Arias stands trial accused of murdering her lover, Travis Alexander, in the shower of his Mesa home in Taken from Arias's Myspace page. In short, you have a life. Jodi Arias is the new Casey Anthony. And who begat Casey Anthony? Simpson , of course, the granddaddy of them all. But she is so much a part of the Internet, MySpace and reality-TV generation that when she posed for a mugshot, she thought about the millions of people who would see it.
She became the new daytime television star, and Arias has now stolen her unwanted crown. Because when crime meets cable, the result is a return to the bread and circuses of the Colosseum, and life and death has never been more entertaining.
The charge is first-degree murder, the victim was her ex-boyfriend, Travis Alexander. The state is seeking the death penalty. Arias, now 32, met Alexander in Las Vegas in late A California girl, she fell for him and even converted to Mormonism, his faith. Though they broke up, Arias moved from California to Arizona, where Alexander lived. She and Alexander continued to have sex, though intercourse outside wedlock is forbidden by their religion.
A few hours later, Alexander was dead. He had been stabbed 27 times, his throat was slashed and he was shot in the face. Photos taken by investigators — and easily accessed online — show a terrible scene. Blood smears the floors and pools in the sink. After first denying involvement, and then admitting she was there but blaming unknown intruders, Arias now admits she killed Alexander, but says it was self-defence.
They took pictures of each other that day, and Arias says Alexander became enraged when she dropped his camera. The state, represented by bullish prosecutor Juan Martinez, rejects that: Arias was jealous that Alexander was seeing other women and killed him in a fit of rage. For networks like HLN, the Arias trial has been a gift. Arias is pretty — though her glamorous pre-trial image has been substantially toned down. The case involves the heady mix of jealousy, religion, murder and sex — lots and lots of sex.
Extremely explicit photographs, text messages and audiotapes have all been entered into evidence. And ratings are very good. It devotes much of its day to testimony. The case fascinates endlessly online, too. My jodiarias addiction resumes! But when the defence took over, the pace became glacial, and at its centre was Arias, on the stand for a remarkable 18 days. The week of Feb. Television choices were limited and HLN was on in the background for company.
A trial was on, and a woman with bad glasses was on the stand. I paid little attention until the extraordinary testimony began to sink in. This, I soon found out, was Jodi Arias, testifying about the day of her baptism into the Mormon Church. This was on television! Cable, but still — television. The court — and everyone else watching at home — would later hear a lengthy audiotape of a lurid conversation between Arias and Alexander. Still sitting on the stand as it was played for the court, and with cameras focused on her, Arias cried and hid her face behind a veil of dark hair.
You heard his voice. Like Arias, Anthony was young and attractive. Like Arias, Anthony was charged with capital murder. Anthony stood accused of killing her daughter, Caylee. There are hints of drama — the public lining up to get seats, the three mobile television studios and various satellite trucks parked outside — but inside the cool, airy building, I found a decorous courtroom, helpful staff, professional reporters and attentive jurors.
It appears the circus is mainly in cyberspace. Simpson, and now Jodi Arias, has convinced him otherwise. Because nobody rose to the occasion. He argues that lawyers who are there to grandstand and misbehave will do so no matter what kind of media is present — newspaper reporters, radio journalists or television cameras — and that competence will inevitably win the day. But Aaron Harnett, who defended one of the women convicted of killing Toronto police officer William Hancox in , worries the justice system itself could become the victim.
The Maricopa County Superior Court is conveniently equipped with free, fast Wi-Fi, and in courtroom 5C, laptops and iPads are must-have reporting tools. When court is in session, tweets with a jodiarias hashtag roll like a river as thousands of people weigh in minute-by-minute: What is Arias wearing? Is she looking at her family?
Whatever could she be writing in that notebook? Tweeters swap theories and debate legal strategy. They rail at her lawyers and cheer, loudly, for the prosecution. After saying Arias was abused by Alexander, she was castigated online and suddenly there were thousands of negative reviews on her Amazon author page.
A third decided to send DeMarte a thank-you card for her testimony and urged others to do the same. The social media chatter concerns David Chesnoff, a Las Vegas-based defence lawyer who has defended high-profile clients ranging from former boxer Mike Tyson to singer Bruno Mars and socialite Paris Hilton.
Court is in recess. But for those online and watching on television, stay with us.