By now you have heard that the second jury in State v. Arias is much like the first — hung.
This resulted in a mistrial, a non-verdict, and transferred the responsibility of deciding Arias’ fate to Judge Sherry Stephens. Earlier today I was in the courtroom when the non-verdict was read by the Judge.
The first trial was televised so most were able to see the courtroom and hear what was happening. This go around there wasn’t as much exposure so I wanted to share the feeling, the atmosphere and my thoughts as I sat there in the courtroom.
Below are my thoughts and feelings on what it was like in the courtroom at the time it was all happening.
I am sitting in the courtroom waiting for the verdict to be read in #JodiArias. No one seems to know whether they really reached a verdict or they are hung. People are discussing the word “verdict” used by the court information officer in its tweet and trying to determine whether using that word means there is really a verdict or not. I am explaining that there is no other word that can be used that wouldn’t give it away. If they had tweeted out “non-verdict” we would have known it was a mistrial/hung jury.
— Monica Lindstrom (@monicalindstrom) March 5, 2015
So, in other words, nothing should be read into court PIO’s use of the word “verdict.”
I have a seat in the third row behind the family and supporters of Travis Alexander. I am approximately 12 feet from the door that the jury will walk out of on the way to the jury box. The courtroom is full with the first two rows closest to the jury box full of Alexander’s family and friends. Each row has eight seats and additional chairs were brought in and placed on the ends of those rows to accommodate Alexander’s family. The remaining three rows behind the Alexander family and supporters is reserved for media and these rows are full. The usual media personalities are here, many of whom have been following this trial from the first go-around back in January 2013.
The other side of the courtroom is a different story. The first row behind Arias is full, but not the second row. In fact, only one seat in the second row is being occupied by an Arias supporter. I think it is Donovan Bering. The last three rows behind Arias are filled with members of the public.
Now that I am settled and have taken a good look around, I let my frustration go about the timing of the announcement this morning. I think word came out about the verdict and the reading around 8:44 a.m. The verdict was to be read at 9:30 a.m. What happened to the hour notice?
You really cannot count on anything this court says, which is frustrating. I had just finished dropping one son off at school and was in the parking lot of my other son’s school when I received word. Thank goodness for my fellow Arias trial followers and KTAR’s web guru Tyler for letting me know!
Once I found out, I ran (in my 3.5 inch heels, mind you) into his classroom, dropped him off and ran back to my car. I made it to the courtroom in record time (I won’t tell you which, if any, traffic laws I broke on my way). However, as is par for the course in this trial, I hurried only to wait.
So here I am waiting, along with everyone else, while Judge Stephens finishes her morning calendar. She tried to convince the attorneys to move the reading to Thursday afternoon, but they needed to finish the matter now. We waited for alternate jurors to arrive.
Two jurors from the first trial are sitting in the second row, right in front of me, behind the Alexander family along with one of Dr. Drew’s former jurors from the first trial. One of the former jurors looks very nervous and distraught; I can only imagine what she must be feeling since she invested months of her life in this trial. Sky and Chris Hughes are also here. They were not here for the retrial, which could be because they were listed as potential witnesses, but were present during the deliberations. I am sure they are nervous like the rest of the family and friends but they appear to be holding it together much better than the others.
The media is typing and tweeting away. The judge looks calm and normal as she accepts a change of plea on a routine case. Juan Martinez is calm and even gave me a smile as I passed him to sit down. The defense attorneys, Kirk Nurmi and Jennifer Willmott, look calm as well. Willmott has a beautiful colored jacket on (yes, I am a girl, so I comment on things like this).