Monthly Archives: May 2013

Final Closing Arguments

Willmott

  1. “People are far better than their very worst deed.” Each of you has to make your own decision. Does her life have value? You were asked if when you gave her 1st degree murder if you could still give her life. The state doesn’t require an execution for 1st degree.
  2. The burden is not beyond a reasonable doubt but beyond the preponderance of the evidence. We have to prove the mitigators are more true than not true.
  3. Each juror can choose a different mitigator. You don’t have to agree to find a reason to find value in her life, to find a reason to punish her with life in prison. Stand by your decision. You don’t have to explain it to anyone else.
  4. The state’s case is all about lies and manipulation. That somehow lying equals the death penalty. That’s not even a crime. Not even an aggravating factor.
  5. Mitigators are reasons to believe there’s something of value. Not excuses for what she did. You already convicted her for that. Are the mitigators substantial to call for life in prison? Mitigators are separate from the crime. They don’t have to be connected. Life in prison is appropriate.
  6. As an example- anyone under 30 I don’t believe should get the death penalty. If sufficient for you then that’s your vote.
  7. There was good and bad before (Travis). The trajectory of her life changed.
  8. Good things of value:

–       She was 27 when she killed Travis with no prior criminal record. We’re not talking about lying. She’s not like a criminal who commits a crime, 1, 2, 3 times. She has none. A reason to show mercy- life in prison instead of executed.

–       A good friend. People care about her. Darryl – 4 years he loved and trusted her with his son. Her friends were shocked – they didn’t expect this to happen, like Leslie Uty who said she was ‘sweet.’ Ryan Burns said that people enjoyed her, she got along well. What does it matter considering what she did to Travis? The state wants to paint her as a one-dimensional character. So it’s easier for you to execute. She’s not. She has made so many people happy in her life. The Freemans took trips with her and Travis. Enjoyed spending time with her. Had dinner and treated her like family, like a sister.

–       Her family has been here day in and day out. They are here for her now. She asked you to consider them.

–       Her value- she tried to improve her life; make the best of it. Gus said she was the utmost professional and worked hard. Darryl and her had a house together. If given the chance she will continue to improve. She’s already donated her hair 3 times. She doesn’t have to do that. She has goals. Teaching Spanish, reading and writing. She’s an amazing poet and artist and excellent writer. She wants to use these talents and dedicate them to domestic violence. This is for behind bars- not to get out.

        9.  She didn’t know she was capable of such violence. We need   to ask why? She could have been a famous artist, a saleswoman an attorney sitting next to me. What changed the trajectory of her life?

      10.  When she was a little girl her and Carl felt the love from her Mom. She treated her scrapes and read to her. They grew apart. Angela was born and things changed. They were no longer getting along. She couldn’t do anything right. She was grounded for inexplicable reasons. Everything changed for Jodi. She watched how her Dad treated her Mom- yelled, ridiculed. She learned that language. And loyalty- you stay no matter what.

      11. Her Psych. Testing-she had low self-esteem, almost no ego. Depression from when a teen. When she met Travis in 2006 she was vulnerable. She wanted a family; kids. Darryl didn’t. She thought he (Travis) was perfect. She was impressed by the executive banquet. Later when he wanted oral she gave it to him – didn’t want to lose him. He sends missionaries. She converts. She put him on a pedestal, she trusted him and loved him. She also saw the other side of him. Whether you believe the domestic violence – we know he was verbally abusive. Hateful one day and loving the next. ‘Corrupted carcass’, ‘worst thing that ever happened to me’ then ‘you’re beautiful inside and out.’ If he was sitting next to me the prosecutor would be using the same hateful words against him.

      12. Jodi lied- told herself a lie about her relationship with Travis. No person wants to be treated like that and called those names. It’s not an excuse to kill Travis. It is absolutely not and you have already convicted her. But abuse is a mitigating factor. Look at her solid relationship with Darryl- and they’re still friends. What changed the trajectory? Verbal abuse is not an excuse for what she did. She handled it the only way she knew how- she lied to herself, the detective, friends, the media, Travis’ family. It doesn’t diminish the abuse. She was once a happy, bubbly little girl, nose in a book. She will be haunted for what she did to Travis’ family, to Travis and to her family. 

13.  What’s so tragic is if either had sought help none of us may never have been here. The trajectory.

14.  Dr. Demarte said she had Bi-Polar Disorder. From a child her feelings weren’t validated. Cut bond with parents, was immature. Prone to violent outbursts- is that what happened? She can’t choose to have a personality disorder. Dr. Samuels also said she had one. Her BPD is not an excuse for what she did to Travis. But a reason substantial for life in prison. Another reason to be merciful.

15.  There’s so much mitigators in this case you can find to be merciful, to get life in prison and not execution. She has just one aggravating factor.

16. Strong mitigator is no criminal history. Jodi took Travis away but two wrongs don’t make a right. Her life still has value and you have a choice. (She quotes someone) ”…all life is worth saving and mercy is (best) attribute.” Her life is worth saving and despite her worst day she still has value. Sentence her to eternal life in prison.

 

Martinez:

  1. “To his family Travis will be forever young.” You’ve seen many photos of him from a child to older. But to his family he’ll be 30 for the rest of his life.
  2. They have tried to remember his life (pic of him smiling) with a twinkle in his eye. But they also told you they couldn’t forget what happened on June 4th, that he suffered immense physical pain, emotional distress and it was especially cruel. It hurt- was painful. And you shouldn’t forget what you saw in (pic of slit throat). An especially cruel crime. Take that back with you.
  3. The mitigators- you are not investigators. Find the facts. Don’t go out on a limb. You could say: ‘Well he’s dead so he’ll never suffer cancer- she saved him from that’- that’s an extreme example. You are not an advocate.
  4. The rest of her life in prison- on your questionairre it explained what it was – she’s eligible for release in 25 calendar years. Consider that.
  5. The 8 factors you looked at- an artist- she showed you pictures- Frank Sinatra, Elvis…so she has a skill, she’s entitled to get an easier path? All it is is a skill. Don’t give her preferential treatment. Not a mitigator.
  6. 27 years old. The age of majority is 18- people got to war at 18. She’s 9 years past that. A great relationship with Darryl. She enjoyed life. Had loving parents when growing up. Was employed, intelligent, had love affairs; a vast array of life experiences. Not a mitigator. If 16 0r 55 you could make the same argument. She had lived a full life. She’s 32 now but Travis is 30. Still. And the person responsible stood before you in court and asked you to look at that- only 27.
  7. Her pics of yesterdays, growing up. He has no more pics. What she will miss- nephew, Christmas with her photo, how’s that a mitigator when you look at the violence on Travis?
  8. No priors, never done this before. When people kill in this fashion they are arrested so they won’t do it again. Without laws there would be anarchy. She sat in the witness chair, took an oath, looked you in the eyes and lied to you. The gas cans- that’s perjury. Just because she’s not convicted doesn’t mean she hasn’t engaged in crime. Lied to the police- that’s a crime. They want you to just look past that. There is a criminal history. Not a mitigator.
  9. A good friend- friendship means you know the person better than most. Leslie said she never thought she would do something like this- but her friendship with Leslie was based on a lie. ‘When we have kids they will play together’? A friendship? When lying?
  10. Ryan – I guess it’s a friendship when you adjust someone, but he’s ‘full of crap.’ She lied to him. A good friend? Not a mitigator.
  11. Most of all this has come from her mouth. When the truth fails she’ll come up with a lie. A mitigator is proved by the preponderance of the evidence. The friend who couldn’t be here, judging from her credibility <Sidebar> The Womack issue raised by the defense- consider her credibility to assess id there is a good friend out there.
  12. Lacks support from family and then talks out the other side of her mouth. Well they’ve been here throughout the trial. The August peeping incident she called her father and he supported her. She spoke of her brother in glowing terms. It hasn’t been proven.
  13. Abuse and neglect as child and adult. When she was a child she liked to play the victim. Manipulative. There’s no records of any abuse. The 911 call with Bobby- no corroboration. There’s no abuse.
  14. Making the best of life/improving- she’s just going through life. Don’t most want to improve their life? She’s doing the bare minimum.
  15. None of these are mitigators. Jury instructions tell you what to do. If all find no mitigators it’s mandatory. A lack of connection may impact quality or strength so an artist? What does that have to do the crime? 27? How does that affect the crime? The horrific nature of the killing? No priors, though we know she has committed crimes- it doesn’t have anything to do with the crime. Same with friends and family. They don’t have a connection to the killing = no weight.
  16. Engage in analysis like the 1st (and 2nd) phase. Look at the facts and the law, then apply. The mitigators (if there are any) must be sufficiently substantial for leniency. Nothing presented here is a mitigating circumstance, but if 1 or 2 are possible mtitigators is it sufficient when you look at what this individual did? Travis will be forever 30. (Pic) That’s as old as he is going to get. No mitigators- even if you find some they’re not substantial for leniency. You have a duty. Do the right thing, the difficult thing. The only thing you can do is to return a verdict of death. Thank you.

Willmott

  1. A single question- Do you kill her? She has done something very bad and you have convicted her of that. The question is now do you kill her?
  2. Does she have value? Something you believe is worth saving her life? Living her life in prison? After 25 years parole- you are not supposed to consider that. The last time someone was paroled was eons <Objection, sustained>
  3. The lack of criminal history does matter. The entitlement because she’s an artist is false. Quite the opposite – she’s fighting for her life. Is it worth keeping her around to provide some type of value in this world? Criminal history- she doesn’t have any. We know she’s lied and manipulated- not a capital offense. You don’t sentence to death because she lied.
  4. The friendships were not based on lies. Several years with Darryl. Shows something happened; changed the trajectory, what she could have been.
  5. Family support- they’re here. Not when she needed them. Bi-Polar disorder- a lack of bonding. That little girl needed someone. A reason to be merciful and give life in prison.
  6. She plays the victim- one statement form someone who knew her from 1st– 5th grade.
  7. Doing the bare minimum- no value- what all of us do. She has something to give to this world.
  8. It’s an awful thing that she did and Travis’ family is suffering. But with your conviction- now they get some peace. It speaks to what she did- it is what it is. Before you is: do you kill her for the one horrible thing she did? Or can you see there’s a reason for her to live? She has value, and love from her family. She won’t be living with them or us but in prison. Can she contribute to this world? I’m asking you to find mercy. These mitigating factors are a reason. I’m asking you to give her life in prison.
  9. The judge gives final instructions. The jury goes into deliberations.

Hung Jury?

The jury just came in and informed the court they could not reach a unanimous decision. The judge had suggestions to help (but not force) a verdict. She wants them to identify the areas of agreement and disagreement and follow the law. She also said that they could define the issue, fact or law they have an issue with and submit questions to help clarify. She then sent them back ti deliberate some more.

New Jury Instruction

The judge called in the jury and read an instruction regarding Life In Prison, Then the sides argued the point- Willmott-Martinez-Willmott. There were no media allowed in, though later they got to see a video. From what I could gather Juan argued she could be paroled in 25 years and Willmott said if the jury was ‘merciful’ and gave her life that she would ‘never get out.’

Jodi Speaks for Life

What follows is a summary of what Jodi said to the Jury today.

  1. The judge says Patty Womack had intended to testify about the environment JA grew up in (including abuse) but she is unable to testify.
  2. JA clears her throat. She has prepared a slide show to accompany her speech.
  3. JA talks about her Mom visiting her and after the visit stopping at a stoplight where the car stopped next to her was the Alexander family. Her Mom said: “I know they’re going through hell.” JA says nothing drove that home more than last week (the impact statements).
  4. The 3 by 5 card to call Steven –he never got that call ‘because of me.’ The last picture with Sam- no more pictures can be made with Travis ‘because of me.’ She avoided looking at them (but won’t go into the reasons). She wondered where the Grandma was and found out last week (she died). Mentions Travis called her last Thanksgiving saying Grandma was ‘ill and frail’ and he was worried ‘she wouldn’t make it.’ She may have inadvertently added to this. It ‘destroys me.’
  5. She waivered on suicide because of her family. She mentions her suicide letters to her family.
  6. She lists what she could do if she gets life:

-Donate hair. (Which she has already done a few times).

-Teach Spanish and Sign language.

-Start recycling program.

-Help with illiteracy, start a book club.

-Donate to Domestic Violence (she showed her ‘Survivor T-Shirt and claims 100% goes to charity). Mentions she knows some don’t consider her a survivor of DV.

7.  She goes through her life with pictures starting with her as a baby- she was the first born. Carl & her were ‘inseparable.’ She was 11 when Angela was born. Shows family portrait- which they now take with a photo of her in it.

8.  Picture of her with Patty. She gets in that Patty didn’t return today because her and her 9 year old daughter were threatened and harassed.

9. Shows picture of her & Bobby. The ‘best of times and the worst of times.’ No power, no support from parents buts figuring things out for themselves.

10.  Her and Matt they remained friends.  Her and Darryl- several pics with the 2 of them and with the son as well. Hasn’t seen the boy since June 2008.

11. Back to the family. Her sister and brother have children. She never will ‘because of my terrible choices.’

12. Shows her drawings.

13. She didn’t want to go through a trial and expose these ‘darker aspects’. She was obligated to answer questions asked on the stand. Says she ‘loved Travis’ and ‘looked up to him’…he ‘was my world.’

14. Before this she couldn’t ‘kill a spider.’ She didn’t know she was capable of such violence.

15. Her family is suffering. When the Guilty verdict was read her Mom said her Dad cried harder than ever before. ‘I caused that pain.’ She concedes Travis’ family has much greater pain.

16. Steven said he never wanted to see her face again- if she gets life in prison he won’t. She previously had asked for the D P. and found life in prison unappealing. Now she can’t ask for Death in good conscience because of her family. Either way she will spend her life in prison just shorter if DP.

17. She is asking that her life be spared for her family’s sake. ‘Please, please don’t do that to them.’ She wants their pain to stop. “Thank you.”

(After the judge reads the jury instructions- they are almost exactly what I recorded on an earlier day on this blog).

Arias Summary 5/20

The motion for a mistrial (because Patty was supposedly threatened) has been denied. Martinez pointed out that Patty refused to answer his questions regarding her and the defendant’s drug use. She then left for a few minutes with Nurmi and Wilmott (who are NOT her attorneys). When she returned she ‘took the 5th.’ This means she most likely wouldn’t have testified anyhow. She also apparently never claimed the income from pictures she sold to the Nancy Grace show.

Right after the judge denied the motion Nurmi stated he and Willmott wanted off the case…again. This was also denied. Then when the judge asked to call the witnesses Nurmi informed her they were not going to call ANY witnesses. The judge then asked if the defendant was ready to allocute and this resulted in the parties going back into chambers. We are now waiting.

The court adjourns for the day. Then the judge asks about telling the jury about Patty- apparently the defense wants a jury instruction regarding Ms. Womack. Martinez says it would not be proper as we don’t really know- it could be that the defendant had a ‘bad background.’ Nurmi mentions the jury will wonder why no witnesses as they said there would be two. The judge will indicate to the jury that Ms. Womack is ‘unavailable.’ Martinez asks to approach. Nurmi asks for a stay of these proceedings- it is denied. The jury is brought back in. Judge tells jury they cannot continue today and will resume tomorrow.

Back tomorrow at 9:30.

 

Defense Files For Mistrial

According to azcentral.com the defense attorneys filed another motion for mistrial on Sunday. They say the witness Patty Womack withdrew from testifying due to death threats. Kirk Nurmi wrote in the motion ‘After returning home Ms. Womack began receiving threats, threats that included threats on her life if she were to testify on Ms. Arias’ behalf. On May 19th, 2013, Ms. Womack contacted counsel for Ms. Arias that she is no longer willing to testify due to these threats. It should also be noted that theses threats follow those made to Alyce LaViolette, a record of which was made ex-parte and under seal.’

The article goes on to say whether a defense attorney presents mitigation evidence becomes an issue on appeal.

Patty Has Dropped Out

Looks like the rumors were correct. According to Jeff Gold, esq., ‘ABC reports Womack backs out of testifying in Jodi Arias – abcnews.go.com…’  I had a feeling this would happen, though I think when she showed up for court Thursday inappropriately dressed (short-shorts and a  tank top) I heard they tried putting a sweater on her and the judge still wouldn’t let her testify.It was also reported she did not want her face to appear on camera, though she has been on HLN numerous times. There is more on Patty if you want to read my prior post: ‘Jodi Has A Friend?’ Looks like it’s up to Darryl. Then we get to see Jodi’s ‘art.’