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· *VMBB Senior Chief Of Staff*
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By Michael Kiefer
The Arizona Republic

Fri Mar 22, 2013

Late Wednesday afternoon, a mobile phone rang suddenly in the middle of testimony in the Jodi Arias murder trial in Maricopa County Superior Court.

Its ringtone, literally, was the hee-haw of a braying jackass. Whether it was set off on purpose is unclear, but the young woman who owned the phone was escorted out of the courthouse.

It had been a long day of stop-and-go testimony about whether Arias truly cannot remember how she killed her secret lover, Travis Alexander, and a day of interminable sidebars, with the judge and lawyers arguing at the bench, their voices masked by the judge’s much-used white-noise machine.

And just when it seemed that the proceedings could not get stranger, a spectator in the gallery vomited loudly and copiously in front of her seat and again as she ran toward the hallway.

Judge Sherry Stephens called it a day.

Welcome back to the Jodi Arias trial, where people line up daily, hoping for a seat at the circus. Maricopa County Superior Court has become a stop on the Arizona tourist bucket list, just like spring training, the Sonoran Desert and the Grand Canyon.

Thousands more Jodi-philes visit the courtroom via television and live computer feeds. They tweet and text furiously, offering up crackpot conspiracies, rage, concern, often as if their own lives depended on whether Jodi Arias is sent to death row. They call the court switchboard hundreds of times a month, officials confirmed, asking to be connected directly to Stephens or prosecutor Juan Martinez or Arias herself.

And it’s an indicator of which way public opinion leans that the defense attorneys are escorted out of the court by a burly sheriff’s deputy and Martinez goes out the front door, where his admirers wait with cellphone cameras and ask him to pose with them for photographs.

Among this week’s Internet scandals: TV viewers noticed that Arias took a pill of some kind while sitting at the defense table (she suffers from migraines); they saw her passing something to a member of her defense team, who passed it to Arias’ mother in the front row of the gallery (it was a birthday card).

But the outrage flew through cyberspace, and worried out-of-state viewers called The Arizona Republic to do something about it. On Thursday, a Florida man called the newspaper to ask why authorities weren’t searching in the desert to find other Arias murder victims and then demanded that all the crime-scene photos be sent to him so that he could figure it out for us.

Arias, 32, is charged with first-degree murder in Alexander’s 2008 death. Alexander, 30, would tell his friends that Arias was a stalker, among other less kind names, but he would still invite her to his house for sex and would ask her to accompany him on vacations. In June 2008, Arias drove from where she was living in Northern California to visit Alexander in Mesa. After hours of lovemaking, some of which they photographed, Arias killed Alexander. When his body was found five days later, he had been shot in the head, stabbed nearly 30 times, and his throat was slit.

In Arias’ version of events, she was taking photos of Alexander in the shower, but he attacked her in anger when she dropped his expensive camera. She claims that after he slammed her to the bathroom
, she ran to his closet and grabbed his gun. Then, she says, it went off as Alexander charged her. The next thing she knew, she says, she was driving through the desert near Hoover Dam with blood on her hands.

Arias does not deny that she stabbed Alexander and slit his throat; she claims she just does not remember.

That was the subject of the week’s testimony. On the witness stand was psychologist Richard Samuels, an expert hired by the defense and paid by the county at $250 per hour, adding to a bill that already was more than $800,000 in February. Samuels said that he had evaluated Arias and determined that she suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder.

Furthermore, he explained how the parts of the brain associated with recording memories can shut down during extreme stress and emotion and the adrenaline response known as “fight or flight.” He called it by its clinical name, “dissociative amnesia.” Such memories are never formed, he said, and cannot be re-created. Both of those diagnoses, Samuels said, could account for her memory loss.

It’s not a revolutionary concept or cutting-edge science: Without taking anything away from the victims, or from police or soldiers, killing people can be a traumatic experience.

“We have seen it,” said former Maricopa County Attorney Rick Romley, who is also a Vietnam combat veteran. “We saw this often in victims. It happens with veterans on frequent occasions, and though people are less inclined to believe a defendant’s expert, it does happen.”

Last year, three Arizona death-row prisoners, Robert Towery, Daniel Cook and Robert Moorman, all said at their clemency hearings a week before their executions that they remembered little or nothing of the murders they had committed.

Samuels, the Arias defense expert, said on the witness stand Thursday that 30 percent of killers have limited memories of the murders.

He first took the stand on March 14. One of Arias’ attorneys, Jennifer Willmott, led him through his theory despite Martinez’s frequent objections.

When Martinez got his chance to cross-examine him on Tuesday and Wednesday, he tried to make Samuels look like a fool.

Samuels had committed a possible lapse of professional judgment by sending a pop-
self-help book to Arias in jail; Martinez characterized it as crossing the line from evaluation to counseling. He suggested that Samuels “liked” Arias, letting the ambiguity of the verb hang in the air.

And Martinez noted that Samuels had performed a PTSD test while Arias was still claiming that two intruders killed Alexander. Over the next two days, with Willmott doing redirect examination, Samuels explained that the test measured trauma, not truth, and that it was only part of the diagnosis.

He was “thrown by the tenacity” of the prosecutor’s questions, he later said, but the damage was done.

On Thursday, it was the jury’s turn to ask questions again. They had 106 of them, and for the most part, they cut through the contentiousness:

Why didn’t Samuels try hypnosis to recover the lost memories? (Because it wouldn’t work.)

How could Samuels be sure that Arias didn’t kill Alexander out of jealousy? (He didn’t believe the jealousy showed in the texts and letters they sent each other.)

If a person planned a murder, could it still cause them PTSD and memory loss? (Possibly, but it would be less likely.)

Did Samuels think that he had spent adequate time evaluating Arias? (Beyond 20 to 30 hours, he said, the nature of the relationship changes.)

There were a few rhetorical zingers that spoke more clearly than the answers: Do you always develop a fond relationship with clients? And is it possible that Arias never wrote negative things about Alexander in her journals because there was nothing negative to say?

Willmott then questioned Samuels further, trying to cement the concept of amnesia. And late Thursday, Martinez had a second shot at Samuels, going right to what he felt was Samuels’ overly compassionate relationship with Arias.

Martinez will pick up there on Monday morning when the trial resumes, just a few days short of three months since it began.


PHOENIX - 22 March 2013

The Jodi Arias trial took a break Friday, but the phenomenon surrounding this murder trial does not.

Earlier this week, we confirmed that a movie about Arias is already in the works and now we're learning more details about the project.

There's an actual script already written for the film -- we don't know where it's going to air or when, but we're getting a look at what this case will look like when it gets the Hollywood treatment.

The title alone reveals the movie will be more than just an ordinary Hollywood murder mystery: "Dirty Little Secrets: The Jodi Arias Story."

The script describes Jodi as a single-minded, head strong, quick tempered young woman, hell-bent on emotionally suffocating and controlling Travis Alexander.

The screenwriter paints Travis as "emotionally undone by the sexually forward Jodi" and the script is filled with many of the salacious sexual details we've heard from the trial.

The opening scene starts with a shot of a naked Jodi, straddling a chair and looking over her shoulder to the camera with her quote, "smoldering eyes."

Later scenes show Arias in skimpy black leather corsets and strutting around in underwear with "Travis's" written across the rear.

Shots of investigators inside the Mesa home where Alexander was killed are interwoven throughout scenes of the tumultuous relationship.

And even though Arias claims to not remember stabbing and shooting Travis, the screenwriters have their version of that deadly day. "Each time the blade connects, blood sprays her face, her clothes, the wall."

There is an appearance by the ghost of Travis and the closing scene involves Arias looking into the camera and giving a smile.

They are still casting the movie, but we should know who will play Jodi and Travis soon since filming is scheduled to begin in just a few weeks -- April 13 -- that should be right around when the trial ends.

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I guess I am a basty nastard. They would not want me on that jury. THe convienient loss of memory does not excuse murder nor diminish the the circumstances. Given sufficient evidence to prove the guilt I would have no problem finding someone like this guilty and reccomending the death sentence.

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In Arias' version of events, she was taking photos of Alexander in the shower, but he attacked her in anger when she dropped his expensive camera. She claims that after he slammed her to the bathroom
, she ran to his closet and grabbed his gun. Then, she says, it went off as Alexander charged her. The next thing she knew, she says, she was driving through the desert near Hoover Dam with blood on her hands.
If this is the way it happened then I can believer her story. Manslaughter maybe, self defense possibly but 30 times stabbing weakens that supposition. Yet I can believe if she was fighting for her life then she could have gone over the edge during the fight. She wouldn't be the first or the last to do so so to just call her a cold blooded killer proof would have to be presented that it was premeditated. I doubt that they can do that.

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Who is that slug anyway? I still haven't figured out why she is getting so much air time. Oh!!!! I get it, she is an airhead. Seriously, It is in fact a reality mini-series that they haven't told us about Yet!!!! After all is said and done then we have to hear about the book,movie offers.:bleh::bleh::bleh::bleh::bleh::bleh:
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