Now that we have a hung jury a status conference has been scheduled for June 20 (thanks @WitchyTweets on Twitter). The Murder 1 charge still stands. They have to have a ‘do-over’ of the sentencing phase. That is slated to begin on July18th.
Tomorrow at 10:30 we will begin the Penalty phase. First up will be statements from Travis’ loved ones. They will be able to express how his loss has affected their lives. After that we have the mitigators. There are two types:
1. Statutory mitigators:
- The age of the Defendant;
- The Defendant’s capacity to appreciate the wrongfulness of their conduct or to conform the Defendant’s conduct to the requirements of law was significantly impaired, but not so impaired as a constitute a defense to prosecution;
- The Defendant was under unusual or substantial duress, although not such as to constitute a defense to prosecution;
- The degree of the Defendant’s participation in the crime was minor, although not so minor as to constitute a defense to prosecution; and
- Any other factor that the Court deems appropriate to the ends of justice.
2. Non-statutory mitigators:
- Love of family/concern for parents;
- Lack of criminal history;
- Employment history;
- Low intelligence;
- Prior military service;
- Disparity between sentences (as in between co-defendants); and
Prior sexual and/or emotional abuse.
The defendant will be able to bring on witnesses (I heard Alyce LaViolette may make an appearance) and she may also stand and address the jury herself.
Finally the jurors will deliberate for the last time on the Death Penalty or a Life Sentence.
I understand they can impanel a new jury if they are not agreed.
From: Arizona Mitigation- http://www.arizonamitigation.com/what-are-mitigating-factors/
Judge reads Jury Instructions.
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.”
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.
He suffered pain every time the knife went into his body. He was able to see, breathe and hear- he knew what was coming.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The first wound was the slowest but would have been faster due to movement.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
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.
Next- The Penalty Phase
Facts that make a crime worse or more serious by such circumstances as the facts of the crime, the defendant’s prior criminal record, etc. Some aggravating circumstances are very specific, e.g., the murder of more than one victim. Other aggravators are broad, e.g., the murder was committed in a heinous, cruel or atrocious manner.
Facts that do not justify or excuse an act or offense, but may reduce the degree of moral culpability, and thereby reduce the penalty. Examples include mental impairments, deprived background, etc.
Victim Impact Statements
Statements read into the record, or presented through testimony of witnesses, during sentencing to inform the jury of the financial, physical, and psychological impact of the crime on the victim and the victim’s family.
Then-The Sentencing Phase:
Jury Sentence Recommendations
The jury considers the aggravating and mitigating circumstances surrounding the crime and the defendant and returns with a recommended sentence. In a death penalty case, the jury chooses between a death sentence and a lesser sentence of life without parole, life, or a term of years.
After considering the jury recommendation, the court formally pronounces punishment on the defendant. In some states, the judge must follow the jury recommendation. In other states, a judge may sentence without a jury, or override a jury’s recommendation.
From: Michigan State University and Death Penalty Information Center, 2000 Stages in a Capital Case.