WHY NOT KILL HER
“A Juror’s Perspective”
Travis Alexander & the Jodi Arias Death Penalty Retrial
by Paul Sanders
“MISTRESS OF DECEPTION”
I have to wonder if the jury felt the dampness of the same cloud of irony that I felt by the time of the finish of proceedings today.
The morning began with a thirty minute sidebar before the jury was finally brought in. I watched them file into their seats and I felt there was a sense of a refined organization while also coming in with a pep in their step. They seemed to have paid closer attention to their appearance in dressing with care and concern. Shirts were pressed and only two Jurors wore jeans. This tells me that they care about what they are doing and becoming more unified. People in the Jury box are following the lead of the example setters and that is a good thing. It’s possible that they have a spring in their step with the upcoming holiday, Thanksgiving. They are excited to get through the day and get back to a “normal” life, away from murder and evil, to see their families and watch some football.
Their minds need a break.
Juan Martinez made the day flow for the Jury like a river. He was like a fly fisherman who, with grace, captures his fish. I am sure the Jury appreciated it. His questioning kept their minds busy as he flowed from topic to topic. Dr. Fonseca was the bait and he caught her with eloquence rich with sarcasm.
“Ma’am?” he asked at the opening of proceedings, “One of the things you told us was that you do not do evaluations.” He was wearing a black suit complimented with a yellow shirt and soft brown tie.
“Good Morning,” Dr. Fonseca says directly to the Jury. She smiles at them as she did yesterday. She then turned toward Juan Martinez as if no question had been asked.
“Ma’am?” he asked again. He never calls her Doctor or Dr. Fonseca. He only refers to her as ma’am. It is the same with Jodi Arias. He usually calls her “Arias” or “the defendant” with emphasis on “dant.” He shows no emotion even though she had ignored his question. “One of the things you told us was that you did not do evaluations. Am I right?”
“Yes, that’s right,” she answers.
“You said that in your evaluation that it was significant that Arias shaved her pubic region. Did you not?”
The Doctor turned in her chair and looked at the Jury. She did not look at Juan Martinez. “The constellation of variables suggests that shaving the pubic area is a little more common in our society. It may have had something to do with my evaluation, though.”
“Are you saying that the way she groomed herself had something to do with Travis Alexander?” Juan asked as he took a couple of steps forward.
“Um, it depends upon a number of considerations.”
“Didn’t you say that engaging in that practice is important to you?” Mr. Martinez inquired.
Juan looked at her. “Didn’t you say it was something worth considering?”
“Well, men and women do it,” she answered with a non-answer.
“Ma’am, we’re not interested in men,” Juan Martinez said firmly. “Didn’t you say it was important despite what percentage may shave that region?”
She seemed to think about it. The doctor hesitated before she answered and then looked at the Jury. “I didn’t look at the specifics of this. It is one of many things I consider. There is an overall dynamic between the two sexually. Every piece had to be considered.”
Juan Martinez walked back to the Prosecution table and looked at his yellow legal pad. He picked up some papers from the desk and walked toward Dr. Fonseca, never stopping while he asked, “May I approach, Your Honor?”
“Yes,” Judge Stevens replied. He handed her the document over to the witness.
“Did you review document number 440441?” he asked Fonseca as he handed her the papers.
“Thank you, Mr. Martinez,” she answered. I did not hear her roll her “r” like she had the day prior. “I didn’t finish yesterday.”
The courtroom is completely silent for ten minutes. Nobody moves. Judge Stevens peers over her desk while Dr. Fonseca was reading. Nobody even really coughs. It seemed offsetting. Some may wonder why she did not finish reading it the day before.
Juan stood back at the Prosecution table. He looked toward her. He imperceptibly rocked on his heels. He looked toward the carpet and back at her. He waited patiently without showing any emotion.
“Have you reviewed the document?” he finally asked, stepping toward her a couple steps.
The Doctor smiled jovially. “Yes, Mr. Martinez.”
Juan Martinez began tearing at her testimony that she had given with Kirk Nurmi a week before. He pursued each prior boyfriend of Jodi Arias in the years around the time that she murdered Travis Alexander. It is revealed one by one that she had a pattern of breaking up with boyfriends, even those whom she had lived with, and then contacting them and demonstrating stalker behavior.
“Matt McCartney broke up with Arias. Isn’t that why she went to Crater Lake?” the prosecutor asked.
“Do you remember Bianca? Weren’t they getting away from the defendant?”
“She might have visited her, if I recall,” the Doctor replied.
“Visited?” Juan Martinez questioned. “Arias drove up there to confront this woman. Wasn’t that aggressive?”
The Doctor repositioned herself in her seat. She was not looking at the jurors. “Not really, Mr. Martinez. They did not fight or argue and I would not think it uncommon.”
“She didn’t suffer in silence, did she?” he asked, pausing. He pointed toward the document in the witness’ hand. “What was the infidelity with Mr. Juarez?”
“Jodi Arias heard a conversation on the phone,” the Doctor responded, a little smugly.
“And the defendant also testified about this aspect, didn’t she?”
“I don’t recall,” the Doctor answered. “I didn’t see all eighteen days of testimony.”
“Let’s see if this will refresh your memory,” Juan Martinez prompted. He went to the prosecution table, picked up a document, entered it to the court as Exhibit Number 755 and handed it to the Doctor. “Does that refresh your recollection how the break-up came about?”
Dr. Fonseca looked at the exhibit, turned it over, and then looked at the front of it again. “I don’t know. I don’t recall this.”
“But you testified to it,” Juan reminded her. “Would you like me to get the transcript from the court reporter? I can do that. Would that help refresh your memory?”
“It’s not that,” she answered. “I don’t remember Bobby Juarez having a computer.”
“It’s right there. He did and she looked at it. Do you remember her going to confront him about the information on the computer?”
The witness’ memory was apparently clouded by a deep fog as she responded, “I don’t recall.”
“That doesn’t sound like suffering in silence, does it?”
I am sure that the jury saw what he exposed, with his articulate questioning, that Jodi Arias does not take well to breaking up. It is clear that her behaviors do not show her as suffering in silence. He spoke of relationships gone sour while Arias would re-appear in their boyfriends lives again and it is confrontational in nature every time. She called them repeatedly at any hour of the day.
Throughout the morning, Dr. Fonseca’s memory worsened on details and couldn’t remember what Jodi Arias did after each break up. It was becoming clear to everyone else in the room, including the Jury, that Jodi Arias wasn’t what she portrayed herself to be in the defendant’s chair. She is not the meek little girl in the fuzzy sweater. Her dark side was being exposed piece by piece.
“They only dated three or four months, didn’t they?” Juan asked her, in reference to Travis and Arias.
“Well,” the Doctor replied hesitantly. “They broke up in February, or maybe it was June of 2007?”
Juan looked at her and walked forward with his palm out. With the other finger, he counted the fingers in his palm. “So, they dated March, April, May and June. Is that right Ma’am?”
“It was the end of June before she discovered his infidelities,” she said, looking toward the ceiling as if trying to remember. “Well, they dated some months…”
“Didn’t she move to Mesa, Arizona from Northern California in July of 2007?”
Dr. Fonseca appeared to think. It looks like everything is getting foggy again similar to someone else we know. “Maybe. I can’t be sure.”
“It was a couple of weeks after they broke up, wasn’t it?” the prosecutor pursued.
“Well, Mr. Martinez, they never really broke up. You have to understand the sexual dynamic of it.”
“The dynamic,” Juan comments. “She’s not “suffering in silence” by moving to Mesa, is she?”
Dr. Fonseca is trapped like a fish on a hook. Everyone can feel it. If I felt it, you can bet the Jury did. She squirmed and fought for her testimonial life while gasping for air.
“Sort of,” she answers.
Juan moved another two steps toward her. His eyes don’t leave her face. “Wasn’t Arias caught peeping into Travis Alexander’s home in August of 2007, two months after they broke up?”
I am busy taking notes but I can’t help but look at the exchange between Juan Martinez and Dr. Fonseca. The tension in the room is thick. The confidence in the experienced psychologist’s voice was gone. She looked toward Juan Martinez while acting oblivious to seventeen jurors waiting on her responses.
It was these little nuances in behavior that the jury watched and made notations of on their notepads. It might be similar to watching a really good movie. One looks at every detail, every feature change. They saw the loss of confidence while they were seeing an accelerated forward progress in arguments.
The jurors were learning something and it was challenging for each. They each felt the drama that made a trial. They observed the theater and they felt truths rising above the fodder. They were engaged.
Then Juan Martinez took them into the creepiness and foreshadowing of the terrible event. He took the jury on a journey to Travis Alexander’s backyard. It was clean and crisp. It brought the psychology of all of it home. It was not the knowledge that Dr. Fonseca may have carried with her thirty-five years of experience. It was the psychology of what was in Arias’ head based, in part, on her prior boyfriend’s treatment, in the earlier testimony.
Dr. Fonseca feebly attempted to qualify Arias’ behavior. “Well, she saw two people making out but didn’t know who they were. She went there to pick up something. She might have seen something.”
It was too late for Dr. Fonseca.
Juan Martinez set the hook on his proverbial fishing rod by yanking it firmly. “Arias had to stand there and look in his back patio window,” Juan stated. “They were kissing and her brassiere was off. She was peeping right?”
“I don’t know if you would call it that,” Fonseca responded softly.
“Didn’t the defendant know the key code to the garage?” Juan asked. Again, he emphasized the last part of the word, defendant.
“Why didn’t she use the garage, Ma’am? Why didn’t she use the door?”
Dr. Fonseca was suddenly at a loss for words. The words of days past were stolen away from her. “I don’t know how she could have gotten in. That’s not…”
“She didn’t ring the doorbell, did she?” Juan Martinez asked pointedly.
“No, I don’t know.”
“She was in the backyard, right?”
“She went around the side,” Dr. Fonseca daftly evaded.
Juan wouldn’t let go. “She intentionally went in the backyard, didn’t she?”
“That’s not suffering in silence. Is it, Ma’am?” he asked, pulling the fish in.
Dr. Fonseca admits, “It is some intrusiveness.”
“That was in August of 2007, when she was peeping. Am I right?” Juan asked.
“Yes?” she answered with a question.
“The defendant moved to Mesa, Arizona in July of 2007. This is after they broke up, right?” Juan Martinez asked. He was raising his voicing as if she might have been hard of hearing.
“Um,” the Doctor fumbled, “that is a confusing issue. They were still in contact.”
“Did I hear you right?” Juan asked, beginning to pace. “You said it was confusing?”
“I said that of all the variables that I considered…”
“Nonresponsive!” Juan exclaimed in the direction of Judge Stephens.
Judge Stephens looked at Dr. Fonseca. “Answer the question,” she directed her.
“Mr. Martinez does not give me a chance to finish, Your Honor,” she pleaded.
Judge Stephens reminded her how to answer a question.
The Doctor looked back at Juan Martinez who was waiting with his hands clasped behind his back.
“I’m not sure how to answer that. They had continual sexual contact,” Fonseca answered, finally.
“And they were broken up, right?” Juan prodded.
“No,” she replied. “Maybe. They had togetherness.”
“You just testified that they were broken up in June,” Juan Martinez reminded the witness. “In terms of Travis Alexander, you want him to tell everyone they are having sex, don’t you?”
“He had an ongoing relationship with her. As he always did in this relationship, he kept her closeted,” Fonseca said.
“Ma’am,” Juan asked, stopping in his tracks. “Isn’t it true, actually, that Arias herself had been keeping the relationship closeted?”
Dr. Fonseca looked toward the jury. “Travis Alexander said he was virginal. He was with Miss Andrews and having a sexual relationship with Jodi Arias. He was not open. He projected an image of being a thirty year-old male virgin.”
“So,” Juan said, drawing the word out, “he should tell people he is having sex with other women. Is that what he supposed to be doing?”
“He was a master of deception,” Fonseca stated flatly.
“Sexual life is private to Travis Alexander. Would you agree?” Juan asked.
“Yes,” she answered confidently. “I would agree to that.”
“Would you also agree that sexual life to Jodi Arias was private. That it was not closeted, right?” Juan pursued.
“No, Mr. Martinez. She did not talk about it but it wasn’t closeted. Travis Alexander didn’t talk about it for different reasons.” She still had not rolled an “r” all day.
“You just said it’s the same thing, didn’t you?”
“No,” Fonseca retorted. “He was going against the tenants of the church by having sex. His reputation was at stake. Jodi Arias had nothing to lose by other people knowing.”
“It goes to reputation, doesn’t it?”
“Well, she would be considered a slut and a whore. A man would be considered a stud. It’s a well-known double standard,” Fonseca explained.
“Exactly,” Juan said. “The church would also condemn her for having sex, too. Right?”
“It’s different,” Fonseca explained. She looked at the jurors. “You see, he had more to lose. He would lose his Temple Recommends and his executive status at his work, also.”
I looked at the jury and only one or two were taking notes. Their faces were expressionless.
“So, for Jodi Arias, she does not have as much to lose in the eyes of the Mormon Church?
Dr. Fonseca rubbed her neck. “They both had something to lose Mr. Martinez. He had more to lose in his church community. Miss Arias was a newcomer and it would not be the same loss.”
Juan Martinez walked to prosecution table, took a sip of water and carefully set the cup down. He turned around and walked toward Dr. Fonseca, stopping about six feet in front of her. He slid his hands into his pants pockets and faced her.
“You stated that the defendant did not tell anyone of her relationship with Travis Alexander. Doesn’t that make her a master manipulator, Ma’am?” he asked.
“You’re putting words into my mouth,” Fonseca responded. She sounded irritated.
“Doesn’t that make her a mistress of deception?”
The doctor shook her head. She was trapped. “He would have lost everything in the church community. It could have been devastating to him if people found out about them.”
“She could have been excommunicated from the church, isn’t that true, ma’am?” Juan asked, his eyes fixed on hers.
“I don’t know,” the Doctor muttered.
Juan Martinez slammed the door, its symbolic sound heard throughout the courtroom and not lost upon the jury. “Do you feel that, as a psychologist, that you have been objective?”
Dr. Fonseca defended herself but there were certainly some deaf ears in the jury box.
Juan finished the dismantling of Dr. Fonseca throughout the rest of the morning and into the latter part of the afternoon.
“We are not talking about Travis Alexander,” he said to her. “We are talking about that person over there, Jodi Arias!” he said, pointing to the defendant. “We are finished with this witness.”.
I did not realize until then the kind of tension that Juan Martinez had created. There was almost a sigh of relief in the moments he was sitting down. It was as if Travis Alexander had spoken. There had been strength in his arguments. There was a clarity that I had not seen before. This thing had been exposed.
Arias looked different in the defendant’s chair. Something had changed, something that knowledge had addressed. It was subtle. I know the Jury saw her in a light they had never seen before. There was a revealing in it and a loss of shadows. There was a victim on the other end of the argument who had died a horrific death and no amount of thirty-five years of experience could explain it away. His name was Travis Alexander and Jodi Arias planned his death. She did it with cruelty.
There was evil at the end of this road and Juan Martinez did an exemplary job of paving it.
Kirk Nurmi got up and began his redirect.
Dr. Fonseca began answering questions as Kirk Nurmi tried to put the house back together again. It took a while to realize what he was doing. He had set this seed a couple of days prior and I think he has underestimated the Jury. He thinks they are easily maligned.
The Jury knows this event was premeditated. He was trying to sell a car that no one was buying.
It was Dr. Fonseca’s opinion that this event was a culmination of events over time and Jodi Arias somehow ‘snapped” and killed him in a fit of rage.
This theory would not make sense to the jury. A prior jury’s verdict of premeditation invalidated it. It may actually have made some of the jurors mad. They cannot talk among each other so they have to dwell on it. It feels like they are being tricked.
Jurors are not dumb. They were selected because they are reasonable men and women. They know he is trying to deflect, hoping they will fall for it.
Kirk Nurmi asked Dr. Fonseca, “Do you think many years of experience in your field is better than only a few years?”
“Certainly,” she answered. “Nothing can speak better than many years of experience.”
“What do you think of other psychologists who try to damage the reputation of fellow Psychologists in court?”
Of course, it was easy for me to figure out this line of questioning that Juan Martinez put an end to. It made me happy. I knew about a surprise that the Jury didn’t know was coming. Kirk Nurmi was trying to pre-impeach a future witness for the prosecution.
Dr. Janeen DeMarte was on the horizon. It was going to be soon, very soon. The “Psycho-Killer”, as I refer to her in my book, “Brain Damage: A Juror’s Tale”, would be a welcome surprise for this Jury.
Kirk Nurmi asked a final question of the day.
“Dr. Fonseca? What is misogyny?”
The Doctor thought about it for a moment. “It defines men who are hateful of women…”
This will irritate most of the Jury on their holiday weekend off…
Judge Stevens ended the proceedings for the day while the attorneys were at a sidebar.
The air was rich with irony. The psychology in the room spoke louder than the witness with thirty-five years of experience…
“Every good relationship that has developed as a result of this trial is the
manifestation of the Spirit of Travis Alexander.”
Justice 4 Travis Alexander…
Justice for Dale Harrell…
Paul A. Sanders, Jr.
The 13th Juror @The13thJurorMD (Twitter)