Oxygen Network Stretched the Truth Until it SnApPeD
By Amanda Chen and Rob Roman
Warning: Extremely graphic crime scene photos!
Last week, the Oxygen Network unveiled it’s 2-part special on the Jodi Arias murder trial. The “Snapped” series, which profiles different murder cases each week, is usually an objective and balanced look at a murder, the investigation, and the resulting trial.
Here, we are reminded of the old adage “History is written by the Victor”. This plays nicely into the Jodi Arias trial because:
- Almost no one was available to represent Jodi Arias’ side of any story.
- The version of events supplied by the friends of Travis Victor Alexander have gone completely unchallenged in the mainstream media.
- Writers who wrote books and columns on the trial got much of their information from the friends of Travis.
- The evidence often is presented in a way which is highly skewed towards the prosecution.
- The defense team, appointed by the state of Arizona, are not allowed to comment on the case.
- The prosecution’s actions and conclusions go largely unchallenged.
- The jury is represented only by members who weren’t afraid to talk, the eight who voted for execution, and their conclusions have largely gone unchallenged
So, it’s little surprise that Oxygen’s Snapped episode about the Arias trial is not giving facts so much as personal opinions regarding Jodi Arias and the relationship between her and Travis Victor Alexander. The 2nd part of the special, dealing with the trial, did a more even-handed job of presenting the defense’s case and strategy, but some of the information given in part 1 can hardly be passed off as factual.
If you question the verdict of 1st degree pre-meditated murder, the first thing you usually get from pro-prosecution supporters is “the Mantra”. Do you know this Mantra? Snapped mentions this right form the get-go “29 stab wounds, a severed throat and a gunshot to the head”. This is given as proof that this was a murder and implies a certain order to the injuries.
Do these injuries in any way prove a murder? Not in unusual cases, and who can say that this is not an unusual case? Like the famous “Sleepwalker” case of Arizona Mormon High Councilor Scott Falater, also prosecuted by Juan Martinez, who with no prior record and no motive stabbed his wife 44 times and then dragged her into a swimming pool, the Jodi Arias case also contains a variety of strange anomalies.
This is precisely why perpetuated rumors disguised as facts given by the winning side are so disconcerting, because they try to force the scenario of “poor woman scorned plots and murders rich boyfriend out of jealousy”. This is just too simple a scenario for people who can see a lot more depth and nuance to this story,
As far as the Mantra, the 29 knife wounds, slit throat and gunshot tells what happened but it fails to tell us why or how it happened. The reporters and book writers interviewed for Snapped also state that Detectives knew right away that it was a crime of passion.
According to a reporter interviewed on Snapped, They knew right away that the gun was last because the bullet casing was found on top of a small, congealed pool of blood.
In reality, Detective Flores said that, at first, they were not sure what they had. About the order of injuries, here is what Detective Flores said about the gun in August, 2008
Detective Flores: “We believe that Travis was shot first.”
Detective Flores: “The theory is that…something occurred and I believe it might be the first gunshot. It wasn’t fatal, enough to disorient…but there was obviously a struggle inside of that bathroom.”
Interviewer: “So you believe she shot him first and that would incapacitate him in some way, and then stabbed him?”
Detective Flores: “Yes.” – Detective Flores, 30 years experience, after examing the crime scene and after consulting with the Medical Examiner (48 hours interview). He also testified to this in 2010.
Now who is this “We” and where did Detective Flores get this idea? Detective Flores has stated that he leaves it to the Medical Examiner to make this interpretation. As far as the order of injuries, here is a Mantra for those who believe in Dr. Horn’s gunshot last opinion: “Bind Torture & Kill”.
Dennis Rader, the “BTK” control freak serial strangler, terrorized Wichita, Kansas for nearly 3 decades. Kevin Bright, 19, was the only survivor of his attacks, but his sister, who “fought like a hellcat” for her life, was not so lucky. He got out of his bindings and fought with Dennis Rader over the gun. Kevin twisted Rader’s arm and pointed the gun at Rader, but the BTK killer blocked the hammer with his thumb.
Jodi Arias was described in Snapped as a person who “bounced around from boyfriend to boyfriend and job to job” across California. Four boyfriends in ten years seems very modest and 10 jobs is not unusual at all. In fact, it was brought out at trial that Jodi was single for 14 months between dating Matt McCartney and Darryl Brewer, and she was with Darryl for four years. Jodi climbed up from mom and pop restaurants to waitressing in exclusive resorts. Jodi often worked multiple jobs at the same time. When Jodi joined PPL (Pre-Paid Legal), she started this as a part-time extra job and her waitressing jobs changed because she was more engaged in getting her PPL sales going and her restaurant jobs were not as important to her at that time, other than to pay the bills. This was made clear at trial.
Travis Victor Alexander was portrayed as the successful, popular guy with the BMW and the 4,000 square foot home who was going to give Jodi Arias everything: The “white picket fence”, the money and the travel. Back in reality, Jodi was lending Travis money at times. Travis was in debt and everything he had was financed by credit. He owed thousands of dollars and his room mate’s rents were paying the mortgage. Jodi already had the “picket fence” until she met a group of unscrupulous phony Mormons. Her home in California was appraised at $357,500 and had an in ground swimming pool. Jodi said she preferred her new Infiniti to Travis’ aging, clunky BMW, which he replaced with a Prius shortly before his death.
Notice how the honorable Dave Hall puts a dollar sign on everything that he thinks is valuable. Dave, who was recently kicked out of the Boy Scouts and is a proven hot-head just like you-know-who, has it ALL wrong. Even New Mormon Jesus and a guaranteed castle on the planet Kolob can’t help him with that.
Jodi Arias worked hard and was living well at the time she met Travis Alexander. She was portrayed in many books as a woman who tried to convert to Mormonism to latch on to Travis. Actually, The facts say that Travis, like many Mormons, was responsible for amassing converts to the LDS church. He attempted to recruit other non-Mormon girlfriends into the church, presenting each with a new Book of Mormon. Jodi was a spiritual person, who was looking for a family oriented religion. Travis baptized her into the religion. He then jeopardized both his own soul and that of his new convert by defying the basic tenets and teachings of the church.
These are actual facts as opposed to “doggy door”, “Doggy Boy”, “stolen engagement ring” and “Christmas tree” facts. (All of these are uncorroborated allegations snuck into trial usually on re-direct or re-cross. They have no eye-witness, no documentation and no basis in reality, something that Juan Martinez frowns upon when allegations come from Jodi Arias or her defense while, at the same time, embracing them for himself.)
Later, friends of Travis recalled how agitated Travis was when Jodi moved to his hometown of Mesa after their “break-up”. They dispute Jodi’s claim that she broke up with him but they agree that he was “just using her for sex” If you are just using someone for sex, and you “break up” with them and continue using them for sex, then why would you need to “break up” with them in the first place? This tends to support Jodi’s story rather than the story given by Travis or his friends.
There is no evidence of agitation in any of the thousands of communications between Jodi and Travis at that time. Travis’ friends also claim that Travis was much more relaxed after Jodi moved back to Northern California in April, 2008. He was free to pursue the “chaste and pure Mormon girls” they say he wanted. Undoubtedly some of this relaxation came from a long series of phone sex conversations Travis was having late at night with Jodi.
Even though the problematic Jodi was so far away, through these activities, Travis continued to spiritually contaminate both himself and any pure and chaste Mormon girl he was involved with according to basic Mormon teachings. That’s not on Jodi. Travis’ friends and the book writers talk about how Jodi became obsessed and was following and stalking Travis, doing such things as sneaking through his doggy door, hiding behind a Christmas tree, and snooping through his cell-phone.
If Jodi could actually fit through the doggy door, who would know about this, as nobody was home? As for hiding behind the Christmas tree, who is the eyewitness to this and when did it happen? “The stolen ring”,where is this evidence? Where is the messaging or other documentation about any of this? They really sound like cruel jokes told by Travis behind Jodi’s back while, simultaneously, he was both calling her and arranging to meet her for sex late at night.
The “burden of proof falls on he who asserts not he who denies”. Claims that Arias was physically abused in any way are dismissed while any claim whatever, made about Jodi, is accepted no questions asked and with equally flimsy evidence.
It’s undisputed that Jodi Arias always insisted on monogamy with her sexual partners. She doesn’t want to worry about STD’s. Jodi Arias, like many women with trust issues and intuitions of infidelity, did look through Travis’ communications. She was looking for proof to support her feelings of sexual betrayal. When she was back in California and not with Travis physically, she knew and accepted that he was dating other women.
Beth Karas, who is known since her Court TV days reporting on the O.J. Simpson trial, for her fairness and objectivity, was very dramatic about the “roaches and lice” in Travis’ awful childhood and the way Jodi “almost cut his head off and then humped Ryan Burns” just hours later. Jodi and Ryan Burns only cuddled and kissed a few times, which fits well with the idea that she needed normalizing behavior.
The cut throat was a severe and fatal wound, but Travis’ throat was slit, it was not “ear to ear” and his head was not “almost cut off”. Decomposition and the opening up of the wound for inspection at autopsy (depicted in that awful photo that Martinez likes to show) make it appear that way. Let’s be clear about what a throat cut “ear to ear” and “head almost cut off” really mean.
Beth Karas, who remains very popular as a crime and court reporter, didn’t go far enough in describing the details of Travis’ harrowing childhood and the resulting psychological damage he must have incurred. But she was over-dramatic regarding Travis’ wounds, which plays into the emotionality of this case which tilts objectivity, reason, and logic. In spite of Beth’s decreasing objectivity, Karas was unceremoniously dumped from CNN’s Headline News. This can only be to her benefit.
Another reporter mentioned the “gratuitous violence” Travis Alexander endured. He also mentioned that there was “no concerted effort to clean up the crime scene in any meaningful way”. He further stated that this case was a “prosecutor’s dream” and that “this case was extremely strong”.
All of these contentions are contradicted by other groups on the same side, the prosecution side. Jodi wasn’t charged with the heinous and depraved prongs of the death penalty aggravator, which is a sure thing in Arizona case law when there is “gratuitous violence”. Juan Martinez charged that Arias’ meaningful cleaning up of the crime scene was proof that she was not in an altered state of mind, as he alleged in the Falater case. Juan Supporters like to portray Juan Martinez as a genius bulldog and hero who was able to get the almost impossible conviction in the Jodi Arias trial. Friends, book writers and reporters even contradict themselves.
Finally there is Diane Schwartz, one of the 8 jurors who voted for death. She liked to talk about all the evidence. “There was so much evidence, the hair the palm-print, the pictures”. All this is proof that Travis was killed and none of it explains how or why he was killed. Jodi admitted to killing Travis and this was “not a whodunnit” according to the defense. These things don’t prove a murder.
Newsflash: The defense, Ms. Schwartz, does not have to prove there was physical abuse. They only have to show it is possible, and it’s a strong possibility based on the evidence. It seems that Ms. Schwartz’ mind was about as open as a BlockBuster Video franchise.
Diane Schwartz said of herself and her fellow death jurors “I was extremely disappointed. I felt like we had failed” (to get the death penalty).
You did fail, Ms. Schwartz, because your job is to find the truth based on the facts, not to execute people based on your feelings.
The Snapped special begins with an excerpt of Arias’ lead defense attorney Kirk Nurmi from his closing arguments, when he states: “…could it be that after everything they went through in that relationship, that after all that, she just SNAPPED?”
What we know from Jodi’s past and this relationship and what we know from modern psychology suggests exactly that. It points to some kind of sudden change of consciousness. The idea that a passive and non-violent person perpetrated this kind of damage on an intimate partner and then simply continued on her merry vacation trip is actually a much less believable theory.
The prosecution contended in Snapped that “Murder was not enough for Jodi Arias, she had to assassinate his (Travis’) character”.
“Instead of a knife, instead of a gun she uses lies” – Juan Martinez.
“You will rejoice in being a whore and treating me any way my heart desires.” – Travis Alexander.
You cannot adequately explain or defend this message if you think that this twisted relationship was simply the result of sexual force and manipulation by Jodi and that Travis was the helplessly duped.
Although even Jodi admitted that Travis was an amazing person and had done “many wonderful things” for her, we contend that this is character fact. The ongoing non-facts and the character assassination of Jodi Arias was and still is a career maker and a bookseller for many.
“She has courted the media she has gone on television.” – Juan Martinez
Before the trial, this was an effort by a confused and scared person who had not yet come to terms with what happened on June 4th, 2008. Arias wanted to avoid a trial. After the trial, the interviews were an effort to dispel some of the myths still perpetuated by the media, as virtually no one was speaking for Jodi Arias.
Juan asked the jury “will you turn your back on the evidence and say that you believe Jodi Arias”? He characterized her as a chameleon who adapts herself to the lives of others and adapts her story to the evidence. We believe it was Martinez who actually adapted the evidence to fit his theory, even going so far as attempting to produce evidence at trial, that Jodi tortured a cat, and this is the hallmark of typical Maricopa rogue justice.
Detective Flores rightly explained to Jodi at her interrogation that “I came here hoping you would give me the truth, and this is not the truth, Jodi”.
We read the books and the articles and we watched the trial. We thought about the many facets of the case. We hoped that we were watching a search for the truth, and far too many of us can now say “This is not the truth, Esteban”.