|Jennifer Willmott and Jodi Arias appear in court on May 23, 2013|
The idea that Jodi Arias sold art and t-shirts while in jail on trial for first-degree murder, and even after as a convicted felon is not only mind-boggling, but a testament to how social media and technology is quickly changing society and the way criminals can continue to stay involved with the outside world. Not only did Twitter allow Jodi Arias a jailhouse voice to the world, but it also helped attract loyal supporters to her cause. While many people use Facebook and Twitter to show their support for Travis Alexander's family, just as many use the same social media networks to buy Jodi Arias' artwork, state their opinions on the case and declare she is innocent. Jodi Arias states that you can buy her artwork from two official sites: Jodiarias.com and Jodiariasisinnocent.com.
What might be most appalling to those who followed the Jodi Arias trial; however, is the way Arias conducts herself during her televised interviews. Arias was arrested on July 15, 2008, and video footage taken from her initial police interrogation showed Arias was concerned about "freshening herself up" before her mugshot was taken.
Arias' demeanor has caused intense scrutiny and even more criticism from just about everyone who has watched the trial and believes her guilty. She has appeared to many to be aloof, callous, insensitive, self-absorbed and not in the least bit remorseful for murdering Travis Alexander. The defense tried to explain away Arias' behavior as someone who has been the victim of domestic violence or a combination of battered person's syndrome and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The defense's witness Janeen DeMarte challenged those findings and stated she believed Jodi Arias did not suffer from PTSD or battered person's syndrome, but rather exhibited characteristics of Borderline Personality Disorder. PDF Whatever mental illness Jodi Arias exhibited, one thing is certain: she was never diagnosed or treated before murdering Travis Alexander.
If Jodi Arias is suffering from a mental illness such as PTSD, Bipolar Disorder or Borderline Personality Disorder and is not undergoing any treatment, one can only imagine how her state of mind will continue to deteriorate, resulting in someone who seems even more out of touch with not only her own emotions, but the grief experienced by Travis Alexander's family and loved ones. If the root of Arias' behavior is a mental disorder, there is no reason to believe that her behavior or attitude would improve during her next penalty phase trial.
However, maybe this time spent in practical solitary confinement over the next month will be an eye opener for Arias. Is it possible that when court resumes we might see a more remorseful woman who this time issues the words, "I'm sorry, " to Travis Alexander's family?
Could she return to court in July a seemingly changed woman? Is it possible that this month will help her to feel more compassion for all those grieving the loss of Travis Alexander?
A changed Arias may be what the next jury needs to see in order to spare her life. It seems so unlikely that the state will be able to find a jury in Arizona that hasn't heard of the trial, followed the case or made his or her own judgments regarding Jodi Arias deserved punishment.
It will be interesting to see if Jodi Arias' mental health will play more of a role in the sentencing phase of the trial the second time around than the first time.
Regardless of what you think of Jodi Arias, and no matter how much your heart breaks for the Alexander family's loss, the truth is that both the prosecution and the defense determined Jodi Arias to be mentally ill.
Somehow, it seems that if Arias' mental illness had been identified and treated, things might have turned out very differently.
Would Travis Alexander still be alive if Arias had been properly diagnosed? Does the fact that Arias is mentally ill factor into her sentencing and will she now have a changed attitude when her trial resumes in July?