On March 24, 2020 the Arizona court of appeals denied Jodi’s first appeal. Even though they concluded that hearsay evidence on a gun stolen from her home a week earlier was improperly admitted, “prosecutorial misconduct undeniably permeated this case” and “a pattern of intentional misconduct saturated the trial” they decided this was harmless and the evidence of guilt was overwhelming, a decision which I believe was entirely wrong and misguided.
I have of course already written about the circumstantial evidence of premeditation elsewhere, including the theory that Jodi planned to murder Travis a week or more in advance – and how this theory of planning was entirely contrary to the evidence and how there are simple innocent explanations for this circumstantial evidence ( someone else stole a gun from her home, somehow the record she returned the third gas can was lost ).
The appeal judges also theorised about the scene evidence, in ways that are either nonsensical or not backed by the opinion of any expert. The four quoted sentences below are from paragraph 75 of the ruling.
“First, by any account and regardless of whether she shot the victim first or last, Arias switched weapons during the killing―using both a gun and a knife. This reflects an intent to kill and undermines any claim that she unintentionally shot the victim when he threatened her.”
This fails to consider that Travis could have have attacked her more than once, which is what I absolutely believe happened.
“Second, Arias stabbed the victim nine times in the back, including a blow so powerful that she shattered part of his skull.”
Obviously a stab wound in the back has no effect on someone’s skull, and the evidence was not that “part of his skull shattered” – there were wounds to his head entirely compatible with Jodi defending herself.
“Third, the blood spray and spatter demonstrated that the victim, while bleeding heavily, leaned against the bathroom counter, facing the mirror and away from his attacker.”
This was after Travis was shot, and actually demonstrates Jodi was not the aggressor, surely Travis would not stand with his back to someone who had just violently attacked him.
Finally this is entirely speculative, and completely wrong:
“Fourth, the undisputed evidence reflects that the victim attempted to walk down the hall, away from the bathroom and Arias, but eventually collapsed from the injuries she had already inflicted. At that point, while the victim lay in his own pooling blood, Arias pursued him and slit his throat, severing his windpipe.”
It’s true Travis moved, but nothing to show he didn’t attack her again. In fact he came back towards the bathroom, but that was never brought out by defense counsel. See “What happened after Travis was shot“.
Sadly, the effects of Kirk Nurmi failing to adequately understand the physical evidence persist into this ruling. The judges are right to say “this was not a close case”, but not in the way they think. The evidence of self-defence is actually overwhelming, but they have failed to comprehend it. Jodi’s direct appeal was a success in that it exposed the errors in her trial, but it failed to explain the evidence to the judges, the same failure that occurred at trial.
George Barwood, March 25, 2020