Interesting Exchange Re: Jodi Arias

on another blog, thought readers over here might like it:

First this:

http://kristinarandle.com/blog/jodi-arias-trial-her-statement-to-the-jury/#comment-1435

then this:

http://kristinarandle.com/blog/jodi-arias-trial-her-statement-to-the-jury/#comment-1446

then this:

http://kristinarandle.com/blog/jodi-arias-trial-her-statement-to-the-jury/#comment-1449

then this:

http://kristinarandle.com/blog/jodi-arias-trial-her-statement-to-the-jury/#comment-1455

then this:

http://kristinarandle.com/blog/jodi-arias-trial-her-statement-to-the-jury/#comment-1458

 

Pretty good stuff if you’re interested in all these alternatives.

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24 Comments

Filed under wrongful convictions

24 responses to “Interesting Exchange Re: Jodi Arias

  1. kim

    John, the pictures the author refers to are pictures taken throughout the time JA was present at TA house prior to/during/after the killing. The testimony was that JA went through and deleted some of the pictures, but not all of them. The defense position referenced JA being a photographer, made the act of deleting pics second nature. The state’s position was the act by her was more than a “click/delete” as not every picture was deleted, which went to her state of mind as she was choosing what pictures stayed and what pictures were deleted.

    Liked by 1 person

    • TrialWatcher

      And I don’t recall in any testmony exactly which pictures were the ones deleted that they recovered from the memory card? and on the ones deleted what was the time stamp? Jodi has said that she and Travis were deciding which ones to delete as they went along. So does anyone know for sure which pictures shown in court were deleted and recovered? (obviously Travis was not involved in deleting pictures of him stabbed and bleeding) I mean, really…..does anyone really think the pictures of travis bleeding or in the shower slumped over were actually taken by nJodi and not the investigators who arrived at the scene five days later? So I can recall only ONE PICTURE of him lying on the floor with his shoulder showing and bleeding as the only one actually deleted by Jodi. It is obvious that the one pic of him laying on the floor bleeding was the only one taken BY ACCIDENT while the stabbing was going on.

      Would someone please tell me which pictures they said were deleted? And if the only ones deleted were poses of him BEFORE he was stabbed….what evidentiary value would those have? Seems to me that people are referring to “picture_s_ deleted’, when there was only one they used in court.

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    • Well, that’s a reach by the prosecution, isn’t it? I mean there were pictures on there, with times and everything. I wasn’t aware of any pictures either existing or known to have been deleted that were taken AFTER the killing. Apparently one during the killing, that I know of.

      I mean, I don’t know what there is to say about pictures except that there are some, they’re very interesting and of course important evidence. I suppose if they could show that a number of pictures were deleted and they were sure those pictures were taken after the killing commenced you might have an inference that she was trying to cover up evidence but why do you even need to do that?

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      • Jessie

        Speaking of a reach by the prosecution….In his closing arguments, he painted a picture of the victim in front of the bathroom mirror, one of his last living images that of her reflection behind him, coming at him with knife raised. It was a masterfully vivid image. Couldn’t be any more chilling if you had a violin screech in the background: “Yite! Yite! Yite!”

        The thing is, I don’t think that theory of the crime was ever presented during trial. Neither side, that I recall, delved into the crime scene in order to illuminate any specific theory as to the sequence of events, not in that kind of detail. I kept expecting them to. It took me a ways into the trial before I realized the prosecution had changed its theory from shot-first (which I found compelling) to shot-last (which was the first real doubt I had about the state’s case).

        I’m sure we could have fun speculating as to why each side failed to offer a specific sequence of events based on the crime scene***. One side had to be wrong, of course (you might say both were). The defense would have a natural aversion to focusing the jurors on a bloody mess. Yet they never really emphasized that the state’s implied sequence of events was improbable, and the state never really emphasized why their theory should be believed. State tried to focus on the gore; defense tried to focus elsewhere.

        But my question: Are they allowed to bring up things like that in closing arguments — that weren’t presented during trial, that really are unknowable, and that seem pretty clearly intended to evoke a visceral response? It’s what I remember, don’t I? It’s great writing, but there was never evidence presented that it was…you know…true.

        ***Just to be clear, lots of spectators on both sides have offered lots of theories (oh, lots and lots of theories!) based off the crime scene photos, but I don’t believe any of those were ever presented in court. And both parties did present theories in court, but not based specifically off, say, blood spatter patterns or similar types of crime scene evidence that might establish a “story,” if you will, of what occurred, such as he was in front of the mirror and she was behind him with a knife. Which is unknowable, really, because no physical evidence could show something like that. But how much can they speculate in closing arguments?

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        • In closing arguments you are allowed to talk about anything that is in evidence and any fair inferences from it. How far you can run with the actual proof in terms of inferences is sort of a judgment call. At what point does an inference you’re making in closing argument become “unfair”?

          I would think that the prosecution, based on the condition of the body and the crime scene, and her saying she doesn’t remember, could run pretty far. The wounds tell a story, after all: a fierce struggle, an extremely violent and gruesome episode, a coldly and capably administered coup de grace to the throat. From what you described it seems to me you’re talking about “fair comment” on the evidence from the prosecutor. If he goes on from there and describes how Jodi giggled with glee as she butchered her boyfriend, that would cross the line to unfair.

          But the point you bring up about the lack of actual detail in how the killing occurred is quite relevant to a different issue: the reliability of Jodi’s admissions to having killed him. The classic false confession is one where there is either an absence of detail or details are given but they turn out to be wrong. This is precisely why police seek a detailed confession, rather than just relying on the accused saying “I did it! You got me, copper!”

          They definitely proved she was there at the scene. But so what? Perpetrators are at the scene, to be sure. But so are victims. The evidence fairly points to a strong possibility of someone else being there. It’s the Amanda Knox situation in reverse: In AK, everything objective points to one perpetrator but the prosecutor wants to drag others into it; in JA at least some objective evidence points to multiple perpetrators but the prosecutor desperately wants to limit it to one.

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          • Jessie

            Well, I don’t really agree with you about the Knox comparison. There’s some compelling evidence she was there at the time of the murder. There’s even some — though not a lot — of evidence suggesting more than one perpetrator (I don’t really buy it, but it’s not pulled out of nowhere).

            But I don’t want to Knox-jack the thread. Suffice it to say….how did you put it?…..perpetrators are at the scene, but so are victims, aren’t they?

            So, I realized why I disagree with you about the third-party assailant. Same reason I have to reject premeditation: I only see one solid evidence point in favor of either. With premeditation, it’s the gun stolen from grandpa. With third-party, it’s the unexplained shoe print.

            All the other evidence points for either can be explained away pretty easily and (I think) more plausibly. Gun and shoe print can also be explained another way, but less easily. I just can’t accept either premeditation or third-party assailant with only one strong evidence point. Unless it was almost impossible to explain any other way, I need more.

            So, two more questions: Will she have a harder appeal if she doesn’t get the death penalty?

            Did one of the jurors just blow their verdict? Apparently, as the hung jury was being declared, one of them looked over at the Alexander family and mouthed, “I’m sorry.” Way to show you weren’t influenced by emotion and by sympathy for one of the parties!

            One of the dismissed jurors has also been making some press statements that sound a little odd. Like (not an exact quote), “Oh, yeah, we knew a guilty verdict was coming.” Really? In violation of your instruction not to decide before deliberations? And how could that be known without talking to each other about it? He said something a little more than just that he himself wasn’t surprised by the verdict.

            Sorry for picking your brain so much….I’ll try to give back a little here in a reply to another post.

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            • Hello Jessie. as for Knox, can’t go along with you, I think the decision overturning the conviction made it clear that there was no evidence at all that anyone else was at the crime scene. But we could discuss that elsewhere if you like.

              As for this one, you are missing one or two things besides the shoeprint, I think. a) the throat being slit the way it was; and b) the obvious evidence of a serious struggle between TA and his killer(s). And the way this pans out is instructive for just how disingenuous prosecutions can be. For a long time, apparently until the eve of trial, the prosecution went with the “shot first” scenario, precisely because (b) was such a problem. It was so unlikely that Jodi could have prevailed against Travis in a fierce struggle that they practically had to claim he was wounded by the gunshot first and debilitated, to make their scenario more plausible as over and against the intruders claim.

              Of course, once she changes gears and says she did it but it was self defense, (b) isn’t a problem anymore. You might say that in the technical sense (a) isn’t either, since no one’s going to argue otherwise, but that’s not all there is to it.

              (a) is still a problem in the absolute sense whether anyone argues about it or not. It is a mark of an experienced killer, no question about it. Not that it’s impossible in the strictest sense for her to have done that (See Justice Benjamin Cardozo’s opinion in People v. Galbo), but it’s so unlikely that all by itself it suggests someone else who would be capable of it. Then you throw in the shoeprint. Then you throw in that for a long time she said there were two others. Then you throw in that she only changed her tune after being pressured by her own defense team which was desperate to save her life, and after she’d been locked up for almost five years, which all by itself can breed pathological submission to authority and pressure. Then you throw in that in her modified account, she says things like “I can’t believe I was capable of such violence and I can’t remember anything about having been so violent, but I now know that I was.”, which is a non-sequitur, not to mention that she doesn’t and can’t give one detail about it that would overcome the skepticism with which her claims to have killed him by herself should be viewed.

              Why do you wind up with these extremely loose ends after all this? Mental sloth. The police do just enough to get someone on the hook for the heinous crime because it’s hard work to do more. They don’t worry about getting it absolutely wrong because from a career standpoint they don’t have to: they can bring an implausible and even a ridiculous case and still prevail. A lot of DA’s – not all of them by any means but a lot of them – behave like mindless bullies, heedless of the destructive power they wield, engaging in crude and self contradictory evasions like the switch from shot-first to shot-last because although that is ethically and morally wrong they can do things like that and pay no price. In the end they don’t give a shit about ethics or morality, it’s all about their position and career.

              In a deeper sense, it’s about power, and their worship of it, and their willingness to set aside truth for it.

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              • Jessie

                I would be interested in talking with you about the Knox case. It was the only other one of these I got really caught up in and I paid more attention to the details than I have with the Arias case. (After this, I’m going cold-turkey! No more prurient rubbernecking….it’s unseemly….) But I respect what you say a lot and I would be interested in your thoughts on Knox.

                So, back to the third-party assailant stuff….I’m not missing the other evidence points you raised. I just don’t consider them strong. The shoe print is tangible. Absent an explanation for its post hoc deposit, it would definitively mean someone else was there (perhaps innocently there, but there). The throat-slitting….not so much.

                It strains credibility to believe she could have overpowered him with a knife if he were not incapacitated first — he was twice her size, even wet from the shower — but there’s no reason to think she was physically incapable of slitting a throat. Women commit suicide by slitting their own throats (Jonestown comes to mind, where a few women did it and then slit the throats of others). It’s gruesome. It’s hard for me to imagine. But I think you’d have an uphill battle suggesting women don’t or can’t do it as some kind of guiding principle.

                As far as the mark of an experienced killer….well….when you have a knife, there’s only so many ways to kill somebody with it, whether you’re murdering them in cold-blood or defending yourself against attack. If anything, it’s one of the most obvious and perhaps easiest ways to kill someone with a knife (the chest cavity is protected by the ribs)

                You make a very strong case that the investigation was flawed. And maybe charges shouldn’t have been brought for that reason. But if we assume that, for the sake of discussion, then all other discussion becomes pointless. Everything winds up back at, “There shouldn’t have been a trial anyway.” I ultimately believe the verdict is invalid because of the mob pressure and everything I say has that in the background. But I set it aside as far as talking about other aspects of the trial. Otherwise, I’d just be bringing everything back to my belief in an invalid verdict.

                Also, for me to accept third-party assailant, I would have to reject the testimonies of Alyce LaViolette and Arias herself. I found LaViolette’s testimony persuasive. She used a combination of assessing Arias, reading her journals (lifelong), and “collateral data” (emails, texts, recordings, other professionals’ reports) and determined that the Jodi-Travis relationship was abusive. She couldn’t say the killing was self-defense, but she implied that, within the limit of trial rules.

                Perhaps most illuminating was an email from a close friend of his (a prosecution witness and a key media figure who constantly condemned Arias and edified Alexander)….turns out she had warned Jodi about Travis early on, which made him very angry. When he confronted the friend, she sent him an email to the effect that he needed help and that he treated women pretty badly. This had added oomph because the friend had testified and told the press that, basically, he was the nicest guy in the world. Abusive? Nonsense! More of Jodi’s lies, the evil wench! He was a 30-year-old virgin, always kind, always virtuous. Well…..clearly she didn’t always feel that way. Or she lied after his death.

                Then there’s Jodi’s testimony. This makes the guilters think I’m too stupid to live, but….I found her testimony believable in many ways. Shortly before the trial, when I first became aware of this case, I saw the interviews with 48 hours, where she first denies she was there and later says there were two intruders. She looked nuttier than a fruitcake telling those stories. They didn’t ring the least bit true to me. That’s purely subjective, of course, but I’m just putting it out there. None of us can climb out of our own skin.

                During Arias’ testimony, I perceived her demeanor as radically different from those earlier interviews. Not because she had brown hair and glasses. I mean her presence was qualitatively different. It did not appear to me that she just told one story as smoothly as another. And, while most people have referred to her as spinning one contradictory story after another on the stand, I didn’t see any major contradictions in her testimony. That doesn’t mean it was true, of course.

                Neither testimony was enough to totally convince me the killing was self-defense. I’m still in that gray, I-don’t-know area. But to believe third-party assailant, I would have to completely and totally dismiss their testimonies and, particularly with LaViolette, I have a hard time doing that. Arias has credibility baggage, but LaViolette is a well-respected expert in her field. She struck me as pretty savvy, having worked with a great many abusers and abuse victims (including some people who are both). Hard to be successful in that field if you’re easily taken for a ride — and the difference between self-defense and a third-party intruder is a pretty big ride!

                Last but not least, of the two contentions: “He attacked her and she reacted in self-defense,” or, “A third party broke in, killed him and spared her,” I simply find the former more credible. It happens all the time in violent relationships. Yet the intruder — a veritable hitman — who busts in, kills one person and for some reason spares the other….I’m sure it happens, but I’m pretty sure it’s a lot more rare and, on balance, it’s a lot harder for me to believe. Domestic violence happens, literally, every single day. Hitmen happen….but not every day.

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              • Well, I guess we have to talk about the throat slitting. It’s not a pleasant subject.

                Before we do that, let me just clarify that when I say “experienced killer” I do not mean just a hitman. A hunter would also qualify. And a certain brand of drug dealer would also qualify. The latter two would not be professional killers, but they would be experienced killers. The latter two are much more likely here than the former as well.

                The nature of the throat wound as it has been described was a near decapitation, a very deep wound. This would almost certainly be the result of the victim already being pretty much dead, or at least immobilized, face down on the floor, at which point the head is picked up, probably by the hair and the killer strikes from behind the head with a knife to a neck that is totally exposed, undefended and extended. Other kinds of throat slitting can be fatal as well if you hit the jugular or the big arteries, but this was not a “slash” to the throat. This was a deliberate and powerfully administered coup de grace.

                I’m sorry, it’s gruesome to describe and I don’t like thinking about it.

                In any case, that wound, fairly considered, precluded self defense, no matter what the experts said and no matter how abused Jodi was, because at the point it was inflicted there was no reason to be defending yourself anymore. Best case scenario at that point is manslaughter, the argument being that you got carried away in the course of defending yourself. Self defense is a justification for the use of deadly force even if it results in death, not deadly force used in a deliberate act of killing.

                And while I respect your opinion, too, I have to maintain that it’s extremely unlikely that Jodi did that, taking all the circumstances into account, particularly her history. It’s not impossible. It’s just so unlikely that you could have a viable defense strategy just focusing on that wound and arguing that she couldn’t have done it.

                I think you’re minimizing the points I made somewhat. True, the shoeprint is the only “tangible” proof. But the other things, while not tangible are nevertheless objective: the size difference, the lack of a violent history, the existence of others with motive, her inability to provide any details.

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              • Jessie

                This may appear out of order because it won’t let me reply to your last reply, but here goes….

                I don’t mean to be dismissive of your points at all, certainly not in any pejorative sense. I just consider some points stronger than others, including some of the points that I accept myself.

                If we go back to the autopsy report (http://cnninsession.files.wordpress.com/2012/10/redactedtravisautopsy.pdf), I’m not sure the injuries really match some of your base assumptions and that might make a difference.

                The stab wounds were numerous, but most were relatively superficial and scattered over a lot of his upper body. The neck wound was 1.5″ deep, 6″ wide, and combined with other punctures to the neck. The second most serious stab wound was a chest puncture that pierced a large cardiac vein. How do you get from that the mark of an experienced killer?

                To me, that sounds like a very inexperienced person with a knife, whacking away with little idea of what to do with it. A hunter doesn’t stab the neck a couple of times and then saw at it, which seems to be what the wounds suggest. This was not a “clean kill,” so to speak. (And I, too, apologize for the graphic nature of this. I’m not trying to minimize his suffering, just trying to focus on the known evidence.)

                These two questions might help me understand your position better:

                –Is your contention simply that there was enough evidence to support third-party that it should have been investigated further? (In which case, I agree.) Or that there is more evidence of third-party than of self-defense? (In which case, I disagree.)

                –When you say self-defense is ruled out, are you speaking only legally or are you saying that you don’t believe, if Arias did it, that she was responding to any sort of precipitating aggression?

                I sort of assumed from the start that the extent of the injuries would make legal self-defense difficult, even if there was solid proof of precipitating aggression. But that’s not the same thing as believing there was no precipitating aggression at all, to which she was responding however disproportionately.

                Her lack of violent history could be consistent with self-defense or third-party. All that tells us is that she’s probably not the Countess Bathory (and almost certainly not a “sociopath” since Antisocial Personality Disorder shows up quite young and usually involves a progression of violent behavior that’s completely absent here — the worst the prosecution could come up with was that she’d once kicked her mother under the dinner table).

                So I’m with you on the importance of that point. It’s not definitive, of course, but it’s significant in the same way it would be significant if she’d been torturing kittens since kindergarten. History matters.

                But I’m also interested in whether it was a broad act of self-defense (i.e., response to precipitating event), even if it would not legally qualify as self-defense (i.e., wounds clearly too extensive to be proportionate to the threat).

                The main reason I’m not entirely onboard with self-defense is because neither side ever walked through the crime scene to provide a sequence of events. The defense focused heavily on the idea that she was abused, which might make a precipitating event more likely, but it’s also possible an abused person can commit a murder.

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              • “The stab wounds were numerous, but most were relatively superficial and scattered over a lot of his upper body. The neck wound was 1.5″ deep, 6″ wide, and combined with other punctures to the neck. The second most serious stab wound was a chest puncture that pierced a large cardiac vein. How do you get from that the mark of an experienced killer?”

                Well, Jessie, it’s quite clear there was a struggle. Sometimes the assailant was connecting, sometimes not, sometimes a more glancing blow because it was being fended off. When I say “experienced” killer I don’t mean a flawless killer or a hitman. Obviously, TA fought for his life and defended himself for some time before succumbing. A scenario I might find more credible would be Jodi through some fluke gaining advantage enough, maybe landing that lucky strike to the chest, and then when he was down, she’s hysterically plunging the knife into him over and over. I can never see her inflicting that neck wound, though. Not that it’s physically impossible, it’s just there is nothing in her history that would suggest she would even think of doing something like that. But a hunter would.

                And yes, I pointed out to someone, can’t remember who, that was minimizing the lack of violent history that if the opposite were true they’d be all over it. And quite rightly, too. So to be fair minded they must accept the rather strong probative value of the lack of a violent history.

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        • Guilty beyond a shadow of a doubt

          Jessie, when SPECIFICALLY, at trial, did the STATE, ever present a theory the SHOT came first? The STATE being Juan Martinez. You cannot use mistrial motions as evidence the state ‘changed their theory’.
          It’s funny how folks allow so much accidental error or otherwise on the part of the defense’s witnesses – but if 1 state’s witness is mistaken about something- it is automatically proof positive the entire states case is based on a lie.

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  2. GUILTY beyond a shadow of a doubt

    John,

    I have been reading Kristina Randle’s articles since the case began and find her to be very enlightening… as it relates to the psych. aspects of this case…you really should go to youtube and listen to all the specific testimonies of the following people, ( direct and cross of both defense and state) beginning in this order:

    Dr Richard Samuels (Defense Case in Chief expert witness, psychologist);
    Alyce LaViolette (Defense Case in Chief expert witness on domestic violence);
    Dr Janeen DeMarte (State Rebuttal expert witness, psychologist);

    Dr Robert Geffner (Defense Surrebuttal expert witness, psychologist) and
    Dr Jill Hayes (State Rebuttal expert witness, psychologist).

    Because Geffner also addressed issues with the Medical Examiner Dr Kevin Horn’s findings it would also be helpful to watch Horn’s testimony. He testified at least on two separate occasions, perhaps three, including in state’s rebuttal.

    This youtuber http://www.youtube.com/user/croakerqueen123 has taped everything and makes it easy to watch aspects of the trial broken down by which day they took place.

    In a nutshell – Dr Samuels DID spend a lot of time talking about dissocciation and Jodi Arias. So, no, it was NOT an overlooked concept in this case at all. He dxd her with having PTSD as well as a Personality Disorder NOS (not otherwise specified), he testified as to the why he dxd her with that, the testing that supported it etc and also claimed Arias during fight or flight was so traumatized by the event and the killing that what happened is -her brain essentially was prevented from encoding the memories of the killing -so this is why she has no memory of it and may never have a memory of it. He provides lengthy testimony as to how this can happen in the brain as it relates to memory and presented research to explain and argue his hypothesis.

    Alyce LaViolette doesn’t do psych testing but as a 30 yr expert in DV she claimed Arias is a battered woman and presented lengthy testimony to back that up.

    Dr DeMarte diagnosed Jodi Arias with Borderline Personality Disorder, & explained why she diagnosed her with BPD, citing the testing that supported it etc and discussed why Jodi Arias did not meet the criteria necessary for her to have battered woman syndrome. She also explained research on memory loss and how memory and memory loss does and doesn’t work the way Dr Samuels (or Jodi) claims it does in this instance. DeMarte testified about something which was very enlightening to me. Arias had told DeMarte during her interviews with defendant that as she was driving across the desert away from TA’s house and was nearing the Hoover Damn, she looked down at her hands and saw a little blood on them. Arias told DeMarte that it was at that moment that she ‘knew that she had killed Travis’. Jodi claimed in testimony that she did not even know whether she had shot HIM, just that the gun went off. Think about this. A person who is normally never violent (as she claims) does not experience feelings of murderous rage, wouldn’t hurt a spider, looks down at their hands, sees blood and immediately KNOWS they killed their ex-boyfriend? AS DeMarte explained, this is an illogical response. Someone who looks down at their hands, and sees a little blood on them MAY immediately think something like “How did I hurt myself?” “What happened”? BUT NOT “I knew I killed him”. It is simply NOT LOGICAL..Not if they truly did not remember what happened as the defendant said they did.

    The defense, during cross examination imo made this even worse because in front of the jury Jen Wilmott, says to Dr DeMarte (in essence) “Come now Dr DeMarte, you are saying that it is not logical for someone to be driving across the desert, they look down and see blood on their hands, KNOWING it is not their own blood, and its too much of a stretch to conclude that something BAD HAPPENED”? DeMarte of course says NO, its not a stretch to jump to the conclusion that something bad had happened..but that is NOT what Jodi said to me. She said she specifically she knew that she had killed him. A much different comment in the circumstances. Needless to say I don’t think the jury missed the point. What I wanted to ask Wilmott was how would the person KNOW it is not their blood anyway?

    Dr Geffner was there to discredit the state’s expert DeMarte and to challenge the Medical Examiner’s (Kevin Horn) findings that the shot could have come first and probably did not pass thru the part of the brain that would have incapacitated Travis Alexander. I thought his testimony very compelling and he did seem to go a long way in discrediting DeMarte’s testimony…because he basically said she made many grave mistakes. (Though he did not address the comment of knowing she killed Travis when seeing blood on hands.) But then Dr Jill Hayes came in to discredit Dr Geffner’s testimony.

    I think like many… Dr Hayes was absolutely unimpeachable and really completely restored DeMarte’s testimony while destroying Geffner and Samuels testimonies.

    I just wanted to say in regards to Arias having a Personality Disorder or BPD – I have read varying pyschologists discuss how a DX of BPD or ASP fits J Arias. DeMarte does cite how Arias’ behavior specifically met the criteria of a BPD dx. But again you need to watch the testimony to know that. I know it would be truly ideal if Arias had been seen by a professional back in her early youth so that we can have certified documentation to support that diagnosis now or rule it out. But its very uncommon that things are so neatly packaged up that way. My point is just because she did not get in trouble with the law or a doctor was not consulted does not mean she did not have early indicators present that support the dx. Parents DO NOT recognize the need to get the child help or …for whatever reason – the kid is not caught murdering the family pets. But we do know, from Arias herself, when asked by detective Flores early on whether she had ever been violent before- she tells a pretty horrible story of kicking the family dog so hard because she was mad at it that it was clearly so affected it ran away from the family home, its source of food and shelter – never to be seen again. There are also stories I have vaguely heard discussed or read about by past babysitters of Arias that she hit her brother over the head with a baseball bat repeatedly and could not be left alone with him for fear she would hurt him-but that was not evidence discussed or brought into trial so in my book that cannot be taken into consideration. But its hardly surprising that we are not hearing about problems from her family members personally now from way back then. When something like this happens, families WILL often go into protection mode. But her mother and father’s interviews with the police make it clear there were issues way back when that were NOT addressed.

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    • Well, I’ll try to get to the rest of you comment later, but now I just want to say, as you might imagine, I regard all after the fact “diagnoses” of personality disorders as bullshit. If she were diagnosed with some such thing before the murder it would be very probative, but I don’t think either her own experts or the prosecution’s have anything of value to say about her having personality disorders when it’s based on after the fact interviews or after the fact anything.

      One other quick thing: I think denying PTSD in the wake of what occurred, even if it had been Jodi who had done the killing, is ridiculous, and undermines rather definitively the credibility of DeMarte, if that’s her name.

      I agree with you that it’s also likely in the wake of this murder that the family would not be forthcoming if there had been problems, but that doesn’t mean you can legitimately conclude there were problems. It would be like saying that the absence of evidence of something proves it. I didn’t watch the interviews with the parents, I should prally do that.

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  3. Buck Eschaton

    JMRJ, maybe you can get Jodi to grant an interview. We’ve got lot’s of questions. I mean apparently she grants almost everybody an interview.

    Like

    • Watch the interview with “Daryl” here:

      http://kristinarandle.com/blog/

      I think you’ll find it very interesting.

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      • Buck Eschaton

        Why is everybody so creepy in this case? A lot of interesting talkers. The PPL “religious” conversion was something I’ve been trying to get at.
        See her for some of her favorite quotes.
        http://www.myspace.com/jodiarias/blog

        I can’t believe reading the books she has listed here (towards the bottom) did her much good.
        http://www.myspace.com/jodiarias

        I still don’t get the motive. Jealousy is triangular. I got that Travis was going to Cancun with someone else, but didn’t that fall through, wouldn’t Jodi have known that when she arrived. She had Travis again, there was no one to be jealous of, the “if I can’t have him no one can” thing would no longer be in effect, because she’s with him again. There’s no third person, is there? Who is she jealous of at the time of the murder? What is her motivation? Who is she jealous of? If it’s not jealousy then what is the motivation?

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        • Daryl seemed a bit too mild mannered for her to settle on. But I thought he had some insights. People do get caught up in the “magical” thinking, Dale Carnegie, Norman Vincent Peale, “The Secret” stuff. Seems to me MLM schemes are a natural outgrowth of that kind of mindset. Then again, MLM is just an extreme version of the sales culture. In any case, this pop-psych/philosophy is everywhere, lots of people are involved in it – mainly harmlessly, if annoyingly – and it has about as much connection to a brutal murder as a Bingo addiction. Which is to say none.

          Beyond that, just my opinion but the tenuous grasp on reality that characterizes this mindset can mimic a genuine mental disorder. I wouldn’t mind hearing from some psychobabblers on that issue. But I think it’s just a superficial similarity, and there’s no real pathology present. At least not on the individual level by itself, but you throw in the need for reinforcement from others, which is probably why MLM programs are so big on meetings and gatherings of the like minded, and you might have this sort of collective pathology going on. Does this collective pathology lead an otherwise normal and peaceable woman to commit a brutal stabbing murder? I think not.

          I’m probably beating a dead horse at this point, but I’ll just say again I have absolutely no confidence this woman did this at all, and I don’t care what she says or admits to. I think the fact this was prosecuted at all with all the investigative holes is more bizarre than she is. I wonder if Juan Martinez subscribes to some of the same beliefs.

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          • Jessie

            So, I’m a psychobabbler (and I don’t mind the term). I’m trained in the DSM — “the Bible of Mental Health” — and, much like the regular Bible, it’s probably best when not to taken too literally, but it can be a useful guide.

            You’re right, the “power of positive thinking” isn’t a mental disorder. (Nor, on the flip side, is “positive psychology” any part of real psychology.) “Magical thinking” can be a part of several mental disorders (OCD, phobias, psychosis), but things like “the law of attraction” or The Secret aren’t magical thinking in the clinical sense, which would be, for example, the crippling belief that if you don’t open and close a door three times every time you walk through it, something terrible will happen.

            The stuff Jodi Arias was talking about is just a common pop culture fad and it doesn’t sound like she nor Pre-Paid Legal took it to any more extreme than thousands of individuals and corporations who subscribe to the same philosophy. Part of diagnosing someone is determining whether their behavior is (a) causing them distress and interfering with their functioning and (b) outside the norm of their “cultural milieu.”

            Millions of people close their eyes and talk in their heads to an invisible man. Many of them believe he answers them directly. That’s not crazy, in part, because millions of people believe it and most of them find it anything but distressing or an interference in their functioning.

            I don’t know that the “power of positive thinking” is a particularly healthy belief, but it’s arguably part of American culture itself. Some people just get more enthusiastic about it.

            Now, could it have had an effect on the murder? Maybe. Alyce LaViolette testified that it kept Arias in denial that the relationship was destructive and escalating. It amplifies the tendency of battered women to see the good in their partners and believe the bad will go away if they just wish hard enough and try hard enough.

            The thinking goes that this made Arias less prepared for a more physically violent episode, so she would put herself in that situation and then be caught somewhat off-guard by it. But even if you don’t buy that she was abused, LaViolette’s more general testimony about that stuff was not particularly controversial.

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      • Buck Eschaton

        I’ve been watching some of the other interviews too, and my God those are painful to watch. Can’t they find someone halfway intelligent to ask some questions. Why are all the reporters so stupid?

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  4. Dennis

    Taking all things into account, a fugue state is best understood as a defense against having to explain what happened: A gun shot, multiple stabbings and near decapitation point to murder not self-defense or manslaughter.

    As to the degree of this woman’s possible mental trouble, who knows. Outside of sentencing, I don’t think it matters.

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  5. Dennis

    Jodi Arias told ABC that she felt betrayed by the jury. Betrayed? I think a window was opened just a bit.

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  6. AK

    JMRJ- I’m curious to hear your thoughts on the mistrial. What’s next for Jodi? Can this lead to greater avenues of appeal?

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    • AK, yes there are a lot of issues for appeal, including if they pursue and get the DP from a jury the constitutionality of AZ’s apparently unique DP procedure where they get a do-over if the jury hangs on it. This is just a mess. BTW I saw a movie last night – “Compulsion” – which is all about the DP in a Leopold and Loeb situation.

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