On Monday, a judge approved Jodi Arias’s request to represent herself at her upcoming sentencing trial, prompting San Francisco defense lawyer Daniel Horowitz to say “It’s actually probably a good idea to represent herself. She looks like a vicious psychopath with a ridiculous defense.” He added that although the jury may simply find Arias to be pathetic, that “if she can get just one juror to bond with her on some level, even if they hate her, they’re getting to know her, and it’s harder to kill someone you know.”
The words may be blunt, but Arias is facing a very real possibility that she will be sentenced to death. The jury that found her guilty of first-degree murder last year could not reach consensus on sentencing, prompting this second trial. As Horowitz said, it was easy to convict Arias, but finding someone guilty is “a lot different than killing somebody.”
In 2008, Arias’s ex-boyfriend Travis Alexander was found dead in the shower of his apartment in Mesa, Arizona. The final count of wounds inflicted on Alexander came to one gunshot to the head, 27 separate stab wounds, and a throat that had been viciously and deeply slit. Jodi Arias quickly became the focus of the case’s investigators and was soon arrested. The case and the trial that followed was a notorious sensation, filled with sex and lies and violence. And Arias herself quickly proved, through her various shocking antics and revelations – and 18 days of being on the witness stand at her trial – that she enjoyed being in the limelight.
Initially, Arias claimed that she and Alexander had been attacked by two masked intruders who, after killing her ex, decided to let Arias live. She then changed that story, admitting that she did kill Alexander, but that it was in self-defense. But the viciousness and deliberateness of the fatal attack convinced the jury otherwise, even if they could not reach a decision in regards to sentencing.
Despite having no legal experience and no high school diploma (although she has received her GED in prison), Arias will literally be fighting for her life in four weeks.
Arias has had some trouble with previous defense lawyers – not only has she tried to fire them herself, the lawyers have also tried to withdraw from the case on several occasions, only to have the judge deny them their requests. Chances are, Arias won’t fire herself (and her defense attorneys will remain as advisory counsel), but many believe the fact that Arias will be representing herself is less a smart legal move and more a matter of Arias wanting to take center stage once again.
What are your thoughts? Is Jodi Arias representing herself a smart legal maneuver to drum up sympathy? Or is this just another grab for attention by a narcissistic killer?
[Image via Huffington Post]