Verdict watch for the Jodi Arias trial is hanging in the balance of a weekend break after the case for the sentencing of Jodi Arias went to the jury for deliberations last Wednesday, according to the L.A. Times Feb. 26. This is the death penalty phase of the trial where Jodi Arias has been convicted of first degree murder for the 2008 killing of her 30-year-old lover Travis Alexander. In 2013 a jury in Maricopa County Superior Courts in Phoenix, Arizona, convicted Jodi of first degree murder with an element of aggravated cruelty for the murder of Travis Alexander. It took them 15 hours to come to this decision.
This after Travis was found nearly decapitated with a five inch deep wound to the heart and a gunshot to the head. Travis was also found with multiple stab wounds that numbered over 25 in count. This included a cluster of 9 on his back from when he tried to escape his attacker, and a divot knifed out of his skull.
A 2013 jury had no problem finding that exceptionally cruel, and finding Jodi’s methods to cover her tracks and get away with it manipulative and cruel. That jury however was unable to come to a unanimous decision when it came to determining a sentence for Jodi Arias.
That jury was deadlocked on the decision of life in prison, or the death penalty. A retrial on the sentencing phase of that trial was called, and today a new jury is tasked with that decision. The L.A. Times reported Feb. 26 that jury deliberations on this decision have been put on a weekend break. Meanwhile, Troy Hayden from Fox 10 and ABC News have taken a peek at what lies ahead for this convicted killer, regardless of what happens next in this sentencing phase.
It does not appear that the magnitude of what is happening has reached the Jodi Arias support camp. That would be the support camp that is often described as “cult-like” and “drinks the Kool Aid” whose main ingredient is the belief that Jodi is innocent of her heinous crimes. That group of people is considered delusional at their best, on a good day. They have not accepted the facts that she has confessed and been found guilty of first degree murder and is facing the death penalty.
A brief perusal on their website shows that, at the end of the day, they might not even care. From a cursory glance it appears Jodi’s trial is just about money to them. A comment we found that supports that can be seen on the slideshow. The most recent statement made from this camp during verdict watch on the death penalty deliberations read,
“Today I’m expecting the hung jury to finally conclude their deliberations and come back with their eagerly awaited and fully expected split decision. Once Pickles finishes up deciding on the specifics, and we know who’s gonna be paying for Jodi’s appeals, we can start to plan and forge ahead accordingly with the next stage of our mission – and finally get JUSTICE FOR JODI’.”
This statement is interesting. Like all of Jodi’s lies and stories, it’s almost as if they think all they need to do is keep saying the word “innocent” and one day it will magically come true. But the statement does raise some interesting questions, and points out some obvious facts as well.
Why is this camp calling a possible deadlocked jury a “fully expected decision”? Is that delusional? Or does the confidence come from information that nobody else knows? Or is it delusional? We do know that at this point in deliberations during the last sentencing phase that the jury had already deadlocked and announced that and they had been ordered to go back in.
Nobody has said that in this series of deliberations to this point. So, there is nothing to suggest that this jury is deadlocked. We do know from this very clear statement by this supporter that whoever wrote it, doesn’t actually care if Jodi lives or dies, it’s just a money game to them.
What the author of this comment means is, if Jodi gets the death penalty, appeals are paid for by the State. In this scenario, the Jodi Arias donation buttons continue to line the pockets of the administrators while Jodi sits in prison for the rest of her life. If Jodi gets a life sentence, she will, apparently, appeal. In this scenario the author is suggesting that Jodi will have to rely on her tens of fans to use all of the hundreds they have collected for her “appellate fund.” This to many is an obvious attempt to ensure the donations keep that gravy boat flowing.
It is interesting to see how the Jodi cult rationalizes the fact that she could be sentenced to death. They made it pretty clear. They don’t actually care whether she lives or dies, it’s just a matter of how much money end up going their way at the end of the day. They keep saying that over and over and the cult doesn’t seem to get it.
Even weirder? The cult members actually find that inspiring and even keep giving them money to do just that. That’s how off the range of normal Jodi and her cult really is.
But the jury, allegedly, can’t see that happening. All they can see to determine what sentence Jodi should get has happened inside the courtroom. The L.A. Times reported Feb. 26 that the jury was given the case on Wednesday afternoon, they deliberated all day on Thursday, and then left for the weekend after 5 p.m. Thursday. This current jury schedule means this jury does not deliberate on Fridays and will return Monday for deliberations.
Between Wednesday afternoon’s 3 hours and 20 minutes of deliberations, and all day on Thursday, that means this jury has now been deliberating for approximately 9 hours. Last year it took the jury approximately 15 hours to reach the decision of first degree murder with an element of aggravated cruelty. When it came to sentencing last year, the sentencing phase dragged out a little bit because the jurors were deadlocked, and that became clear very early on.
Last year’s jury could not make it through 3 days of deliberations in the sentencing phase, and it clearly devastated them. CBS News reported last year that deliberations for that jury began on a “Tuesday afternoon.” CBS also said,
“Around noon Wednesday, the panel announced that they were unable to reach a unanimous verdict, but a judge ordered them to continue deliberations….The jury in the penalty phase of the trial of convicted killer Jodi Arias was unable to reach a unanimous decision on sentencing, and was dismissed by the judge in a Maricopa County courtroom late Thursday afternoon, in Phoenix, Ariz.”
And, as they were dismissed they were clearly devastated. Their first words mouthed were to the victim’s family, the Alexanders, to which they said “I’m sorry.” Many of these same jurors have been spotted in court throughout this penalty phase retrial, committed to seeing this murder come to justice for the victim Travis Alexander. One juror from this first jury in the Jodi Arias trial spoke to CBS 5 to give some insight on what is going through the minds of this jury right now.
Diane Schwartz was one of the first jurors on this case, and told CBS 5 she considered her role to be very important. She said they all did. She said,
“It was a job we had to do and we couldn’t get it done. When you are an individual that likes your job, works hard at it, and we failed or couldn’t get it done – it impacts you – and that’s exactly what it did to me.”
Schwartz was one of the jurors that voted for the death penalty. It is clear that she saw right through Jodi’s manipulations. She told CBS 5,
“Jodi Arias scares me – she really scares me. I think that if Jodi had gotten away with this, it could have easily happened again. I would like to see the death penalty, however, what I’ve learned in the process is that while I support the death penalty and I want that to happen, I know how hard it is.”
Her ultimate hope is that they are not hung. It is clear she does not wish that on anyone. Another former juror in the Jodi Arias trial spoke out last year about what his thoughts were on the case after he was dismissed. Although Juror #8 from last year has not spoken out since last year, he offers some intriguing insight about what could be going on in the minds of this year’s jury who have seen very similar evidence.
Dan Gibb, Juror #8 was dismissed from the Jodi Arias trial last year after he was charged with DUI and informed the arresting officer he was a member of the jury for this trial. Dan Gibb spoke with Dr. Drew last year on HLN about what was going through his mind when he was on the panel. Last year he had some very insightful comments that are interesting to reflect back on now that this case is at this moment in time.
The expert witnesses in this sentencing trial have been the center of the debate for many arguments between the State and the defense. The defense experts alleged PTSD as an actual mitigating factor that should be used when considering to spare Jodi from the death penalty. But the State says you shouldn’t buy it, they are just making that up for “secondary gain.”
What this sentencing verdict could really come down to then is what expert the jury believes the most. PTSD claims was not a new defense for Jodi Arias. The defense made this claim in the guilt phase with expert Dr. Samuels, and just reformatted it with Dr. Geffner this time around. Dr. Samuels, like defense witness Dr. Geffner, had decades of experience that the defense likes to keep emphasizing.
But he appeared disorganized and lacked evidence and was not “not believable” to last year’s jury according to Dan Gibb in this chat with Dr. Drew last year. Specifically Dan had a problem with the defense experts, and on the PTSD he said,
“The PTSD thing, I think, it seemed like it was…it seemed like it was just a side track from you know, from the real issue.”
Dr. Drew went over one of the juror questions that Dan wrote himself, asking Dr. Samuels to clarify some of his claims about the infamous Jodi Arias “fog.” It was clear then that the jury was not buying Dr. Samuel’s claims. Interestingly enough, defense expert Dr. Geffner, who is also perceived by the public as a fumbler and bumbler on the witness stand, with decades of experience, was posed similar questions by this jury this time around.
Questions like, “Is it normal to change someone’s answers for them.” don’t bode well for what this jury might think about Dr. Geffner’s credibility. Dan’s comments from last year are interesting was everyone wonders what is going through the minds of jurors today. Watch the video here to see former juror #8 in the Jodi Arias trial talk more about how he feels that jury perceived their expert witnesses.
In this case, one expert witness has brought a lot of evidence with her, another has not and has resorted to personal attacks. The personal attacks may not be relevant to the jury. One thing we do know is that juries like to see evidence, they like to hold it in their hands, writes Paul Sanders Juror #13 from the Marissa Devault “The Hammer Killing” trial and author of “Brain Damage: A Juror’s Tale.”
This death penalty trial was also held in the same county as Jodi Arias, and Paul Sanders was one of the jurors that voted death for Devault. He knows this county, he knows this process, and has been writing on the sentencing retrial for Jodi Arias since it began. He is in the courtroom every day and is frequently writing about how the juries just like to hold evidence in their hands.
If that is the case, then Dr. Demarte must be getting a lot of attention in the jury room for these deliberations. What are they thinking of Dr. Geffner? Time will tell. As this jury deliberates and it goes on and on, the public gets a little more panicky about it. What could be the holdup?
Every little thing gets scrutinized. One juror brought in “a crockpot of goodness” for deliberations Thursday according to Jen @TrialDiariesJ. This sent a tidal wave of tweets about a jury that was “obviously settling in”. In the slideshow are a number of tweets on the trending topic, and even new Twitter handle, about that juror’s crockpot.
To add to the case, llamas escaped in Maricopa County right while it felt like the entire world was on pins and needles about whether Jodi Arias was going to live or die. Yes, that actually happened. David Erickson @ericksonvision tweeted,
“Llamas caught by Maricopa County deputies. Kirk Nurmi appointed council. Says llama’s ex viewed pron. Should go free. #llamasonthelam”
By the end of the first full day of jury watch #llamasontheloose and @JuryCrockpot were trending topics in the court of public opinion. What will Monday bring?
The anticipation is building into a crescendo as time passes. It is probably feeling the most arduous and painful to the family of the victim who have been so patiently waiting for this nightmare to come to an end since 2008. With the jury on the weekend break, rumors and speculations are rampant on social media. Many feel that a mere day should be enough.
On Day 42 of the trial, the day that verdict watch began, author Paul Sanders Juror 13 @The13thJurorMD in the Marissa Devault trial wrote a very compelling piece that circulated Facebook. He is the author of “Brain Damaged: A Juror’s Tale”, and knows exactly what it’s like to serve on a death penalty in Maricopa County. His writings on Day 42 of the Jodi Arias trial compare similarly to Dan Gibbs and Diane Schwartz insight into the realities of what the jury might be going through right now.
Many members of the court of public opinion who made their minds up about this killer months ago get upset when deliberations on such a major crime are perceived to drag out so long. People get mad, why didn’t the jury stay to work on Fridays for us? Aren’t they committed? Don’t they care about the victim?
Paul Sanders writing as this case went into verdict answered some of those questions. It also offered the perspective of what it’s really like to be a juror of a high profile trial, and why jurors don’t work for the public every business day of the week. Paul has been in the courtroom tweeting and reporting on the day by day testimony in the Jodi Arias trial.
His writings frequently reflect the fact that the victims and their families are at the top of the minds of jurors during deliberations. On his own trial experience with the Devault trial he wrote,
“In this story, I was a juror. However I will always remember it as more than that. This story will live within me; it is a part of me. I am no longer just Juror #13. I am a friend of Dale Harrell. I know, along with eleven others, that we brought justice for his death.”
Author Paul Sanders is frequently noting, the victim is on the jury’s mind all of the time. If the jury that is deliberating Jodi’s fate is the same, remember this is the same jury that also heard the defense say “forget the victim this is not about him.” However, in a recent writing Paul noted that sometimes practical matters do interfere.
One thing the public has been concerned about is why the jury didn’t deliberate on Friday. Some people even took it as a sign of lack of commitment. Paul Sanders says, not necessarily. He wrote,
“This is the logistical situation with a juror that few talk about and one does not realize until they become a juror. Early in the DeVault trial, two of us lost our jobs. Certainly, after a phone call to our employers directly from the judge, we were rehired and given a work schedule that complimented the court schedule. In that, when it came to the question of working Fridays, it was not that we did not have a fervent desire to get through the process of justice, it was the thought of going back to our employers after a schedule had been settled with them.”
So Fridays didn’t work for that jury, and they don’t for this one. It’s simply a matter of that, and not necessarily a reflection that Jodi may escape the death penalty. Paul also wrote that crockpots during deliberations weren’t uncommon.
When the jury is given a case, they are instructed that they are not allowed to even discuss it outside the room. So no matter what kind of mojo they have going on with a chat or piece of evidence, if Mother Nature calls for someone, everything stops. A crockpot on hand makes good practical sense.
Paul also noted that polls on where people stood typically took place first thing in the morning, after lunch, and right before they left for the day. If this jury is following that same format, announcements during verdict watch will probably happen first thing in the morning, shortly after lunch, or an hour or so before the day is about to end. Paul describes that process,
“The first two phases of our deliberation as a jury featured jury polls taken regularly. We usually did one at the beginning of the day, after lunch and one before we left for the day. It gave us a constant feeling of forward progress as jurors would fall to one side or the other. Each of our original polls was coincidentally remembered as being split evenly the first time were dispatched to deliberate in each phase. We would submit our votes by writing it on a scrap of a page out of a legal pad. These were thrown into a pile.”
Paul notes the weight of the decision is never lost on jurors. In fact, the life changing moment of that decision was discussed with Paul and the jury panel he was on. Even so, Paul writes how they prioritized what they were going through in those moments of time. He writes,
“We had three things on our mind in spite of a killer sitting in the defendant’s chair. The first was to make the right decision, one with no regrets. The second reason, equal in importance, was that we had a victim and a family that we were responsible to in the process. Finally, that we were unified in whatever decision we made.”
Paul is confident that as the jury deliberations continue, the victim Travis Alexander, and his family, are most certainly being considered in that room.
Paul says that the jury he was on was well aware of the hung jury situation that happened in the same county in 2013. Nobody wants the badge of being on a hung jury he says. Paul is also confident that as the jury deliberations continue, the victim Travis Alexander, and his family, are most certainly being considered in that room. He wrote,
“Without mitigating factors in a trial that the jury has convicted the defendant of first degree murder enhanced by the death qualifier of it being cruel and heinous, I am confident that this jury will be left with only one option….My faith is in my juror experience while the rest is now in the hands of a jury of twelve. This jury will remember Travis Alexander and what was done to him.”
Meanwhile, ABC and Fox have looked ahead to what happens to the killer after the jury does come back. Seems like, no matter what the verdict is, her life ahead will be pretty much the same either way. ABC News says that if the verdict comes back as the death penalty, Jodi Arias will be transported immediately to the Lumley Unit of Perryville.
If she is given a life sentence, it will be 48 hours before she is transported from the Estrella Jail in Maricopa County to Perryville Prison Complex. Barrett Marson, former Department of Corrections Communications Director, told ABC what Jodi’s room will look like. He described a 6-by-eight-foot prison cell that faces west, and includes a toilet, bed, and shelf. He also said,
“In July and August it’s going to be very hot. They don’t have air conditioning, they do have swamp coolers, but in Arizona we know that doesn’t do much.”
If Jodi gets Death Row, she will be permitted outside one hour daily, 6 times weekly, and she will spend it alone. When she does, the other inmates that are outside will be cleared from the area. It is hard time, and if she is on Death Row, she will be treated like she is a dangerous criminal.
Most of her life will be in her cell. She will eventually be permitted to purchase a television with a basic cable. She will not be permitted any computer access. The bulk of her contact will be through vents with other inmates, but she will not have many visitation privileges either. All of that could increase in time, over years, on good behavior.
Troy Hayden from Fox 10 also spoke with Perryville Prison who said, they are waiting for Jodi Arias. Her room has been prepared and it is not an ‘if’, it is matter of ‘when’ she gets there. In fact, as far as Perryville is concerned, and the room that is waiting for Jodi Arias, she will get the same room regardless of what the sentence is.
Troy Hayden recently spoke with current Department of Corrections director Charles Ryan. Ryan told Hayden,
“The staff here has already been warned about Jodi Arias.”
Troy asked Ryan if there is a difference between what cell Jodi will get, will that depend on the verdict? Ryan said yes, she will get the same cell either way because in Arizona there are only two other women on Death Row.
Troy Hayden also reported that if the sentence is life however, Jodi could be socializing with other inmates within 60 days of her arrival. She could be permitted to engage in group activities, or even get a job where she can make anywhere from 10 cents to 50 cents an hour. Ryan said the kinds of jobs she would get include,
“Yard detail, picking up cigarette butts, raking rocks, doing portering, janitorial detail, things of that nature.”
Troy Hayden also says Perryville staff are not undertaking the custody of Jodi Arias blindly. He used words like “been warned” and “told to keep their distance.” When discussing the inmate with Charles Ryan Troy used the word “manipulate.” He asked the Department of Corrections director what exactly they were worried about as far as Jodi’s custody was concerned.
“Troy: Do you think she might try to manipulate staff? Is that what the worry is
CR: That is a [one of the many] concern. And that’s something that we want staff to guard against and be certain that they don’t cross that line.”
Either way, she can’t get there soon enough as far as the Alexander family is concerned. For now, the family of Travis Alexander remains in verdict watch limbo as this new jury deliberates the fate of the convicted killer who murdered their beloved brother. It is a very painful and slow moving weekend for them with this moment in time in their lives getting the pause button.
We asked Paul Sanders what he thought was the most important thing for the public to keep in mind as this jury deliberates that fate. He said,
“I think the most important thing to grasp is that despite other verdicts, this is a good jury who wants justice. They feel for the family of Travis Alexander. They are all familiar with the unresolved prior Arias ruling and they will do all they can to avoid being hung. Give the jury time and expend our energy with support for the family and each other. I believe in this jury. I believe in a system that has been in place for over 200 years. I believe we get it right far more often than we get it wrong. J*4*T*!”
How are you feeling as this case heads into a third day of deliberations? Are you as confident as this former death penalty juror? The defense wants this jury, and the world, to forget the victim in this case.
Do you agree that’s an appropriate venue to take in a death penalty trial? The reason an individual becomes eligible for the death penalty is due to the impact their crimes have on the victims. And one of the reasons this case is a death penalty trial is because of the Alexanders’ commitment to seeing the individual accused of these crimes sentenced to the highest degree level.
Reactions from the court of public opinion are in the slideshow. As are some leaked photos of the killer from jail courtesy of one of our readers Juan Martinez Tie @JuansTie. If you were a jury member on this case, knowing what you know, what evidence is the most compelling evidence that remembers the victim in this case? How would you honour that family with your deliberations?