She slaughtered her ex-boyfriend and saved a network. The jury of twelve who convicted Jodi Arias of first degree murder deadlocked over whether to sentence her to death. Now, the four-month long televised soap opera is set to start again with a new panel of jurors whose sole responsibility is to decide Arias' fate.
The once vaguely attractive blonde who transformed into a plain, bookish brunette during the sensational trial seemed to have much of the nation under her spell. During the testimony we learned how she used her sexuality and sex itself to lure and trap her ultimate victim, Travis Alexander. His family and friends endured the torture of hearing the character of this man they loved verbally attacked, much as she physically attacked him so viciously with a knife and then a gun, claiming his life.
HLN became reinvigorated, attracting record-setting ratings for Arias, Inc. The network tapped into this newfound rabid and loyal following, eager to tune in to virtual round-the-clock coverage and dissection of every aspect of the case. HLN's own recent press release stated "HLN #1 Among Ad-Supported Cable as Arias Pleads for Her Life" (It drew 2,540,000 total viewers according to the network) Despite the sobering viciousness of the crime, the trial became de facto reality programming under the guise of 24-hour news. I myself have participated in some of that coverage as a reporter, legal analyst and anchor. I have extensively reported on sensational celebrity trials over the past two decades including Michael Jackson's molestation trial, O.J. Simpson's criminal and civil trials, the Robert Blake and Phil Spector murder trials and O.J.'s burglary and kidnapping trial following the failed heist of his own memorabilia in Las Vegas.
While those cases had their share of lurid details, none seemed to appeal to our prurient interests like the sexually charged behavior of Jodi Arias. She has been called a psychopathic stalker and a master manipulator. She had trial watchers riveted during her 18 days on the stand, testifying in her own defense. Incredibly, that was topped by her bizarre and outrageous local television interview immediately following her conviction for first degree murder. She clearly revels in all the attention. Maybe it's time to begin her punishment by extinguishing that spotlight.
Rather than putting Travis Alexander's loved ones through the pain of more weeks, if not months, of a new trial just to determine Jodi's sentence, perhaps it's more respectful to Travis' memory to take the death penalty off the table. The prosecutor could cut a deal for life without parole and then this made-for-TV courtroom saga could end. Spare us the ordeal of another protracted soap opera and punish Jodi best by removing the thing she obviously covets most -- attention. Let's stop this madness. Take away the cameras and microphones and put her away for good. Jodi Arias may still long for her close-up, but this mistrial is a wake-up call to silence her voice. Enough is enough. Just say "No" to Miss Trial.
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