Friday, May 24, 2013

The Jodi Arias Hung Jury…

I really didn’t want to have to blog this last development in the Jodi Arias trial. I had hoped that the jury would reach a unanimous decision and grant Travis Alexander justice and his family peace and closure. I cannot even imagine every way they have been affected by being in the courtroom every day for five months after waiting five years for the trial. I cannot imagine how sick it must make them to look at Travis’ pictures: his throat slit from side to side almost decapitated, 29 stab wounds and a bullet to the head. All they wanted and prayed for was for this ordeal to be over so they could try and put the pieces of their lives back together and move on. The jury was told, from the outset, that this was a death penalty case. They knew if the evidence proved excessive cruelty that the death penalty was in order. They knew the circumstances of the murder. They all said they would have no problem voting for the death penalty. Juan Martinez, the prosecutor, all but drew them a detailed map leading to the death penalty. He described every way in which the murder was cruel. He told them how, for two very long minutes, Travis knew he was being murdered and was helpless to defend himself. He eliminated every one of the ridiculous mitigating factors the defense and Jodi tried to present. There were no mitigating factors. So what if she was 27? Twenty-seven is young, but not so young that she had no life experience. So what if she is an artist? She has some artistic talent, but what does that have to do with the murder? So what if she never was convicted of another crime before this one? Does that mean she gets a free pass on the first murder? So what if she had an “abusive” childhood and was hit with a wooden spoon? How many of us have been similarly punished by wooden spoons, switches and belts? So what if her mother paid attention to her baby sister and Jodi felt neglected. What child with younger siblings hasn’t experienced that? So what of she gave her hair to “Locks of Love”? Maybe those receiving her freaking hair wouldn’t even want it.

Jodi, who changed her mind in a couple of days about asking for the death penalty, “pleaded” for life in prison for the sake of her family. She outlined what she would do in prison to benefit society. She would start a book club so the inmates could discuss literature. She would teach literacy and Spanish to those who want to learn. She would start a recycling program. She will sell her “Survivor” T-Shirts to raise money for domestic abuse victims. As I am tying this I just want to scream. Who the hell cares what she would do? Who the hell can believe her anyway? It’s what I didn’t hear that bothered me. She never apologized to Travis’ family for the pain she caused them. She never even showed a bit of remorse or emotion. Her first concern is always addressing the media and granting interviews. She demands make-up and that they do not film her prison stripped pants. She needs to do her hair. WHY are they allowing her to give interviews at all? Haven’t we seen and heard enough from her already. It’s not like we are learning anything new or truthful. She just lies so easily, it’s like breathing for her. And if those of us who watched the trial could not stomach the sight of her, just imagine how Travis’ family and friends must be feeling?

Yesterday the jury came back with the non-verdict on the penalty phase. After having no trouble of convicting her of first degree murder and extreme cruelty, they failed to follow through and give her the sentence the law demands in such a case…death. They could not reach a unanimous decision. We don’t know the breakdown of what went on in the deliberation room, we just know they could not agree. And now, they leave this final job for a new jury. A new and impartial jury must be impaneled by July. However, this new jury doesn’t know all the facts. Much of the evidence will have to be rehashed for their benefit. The Alexander family will have to sit there and endure more testimony and look at the horrible pictures of Travis, slaughtered with his blood everywhere. They will have to look at and listen to Jodi Arias lie. They already heard her lie about how Travis was abusive. They heard her lie about his inclinations towards pedophilia. They heard her lie, assassinating his character, to build her defense to the very end of the trial. Now they have to endure more. Isn’t this cruel and unusual punishment being inflicted on this family by the jury’s lack of agreement? It’s not that I don’t feel bad for these people who have devoted a so much of their time to this case. They must be exhausted and drained from it. It’s taken over their lives. But they were so close to the end and failed to complete the job. I wonder if any of them thought about how this non-verdict would affect the Alexander family. Jodi gets a reprieve and his family gets tortured some more.

And Arizona just complicated the whole process. Their law requiring a second jury to decide the penalty, rather than the judge, is the reason this trial could not be over yesterday. And Jodi will very liking require two new attorneys, who will need to get up to speed, because these two tried to get removed from her case twice in the past week, saying they could not provide adequate defense.

It just angers me that the system bends over backwards for people like Jodi, who are clearly guilty of a heinous crime, but slacks when it comes to considering victims and their families.

Now we will get at least a two month break, before the final phase begins again. I hope this new jury gets it right.

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