Today Judge Stephens denied the motion to toss the Death Penalty in the Arias murder case. Remember the defense had a problem with the language ‘especially cruel?’ Well, it didn’t work. We are now waiting on the August 26th hearing to set a start date for the penalty phase of the trial. Arias has already been convicted of first degree murder in the brutal killing of Travis Alexander. That jury was unable to reach a verdict on her penalty. In the following link (article from Arizona paper) they mention the judge wants to begin the Penalty Phase in September. I hope she sticks to it!
Just now on the Dr. Drew show Patty Womack, who asked Dr. Drew to introduce her as ‘Jodi’s Former Friend’, said she ‘never, ever received a death threat.’ She also said they were friends from ages 12-20, and that she and her other friends that knew Jodi couldn’t believe such a ‘sweet, sweet girl’ could do such a thing. Patty also disputes the DUI (for heroin) charges and the aggravated assault charges saying someone made them up and she has ‘never been in trouble.’ Then she went on to say the “State Vs. Jodi’ site posted her address and now the ‘whole entire world’ knows where she lives. (For more on Patty just type in “patty’ in my search bar.)
According to abc15.com (link to full article below) it’s possible that the lawyers will agree to end the case without a trial and give Arias a life sentence without parole. Several factors will be weighed by Maricopa County’s top prosecutor, Bill Montgomery, including feedback from the Alexander family. He declined to say if the defense lawyers had offered to take the death penalty off the table but added he has an ‘ethical obligation’ to consider such a deal.
On the other hand Montgomery indicated he is confident an impartial jury can be seated to determine the punishment for Arias. “We are a county of 4 million total people, and over million registered voters can find there way onto a jury pool.”
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.
For the longest time I thought that Jodi was asking for the Death Penalty to try to trick the Jury into giving her Life in Prison. You know- the old ‘reverse psychology’ trick. I thought- yeah, they hate her so much and she absolutely doesn’t want to spend the rest of her life in a cage (you know she’s so young, doesn’t smoke and her family has a history of longevity- though her Dad has cancer…) oh, and let’s not forget poor granny in the wheelchair almost comatose during the trial (but a spry old fox when filmed leaving the jail after seeing Jodi- at one point she looks like she is talking on a cell phone and jumps over a curb. And doesn’t even look down. You know even when I was young if I had to jump a curb I looked down at it as I jumped. Please go to you tube and check this out!) But I digress…I have now changed my mind about the reverse psychology and here’s why:
She wants to ‘win.’ She has asked for Death, believes they are going to give her Death, but she asked for it so she wins! She will appear to be happy with the decision thus taking the victory away from the public. She got what she wanted! And as an added bonus she can continue to play the martyr. Because well, you know she is a ‘survivor’ of domestic abuse. I was abused/stalked and got a restraining order and went into hiding. There is NO WAY on this Earth that I would drive 1/100th of a mile to see my abuser, much less 1000 miles! NO FREAKING WAY!!!!!
Judge reads the jury instructions. Decision must be based on evidence, not sympathy, passion, bias…The admonition (no talking about the case) is back in effect. Opening statements are not evidence. Witnesses cannot give opinion on sentence. Defendant is not required to speak. You will determine Life in prison or Death.
The judge lists the mitigators the defense will present:
-She was 27 at the time.
-No prior criminal record.
-A good friend.
-Lacked family support.
-Was abused and neglected as a child and adult.
-Tried to make the best of life.
-Tried to improve herself.
-Is a talented artist.
3. You are not limited to these mitigators and you do not need to be unanimous. If the total of the mitigation is sufficiently substantial for leniency then it is a sentence of Life. If the aggravators are equal to the mitigators then you must choose Life. The defense has no burden and the state has no burden, you decide. Your decision is binding.
4. You can’t consider the financial cost of Life or Death.
5. Keep your mind open and discuss in the jury room. I will give final instructions before you deliberate.
Your verdict will determine whether JA will spend the rest of her life in prison or be sentenced to be executed. This is not a recommendation- the judge can’t disregard it. If Death the defendant will stand at the podium before you and be sentenced to be executed.
The first phase had a presumption of innocence. The second phase the state had the burden. Now there’s no burden. Each one of you has to make your own moral assessment.
Ms. Arias has to prove mitigating factors substantial for leniency to live her life in prison. This is not about the Jodi of 2006. You will hear more about before that so that you can understand whether her life should be terminated or not. And she will have the opportunity to talk to you in a different way.
In the last paragraph of the instructions it says mitigators can be from any evidence in the trial. You decide what’s a mitigating factor. You do have to agree on the ultimate Life vs. Death, but you don’t have to all agree on the mitigators. One might consider her art, another her lack of a criminal history.
This is not about an excuse. There are factors of character and history, lack of record and circumstances of the offense. Fairness and mercy come into play.
Listed before you (exhibit) are 8 factors.
– Her age-27
– A good friend- you will hear from Derryl and Patty Womack.
– Lack of family support (Patty)
– Abuse and neglect as a child and adult
– 6, 7 & 8- Make the best of life, improve as an artist. She joined PPL and the Morman church to improve herself. Goals of motherhood, marriage and having a business. She’s a talented artist; you’ll see some of her artwork. One thing you will not see is she’s convicted of 1st degree murder.
You filled out a questionnaire that said you could convict of 1st degree murder and consider a life penalty. Each of you are here because you said ‘Yes.’ That question is real because she’s right here. That’s what we expect you to do. You will understand Life is the appropriate penalty.
The defense wants you to consider 8 aspects of her life. You can find other factors but the law says you cannot act as an investigator. Look at all the evidence, look at fairness and also look at Travis. You must decide by preponderance of the evidence.
The 8 factors are flawed. Regarding mitigation there is a lack of connection to the murder. These factors are not of any importance.
27 years old- the fact she took a knife and stuck it into Mr. A.’s chest. Connection is something you may consider.
No criminal history- what does that have to do with the murder?
A good friend? To Whom?
Family support- her Mother’s been here; that’s support. It has nothing to do with the killing.
Abuse? Where’s the connection?
Do the best in life? What does that have to do with the murder?
Art? Again- what does that have to do with the murder?
No criminal history- when she testified she was untruthful to you. Remember the gas cans? She took an oath…that is a crime.
In 27 years she had 4 boyfriends and numerous jobs. Brewer will say she was a good caregiver to his child. She has lived a lot in those 27 years.
A good friend? To this individual? When and how is this a mitigator?
Lacked family support? How do we know this other than from her mouth? When speaking to you there were inconsistencies. Child abuse? She was on the stand for 18 days and there’s no evidence to support it- just her word.
Make the best of life? Isn’t that what we all do?
Artistic- paintings and photography. I guess she’s good at photos- she took those shower pictures like a ‘Calvin Klein’ ad and she can delete those images. This is nothing more than the defendant’s statement to gain sympathy.
The only appropriate sentence based on jury instructions is Death. Thank You.
(Stephen and Samantha Alexander come up and give their statements. I actually stopped taking notes to watch this part, and you should too. Have Kleenex handy. Writing these emotional statements out doesn’t do them justice. I will put in a link for the video at the bottom of the page.)