert witnesses — Connecticut state medical examiner Dr. Frank Evangelista — with perjury for what they allege are inconsistencies in his testimony in a murder case.”
“ST. PAUL, Minn. — After spending six years in prison, a Minnesota man has been exonerated in his daughter’s death. Avry was just four months old when she died. Mike lost his daughter and then six years of his life, after being convicted of killing her. A judge found the Ramsey County medical examiner gave false or incorrect testimony.”
“Highlands, Texas — On May 5, 1999, Brandy Briggs found her 2-month-old baby Daniel Lemons limp, barely breathing and unconscious at her home. She called 911 and the baby was rushed to the hospital. On May 9, the baby died. Ms. Briggs was prosected for 1st degree murder. The evidence was based on the opinion of Dr. Moore, a medical examiner.
The trial court found that “Dr. Moore’s trial opinions were based on false pretenses of competence, objectivity, and underlying pathological reasoning, and were not given in good faith.” The trial court characterized her testimony as “expert fiction calculated to attain a criminal conviction.””
Here is a passage from the court report on this case:
“The Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment is violated when the State knowingly or unknowingly uses perjured testimony to obtain a conviction. We held on direct appeal that false testimony resulted in a due process violation when there was a fair probability that the death sentence was based upon incorrect testimony.””
Medical examiners make honest mistakes like everyone else. Medical examiners are overworked and they are under pressure to help the prosecution team get a conviction. So, what do a few cases gone wrong really show?
Doctor Horn appeared confident, thorough, and trustworthy. We should not try to implicate Dr. Horn because of mistakes in other states and under different conditions. He is very careful with his reports and testimony, isn’t he? Let’s take a look at two of Dr. Horn’s past legal cases:
“Ms. Randall operated a home day care business. She discovered a four-month-old child unconscious on her floor on April 18, 2007. She called 911. Paramedics transported the child to Phoenix Children’s Hospital. The youngster was taken off of life support the following day, and passed away.”
“Kevin Horn, M.D. (“Horn”) performed an autopsy. A CT scan revealed a “possible skull fracture, secondary to brain swelling.” The Peoria police were notified and Detective Kevin Moran was assigned as the lead investigator. Subsequently, Dr. Horn concluded that the youngster died from “blunt force trauma of the head and neck.”
A grand jury indicted Randall for the child’s death in November 2007.The Prosecutor’s Office announced they would seek the death penalty.”
“Nearly two years later, the State finally withdrew its notice seeking the death penalty. After argument, the charges were dismissed with prejudice on August 4, 2010.
Ms. Randall then filed a complaint. The amended complaint alleged eleven causes of action and the named defendants included Maricopa County, the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office, Thomas, Whitney, Horn, Moran, and the City of Peoria.”
Here, Dr. Horn seems to make a neutral diagnosis of injuries, which then changes to intentional infliction of injuries shortly after meeting with Detective Moran and the D.A.’s office. This death penalty case never made it to trial. In the next case, the self-defense case of Harold Fish, Dr. Horn seems to pass off mere speculation for scientific certainty.
“ISSUE PRESENTED FOR REVIEW:
The speculative testimony of the Medical Examiner, Dr. Horn (in State v. Fish), was relied upon by the State as “forensic science” in arguing their case to the jury. Yet, the testimony of Dr. Horn failed to meet minimum evidentiary standards.”
“Although the Court of Appeals found that Dr. Horn ultimately focused upon “offensive” and “defensive” wounds as equally likely ….. we submit that expert testimony speculating about gunshot wounds as “defensive wounds” when they are no more likely than “offensive wounds” not only falls short of evidentiary standards, but is more prejudicial than probative.”
“The State relied upon the testimony of Dr. Horn as essential evidence to support its conviction. It is obvious that the State would not have prevailed (in State v. Fish) without the testimony of Dr. Horn.”
“An expert opinion must be within a reasonable degree of medical probability which is an important evidentiary standard throughout the United States that must be enforced in order to prevent unreliable medical testimony from swaying juries, which is exactly what happened in Fish’s case.”
“Dr. Horn’s interpretation of the wounds as “consistent with defensive wounds” was nothing more than a speculative judgment about one possibility within an array of many possible inferences.”
“The testimony of Dr. Horn not only swayed the jury, it was used as the decisive “evidence” against Fish. Dr. Horn’s testimony fell below evidentiary standards and was misleading. It violated due process of law.”
In the Arias case, Dr. Horn said that the gunshot pierced the skull and therefore must have impacted the brain. Dr. Horn said the victim was shot in the frontal lobe and therefore would be “immediately incapacitated”. Dr, Horn’s report indicated that the brain was not impacted by the bullet, but he claimed it was a typographical error. All of this is highly questionable.
Dr. Horn stated that he found no blood in the wound tract. Crime scene photos show blood pouring out of Mr. Alexander’s nostrils. Dr. Horn stated that the gases from the gunshot would cause a massive shockwave through the brain. If the brain was impacted, the wound tract through the brain could only be mere fractions of an inch.
Shortly before the trial, Juan Martinez aksed Detective Flores to meet with Dr. Horn. They met to discuss possible death penalty aggravators. Detective Flores changed his opinion and his sworn testimony. Dr. Horn’s opinion and report also changed. Detective Flores stated all this at trial. Dr. Horn was insistent and adamant about his new opinion after holding the opposite opinion for years. Imagine that!
Imagine this: Lisa Randall was a grandmother and Day care operator who faced the death penalty and three years of prosecution based on no evidence other than the faulty medical opinion of Dr. Horn.
Harold Fish was a retired teacher and a Mormon father of 7. Fish was an avid hiker and hunter forced to kill a man who attacked him on a trail. His conviction was reversed and he was released from prison to enjoy three years of freedom before he passed away.
In both cases, there was no evidence at all to support a conviction. There is nothing anywhere in the past of either to suggest they would harm or kill another person. There are only the tragic events of one day and the testimony and opinion of Dr. Kevin Horn.
Lisa Randall: Death Penalty and First Degree Murder Charges Dropped
Harold Fish: Conviction Reversed
The Prosecution was certain that the gunshot was last. It was a post-mortem gunshot and Travis Alexander was already dead. If so, then there is no question that this is “gratuitous violence”, needlessly inflicting a gunshot after the victim had died. If so, this easily proves the heinous and depraved prongs of the cruelty aggravator. Interestingly, heinous and depraved were not charged in this case.
The prosecution took the gunshot last theory, persuaded the jury and most trial watchers, and got the conviction. Yet, the way the case was presented shows that the prosecutor does not even believe his own theory.
Here is something else to imagine: the theory, using a presumption of guilt, that the gunshot was first and that Travis Alexander was shot above the right eyebrow while sitting down in the shower.
This theory fits the forensic evidence. It has a much more profound “cruelty aggravator”, and it is a much more reasonable theory to seek a 1st degree murder conviction. Further, this is the only scenario under which the charges of both 1st degree premeditated AND felony murder make any sense at all.
So you really need to ask yourself: Why, then, did the prosecution try so hard to disprove it?
Death From Above
I call this the “death from above” theory.
It’s not so scientific. Like Jodi, I’m an artist, so maybe I can see images in my mind and understand the dimensions easier than others. Maybe we need to use a dummy to truly see it.
If Travis was sitting in the shower, then taking a presumption of guilt, this is how he was shot. It’s a slightly angled downward shot from in front and above Travis. The prosecution didn’t want the jury to consider this theory because then the jury would also have to consider the defense theory, and the defense theory is the most reasonable of the three, according to the facts.
Post Traumatic Death on the Floor
This is the prosecution’s theory. After Travis Alexander is stabbed and his throat is cut, Jodi drags him still “bleeding out” near the bathroom sink where, for some reason, she shoots him at a slight angle. She doesn’t shoot him last in the shower, because he was found in the shower with his left side facing out.
The average width of a human head is 18cm (7.1 inches). Let’s imagine Travis’ head diameter is 8.0 inches. The gun barrel would have to be somewhere near 8 to 12 inches above the floor.
That makes good logical sense, doesn’t it, Dr. Horn?
? ? ?
These are actual X-Ray and CT scans of the brain. Look at all that room right where Travis was shot. There is easily plenty of room for that gunshot to completely miss the brain. Travis was shot in the face through the skull and the nasal cavity. Travis was not shot through the frontal lobe. It was not “rapidly incapacitating”. Dr. Horn is wrong again.
The “Linebacker” position
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Shining a spotlight on the Prosecutor Juan Martinez
Fact based reporting
By Rob Roman
“Mr. Martinez, you keep trying to make this a rational scenario, and it isn’t rational.” – Expert defense witness
For Juan Martinez, there are no “irrational” scenarios about a murder. Murder is against the laws of God and man. There is a victim here. A human being is dead in an unnatural way. The defendant is the accused. Many hours of police work and investigation have been rendered. The defendant has been brought to trial. Juan Martinez is going to trial to put them in a cage. A conviction will slam the door shut. When the conviction survives appeals, the door will be locked. That is the only rational response to murder.
Juan Martinez doesn’t want to hear about any exceptions to the rule. He doesn’t want to hear “this is not what it seems”. The defense always seems to have an excuse, a rationalization, explanations, and alternate scenarios. The prosecution must prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt. All the defense must show is any doubt, any doubt at all. The prosecution needs a unanimous jury to convict. The defense only needs one juror on their side to jam the wheels of justice. If you get a conviction, an appeal can change a sentence, send the case back to trial, or even free the defendant.
From Juan’s perspective, one can see why he may feel like the system is against the victims of crime. To Juan it’s truly an “adversarial system” and he will fight to win. When the death penalty is involved, the two sides tend to go too far and we might be losing a search for the truth.Winning the conviction becomes more important than the truth. Juan’s black and white way of viewing crime works well most of the time. But sometimes there will be someone in the defendant’s chair who is innocent of the crime charged or over-charged.
Sometimes this person gets stuck in the wheels of justice. Many innocent defendants have been convicted and jailed and some have been executed. So we must always be sure a trial is a search for the truth, even if sometimes the guilty person is set free. The prosecution and the defense both play vital roles in this process. The rights of victims must be carefully balanced with the rights of the accused.
During the final arguments in the guilt phase of the Jodi Arias murder trial, lead Defense attorney, Lawrence Kirk Nurmi, talked about shining a spotlight on the actions of the prosecution, specifically detective and co-counsel Esteban “Steve” Flores and the sole prosecuting attorney, Juan Martinez. The implication was that Mr. Martinez had acted improperly during the trial. I believe Detective Flores to be an honest man who only followed Dr. Horn’s opinion and he tried to help Jodi at the interrogation.
Of the enthusiastic trial watchers in the Jodi Arias case, there is also a spotlight on Juan Martinez. Prosecution supporters (Justice4Travis), see him as a “bulldog” a hero who tenaciously pursues the defendant until he can wrest a guilty verdict.Defendant supporters (Team Jodi) see him as over the top, going too far, and using a combination of emotionally charged persuasion, some direct evidence and some speculation to sway juries to render a guilty verdict.
There are many ways a prosecutor can win a case. There is hard work, attention to detail, experience, excellent direct and cross-examination of witnesses, and preparation. There is also a fierce devotion to the job of bringing a dangerous criminal to justice. Finally you will need a good grasp of the evidence, and know how to explain and persuade a jury that your evidence is sound. Juan Martinez is all of this and more.
He is passionate, dedicated, and I believe he sees the defense as having too many advantages in the system. I believe he employs methods normally used by defense attorneys to persuade the jurors to see things his way. Juan Martinez is well known for using wild speculation and “facts” not supported by the evidence in his closing arguments.
Maybe the truth is not in the extremes but somewhere in the middle. We can shine the spotlight on past and present cases to try to determine what is motivating the prosecutor with the impressive 22-1 record, Juan Martinez.
Here is what his admirers in cyber space say about Juan:
–Respectfully I’d like to thank Mr. Martinez for giving me the realization there’s someone fighting for victims. My father was brutally murdered in 1990, very similar to what happened to Travis Alexander.
It was very brutal I lost my faith in the judicial system after what my family went thru and watching the way these murderers have all the rights yet the victims do not. Mr. Martinez, as I see it, represents a man who I wish there were more of. He is God’s light and I wish him all the best in this world where sometimes I think our society’s become blind to so many things…
And if anything at all, perhaps some could look at this man and appreciate what he does for so many. He is truly an asset to the state. As for Ms. Arias, I hope for the victims’ family…Justice.
–Juan Martinez is the best. So sick of the trash that is going around surrounding this case. Who is on trial here?
–I think he is the best. If I ever need a lawyer he’s it. No BS with him. Why waste time with guilty killers?
Juan is the second youngest of a family of nine. He came to America at age 6 when his family emmigrated from Mexico and settled in California. He vowed to learn English well and be a success. He participated in many activities, such as running long distance track in high school. He finished college and attended ArizonaStateUniversity where he earned his law degree. Juan did some volunteer legal work and some work defending clients. Then, in 1988, he joined the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office.
What is in Juan Martinez’ heart and mind? We can try to have a better understanding of him by knowing his feeling. In this world and surely in Arizona, there is crime and there are criminals. There are vicious and violent senseless crimes and uncaring evil and cruel criminals. Juan is very aware of this. Let’s take a look at the A B C’s of the convicts now on Arizona’s Death Row:
Kidnapped and raped an 8 year-old boy.
Kidnapped, raped and Killed an 8 year-old girl and left her in the desert.
With three accomplices, beat a man half to death with a baseball bat,
threw him in the trunk of his car, cut off his finger,
shot him with a shotgun and threw him off a cliff.
Kidnapped and raped a woman and shot her twice in the head.
Choked his girlfriend’s 2 1/2 year-old son nearly to death
then later drowned him in a swimming pool.
Beat an older man to death with a hammer, then bound his wife and struck her
in the head repeatedly with a hatchet until dead.
He wrapped them up in plastic, hid in their home, then stole everything they had
of value including their car.
Raped a 17 year-old girl, then shot, stabbed and beat to death the girl,
her father and mother and her 5 year-old brother.
With an accomplice, broke into a couple’s home, bound them with telephone cord
and masking tape, then suffocated the husband with a pillow and choked the wife to death.
So, it’s easy to see why Juan grew up believing in law and order, right and wrong, good and bad. He believes that if you intentionally caused a person’s death, you should pay by being removed from society and in many cases, sentenced to death. It’s just so simple. It’s not difficult to see where his sentiments come from.
It was 1997, ten years after Juan Martinez joined the Maricopa County Attorney’s office. Late at night in an upscale neighborhood in MaricopaCounty, Greg Koons heard screams coming from his neighbor’s back yard. He went outside and peered over the fence. He saw his neighbor, casually pushing his wife into his in-ground swimming pool and holding her head under the water. He sprinted inside and called the police.
Soon after, the neighbor, Scott Falater, opened his door to the police. Confused and not understanding what the fuss was all about, the police went into his backyard and found his wife Yarmilla floating dead in the pool. She had been stabbed 44 times. Scott Falater was a High Councilor in the Mormon Church, and a husband and father of two. He was a successful design engineer with Motorola and very active in the church. He was a mild-mannered man, had seldom become angry, and had no motive to kill his wife whom he loved dearly.
Juan Martinez went to court to exact justice. It seemed like an open and shut case. There was an eye witness, a direct identification of the perpetrator, and a viciously stabbed and drowned wife. The man was arrested within minutes of the crime. The courtroom was nearly empty. Next door in a crowded courtroom was a high profile case. Teen members of a Crips gang were on trial for a brutal, three hour sexual assault of a fifteen year-old mentally handicapped girl.
Juan Martinez was shocked to find out that the man’s high paid attorneys were claiming their client, Scott Falater, was innocent by reason of sleepwalking! Like the Jodi Arias case, the focus was not on who did the killing, but why. The defense claimed that Scott Falater had no incentive, motive or reason to kill his wife of 20 years. There had to be another explanation for why this would occur. For Juan, there is no why. She’s dead and he killed her and justice will be done. For Juan, you are either a good or bad person. If you do something like this, you are a bad person and the “why” shouldn’t matter at all. Still he needed to give the jury a viable motive.
This is the template case for the Jodi Arias case. Both involved horrific killings where the defendants admitted to horrific acts but claimed no knowledge of the killings or any intent of murder. Both defenses relied on crucial expert testimony. Juan struggled to find a motive for this senseless killing during the trial. He offered many scenarios to the jury. His wife refused to have more children. His wife was moving his family away from the Mormon Church.
Sure, he was mild mannered, but he took his anger from work home to his wife. Juan argued with the defendant and declared that Falater didn’t even know his wife’s birthday. He told a shocked Falater he had the year wrong. Juan was mistaken due to an incorrect report.
Juan Martinez even argued that Falater killed his wife because he thought she was fat and dumpy. Falater made the statement to police that “a terrible sin has been committed”. Falater was referring to the killing. Juan suggested to the jury that Scott Falater killed his wife because SHE committed a terrible sin.
By the end of the trial, State v. Falater starring Juan Martinez had become the new high profile trial in Arizona. The sleepwalking defense became famous around the country. Juan attacked the defense experts. He claimed that the expert’s conclusions were invalid because the expert was not provided with all the details. The defendant recognized his dog but not his wife, and he cleaned up the scene and the evidence.
In closing the defense attorney reminded the jury that Juan Martinez mischaracterized the evidence and made comments not supported by the evidence. The defense attorney implied that the prosecuter violated his duty to see that truth and justice is done. The defense reminded the jury that Scott Falater was a passive and non-violent man, and that the prosecution could not come up with a valid reason or motive for the killing.
The defense attorney tried to explain to the jury that sometimes there are cases where things are not as they seem. There are exceptions when things happen which are difficult to explain. At one point the defense expert witness addressed the prosecutor:
“Mr. Martinez, you keep trying to make this a rational scenario, and it isn’t rational.” At some point in the closing, Martinez slammed the door on all this talk about sleepwalking.
“Do you think that she deserved to die?” he asked. “Look at her. We’ve placed so much attention on him, everything’s about him. Look at her!”
Juan Martinez then threw a photo up of the victim on the autopsy table. He loudly implored the jury to look at her, to look at the indignity of the victim. The defense attorney talks about reasons, REASONS?
Scott Falater “had 44 reasons to KILL his wife”, Martinez screamed. He was referring to the 44 knife wounds. Only one member of this Arizona jury had a college degree.
He appealed to the nuts and bolts sense of the jury.
He had a sound argument for the jury:
“This guy here killed his wife ….. and he’s guilty of first-degree murder.”
Scott Falater was found guilty of 1st degree muder and sentenced by the judge to life without parole.
Even 15 years before the Jodi Arias case, Juan Martinez was already honing his craft. He was becoming an expert at arguing the details with expert witnesses, discrediting witnesses, questioning the memory of the defendant and defense witnesses, and calling them out as liars.He was becoming better than defense attorneys at weaving speculation into the facts of the case while at the same time, calling defense evidence fictions and “fantasy”.
He ridiculed defense theories, calling them such things as “The man of La Mancha defense”. Fifteen years before the Arias trial, Juan was already in the habit of yelling at witnesses, including a priest, and ridiculing witnesses. Even in the Falater trial, he questioned the children of the victim and the defendant in a voice laced with irony and sarcasm. In Juan’s view, he had delivered justice for Yarmilla. Her children who lost two parents may beg to differ.
Later, Juan had another case of seemingly obvious 1st degree murder. Two divorced Mormons had married. Doug Grant was a very successful in the health products business. He owned a multi-million dollar company. His clients included famous professional athletes and NBA teams.
Doug cheated on his wife with his receptionist. His wife, Faylene, found out and complained to the church. Here we see the dangerous nexus between the LDS Church, social life, and business. It seems that if Doug Grant did not return to his wife, the church would get involved and this would impact his business. It’s important to understand this dynamic of the Mormon Church in the Jodi Arias trial.
Doug told Faylene he ended it with his girlfriend Hilary, and he wanted to remarry Faylene in Las Vegas. They went for an impromptu 2nd Honeymoon at Timpanogos Cave National Monument where his wife suddenly and mysteriously fell into trees down a sixty foot cliff.
She survived and they returned home. Faylene took some pain killers and a bath to heal from her injuries.
She was found dead in the bathtub by Doug Grant in September, 2001. Three weeks after Faylene’s death, Doug Grant married his receptionist, Hilary Dewitt, and they soon became a family aftter Hilary adopted Faylene’s two sons.
Another high priced attorney and in Juan’s mind, more excuses, fancy explanations, technicalities, more sure signs of guilt that the court would not admit into evidence.
Imagine Juan’s shock and disbelief when he could not convince the jury of the 1st degree murder he believed was so obvious. The jury was clearly divided and Juan was forced to give instructions for lesser included offenses. Murder one and the death penalty was off the table for Doug Grant. He got a 5 year sentence for manslaughter.
Faylene had made many statements about committing suicide and had even given Hilary her blessing to take car of her children. The prosecution had tried, unsuccessfully, to hide these facts from the jury.
I can imagine that Juan was devastated, and thought justice had not been done. He had failed to get justice for Faylene. He contemplated his lessons and moved on.
The Grant family still believes Doug is innocent. They list a number of accusations of prosecutorial misconduct in State v. Grant. This includes
-“Losing” key evidence, “throwing away reports”, and failure to turn over key evidence to the defense in a timely manner.
-Convincing the judge to not allow into evidence testimony that the medical examiner was pressured to change his opinion about the cause of death on the victim’s autopsy report from “accident” to “undetermined”.
-Convincing the judge to rule possible exculpatory evidence as inadmissible
-Convincing the judge not to allow into evidence testimony and records showing that investigators were removed from the case when they told their superiors they could not find evidence of foul play.
-Objecting over fifty times during the defense opening statements.
-Preventing defense witness from trying to explain their answers by cutting off their answers and forcing them to answer either yes, or no.
-When these same witnesses were being questioned by the defense, Juan Martinez objected “over 200 times per day”.
-The prosecution case took three and one half months, but the judge ordered the defense to complete their case in two weeks in order to “stay on schedule”.
-Intimidating defense witnesses by accusing them of violating the law without evidence or any record of a law having been broken. The accusation that they broke the law is used to discredit their testimony and truthfulness.
-Accusing defense witnesses of lying but using arguing tactics and word tricks rather than evidence to support it.
-Using the normal and common variations in a witness’ statements and memory to attack their memory of an event, and then to suggest that the memory varies because the witness is lying.
-Also in this trial, jury members who were not a part of the final jury admitted that they had been influenced by the media and they had made up their minds the defendant was guilty before the trial began.
The jury did not believe the prosecution’s theory and did not like Juan’s tactics. Do any of these tactics foster a “search for the truth”? Do you recognize any of these tactics from the Jodi Arias trial? Doug’s family feels that truth and justice were not found in State v. Grant. These two quotes appear on their website:
“Anybody who understands the justice system knows innocent people are convicted every day.”–Florida Supreme Court Justice, Gerald Kogun (Ret.)
“In this country the presumption of innocence is dead, dead, dead.” –John Grisham
Not long after, Juan found himself on the losing side of a case. A man had been found shot dead in the forest. The defendant was David Wayne Carr. The evidence was thin. Juan started fighting back in his own way. With less than two weeks before the trial, Martinez did not give the defense a list of his witnesses and other materials. The defense was angry. They could not properly prepare their defense. They filed a complaint to the judge. This offense was punishable by up to six months in jail. The judge was very upset that his court was delayed.
The County attorney hired a high powered attorney to defend Juan. He fought back against the charge. Juan accused the defense of not giving a list of possible defenses to him until 2 weeks before the trial. Do you recognize this lawyer’s tactic of counter-charging from the Jodi Arias trial? Juan ended up being forced to write a letter of apology to the court. The case was delayed and later, the jury found David Carr not guilty.
This is the only case Martinez lost. Strangely, a mysterious friend of Jodi Arias appeared in the courtroom during her trial. He called himself “Bryan Carr”. He claimed to talk to Jodi daily and that he had confidential information. He claimed Jodi was telling the truth about the two masked people that were responsible for the murder. The claim was that Travis Alexander’s murder was actually an old Mormon atonement ritual called “blood atonement”. A Mormon who had committed grave sins could still go to heaven if he paid for his sins through this death ritual. Arias claimed she did not know Carr and she did not listen to him. Then, “Bryan Carr” disappeared from the courtroom and the media as quickly as he had appeared.
Martinez recovered with the murder trial of Wendi Andriano. Wendi’s Husband was terminally ill. There were changes in his life insurance policy. He was going to win a large lawsuit. The bleach blonde Wendi was neglecting and cheating on her husband and always out drinking. She was never home. There was a question about whether her husband would leave her. Maybe he would cut her out of his will.
On October 8, 2000, Wendi tried to poison her husband. It wasn[t the first time. She called an ambulance when it seemed like he was about to die, then she sent the ambulance away when he partially recovered. Later she hit him 23 times in the head with a barstool. She stabbed him multiple times leaving the knife in his throat.
Juan cross examined Wendi Andriano ferociously. Wendi claimed that the poisoning was a planned assisted suicide, that her husband accepted her cheating, and that he attacked her and she defended herself.
On the stand she said “If I am convicted, it is because of my own bad choices”. Interestingly, Jodi Arias actually mimicked some of the mannerisms of Wendi Andriano and quoted her while on the stand. Wendi’s hair also returned to its natural brown color and she dressed down and wore glasses at her death penalty trial.
But the victim, Joseph Andriano would win the day. The jury didn’t believe her story and they sentenced her to death just a few days before Christmas, 2004.
Empowered from his victory, Juan must have felt invincible. Things were going well for Juan, and his record was impressive. Then he ran into a legal buzz saw named Shawn P. Lynch.
This may have really hardened him about the justice system. Lynch and a friend had killed a man and then went on a spending spree with his credit card. There was plenty of evidence and little doubt about who committed the crime. The confusion came from who did what. The jury convicted Lynch of murder but they could not agree on premeditation.
Next Juan would learn about the aggravation of the aggravators. The jury agreed on murder for a money motive, but they disagreed on heinous cruel or depraved. A second mitigation and penalty phase was ordered.
During the second phases, Juan instructed the jury that there were four aggravating circumstances: Pecuniary gain (money), heinous, cruel, and depraved. In 2006, the jury found all four aggravators and sentenced Lynch to death.
Juan thought he had justice for James Pazarella, but the case was far from over.
Shawn Lynch appealed with a barrage of issues, including prosecutorial misconduct on the part of Juan Martinez. The higher court rejected most of the claims.
Technically, heinous, cruel and depraved are not three aggravators. They are three “prongs” of a single aggravator. The court stated that since the jury was instructed there were four aggravators instead of two, this was found to be prejudicial to the client. So this crime from 2001 and death penalty sentence from 2006, has yet go back to trial a third time for another sentencing phase.
More than 12 years later, there is not a final sentence. There has been no closure for the Panzarellas. I think this experience aggravated Juan and made him feel that the justice needs a little push sometimes since the system and appeals process all seem to be on the defendant’s side.
Juan had better success with State v. Glick. Dean Glick, 41, was a vile and degenerate person by any standards. He lived with his 82 year old mother. He abused her and stole her money. He hired a prostitute and promised her a huge bonus. His mother protested when he tried to use her credit card to pay. The prostitute left with her driver when the argument became heated. They quickly called the police.
Dean Glick then beat his 82 year-old mother to death with a plastic flashlight. When the police arrived, Glick had barricaded the front door. There was plenty of evidence and two eye witnesses who saw the beginning of a horrible fight just minutes before the murder.
Imagine Juan’s attitude towards defense attorneys when Glick’s attorneys told the jury that Dean was caring and responsible. He loved his mom way too much to kill her. They simply had an argument. The argument got out of control and the beating was not so bad. Glick broke his mom’s ribs and sternum not while beating her but while trying to perform CPR on her fragile body! It is not difficult to understand Juan’s disdain for the defense. Dean Glick was convicted of 1st degree murder and sentenced to life in prison.
Martinez had further success with a high profile serial killer case. Cory Morris was accused of killing his girlfriend and four other women and burying them next to his trailer. From 2002 to 2003 he had lured the women into his home with promises of money. Then the victims were subjected to beatings, rape, murder and then necrophilia. Imagine the disdain on his face when the defense counsel addressed the jury.
This is the case where Juan Martinez cut open an evidence bag containing the coat of one of the murdered and buried victims, removed it, and “invited the jury to take a good whiff”. This was supposedly to prove necrophelia, even though:
1) There was really no need to do so, and
2) How does a jacket that smells like death prove necrophelia?
The defense was equally irrational, arguing that although Morris committed 5 murders, he had not premeditated any of them. Therefore, Corey Morris should get five counts of 2nd degree murder and not the death penalty. The jury did not accept the argument.
Morris was sentenced to death in July, 2005.
In 2005, Juan Martinez was the prosecutor in the case of an Arizona State University star running back who shot a teammate to death in a parking lot. Juan was not moved by the idea of the popular Arizona Sun Devils running back making some bad decisions and a terrible mistake.
In 2007, Loren Wade was found guilty of second degree murder and sentenced to 20 years in prison. Juan had another win under his belt. Most likely Juan doesn’t remember Loren Wade’s name, but he certainly remembers Brandon Falkner, who was shot to death for talking to Wade’s girlfriend. Falkner was the less well known football player who’s life was cut so short.
Then there was State v. Miller. William Craig Miller, 34, was a business owner who committed arson, burning down his own home for insurance money. He talked his employee Steven Duffy into helping him. When Duffy and his girlfriend, Tammy Lovell, offered to help the police prosecute him, Miller retaliated.
He killed Duffy, his eighteen year old brother, Lovell, and her two children ages 15 and 10. Imagine the ire in the conscience of Juan Martinez when the defense attorney implored the jury to “keep an open mind” and to remember that “things are not always as they seem”.
The defense attorney told the jury that life in prison is punishment enough and showed smiling baby photos of Miller. They said to remember that there was a human being inside the monster and that Miller suffered from bipolar disorder. Juan pounced on this sickening plea. What about Duffy, Lovell, her brother, and the children? Where is their mercy?
The jury convicted him of five counts of 1st degree murder and sentenced him to death in 2011.
For Juan Martinez, he will grudgingly provide a “why”. If the jury needs a “why”, he will find one to give them. But for Juan, there is no why. You took a life. We know you did it, and now it is time to pay for your sin. Many murders are straightforward. Juan Martinez doesn’t see that there are rare exceptions and sometimes there are possible explanations for something that seems like a horrible and vicious murder.
In 2013, in the Arias trial, Juan finds himself once again accused of prosecutorial misconduct. Withholding from the defense text messages, Instant messages, and e-mails recovered from the cell phone of Travis Alexander in time for trial. Thousands and thousands of messages were recovered and turned over in 2011 shortly before the anticipated beginning of the trial. The trial was delayed many times.
Other incidents of misconduct throughout the trial have been alleged by the defense, including suborning perjury in the testimony of the Medical Examiner, Dr. Kevin Horn. More recently, there are allegations that the prosecution tried to hide evidence found on victim, Travis Aexander’s computer.
Juan Martinez was in his usual element, berating defense witnesses, attempting to insult and humiliate the defendant and expert defense witnesses. Appealing to the emotions rather than the reason and logic of the jury, trying to shape the testimony of defense witnesses, cutting them off before they can explain their answers, and questioning witnesses with cynical and aggressive questioning, even screaming, barking and snapping at witnesses in bulldog fashion.
Nurmi attempted to shine a “spotlight” on the actions of the prosecutor by making accusations of misconduct throughout the trial, an attempt to deceive the jury by making their unlikely order of injuries a scientific certainty which would highly benefit the prosecution’s case.
Finally, adding the nonsensical charge of 1st degree felony murder for fear that the jury would not believe the thin and mostly speculative evidence of premeditation. Whatever it took, Juan vowed to deliver justice for Travis Alexander and his shattered family.
Many trial watchers praised Juan Martinez as a hero. In the media and also in social media, victim’s rights were enshrined and Juan’s devices were duplicated.
Witnesses were threatened and intimidated by mostly anonymous Facebook and Twitter avengers. Only one side of the story was presented. Anyone who said anything in support of the defendant, her attorneys and witnesses was castigated. Speculations were presented in the media and social media as fact. Exculpatory evidence was not allowed into the public domain. Any opinion in any way favorable to the defendant or the defense was ridiculed, blocked, and deleted. Posters were driven away by swarms of avengers and Facebook pages supporting Jodi Arias were deleted due to false complaints of “pornography”.
Currently, Juan has completed the Chrisman trial where a former Phoenix police officer is charged with 2nd degree murder, assault, and cruelty to animals after shooting a man and his dog in his home during a complaint of violence. Juan had an eye witness and some evidence, but there was a problem with missing evidence from outside the home favoring Chrisman.
Juan responded in a clever fashion. He suggested to the jury during closing arguments that Chrisman’s fellow officers may have hidden and destroyed evidence as well as altering the crime scene. No evidence was introduced in support of the accusation.
The judge gave the jury instructions that what is said in closing arguments is not evidence and that lack of evidence should be seen as favorable to Chrisman. Even so, jury members were influenced by the contention that his fellow officers helped Chrisman by removing and destroying evidence.
Chrisman claimed that he shot the victim because he picked up a bicycle and threatened to assault the officer. Juan told the jury that “no gun residue was found on the bicycle”, proving that Chrisman was lying. In fact, no tests were conducted on the bicycle for gun residue. Juan Martinez had used a defense-style tactic to influence the jury.
Chrisman’s defense attorneys have complained that the Grand Jury was not given the evidence it needed to make a sound decision about whether the case should be brought to trial or what proper charges were to be brought.
“Chrisman’s lawyers filed a motion claiming the prosecutors in the case, Juan Martinez and Ted Duffy, omitted certain facts and ignored questions from the grand jury that indicted him”.
“Chrisman’s lawyers say prosecutors never told the grand jury about the victim’s alleged drug use or comments made by Chrisman to the first officer on the scene.”
In the past, these actions were deemed as misconduct by Arizona judges. Now the exact same behaviors are not viewed as misconduct. Here is the response to such behavior in Arizona in a 2006 murder case:
“Mr. Duffy (the prosecutor) did a lot of things during the trial that in my opinion were just outrageous,” said Raynak (the defense attorney).”
“Raynak says Duffy’s misconduct included introducing evidence after he was told not to, and making statements about evidence that simply weren’t true. Judge Arthur Anderson agreed, and after notifying the bar, Duffy was suspended for 30 days and given probation for a year”. In the Chrisman case, Martinez and Duffy had teamed up to deliver Justice for Danny Rodriguez and his mother who had called the police to begin with.
Although it seems that ex-officer Chrisman was very wrong in his actions, pepper spraying, tasing, then shooting Rodriguez to death, the jury should be given the sound evidence and be able to make a fair decision based on the evidence and testimony presented. The jury should not be unduly influenced by tricks and tactics designed to influence the jury outside of the facts of the case.
The prosecutors should not mislead the Grand Jury, try to keep out exculpatory evidence, and make arguments to the jury which mischaracterizes evidence. Expert witnesses can be discredited or have their opinions questioned, but character assassination, taunting and ridicule of qualified experts should not be allowed. The prosecution should turn over witness lists and evidence to the defense on time.
In his upcoming case, State v. Christopher Redondo, Juan has been sparring with the judge. Redondo has already been convicted for the unrelated murder of Ernie Singh on June 24, 2009. For this, Redondo was sentenced to life in prison. Now, Redondo is accused of shooting to death Gilbert Police Lt. Eric Shuhandler in January 2010.
Redondo was reportedly despondent in his cell and refusing to talk to defense counsel. Judge Barton requested that Juan Martinez attempt a plea bargain to life in prison and has ordered a competency hearing. Juan Martinez became incensed and convinced that the judge is trying to stop him from getting Redondo the death penalty. Juan also feels Judge Barton is “sympathetic” to the defendant and should not be allowed to preside in the competency hearing. I would say she believes the Death penaty should be used judiciously.
He wants a stricter judge to find him competent to stand trial and to be eligible for execution. Juan knows Redondo is already serving life in prison for the killing of Singh. If he is found guilty, this means he will get no extra punishment for the killing of Officer Shuhandler in 2010. So, Juan feels that Redondo should stop playing mentally sick and should just face execution. In his motion, “Martinez accused Barton of being hostile toward the death penalty in three other cases”.
This can be directly traced back to State v. Miller. The judge in that case was Judge Barton. Miller was the man who killed 5 people as retaliation for testifying against him in an arson case. Even though there were multiple aggravators such as multiple murders, prior felonies, witness elimination, and the murder of two children. Juan still insisted in motions with the judge that the especially cruel, heinous or depraved aggravator be allowed to be used. The judge replied that there were plenty of other aggravators, and that the five were shot in rapid succession, making it difficult to prove significant mental suffering took place.
“Based upon the evidence presented, the state has not shown that any significant period of time elapsed between the killings and that any victim did not die instantly from the gunshot wounds,” Barton responded. “Rather, it appears that the victims were killed in rapid succession and none of them had significant time to contemplate their fate,” the judge said.
Why does Juan Martinez fight so hard to get an aggravator he doesn’t need to get the death penalty? The answer is precedent.
If this particular crime is seen as supporting the heinous, cruel, or depraved aggravator, then many more cases can claim this aggravator for gunshot murders due to the precedent that can be created in State v. Miller. This allows the prosecutors in Arizona to use the threat of the death penalty more often to force a plea in selected cases. This also widens rather than narrows the number of homicides that can be found eligible for the death penalty.
Judge Barton has presided over other death penalty cases where the sentence was death. Judge Barton has also refused to block death sentences from being carried out. So maybe Juan Martinez is being too tenacious in attacking Judge Barton for being reasonable and judicious in the application of the death penalty.
Update: Bryan Hulsey was found guilty of 1st degree murder of a Police Officer and was sentenced to death in the murder of Glendale Police Officer Anthony Holly on August 28th, 2014. Juan Martinez was the prosecutor. Hulsey threateningly gave the jury a standing ovation, of sorts.
It’s wonderful when you have a tough prosecutor who will fight hard for the rights of victims and victim’s families. It’s a blessing to have a tenacious prosecutor to protect society from serial killers, cop killers, rogue cops, mass murderers, and outlaw felony murderers with drug habits. The problem comes when you have people such as Scott Falater and Jodi Arias.
These are passive people with no criminal history or history of violence who are claiming that something irrational or not easily explainable happened resulting in a murder. These are cases where the jury really needs to decide on the facts and the evidence without the undue influence from emotional arguments, speculation, and deceptive tactics.
The code of ethics for prosecutors states:
(a) The office of prosecutor is charged with responsibility for prosecutions in its jurisdiction.
(b) The prosecutor is an administrator of justice, an advocate, and an officer of the court; the prosecutor must exercise sound discretion in the performance of his or her functions.
(c) The duty of the prosecutor is to seek justice, not merely to convict.
So to try to discredit an expert Psychological witness with 30 years experience because he made a math mistake, or to try to discredit a domestic violence expert with 30 years experience because of the title she chose for a speaking engagement, seems a little over the top. To withhold evidence and witness lists from the defense in order to put them at a disadvantage in a case where their client faces possible execution also seems over the top.
To try to convince the jury with argument based on speculation and emotion also seems to fall outside the bounds of the ethics of a prosecutor who is supposed to seek justice. To express the sentiment that the defendant is a liar and by extension, all defense witnesses are liars also, falls outside these bounds. To accuse defense witnesses of crimes without evidence and to use these accusations to try and prevent a witness from testifying is a violation of law. For Judges to tolerate these tactics is wrong on its face. Excessive screaming, sarcasm, taunting, and contempt violate the decorum of a capital case. So is purposely dropping evidence (the camera).
Do you want to defend a mass murderer? Neither do I. Do you want to defend a child rapist and killer or an outlaw drug induced spree killer? Neither do I. How far over the line would you go to prosecute the bad guy? If you go too far, the scales are tipped, and you start to become part of the problem. But if you are falsely accused of such a thing, you would want a prosecutor with ethics. You would not want a Grand Jury to indict you on false, misleading, or missing information. You would not want charges to be brought against you without probable cause. You would not want to be overcharged in the crime.
You would not want a prosecutor withholding evidence that could set you free, manufacturing, destroying or mischaracterizing evidence, influencing the jury with speculation, or shopping for a hanging judge. Deciding whether a person lives or dies should be based on their guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. People who think Juan Martinez is a hero like to ask “What if Travis Alexander was your son, your brother, or your friend?
But you also need to ask “What if Jodi Arias was your daughter, your friend, or your sister?”
There is no “Justice for Yarmilla”, “Justice for Faylene” or “Justice for Travis”. There is only Justice for all. The balance between victim’s rights and the rights of the accused must be carefully maintained. Otherwise, we are only seeking a conviction. We will have left Justice far behind.
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We warmly welcome any comments from anyone with any opinion.