Fact-based reporting by
Amanda Chen & Rob Roman
These are the dramatic closing arguments from the second penalty phase re-trial. We cobbled this together from various tweeters concentrating on Jen from the Trial Diaries. There are a few opinions and observations we give at the end. Kirk Nurmi’s 2nd final argument will be a separate article.
Okay, we’re gonna jump ahead to Monday and Tuesday’s action in the courtroom, the closing arguments. We’ll have to get back to the surrebuttal later.
It started out on Monday morning. Angela and Sandy Arias, Jodi’s sister and mom, were in their usual seats. The lawyers and the Judge just got up and disappeared into the Judge’s chambers. The Alexander family is getting seated on the other side. There are no witnesses waiting and the lawyers all have jury instructions in their hands. Jen Wood knows there’s something unusual going on.
The lawyers eventually come back into the court room. There’s more unusual action going on. Michael Kiefer reports that he just saw a juror in the hallway leaving in tears. There are rumors that closings will be on Tuesday. The lawyers are up with the Judge. Mike the court reporter yells that he can only type one person talking at a time. Juror #5, a female, is gone. They find out juror #12, an older male, is also gone. The woman had a family emergency, and the man was removed from the jury for having some kind of prejudice in the case. Jen reports that he’s a headphone wearing loner. That leaves 12 jurors and 2 alternates, nine women and five men. BAM.
There’s a sidebar and they are going over jury instructions. That’s it, no more witnesses. This is the final countdown. By accident the sidebar banter can be overheard by people in the media room and the overflow room. Mics were not turned off? They find out that Jodi wants to allocute, but she wants the press and public removed. There’s lots of arguing going on up there. Court administration and security are called up to the bench. Nurmi is demanding a sidebar. There’s general chaos in the courtroom. The reporters can feel it’s something weighty and serious. The most experienced reporters have never seen anything quite like this. What’s going on?
The jury files in. Nurmi got his sidebar, and Jennifer Willmott is setting up some evidence. She will read to the jury a letter from Jodi’s aunt, Sue Allen- Halterman. Sue explained in the letter that she found Jodi’s cell phone in a car and she turned it in to Jodi’s lawyer. There’s another note from the mother of victim #1. She writes that she knew Bishop Vernon Parker and Travis and she was there when Travis was living there. She even sat directly across from the dinner table when Travis was there. She claimed that Deanna Reid was there with Travis.
The reason for these letters? This establishes that Jodi’s phone was actually lost, as she said it had been, and there was no attempt to hide the phone or resistance to turning it in as Juan Martinez alleged. The letter from the mother of witness #1 shows that her son, witness #1, did in fact know who Travis was and could identify him, that Travis and Deanna were there at the time witness #1 was there, that the computer did crash as witness #1 stated, but Bishop Parker denied. The note even said that many of Witness #1’s engagement pictures were lost inside the damaged computer. This upset the mother and they ended up having to delay the wedding for three weeks, which is why they remembered the event so well.
The defense rests.
There’s a problem with Jodi. The Judge tells Jodi “The defense said you don’t want to allocute”. Jodi says “That’s not correct”. Here we go. Jodi says she will only allocute in a sealed proceeding. The Judge explains to Jodi that this is her chance to appeal directly to the jurors, to show remorse, and to explain what happened. Judge Stephens explains to Jodi that she is barred from allocating in a sealed courtroom.
The judge does offer to clear the courtroom and send everyone to the overflow room and the media room, but she will not seal the courtroom. Jodi is arguing that the Court of Appeals ruling covers testimony but not allocution. The judge says no. Jodi says she won’t allocute, then. The Judge explains she won’t be cross-examined but Jodi says that doesn’t change her mind. She asks Jodi if she’s on any medications? This is to check her competency to make that decision. Apparently, this same conversation happened in chambers and they just needed to put it on the record. What could her reason be?
The jury is told to return on Tuesday for jury instructions and closing arguments. Tick tick tick.
Some of the Alexanders are crying as they leave.
The next morning, Jen spots Deanna Reid up front on the left side of the gallery, with the family. Jen sees Jennifer Willmott ambling in with her Starbuck’s coffee. Jodi Arias is wearing a gray sweater. The latest ruling on prosecutorial misconduct is given out to the media peeps.
Judge Sherry Stephens has approved the media’s request to broadcast the Jodi Arias verdict live. It’s standing room only, the overflow room is packed and a lottery is going on for seats in the gallery. The Judge reads the instructions to the jury. The judge explains what 1st degree premeditated murder is by definition, and what the aggravating circumstance of cruelty means, in terms of pain and suffering.
Jen’s Trial Diaries @TrialDiariesJ
This is an individual choice for a juror when it comes to life or death #jodiarias
Jen is right. That’s what it boils down to.
Kirk Nurmi says good morning to the jury and puts a picture of Jodi with Travis Alexander in the woods from their trip to NY (Niagra falls). He tells them this is a trial of infinite sadness. “Travis was killed by the woman he loved, now will you kill her?
He goes over the allocutions from the Alexanders. Nurmi tells the jury they don’t have to find for the death penalty just because of the earlier verdicts from the original trial and jury. It’s a momentous decision and an individual moral judgment. Kirk Nurmi is saying Jodi played a “big sister role” to Darryl’s son as he was divorcing his wife…this could be enough for a life sentence, Kirk says.
Jen’s Trial Diaries @TrialDiariesJ “you write the ending to this….don’t make it where both these people in the picture die” #jodiarias
Nurmi puts up the list of mitigating circumstances.
He reiterates that Jodi has no prior record. He says she did smoke marijuana and her mother also smoked it when she was pregnant with Jodi.
These factors about Jodi’s parents, the pot and cocaine, will really make no difference at all at any time in the future. Kudos to her parents, Bill and Sandy, though, for apparently being willing to take a few bullets for the life of their child, I say.
Next is Jodi’s age at the time of the offense, which was 27. Nurmi said she was immature for her age and easily manipulated, and taken advantage of. The cards were stacked against her from birth. Jodi was born with a genetic vulnerability to a Personality Disorder. There was nothing she could do. “A light was flipped. A light was switched in Jodi’s brain, and she suffered from abuse”. Jodi wasn’t validated as a child and she was sexually abused at 2 years-old and attacked with a knife at the age of 12.
Now, he puts up a photo of Jodi and her brother as little children. Kirk talks about her mental illness and personality disorder. He puts up a photo of Jodi and her early boyfriend,
Bobby Juarez. Nurmi tells the jury that Jodi’s life is in their hands. He says she went from an abusive childhood into an abusive relationship with Bobby Juarez. From there she moved on to Matt McCartney, who cheated on her. She went to see the other woman, Bianca, to find out what was going on with the relationship. Matt and Jodi parted but remained friends.
Then Nurmi shows a picture of her with Darryl Brewer and his son at a birthday party. There was no abuse in this relationship, but her Borderline Personality still manifested itself. Jodi molded herself to be what she thought Darryl wanted her to be.
He points at Jodi Arias and says she is not just the person you see sitting over at the defense table. Now, she meets Travis Alexander. Travis has no idea he had just introduced himself to a mentally ill woman.
Nurmi talks about how people from abusive homes usually seek out abusive relationships, because that strangely feels normal and comfortable to them. Travis was also coming from an abusive childhood and had his own issues and demons. Each thought the other was the normal one, at first. Jodi was at a crossroads with Darryl. He was not looking for marriage and she wanted to marry and have children. Travis was wrestling with his religious beliefs while pushing them on Jodi.
Travis was rising fast in the PPL business. He had a sexual relationship for about a year with Deanna Reid, that he was not supposed to have, according to the LDS tenets. He was struggling with pornography and perhaps inappropriate thoughts about young children. He had confessed things to witness #1.
Kirk said Bishop Parker blamed someone else for the damaged computer and the sex pop-ups (Jake the snake), but it was Travis who lived there at the time. Kirk tells the jury that Travis confessed his troubles to witness #1. Nurmi reminds the jury that Chris and Sky Hughes told Travis that he “Gutted women”, and had treated some young women badly.
This is the beginning of a tragic bond, according to Nurmi. Dr. Fonseca talked about Travis inviting Jodi to motel rooms, on trips, and to his friend’s home away from Mesa. Travis threw money at Arias.
Jodi was mentally ill. She saw that others thought the world of Travis. She couldn’t say anything to others about the way she was being treated. She couldn’t trust her own emotions. Nurmi puts up the baptism pic and talks about how Travis convinced Jodi to join the LDS church. Jodi molded herself to be what Travis wanted. Travis had a sexual life and Jodi molded herself to be his dirty little secret.
He shows a picture of Travis and Jodi at Havasupai Falls. At this time, Travis was seeing Lisa Andrews. He was having late night rendez-vous with Jodi behind Lisa’s back. Travis didn’t have to press Lisa Andrews for sex, because he had Jodi for that.
He had this whole secret life. Kirk Nurmi starts talking about the verbal abuse. He called her “a skank”, a “sociopath”, “soulless”, a “whore”, “sh*t”, and “a three-holed wonder”. Kirk tells the jury to look at all the texts and it’s easy to see the abuse. One day he’s saying he loves her and the next he’s telling her ‘don’t ever talk to me again!’
He says, when it comes to abuse, Dr. Janeen DeMArte is out of her league. DeMarte is taking an archaic approach that if you can’t see the abuse, it doesn’t exist. Everyone liked Travis, so if Jodi came forward, who would believe her? Nurmi reminds the jury of the football player who secretly knocked out his fiancée in a closed elevator. The first video came out and no one thought it was any big thing. Then the video from inside the elevator came out and everyone saw what a ferocious slug it really was.
DeMArte, with one year’s experience at the time of giving the test, wants to say she knows more than Geffner and Fonseca, each with 30 years of experience. It’s like having a strange disease and seeing a brand new Doctor, as opposed to a seasoned Specialist.
All her past relationships ended peacefully but this one didn’t because this one was different and Travis treated her differently. Travis kept his dark lifestyle a secret and when caught, he told others Jodi was stalking him and harassing him. He would tell them that Jodi was coming over unannounced and uninvited. He marginalized Jodi Arias and derided and demonized her to his friends. He did this just in case she decided to tell the truth about what was really going on. Nurmi shows the texting and sexting graph that Dr. Geffner made.
He was involved with a number of women while denying and defaming Jodi to them. He wasn’t fearful of Arias, because when was telling Regan Housely how scared he was, it was right after having a sexual encounter with Jodi. You may ask what does the computer and the porn have to do with the killing? But these were the circumstances surrounding the killing. Travis was looking at porn and acting it out on Jodi while wooing other, more eligible women. By becoming what Travis wanted, Jodi found herself in a position that Travis could never truly love her and would never marry her. He even told this to a friend.
Travis Alexander had problems with his computer again. He accumulated some viruses and malware on his lapop, so he downloaded Spybot and other “scrubbers”. He needed to use scrubbers to clean up his activities. Nurmi suggested his computer troubles started way before June 1, 2008 (when the Youporn videos were downloaded and viewed).
Listen to the sex call and what Travis said. He wanted to do a porn shoot with Jodi and he was talking about cream pies. This shows he was watching porn and possibly addicted to porn. Travis had Jodi wear braids while engaging in sex, and the Youporn video shows a teen in braids having sex. The mental illness, the disownment of Jodi by Travis, the abuse, the sex addiction, and Jodi’s childhood issues all come into play before the murder.
Travis had childhood issues of his own and he had trouble committing in relationships. Three doctors, each with around 30 years experience, had diagnosed Jodi with PTSD. Dr. DeMarte, with her one year’s experience, did not find PTSD. Nurmi says the jury should trust Dr. Geffner over Dr. DeMArte. Jodi’s journals show how she was suffering from PTSD. No man ever treated Jodi like Travis did. Jodi never experienced this kind of turmoil in a relationship before.
We have a pattern of Jodi’s entire life, her crime-free life. Look at the text messages this mentally ill girl was being sent. Nurmi now uses Jodi’s prior testimony to show her remorse, since she stopped testifying and refused to allocute. It took a long time to admit to herself what she did. “I can’t wrap my mind around the fact that I did that.”
At this point, members of the Alexander family got up and left, en masse.
Do you kill this girl who lived under these horrific events? He tells the jury they will be killing this girl if they mark death on their jury forms. He puts up a photo of Jodi Arias as a child. “You are choosing to kill Jodi, I urge you not to do it”.
The Alexanders came back in the courtroom. Juan is getting ready. He reads a letter about the men who landed on the moon and will be mourned by the nation. The letter says “These men will remain in our hearts and when we look at the moon we will think of them”. Juan says the letter is really heart wrenching AND it’s not true. In the same way, the letter that Jodi wrote to the Alexanders just wasn’t true. “It’s just like the story that Jodi told you about Travis masturbating to photos of young boys – it just wasn’t true”.
The letter was a letter written by the President just in case the men didn’t return from the moon. Jodi had everything to gain by being less than truthful. Juan displays the photo of Travis with his throat slit wide open. There are 3 photos taken at different angles.
The story they gave you is he looked at porn and he deserved this. This isn’t a story about love, it’s not about porn. This is about a case of 1st degree, premeditated, murder. You must accept this – she did this. She held and used the knife that did this. The aggravator of cruelty was proven. She knew that this was going to be cruel.
Nurmi calls for a sidebar.
Especially cruel had been proven and you are all duty bound to accept it. The little girl you saw in the picture should have known that Travis was going to suffer. Arias told you the story about wanting to commit suicide and nicking herself with a razor. She couldn’t go through with it because it hurt too much. “Wow, that really hurt, I don’t want to do this anymore.” Well she cut up Travis 27 times and he experienced a ton of pain.
Juan says experts can be wrong and you don’t have to believe a hired gun. “This person over there that is so remorseful, made up a story about TA masturbating to a child’s picture – how shocking of a story that is”. Juan tells the jury about how Jodi claimed Travis beat her and broke her finger and the next day, she’s writing in her journal that there’s nothing noteworthy to report!
The defense wants to tell you that all the alleged DV is silent and Arias didn’t even mention it in her private journals – her private thoughts. They want you to believe that she didn’t have any secondary gain from all this and they want you to look behind her words. Jodi Arias loved Travis Alexander so much she took a knife and jammed it all the way into his heart.
Nurmi objects and approaches the bench.
Juan tells the jury how, soon after Jodi was just baptized into the LDS Church, she’s telling Abe Abdelhadi that she’s “dabbling in Mormonism”. Right after Arias claims she was abused by Travis, she’s writing in her journal that he gave her three soft kisses. Kissing is the physical abuse here, according to her journal.
Nurmi talks about Geffner and how he took jabs at Dr. DeMArte. “He called her ‘asinine’ and it must be some sort of psychological term that only an experienced expert knows how to use”. Geffner appears to have done none of his own work.
Apparently, he didn’t even read the transcripts of what Jodi had said regarding the choking incident she alleged happened.
Jodi says she thought of clawing Travis’ face while being choked. Dr. DeMArte said you wouldn’t be calm and thinking of not hurting someone while being choked. Look at the person involved here. She’s the person who’s saying these things and she’s the only one who’s saying these things. The only source is her word. The defense talks about the letter Jodi wrote on Valentine’s Day….
Nurmi objects and there’s a sidebar.
Juan says nothing is corroborated when it comes to Jodi Arias and her allegations. This is the one who lied about sending the letter to Abe, and she wants you to believe horrible things about Travis. What she was really doing with that fake letter was trying to light a fire under Travis after her manipulations with Sky and Chris Hughes didn’t work.
“Consider this when you go back there, Is this true love?” What Dan Freeman testified to (about the fight before the Havasupai trip, etc.) sure was different than what Jodi wrote in her journal.
Jodi Arias found out about Travis’ relationship with Lisa Andrews. Arias wasn’t in a committed relationship with Travis Alexander at that time. So Travis wasn’t cheating on Jodi. Jodi was cheating on Travis and Lisa Andrews. Why are they darkening Travis’character without looking into the mirror themselves?
No, they turn a blind eye to it all. Look at how Jodi lied on the PDS test about the trauma. She was diagnosed as having PTSD on an event that didn’t even happen. If you look at those tests yourselves without them slanting it for you, you will see it. Consider all the lies that Jodi has told.
Juan puts an alleged text message from Travis to Jodi up on the screen. Juan says Lonnie Dworkin stated this was not a text that was found in Travis’ phone. Martinez holds up a large bundle of papers. This was never found in all these texts. He defies anybody to find any proof that TA sent that text. Martinez shows the coded message Jodi Arias wrote in the magazines and tried to have smuggled out of the Estrella jail. Juan puts up a photo of Jodi as a child and says “This is the person who writes these things – lies.”
“The experts just want you to listen to what they say with their 30 years of experience, but they don’t want you to look at any of the things she’s done.” “They want you to become experts in the laws of attraction.”
Fonseca wants to take a spam business e-mail, mistakenly sent to a 9 year-old girl, and tell you it’s the grooming action of a pedophile. There was nothing sexual about this – like they tried to get you to believe. They are painting Travis as a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and they are assassinating his character. They are trying to distract you from what Arias did to Travis.
You need to look at the defendant’s record, her character, her history.
Juan brings up something from the Court of Appeals and how Geffner was described as a “hired gun”. When Geffner is challenged, he calls people names. He stoops to personal attacks when he can’t answer for his opinions. Dr. DeMArte said there was no domestic violence in this case.
Geffner is welcome to dispute it, but he resorts to name-calling and that shows his weakness. “Geffner didn’t want to interview Sky or Lisa because Mormons lie….but Witness #1 is a Mormon and he interviewed him.” Geffner tells you the answers don’t matter on the DAPS tests.
If the answers hurt, don’t consider them. If they help, use them. Martinez is going over Jodi’s mitigating factors. After she murdered Travis Alexander she sent him a text message, wrote him an e-mail, and she left him a voice message.
There was no abuse. It never happened. The relationship wasn’t abusive. You heard the sex tape, she gave and she took. There was no abusive nature to their relationship. If there is no Domestic Violence, then there isn’t any PTSD.
These DV events never occurred.
Her age is no mitigating factor. She was well over the age of responsibility and accountability. She was tested as having high intelligence. That means she understands. Jodi doesn’t have a criminal record. Okay, but isn’t that the minimum that society expects of us. Does she get a gold star?
Jodi is a manipulative person – to Travis, to the Hughes’, to the experts testing her. Having Borderline Personality Disorder doesn’t give her an excuse.
Nurmi objects strongly and says this misstates the law.
A sidebar is called.
BPD doesn’t indicate she doesn’t know right from wrong and it’s not an excuse. BPD talks about a personality trait, it doesn’t give a person an excuse to murder someone. It’s just a descriptive term for how she acts.
Nurmi objects again to Martinez’ words as misrepresenting the law.
Jodi is talking to her mitigation specialist, Maria De La Rosa, during the sidebar.
Martinez tells the jury that PTSD isn’t a mitigating factor in this case. It doesn’t have anything to do with her murdering Travis Alexander.
Jodi Arias drove all the way from Yreka, California to Mesa, Arizona to see Travis, after all these allegations she made against him.
She made a sex tape, they engaged in sex acts and they both enjoyed it.
As for Jodi’s childhood, the records show she was a spoiled child, you can decide if she was an abused child.
Uh Oh. It’s deja vous all over again, as a phone goes off in the courtroom.
Jen’s Trial Diaries @TrialDiariesJ People were “about to get a pat-down, when all of a sudden, the bailiff realized that it was his”. – Jen Wood
Juan puts up a picture of Jodi Arias as a child and next to it, he puts up a picture of Travis Alexander on the autopsy table.
Travis’ Alexander’s family spoke to you and they told you that they longed to hear his voice, but instead all they could see were horrific visions of his ravaged body and his severed throat.
Juan tells the jury “If you agree there is no mitigation, you shall return a verdict of death.”
Juan puts up all the photos of Jodi Arias that Kirk did, then he puts up lots of crime scene and autopsy photos.
One Alexander sister runs out crying.
More of the family are crying.
“I’m asking you apply these jury instructions and do your duty.”
You can see that many Jodi supporters will agree with Kirk Nurmi and the defense. His arguments make sense and are compelling. Juan Martinez’ arguments sound equally compelling, and prosecution supporters will agree.
Which side is telling the truth, or does the truth lie somewhere between these two extremes?
One thing is that Nurmi was able to put a coherent story together for this jury, tying together everything presented. He stressed that this was a monumental decision and it was their moral choice to make.
Juan is equally correct to point out that if you see that the aggravator of especially cruel outweighs any and all mitigators (assuming you find any in the first place), then you have a duty and legal obligation to vote for death.
Juan was clever in making the argument that if you don’t believe the defense or Jodi Arias, you should come back with a death sentence. If you believe the defense demonized Travis and dragged him through the mud, you should return a death sentence.
Kirk implored the jurors to not make that monumental choice.
UPDATE: Eight women and four men now make up the jury. They are a younger group, with the average age being around thirty something. Jurors #2 and #13, a man and a woman, are the alternates.
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