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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Display of gruesome photos opens Arias retrial

PHOENIX — Jurors at the sentencing retrial of convicted murderer Jodi Arias saw a series of gruesome photos that showed her ex-boyfriend's dead body crammed into a shower at his house — his throat slit.

Lawyers warned jurors that they would see graphic crime-scene photos and sexually explicit images that Arias and former boyfriend Travis Alexander took of each other before Arias attacked him.

"She loved him so much that this is what she did to him," prosecutor Juan Martinez said of one ghastly photo. He urged jurors to sentence Arias to death.

Defense attorney Kirk Nurmi said Tuesday that Arias was the victim of profound sexual humiliation by Alexander and that she is mentally ill and a victim of child abuse.

He urged jurors to sentence her to life in prison, saying she is remorseful about killing the man who never acknowledged to others that she was his girlfriend.

"Jodi Arias was always the girl behind the closed door in the bedroom," Nurmi told jurors.

The opening statements came as a jury was seated and testimony began in a retrial to determine whether Arias lives or dies for her crime.

It was less of a spectacle than the initial case in early 2013, when onlookers from around the country traveled to Phoenix and lined up outside court for the trial that became a tabloid TV sensation. Still, some of the people who regularly attended the first trial were back in court Tuesday.

Arias has acknowledged killing Alexander but claimed it was self-defense after he attacked her. Prosecutors said it was premeditated murder carried out in a jealous rage after the victim wanted to end their affair and planned a trip to Mexico with another woman.

Nurmi suggested Arias would testify during the proceedings that were expected to last until December.

"She will tell you how horrified she is that she killed the man she loved," the defense attorney said.

Bashara told agent: How could I kill if I'm Rotary president?

Janet Leehmann
While being questioned two days after his wife was found strangled, Bob Bashara pointed to the Rotary pin he was wearing.

"How could I have killed my wife if I was president of the Rotary Club?" he said.

Mark O'Riordan, with the U.S. Secret Service, told jurors about his Jan. 27, 2012, interview of Bashara during Bashara's murder trial Wednesday in Wayne County Circuit Court.

Bashara, 56, of Grosse Pointe Park admitted to O'Riordan that he cheated on his wife, Jane Bashara, eight years earlier, but denied being involved in an affair at the time.

"He said that the state of his marriage was going well," O'Riordan testified. "There was no major problems with it."

Bashara also told O'Riordan that he planned to get a new house with his wife.

But the day's main witness indicated that Bashara claim of fidelity was a lie.

Janet Leehmann testified that Bashara flew to Oregon in January 2012, less than two weeks before his wife's murder, and the two had a sexual relationship. Bashara told her he was divorced, she said.

Bashara now faces first-degree murder and other charges in the death of his wife, Jane Bashara.

Prosecutors have said Bashara engaged in alternative sexual lifestyle that involved bondage, discipline and sadomasochism, planned a new life and directed his former handyman Joseph Gentz to kill his wife -- a claim Bashara has repeatedly denied.

Leehmann said that while Bashara was visiting her in Oregon, she overheard an angry telephone conversation he had with his handyman. But she said Bashara didn't mention Gentz by name.

"I want this done. I want it done now," she heard him say. "I want it done before I get back."

John Goodman takes stand early, says he tried to brake before accident

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. —In a surprise jump ahead, defendant John Goodman took the stand in his own defense Wednesday in his DUI manslaughter trial.
In a sometimes halting, throaty voice, Goodman calmly explained the night of Feb. 11, he attended a charity event at the White Horse Tavern, ate dinner with friends, then going on to meet a woman at the Players Club.
Goodman said he had two tequila shots and one vodka and tonic during the evening and wasn't impaired when he left the Players Club alone  to go get a Frosty from Wendy’s.
Looking often at the jury, Goodman said as he drove down the dark and somewhat winding 120th Avenue South, he noticed his Bentley wasn't braking correctly as he approached the stop sign.
“I took my foot off the brake and pumped the brake harder,” Goodman testified. “It felt like it wasn’t stopping the car right, and so I looked down for the emergency brake for a second, and I went to grab my gear shift, and then that’s the last thing I remember.”
Goodman said the next thing he knew, he saw lights and agreed with his defense attorney Doug Duncan he didn’t know where he was.
“Did you look for another car?” asked Duncan.
“Yes,” said Goodman.
“Did you know you were near a canal?” Duncan continued.
“No, I didn’t,,” Goodman said.
Scott Wilson was killed during the crash. 
Goodman said he also didn’t remember making a call to his assistant at 12:58 p.m. It is unclear whether this was before or after the crash. Goodman said his cellphone battery was dead when he came to and he began walking to find a phone to call 911.
“You didn’t see Scott Wilson’s car in that canal?” asked defense attorney Doug Duncan.
“No, I didn’t,” Goodman answered.
Goodman said he was confused and went south instead of north to look for help. He said he found himself in a barn, where he chugged liquor to ease the pain of his broken wrist and head injury and then jumped a fence to get to Lisa Pembleton’s trailer, where 55 minutes after the crash, he finally called 911.
“Do you recall Lisa urging you to call 911?” prosecutor Alan Johnson asked.
“That’s, she did not, do that,” said Goodman.
“Do you recall asking her, ‘How do I seem to you?’” Johnson continued.
“No,” Goodman said.
“Do you recall asking Lisa Pembleton if you should call your lawyer before calling 911?” Johnson asked.
“I would never say that, definitely,” said Goodman.
Goodman’s blood-alcohol level taken in the hospital three hours after the crash was .177percent, which is two times the legal limit.
Goodman said that's because it was the after-crash drinking that caused the high level.
The defense continues its testimony Thursday with more expert witnesses.
Goodman’s appearance was a surprise because the defense’s next expert witness was not available, and the judge said they needed to move forward and put Goodman on the stand.
Source - wpbf

Judge Won’t Be Removed From Adrian Peterson Abuse Case

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The judge hearing Adrian Peterson’s child abuse case will not be removed from the proceedings, following a recusal hearing Wednesday.

Retired Tarrant County Judge Jeff Walker decided that Judge Kelly Case would not be recused from hearing the case. Case had previously called lawyers on both sides “media whores,” a statement he later recanted.

Peterson is charged with abusing his 4-year-old son with a switch, or a branch pulled from a tree. The child was visiting his father at his home near Houston back in May when the incident happened.

Ten days later, after the child was returned to Minnesota, his mother took him to a hospital. Doctors said the child had open wounds on his legs, back, and buttocks.

Peterson says that he believes he was only disciplining his child. Peterson has long maintained that he did not intend to hurt his son but regrets the “unintentional injury.”

The next matter of business will be whether or not Peterson should be arrested again. Prosecutors said Peterson violated the conditions of his $15,000 bond when he told a court worker who was administering a drug test that he “smoked a little weed.”

Peterson remains on the NFL commissioner’s exempt list, meaning he’s barred from team activities but remains on paid leave from the Minnesota Vikings.

Peterson’s case has a tentative trial date of Monday, Dec. 1.

Source - CBS Minnesota
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