Appropriateness notwithstanding, most thought the most shocking thing that could happen in the Jodi Arias case was a sentence other than death.  We aren’t even there yet and there have already been a ton of shocking developments.

Two jurors have been dismissed, one for personal reasons, and another for approaching Wild About Trial journalist Beth Karas, a former HLN employee, and asking her if she was Nancy Grace, the controversial anchor on HLN, who has been pushing for Jodi Arias to be executed.

A witness who wanted to testify in private out of fear that trial watchers may attack them for telling the jury what they know, did not finish their testimony before the jury because the media successfully appealed the decision to keep the testimony a secret.  The witness did not return after an appeals court overturned Judge Sherry Stephens’ decision and reopened the trial to the public.

However, the most shocking development may be that there is a question as to whether or not there is missing evidence, who got rid of it, and why.

One of Arias’ former attorneys, Maria Shaffer, took the stand Thursday, and denied that she deleted explicit files from Travis Alexander’s computer.  Schaffer did say that she and her co-counsel looked at the computer in a closed room with Deputy Maricopa County Attorney Juan Martinez and Mesa police detective Esteban Flores on June 19, 2009.

“It was physically impossible for us to delete the files,” said Shaffer. “We were never left in the room alone.”

Arias’ defense lawyers allege that police or prosecutors deleted thousands of files from Alexander’s computer.  Kirk Nurmi and Jennifer Willmott fought for access to the computer and finally got approval the day before the re-sentencing was to begin. Nurmi says that a forensic computer analyst found that thousands of files are missing and the deletions occurred during the 3 hour period around Schaffer’s access.  According to the defense, the missing files could have strengthened their contention that Alexander was a sexually disturbed man.  The prosecution has portrayed Alexander as a devout virgin who was corrupted by Arias.

The sentencing was abruptly halted this last week for an unspecified “emergency situation”.

Psychologist Micia Fonseca recently testified that Travis Alexander had a “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” personality.  Arias’ attorneys are attempting to show the jury that Arias was emotionally abused by Alexander mitigating her killing him.  She testified that Alexander lived a double life he had trouble dealing with.  Sometimes he was a model member of the Mormon church, but other times he was sexually manic.

Arias faces the possibility of the death penalty.

In other news, prosecutor Juan Martinez, who denies that any evidence was deleted and says that if it was it was the defense, has filed a motion requesting that Arias’ attorneys be sanctioned. The motion claims that a defense witness damaged a key piece of evidence in the case, a laptop.  The defense witness is expected to testify that he found that thousands of explicit images were deleted from the laptop while it was in police custody.  However, the prosecution’s motion states that the witness shouldn’t be able to testify because the state’s expert could not re-examine it.

Arias was convicted of 1st degree murder after a sensationalized trial early last year.  The jury deadlocked on an appropriate sentence resulting in the re-sentencing.

The proceedings will resume next week.


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