Defence Narrative ( Self defence )

Index

Before Arias kills Alexander
Arrival and lead up to killing
In the shower
First time down the hallway
Acute stress
Second time down the hallway
Fight
Before leaving the house
After leaving the house
Problems with the defence case
Explanations about her DV (domestic violence) motives

This briefly describes the defence account of what happened before, during, and after the killing, accounting for the evidence.

Opening argument: ( Quite long, about 1 hour )

Shower



Before Arias kills Alexander

The theft of a handgun from her grandmother's house a week before the killing is a coincidence.
She asks for the hire car to be changed, because she thinks red cars are more likely to be pulled over for speeding ( this is actually a false urban myth ), and she cannot afford to be fined.
When she stops en route, some skaters play a prank, turning the rear number plate of her car upside down. She does not notice.
She borrows two gas cans from her friend, as this is a sensible precaution when driving in the desert. (You can never have too much gas or water in the desert).

Arrival and lead up to killing

( This is based on notes I made while watching Arias' testimony, typed up in real time, needs a bit of work and checking )
Arrives around 4am. Parks in same spot as always, centre spot in driveway. Uses side entrance Luggage : suit case (carry-on), backpack, purse, laptop. Travis came out to get her luggage.
Travis was in the office, on laptop, music video/youtube, with Napoleon, his dog. He looked cute watching dumb videos [Note:corroborated by computer log]. Back to her. [ They sleep, may be omission here ]
When they woke up, he tied her up with smooth, decorative rope, green and gold.
On the bed, long rope wound up, unrolled, cut rope in bathroom with knife from block in kitchen. Knife would have been left in bathroom or on night-stand. Behind back headboard. Nooses not tight. Not unbearable, his wish. Naked.He was wearing temple garments, takes them off. He gives her oral sex. She asks him to stop, he hasn't shaved. He stops. Ditched the rope idea. Slips out of rope. Tosses rope on carpet.
Regular sex, after taking photos. Her hair is in braids, because he likes it, says it's hot.
Looking at CDs, not working (computer has virus), she is on floor with Napoleon. Images are gray squares ( she thinks CD is scratched ). Popped CD out, tried other one. Getting mad.
Same thing happens. Tone changed, demeanour changed, body language changed. Signs of anger. She is apprehensive. He flings CD at the wall and rolls off the desk, onto her head and then the carpet..
More anger from Travis. She is worried, trip had gone well. She had done something stupid. Napoleon left room ( as normal when Travis is getting mad ).
She stood up, to rub his back. Let him know she still has pictures. But drive is not working on her computer. She was going to apologise. He spun her around, pressed her against desk.
He looks pissed off. She is scared. He grabs both her arms, spins her around. Grabs right arm, twists it behind her back. She didn't feel pain. She cannot walk away.
He is leaning whole body against her, he is heavy. She doesn't tell him to stop, because that could make him more pissed off. If she goes along wioth what he did he settles down faster.
That or grovelling. He would get less angry quicker. He pressed his groin against her butt. She is bent over. Both are wearing clothes. He does some thrusts, then pulls her pants down. She can feel he has an erection.
She did want to have sex, better than him being mad. She didn't want it to escalate to screaming or physical fight. She doesn't object. They have sex. He ejaculates on her lower back.
She is relieved. Thought they had avoided catastrophe (another fight). Anything to avoid a fight. He says go clean yourself up, she feels a little bit used. She goes to downstairs bathroom, cleans herself up. Still hanging out.
She goes back in office. They decide to go upstairs.Was she angry when he bent her over desk? No. She wants to end on a positive note. They decide to go upstairs and take pictures. He had worked out to go to Cancum, lost 40lbs, lost fat. He wanted photos of his sculpted body. She was never scheduled to go to Cancun. She thought he was taking friend's baby sitter to settle debt (?). He wore body bug on upper arm, almost all the time. She wanted to do something that would make him happy.She suggested it. Her camera was packed, so use his camera.

In the shower

Arias is taking pictures of Alexander in the shower when she accidentally drops the camera.
As she juggles the camera, it takes a picture of the bathroom ceiling.
He is angry, calling her a "stupid idiot" and says "a five year old could handle a camera better".
He picks her up and slams her on the floor.

First time down the hallway

She gets up, runs down the hallway, through the bedroom, into the closet ( shutting the closet door ).
He is chasing her. She climbs up some shelving, to get his gun.
He follows her into the closet. She runs out of the closet into the bathroom, turns, and points the gun at him with both hands.
He does not stop, but comes at her. As he does, the gun goes off (accidentally), and he "rugby tackles" her to the floor.
They are both on the floor, his head wound is bleeding, creating the pool of blood near the toilet entrance pillar.
Blood from the head wound (massive nose bleed) creates the spatter in the toilet ( Exhibits 101 and 102 ) and nearby.
She gets out from underneath him.
She gets up. He also gets up and goes over to the sink, aspirating blood. See Bathroom .
Note: Arias may have no memory of this, since it immediately precedes the main stressor "FKYB".
Also note: at this point the fight has not yet started. Arias may be attempting to help him, or may just be standing there in shock.
Alexander now loses all reason due to the gunshot wound to the head, he goes into "fight" mode.

Acute stress

The last thing Arias can remember is him saying "fucking kill you bitch". This causes extreme fear in Arias, triggering acute stress.
Raised adrenalin, and other hormones prevents the hippocampus from functioning, preventing any new memories from forming.
In addition, during acute stress, higher reasoning no longer occurs, as all the resources of the body are utilised to fight or flee.
Thus extreme violence from normally peaceful people is not unusual when they become extremely fearful and are fighting to defend themselves.
Also note that during the period of acute stress:
(1) Arias would have no memory of anything else that happened that day.
(2) Her memory is very short term, just a few seconds.
(3) She is still able to otherwise function, but with effectively no memory.
(4) Unusual feats of strength become possible ( high levels of adrenaline etc, )
(5) Personality does NOT change

Note: obviously because Jodi cannot remember what happened next, we have to work it out from physical evidence, which is hard.
This is one possibility, based on all the evidence, it might not be 100% accurate, there are inherent uncertainties.

Second time down the hallway

Arias runs down the hallway towards the bedroom for a second time.
Alexander follows her, he is somewhat incapacitated due to the gunshot wound.
He leaves blood marks down the RHS (closet) side of the hallway as he goes. See Blood Trail
At the end of the hallway he stumbles, and falls to the ground, leaving a "swoosh" mark on the wall.
Alexander is bleeding heavily from the gunshot wound to his head, creating the pool of blood on the bedroom carpet.
Then Alexander turns, doubles back up the hallway, leaving the connecting trail and another trail of blood up the linen closet side of the hallway.

We have little idea what Jodi is doing, but 62 seconds after the picture of the bathroom ceiling, another accidental picture is taken, somewhere near the bedroom end of the hallway.
This picture shows Jodi standing near Travis, who is on his back, bleeding from the gunshot wound.

At some point, it seems Jodi opens the linen cupboard door , for reasons that are unclear.
A possibility I have thought about is that Jodi went to get the knife at this point to make a bandage for Travis' head wound, and opened the linen cupboard door to get something to use as material.

Fight

Important point : up to now, Travis has lost his temper, there has been a gun accident, but there has not been a "fight" as such.

Jodi tries to help Travis, or see how he is, but he is still angry, he tackles her to the ground, and pins Jodi to the ground (or somewhere).
They are locked face-to-face, he is trying to get her in a wrestling hold. Somehow Jodi already has, or gets hold of the knife.
She chops/slashes him multiple times in the back with the heel or curved point of the knife to make him let go.
Mostly her left arm is coming over his right shoulder, except for one cut where her arm comes round the side.
He also incurs defensive wounds and other cuts as he tries to get the knife from her.

He possibly has his hands around her throat, attempting to choke her.
She stabs him in the chest to try and get him off ( at some point - sequence is unclear ).
Finally, she cuts his throat. Within seconds Travis is dead,
He is bleeding heavily from the neck wound, leaving the large pool of blood near the linen cupboard.
The camera goes off taking the last photo 76 seconds after the previous photo.
( Note: I have chosen to assume the fight is over at this point, there is no certain evidence for this )

Before leaving the house

She heaves his body into the shower, and cleans his body up, to minimise the horrific injuries.
She uses some towels to clean up some of the blood in the bathroom. ( which is why the closet carpet does not get stained with blood from the flood ).
She straightens the bathroom scales, she deletes some photos from the camera.
She takes clothes, towels, and the camera and puts them in the washing machine.
She leaves the shower dripping, which causes the flooding, which covers much of the floor, into the linen cupboard, and all the way down the hall ( see Investigation Report ).
She puts a barrier across the bottom of the stairs, so Napoleon, Travis' dog will not be traumatised by finding the body.
She leaves Travis' CTR ring and watch in the kitchen, possibly as a hint to the flatmates that Travis is dead ( see Investigation Report ).
She flees. She is in a state of amnesia due to the extreme acute stress.

After leaving the house

See Denial and also Trip Pasadena to SLC

Problems with the defence case

The main problem is the reported theft of a handgun from her grandmother's house a week before the murder.
On the face of it, the odds of this happening "by unrelated chance" are quite small, I estimate 1 in 40, if we assume a theft up to 3 months before would be suspicious.
However, this event is far removed from the scene of the crime. There are hundreds of potentially suspicious events that could occur ( for example, a similar theft at a close neighbour ).
Since it is not proven that Arias stole the handgun, or even knew of it's existence, this evidence is substantial but not strong ( I give it a likelihood ratio of 5 ).
In addition, even it were proven that she stole it, it could have been for self-defence (although this is problematic - since if she wanted it for self-defence, she could just have taken it, and not staged a burglary), or for some other reason.

Explanations about her DV (domestic violence) motives

Why does she fill the gas cans, when she is going to Mesa? And why does she refuel twice on the way? The DV reason: she (subconciously) fears Travis will prevent her from leaving. But this way she can get to SLC even if he takes all her money. Of course there are many other possible reasons : it's a safety precaution, and you don't over-think safety precautions (seatbelt/life-jacket/cycle helmet), you just do them. Something could change.

Why does she turn right rather than left at the end of the hallway? The DV reason: she would almost prefer to die than for the DV to be known. It's loyalty to Travis. She thinks she can handle the situation. She is wrong. As evidenced by her two year period of denial : she would prefer to be executed or commit suicide than for everything shameful to come out. This is extreme low self-esteem. The fix is to raise her self-esteem, which is what the $9 self-help book Dr Samuels gives her does.

“Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn't.”

Mark Twain