Jodi Arias and One of the Strangest Televised Trials Ever

| May 6, 2013
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“Did you watch the Jodi Arias trial today?” Mama Bravo has been asking me this on a loop since the case against the woman accused of stabbing her ex boyfriend, Travis Alexander, 29 times, shooting him in the face and slitting his throat (just in case?) went to trial in Maricopa County Superior Court in Arizona back in January. “Why not? Oh it’s getting so good…” I always tell her the same thing: I don’t need to actually watch the trial to do the best of recaps when I have her. Not to mention other, more widely known courtroom experts like Nancy Grace, Jane Velez Mitchell and the rest of the HLN network who live for the mad cap murderess’s wacky antics!

Mama Bravo is a court-spectator going way back. “I started on the Menendez Brothers (everyone’s favorite parricidal Beverly Hills brats) and remember how much fun we had during OJ?”  I was just a kid at the time but it didn’t take me long to figure out what my mother saw in these grotesque spectacles televised on the regrettably late Court TV. We weren’t really soap opera people: why would we be, so long as people kept committing crimes and the media kept spoon feeding them to us in place of real news?

“I put Jodi Arias in the top five for sure, maybe even the top three of cases I’ve watched,” Mama Bravo explained recently. “Robert Blake, O.J., Scott Peterson, Casey Anthony, Phil Spector: none of them ever took the stand in their own defense. Not only did Jodi Arias testify on her own behalf; she did it for eighteen days and stuck her foot in her mouth for most of it!” Eighteen days, according to my mother, of some of the craziest court room happenings since the Manson girls shaved their heads. The nightly highlights went something like this:

“They showed more pictures of the crime scene today: that bathroom where she killed him will never be clean. They’re just going to have to remodel.”

“She corrected the GRAMMAR of the prosecutor today on cross examination!”

“I think she flipped off a witness! It’s all Nancy Grace can do from reaching through the TV and ringing Jodi’s neck!”

Deliberations start Monday, May 6 wrapping up a trial that has had more tongues wagging than the day Phil Spector wore his afro wig to court, or Michael Jackson danced on the SUV outside the courthouse at the start of his molestation trial or when O.J. tried on the glove. For those of you who have missed the media circus surrounding Arias, here are some of the weirdest moments.

Jodi’s Wednesday Addams Demeanor

“If I was on trial for murder, I’d try and downplay my own creepiness a little,” Mama Bravo stated when asked about Arias’s overall courtroom presentation. “Jodi sits there at the defense tale looking like Wednesday Addams thinking about beheading her dolls. She gets this look in her eyes sometimes that just…I don’t want to think about it. It was probably the last thing the ex boyfriend saw.” If you think Arias was creepy at the defense table, you should have seen her on the witness stand. If, by some strange twist of fate, Arias is not convicted (that’s what we said about O.J., Robert Blake and Casey Anthony…shudder to think), she can always get work as Norman Bates’ stand-in on Bates Motel.

Conquering Her Fears

“That is one of the things I am scared of — guns and public speaking. That was one of the things [Travis Alexander] was trying to get me to do — get out of my comfort zone,” Arias told a Mesa, Arizona police detective in June 2008. Well, she’s not alone in her fear of public speaking (it’s frequently cited as a more common fear than death), but since Arias also shot ex boyfriend Alexander in addition to stabbing him 29 times (although some say it was only 27) maybe helping get her over her fear of guns wasn’t in his best interest. Also ironic? Alexander and Arias’ frequent discussions about the book 101 Things To Do Before You Die. As Mama Bravo put it: “Poor Alexander didn’t quite get to make it through the list.”

Let’s Talk About Sex Way Too Much In Disturbingly Graphic Detail, Baby

Oh, boy…Jodi Arias and victim Travis Alexander REALLY liked to talk about sex. I was a teenage boy once and I don’t think I ever obsessed about the subject nearly as much at the height of my hormone crazed youth. Although the majority of the content is far too NSFW for us to post here, please feel free to take a gander at the video above. There was lots of discussion about, er, how you say… the exact definition of intercourse and all the fun ways you can get around that technicality. What makes it all the more fun/disturbing is that the very sexually adventurous Alexander was a Mormon…and had Arias convert to the faith for him. I wonder just how the LDS community feels about their new, high profile member? “Probably fine,” Mama Bravo commented. “She only killed a guy, she didn’t gay marry anyone.”

Candid Camera!

“There’s a morbid curiosity. I mean, I am curious,” Arias told police when asked if she wanted to view the crime scene photos. The crime scene photos are widely available online (although out of respect for the victim we will not be linking them), but it gets even weirder: at the time of Alexander’s death, Arias actually had a camera in her possession that she allegedly dropped during the murder that took a photo of the victim’s final moments. That’s one Instagram photo we’ll pass on.

The Ninjas Did It!

Arias’ story changed several times when she was questioned by police. Although she now claims self-defense, for a short time she tried to claim that two intruders dressed like ninjas broke into Alexander’s home and murdered him. SERIOUSLY. People always blame the ninjas.

A Girl Likes to Look Her Best

Although the jury didn’t get to see the above video (the judge said it was too prejudicial), Arias asked if she could put on makeup before her mugshot and also did a handstand just minutes after a tearful interrogation from police. While we certainly understand that everyone has a little vanity (and that mugshots are sort of the ultimate modeling opportunity), this was just another example of how crazy this defendant and trial really are. I guess the lesson to be learned here is do your makeup before you get brought in for questioning by police. As Mama Bravo would say, “you never know.”

It’s On EBay

Did we mention that, when not stalking and killing ex boyfriends, Arias was something of an aspiring artist? The media went ape you-know-what when it came to light that, through outside friends, Arias was selling her courtroom drawings on eBay (including this Snow White with a black eye doodle). Fun! Since she hasn’t yet been convicted of killing Alexander, Arias is not subject to laws preventing criminals from profiting from their crimes: it’s reported she made over $1000 on eBay prior to the account being shut down in April. I mean, the art isn’t terrible, but where does one really hang an original Jodi Arias?

@jodiannarias

It was bound to happen. A first in the high profile trial world; Jodi Arias is on Twitter. Arias feeds tweets to her friend Donavan Bering via nightly jailhouse phone calls and then has them posted by Bering to Twitter. Among her most notorious tweets: “Those afflicted with Little Man’s Syndrome taint society’s perception of genuinely good men who happen to be vertically challenged” (an apparent dig at prosecutor Juan Martinez who cross examined her on the stand most of April). On an interesting side note: among the people @jodiannarias follows are Anderson Cooper (for her own press highlights?) and…wait for it…Donald Trump. When informed of this Mama Bravo simply stated, “I find that very appropriate.”

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Tony Bravo is a San Francisco freelancer covering fashion, menswear, lifestyle and entertainment stories. He is a regular contributor to The Bold Italic and the San Francisco Chronicle's Style section.
  • http://www.facebook.com/rosanne.mills1 Rosanne Mills

    I don’t think this is premeditated. If she did plan it why not just call 911 and claim self defense? She’ll get manslaughter.