Arias was found guilty May 8 in the gruesome premeditated first-degree murder of her ex-boyfriend, 30-year-old Travis Alexander, in June 2008. (Photo : MySpace: Jodi Arias)
With the trial of Jodi Arias in its final stages, questions asked by the jury indicate her fate may already be sealed; Arias will be convicted of first-degree murder, according to one legal expert.
Over the course of the trial, jurors have submitted a wealth of questions to be asked by Judge Sherry Stephens to Arias, as well as the defense and prosecution's expert witnesses. Arizona is one of three states that allow jurors to ask witnesses questions once prosecuting and defense attorneys have completed their questioning. Jurors' questions might not have elicited the most earthshaking answers, but Mark Eiglarsh, a Miami Criminal Defense Attorney, believes the questions themselves are a revealing suggestion of how the jury perceives the case as a whole.
"I believe that [the jury] will convict her of first-degree murder and my prediction is they are going to [give her] life," Eiglarsh told Radar Online.
"When you look at the facts themselves, it just doesn't pass the smell test. I can't imagine [the jury] will excuse that conduct."
A 32-year-old photographer from California, Arias is charged with the grisly first-degree murder of her ex-boyfriend Travis Alexander in June 2008, when she stabbed the 30-year-old man 27 times, primarily in the back, shot him in the face, slit his throat from ear to ear with so much force it almost decapitated him, and left his bloodied corpse crumpled over in the bathroom shower of his home - all in the course of 106 seconds. Arias' guilt is not up for debate - but her mental state at the time of the killing is. Arias' future depends on whether the jury believes she killed Alexander in self-defense, or was actually a jilted lover exacting jealous revenge.
In an attempt to prove Alexander fractured Arias' mental state so badly that's she's suffering from post traumatic stress disorder and memory loss, and is a victim of domestic abuse, the defense brought in expert witnesses to corroborate its argument. The defense's assertion that Arias is the real victim here is the crux of its case at this point in the trial.
A majority of the jurors' questions for the experts have focussed on their ethics, and professional ability to accurately assess the disorders they claim to know so intimately. Eiglarsh says this is evidence that the jury hasn't been buying into the defense's claims of PTSD, acute amnesia, and domestic abuse. He said it was clear many of the jurors questions show they're incredibly skeptical of the testimonies provided by the defense's expert witnesses.
"Many of those questions show they are not only skeptical of her story but also of the experts," said Eiglarsh.
Some jury questions have seemed extremely concerned with possible lapses in ethics by the defense's expert witnesses. Numerous questions from the jury have pointed to several instances in psychotherapist Alyce LaViolette's testimony when she allegedly looked and smiled at Arias during questioning, and in one case even met her gaze for acknowledgement and shrugged when she was asked a question.
Eiglarsh admits the trial isn't over yet, but he says there's an overwhelming sense that Arias' guilty verdict is a foregone conclusion at this point.
"Common sense and after having been in the system for over 20 years - it doesn't take even a lawyer to assess that when you have that many stab wounds and a shot to the head, and gal who can remember every detail including what she drank at Starbucks seven years ago - but when it comes down to the critical details, now she conveniently has a memory fog. I think she is guilty and she should be convicted."
Arias has already admitted to lying about Alexander's death to just about everyone. She first claimed she was never at Alexander's home the day he was killed. Then, when a bloody handprint on the wall confirmed she was there through DNA evidence, she admitted she was there, but said masked intruders killed him. Finally, years later she backtracked to admit she killed the victim, but now claims it was in self-defense, saying he attacked her in the shower, forcing her to fight for her life. She claims she lied so often because she was "ashamed" she killed Alexander in self-defense and because she was afraid of revealing the details of their sexual relationship.
With the defense having finally rested its case after roughly 12 weeks of testimony, prosecutor Juan Martinez has entered the state's rebuttal phase with its first expert witness, Arizona clinical psychologist Janeen DeMarte. Intent to prove the defense's experts were inaccurate in their claims and could not be trusted, Martinez has set up DeMarte as a consummate professional, and an objective contrast to the defense's numerous lapses of ethics and judgement.
Arias faces the death penalty if convicted. The trial resumes Tuesday at 12:30 p.m. EST when DeMarte is expected to continue her testimony.