Jodi Arias Review

Apparently the State of Arizona is still debating what to do about executing her.  For what it’s worth I do agree about one thing with Kirk Nurmi, Jodi Arias’ lawyer:  it’s never going to happen.

But first, a cautionary tale.

There’s a motion to dismiss because of prosecutorial misconduct, and some of the misconduct alleged is a doozy:  the defense alleges that the main investigating Detective on the case, named Flores, deliberately altered the hard drive of a computer in order to destroy exculpatory evidence and that the prosecutor knew about it.

Now, if this is true that should not only be the end of the death penalty but the end of the conviction and the end of the state’s case entirely.  And it would have seemed from reading the defense motion that there was pretty good cause to believe it was true:  they have a record showing that the computer was checked out by Flores for a three hour period on June 19, 2009, and that this was the same period in which numerous files on the computer were deleted:

“Specifically, recent Forensic Analysis has shown that between the times of 13:56:19 and 16:51:34 on June 19, 2009 that (sic) thousands of files were deleted from Mr. Alexander’s computer.”

And to drive the point home, the defense motion connects the dots:

Coincidentally, on June 19, 2009 at 13:56:19 Detective Flores took possession of the … computer to take it to “Forensic Services” and that (sic) on the same day her returned the computer from “Forensic Services” at 16:51:34.

Of course, the word “coincidentally” is used facetiously.

But then the critical error:

At the present time, Ms. Arias [her lawyer, really, but that’s how we write these things sometimes – ed.] does not know who “Forensic Services” is…..

This is probably something you should have some idea about before you go alleging prosecutorial misconduct of the magnitude being alleged in the motion.

So of course, I was anxious to see how the judge would deal with the startling and serious allegation in her ruling, and I didn’t see much of anything about it for about two readings and I thought:  “AHA! Another perfidious judge just ignoring evidence and argument that would destroy the State’s conviction!”

But, alas, on the third reading I overcame confirmation bias and spotted a sentence that explained what had occurred since the defense motion was brought:

On June 19, 2009, the laptop computer was turned on and accessed at the Mesa Police Department during a review – of – evidence meeting attended by attorneys representing the defendant. The case agent, prosecutor, and defense investigator were also present during that meeting

That’s right, on June 19, 2009 Detective Flores took the computer to a meeting where the defense lawyers and investigators were present – to review the evidence!

Oops.

The caution is this:  you should always have your ducks in a row when you present anything to the court.  Even if you do that, you won’t be infallible and there will be times you turn out to be wrong.  But if you’re accusing the prosecution of basically criminal misconduct, you had better make triple sure, and you don’t go alleging that when you don’t know what “Forensic Services” refers to.

Ugh.

Of course, it really shouldn’t matter.  The prosecution’s shift from “shot first” when that suited them to “shot last” when that did, is sufficient to overturn the guilty verdict.  But you have to make the argument and cite the case:  Pyle v. Kansas

Quiz for any budding criminal defense types, or even experienced CDL types:  explain why the Pyle case requires overturning the Jodi Arias conviction.  Answer in the comments.

Advertisements

43 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

43 responses to “Jodi Arias Review

  1. The prosecution NEVER said shot was first–that was only discussed by the case agent, Flores, and was his personal opinion of what happened. Once the medical examiner stated that the shot was last, it was accepted. It was never the prosecution’s theory–and never presented in court in front of a jury. It doesn’t matter–Arias molded her story on the shot being first–and it was easily proved to be a lie. There’s no legal reason that the conviction will be thrown out due to a theory of the crime by the lead case agent being proved wrong, and then amended.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re just parroting the prosecution line. It doesn’t matter whether the evidence was put in before the jury or not. This is about prosecutor honesty, not the strength of evidence or the merits of the case otherwise.

      And the gamesmanship here was all by the prosecutor. When he wanted to show that it was more likely that Arias would be able to overpower Alexander in a knife fight he went with shot first. When he wanted to show aggravating factors for the death penalty he went with shot last. That’s a dishonest flip flop and the conviction should be overturned under Pyle.

      Not that it will be.

      Like

      • ” When he wanted to show aggravating factors for the death penalty he went with shot last.”

        You have it the wrong way round. At the 2009 pre-trial hearing on the death-penalty, the prosecution presented evidence that the shot was first.

        The reason for the change weas simply that Jodi Arias revealed her account, so the prosecutor wanted a theory that would contradict her account. The truth of course is that the gunshot was first, as the lead detective worked out with Dr Horn soon after Alexander was killed.

        He even wrote it in his report on 27 August 2008:

        “The initial report from Dr. Horn was that the gunshot wound to Travis’ head would not have been fatal. The gunshot would have possibly disabled him temporarily.”

        As if this wasn’t enough, the autopsy report states that the Dura Mater was intact, meaning no damage to the brain. Dr Horn claimed on the last day of the long tiral that this was a typographical error.

        Please see https://geebee2.wordpress.com/jodi-arias-flores-perjury/ for a full account of the perjury of the lead detective.

        Like

        • George! Nice to see you over here.

          In any case, with this kind of issue the focus is not on the evidence as such, as it pertains to the merits of the case; rather it’s on what is going on inside the prosecutor’s head, whether he’s being honest or not.

          Respectfully, and frankly, I think you’re wrong here. It doesn’t matter that the “shot first” testimoney came at a “death penalty” hearing, assuming that’s true. For a long time they were anticipating the problem of how Arias was able to overpower Alexander. They only found out that problem didn’t exist (for trial purposes) when it became clear Arias was going to admit killing him. The prosecutor then switched his contention because he wanted to make the killing seem especially cruel, with a coup de grace and all that because he’s trying to get the DP.

          The prosecution can only produce evidence to the effect that the shot came first if they believe the shot came first. Otherwise they are being dishonest. If it turns out to have been mistaken, they can correct it. But when they’re just deliberately dishonest that violates a defendant’s right to due process of law.

          Liked by 1 person

          • “The prosecution can only produce evidence to the effect that the shot came first if they believe the shot came first. Otherwise they are being dishonest.”

            They are totally dishonest, the change was purely to confuse matters and turn the contest into a swearing competition between Jodi and the Medical Examiner, Dr Horn.

            This is Maricopa County : the land of corrupt, lying detectives and Medical Examiners who will testify however they are told to get a conviction, even if it will never survive appeal many years later.

            It’s a repeat of Debra Milke.

            Like

      • omg..you can shred a man to piece and have your conviction over turned over a dispute on how she first inflicted the wounds..are you in “freaken” sane?

        Like

  2. chrishalkides

    It is unclear to me how the files came to be deleted. Can you clarify?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Chris, nice to hear from you again.

      Well, of course I don’t know either. There was some implication in the defense motion that some files are automatically deleted when you power up out of sleep mode.

      I guess the point I was making was that it’s pretty embarrassing when you allege this kind of thing and it turns out the time frame included a meeting where everyone – prosecution and defense – was present.

      There isn’t enough information in the opinion or the motion to really resolve anything, and I think the hearing on this issue was sealed, but even if it wasn’t I didn’t watch any of it.

      BTW, I went over and started up a little twitter discussion about this and the frenzy of the obsessed is still very much in play here. You get a huge reaction to anything about Jodi Arias, just as you get a frenzied reaction to anything Amanda Knox.

      I’ve noticed that the vast majority of the obsessed are women who are guilters, in both the Amanda Knox and the Jodi Arias matters. What do you make of that?

      Like

      • chrishalkides

        It had occurred to me that metadata, such as the time of last access of a file, might have been destroyed, but I have no expertise in computer forensics. This was the first indication that I had seen that there might have been bad evidence in the Arias case, but it seems to have been much ado about nothing. On the other hand (and setting aside the issue of guilt or innocence for a moment), there was some dubious evidence in the Casey Anthony case; I have some questions about the odor evidence, for example. There was an abundance of confirmation bias in the Patricia Stallings case, and there are mountains of shoddy evidence in the Lindy Chamberlain case and the Knox/Sollecito. These cases and others make me wish for more and more effective reforms in forensics.

        Reflecting on these cases for a moment, I sometimes think that public opinion in general is harsher when women are accused of murder than when men are accused of murder. I actually don’t know much about the gender or motivations of PG commenters in either the Arias case or the Knox/Sollecito case, because they are anonymous. What I find troubling is the degree to which people sometimes form an opinion on a case early on, then are unable to adjust their assessment when new evidence comes in. I have recently become aware that some people who take a PG position in these cases have extremely low opinions of the forensic experts called by the defense but are quite credulous when it comes to the prosecution’s forensic experts.

        Like

    • Hello Chris, nice to see you here. The case of Jodi Arias is exceptionally complex in every way, with extensive forensic evidence and a corrupt, incompetent prosection witnesses. DNA is not an issue though, it’s more the blood evidence that tells us what happened. It’s clear that Travis didn’t fear Jodi after he was shot ( it’s elementary that the prosecution gunshot last nonsense is nonsense ), since he stands at the sink with his back to Jodi.

      And of course Jodi had no motive to attack him. But people get distracted by irrelevant random events that make it look like premeditated murder, when it’s nothing of the sort. Jodi even arranged an appointment at a time she could not possibly keep. But juries oftencannot cope with such complex evidence, they just guess at the truth, which can be surprising.

      Like

      • wow..delusional sir! really! incompetent prosecutor witness??? omg! you can actually say that..after seeing DT’s fumbling bumbling disorganized, flustered, idiots? how does that compare to say Dr. Demarte’s professional delivery? ..and if you don’t see premeditation in this crystal clear map Juan carefully layed out for you, and the rest of the world, including 12 jurors of her peers do, …LOL, Get Real..as if a prosecutor of Juan’s stature and magnificance..would risk prosecutorial misconduct for this POS . ya ok there happy!! i’ll just throw my career out the door just to ensure this freak of nature gets death!! amazing!! nothing to do with the fact that she’s all but left a trail of evidence leading right up to her and depicting exactly what her devious soul did!! and how !!.. why did she try to cover it up, right off the bat..the clean up? entire bedding + camera in the wash..? Travis in the shower so she could rinse herself and him off to eliminate any trace DNA!! rush the hell out of there, without looking behind..drive to the dessert..throw out gun, clothes, make that phone call to Travis ? HELLO..anything in that head of yours add any of that up!!..the blond rents the white care (same color as roomate, insisted on that! ..returns it, she’s now a brunette..! Gas cans? license plate? phone is dead, it’s lost no charger for entire trip.. ooo, looky here found it just in time to call Travis to leave him a nice happy message as he lay dead in the shower!! ..next..i know..let’s go hump Ryan.. wow.just wow..who..who drives all that distance? to go romp with someone they consider an abuser? .i suppose you’re one of those idiots that expected her out for christmas? ROFLMA ..here ya go jodi, our apologies..you’re free to go..!! GOD help the delusional!! they flippen scare the rest of us normal people!! you’re on crack!! smfh!! go smoke another one!

        Like

  3. HonestAbe

    Hi John. The Arias trial brings out a lot of emotion in the “Justice for Travis” population. I have argued simple points on Twitter as well as Facebook and received the same results you did. I’m not certain why Nurmi chose the defense path he did though it seemed like the plan was for Jodi to admit guilt all along rather than attacking the circumstantial evidence. Though even CNN produced a pathologist who said Tracis was probably shot first, I don’t recall the defense team ever producing an expert witness to contradict Horn or even challenge the prosecution’s change in the order of events. We had covered the unlikelihood of Jodi overpowering Travis elsewhere but many have jumped on the bandwagon of the gunshot coming last. We’ll probably never know for certain but it still concerns me how easy it has been for the prosecution to come up with a theory and have the media as well as many to take it as gospel. As for Travis, judging by the perverse nature of their relationship, to not find porn of any kind on his computer is beyond unbelievable. By the way, if you haven’t read it already, the press releases transcripts of Jodi’s secret witness testimony. I haven’t finished reading it but it doesn’t paint the picture of a crazed woman but rather one who has a history of been treated unfairly. I will chime in again when I have read it all. Hope all is well on your side!

    Like

  4. Annalisa

    Are you guys really supporting Jodi Arias? I haven’t read your blog before this; the link was posted on Twitter. I am a little bit surprised to hear that a lawyer (as I am assuming you are) is actually supporting her claim of self-defense and saying things like “the conviction must be overturned”. Was the crime scene not graphic enough for you? Did you miss the proof (here we venture into a zone of beliefs and how one interprets things to be fact) of premeditation? Do you not think that if this was a case of self-defense, she would have only needed to incapacitate him; not DEcapitate him? And then run and leave the house? She could have called 911 for help at that point or gotten a neighbor. I am not saying that the prosecution is infallable. What I am saying is that for ME, it is a clear case of murder and not of self-defense. Just wondering in what corner you stand and why. Respectfully.

    Like

    • Hello, Annalisa, thanks for the comment.

      I’m not a partisan here. I don’t know what to think. But I have been interested in the idea that maybe there really were others at the scene. I basically don’t believe Jodi Arias, and that includes her “admissions” that she killed him by herself, although of course that may be true.

      I just haven’t seen much analysis of the photos, and it’s really weird that they even exist. So with all of the attention on the case, I thought someone might have done some analysis of them.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Judge already ruled order doesn’t matter. This occurred during first trial after maybe the 10th attempt to get a mistrial on these grounds. Went to COA and they ruled trial must continue. Try again.

    Like

  6. Barrett

    HLN did quite a bit of coverage and speculation since that’s all one can really do. In the photo you posted on Twitter, they say you are looking at Travis’ shoulder, Jodi’s foot, and perhaps Travis’ in the distance. http://www.hlntv.com/video/2013/04/02/jodi-arias-travis-alexander-death-photo-reenact Why no one tried to simulate what happens when the camera is dropped using the same camera of course escapes me. Many stop working altogether but this one fires off a few shots. It’s like a Timex. I have gone round and round with the haters and still have to agree with you: how in the heck did a woman of about 117 lbs take on and mutilate a male, presumably stronger, who outweighed her by almost 100 lbs. Not only that, how in the world did she wield almost 30 stab wounds and not get as much as a single mark on her face. The prosecution says that her turning her license plate upside down and using gas cans proves her intent to arrive and leave incognito. However, I would think having an upside down license plate would DRAW attention to the vehicle. Also, she arrived in the early morning and for all we know, one of his roommates could have been there or seen her. Then, despite the fact that she wanted to arrive and leave unnoticed, she shoots a gun in the house for potential neighbors or a roommate to hear. To top it off, she leaves when people are arriving home from work. Come on… I don’t buy it, especially with only 60 seconds, at least the way they presented it. Even the coroner said Travis fought valiantly based on the bruises on his hands. OK then, whom did he hit because it wasn’t Jodi. What would have made more sense to me is she takes photos of him, confronts him about whatever has her so angry and shoots him in the shower. He is stunned and doesn’t know what damage has been inflicted. He goes to the mirror to see, blood gets on the sink. He’s pissed now. He follows her to the bedroom tackles her on the bed but she finds the knife (we don’t know if there was blood on the sheets because she washed them and I don’t recall hearing that they were tested). She stabs him in the chest, he staggers backward. She goes at him now. He turns and she stabs at his back, maybe she jumps on him. Somehow he gets turned around. She gets on top of him and with a huge swing, cuts his throat. Still, this doesn’t explain the photos or how she not only got him to the shower but propped up. From what I recall, the front door was open so no B&E. We’ll probably never really know but I find it hard to believe a woman did that much damage. I’d lean more towards a male being there either at her invitation or someone who wanted to see Travis dead. There are a lot of videos on HLN as this case was covered extensively. Here’s a test on the 62 seconds: http://www.hlntv.com/video/2013/03/15/jodi-arias-version-travis-alexander-death

    Like

    • Barret, thanks. I’ll look at those when I get a chance.
      I think I see that in the right portion of the frame you have Travis’ right shoulder, apparently with blood streaming. Then perhaps his right arm or a portion of it, or perhaps leg or hip. This would mean Travis was on his back at that point, and seriously if not mortally wounded.

      There’s the picture of his face that was taken not quite 2 minutes earlier, at 5:29:20 where he is obviously unhurt. Then a minute and 10 seconds after that, at 5:30:30 there’s the photo of him, also apparently unhurt, with his legs crossed, seated in the shower, but his head isn’t shown in the photo and Jodi Arias is supposed to be a skilled photographer, right? (Or is this also alleged to be an accidental photo)? It’s less than two minutes from that photo to him being mortally wounded on his back on his floor in the bathroom. So is the idea that in that under-2-minute window he was shot and stabbed, went from the bathroom to the hallway and then back again either on his own or being dragged after being incapacitated?

      I mean, the really crucial thing about the photos is that they establish facts occurring at very definite times, but of course you also have to be able to discern what is in them to figure out what facts they establish.

      Going back to the 5:32:16 photo, then, you have the leg and foot, apparently clad in black though not necessarily. Could be anyone’s foot, of course.

      As far as you know, has anyone ever offered any opinion about that area of the frame to the left and the blue stripe near the left border?

      Like

    • Interested Blog Reader

      Barrett, your narrative is far more plausible than any I’ve heard thus far from anyone else. However, I’m still left the a question as to why if she premeditated this murder (in the fashion we are supposed to believe from stealing a gun, borrowing/buying gas cans to cover her tracks, changing her hair color, etc.), why did she wait to kill him until a time when she could so easily have been discovered doing so? Why not kill him when he was sleeping? Did she have to wait for her male accomplice to get there? I’m not even sure that makes sense though.

      Like

  7. Jessie

    Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in…. But I can’t help myself. I think you can pick your confirmation bias back up off the floor, John.

    The pieces you quoted here weren’t terribly relevant to the central allegation in the defense motion (not sealed), which is that the state deliberately presented false evidence at the original trial. And, oh, yeah, files disappeared off the hard drive that MIGHT have been deliberately deleted.

    But the defense has the state dead to rights on false testimony. The forensic expert for the Mesa PD has admitted under oath that there was pornography on the original hard drive — some of it pedophilic and supposedly so vile that none of newspapers will repeat the names of the websites accessed.

    What happened to it? If anybody knows, they’re not squealing. The defense brought in a forensics guy who has apparently worked both for sides of the courtroom before, and he testified that there were tens of thousands of pornographic sites accessed, leaving file traces that the state could not possibly have missed. He kept saying things like, “You’re lying, Juan. Stop playing this game. You don’t understand computers.” (I may eventually watch the recordings of the retrial just to watch this particular exchange.)

    The defense hasn’t been able to prove that the state DELIBERATELY altered the hard drive. It’s fishy though. The state turned over a copy of the hard drive with something like 70,000 files altered. But there is some wiggle room in that the alterations could have happened accidentally when the computer was awakened at the scene and/or when it was later turned on in the presence of both prosecution and defense — each side claims the other powered it up — without a “write blocker” to prevent overwriting files. (However, June 19 is not the only point at which the Mesa PD had access to the computer. It’s just one date that was in dispute.)

    So it is possible that thousands of files of kiddie porn were accidentally deleted. Each side has accused the other of intentionally deleting those files, but neither can prove it. What the defense has proven, with the testimony of the Mesa PD, is that the police knew full well there was porn on the hard drive, but testified at the trial that there was none.

    The judge ruled that it was up to the jury to determine the credibility of witnesses, and that the defense brought no witnesses to counter the zero-porn claim (which they couldn’t have, because they didn’t know about the deleted files during the original trial; it was discovered after the retrial was already underway).

    So….yea for perjury?

    Like

    • Interested Blog Reader

      Good analysis, Jessie. I am left with two questions lingering in my mind about this though. First of all, I clearly remember Lonnie Dworkin responding during the guilt phase that there was porn on the computer (whichever version he was working with) but the defense took it no further. Why? The prosecutor argued that Dworkin had previously said there was no porn and that was in his report.

      Second question, how any why is any of this a mitigating factor in the sentencing phase that the jury should consider? Is the defense merely attempting to preserve the record for appeal by raising this issue now? If so, what is the relevance of presenting it to the jury? Is it to somehow explain to the jury exactly why Jodi Arias had to kill Travis Alexander in such a fashion? I’m lost.

      Like

      • The defense brought this issue (prosecution lying about porn on the computer) up in a motion. I’m not sure if they have argued anything about it to the jury. It’s probable that they’re making a record for an appellate court. If there’s a death sentence, appellate courts actually pay attention and reverse with some frequency; otherwise they usually don’t pay very much attention, if any. That’s why there will more likely be a reversal if there’s a death sentence. People who are hoping for one should ponder that.

        Like

        • Interested Blog Reader

          Quite a bit of it was presented to the jury, indeed. But, this is the sentencing-phase, NOT the guilt-phase of the trial. Shouldn’t these issues have been raised during the guilt-phase or post-conviction? That’s the part that confuses me about preserving the record during this phase.

          Like

    • Well, Jessie, here’s where that Mooney thing kicks in.

      The police committed perjury, obviously. If we assume that the prosecutor didn’t know it was perjury at the time, then he’s not guilty of anything unless and until the obvious is brought to his attention and he doesn’t do anything about it.

      So, even if the prosecutor here didn’t know about the perjury at the time it was placed in evidence, he knows about it now, and since he cannot “obtain a conviction” with known perjury that means he must agree to vacate this conviction. Not only agree, but make the motion himself.

      That’s if things were functioning properly.

      As things actually function, the prosecutor will stamp his feet and deny and obfuscate in the face of the most unequivocal evidence in order to preserve the conviction he “won” with perjured testimony. And when it is obvious that he won his conviction with perjured testimony and this is his reaction he should be disbarred. People like that should be purged from the profession. But that’s only my opinion at this point.

      If, on the other hand, he knew it was perjury when he put it into evidence, then he should be in prison.

      In any case, Jessie, always nice to hear from you and I was wondering if you were up on this photo evidence, because as with a lot of things here, it doesn’t seem that much was done with it.

      My latest comment on it is here, and if you have any thoughts I’d be glad to hear them:

      https://strikelawyer.wordpress.com/2015/01/19/jodi-arias-a-few-questions-warning-graphic-to-the-extent-it-can-be-made-sense-of/#comment-6836

      Liked by 1 person

      • Interested Blog Reader

        I think this is where it all become rather tricky. If I recall correctly, Officer Melendez was specifically asked if there were pornographic images on the computer (such as images of women’s breasts — and I believe the prosecutor specifically asked that very question). It appears, even now, that there were no pornographic images on the computer. There were traces of searches of some pornographic websites, such as YouPorn.com (one that was mentioned, for example). What is the definition of “pornography” ON the computer? Is it pornographic images which exist on the computer? Or, is it the possibility that a user of the computer (which may not have been Travis Alexander) viewed a pornographic website (or several hundred such websites)?

        That was actually one of the prosecutor’s arguments — that the computer was not locked, the room wasn’t locked, not even the house was locked, and there were others (including several roommates) who could have used the computer and searched for porn. Of course, he was attempting to obfuscate. However, as I recall, back in 2007-2008, it was not uncommon for an innocent search result when clicked upon to cause a pornographic website to accidentally pop up. Does that mean I viewed porn or I just used my computer frequently to search?

        Like

  8. Jessie

    No, I don’t know much about the photos. (I’m actually paying more attention to the retrial than I did to the original because I got interested in the conflict between First versus Fifth and Sixth Amendment rights. I’m still not sure how I feel about that aspect of the current proceedings.)

    My off-the-cuff response to the photos: One really needs to have a theory of the events already in order to make much sense of the last four photos. The prosecution did not apparently consider 5:30:30 to be taken during the attack because Martinez made much of how the attack lasted two-and-half minutes. (It struck me as odd that he would lock himself into that kind of timeframe since there’s no reason to believe the attack didn’t continue past 5:33:32, but maybe he just wanted to make sure that was on the record so he could do a dramatic two-and-a-half minute moment of silence during closing arguments).

    Anyway, in 5:30:30, I think what looks like blood is really wet leg hair. There’s no reason for (quite a lot of) blood to be running in rivulets from his knee towards his groin, yet there’s no blood nor sign of injury to his chest. Most likely, that’s the last picture taken of Travis Alexander while he was still alive. The one before it, where’s he’s staring directly into the camera, just makes for a better “last photo.” If you look at the whole series, quite a few of the photos aren’t very good. It looks like the idea was for him to just move around in the shower, while she rapidly snapped pictures.

    The final 5:33:32 photo is just as inscrutable as the rest. Looked at one way, it shows the baseboard at an angle, dividing the wall and the floor. But looked at another way, it shows a small step with a carpet bar, which didn’t exist in the bedroom suite. There was such a step and carpet bar in the laundry room though, where the camera was moved to the washer and eventually found — yet that photo was taken only 1:25 minutes after the “dragging” photo, which would change most people’s narrative considerably.

    Incidentally, I don’t find it at all hard to believe that a digital camera would snap photos if dropped or kicked. Some of them will snap photos just from being jostled.

    Like

    • Jessie, thanks very much for this comment. Reasoning through this with someone, especially you, is very helpful.

      First let’s agree on this: since the photos are indisputable proof to the extent they haven’t been altered or tampered with, anything they can tell you is very, very solid evidence. Far more solid than anything Jodi says, or Flores says, for example.

      Unfortunately, we have to conclude that the prosecution didn’t vigorously analyze them because of the concern that such an analysis might undermine the case against JA. They already had a winnable case, why screw it up with pesky information that can’t be disputed?

      Anyway. The photo of TA seated in the shower is a break from all the previous shower photos because the head wasn’t shown. This strongly suggests – indeed it’s pretty much a mandatory inference – that the events leading to TA’s death were underway at that point. Weaker, but still definitely better than any other inference, this is when he was shot in the temple. Given his position, someone shooting him in the head from a standing position would likely inflict that wound – right temple, downward trajectory. Also, a serious but not totally incapacitating wound is the only thing that explains the blood in the sink.

      If the picture was snapped at pretty much the instant he was shot that would be before the bloody mess, but some blood might still be visible and that’s why I asked about whether anyone could determine that from the photo.

      So, that 5:30:30 photo demonstrates that TA was shot at that point, or very near it.

      Moving on then, either JA shot him or someone else did.

      The fact that the camera was still pointing solidly towards TA, albeit incorrectly framed since it doesn’t show the head, suggests that JA had both hands on the camera. Doesn’t necessarily mean that, but it’s the better of the possible inferences. If, therefore, he was shot almost precisely at that moment – and that’s the really good inference here, like I said, pretty much mandatory – then that would mean that JA didn’t shoot him, someone else did.

      Throw in that the camera’s position for the photo suggests that the photographer was not, at that point standing.

      I’d be pleased to hear your thoughts especially if you can think of any reason I’m incorrect here.

      Like

      • Jessie

        Well, yeah, I can think of one obvious reason this is incorrect: 5:30:30 is far from the only photo in the whole series where his head is cut off. There’s lots of photos in the shower series of random body parts or just his body with the head out of frame.

        So there’s no mandatory inference here. Just another example of interpreting the photos through whatever story one already believes.

        I could just as easily argue that he’s clearly moving into a legs-crossed pose (note the legs in 5:30:30 are crossed), causing Jodi to shift the position of the camera, which caused her drop it, snapping the next photo of the ceiling, and causing Travis to fly into a rage. But I get none of that from the photo. I’m just using the photo to bolster a particular story.

        Ah…but there’s another problem with both our stories! The next photo — the blurry shot of the ceiling, 5:31:14 — is taken nearly a full minute later. So you’re arguing it took her a full minute to react to him being shot in the head in front of her by intruders standing behind her? Sure, I’ll allow for a moment’s frozen reaction time to absorb what just happened, but I’m calling bullshit on 45 seconds’ worth of reaction time.

        About the only mandatory inference from these photos is the date and time of day he was killed.

        Like

        • Jessie! You miss the point. 5:30:30 is the first photo in time where there is (rather obviously) something wrong. Since we know that from there something was very wrong indeed, that makes the photo extremely significant, if it can tell us anything else.

          Of course, it is possible that it was just a bad photo-shot for reasons having nothing to do with what went on right after. In other words, just a coincidence. But this is untenable in view of the probabilities.

          That TA’s body was positioned in that photo such that someone shooting him in the head from a standing position from outside the shower would most likely have hit him on the right side at a downward angle, matching the gunshot wound, could also of course be a coincidence. But again, relatively untenable to argue that.

          I think 5:30:30 demonstrates pretty well that TA was being or just had been shot when it was taken. And that sequence of events is pretty much the only thing that explains the blood in the sink. If any blood is visible in that photo that would seal it, in my opinion, but I can’t answer that question.

          It is weaker in demonstrating that JA could not have shot him. It is more likely, in my opinion, that someone else did who was also there, but either way that would not, by itself, exonerate JA anyway. So she might have shot him and that would make her guilty; or someone she was acting in concert with shot him and that would make her guilty, too. Only if there was someone else who shot him and she had no idea would there be a basis to exonerate her. And of course you would need to prove that, or at least have some proof of it other than her account that someone else was there.

          So, this would be a dangerous path for both the defense and the prosecution. For the latter, it sets up a situation where she shot him, but didn’t kill him, which provoked a ferocious response and she defended herself with a knife and won the battle since he was hobbled by his wound. She might actually get a self-defense acquittal.

          For the defense, it’s a dangerous path because it points to pre-meditation and calculation, unless you could establish the third alternative – that is, that someone else shot him and she was completely unaware that was going to happen.

          So maybe Nurmi knows what he’s doing after all. It’s a tough case for the defense, no matter how you look at it.

          Like

          • Honest Abe

            I would seem logical that the gunshot was the first. Based on the trajectory of the bullet, it would explain a lot. After all, Travis’ right side would be exposed at that time whereas his left side was exposed when he was discovered in the shower. Also, there is quite a lot of blood in the shower and we know that dead people do not bleed. As for the 45 seconds, anything could have happened. Jodi may have been considering a new pose. However, assuming she did shoot him, perhaps Jodi was dazed for a bit and Travis may have temporarily lost consciousness. As she approached, maybe he regained consciousness and startled her forcing her to depress the shutter button. The blood on the sink appears to have been aspirated and since the bullet would have crossed his sinus cavity, it’s not unreasonable to believe he had blood going down the back of his throat causing him to cough which explains the spray. A couple of things I noticed. 1. I would think Jodi would have used two hands on the gun so how did the camera take that photo at 5:31:15. It appears to be taken from a standing position. 2. It would seem logical to believe he bled in the shower before the stab wounds since we don’t see a constant blood smearing of blood from the beginning of the carpet in the bedroom to the shower. 3. The stab wounds to Travis core were delivered with the blade positioned horizontally. The stab wounds to his back were mostly angled like someone was chopping at him to put him down. They are consistent with a left-handed attacker. Such a shame that he had to endure that. Here are some links that may be of value regarding the time stamps.

            https://jessicaknight82.wordpress.com/2013/02/23/photos-from-the-travis-alexander-murder-trial-warning-very-graphic/

            Photos in real time: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pEEW7S16o0c

            Computer simulation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hz1ctsFu6bU

            Like

          • Jessie

            Have you actually looked at the entire series of shower photos, John? Give that a try. Because there’s nothing substantially different about the photo in question. It is NOT the only photo where his head isn’t in the frame. Quite a few of the photos are awkward, unposed shots where only part of his body appears in the frame. Many of them lop off his head.

            Factor in that there’s no sign of injury and no visible blood, I’m having a hard time even taking this seriously. You’re reading things into it to make it fit your narrative of the events. It’s one thing to speculate, but it’s another to act like that speculation obviously demonstrates something that is not the least bit obvious.

            His head in that photo would be pointed towards the shower wall — not head-on towards the shooter at a downward angle, which was the trajectory of the bullet.

            He’s crossing his legs in such a way that would require holding the legs in that position — hard to maintain having just taken a bullet in the face.

            And then, what? Jodi’s response to these stealth intruders appearing out of nowhere and shooting her boyfriend is….to take a photo of the event?? (If the gunshot and photo literally happened at the same exact moment, you still have the problem that he’s in the wrong position unless his face were turned to his right — towards the camera — in which case, how did he not react to these intruders bursting in? For the bullet trajectory to work, he’d have to have seen them coming. He was facing his shooter.)

            I don’t care what crazy shit people read into these photos — because, by themselves, they tell us almost nothing. But at least admit they’re a Rorschach test and you’re seeing in them what you want to see.

            Like

            • Jessie. For once you’re not being fair.

              There aren’t a lot of photos. Of the ones that precede 5:30:30 most show TA’s face. Two do not, one that is of his back and one where his arms are crossed over his chest. But all of the preceding photos are what you might call properly framed, meaning there is no suggestion that the camera took anything other than what the photographer intended it to take, with TA posing intentionally to be photographed.

              By contrast, 5:30:30 is aesthetically indefensible. Admittedly, it might just be a mistake of framing the photo or of the subject posing or both, but given what is known – absolutely known – about what immediately followed, that is less likely than an interpretation that is otherwise natural anyway: the TA death spiral had begun either at or very near the moment that photo was taken.

              I didn’t think this about these photos before. I mean, I was aware of them but I didn’t really think about them at all. But it occurred to me that these photos are very good proof, images of what actually occurred, made at the time, which is better than anyone’s testimony. So inferences from what they show, to the degree they are fair, or reasonable, or unarguable, become very valuable in determining just what happened.

              I really don’t have any strong opinions here. I am defense minded, so I’m biased that way, but truthfully, I never just see what I want to see from evidence. The photos, in my opinion, and when coupled with other indisputable proof like the blood all over the sink, which could only (well, almost) have occurred with a seriously wounded TA standing up, support a scenario where JA is guilty, either by herself or with an accomplice or accomplices.

              I would say that they also provide weak corroboration of her earlier account that someone completely unknown to her broke in. Since there were others who had a motive, that idea can’t be dismissed out of hand.

              But 5:30:30 – coupled with the departure from the appearance of the previous photos, coupled with the blood in the sink, coupled with the times and character of the subsequent photos, coupled with the known character of the gunshot wound – is pretty good evidence that TA was shot in the right temple more or less at the same time that photo was taken.

              If anyone could determine that any of those dark areas in the photo were blood, it would be excellent evidence of that, pretty much unarguable. But I can’t do that.

              P.S. Lots of discussion and diagramming of the gunshot wound here:

              http://herrspeightsventures.com/Innocence_Proof_of_Perjury.php

              Like

              • HonestAbe

                There are a lot of people who somehow became attached to TA. Jesse appears to be one. The blood evidence in his ear was discovered relatively recently and puts a scientific wrench in the story of the prosecution. As I noted n an earlier post, a pathologist had noted that TA was probably shot first and that the bullet didn’t penetrate deep enough to cause instant death. So, now we have a way to counter Martinez and a way to counter Horn. If you look at the x-Ray of TA’s head, one can see a fragment at the temple and the bullet in his lower jaw. It would only make sense that he was sitting down. Anyway, what better way to ensure you won’t because you won’t be susceptible to a counter attack than to shoot him sitting down. I don’t know about premeditation though. It would have been easier to shoot him and get out of there but then again, people do some strange things. If you are correct John and Nurmi has some of this evidence up his sleeve, It would seem a retrial could be forthcoming. What a shame for the families.

                Like

              • Abe!

                Naw, Jessie is a very respected commenter around here. I think she just has a peeve about reading into photos like you’re reading tea leaves, which I can understand since there’s been a lot of speculation about them. I was trying to explain to her, though, that since they indisputably depict images of things that really occurred, they are very, very good evidence if they can tell you anything either directly or by inference. And that reasonable inferences are not the same as speculation or reading tea leaves.

                The other point I was making to her and others in the post was that neither side did much analysis of the photos, and I think that’s because both sides felt they had something to lose by doing an in-depth analysis. So they’re kind of an un-mined resource.

                Jessie will calm down and return, I think.

                Like

  9. Liberty

    I’m not sure if I’m posting this in the correct conversation, but here I go…

    Think about this, if the bullet entered the tough fibrous layer of the brain then there would be exit tear in the dura mater in the bottom of brain. Yes, Horn said it was a typo, he was adamant there was no other way to explain it. He testified the bullet HAD to enter the brain because in a young person of Alexander age, the brain is right up against the skull, therefore as soon as the bullet pierced the skull bone it entered the brain, tracked through brain, shattering bones along the way, (BUT no bone fragments or bullet fragments in the brain) and came to rest behind the left cheek bone.
    Horn performed his standard procedure by x-raying the head prior to the brain autopsy. I don’t mean to be gross, but then he lifted the autolyzed brain out and placed in a tray to exam it and to make slices through the brain and looked at it. At first, he doesn’t remember taking slices through the brain, he tell Willmott it is autolyzed, says it’s there but has turned to liquid, then later when she questions him about the slices he did of the brain, he revised that description and said it’s more like tapioca pudding. Maybe I expect too much but I would think examining a gunshot wound victim brain the very first thing a ME would look at is the bullet’s entry and exit tears in the dura mater before making his slices. I know this is gross but he never mentions any of the autolyzed brain matter (liquid or pudding) leaking out hole in skull, or leaking out of the holes in the dura mater. I’d think, If you have an entry and exit hole in dura mater no matter the pudding condition of brain you could determine a bullet trajectory through the brain.
    Just for the heck of it, read Pres. Lincoln’s one page autopsy report. You will learn more details regarding Lincoln’s dura mater than Horn ever thought about putting in Alexander’s autopsy report. Horn’s report is skimpy on details regarding the brain; it’s impossible to draw any ironclad proof that the gunshot was first or last. If you review the trial tape of Horn first time on the stand testifying, you can tell he doesn’t remember doing this particular autopsy very well. He does hundreds of autopsy a year, so basically he reiterated what was written on his report, but he failed to scrutinize it before he testified. For some reason Martinez wanted to change the order of his witness that day and he called Horn earlier than expected, this may have been part of why he wasn’t fully prepared.
    I’m of the belief the gunshot was first.

    Like

    • Thanks for the comment. In any case, let’s cut to the chase.

      The ME can fairly have an opinion about the gunshot wound to the effect that the bullet entered in such and such a place and wound up where it wound up. If he wants to say that the brain was too decomposed to accurately determine the damage to the brain from the gunshot wound he can fairly say that, too. If he wants to say, as I believe he did in earlier testimony, that individuals with similar gunshot wounds were surprisingly able to function afterwards he can fairly say that, too.

      What he can’t fairly say is that such a wound would have been incapacitating and so the wound must have come post mortem. And again, the idea that his report should have read “not” intact is too stupid to belabor.

      All the other circumstantial proof indicates that TA was shot in the head while seated in the shower at or very near the moment that the 5:30:30 photo was taken. It is not indisputable, but it’s so far better than any other conclusion that it would have to be the one any fact finder must go with.

      And here’s the thing: I can certainly go on from there and construct a scenario where JA is guilty of premeditated murder, all by herself. And the prosecutor could certainly have done the same thing, on very reliable evidence, without badgering any witnesses or bullying the ME into lying about typographical errors.

      People like Martinez should be purged from the profession. They turn trials into circuses and mockery, waste enormous resources and hopelessly corrupt the process.

      It could very well be that JA is just as guilty as the “haters” make her out to be, but that she’ll eventually be released because of JM’s misconduct.

      Like

      • John, I’m glad to see your latest thoughts here. I agree 100% about Juan’s misconduct. Sometimes I think this is all some experiment being conducted on an unquenchable public. I’m thinking too of that Jim Carrey movie, “The Truman Show”.

        I can’t help but remind you though of the fascinating discussion here about the possibility that Jodi never harmed a hair on TA’s head. I’m wondering if anything has changed your thinking on this.

        Like

        • Hi Sandra. Well, somewhat. To begin, I assume the times of the photos are unarguably correct.

          That 5:30:30 photo of TA seated in the shower fairly indicates that the relevant sequence of events was beginning right about that moment, the reason being that something was going on with the photographer. The photo is a departure from the previous ones, in that it’s not properly framed and not aesthetically sound.

          The photographer, of course, was JA.

          Now, based on all the other evidence, it is apparent, realistically speaking, that the first event in the sequence was that TA was shot while seated in the shower. The 5:30:30 photo indicates that the photographer was no longer concentrating on taking photos. By strong and fair inference that means either that she was distracted by someone else coming in and right about that moment shooting TA; or she was readying to shoot TA herself.

          What makes the latter more likely, in my view (not that I am unalterably fixed in this opinion, mind you) is this: the scenario where she shoots him means she was prepared, and the idea would be that she would shoot him to death, which makes a lot more sense than a plan to kill him with a knife. But then after the first shot the gun jams – an idea appearing in versions of the events she herself gave. Of course he’s a bloody mess at that point but she either notices he’s not dead yet or maybe she thought he was dead and went to leave, but in either case at some point she is downstairs and he has gotten up and is coughing blood into the sink. So she gets a big knife to go up and finish him off (not necessarily out of cruelty) starts stabbing him in the back, he tries to fend her off but is so weakened he can’t defend himself much, he staggers and stumbles down the hall and ultimately falls on his back, whereupon she inflicts clearly and almost immediately mortal wounds, and the blood evidence indicates such wounds were not inflicted in the shower but rather down the hallway.

          And then here is the clincher, as far as I am concerned, in terms of making her doing this by herself more likely: he’s dragged back into the shower. It’s a weird consistency with the whole series of photos of him posing, naked in the shower. She wanted to shoot him dead in the shower, as his last pose, and he unexpectedly got up and left the shower. For some probably pathological reason she wanted him in the shower so she moved him back.

          I think because of that one photo, this version of events has a high likelihood of being correct. Not absolutely certain, and maybe not certain beyond a reasonable doubt although the one aspect of him being shot right about 5:30:30 is, in my view, beyond a reasonable doubt.

          The only question then is: did she shoot him or did someone else who came in?

          I am still open to that idea, but I think it’s less likely because he was dragged back into the shower. Seems to me that’s something only JA would do.

          What would flip my opinion again would be if it could be determined that in the 5:30:30 photo TA had already been shot, and of course what I mean by “already” is almost in that exact moment but just a particle of an instant before. That would make it quite unlikely – not certain but quite unlikely – that JA could have done it, because at that moment she (most likely) had both hands on the camera.

          So I asked a couple of days ago whether anyone could determine that some of those darker areas on that photo behind TA, or in that crease of flesh on his right hip, contained blood, which would indicate that maybe he had just been shot. No one has said that they can, and I can’t determine that on my own.

          So that’s my thinking at this point. I had never really thought about the photos before. Like a lot of things in this case, of course, someone else should have but it appears they didn’t, or didn’t like the implications, but in any case I don’t believe this ever came up from either side.

          Like

          • GB

            I was just reviewing this. The point is that Alexander was not shot in the shower at all, rather he was shot as he charged at Arias. The gunshot track is due to him turning his head left (flinching) at the last moment as he came at her.

            The blood evidence strongly supports that Alexander was shot somewhere in the middle of the bathroom. There is a pool of blood near the entrance to the toilet which only has one trail – a trail we can infer that was left when he moved to the double sinks.

            Like

  10. Gloria

    Are you people nuts? No way on earth does Pyle v Kansas apply to Jodi’s case! The misconduct of which Juan is accused is not exculpatory! Do you people know the definition of that word? I think not! Ask yourselves this one important question: WHY WOULD DR HORN RISK HIS CAREER TO LIE ON JODI? The United State Supreme Court– which is where her appeal will probably go– will never overturn her conviction based on conjecture! No appellate attorney will ever prove prosecutorial misconduct! Whoever thinks so is pissing in the wind! Try again guys, but it will be futile! Premeditated murder was proven without any doubt!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello, Gloria. In order to understand Pyle v. Kansas and why it came out the way it did, you have to read it very carefully and just as importantly think about it.

      Objectively, not emotionally.

      The SCOTUS doesn’t talk about prosecutor misconduct in those terms. It talks about due process violations.

      You might also look at Napue v. Illinois and Miller v. Pate.

      Good luck!

      Like

    • wow..Gloria…that was absolutely beautifully!! and so so true! thank you!

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s