There is at least one post on every justice seekers page or Facebook group that lists the 5 stages of grief as postulated by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross. That's because when someone in North America becomes a victim, the entire nation undergoes those stages as well. There is one family that has been seeking justice and is not able to complete that 5-stage-cycle, and doesn't even know when they will be able to, because they have been waiting now for 6 years for justice for their beloved brother Travis Alexander. Because they have been waiting for so long, they too have become victims of the tragic murder of their beloved brother Travis Alexander, and have been imprisoned themselves in their grief and their quest for justice. They will be not be free of this chain of violence until they know how the person responsible will be held accountable for their actions. For 6 years that person has been playing every manipulation game in the books that she can find in her own personal quest to delay the inevitable, but not for much longer. HLN reported this week on August 1 that the murderer of Travis Alexander has appeared in court this week for the retrial of the sentencing phase in the case of The State of Arizona versus Jodi Arias.
HLN is reporting that on July 30 Jodi Arias appeared in court for a status conference regarding the upcoming retrial of the sentencing phase in this case. On May 8 of last year, Jodi Arias was convicted of first degree murder for the brutal murder of Travis Alexander. Prosecutor for the State Juan Martinez argued in closing statements that Jodi killed Travis 3 times, through multiple stab wounds, a fatal throat wound, and a gunshot to the head.
The first jury in the Jodi Arias trial had no problems finding her guilty of pre-meditated murder, or premeditated murder with an element of cruelty in the aggravation phase. The jury knew and decided that this was a brutal and cruel killing. But this jury could not decide on the punishment for these crimes, and wavered between life in prison or death row.
A mistrial on the sentencing phase was called, and the legal process for this sentencing phase has basically had to start from scratch. A new jury will have to be selected, and this jury will need to have all of the evidence presented again so that they can make their determination of sentencing. This retrial will likely not be as lengthy as the first that ran over five months long, but given how Jodi Arias has used every manipulation and stall tactic just to get to this point, it is likely not going to be a short walk through the park either.
The family of Travis Alexander will of course want it over as soon as possible, as they have suffered long enough and are likely tired of the stall tactics and delays.
Jodi Arias can not claim that she is not manipulating the system in order to avoid her fate, as the long list of court dockets and status hearings and case conference updates over every little complaint that she has had since the mistrial is on public record, and has been going on for over a year since she was found guilty. In most criminal cases, this would be all done and wrapped up and the family of the victim would be working on their healing process.
But in this case, Jodi Arias and the public defenders that are working for her are delaying everything possible under the tenet that this is a death penalty case and they will leave no stone unturned. It's a very frustrating process for victims or their surviving family members. But it is not just the family of Travis Alexander that wants this wrapped up quickly.
According to the Christian Science Monitor earlier this year, at the start of 2014 the State of Arizona versus Jodi Arias has already cost the good tax paying people of Arizona $2.1 million dollars. And since the beginning of this year when that number was reported, Jodi and her lawyers have used many, many billable hours in the way of status conferences, case hearings, and everything else that she can do to lengthen her due process as long as possible.
She and her public defenders are running out of delays, and at the time of press the retrial of this sentencing phase is on schedule according to HLN this week. This means that in 37 days, the family of Travis Alexander will begin another painful chapter in this journey, and hopefully this one will be the last for them.
There were many procedural matters discussed at the most recent Jodi Arias court appearance this past Wednesday, where Jodi appeared in prison stripes for a hearing that was closed to cameras. The entire retrial will be closed to media cameras and recordings, but Judge Sherry Stevens has previously ruled that following the verdict the recordings can be released to the public.
Another status conference for Oral Arguments is scheduled for August 4, according to the Maricopa County court dockets. This will be followed by a Case Management Conference on August 13, after which the retrial of the sentencing phase will begin September 8.
In the meantime, Inmate No. 438434 resides in the solitary confinement unit at the Maricopa County Estrella Jail in Phoenix, Arizona, according to the Houston Chronicle reporter this week who has been corresponding with this inmate via postcards. It is one of the few reporters that Jodi Arias has decided to talk to, she has even "blocked" the Toronto Relationships Examiner on Twitter. She refuses to discuss her case with reporters who she usually calls "haters".
The Houston Chronicle got her to open up by talking to her about her artwork, something not many have wanted to talk to her about because the very act of her selling artwork sheds light on a woman who is making money off of the fame that has come from her killing someone mercilessly.
The Houston Chronicle reports that inmate No. 438434 lives in a 7-by-11-foot room, by herself, for 23 hours daily. Her bed is a jut from a wall made of cinderblock, and she has access to a metal table and a stool.
She is permitted to read and to exercise, and also to draw her artwork that she is currently selling on Twitter. Radio, TV, computers, and cellphones are absolutely not permitted. She must eat, sleep, and even use the bathroom in her cell where she is under constant supervision. Her cell does include a window into the "outside world" but is covered by a grate.
She is permitted to leave her cell, guarded, for one hour daily. The Houston Chronicle reports that she spends that hour in a large room where she can have a shower, talk on the phone, or talk to visitors. All conversations are monitored in the Maricopa County Estrella Jail.
She has been corresponding with a reporter from the Houston Chronicle, who has no desire to help her boost her sales or glamorize this already infamous murderer. This reporter contacted her out of sheer curiosity on the basis of the artwork she is selling from jail. How does one run a business from solitary confinement?
It is a privilege that family members of the victim cringe at, that she would be making money off of such infamy. In all likelihood, they probably believe that even having access to something to draw with is likely too much freedom for this inmate. But Jodi Arias told the Houston Chronicle that she's using the money for good.
"The money goes to other causes, including charity. Some goes to my family, who is struggling badly like so many. There is a mistaken believe that me selling my art is somehow unethical or unlawful. That's false. Everything I do with regard to my art is well within the law.
As for ethics, were it unethical for convicted people to lawfully earn money, there would be no employment opportunities within the nation's prisons. I was an artist for decades before I derailed my life. I had a business, Jodi Arias Fine Art & Photography, now defunct. What I do now is the same concept. Marketing my art is completely lawful and not connected with the deeply regrettable things I've done."
This might be the first time Jodi Arias has connected herself to any responsibility for the murder of Travis Alexander. Even so, it is a difficult statement to swallow from a woman that has done nothing but lie during her trial, lie to law enforcement after the death of Travis Alexander, lie to her own jury, and lie to..,everyone.
She even lied to the person she was having sex with just hours after she killed Travis Alexander. There are likely many that will have a very difficult problem believing anything that Jodi Arias has to say about….ethics.
The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office however has corroborated what this inmate states in regards to the lawfulness of her making money from her fame from solitary confinement. Lt. Brandon Jones told the Houston Chronicle,
"Inmate Arias is allowed to have pencils and paper. If she wants to draw and give those drawings - we call that 'release her property' - to a third party, she is allowed to do that. She can mail it or give it to a visitor. She doesn't have access to the Internet, but the person she releases her property to can sell it on the Internet."
Her artwork is selling from $25 to $9,000, however there are no records to indicate that anyone would actually spend $9,000 on a painting or drawing by Jodi Arias. The Houston Chronicle is suggesting though that the value of this art will increase if she is given the death penalty as many are hoping will happen.
It takes this inmate as many as 7 to 12 hours daily over many days, often weeks, in order to complete one of her drawings, but this "schedule" is slowing down as the countdown to the September sentencing phase draws nigh. She told the Houston Chronicle,
"I have a rigid schedule. It's up to me to structure my day. To be able to draw, both opportunity and inspiration need to be present. I've slowed down. With trial looming, my focus needs to be there. But if I go too long without drawing, the desire to visually express ideas on paper becomes almost a need."
She draws as often as she can, and it is lights out for this inmate by 11:00 PM however she is permitted to use a night light after she "goes to bed", or in other words, moves 7 feet from her stool to her cinderblock jut. She, and any other inmate, is not allowed to put artwork on the walls.
It's her way of dealing with the "deeply regrettable" things that she has done.
The family of Travis Alexander has been forced to find their own ways to get through this pain, while dealing with their own kind of imprisonment from this tragedy with every delay of the sentencing phase. In so doing, they have been very active and connected to a huge support system online from friends, family, and fellow Americans who have been their rocks on justice seekers pages, facebook, twitter, and many other forums that have been established to help this grieving family.
But it is not just the social support that the family of Travis Alexander has been using to get through this difficult time, they are also persevering with strength and a dignity that has been inspiring to many over the last 6 years. This is a family that will not allow the death of their beloved brother to be in vain, and are always working to shine the light on his memory, and his memory alone.
Last week the family, and their huge base of online and offline support, celebrated the birthday of Travis Alexander on July 28. According to one of the justice seeking pages for Travis Alexander, a fundraiser was held in honor of Travis, with all proceeds going right back to where Travis would have wanted it to go the most, the homeless.
It was a birthday event known as the "Remembering Travis Second Annual Day of Service" event, where the slogan was, "Do something wonderful for someone else today."
It was an event held by a great family, that did great things for many other great people on a day that was formed from their grief. Where the inmate responsible for their grief is collecting money to give to her family, the family of Travis Alexander is doing what they think he would have wanted them to do, "Do something wonderful for someone else today."
As this family heads into the next stage of the sentencing for Jodi Arias, the words of Travis Alexander himself echo from one of their justice seeking communities.
"It is my prayer that we live all the days of our lives. That we will be brave enough to unplug from the matrix and let the greatness within us manifest to all the world so that you will provide courage for others to do the same. Then can you live an abundant fulfilling life with out regret. A life that most are afraid to even dream about. I know that such a life exists. That it is intended for all of us. -- Travis Alexander"
The retrial of the sentencing phase in The State of Arizona versus Jodi Arias is on schedule for September 8. Do you have an outcome you are hoping for? How do you really feel about an inmate making money from jail while a family continues to grieve?