Category Archives: Evaluation

Journal entries just before trip

Some notes about the testimony of Alyce LaViolette about entries in Jodi’s journal just before her road trip.

37:00 May 27 journal entry. JA talks about meeting Ryan Burns, trip to Utah.
Evidence she is leaving TA, she says “great news”. Talks about making plans to go to Utah.
38:00 May 30 journal entry. JA making a full plan to go to Utah the following week.
Hoping to see some national parks along the way.
39:00 Jun 1, speaking about itinerary. Visiting Darryl and Matt. She is still friendly with both.
39:50 Talks about bringing up Utah trip with TA. TA is not thrilled about Utah trip.
40:30 She doesn’t want to tell TA about Utah. She talked to a friend, saying not to tell TA.
She doesn’t want to hurt TA.
41:00 Still Jun 1 entry. TA is guilting her to come and see him. JA says she stood her ground. If it wasn’t for looking forward to seeing Ryan, she may not have been able to stand her ground. She is able to say no to TA.
42:30 TA sounded bothered. JA reminded TA that he is going to be coming to CA to visit her.

These journal entries, taken at face value, confirm Travis was “guilting” Jodi to come and see him, and she was resistant, standing her ground, moving on to see Ryan Burns, as she testified.

But what if they were fake, perhaps after Jodi got back from her trip even? The problem with that is Jodi was telling everyone at the time, including police, that she never went to Mesa. So why in that case would she write journal entries suggesting Travis was “guilting” her to go to Mesa? This fits perfectly with her testimony, but goes totally against her claim at that time that she never went to Mesa. As soon as her journal was read by police, or perhaps her mother, the truth would be obvious.

So the truth has to be that there was no “secret murder mission”, and the reason she went to Mesa is Travis succeeded in “guilting” her to go visit him.

The actual journal entry: “He also began to sweet talk/guilt me that I was making this road trip to Utah to visit friends, etc. when I could come instead out to AZ to see him……I stood firm” June 1, 2008.



Evaluating competing theories

The key where you have inconclusive circumstantial evidence, and competing theories of guilt and innocence, is to consider whether it all adds up and makes sense.

Is there a credible motive, for example?

Does it fit a common pattern of behaviour, such as domestic violence? What is the likely explanation?

And does all of the evidence fit, or are there puzzling problems that are unexplained.