The Stink Test!

APTOPIX Boyfriend SlayingDuring her closing argument during the penalty phase of the Jodi Arias trial defense attorney Jennifer Willmott said, “The simple question that’s before you is, do you kill her? That’s the question … It is an awful, awful thing that she did, but your conviction of first-degree murder is how [Alexander’s family] will get peace … We are asking you to find mercy.”

 

The penalty phase of a capital murder trial is not about killing an individual who has been found guilty of first degree murder and it is not about retribution. It is about following the law to reach an appropriate punishment for heinous crime based on evidence, mitigating and aggravating factors.

 

Nobody is asking the jury to kill Jodi Arias. Instead, the state is asking the jury to punish Jodi Arias for the atrocious crimes she committed against Travis Alexander. Their decision should be based on their interpretation of the evidence presented at trial and the jury instructions provided by the judge. It should not be based on mercy: particularly the very mercy that Arias denied her victim. The appropriate and legal punishment based upon Arias’ conviction of first degree murder with special circumstances is: the death penalty; life without the possibility of parole; or a life sentence with the possibility of parole after twenty-five years.

 

“Jodi took Travis away. She took him away from his family and she took him away from this world, but two wrongs do not make a right … You have a choice … We are asking you to find that Jodi’s life is worth saving,”

 

What is the second “wrong” that Willmott is referencing? The death penalty is legal punishment in Arizona and it is supported by a majority of the citizens of Arizona. Perhaps she is suggesting that the law of the land and the will of the people are wrong, and that her skewed philosophical point of view is somehow superior and correct.

 

How dare Jennifer Willmott invoke the name of Alexander’s family in her plea for mercy! The jury rejected character assassination as a defense tactic when Arias was found guilty of first degree murder. That should have been a clear signal to Arias and her defense team that Travis’ character and family are off limits as defense tactics moving forward. Ms. Willmott’s argument was as tone deaf as it was offensive.

Jodi Arias: Endgame

Travis Alexander

Travis Alexander

This morning the jury will recommend to the court whether Jodi Arias should spend the rest of her life in prison without the possibility of parole, or be executed for murdering Travis Alexander. Before that happens Alexander’s family will hear Arias address the jury and the Court. It will be her last opportunity to sway the jury before the sentence is handed down.

 

Some say that everything rides on what Arias says. Will she be defiant and stand by her declaration that she should be executed, or will she fall on her knees and beg the court for mercy? I doubt that there is anything she can say that will sway the jury. I have no doubt that Travis’ family wants the death sentence imposed, and her execution carried out as soon as possible.

 

Travis’ family has been in the courtroom since the day the trial started in January. They have remained stoic and dignified despite the daily onslaught of horrific revelations. If it wasn’t gruesome crime scene photographs, or vivid expert testimony, it was Arias and her team assassinating Travis character.

 

In her description of the crime Travis was the aggressor: on the verge of killing poor Jodi. She says that self-defense was her only recourse. Minutes later Travis lay slumped in his shower. He had been stabbed twenty-seven times, his throat had been slit from ear to ear, and he had been shot in the head. Arias emerged from the death match without a scratch.

 

When Arias called Travis a pedophile, all her family could do was grip their chairs, grit their teeth and stare straight ahead. There was no evidence to confirm her contention that Travis beat her. When the verdict was read the so-called abuse victim who held Travis’ perverted secret was finally exposed as nothing more than a psychopathic savage willing to engage in character assassination to make her case.

 

And now, we await the endgame. Whatever happens, Arias will eventually slip from the public consciousness as did Casey Anthony before her. However, Travis family has images and testimony seared into their brains that will remain forevermore. So, how should they respond?

 

My advice, and I went through a similar ordeal back in the day, is to find a way to put Arias behind them. Do not let them continue to dominate their lives. She has held sway for nearly five years now, since the day that she slaughtered their beloved Travis. She ruined his life, don’t let her ruin yours as well. She is going to spend the rest of her miserable life in prison. She will either die from natural causes or the executioner’s needle. Her influence should end the minute the warden closes the bars behind her. Do something to honor Travis memory. Create a foundation, a scholarship or even plant a tree in his honor. It is what he would have wanted.

 

Embrace your anger. It can be overwhelming, but it need not be destructive. Anger fueled me for years after Polly was murdered. It drove me onto the national stage where I was able to lobby for laws, concepts, and a national child safety agenda. Because of the work that I and others did we accomplished many good things. Every law enforcement agency in America now has a missing child protocol when before none existed. Megan’s Law requires the states to register convicted sex offenders and provide the community with a means of knowing who and where they are. In 1993, nobody was talking about missing kids or child safety: now everybody is. I believe that anger can be an agent of positive change if it is challenged correctly. I believe that Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, and Mahatma Gandhi were all driven by anger over the way their constituents were being treated.

 

Finally, don’t forgive. There are many who say that one cannot move forward until they have forgiven for transgressions or crimes. I believe that forgiveness is way over rated. I also believe that it is presumptuous to forgive someone for crimes committed against someone else. The rape victim can forgive the rapist, because that is her choice. However, the only person who should be able to forgive Arias is Travis Alexander, but unfortunately she took his life in the most savage and unimaginable way possible.

 

When you get to Hell say hello to Ted Bundy, Jeffrey Dahmer, and Tim McVeigh.