Tag Archives: instructions

Arias Trial Summary- 5/15

Aggravation Phase

Judge reads Jury Instructions.

Martinez:

She made sure she stabbed him over and over and over again and slashed his throat

He mentions her ‘painful’ suicide attempt and how excruciating Travis’ pain would have been during the attack. He takes us through the murder step by step. “It is only death that relieved that pain and anger and that is especially cruel.”

Nurmi:

All murder 1’s are cruel. This was not ‘especially’ cruel. You have to consider her state of mind and how the brain functions as mitigating factors.

Martinez:

He suffered pain every time the knife went into his body. He was able to see, breathe and hear- he knew what was coming.

Dr. Horn/Martinez:

Damage to nerve endings cause pain. A pierced heart can feel like a heart attack, affecting breathing and causing pain. JM takes us through the photos pointing out with each that there was nerve damage and therefore pain. He mentions the divots in the skull and the defensive wounds. Then he shows the throat picture and establishes Travis was still alive. There’s scalloping along the wound from either decomp or several attempts to cut the throat. The throat is not easily cut due to cartilage. Before this cut he could speak.

Willmott:

After the throat cut he wouldn’t have lasted but seconds and he wouldn’t feel anything so wouldn’t feel the shot. The top of the throat didn’t have scalloping. The chest wound didn’t cut the heart. Flight/fight means he had adrenaline and he was moving so he would bleed out faster. Adrenaline would have also precluded pain.

Martinez:

Regardless of the time he was alive when stabbed, slashed. Even with this adrenaline reaction he could still see, breathe, hear. He stands at the sink and can see, hear, feel, smell and think. Even with adrenaline he can still feel pain. The decomp can account for the scalloping but so can multiple wounds.

Jury Questions:

1.  Did you testify that Mr. A. had 3 rapidly fatal wounds?    Yes- the heart, the throat and the gun shot.

2.  In regards to the throat what’s more likely for the scalloping?     Because of the decomp I can’t really say.

Martinez:

Though all 3 wounds were fatal the chest wound would take minutes if not moving. The throat would have been seconds. He would not have been able to defend self or move around after that. The shot would have made him unconscious in seconds.

Willmott:

The first wound was the slowest but would have been faster due to movement.

State Rests.

Defense Rests.

Closing- Martinez:

She made sure Travis did not go gently. She also made sure he went nude. He was vulnerable in his shower, seated. Totally unaware. We know he felt the knife to the heart. Extreme mental anguish- he can see, breathe, smell and this is the person he was just with. Adrenaline or not it hurts, and she knows it hurts- it hurt too much for her to commit suicide. A knife in the heart- like a heart attack. She’s still standing, he tries to grab the knife and more pain. He can’t even get away- more mental anguish. It’s a paper cut to the Nth degree. He grabs the knife 3 times. This hurts. His hands and chest are bleeding. He’s still in a small area with a woman who’s ‘pretty strong’ according to Ryan Burns. She never lets go of the knife. He’s wanting to get away- what is he thinking about? His dog? His family? The grandma she sent irises to? To see himself bleeding. Not thinking about a vacation. He tries to get to the sink and get her to leave him alone. Adrenaline takes away the pain? Actually adrenaline talks to fear and terror and pain. He sees himself in the mirror. He’s in pain- is he screaming? Do you think he was quiet as a church mouse while all this is going on? He’s stabbed on the back of the head…sees blood, causes anguish, see’s the defendant. She’s striking the head- the knife goes into the head and causes a divot. That it painful. Seems like a short period- but it’s interminable for him. Lets just sit for 2 minutes (we wait 2 minutes). And now he got his throat slashed. Seem short? No- he’s continually stabbed and followed. It’s painful. Her ‘suicide’ was too painful. She gave him no choice. He tries to get away down the hallway but he has no strength. He’s bled out. He’s down, but still alive, seeing, hearing, breathing. The last thing he saw was the blade coming down to his throat. The last thing he felt before he left this earth was pain. Defense ‘Only 30 wounds.’ It’s especially cruel. Travis suffered enough for 2 lifetimes. He was stabbed in the heart and ran and his throat was slit.

Regarding jury instructions- to find especially cruel:

  1. Pain? He was conscious. He could see, hear, breathe. From the shower to the hallway the defendant was with him. He was conscious- he ambulated.

Physical pain. ‘It stings’ (referencing the suicide attempt) well he was stabbed on the back of the head, back of body, throat. He did suffer physical pain. Not what you want to do on a Sunday afternoon. He could see himself bleeding and being attacked. He tried to get away. He goes down and can’t defend himself. The defendant comes over- how absolutely horrific as the knife comes down. He knows. The defendant slits his throat. 

  1. Did she know he would suffer? She’s 27 years old. She knows what’s going on. She’s been cut at work, at Travis’ or stabbing him. Any reasonable person would know a stab to the heart would cause pain. She’s past her teens, almost 30. When she continued with the back? Absolutely. The throat is sensitive. That’s where she went. Every step of the way she knew, he’s hurting. Every time it goes in. The woman with the high IQ. It was directed to the neck. She knows. Whether Mr. A. was in fear or adrenaline doesn’t matter. She should have known how much he was suffering, until she put him into another life, and that is especially cruel.

Nurmi:

The jury has to determine whether cruel or especially cruel. He says to be mindful of the jury instructions- no sympathy or sentiment. A detached judgement. Has the state proven beyond a reasonable doubt? You have to give the defendant the benefit of the doubt. All first-degree murders are cruel to some extent.

The 2 elements:

  1. Suffer pain? The state changed it’s story from 62 seconds (where her story couldn’t have been true) to 2 minutes to play on sympathy. Dr. Horn/Flores changed testimony regarding the gunshot. If shot first no suffering. The experts talked about fight/flight and adrenaline preventing pain.
  2. Defendant knew he would suffer? About that suicide attempt- it was after she was in jail and the state said that it didn’t happen. She has to be conscious and processing what’s going on. Dr. Demarte said she had BPD and that she could have an extreme violent outburst. That’s what happened on June 4th. She didn’t know as she was functioning under this mental defect. Put emotion and sympathy aside. It’s hard not to react to the crime scene photos. Your job is to detach yourselves. The experts told you about her mental condition- she didn’t know she was causing pain. That is evidence enough. This aggravated factor was indeed not proven.

Martinez:

He is arguing instead of facing the evidence. He told you the state was trying to fool you. Not talking about the facts. The defendant should have known. She knew what a camera was and which of the 2 cameras had the photos she deleted. She cleaned up. If she didn’t know how did she even know she had done anything wrong? Who Travis even was? She cleaned up, took her clothing and put on the license plate. That’s the weakness of their argument. Of course she knew what was going on. You already used these jury instructions. They don’t want to talk about what happened. Changing stories? Why talk about that? He puts up a series of autopsy photos while asking: “Why don’t we talk about this?” Then he shows the shot to the head photo- the ‘Coup de Grace.’ In this case there is no doubt he suffered immensely. It can be physical OR mental pain. Dr. Samuels has a bad track record and Dr. Geffner is a ‘hired gun.’ If you take a knife you are going to hurt someone and cause mental stress. We don’t know the exact time of the first cut or when the throat was slashed. In those 2 minutes blood was gushing, the mental stress was only relieved by death. Thank You.

Judge gives instructions.

Deliberations begin.

Arias Trial- Jury Instructions 5/2

This is not a transcript, I have paraphrased.

  1. The jurors get a copy of the instructions. These will be returned and shredded at the end.2. Apply the facts. These are rules you should use. Get what actually happened from evidence in court. Verdict should not be based on sympathy or prejudice. Consider all instructions.
  2. The openings and closings are not evidence.
  3. A stipulation can be accepted/rejected.
  4. Disregard sustained/stricken testimony.
  5. The state has the burden beyond a reasonable doubt. Beyond a reasonable doubt-firmly convinced. There are few things we know with absolute certainty. If convinced of guilty find her guilty. If benefit of doubt find not guilty.
  6. Ignore statements of law enforcement if coerced.
  7. Don’t consider the punishment.
  8. Defense doesn’t have to provide any evidence.
  9. You can believe all/part or none of testimony based on what’s seen, heard, memory and quality of memory. Consider manner, motive and bias.

10. Use common sense and experience.

11. Evidence can be direct or circumstantial.

12. Expert should be judged like other witnesses.

13. Evidence of other acts are present. To establish motive plan, not character.

14. Witness if police same as any other witness.

15. Defendant’s testimony same as any other witness.

16. Don’t need motive.

17. 1st Degree:

–       Defendant caused the death.

–       Defendant intended/knew would kill another human being, reflected on that thought before killing. Reflection time may be short.

18. 2nd Degree:

–       If cannot agree on 1st.

–       Proof of intentional death.

–       Intentionally knew would injure /result in death.

–       Extreme indifference to human life- reckless.

–       Doesn’t require pre-meditation.

–       If you have a reasonable doubt about 1st vs. 2nd degree.

19. Sudden quarrel/Heat of passion

–     Adequate provocation.

–     Words aren’t adequate.

–     There must be no cooling off period.

–     Sudden quarrel-provoked.

Must find guilty of Manslaughter.

20. 1st  Degree-felony murder

–       Committed burglary.

–       Caused death in course of burglary/ or in flight.

–       Intentionally did something to culminate if the offense.

–       Entered unlawfully.

–       Did so to commit felony.

–       Objective to engage in that conduct.

–       Not necessary to be unanimous in both 1st –Pre-med and 1st –felony. If not the jurors must write the numbers on the verdict form.

21. Justified/Self Defense

–       A reasonable person would believe deadly force necessary.

–       Defendant use no more force than necessary to a reasonable person.

–       Only to protect against deadly physical force.

–       When the danger ends you stop.

–       Justified if reasonable person would believe they would have been dead.

–       Legal right to be there.

–       Not engaged in unlawful act.

–       State has burden defendant didn’t act with justification.

–       Consider-type of relationship, length, frequency (contact), and length of time.