Last week in the Jodi Arias trial we finally had a defense witness on the stand we could see and hear without being shunned to the hallway. The expert for the defense was psychologist Micia Fonseca, and she was there to explain why Travis Alexander and Jodi Arias were drawn together, and their unconventional sexual proclivities. Yet, most of her testimony was about Travis whom she never spoke to or interviewed because the defendant she was vouching for killed him. Dr. Fonseca said in order for her to render her opinion she looked at Travis giving speeches, emails, text messages, testimony from the first trial, victim impact statements from Travis’s siblings and the sex tape. Kirk Nurmi begins with asking Dr. Fonseca if the relationship between Travis and Jodi was full of “love, lust and forbidden sex?” The Dr. states that it was indeed, and Kirk Nurmi moves to admit emails between Sky, Chris Hughes and Travis Alexander. We would spend countless days listening to Kirk Nurmi and Dr. Fonseca break this email down line by line. Sky and Chris Hughes were close friends of Travis Alexander, and had also befriended Jodi Arias since Travis had immersed her into many parts of his life. In an email that continued on for 3 days between Travis, Sky and Chris, the defense used this private conversation between friends to their advantage. Jodi Arias and Travis Alexander had only been together for 3 months when this email from the Hughes was sent.
Nevertheless, Kirk Nurmi went on to set foundation that Travis was a devout Mormon respected in his church. Jodi who was hungry for spirituality was drawn to this part of Travis, it was something she craved and needed, and Travis provided it. Travis would be the one to baptize Jodi Arias into this religion, and according to Jodi she and Travis were engaged in more than bible study. Kirk Nurmi states that Travis and Jodi were already having sexual encounters and Travis was sending Jodi nude photos of his lower half. While the public has done a comparison of Darryl and Travis’s hands that are in the photo, the opinion is that the lower half photo doesn’t belong to Travis. But the defense is getting this expert to tell the jury it is. With nothing short of a “lower half” line up, proving who’s this part belonged to it makes this tricky to prove in a court of law. But we haven’t heard from Juan Martinez yet and who knows what kind of exposing of this testimony he will uncover. Kirk Nurmi went on to suggest that a good Mormon and someone so respected wouldn’t send photos, engage in sexual encounters and be a “master manipulator.” Dr. Fonseca stated that Travis wrestled with his faith and sexual desires, he felt he had to hide it from his friends and family. That’s where the Hughes’s email comes into play. They didn’t know Travis was already involved deep with Jodi Arias, and they were lacking some key information at the time these emails were sent. Jodi Arias had gone to the Hughes with her concerns, and as good friends to Travis in a faith that operates under strict rules they felt compelled to confront him…based on part by what Jodi Arias had told them.
All the same, Kirk Nurmi tells the jury Travis Alexander is a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde type of person. Kirk uses a nickname that was given to Travis out of fondness, and takes the jury down a rabbit hole of Travis Alexander/Dr. Jekyll and T-Dogg/Mr. Hyde to describe a double life he suggested Travis lived. The Dr. went onto to say that Travis never really got over his long time love Deanna Reed. Deanna wanted to marry and at the time Travis just didn’t want to settle down. In the email from Chris and Sky Hughes they told Travis they counseled Jodi Arias when she came over to discuss her situation with them. The Hughes went on to tell Travis they told Jodi to move on or she would be like Deanna waiting forever for Travis to marry her. Travis responded he was very “messed up in the head.” While the Hughes didn’t approve of how Travis lived his life when it came to women they expressed a love for him and only wanting the best. The Hughes felt Travis just wouldn’t commit and settle down, and if he was going to involve these women into his life they deserved commitment. Jodi Arias wanted that commitment and Travis Alexander just didn’t see her as the one he wanted to give that too. Her pain of not being the woman Travis wanted to marry lead her down the road of trying to rope his friends into helping her make it so. Travis told the Hughes, “I’m not mean to Jodi, I adore Jodi,” but the Hughes continued to hammer him on why he kept their love affair so “closeted.” Jodi had told the Hughes Travis only called her around 1am in the morning and never during the day to just say hello. She went on to tell them Travis wouldn’t be affectionate in public situations or declare her his girlfriend to most of his friends. Jodi said she didn’t feel valued, and that he only showed her love behind closed doors. The Dr. told the jury this caused Arias a lot of low self esteem and turmoil when she was only recognized in a sexually manner and “closeted”, away from Travis’s friends and family. One telling phrase from Travis Alexander to the Hughes was he told them he was about to “have a nervous breakdown,” and I can’t help but wonder if the intensity of Jodi and his life outside of her just became too much to handle this early on in their relationship. The Hughes told Travis he was being a “jerk” to Jodi, and Travis responded he felt hurt they took Jodi’s side and “kicked him” while he was down. Sky went on to state that “everyone Jodi has confided in have told her the same thing…move on.” Travis told Sky he was still in love with Deanna Reed and when it came to Jodi it just “wasn’t there.” Yet, Jodi Arias can’t move on, and while the Hughes try to give Travis and Jodi advice on how to proceed in this secret love affair; the expert on the stand is explaining Travis was abusive emotionally to woman and that, “love is powerful and can make people do crazy things.” Kirk Nurmi responds it can make someone “snap,” and the Dr. agrees.
Granted, Chris and Sky Hughes knew Travis had a hard time committing. When Jodi Arias came to them with a story line they somewhat had seen before they warned her that her feelings may be stronger than his. When Travis gave them a deeper glimpse into what he was dealing with when it came to Jodi Arias they apologized for getting involved and expressed to him they just wanted to see him settle down. In a religion that views a single man in his 30’s as behind the 8 ball when it came to marriage how they viewed his choices were based on their lifestyles. In a world outside of Mormonism a man playing the field and “pulling chicks,” as Chris Hughes references, is considered somewhat normal behavior. But inside that lifestyle it’s frowned upon and misunderstood. Chris and Sky referred to Travis as, “rough around the edges,” and those that were close to him knew it. The defense used this to have the expert communicate to the jury Travis was “abusive and mean.” Dr. Fonseca went onto say that Jodi and Travis “are two people that care for each other but how they do it is unconventional.” Chris and Sky Hughes ended their conversation with Travis by telling him they are “concerned” with his relationship with Jodi Arias and they aren’t “angry” with him. While the defense picked apart every word, and every phrase it left me feeling bad that an email that was never intended for the public was exposed, and used against the very friend the Hughes were trying to help, Travis Alexander.
As the days past, and the testimony continued on with Dr. Fonseca another email that would come into play against Travis Alexander was an email from his love interest Lisa Andrews. Before Kirk Nurmi would get to that he used Travis’s own words in court to tell the jury how he had a childhood filled with neglect and violence from his own parents. Dr. Fonseca stated this kind of upbringing leaves an “imprint,” on someone and it stays with them through adulthood. She also expressed “scars” are left on someone from an abused home and they themselves can become abusers. Fonseca says maybe not to the level of the parents but she believed Travis Alexander was abusive. The jury also learned through this expert of Jodi’s abusive past of being beat with a wooden spoon by her mom, knocked out by her dad, choked, and cheated on by boyfriends in her past. All information gathered on this matter for the expert came from Jodi Arias herself, and as she explained it she was just another victim at the hands of an abusive person. The Dr. conveyed to the jury that people with abusive pasts tend to gravitate toward one another, and a lot of times someone being abused has a hard time leaving. Kirk Nurmi played testimony from Travis and Jodi Arias’ friends Desiree and Dan Freeman from the first trial saying they saw Travis and Jodi argue. The testimony seemed like a mute point and nothing that rose to the level of an abusive man treating Jodi so bad he deserved to be killed, and in my opinion was a semi flop. A story came out from Desiree Freeman that when Jodi got out of the car during a road trip the 4 of them took, and tried to get back in Travis would drive off a little and stop, drive off, and stop. When Jodi got back in they had words, and Desiree felt Travis was over the top mad while Jodi stared out a window. This left me reflecting on all the times my dad did that to my brother and I for fun. We would chase after the car as he was laughing and stopping, and then driving off. One time he just drove off! My brother and I began to wonder if he’d come back as we walked down the dirt road blaming each other for fighting and getting kicked out in the first place. His Chevy came blazing down that dusty road as we jumped up and down we wouldn’t have to walk home! Abuse….nah. Mom irritated at dad..well yeah. It just wasn’t strong testimony in the defenses favor but Nurmi did express the Freeman’s were the only friends that Travis let have a window into his relationship with Jodi Arias.
As the jury’s eyes begin to gloss over with a lot of redundant information from this expert, things begin to heat up as the email from Lisa get’s admitted into evidence. Lisa expresses to Travis that what he may want she isn’t ready for when it comes to being in a relationship with him. Lisa was years younger than Travis and seemed more ready for a long term commitment that would end in a marriage. Lisa tells Travis he “grabs her butt” too much in public and doesn’t act as respectful of her as he should. Lisa goes on to tell Travis she wants someone more serious, more into her goals in life, more ready to be the father of her children, and she just didn’t think Travis was ready for that. Dr. Fonesa tells the jury this is all part of Travis’s “intimacy deficit and how he treats women.” What she hasn’t told the jury is that Lisa and Travis were under enormous pressure from Jodi Arias’ watchful eyes as Travis moved on and she began to stalk him. With tire slashing’s, knocks on Lisa Andrews’s door from an unknown stranger, and even an anonymous letter, Lisa Andrews found herself wanting distance from Travis and his love struck ex girlfriend. But we will have to wait for Juan Martinez to tackle that one when he’s up for cross. The email all came down to Lisa Andrews telling Travis Alexander he wasn’t the man for her. A scenario many of us have been through and many of us have walked away from. The difference was Jodi Arias didn’t walk away when Travis and others were telling her he wasn’t the man for her. Instead she pushed, and stayed, and was convicted of murdering him in his bathroom while he showered. While the defense lays out a picture of a woman who was abused by this man so badly she couldn’t leave his control even 1000’s of miles away; I can’t help but wonder if the jury will find this a reach. Right now the ball is in Kirk Nurmi’s court as he continues with direct examination of the witness and they carry on to portray Jodi Arias as a lost, abused soul that’s only crime was she loved too deep. Love so deep for a man that didn’t love her back the way he should and as the defense says, “Love can make people do crazy things.” See you all back at the courthouse at 9:30am MST for more in the Jodi Arias trial. – Jen Wood, The Trial Diaries
The Trial Diaries by Jen Wood is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at Reporting/Commenting/Writing on Trials .