Wednesday, May 6, 2015

The gruesomeness of her crime aside, Jodi Arias escapes the death penalty with the help of one stealth juror

With all the lurid news reporting about police shootings and gender victimhood—with hardly a ripple of acknowledgment of underlying motivations and issues—the Jodi Arias’ “retrial” for sentencing for first degree premeditated murder easily passed under the radar. After the first jury had deadlocked on a decision to send Arias to death row, a second jury had been empanelled to hear once more the evidence in the shockingly gruesome case to determine if the death penalty was warranted. The retrial had been delayed until 2015, when Arias created a stir when she fired her own attorneys and announced she wanted to represent herself, but now the case has come to a conclusion, when three weeks ago an Arizona judge  sentenced her to natural life in prison without the possibility of parole for the murder of her former boyfriend, Travis Alexander.

The second jury also deadlocked on the question of giving Arias the death penalty, but this time on a single vote. The sole holdout claimed that she didn’t believe that the “state” should be allowed to execute an individual; it is odd that she didn’t mention this during jury selection, since it would have disqualified her from serving. Information about her since then suggested she was a “stealth” juror who hoped to “muck up” the case with her own agenda.

The Arias case exposed many of the hypocrisies of this society. It was clear from the evidence that Arias was a psychotic stalker and a pathological liar, as well as “suffering” from egotistical delusions. It was plainly evident that that this Latina, who prosecution expert witness Janeen DeMarte described as having an “unstable sense of identity,” had an obsessive fixation on an Anglo male with the intent to marry him in order to achieve social status in the white American world. In order to do so, she converted to his Mormon faith, dyed her hair blonde and offered him every sexual gratification. In return, she apparently expected to become his “life partner.” 

Yet it is clear that from their communications that Alexander found her desperate clinging and incessant demands on his attention emotionally draining, and ultimately intolerable. The evidence showed that one she had realized that Alexander had decided to break with her permanently, she concocted a revenge killing, a plan that included covering any “tracks” that would place her in the state of Arizona at the time of murder. Alexander was found in his home stabbed multiple times; photos that the killer took with a cell phone found at the scene (and who had tried to erase) showed that this attack took place when he was practically defenseless standing in a tight shower space; he was shot at least once to finish the job. The murder scene indicated actions of ruthless savagery—whether out of unbalanced mind or planned precision. 

There was no way that this act could have been justified by any “normal” definition, although many gender “victim” advocates have tried. There were those who were ready and willing (and still are) to believe her claims that this was a “response” to acts of  domestic violence against her, despite the fact that there was no evidence at all that Arias was physically harmed by Alexander (of course, gender advocates have little use for evidence or facts when pushing their agenda). In fact, the evidence suggested that at the very least it was she who was a serial psychological abuser; one “expert” presented by the defense, Alyce LaViolette, repeatedly insulted the intelligence of jurors and court observers by claiming to look at the “holistic” view of the case in order to justify her blatant disregard of Arias’ stalking behavior and “borderline personality disorder,” and Alexander’s repeated insinuations as to the difficulty in dealing with her unpredictable emotional states and demands.

Arias apparently suffered from a delusion quite different than, say, Adele Hugo. Adele in her futile pursuit of Lt. Pinson at least claimed to live a life governed by the “religion of love,” although under the influence of proto-feminist George Sand (who opposed marriage and advocated something akin to “free love”), she initially rejected Pinson’s marriage proposal, but soon regretted her decision when it became clear that far being “hurt,” Pinson merely shrugged his shoulders went looking for other fish in the sea. Adele’s inherited mental illness merely became even more pronounced she fixated on the uninterested Pinson for years even before he left with his regiment to Halifax. When she finally returned to France in 1875, she was so far gone that she didn’t recognize close family friends or even her own brother, who served as her family confidant during her time in “exile.” She would live the last 40 years of her life in luxurious fashion on the grounds of a funny farm for the well-to-do, as she was the only member of Victor Hugo’s immediate family still alive when he passed away in 1885, and inherited most of his estate. 

But Adele Hugo’s story has been the subject of “revision,” at least by one biographer, Leslie Smith Dow. In her book La Miserable, Dow ignores the evidence of her own narrative and declares in her introduction that Adele was the “victim” of a “patriarchal” society in which marriage was virtual “slavery.” Yet in telling the story, Adele rejects numerous suitors before deciding for some reason that marriage to the hard-to-get English officer is her ticket to personal “freedom.” The reality is that in the case of women who lived in luxury and comfort like Adele, this was usually heard from “artists” and writers who believed that they were not taken seriously enough by their male peers. The sad fact of the matter was that Adele was a seriously unbalanced woman and a pathological liar (although perhaps this was  because she wanted to conceal her passion for Pinson from outsiders), and who allowed herself to be influenced by at least one person (Sand) whose beliefs proved contrary to the domestic stability she needed. 

Now, in regard to Arias, she also suffers from mental illness, but this society chooses to call it something else—like being a “victim.”  The truth was that “love” was not her “religion,” but access through a good-looking Anglo male into a “privileged” world she felt had excluded her. In order to gain entry into that world, she discarded self-respect and willingly became a suppliant sex object. If Arias was “normal,” she never would have consented to degrade herself in such a manner, and she would have ended her relationship with Alexander on her own accord. Instead she became obsessed with the idea that Alexander “owed” her, and in her psychotic state of mind, the penalty for refusing to make “payment” due her was murder of a most grisly variety.

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