Posted in Freedom Friday

Jodi Arias Murder Trial

Jodi Arias. To some, the name brings shivers. I was in a coma for the past seven years until last month when I heard she’d been given a life sentence without parole. Two different juries couldn’t decide if she should receive the death penalty. However, life without parole—it might as well have been a death sentence. She will die in prison.

Jodi Arias
Jodi Arias

ADC 281129. That’s Jodi’s inmate number in the Arizona Department of Corrections. Arizona State Prison Complex – Perryville is now her home. She spends twenty-three hours a day in a 12×7 cell. She can enjoy one hour a day of fresh air—caged. Her bed is hard. Her windows are small. Her toilet is cold and made of metal. Contact with other prisoners is non-existent.

Travis Alexander’s friends found him behind a locked bedroom door rotting in a shower stall, stabbed 27 times, his throat cut from ear to ear, and shot in the face. In court testimony, Mesa Detective Esteban Flores later described the murder as one of the most brutal scenes he has had to investigate in his career.

According to trial prosecutor Juan Martinez, in order to deflect suspicion, Arias not only took meticulous care to stage the scene, wiping the blood from the floor with bathroom towels, but she also attempted to destroy evidence by throwing a digital camera in the washing machine and running it through a cycle.

When questioned by Det. Flores, Arias initially stated she wasn’t at Alexander’s house June 4, 2008, the day of the murder, but had spun a wild tale of being lost in the desert. The next day, after having spent the night in jail, she said two assailants, a man and a woman, killed Alexander. She said she managed to escape with her life.

In 2011, in preparation of her own defense, Arias introduced letters from Alexander depicting him as a pedophile, an accusation the court quickly dismissed after having analyzed the letters as forgeries.

During the trial, she had also accused Alexander of domestic violence, which prosecutor Martinez later disproved with photographic evidence to the contrary.

Other than matching her DNA to the crime scene, including hair follicle and blood sample matches,  the bombshell to the prosecution’s case against Arias was the digital camera she thought she had destroyed in the washing machine. Using EnCase software, Forensics was able to retrieve the SD card and restore deleted photos of Arias dragging Alexander’s bloody body down the hall into the shower.

Arias claimed to have killed Alexander in self-defense because she had dropped his camera on the floor. She said he had lunged at her.

Self-defense. Twenty-seven stab wounds. A slit throat. A shot to the face.

Travis Alexander
Travis Alexander [Photo credit: myspace]
On April 13, 2015, Judge Sherry K. Stephens asked the defendant, Jodi Ann Arias, if she had anything else she wanted to say before sentencing.

“I do remember the moment the knife went into Travis’ throat and he was still conscious. He was still trying to attack me.” Arias said.

To the very end, Arias did not admit to killing Alexander in a jealous rage as the prosecution had proven with the evidence presented. Instead, she used her moment in front of the judge to attack Alexander’s family one last time.

The last word, however, belonged to the state of Arizona. Judge Stephens sentenced Jodi Arias to natural life in prison without the possibility of parole.

At age 34, Jodi Arias is a prisoner of the state. She no longer can sleep in on a Sunday morning as the birds sing their mating calls outside her window, take a walk in the middle of the woods just when it is about to rain, lay on a hill on a cool spring day to watch the clouds change shapes, curl her toes in the sand on the beach as the tide rolls in, sit by the fire with her favorite drink, enjoy a breath of fresh mountain air, celebrate holidays with family, play catch with her siblings, cook a meal for guests, take a plane ride, shop for clothes, go to the movies, cut the grass, drive a car or feel the tender touch of another human being.

Neither can Travis Alexander.

Ever.

Posted in Monday Mayhem

Would You?

For this week’s Monday Mayhem, let’s examine a question—would you? As non-standard as the question is, the implications can be enormous. Would I what? Would I eat the icing off the cake before digging into the cake itself? Would I leave a theater halfway through the movie because of my disappointment with its content? Would I not pay a tip if I had lousy service?

Would you? [Photo Credit: Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.]
Would you? [Photo Credit: Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.]
As innocent as those questions are, that’s not what’s on my mind. The “would you?” question has more to do with the breath I take into my lungs every day than anything else does. In other words, would I consider doing something beyond innocent in order to ensure my survival—the survival of my family?

Let me rephrase the question then. Would you do what is necessary to guarantee your survival if the zombie apocalypse really takes place? Of course this is all speculation, so you can go ahead and think about it for a moment.

Everyone’s definition of survival is different. I know when it comes to Boxing Day here in Canada the proverbial claws come out. Think what you may about us Canadians, if there’s a deal at some store after Christmas, you best know we’re not polite. We’re not cordial. And as they say in sportsmanship, may the best man win. Survival is all a matter of who gets what at the better price.

Have you thought about it? Not an easy thing, is it?

Would you?
Would you?

If the zombie apocalypse takes place, what are the odds you will not kill someone to defend your house? I’m not talking about zombies here. Killing zombies can ultimately become a sport. I cite Dawn of the Dead as an example where the survivors are stuck on a mall rooftop taking pot shots at a horde or the undead below, simply for their own amusement. So, yes, killing zombies can be a fun affair.

The more difficult question is more complicated than that.

Would you kill another human to defend your family? Answer this carefully. It would mean breaking the boundary you’ve established within your character as a means to survive the apocalypse further, which, by the way, there’s no guarantee you’d accomplish in doing. After all, your soul is what will eventually vanish with the act.

Now, some folks may find it easy. They’d treat it like another Boxing Day sale—your loss is my gain. But what of the folks who are upright citizens of their neighborhoods? What will become of them? Or will they become those who will be the ones who everyone would have to fight against?

You see then, it’s not an easy question. “Would you?” could mean the end of your civilized life as you know it, all as a matter of defending your family.

But then, really, what would be the difference between us—the defenders of our loved ones—and those who are also trying to survive for their loved ones?

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ALIEN INVASION, on sale now.

Would you kill for your family? Would you take from another family during an apocalypse to survive?

Posted in Women Who Wow Wednesday

Veronica Mars

It starts with a simple request: “I need your help, Veronica.” It then balloons into an investigation of incredible proportions. She’s a girl who picks up her private investigator’s license at eighteen. Don’t let that fool you, though. Her crime solving skills came much earlier when her best friend became a murder victim and she wanted to know who did it. It was her way of coping.

Kristen Bell as Veronica Mars
Kristen Bell as Veronica Mars

If you don’t know Veronica Mars (Kristen Bell), then you might enjoy this Women Who Wow Wednesday post, as I, too, have grown fond of this woman of many talents.

Veronica’s private eye bug originated with her father, who was Neptune, California’s sheriff. One day, he goes after the most powerful man in town, and the next day, he loses his job. Not a man for taking a loss, he opens his own P.I. firm called Mars Investigations. It only makes sense that Veronica would work there part time, of course. She naturally has her own caseload to solve and follows her dad in his footsteps.

To understand Veronica is to understand her friends. She loses them all with her father’s sudden unemployment. So much for friends. Her dead friend’s boyfriend, Logan Echolls (Jason Dohring), however, is especially a cruel soul. Unlike Veronica who searches for her best friend’s killer by investigating leads, Logan’s distrust and rage fuels his need for revenge. Drawn by the common goal of finding a killer, Veronica and Logan become an item. At the same time, those same qualities that draw people together can also tear them apart.

Veronica Mars
Veronica Mars

How can someone quantify Veronica’s skillsets? Yes, she’s angry. She’s Vengeful. But there’s more to her than the dark, brooding character some make her out to be. Some folks call her a marshmallow.

Names aside, her strength lies in her ability to see through the confusion. When threatened, she doesn’t stand aside taking it. She dishes it out and ensures no one can make a comeback from her volley. Her idea of a solution is the direct approach. If things get too complicated for her, nothing quite like a right cross to solve a problem.

Her biggest asset is not her skill with a camera. Nor is it having the ability to mimic accents. It’s not even her willingness to dress different, talk different or walk different. Veronica’s biggest asset is the love she has for her dad. In spite of him losing his job, and her friends asking her to choose, without a doubt she chooses her dad. He provides the love and safety she needs to carry forward with her life and not worry what anyone else thinks. He’s her sounding board, always ready to listen, always ready to step in when she’s in over her head. No one else can replace him. He’s her everything.

Veronica Mars may have an attitude, but her will to stand firm in the toughest of situations makes her a true example of what a strong woman is.

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ALIEN INVASION, on sale October 21.

Have you seen the Veronica Mars movie? If so, what do you think of it? What do you think of the series?