The Jodi Arias Trial

I love me some Law and Order. Police procedurals. Murder mysteries. Perry Mason. Matlock. You name it. There’s an inherent drama to all of that that I just have a hard time turning away from.

I didn’t hear about the Jodi Arias trial until a month ago or so. Don’t know how it flew by me for so long. Probably because I just don’t follow unfamiliar news stories too closely. But once it popped up on my radar, it made a big splash.

Here are the facts, to catch those of you up in case you missed it, too. A returned Mormon missionary converts his non-Mormon girlfriend. She’s baptized. They break up. He ends up getting stabbed 27 times, shot in the head, and has his throat slashed.

She claims she wasn’t even in the state when it happened. Then, when evidence starts piling up, she says she was with him when two people broke in and killed him and tried to kill her. Then, when evidence continues to pile up, she says she did kill him, but it was in self defense. He was abusive, physically and emotionally. In between all of this, she’s given several interviews to news shows such as 48 hours where she’s proclaimed her innocence.

In the trial, she’s taken the witness stand. It’s gone on for something like three weeks of her testifying in lurid detail about all sorts of private stuff. She’s labeled him an abuser, a sexual deviant, and a pedophile. The trial is being carried live online and on Headline News, I believe. I’ve watched some of it, and it’s riveting stuff. It gives me a bit of a sense of what it must have been like for older people to watch the OJ trial back in the day.

I personally believe the woman is guilty as sin. Not that her victim was a saint, but I don’t think he did anything to deserve what happened to him. First of all, the only evidence that he actually abused this woman is her testimony. Her, the one who has been lying non-stop since as soon as the murder happened. There’s nothing in her detailed daily journal entries about abuse. No police reports. No doctor visits. No best friends she told about it. Nothing. That said, I recognize that sometimes people go to great lengths to hide these things, and I certainly wouldn’t want to turn a cold shoulder to a woman who was fearing for her life and really just trying to defend herself.

A woman who told everyone else she was leaving California for a trip to Utah, then made a detour to Arizona to see this guy. A woman who paid in cash in Arizona for everything. A woman who even brought extra gas cans for her car to avoid having to fill up too much in Arizona. (Who claims she brought the extra cans because she wanted to buy cheap gas in Utah to save money, except then she filled them up in California, instead.) A woman who drove 100 miles away to rent a car for the trip. A woman who called the guy she’d killed hours after she killed him, leaving a bubbly voicemail message about how she wondered where he was and hoped he was okay. A woman who then emailed the guy a few days later, expressing even greater concern about him. A woman who went to Utah right after the killing and hung out with a new guy, making out on the floor and generally showing no evidence whatsoever that anything bad had just happened.

I wouldn’t want to turn a cold shoulder on someone like that.

Especially not when the crime scene indicates the guy was shot last, and stabbed first, even though she claims she shot first and then went into a convenient fog. She can’t remember anything else except showing up in the desert to ditch the gun. Oh–and that gun? A .25 caliber handgun? The same type of gun stolen from her grandfather days before she left–from the house she was staying in? The gun she says belonged to Travis, the guy she killed? The one she told police right after the murder that Travis didn’t have? (She told them he never had any guns. He was “more into his fists,” she said.) The one she now claims she lied about then, and that he actually did possess, even though she was the only person to ever see it?

In the end, there’s just too much evidence against this woman for me to buy her story. I want to give people the benefit of the doubt, but there comes a time when a history of lies has to catch up with you.

And yet, just because I think this, doesn’t mean I’m right. In the end, I have no idea what happened. It’s up to the jury to decide her fate. It’s up to the judge and lawyers to make sure the trial runs smoothly. Like I said–riveting stuff. And the fact I’m familiar with the Mormon culture woven in and out of the case just makes it that much more intriguing.

I can’t really recommend watching the trial yourself. Not unless you’re ready for some pretty awful testimony (though hopefully that’s mostly out of the way by now.) But I do wonder if any of you out there are following the trial, too. A general description of the case can be found over on Wikipedia. Google will do the rest for you, if you’re really interested. Any opinions to add? Feel free to post away.

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