Click HERE to listen to my discussion of Juan Martinez’s ace closing argument on The Levi Page Show and read my analysis below.
Juan Martinez’s closing argument in the Jodi Arias trial was filled with unforgettable moments & images for jurors just before they head into deliberation, four long months after the trial began. He flashed gruesome autopsy photos throughout, ending on a picture of Travis Alexander’s back with brutal stab wounds. He mocked Jodi’s incessant lies, telling jurors “a horde of skateboarders that carry screwdrivers will remove your plates at Starbucks,” referencing one of her more bizarre excuses. He peppered his speech with memorable quotes, telling jurors the truest words spoken in this case are the ones from Travis, “You are the worst thing that has ever happened to me.”
And he sure had some choice words for defense experts Alyce LaViolette & Richard Samuels, telling jurors, “anything Alyce said is contaminated” and reminding them of Samuels infamous gaffe, “I suppose I should have re-administered the [PTSD] test.” Martinez provided jurors with a lot of fodder before jurors decide on Arias’ fate. Yet the most important function of his closing was to drive home the point that Arias must be convicted of 1st degree murder, putting her on the path to a possible death sentence, and he delivered.
There are two paths to a first-degree murder conviction: finding her guilty of premeditated murder, for planning Travis’ killing and carrying out her plan or finding her guilty of felony murder, for causing his death during the course of committing a dangerous felony such as burglary or aggravated assault. Martinez emphasized both routes during his closing argument. Referencing Jodi’s claim that she grabbed the gun that she used to shoot Travis from his closet, Martinez said, “if she took his gun that’s a burglary and if she then killed him with it that is premeditated murder.” That single sentence is the key to a conviction. If jurors believe she took the gun from Travis’ closet, shot him and then threw the gun away somewhere in the desert, they could use that as a basis for felony murder. Such a felony murder theory is more of a stretch since they’ll first have to find her guilty of the underlying felony of burglary, with the more direct route being premeditation, but it can’t hurt Martinez to try to cover all his bases.
More importantly, he gave jurors multiple examples of how Jodi planned to kill Travis, carried out that plan and then tried to cover up the killing, further proving she had planned it all along. Martinez told jurors Jodi was “meticulous” in her planning, renting a white car instead of a red one because red ones get pulled over more often, lying to the rental car salesmen & telling him that she was using the car just to drive around town, getting gas cans and filling up out of state, all signs that she planned to kill Travis and cover up the tracks that she was ever in Arizona. He reminded jurors of the oddity of the alleged break-in at her grandparents home just before the killing, where “for some reason” all that was stolen was a .25 caliber gun, the same type of gun used to kill Travis. He told jurors the Travis didn’t have a gun, and “if he didn’t have a gun she brought it,” emphasizing that she likely stole her grandparents’ gun in anticipation of carrying out her plan to kill Travis.
Moving onto the killing itself, Martinez emphasized to jurors that this was a “well orchestrated” killing, according to plan. He focused on the fact that Jodi staged the scene of the murder just like she staged her defense & then she tried to clean it up, another indication of premeditation. She dragged his body down the hallway, washed his DNA off her body, deleted only certain photos off the camera and tossed it in the washing machine, cleaned the knife off in the dishwasher & tossed the gun in the desert. He also told jurors the fact that Jodi left voicemails for Travis & told Leslie Udy that she hoped her future children and Travis’ future children would play together after she knew he was dead were more indications of her plan to stage and cover up the murder.
In his closing argument, Martinez provided jurors with all the tools necessary to convict Jodi Arias of first-degree murder, and seeing how jurors paid close attention to his every word, I’m sure they’ll follow through. Click HERE to listen to my analysis of Martinez’s closing argument on the Levi Page Show.