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Sunday, May 26, 2013

Foremanhood and Fatherhood -- Jodi Arias Case

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Celeb reporters Selin Darkalstanian and Jane Velez Mitchell cover the Jodi Arias trial 
photo by Camille Kimball


People have strong feelings about William Zervakos, the foreman of the Jodi Arias jury who first spoke out on Good Morning America, in what would be the pre-dawn hours in Arizona. right after the jury caused a mistrial in the penalty phase of the trial.

So many commenters have filled up my recent post about him that blogger is having a hard time keeping up and the page seems to fail to display some of the comments, even though I can see them in the administrative section. Even my own replies to people are having a hard time pushing through.

So people have strong feelings about the things that William Zervakos has been revealing about his thinking as he came to the decision to vote "deadlock" in the last phase of the trial. This vote forced Maricopa County to make the decision of whether to re-try the penalty phase with a new jury. It was an expensive decision and at this time it's a yes. So the County Attorney undoubtedly has some feelings about Zervakos, too.

But one of the people with the strongest feelings is Richard Zervakos, son to the jury foreman. He has written a blog post in defense of his father.

It is very honorable to defend one's father during a hailstorm of public criticism and I respect Zervakos fils for doing so. In fact, I want to tread carefully here because his sense of loyalty and love are good things and they are tender things.

But the jury foreman has made himself a public figure by going on one of the nation's biggest media venues at the earliest opportunity and continuing to grant interviews afterward. His son, Richard, has also made himself a public figure by jumping into the maelstrom amidst the backdrop of his own prodigious use of twitter, instagram, blogging and so forth. In his post about his father Richard even declares that he, the son, is a media whore.

So it's within all reasonable ethics to respond to him publicly myself.

Richard, the son, says that a trial "like this" comes along "once or twice in a generation." He wishes his dad could "decompress over cocktails" with the "one or two people per generation" who know what his dad is going through.

Once again, I find myself shaking my head, blowing a sigh through my teeth. How is it that so many can only remember one trial at a time? I guarantee you that the next big trial, which should bubble up in the next 10 minutes or so, will instantly become the "once or twice in a generation" trial that flabbergasts its assigned judge, incenses the defense attorneys, and "victimizes" interested third parties such as Zervakos and son.

The hit musical film Chicago puts a spotlight, quite a literal one, on this phenomenon. When her character first arrives in jail for the murder of her lover, Renee Zellwegger is awed by the famous inmate already there portrayed by Catherine Zeta-Jones. Soon, however, Zellwegger's character takes over the public imagination. But Zellwegger and Zeta-Jones both find the lights and attention suddenly re-focused on incoming murder defendant Lucy Liu. They both struggle to gain it back. At the end of the film, the sparkle of public attention enjoyed by Zellwegger on her day of triumph in court is quickly extinguished by a murder committed on the courthouse steps as all the assembled reporters and microphones dash outside to follow the new case.

In Jodi's case, the Chicago plot point "new case" occurred on Monday, May 6th, the first full day of deliberations in the guilt phase in Arizona. So real life actually was quite a bit more swift than the movie scenario. On May 6, three young women miraculously escaped an evil captor in Cleveland while Jodi cooled her heels in a courthouse holding cell and before she learned if she'd be deemed guilty or not.

That's just the crime portion of the screenplay of real life. The next big trial will start in a few days when HOA wannabe sentinel George Zimmerman defends his version of how he killed teen Trayvon Martin. If you thought the Jodi jurors had pressure, wait till that jury gets seated....

At least the Jodi jurors had the bliss of not knowing what they were in for when they went through jury selection process and promised to proceed with their civic duty. There will hardly be a person in the Zimmerman jury pool who can be unaware they are being selected for a racially charged case with national significance.

While writing this post I could easily think of 2 dozen other cases of extreme high profile that played out in the last 20 or 30 years. I don't know how Zervakos the younger defines a "generation" but just my idle memory without even doing any research works out statistically to one big case every 12-14 months, not one per generation.

My memory banks tilt toward the west coast, so I'm sure I'm missing quite a few, but here are the first dozen or so of the cases I came up with that had comparable attention: Casey Anthony, Amanda Knox, Drew Peterson, Scott Peterson, the Cleveland case, George Zimmerman, Warren Jeffs, Andrea Yates, Conrad Murray, Amy Fisher, Clark "Rockefeller,"  Menendez brothers,  Elizabeth Johnson (Baby Gabriel), Sandy Murphy (Ted Binion), Mary Kay LeTourneau, Daniel Pelosi, Andrew Luster and, well, a whole lot more. I didn't even get into the defendants whose celebrity status preceded their arrests.*

The good news for the foreman's son then is that there are way more people to commiserate with his dad than he thought. "Over cocktails" is going to be more like a cocktail party...in a convention hall.

Zervakos the son tells us how the media works and paints a picture of predatory ABC minions overtaking his dad's home and staying there overnight. I know how the media works, too, having been a part of it all my adult life. They don't carry bayonets and wear red coats, billeting themselves by force in the homes of hapless citizens. They had to be invited in. At any time in the process, Zervakos the foreman could have said no. Far from bayonets, most producers, bookers, and reporters carry a polished smile and a friendly voice in their back pocket arsenal. We already know about the foreman's level of immunity toward such overtures. At least he's consistent.

But none of this is to say that Mr. Zervakos pere did anything wrong by not voting to send Jodi Arias to execution. There are many good reasons not to give a death sentence. Jodi is young. People seem to find it easier to say your life is toast to a 52 year old than to a 32 year old. Even a death penalty supporter could make such a decision. Jodi did not come into court overtly glorying in bloodlust by displaying hand drawn images of stabbings or other gory acts. Her drawings may be offensive to many but you can find far worse stuff by some inmates.** A truly death-qualified juror can decide that is his or her own personal criterion for whether or not they will vote for Death Row.  These are two examples of defensible benchmarks for when a death-qualified juror might feel he could not deliver the ultimate verdict.

Marjorie Orbin, the defendant in my book WHAT SHE ALWAYS WANTED (see bookstore tab above), was spared the death penalty not because she was a busty blonde who looked hot in a french cut panty. Jurors stated she was given a life sentence out of deference to the grown man her child would one day become. They did not want to martyr her in his eyes nor deprive him of the chance to unload his feelings directly some day. Now that is a very excellent reason to stay the hand from the noose.

But what the Zervakos family is feeling the backlash of is not that the death penalty wasn't given snip-snap no questions asked, although some commenters in their venting of their feelings may sound like it. The backlash is from the stated reasons for causing a mistrial.  The defendant looks like my daughter/lost love/waitress-I'm-crushing-on not a murderer, although she admitted to the very acts we saw such terrible evidence of, is not a defensible reason.

Following it up with a raid on the character of the young man whose throat was sawed down to a "hinge" about as slender as Jodi's lethally supple wrist, is to throw out a challenge, a dare, a sortie that must be met by those who also have opinions on the case. And, as Mr. Foreman should have known by the network television foot soldiers scouting him out, they are legion.

Another way to avoid the tough time he is having now would have been if the foreman would have revealed during jury questioning that he felt influenced by the appearance of the defendant. He would have been excused well before opening arguments and would currently be happily enjoying public neutrality and obscurity, maybe barbecuing over the holiday with his loyal son, making conversation about how he was almost on that jury that's all up in the news right now.

That sounds kind of nice, jawing with your son about the news and sharing tales of your life over barbecue. Richard Zervakos, the foreman's son, closes his own column by invoking a vision of his sleeping four year old son and stating a message of love and loyalty to his father. It's lovely. I appreciate it.

It's so lovely that it reminds me that Travis Alexander had already lost his own father and that on June 4, 2008, he lost the chance to ever have a son.

If Zervakos, father or son, ever visits this blog, that line will evoke a strong emotional reaction. I actually do not mean to taunt them in any way. I strongly condemn any harassment of them. But perhaps they might be called upon to understand that the foreman's comments similarly provoked a deep emotional response in others. This is not because people are blood thirsty or sordid. It is because they are human.  The need to process grief is deep in the marrow. So very many of the people who send me messages on twitter, post comments on this blog, or meet me at book signings reveal some personal sorrow of their own. I believe this, more than anything, explains the magnetic attraction to trials and to true crime shows and books. It is not a phenomenon of social media, television, or even the printing press. It is a phenomenon of being human.

In the very ancient Greek story of the Iliad, Homer tells us about the woman Briseis who discovers her friend and protector Patroklos has been killed in battle. She sings a heart-wrenching lament about her friend and is joined by the other women of the community, women who did not have such a personal connection to the deceased. At the very end of her solo, Homer has a special message for us about the women behind Briseis, in the chorus:

"So now I cannot stop crying for you, now that you are dead, you who were always so sweet and gentle."  

So she spoke, weeping, and the women kept on mourning in response. 

They mourned for Patroklos, that was their pretext, but they were all mourning, each and every one of them, for what they really cared for in their sorrow.

                                             (Iliad translation by Professor Gregory Nagy)

Grief is personal. Grief is universal. Grief is heavy and it needs sharing. The Greeks of thousands of years ago knew it. For all our TV and web and mobile technology, we are still made of the same ancient stuff and must cry together.

__________________________________________


* Some more of the random big case names from the last 20-30 years: Aileen Wournos, Susan Smith, Betty Broderick, Phil Spectre, Michael Jackson, Robert Blake, Karla Hmolka, Tonya Harding, OJ Simpson, Anna Nicole Smith (Howard Stern criminal case as well as custody case). Oh, my goodness, how could I forget? The arrests and trials of the captors of Elizabeth Smart, Jaycee Dugard, that super-creep in Austria, what other painfully obvious case am I forgetting still?!

**Think of school shooter TJ Lane who, during a court appearance that took place in Ohio while Jodi's case was underway in Arizona, unveiled a hand made "KILLER" T shirt, flipped off the families, and bragged he used the same hand to pleasure himself that he used to kill their children.

  • You can find the blog that inspired this essay by googling the term SamirsDad. It is a tumblr blog. 


  • Also, click here << for a post about a similar mis-statement about big trials made by Casey Anthony judge Belvin Perry 



74 comments:

  1. Yes. All of this.

    Mr. Foreman should have had the maturity of his years of experience to excuse himself or at least notify the judge that he had feelings that might not be consistent with fairness to all involved. And when he did not "know" how the penalty phase worked, he should have asked instead of just assumed he knew the judge would make the call. I suspect he's the kind of man that doesn't ask for directions in the car, either.

    His son's epistle: who is that for? Is it for his father? And why? There is far too much baggage here. A jury foreman's son stands up to protect his father's integrity defend his honor against social media, and Jodi Arias' entire family can't muster the same to spare her from death? Something is terribly wrong here.

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  2. I applaud Camille's 'balanced' approach when commenting about the foreman's son.


    But in reality the foreman's son is confusing massive public criticism with harassment, which is not the same thing.


    He's basically mad that the entire public would dare criticize his father in such great numbers. However, the foreman went on national TV and reached out to the public with an opinion that many people consider offensive to the victim's memory and his family.


    As Camille pointed out, the foreman is not being singled out for his willingness to spare Jodi's life.


    To prove this point... Nobody's even focusing on the other 3 jurors who voted for life because they haven't gone on national TV and insulted the victim's memory while PUBLICLY showing sympathy for a murderer. Instead they made their choice then kept a low profile about it, just as the foreman should have done if he wasn't looking to stir up public sentiment against him for insulting the victim's memory.


    The foreman has a right to free speech and he has a right to go on TV and say whatever he wants.......but the public has an equal right to express their outrage if he says something that's offensive to great numbers of people.


    The bottom line is that the foreman's son is just being a big baby......and while his loyalty to the father is admirable, neither I nor many other people really care about his family's honor too much.


    If his family has to deal with negative criticism then so be it. If the foreman is man enough then he'll publicly apologize and clarify his thoughts for the public. If he's too proud to apologize then he deserves what he's getting. I have no sympathy for them.


    The foreman's a big boy and when he put his hand over the flame he should have known that he's going to get burned.


    Public outrage is what he deserves and there's no reason for anybody to call for less outrage. Free speech runs both ways.

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    1. I couldn't agree more. Well stated.

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    2. Absolutely! Very well said. I have also heard that other jurors said they had a pact to let things cool off and not comment publicly until after Memorial Day. I think that a lot of the social criticism is because this Foreman could not even honor this pact with his fellow jurors IMO In addition, many in the blogosphere believe that the Foreman should have led the group. The Judge's instructions were clear--weigh mitigation factors against the evidence in the case and decide. After two hours of deliberation, they were already sending a question to the Judge regarding what to do if they couldn't be unanimous? IMO this Foreman's views were biased, so did he encourage a genuine deliberation between all 12 or did he decide that it was just all over? It will be interesting to hear from the other jurors as they comment on the case.

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  3. Very well-written piece, Camille. One of the best on the issue.

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  4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  5. Bravo! Again, you have so eloquently stated what I believe the public is (often) fumbling to say! Personally, I keep getting caught up in his comment about not trying to persuade one another??!! Seriously, what's the point of deliberations if not to debate, argue, theorize, persuasively share perspectives? Otherwise, the "deliberation phase" would allow for a lunch meeting maybe - long enough to take a poll and then disband the group if they didn't already agree unanimously! I'm awestruck that someone who is apparently this naive (ignorant??!!) was the Foreman of this group. Frightening. Honorable for his son to cry out for mercy, yet also very ignorant and misguided. It's an outrage this trial ended this way - so unnecessary and wasteful. And tragically cruel to the Alexander family who must face yet another public assault on poor Travis so JA can have yet ANOTHER opportunity to plead her case full of bold faced lies. I rest easier when I think that hopefully this next jury's Foreman will handle things MUCH differently. I pray that will be the case.
    I very sincerely appreciate you taking the care to so objectively and clearly articulate the basis for the Bravo! Again, you have so eloquently stated what I believe the public is (often) fumbling to say! Personally, I keep getting caught up in his comment about not trying to persuade one another??!! Seriously, what's the point of deliberations if not to debate, argue, theorize, persuasively share perspectives? Otherwise, the "deliberation phase" would allow for a lunch meeting maybe - long enough to take a poll and then disband the group if they didn't already agree unanimously! I'm awestruck that someone who is apparently this naive (ignorant??!!) was the Foreman of this group. Frightening. Honorable for his son to cry out for mercy, yet also very ignorant and misguided. It's an outrage this trial ended this way - so unnecessary and wasteful. And tragically cruel to the Alexander family who must face yet another public assault on poor Travis so JA can have yet ANOTHER opportunity to plead her case full of bold faced lies. I rest easier when I think that hopefully this next jury's Foreman will handle things MUCH differently. I pray that will be the case.
    I very sincerely appreciate you taking the care to so objectively and clearly articulate the basis for the backlash. It's a collective "UGH" from those of us who have become incredibly emotionally vested in helplessly awaiting some sort of earthly justice to be awarded the Alexander family. This family that so many of us have grown to care deeply for. And justice for an innocent man who was ripped so violently from this world, a man who continues to be brutalized until we can quiet his murderer. And due in large part to the Forman's own personal agenda, the murderer was granted another captive audience to which she'll gladly spout her dark evil fairy tale as if it were the Gospel. Dear lord, how insanely unjust in every single way.
    Looking forward to reading your books - your writing is captivating, not to mention highly satisfying, as it echoes my own perspective on truth and justice in a much more organized and articulate manner. :)

    -Holly

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  6. I find it difficult to swallow that he the jury foreman was making eye contact with ms arias and giving her the notion he was going to sway her way. Go look at some of the trial where the Jurors are leaving, and see Jodi tripping over MsWillmont just to seek a glance at her new fame Love. I think hes the one that started it when he was shaking his head yes during Alyces time on the stand agreeing with her. Its been said she had 2 Jurorsin her pocket. Please Juan find this out and prosicute the man.

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  7. Sorry a huge portion of my comment double- posted. Probably mobile-access related but could be human error too I guess. �� Wish I could edit - the last part wasn't duplicated above so its all goofy. Sorry if that's just irritating.... �� ~holly

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    1. Meh. Don't worry about it. I even read all of it because I thought the part about delibration - or, rather, lack thereof - was so well written. :)

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  8. I agree wholeheartedly with all you have written here. For the jury foreman (of all people) to come out and say what he has said has been the object of rejection. I guess his next jaunt will be to write a book and make millions off Travis Victor Alexander's death (I never met the man and I remember his complete name). Viewing the autopsy photos were enough for me to make a decision. I would like to ask how "meek" Jodi overcame football size Travis? So much for meekness.

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    1. Cunning, that's how. Oops, meekness had nothing to do with it, as you point out. She is smaller than he was, though, and to overcome that she used the cunning. Thanks for coming here to comment.

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  9. I love your writing and look forward to your blogs. Just want to add to your "random big cases" David Westerfield (Danielle van damm), John Gardner (Chelsea King and Amber DuBois),Cleophus Prince Jr.(Clairemont Rape&Murder of 6),
    Officer Greg Peyer (murdered Kara Knott),Betty Broderick,
    Son of Sam, Green River Killer, Wayne Williams(atlanta children), John Wayne Gacy, Jeffrey Dahmer, BTK Killer,and sadly sooooo many more. The first five I mentioned are from San Diego, where I reside and will always be fresh in my mind.
    I am quite anxious to get started reading your books. Thank you for the blogs.

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    1. Thanks for listing more of the cases, I was hoping people would. There are so, so many it's hard to believe how someone could really say "once or twice a generation" but Richard Z is far from the only one who has. I didn't even list the cases in my own books, Marjorie Orbin, Dale Hausner, Jamie Laiaddee, -- all subjects of books and TV shows themselves.

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    2. Michael Ross, lest we forget, abducted, raped and murdered teenagers in my quiet little corner of CT. After several years of appeals on death row, he asked for, and was eventually granted, execution.

      I worked in an alternative middle school for a time. The then teenaged brother of one of the victims was a student there. He was seriously messed up by it. The Alexander family will never be the same.

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    3. And that reminds me of Cody Posey, who had freakin' Sam Donaldson testify at his proceedings because the crime occurred on Sam's ranch. How much fame and attention do you think that brought? One of the most famous television personalities of the 20th century right in the thick of your trial.

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    4. The murder of Samantha Runnion was huge where I lived in So Cal in 2002. Also Richard Ramirez dominated our nightmares in the summer of 85, people were afraid to go to sleep at night. I also remember Cary Stayner getting a lot of coverage.

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    5. The first trial that I ever followed was David Westerfield. As a parent, that trial haunts me. I have an 11 year-old daughter, and to this day I obsessively check my doors at night. Interesting twist is that Westerfield was working out a "deal" to give up the location of the little girl's body, when the body was discovered by a volunteer. Immediately the deal was off the table and the trial began. Jurors never knew! Thank God they got it right!

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    6. Maybe I missed it on one of the lusts above.... Richard Davis, kidnapper & killer of Polly Klaas. He spewed so much vitriol during his sentencing that Mark Klass was removed from the courtroom because of his outrage.

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    7. Oops. Meant to type "lists," not "lusts."

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  10. I love your blog Camille! Each and every one of your posts are riveting.

    This whole "bullying, mob mentality, harassment" thing is getting so old. It's an insult to people who truly are bullied or harassed when it starts being attributed to everyone who comments or expresses disgust toward players in the trial.

    The statement that was the most offensive to me was the foreman saying Jodi's been "crucified" by the media. This "girl" has courted and then taunted us through the media and, worse than that, she's tortured the Alexander family at every opportunity possible. She's used every opportunity to make herself even more despicable to the public than she already was.

    I realize the foreman wasn't privy to as much information as we were but it doesn't seem to have changed his opinion now that he is.

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  11. The only reason this foreman is getting attention is because of the public's need to talk about him. I personally do not believe in giving him the interest he obviously so desires. Without the attention he will go away and we can and will focus on the new jury and hopefully JA will receive the proper sentence.
    I feel for the Alexander Family but what's done is done. It's time to move on and not waste any time on things that cannot be changed.

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  12. Chris West Palm BeachMay 27, 2013 at 7:06 AM

    Three other jurors also voted for life.I am wondering if before deliberations does someone from the court actually discuss in detail how they are to deliberate?
    How to use the mitigating factors in deciding a sentence?
    It appears that Mr.Zevakos based his decision on how he felt for Jodi,stating that she was "normal" in the previous 27 years.Does he really think a "normal" person would nearly decapitate a former lover,and then lie to everyone for 2 years? Did he forget that this crime was premeditated? My heart goes out to the Alexander family.

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    1. The jurors are instructed in open court about how to proceed. All of that was on TV, except for the one small portion which took place outside the presence of the media but was taped and showed to us moments later. The judge DOES ask the jurors if they have any questions. Once in awhile the juror with the headset would raise his hand but no one else did. His questions were really requests relating to his headset, which was provided by the court and occasionally needed adjusting.

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  13. Another great article! Thanks Camille!!!

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  14. Camille, nice article, very fair to father and son.

    As you state, The Foreman is surely entitled to vote however he chooses to vote. Three others voted with him. However, they haven't told us all the reasons they chose such a vote, even though Arizona law states that the only choice is the death penalty with aggravated murder one, unless the mitigating factors heavily outweigh the aggravating factors, and I doubt anyone thinks that they do.

    Now from what The Foreman has said, here are the points that are contentious.

    1. The Foreman stated that he did not take into account Travis's family's impact statements, that they didn't mean anything to him, but Jodi's allocution did.

    2. When he first saw the defendant, he could not see her as a murderer, even though she had already admitted she killed Travis. Then he never shared this bias with the judge so he could be removed.

    3. He said that they agreed to not change their votes and to not deliberate about the case. So what were they doing in the jury room all that time? Gossiping? What? Judge told them to WORK on it, yet it appears he had no intention of getting the jury to work on it.

    4. The Foreman seems seriously of low-key intellect, as he now makes statements that show he did not understand the jury instructions at all. He thought that if he gave the judge a hung jury, that Jodi would automatically be given LIFE. He had no idea there would be a mistrial and a potential sentencing retrial. Everyone else seems to know about this, though.

    5. After the trial, he states that he wants to "reach out to Jodi." Now there really is no fool like an old fool.

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    1. This^^! Touches on why there is such a huge backlash against this man---it's not because of the unsatisfying non-verdict. Rather, the Foreman's own bias, especially by not encouraging true deliberations and instead throwing in the towel. The Foreman's own comments are what has heated up social media; not his vote.

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    2. Some people can't get past all that hot sex. I think he is crushing on Jodi. The fact the he agreed with the other jurors, to cool off and not talk, then jumped in the next morning on national tv, sounds to me like he wanted to be first. He is another, I wouldn't purchase or read a book by.
      He should have removed himself as a juror. He was not fair.

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  15. I need to add a comment to my post above about The Foreman.

    What a silly old goose he is to immediately go on tv and start telling these things that are so out of line, that make him appear so inept. Is no one advising him? Silence is often the best course, but he was trying to beat the other jurors to the punch. Oh, yes, I heard the jurors, him included, all had a pact to NOT talk to the media until Tuesday of this week, yet he surprised them all by appearing on the first available morning talk show. Maybe someone who shows no loyalty or commitment to his own word finds it easier to side with a murderer.

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  16. Thanks Camille, you articulated very professionally and honorably. I respect the justice system and I don't begrudge jurors' very difficult job in deciding life or death. In this case, because he was biased toward the defendant I don't believe Mr Z followed the instruction to deliberate with his fellow jurors or truly lived up to a foreman's duties.

    It seems Mr Z's son has been living under a rock.
    Just a few more high profile cases come to my mind: Hawke-Petit CT home invasion murders where the two defendants (Hayes & Komisarjevsky) are currently on death row. The Craigslist killers 1) Richard Beasley, sentenced to death 2) Philip Markoff, sentenced to death & later committed suicide.

    I could go on and on, you're right there are so many! Cocktail party in a convention hall? Perhaps a stadium size convention hall!

    It's a pleasure to read your blog!

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    1. The Craigslist Killer! Yes, a very obvious one. And the milkshake killer, tried in Hong Kong, I believe, but the defendant and victim were American and later had John Stamos star in the movie. Thanks for adding to the list. And I DO mean a stadium sized convention hall! I was thinking of the Phoenix Civic Center when I wrote it and that encompasses several blocks. Thanks for your compliments.

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    2. You're very welcome! 'Several blocks' sized civic center could do it.

      And van der Sloot - how could we forget! That proves the point, there are so many! So much for generational thinking by Richard Zervakos.

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  17. And how have we got this far with no one mentioning Jooren van der Sloot?

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    1. Oba Chandler, in Florida who was convicted of raping and murdering an Ohio woman, Joan Rogers and her two daughters Michelle and Christe while vacationing in Florida. He was finally executed November 15, 2011. This was a vicious killer who probably raped a number of women prior to committing this murder.

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  18. Wow! Thank you for puting into words. The feelings that have been welled up in me. I question how the foreman could have come out so quickly and so verbose.....that worries me....it would have been wiser ....kinder to sut back and think before talking so much....u am not judging his ideas of the death penalty...i.am neither pro or con....but his behavior concerns me ...at his age he should have life experiences to know the power of the tongue and the importance of reflection before speaking....what was his rush .....why not wait ..temper your emotons ...reflect and speak knowing that what you express is not just about you...he was self -centered and unrestraind...he disrespected the victim ..his family re-victimixing them ...very unkind unnecassary .....why ? And he disrespected his fellow comrades by not speaking with them jointly.....ja is a sociopath ...once you have a relationship with one your outlook in life WILL NEVER BE THE SAME......Camille thank you for keeping it so real and respectfull!!!!! Btw do you remember the jimmy rice case in south florida ? Thabk you ...continued success to you ..betsy

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  19. Wow! Thank you for puting into words. The feelings that have been welled up in me. I question how the foreman could have come out so quickly and so verbose.....that worries me....it would have been wiser ....kinder to sut back and think before talking so much....u am not judging his ideas of the death penalty...i.am neither pro or con....but his behavior concerns me ...at his age he should have life experiences to know the power of the tongue and the importance of reflection before speaking....what was his rush .....why not wait ..temper your emotons ...reflect and speak knowing that what you express is not just about you...he was self -centered and unrestraind...he disrespected the victim ..his family re-victimixing them ...very unkind unnecassary .....why ? And he disrespected his fellow comrades by not speaking with them jointly.....ja is a sociopath ...once you have a relationship with one your outlook in life WILL NEVER BE THE SAME......Camille thank you for keeping it so real and respectfull!!!!! Btw do you remember the jimmy rice case in south florida ? Thabk you ...continued success to you ..betsy

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  20. I notice in your blog about Marjorie Orbin that she likes Perryville better than jail. And it seems she has plenty of interaction with others. Have you seen the video about "rose colored glasses" showing how dismal Perryville is? What are your thoughts on what prison will be like for Jodi if she ends up LWOP?

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    1. Yes, I have seen the rose-colored glasses video. I don't know the gentleman who posted it but I would agree with him that knowing what I do know about the conditions in prison, Jodi sounded ludicrous in giving her allocution statement.

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    2. Forgot you mentioned Marjorie. Yes, she did tell me that prison is preferable to the Maricopa County Jail, which puts her in conflict with the rose-colored glasses guy's opinion. But neither one has to be "right." Either place is terrible! And in state prison Jodi will not have the option of hosting a revolving door of reporters and cameras. We all know how much she will miss that.

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  21. Never forget Ted Bundy

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  22. Great Artice! You are one great writer! One thing, those eyes are demonic and abyss to those who arent blinded by the.fog. The point you make about the soft spoken Ja or In my words Cunning Crafty evil one is true! Sadly this one trick that has repeatedly worked for female predators who are committed to kill. The demonically induced flattery comes before.they extract life from their victims. SADLY.due to some males lack of insight there.will be more murders committed against vunerable, unsuspecting men! Lord God help us now and keep us sober to the evil that is present among us. JUSTICE for Travis!

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    1. If the foreman's son had been Jodi's victim, wonder what he would have thought then?

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  23. He shut the process down in 2 hours in the jury, knowing from the day of vior dire what he thought. He had a duty to opt out. Not knowing whether or not he would be foreman he still planned to move this jury in a pre determined direction if he was going to hang it by himself he was prepared to do that. Whether he was confused or not about the split vote leading to a mistrial, I am not sure but on thing is true his speed to get on camera was to pre-empt the other 8 jurors who would come out more slowly. The other 3 jurors who did not vote for death have yet to show their face. The Casey Anthony juror except for one person Jennifer Ford to this day has stayed under the radar even after Judge Perry unsealed their names and it is not hard to know why they wont talk. Ms. Ford said on camera she was sick over it and the Anthony jury "got it wrong". Marcia Clark has a good aricle on the Anthony spetacle. It can be found on the Daily Beast sit. Do we have the best system not when it can be gamed and a tv channel can make hundreds of millions of dollars selling merchandis and services to age group segment of the population their studies say are watching. How do you keep a stealth juror, a person with an agenda in this trial or any trial from lying their way onto a jury? Maybe the jurisdiction should sell the broadcast rights to the trial or do a pay per view and the money would go back to the government to offset expenses. The channel in the case HLN would still earn an enormous amount of money, keeping the Time Warner Stock at the approximately $60 a share. I dont know if they should redo the penalty phase that is up to other people but I do believe this. With LWOP Arias will have 3-4 years of isolation which will be similar to Death Row and I for on hope that is true. The Alexander family needs rest and the rest of their lives free of taunting from a cold blooded killer.

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  24. Camille,

    Maybe in a future post you could write about the specific living conditions which Jodi would face as a LWOP prisoner at Perryville.

    I've seen a brief news piece which said LWOP prisoners live under a strict 23-hour lockdown per day with no access to the general population.

    But it also said that after a few years Jodi would be eligible to have her security status downgraded from maximum to medium, thus allowing her to mingle with the general population and to have all normal privileges that other inmates have.

    But I saw another news piece which said she couldn't get downgraded to medium security, she could only get downgraded to something above medium security which would not allow her to mingle with the general population.

    I'm curious which one is correct. :-)

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  25. For those people afraid that Jodi might get a parole option if the death sentence isn't handed down...

    Since Arizona judges all face retention elections every 4 years I don't see any possibility of Jodi getting Life with parole after 25 years from Judge Stephens.

    This trial is the most famous trial in her county and she'll be remembered in her next election (in 3 years) for whatever sentence she hands down to Jodi.

    During her allocution statement if Jodi had apologized for smearing Travis' reputation and admitted that she lied about her pedophile allegations then the public might have more mercy for her......and the judge might have a 'remote' reason to show pity when sentencing.

    But since Jodi has continued to play the role of "domestic abuse survivor" she's basically spitting in the eye of Travis' family even after the verdict was read. ...And by extension she's spitting in the eye of the whole Arizona county where the trial's being held.

    There's just no real incentive for Judge Stephens to go out on a limb for a person like Jodi when there's no upside to doing so.

    I also feel that Judge Stephens is a tough but fair judge who wouldn't give Jodi parole even if elections weren't part of the equation.

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  26. Yes but didn't the AZ governor just commute a sentence for a female in Perryville in there on LWOP who killed a baby? She supposedly showed rehabilitation and is elderly.

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    1. Yeah, but she was in prison since 1963 (she spent 49 years in prison) and had legitimately become a changed person after nearly 50 years in prison.

      Jodi's case is not even remotely close to that other lady. If Jodi gets commuted after 50 years she'll be 80 years old. It won't happen though.

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  27. I'm thinking of Betty Smithey, and may have the terminology incorrect, but she was LWOP and is now eligible for parole due to the governor'r decision.

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    1. Yes, but only because after 50 years in prison she became a legitimately changed person. The governor made the right choice in that case. It won't happen for Jodi, she's too despised by the Arizona voting public.

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    2. I guess, but why should the Alexander family have to worry about the possibility of a change in her parole status for the rest of her life? And people's memories change in that long a time- it would be the victim's family having to always be aware of her status. There was probably outrage 50 years ago about this little baby's murder at the hands of Ms. Smithey. If anyone could fake rehabilitation it would be Arias.

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    3. Anon 6:17, I agree that changes in parole status over time (due to changes in public & political sentiment, government, legislation, procedure, prison system, economy... what have you) is a legitimate issue in this case. And agree that if anyone can feign rehabilitation it's someone w/ extreme, co-morbid personality disorders - such as Arias.

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  28. Very well written and balanced blog; I agree completely.

    And because I'm Canadian, some more famous cases from north of the 49th:

    - Clifford Olson
    - Colin Thatcher
    - Robert Latimer (although it's not really fair to lump him in with the others on this list - but his trial was notorious)

    You already mentioned Karla Homolka, but you can't forget her partner in crime, Paul Bernardo. (And don't get me started on Homolka - I usually start foaming at the mouth. Such a miscarriage of justice!)

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    1. Don't forget Russell Williams >shudders<...that man scares the holy heck out of me. I watched a few documentary shows on him and gave myself nightmares.

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  29. Thoughtfully written. Particularly appreciated the fact that you can reflect on the "human" element that needs to be remembered. The same human element that people draw on for themselves yet choose to ignore when it comes to the rest of us.

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  30. Maria Cristina SantanaMay 27, 2013 at 6:44 PM

    We need some perspective here. People are constantly praising juror no 8, thrown off for extreme DUI (the night before court) because he's saying things that sound like he would have convicted and given death. No problem that he could have killed an entire family and been on trial for murder himself. So sad he got thrown off, our kind of juror!

    Yet rage and personal attacks on the foreman who clearly said he overcame his initial impression by actually CONVICTING HER OF PREMEDITATED MURDER despite how she looked and his initial disbelief.

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    1. I agree Maria, some of the comments on some blogs are getting vicious and out of hand. He merely stated that reconciling the young woman he saw before himself, with the heinous murder, was difficult. But obviously he did it because, like you said, she was convicted of 1st degree premed and that's not going to change. It's not as if he's expressed regret about convicting her or anything!

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    2. I disagree Maria, you're using faulty logic to lead people to a conclusion that's not totally logical.

      Firstly, you're using the term "EXTREME" DUI to try and create a logical connection between a person who commits a DUI and a person who's more likely to vote guilty without proper evidence.

      That's a logical no-no Maria. :-)

      The fact that he's a person who got a DUI has NOTHING to do with his evaluation of evidence. That's not why he was thrown off the jury.

      He was thrown off the jury because he now has a PENDING case with the County Attorney's office which won't be resolved until after the Jodi Arias trial, which gives the APPEARANCE of a conflict of interest that must be dealt with by the judge.

      He wasn't thrown off the jury because the judge believed he's more likely to vote guilty to try and gain favor for his own pending DUI (since the State cannot legally grant such favors, they'd be under a microscope to deal with his pending DUI the same as they deal with every other DUI)

      He was thrown off the jury because of the APPEARANCE of a conflict of interest in a nationally televised trial which the defense would have attempted to use as an appellate issue had he voted guilty, so the judge was simply being extra cautious to eliminate any serious appellate issues.

      Finally Maria, you IMPLY that Juror #8 made statements that show he was UNREASONABLY predisposed to vote guilty (you don't use that term, but you sure IMPLY it). :-)

      In reality this was a juror who sat through NEARLY THE WHOLE TRIAL and saw the defense's MANY lies and contradictions first hand, including Jodi's testimony which even the foreman admitted was a DISASTER.

      Juror #8 witnessed the strong evidence against Jodi and thus as a juror he's allowed to form any opinions he wishes regarding the evidence being presented AS LONG AS HE DOESN'T DISCUSS THOSE OPINIONS WITH OTHER JURORS OR ANYBODY ELSE.

      Once the judge dismissed him from his admonition he became free to say whatever he wants to the media, and he did.

      Just because you're a quasi Jodi sympathizer doesn't mean he stepped out of line. He simply said something you didn't like and now you're mad at him.

      This juror saw that the defense had failed to counter the state's strong case and that the state had met its burden.

      Not sure why you're ranting about Juror #8, your argument sounds as illogical as the ones on Jodi's support site.

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    3. I took Maria's comments to just mean that we shouldn't hold that juror up as a hero or hang on to every word he says, ignoring the fact that he did show really bad judgement in drinking and getting behind a wheel. That may not mean that he can't have valid evaluations of the trial, but I don't respect anyone who puts others at risk by drinking and driving.

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  31. Another thoughtful, thorough piece. Thank you for your time, insight & expertise... I learn so much!

    I read the son's blog post last night &, as insensitive as it may sound, was not... impressed is the wrong word. (I wasn't looking to be impressed, but sometimes it happens anyway.) I wasn't moved, perhaps. I didn't feel more informed & wasn't drawn any closer... to the foreperson, his experience, his son. I respect that the son's defense of his father was motivated by love & loyalty. On those grounds, alone, some in the blogosphere feel that his article is sacred, off-limits, & should be viewed only w/compassion, rather than critical eye. I don't agree.

    The son is an adult. He apparently takes himself seriously as a writer & mounts a blog that predates the mistrial judgment. He asserted himself into a maelstrom. He wrote in defense of another, who, likewise, asserted himself into a maelstrom... at least in so far as the foreman elected to be interviewed out in front of his jury peers; to invite media into his home; to express himself on specific issues; to make the word choices he did... Both father & son put themselves out, knowing that this trial was nothing short of a cultural event - a highly controversial, inflammatory happening. As trial have been since the Roman Republic... throughout Western Civilization, North American history - (a fact lost on this particular blogger-son!) Surely, both father & son are lucid & informed enough to recognize that people were drawn to this trial not merely due to its prurient appeal & incredible cast of characters, but also out of serious concern for the health of our criminal justice & jury systems. It's within bounds to scrutinize the foreperson. And it's within bounds to read the son's defense w/ critical eye.

    If this blog post had been the stream of consciousness writing of an impassioned 14-year-old, I would have received it quite differently & never considered commenting on it. But that isn't the case. Presumedly, it's an extremely important defense paper, posted on behalf of a father & addressing an incalculable, riveted public audience. Then why is it so poorly written? Why is the argument fractured, disorganized, spewn? (He switches tacks so abruptly that I can't tell what his real argument even is.) Why are his points of proof, at best, random, at worst, irrelevant, even inaccurate? Why is the logic so immature?

    Wouldn't a son have aimed to make this his best piece of writing to-date?

    In choosing to write a defense paper on behalf of his father under these circumstances, this son knowingly took on a challenging, delicate task. He'd need to carefully consider his angle, approach, scope, tone... to write knowledgeably & accurately about the relevant issues... to accurately reference the things his father has said in the media... to extend the same fairness (to those scrutinizing not at a father, but a foreperson on a death penalty case) that he wants extended to his foreperson-father.

    I believe this writing task required a certain degree of eloquence & finesse. Until these were mustered, maybe the piece was best left unwritten?

    I acknowledge that the son was motivated (in part) by love & loyalty & further prompted (in part) by agregious posts & alleged privacy breaches. But I don't think that's the whole story, when it comes to either father or son. By his own admission, the son himself is a media whore and let him just tell us what the media is all about. And, according to the son, his father once wanted to be famous, but doesn't anymore. Is it possible that they both protest too much?

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  32. I would like to know what the foremans "feelings" were prior to the murder 1 conviction? Was he wanting a lesser charge?

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  33. I note that there is an 11 hour silence (5/26 - 9:29 a.m. to 8:31 p.m.) in this thread. In case comments posted during that time are "lost," I will repeat my thoughts and questions now and apologize in advance if the missing comments re-appear later.

    I very much appreciate this forum and its author. There is no shortage of vile inappropriate commentary afloat in cyberspace, Camille Kimball's arena is a breath of fresh air.

    I have been curious about how this foreman will feel if/when someone shows him the interviews of the Arias parents describing a daughter who has ALWAYS been distressingly far from normal. While Mr. Foreman should not have viewed those videos during the trial, they certainly document how far off-base his observations were. I'm sure the foreman's son would still defend dad's honor, but his ability to judge character might be another matter in light of the facts?

    I also have wondered when the public might get a glimpse behind the scenes of closed hearings and sealed motions? I am especially interested in the hearing that obviously allowed Mr. Martinez to refer to LaViolette as a liar in closing arguments with no challenge from the defense.

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    1. I do have the best commenters, don't I? Everyone who comments here brings some great perspective and insights to the discussion and I appreciate it very much. I do want my little corner of the web to be a place of reason and thoughtfulness and I feel really fortunate to get the commenters that I do.

      As for the 11 hour gap, glad you noticed it because I have been having trouble with the comments technically in the last 2 or 3 days. I'm so glad you tried again. I agree with you that Jodi's connection to Travis was far too loose for him to have caused some personality change in her. Even w/o knowing the evidence you mention that the jury did not see, having a long distance relationship of a few months, a couple of vacations together and then a few months of phone sex just aren't enough. If one thing was made clear through the trial, it's that Jodi does what she wants to do. Period.

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    2. Appreciate your reply! You certainly do seem to attract some thoughtful commenters. (I choose to agree with you as opposed to disagreeing with the curious opinion of Mr. Jerome posted below at 10:31 a.m.)

      This case has evoked strong feelings. We all view it through our own lens and reflect our reactions through our own filters. I hope you will continue writing about this online, and dare I hope there is a book in the future?

      Anonymous 111

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    3. Hello, let me help you with your curiosity, he wants to visit her and he wants to give her money................

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  34. I'm disappointed to say the least in your comments about the jury foreman, William Zervakos. You seem to have fallen into the rabbit hole Alice-in-Wonderland world of subjective reporting found on other Harpy-dominated sites, smearing and disparaging anyone even in mild disagreement with any facet of the Arias trial that deviates from your own.

    Your comments in the previous thread about Zervakos revealing a 'gender bias' because she didn't look like a killer are silly and nonsensical. Were the fifteen or twenty or so Cable news commentators who made similar statements to that effect over the course of the trial (on HLN I heard both Dr. Drew and Mark Eiglesh say it more then once, and even Beth Karas commented on it)exhibiting gender bias as well?

    What about the three other jurors who wouldn't vote for the death penalty, think they were gender-biased as well? According to reports, at least one of them is a women -- would that be reversed gender-bias?

    Most likely all four of the of those jurors found some mitigation in the mental and emotional abuse allegations, though it didn't stop them from a first degree murder verdict, which was the important decision they made. Mitigation is different. Go back and read the jury instructions for the penalty phase. They were told almost anything they though would mitigate a death penalty was allowable. And with those instructions, and with Martinez's failure to adequately dispel the effect of Travis's words on the tape and in text messages, and insulated from the overall scope of events by excluded testimony, it's perfectly reasonable a third of the jury wouldn't go for the death penalty.

    You need to stop making these snide and belittling remarks about the foreman, or his son, or anyone of the future jurors who come forward who voted for the life sentence. Really, it's shameful behavior.

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    1. Nothing shameful about it- he rushed to be on camera and speak his mind, and Camille is absolutely free to give her assessment.

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    2. Thank you, Anon of 10:51.

      Jay, dissenting opinions are welcome here. I went out of my way to show respect for the Zervakos's, sorry I failed in your eyes. Apparently I also failed to make it clear there are plenty of good reasons to "stay the hand from the noose" and that a life sentence is a perfectly valid one. Somehow I also failed to make it clear my comments were directed at the reasons the foreman stated for causing a mistrial, that is, failing to reach any decisions. Not only was I completely silent on the other 3 jurors in the minority, I also failed to state a preference for any of the three sentencing options. So, dissenting viewpoints are welcome here, but it would be helpful if the dissent was directed at something I actually said.

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    3. Jay, while your post is interesting you made at least one illogical point that must be called out.

      You eloquently pointed out that it's perfectly reasonable to use Travis' own text messages to find "emotional abuse" as a mitigating factor, in accordance with the jury instructions for that phase of the trial. Okay, fair enough. That's not the problem with your argument.

      The problem with your argument is that you failed to include the fact that any mitigating factors MUST be of sufficient QUALITY/WEIGHT so as to OUTWEIGH the previous finding of HEINOUS/CRUELTY by the jury. That's part of the jury instructions Jay, try reading them again buddy boy. :-)

      What this means is that any mitigating factors found by the jury must be so severe as to OUTWEIGH the vicious slaughtering which Travis suffered as Jodi knifed him in the shower when he was helpless, then chased him to the sink and knifed him many times in the BACK, then chased him down the hall to finish the job and nearly decapitate him as he collapsed due to blood loss. Oh, and shot him again in the head just for good measure.

      I realize that you don't like these descriptions (you probably find them inflammatory) but THEY ARE ACCURATE and thus you can't refute them.

      Jay, I just want to be clear about something...

      The reason why your argument is not LOGICAL is because in essence what you're saying is that a few text messages calling Jodi a "sl*t" or a "3 h*le wonder" are mitigating factors OF SUFFICIENT WEIGHT to outweigh the CRUELTY FACTOR of 30 stabs to Travis' body, plus a nearly decapitated head, plus a gunshot to the head for good measure.

      Not to mention the devious weeks of intricate planning for this murder, which shows she was especially cruel and cunning.

      Jay... If you honestly think that receiving a few text messages calling you a "sl*t" is sufficient reason to mitigate a slaughter of a human being then you obviously are having a break with reality.

      Lots of people get called those names everyday. I know a couple that says far worse things to each other when they get in heated arguments, LOL.

      Finally Jay... What you fail to mention is that the majority of those bad names (which Travis called Jodi) happened during the breakup phase of the relationship when he was angry for her stalking him and trying to get rid of her for good. Travis did not exhibit this behavior on a daily, weekly or even monthly basis during their relationship. If Travis had been truly abusive then the defense could have shown a pattern of him calling her those names all throughout the duration of their relationship. Capiche?

      In short, your argument fails Jay and your sympathy towards those 4 jurors sounds to me like an emotional bonding has happened between you and them. That's perfectly fine but please don't disguise it with an attempt to logically defend them.

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    4. Chris West Palm BeachMay 31, 2013 at 7:58 PM

      Jay,
      Every juror made their own decision as they saw fit,we all respect that. But with all due respect,Mr Zervakos made a decision to speak pulicly about some of his reasoning for giving Jodi life. We as the public have the absolute right to disagree with his views.Jodi Arias had the means and ability to leave the relationship. She did not. Abused women DO NOT drive hudreds of miles to be with an abuser. No woman moves to another state to be closer to their abuser.No one deserves to be killed over nasty text messages or a sex tape that was secretly recorded. They were consenting adults.She nearly decapitated a man and then showed no remorse.Was Travis shown any mercy?

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  35. "Dear Camille, you are such a beautiful writer!!! I was mesmerized by your every thought so finely crafted into words. Yes, fils and père Zervakos are not as special as they think they are, and I appreciate your pointing that out so well.

    Your quote here is haunting and so, so very true:
    "Grief is personal. Grief is universal. Grief is heavy and it needs sharing. The Greeks of thousands of years ago knew it. For all our TV and web and mobile technology, we are still made of the same ancient stuff and must cry together."

    I don't know how they even got the foreman to say 'Yay' on the M1 and "Proven" of extreme cruelty!

    What bothers me the very, very most is that it appears (to me) that he misled his jurors (yes, the possessive is a conscious comment) with regard to the 'belief' that being a 'hung' jury meant that the case would go directly to the Judge for sentencing. WTF!!! Could they have not at least ASKED the question to the Judge without assuming that was the way it would go??!!! I'm stunned by that kind of ignorance!!! Perhaps they were all so tired that they took the Foreman's word on what would happen...grrrrr! The whole 'I'm stunned that it was a mistrial and not sent to the judge for sentencing' thing is a very obvious ruse by our failed foreman, IMO.

    Thank you, Camille, for all that you do. Come pay day, I really want to buy one of your books; your writing style and obvious 'brilliance' are right up my alley!
    With my sincerest and warmest regard,
    MzMadz33('Just Me' on Twitter)"

    (Camille posting for MzMasz33 trying to figure out trouble with comments section)

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  36. Time for you to return to TRUE CRIME UNCENSORED!

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    1. And I will see you there on Saturday, June 22, 2013!! Thanks for inviting me!

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  37. I'm a clinical psychologist, and I also believe Alexander was verbally and emotionally abusive to Arias. I'm not saying that excuses murder, but I do agree with the jury foreman.

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