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** Update 8 June 2013 **
While I continue to monitor this blog, please note I have changed to a different hosting service and therefore a new blog. If you'd like to stay current, please visit me at My Sens-iety.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Arias: Who Brings a Knife to a Gunfight?

One of my psychology professors once said something that I think was extremely profound.  As a class, many of us were struggling to understand the Whys behind various abnormal and deviant human behaviors we'd been studying.  Sensing our frustration, he offered some simple advice.  "All you need to understand is that nobody ever does anything which they don't think is a good idea at the time they do it."  Suddenly we understood.

Take a look at this video clip from In Session: "Police: Arias was preparing to flee."  This report gives me a bone-chilling peek into the strange mind of Jodi Arias.  It also provides an answer to my title question above:  Jodi Arias Does.
  1. Jodi slashed the tires of Travis Alexander on multiple occasions, presumably with a knife.
  2. A .25 caliber handgun was stolen from the home of Jodi's grandparents about a week before she killed Travis.
  3. Two weapons were used to kill Alexander: a .25 caliber gun and a knife.
  4. There is no evidence Alexander or his roommates owned any guns of any kind.
  5. There is no evidence any of the knives in the Alexander home were missing following the killing.
  6. There is no evidence any of the knives in the Alexander home was the murder weapon.
  7. Police found .25mm ammunition at the home of Jodi's parents.
  8. Arias purchased a High Point 9mm gun after the killing, later found hidden in the rented getaway vehicle, a Chevy Cobalt.
  9. A search of the Cobalt at the time of Jodi's arrest revealed 9mm ammunition packed in her suitcase and two knives inside boxes of her books.
A gun, a knife.  A knife, a gun.  Wouldn't two weapons be better than one?

The acquittal of Casey Anthony apparently pivoted on a single, unanswered question:  How did little Caylee Anthony die?  Even though they didn't believe Casey was innocent, they felt they could not convict her without having a definitive cause of death.  In addition, they failed to understand why Casey would murder Caylee.

The jury in the trial of Dr. Conrad Murray for the death of Michael Jackson was able to overcome the obstacle of not knowing exactly who gave the fatal propofol injection.  They weren't distracted by an obvious lack of motive for the killing  They understood that the ultimate culpability rested with the doctor who provided the drugs then failed to administer and monitor them in a professional manner.  And they understood why Murray was willing to administer the inappropriate drugs in the first place.

The jury in the Jodi Arias case will never know for certain which of the three fatal wounds inflicted on Travis Alexander came last, but that doesn't matter because the cause of death is exsanguination from the many knife wounds.  They may be confused as to Jodi's motive -- was it jealousy or not? -- but that doesn't really matter because motive is not a required element to prove murder.  They may be distracted by the conflicting psychological evaluations, but those only matter during a penalty phase following a 1st degree murder conviction.

As in the trial of Casey Anthony, they will be confused by the multitude of lies told by the defendant.  But the lies don't really matter.  There is zero doubt that Jodi killed Travis.  The jury's only concern should be to convict her of the appropriate charge.  In order for them to reach a guilty verdict for 1st degree murder, they will have to understand the nature and value of the circumstantial evidence presented -- taken together, the state has proven premeditation.  We shall soon see if the jury is able to understand that.

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