I went to see the Magic Flute in Bristol recently.
In the second act, Tamino is tutored in how to overcome the fear of death, and faces trials, of silence, fire and water.
Jodi has learned to overcome the fear of death. It was recently revealed that she declined a plea bargain in which she was offered a life sentence to avoid the possibility of a death sentence. She declined.
But this post is more about Jodi’s trials. The never-ending tests of the veracity of her testimony, that she killed Travis in self-defense after he attacked her, which the State has tested at extraordinary length.
Wise observers have said “it’s better not to testify”. Unfortunately, Jodi, like Tamino, was not so good at enduring the trial of silence after killing Travis, and spoke to the police and public at length, with an account of events that was often the opposite of the truth.
- She claimed Travis did not own a gun [ since if he did, how come it was missing if she didn’t take it ]
- She claimed she never went to Mesa. Photographs recovered at the scene showed this to be false.
- She later claimed intruders appeared just after she was taking pictures of Travis in the shower.
Perhaps these lies created the need for her to testify, and testify she did, for 18 days, through many days of cross-examination by both prosecutor Juan Martinez and the jury, who were able to ask their own questions.
The prosecution had any number of reasons to suspect Jodi of premeditated murder.
Jodi’s Hair Color
Prosecutor Juan Martinez claimed that Jodi had blonde hair when she hired a car ( the car rental guy testified to this ), but changed her hair to brown to go to Mesa, in an attempt at disguise. The defense however introduced photographs showing that Jodi dyed her hair brown many weeks before.
Perhaps the car rental guy remembered Jodi’s driving license:
Not to be deterred, the prosecution claimed in closing arguments that Jodi had “blonde locks” before the trip, not detectable in poorly lit photographs of her in Travis’ bedroom on the day of the killing. Did the jury buy it? Nobody knows.
But Jodi’s trials were not over, not by a long chalk.
Jodi testified that she jumped up to get the gun from a high shelf, momentarily stepping on some shelving. The prosecution suggested the shelf would have tipped, disturbing items on the shelving, which appeared neat and tidy, after despatching lead detective Flores to the scene, nearly five years later. Flores testified that he was able to tip a shelf using just his finger, although no items were on the shelf, and Jodi may have stepped near the point where the shelf was supported. Was the jury convinced? Nobody knows.
Jodi testified that she caught Travis masturbating to a picture of a young boy clothed in underwear. Moreover she suggested looking at Travis’ laptop, for signs of pornography use. Jodi also testified there was a virus on the laptop, and this had caused Travis to be angry earlier in the day. The State called witnesses to expose these lies – State witness Melendez testified he found no virus or pornography on the laptop, and a defense witness found nothing either. In closing Juan Martinez claimed Jodi lied about this as well. Another nail Jodi’s coffin.
The Magic Bullet
Just before trial, apparently to prove Jodi lied about having shot Travis first, the prosecution changed it’s theory, asserting that Jodi shot Travis after he was dead. The Medical Examiner testified that the bullet travelled through Travis’ brain, without leaving any trace, even though he was able to examine slices of the brain. He further asserted his own autopsy report must be erroneous, as it stated the Dura Mater was intact.
The Gas Cans
The culmination of Juan Martinez’ demonstration of guilt was Jodi’s use of gas cans. He theorized that Jodi decided to avoid using her credit card to buy gas while in Arizona, and calculated that she needed three gas cans to achieve this. Two cans were borrowed from her ex, Darryl Brewer, and a third was purchased from Wal-Mart. Jodi had kept the receipt:
Juan surely had his prey cornered, this seemed the decisive proof of guilt he was searching for, and now Jodi apparently panicked, and declared that she returned her purchase to Wal-Mart. Now Juan pounced, he called Amanda Webb, a Wal-Mart employee, who declared that she could find no record of the return. Jodi’s fate was sealed. Her diabolical secret murder mission was exposed.
Defense counsel Kirk Nurmi had no explanation. He feebly claimed Jodi didn’t say she returned the gas can to the same store, but the jury were not fooled. Some trial observers noted that Walmart Salinas relocated in 2010, but the witness and counsel seemed blissfully unaware of this circumstance.
The jury duly found Jodi guilty of 1st degree murder, in May 2013, but there was a hitch – they could not all agree that she should be executed. In Arizona, this meant a retrial. Jodi was offered a life sentence, but as mentioned above, overcame any fear of death, and declined ( acceptance would have meant giving up all hopes of appeal ).
The Penalty Retrial
After a lengthy interval, Act 2, the Penalty retrial began in September 2014. Instead of backing down on the assault on Travis’ character, the defense persisted, and with some success. After many bitterly disputed hearings, it was established that there were indeed pornographic videos on Travis’ laptop – they had been deleted, but could be recovered from the disk free space. And there was a signed affidavit from a witness who claimed Travis downloaded child pornography on a shared computer around January 2001. An attempt by the State to blame someone else ended in disaster – “Did you know he was married in 1999?“.
Moreover, Amanda Webb testified again, and this time she was forced to admit she did not know if the records moved intact to the new store when Wal-Mart Salinas relocated in 2010.
The jury again could not agree that Jodi should be executed, with a single holdout being subjected to threats as a result. Jodi was therefore sentenced to be sent to prison and not to be released for any reason for the remainder of her natural life.
And that is the where we are. Jodi has been convicted based on very uncertain evidence, of a crime that makes no sense. She had nothing to gain from Travis’ premeditated murder, and everything to lose. Jodi needs to appeal. The State’s case has already been undermined, if she can prove she only used two gas cans, Juan’s main argument for guilt is destroyed.
Jodi needs money to fight her wrongful conviction. Please donate to the appeal fund if you can afford it. The forces of evil, symbolised by the Queen of the Night and the traitorous Monostatos in the Magic Flute need to be overcome!
and a quotation from the English Libretto :
Ladies: Listen, Tamino, you are lost! Think of the Queen! There are many rumours concerning the wicked ways of these priests!
Tamino (aside): A wise man seeks proof and disregards what the common rabble say.
See Who is Jodi to learn more about who Jodi really is.