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...” Why does most human violence occur between those who are emotionally involved, or more technically, within an attachment paradigm?
Dr. J. Reid Meloy from Violent Attachments
Phoenix, AZ- Arguably the best psychological witness presented at trial, Dr. Janeen DeMarte, clinical psychologist, took the stand last week as the first witness in the State of Arizona’s rebuttal case in the trial of Jodi Arias for the murder of Travis Alexander.
In stark contrast to her previous behavior in court, Jodi Arias refused to look at Dr. DeMarte on the stand, and feverishly took notes or whispered to her attorney Jennifer Wilmott through the State’s direct examination of their witness.
With one exception. When Dr. DeMarte was asked by Prosecutor Juan Martinez if Jodi Arias was a victim of domestic violence resulting in battered woman syndrome, Ms. Arias looked up for DeMarte’s answer. “No.”
After a battery of psychological tests were completed and scored, and approximately 12 hours of clinical interview with defendant Arias- Dr. DeMarte diagnosed Jodi Arias with Borderline Personality Disorder. Dr. DeMarte had the added luxury of having her home vandalized and her laptop stolen following the start of the trial. That information was not shared in open court.
Significant from a psychological evaluation perspective, Jodi Arias’ expert witnesses Alyce LaViolette and Dr. Samuels felt Arias was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a result of the killing of Travis Alexander on June 4, 2008 at his home in Mesa, Arizona. Only Samuels was licensed to test Arias similarly to DeMarte, and it appears the results were very different. Samuels testified that he never re-tested Arias after he learned her accounts of June 4 were fabrications and that was an error on his part in his finding Arias suffered from PTSD.
Cross examination of Dr. DeMarte induced a migraine headache suffered by Arias (her 3rd since trial) although she is taking Imitrex for the condition. Earlier in the day, Wilmott began her cross by repeatedly stating that DeMarte was practicing therapy without a license prior to her licensing exam, to which DeMarte responded “That is not correct, it is permitted under the supervision of a licensed psychologist, which I was.”
Wilmott went on to question DeMarte’s credentials specifically related to expertise in domestic violence and her current knowledge of the practices of Dr. Lenore Walker- largely considered the pioneer of domestic violence research and testing. Walker’s work is novel within the psychological community in the area of the battered woman syndrome diagnosis.
Wilmott unsuccessfully tried to trip up DeMarte by suggesting that Walker no longer uses her own 6 point scale to include the possibility of battered woman syndrome to which DeMarte replied, “I would say that you are being inaccurate.”
DeMarte completed her testimony with very limited juror questions, although it was clear that a juror or two was not sold that Arias’ only disorder is BPD.
While DeMarte represented the State well in my opinion; Jodi Arias remains the round peg in the jello rhomboid to me. Too many unanswered behavioral observations from a criminal profiling perspective to fit into the BPD mold.
Prior to the start of the State’s rebuttal case, defense counsel Kirk Nurmi recalled a witness for the defense who never made it into the witness list for trial, Mr. Bryan Neumiester.
In previous hearings where Neumiester appeared as an expert for the defense in the authentication of the May 10, 2008 phone sex recording made by Arias, the State agreed to a stipulation that it was indeed Travis Alexander’s voice on the tape, and that it was made on May 10.
In earlier testimony Juan Martinez elicited from Jodi Arias, Martinez accused her of recording the tape without Alexander’s permission or knowledge. Arias was forced to admit that at no time is the fact that the conversation is being recorded heard mentioned by either party during the recording. More on that recording in a bit.
Neumiester was able to magnify the very haunting last image of a live Travis Alexander’s face in the shower, specifically his iris, and gain agreement via stipulation that the reflective image contained therein is that of Jodi Arias. She was not holding a gun or knife and the image was time-stamped correctly.
This was the second time Juan Martinez agreed to a stipulation from the same expert witness regarding the recorded media, both digital and audio in this case- outside the presence of the jury.
Mr. Neumiester is an expert witness for colleagues in Mr. Martinez’s own office as well as the Mesa Police Department. Might suggest offsite meetings going forward.
The final witness listed for the State’s rebuttal case is an investigator for the Mesa County Police who specializes in computer forensics, Detective Robert Brown. Detective Brown describes himself as a Computer Forensics Detective:
As a Digital Forensics expert, I possess attention to detail in my forensic capability, as well as the ability to explain complex technical concepts in a non-technical manner.
In the course of my regular duties, I also perform the following:
-Support ongoing internal investigations and litigation matters
-Utilize a variety of forensic tools (Encase, FTK, Helix, Cellebrite, Wireshark, etc.)
-Perform storage forensics (for example, hard drives, phones, USB storage)
-Perform network captures for traffic analysis
-File-system analysis and file carving (for example, to extract email, documents, and other trace evidence)
-Identifying , collection and analyzing electronic information, relevant to a case, incident or event of interest
-Establish timelines and patterns of activity of individuals and electronic devices and software
-Following forensically sound practices, including preserving chain of custody
-Efficiently and effectively report progress, risks and issues associated with assignments to varying levels of management
Following sound practices including preservation of chain of custody is looking like a welcome addition to this case.
In testimony from Detective Michael Melendez where the images allegedly taken by Travis’s camera were recovered from the deleted or unallocated portions of the memory stick via Encase software we learned that the infamous afternoon of highly graphic sex images of both Travis and Jodi that were dated and time-stamped on June 4th took place that afternoon prior to Travis’s murder.
Thus, making Jodi Arias an invited guest.
As an invited guest spending the day indelicato delicto, it certainly makes it difficult to prove the felony murder charge she is facing- and does not help the pre-meditation or murder in the first degree allegation because the basic motive is that Jodi went there to murder Travis because he was not going to take her to Cancun. While certainly a possibility, I would offer that just about every psychological professional who sat across from Arias missed the fact that she literally saw her old boyfriends more than once along her trek that ended up with her last breakup. Weird, yes.
Otherwise known as a raging sign of dependent personality disorder.
…” You are the worst thing that has ever happened to me…”
According to the text messages back and forth between Jodi and Travis the weeks prior to his murder, it was patently clear that Alexander wanted Arias out of his life for good.
Has what the state since learned after having Jodi on the stand under oath and repeated in cross examination opened the door to further investigation of the electronic media in this case in preparation for rebuttal? Looks that way.
Keeping in mind that the phone sex recording was May 10th. About a week later, Arias testified, she thought the phone was stolen. She alleges it was found by her Aunt in 2010 in her grandfather’s car. This would be the same aunt that she pointed out in court, and who has not been seen in court in weeks although she had attended daily.
Arias writes in her journal entry May 22, 2008 that there are several explicit photos on her stolen phone, and 2 recorded sex tapes. In 2010, Arias though her attorneys, deliver this phone into evidence with no chain of custody information in a then 2 year old case. Miraculously, this occurs just as Arias is moving from the “maybe not the ninja’s” defense. From the defense perspective it has some statements from Alexander on it that they feel support’s their defense. From the State’s perspective it proves that Arias was certainly very open to the sexual practices of the couple and never felt abused, nor was she put off by the comments by Alexander.
A win-win for both sides so why not agree to its stipulation, right?
Is this why Juan Martinez was hammering home the journal entry written about the “fruitful imaginations” the two explored, causing Arias to miss Lonnie’s christening?
The infamous sugar fest that takes place just before Arias allegedly walks in on Alexander in masturbatory behavior where some image of a boy lands at her feet on January 21st? I note that one of the pictures allegedly from the June 4th date seems to show Alexander engaged in some self-satisfaction that ended with a surprise photo taken from the point of view of the chair next to him.
You’ll see where I am going with this momentarily. (more…)