Arias Jurors No. 6 and No. 17 Answer Questions

This video features two of the Jodi Arias jurors speaking about their experiences. Both Diane Swartz (juror No. 6) and Tara Kelley (juror No. 17) an alternate, discuss the case. Diane Swartz seems like a highly intelligent woman.

Highlights from the video include the fact that at least in the case of Diane, she didn’t buy Alyce LaViolette’s testimony. She saw her more as an advocate than an expert witness. Smart woman. In her opinion, Alyce was not qualified to be an expert witness. Guess she did not buy Alyce’s motto: “if you’re a’breathin, you’re a’busin.”

Diane also said that some of the death penalty hold outs couldn’t impose the ultimate punishment on Jodi because of mitigating factors. They thought that Jodi had experienced mental and verbal abuse, based on text messages from Travis. You can guarantee that Jodi’s lawyers love hearing this.

Tara Kelley was one of the jurors who asked great questions such as: “Jodi, after all the lies, why should we believe you now?” 

She also discusses the fact that Jodi stared her down on a number of occasions. Apparently she wasn’t the only juror who was stared down by Jodi. Clear evidence that Jodi was attempting to manipulate the jury. 

Tara Kelley has said on a number of occasions that she has a theory about how and why Jodi committed the murder. Hopefully she will reveal that theory soon. What are your thoughts about these two jurors? 

27 thoughts on “Arias Jurors No. 6 and No. 17 Answer Questions

  1. I love how intelligent the four female jurors I’ve heard from were. (The ER nurse, Marilou Allen-Coogan, not included here, and Juror 10, Carol Gosselink, an alternate, on After Dark last night, who were also amazing.)

    Dr K, I’m curious though if you will expand some day on what it means that Jodi stared at the jurors. I know Tara and Carol both said they noticed her staring and finally decided to stare right back at her. People assume she was trying to intimidate them. But I find that unlikely. I think she’s like a predator that studies the prey for their weakness or for what she can extract from observing them. She doesn’t look at people for the same reasons most of us do because she sees them as objects.

    Many of Travis’ friends have said they were creeped out by the look in her eyes when they met her too. It’s like she doesn’t understand that mammals sense threat at being stared at, and continues to study an individual oblivious of the emotional reaction she elicits. Its so reptilian.

    • Let me just say I really look forward to your comments, Maria. I love when someone is capable of finding the real cracks in the bark when everybody else is just looking at the rest of the tree. You must be an awesome attorney.

      I’m sure Jodi was reading them for “a way in,” and she probably did intimidate some of them as an added bonus besides. While she failed in the conviction phase to have her way, she did manage to hit pay-dirt in the penalty phase. I am sure she is using the information from the current juror interviews well – in preparation for her next performance. I think Whatever Works is Jodi’s motto.

      Imagine looking up and finding those dead eyes locked on and studying you. Creepy.

      I agree about the four jurors. If anyone here hasn’t seen the interviews with the other two jurors, Marilou and Carol, please do. They were both very impressive. The common theme among all four: Jodi was manipulative/playing the jury. Something the foreman didn’t seem to notice. He was one of Jodi’s scores.

    • Tara mentioned that Jodi would stare at jurors and then when they stared back at her, she would immediately write something.

      I think JA was looking for jurors to kick off. If enough jurors were “tainted”, a mistrial would have to occur. Of course, no Judge would dismiss 7 jurors without evidence of misconduct.

      • I think that was part of what she was doing too. I bet she could track which ones asked which questions by studying when they gave the notes to the bailiff since the questions were supposedly read in the order received.

  2. I only caught the two jurors on Dr. Drew last night but found them both to be extremely intelligent and very eloquent. I would want either of them as jurors on my case if I were ever accused of something. Diane was so rational and seemed like a deep thinker.

  3. They made intelligent arguments for why they voted the way they did. The jury foreman did not. His reasoning seemed to be frivolous comparing the mitigating factors to the aggravators. He claimed he was putting aside any emotion but he kept repeating that she was “human”, “young”, a “girl”. It looked to me like the way he voted was mostly emotional.
    The decision was difficult for the two female jurors you mentioned, that is obvious. But they understood the entire picture and made a call on that and not a small section of evidence that was blatantly incomplete.

  4. These jurors are great for the prosecution. The concern I have with the jurors speaking out now, they are also helping the defense. I’m sure after seeeing the foreman, we’ll hear about Travis’ “abuse” a lot more than we did before the hung jury. The new jury won’t have the benefit of hearing the whole trial.

    • Also, Jodi’s parents doing a very odd time to do a tourist bit of the Grand Canyon. I wonder if the defense told them to go as they could use this in the new mini-trial as Jodi’s parents, family, friends, NOT caring about her. “No support.” “Neglect.” “Abandonment.” For Juan Martinez did say she cannot use her parents as “abusive” as they have been in the court room every day for 5 months. And so, I wonder why her parents did not visit the Grand Canyon during those long 5 months.

  5. I think had Ms Swartz been foreman or really any of the jurors that were for the DP things may have been different. I think Mr Zervakos just wanted to be done with it. He was not going to listen to anyone else. According to Jeff Gold he couldn’t even use the correct paper. Instead of question form he used the verdict form. 13 hrs to me was not a long enough deliberation and that is why everyone thought a question was going to be asked and were surprised when it ended up a verdict. It is said the foreman did nothing wrong but I do question his using the verdict form rather than the question form and by his own statements being confused about the judge giving life sentence. He should have asked more questions however as I said he wanted to be done with it. I appreciate the women jurors/alternates that have come forward.

  6. I really am impressed with the high degree of intellectual content and comprehension of all who comment on this site, especially Maria and Uppity. Thank you for giving me food for thought and I am equally impressed with both female jurors and their ability to not be fooled by stare down artist, Jodi.

    How creepy! I think if I had been on the jury and she had stared at me, I would have cracked up and given her a raspberry, but then, she would have marked down my number, and had me thrown off the jury as I am positive she had the capability to do, after all, she did run the defense show.

    What is truly frightening is the control that this evil and mentally – ill being had over the jury foreman and 3 other jurists. This is the power that manipulation holds over certain naive individuals that they deem a person as unstable as Jodi as “a perfectly normal girl until……”

    You can look in her vacant eyes and see the evil depth of her insanity!

    I am disappointed that the other jurors, like Diane or Marylou, did not give the foreman a little challenge to his belief “system” or his reason for voting as he did. But, I am sure from day one he was impressed with Jodi’s “innocent” stare and could not be swayed from his opinion.

    Since we first heard from the jury foreman: all is quiet, except for him sending his son in to protect him. I would like to know his opinion of Jodi after he gains more knowledge of the truth after seeing her parent’s police interview and the dynamics of why Travis reacted via e-mail as he did, once he comprehends the precursor of Jodi’s stalking and property destruction, etc.

    I am very sorry that he was frightened by the response of some who went ballistic on his opinion BUT his viewpoint did not show much thought only an emotional and chauvinistic reaction. He was more than likely in belief of Alyce Violetta’s “white lies” of Jodi being abused because as a therapist, she too shared similar bias and the neurotic conflict of chauvinism.

    • Further down the page, I posted a link to the entire interview.

      Diane (Tara was not in deliberations) said that everything you say about the Foreman is wrong.

      Why has the Foreman stopped talking? Perhaps it is because he is getting hate mail at his home address.

      Your comment makes it sound like it’s no big deal that he is being harassed to an extreme degree. There but for the grace of dog go we.

  7. One thing that’s been bugging me and which I think would have prevented this outcome: the prosecution didn’t do a good enough job of laying to rest the whole domestic violence angle and it would have been pretty simple to do so. Chris and Skye Hughes were on that podcast laying out the story in timeline fashion and that was the first time I heard anyone say this: If you look at all the emails, texts, etc, between Travis and Jodi, the ONLY time there was name-calling and “verbal abuse”, was after whatever happened in May, a month before the killing. I’d been watching the trial the whole time before that and my perception of the situation was that there were ongoing events of this nature, that it was, in other words, a general characteristic of the relationship. Where did I get that idea? Well, the discussions of emails and the related questions went over and over those parts using exhibit numbers without really stressing the timeline, so it was easy to lose track of the fact that those “bad” emails only happened at a certain point, in response to something Travis called the worst thing anyone’s ever done to me. No one would consider a person abused who is called names for the first time during a break-up fight, during a “I never want to see you again” fight. There was no evidence of anything like that ongoing and yet the defense successfully made that issue open to doubt. Not enough to avoid the conviction, but enough for mitigation. It’s a shame.

    • That is an amazing observation, and I concur completely. I’m curious to see if this becomes a point raised in the prosecution’s arguments during the next penalty phase.

    • I wonder if Jodi tried to use the sex audio tape against him, maybe she threatened to go to the Bishop with it if he did not take her on the trip ?, she said she had Travis’s permission to record it, i very much doubt it.

      he was really angry with her in his text’s only a week or so before he was murdered.

    • He was not really ALLOWED to.

      A lot of the evidence that Martinez could have used to show the stalking, the obsessive behavior and the full context of the Hughes’ email correspondence, was simply not allowed in the trial.

      His witnesses slipped in a few mentions of the stalking, and once or twice he tried to approach the issue tangentially through his witnesses by alluding the number of correspondences and how few of them were nasty, and that they only occured under special situations.

      But he was not allowed to bring in the bulk of it to demonstrate this.

    • LaViolette repeatedly implied that Travis routinely talked to her in an insulting way, when it was a few isolated incidents where he had just had all he could take from her and was desperate to repel her in the only way he had left. She just didn’t quit. I am disappointed that the prosecution didn’t focus more time on exposing the timing & circumstances of the final messages. I think the defense absolutely struck a winning blow with this angle by misleading & confusing the jury about Travis’ character. Hopefully they will build on this during retrial.

  8. I would encourage everyone to watch the entire interview with both jurors.

    IMO, based on Diane’s comments, it sounds like people’s anger about Zervakos is misplaced. At 10:45 of my link, Diane discusses the mitigators that jurors considered relevant. At 23:35, Diane discussed the role of the Foreman and whether or not Zervakos tried to push other jurors.

    23:35: Twitter question: “Did the Foreman influence others and sway them to life??

    Diane’s response:

    “Absolutely not. The Foreman’s duty is to, um, submit questions to the Judge, sign the verdict form and make sure that we don’t kill each other in the jury room. Um, that, that was never an issue; we never had any disagreements or any point where it was contentious, or that someone quit talking or wouldn’t participate. Um, the attitudes towards life were strictly individual choices. There was absolutely no swaying.

    I have to say, um, that as deliberations occurred and what, what was discussed, that there was a lot to say; this is what I, myself, look at; these are how I weight the mitigating factors. Can you give me anything else that I’m missing, that, that could change my mind, and that just couldn’t be done. So there was a lot of discussion that way. But, but the Foreman did not, um, have any leverage or pushing us whatsoever with that group.

    Diane emphasized the words “did not” in that final sentence. That part in bold is my emphasis. The part in italics is Diane talking in general about how the jurors would talk about their perceptions in effort to be thorough. I recommend that folks listen to how she says what she says to fully understand what she is saying.

    Interestingly, Diane said that she doesn’t think that the jury could have never reached consensus.

    So there you go; Mr Evil Foreman was just not that, uh, evil.

    • I don’t think people’s anger is misplaced. The anger is not so much that he may have manipulated the other jury members, but that he based his vote on JA’s alleged abuse. If you weigh that as a mitigating factor, it does not stand up to the overwhelming aggravators.
      Unless I missed it, there was never any discussion about what precipitated these emails and texts that were *abusive*. He went into a long rant about her behavior but nothing was said about what that behavior was. The information available is definitely incomplete and obviously edited by JA.
      Many *ifs* should have been raised about the phone sex tape and how that came about. She may have initiated it and suggested the role play and started taping once he got into it. The big question for me is *why* she taped it and if he knew. If he didn’t, that is a crime.

    • I think the anger at Zervakos is misplaced too. At least in so far as how its expanded to impugn his motives and gone beyond just disagreeing with his conclusion. I’ve posted the jury instructions on another site. They are much more complex than simply weighing mitigating factors presented by Jodi against the aggravating factors of the crime. In fact, they say not to weigh the mitigating factors against the crime.

      Juror Marilou Allen-Coogan gave an interview with a Phoenix news station the day after Zervalos, and she explained how the instructions told them to use any thing in their experience in assessing mitigation. The instructions in the mitigation phase use words like “sympathy” though it also says not to use “mere sympathy,” and “mercy,” which are subjective terms, not restricted to factual determinations.

      Heck, I’ll just post the link here too.

  9. My thoughts on these two jurors are that they stand in marked contrast to their foreman – thoughtful, intelligent, insightful and ready to make a strong and well reasoned decision. I particularly liked Diane’s comment that ‘you should be held accountable for your actions’ and it was very obvious that she was fully prepared to see that Arias did just that.
    Tara was also impressive and would have been far better placed on the jury than Zerkavos. Did he really say that it was ‘his’ jury? If so he is even more foolish than I originally thought and should never have been on that jury.
    It was obvious that neither of these jurors bought the testimony of La Violette. On what evidence did Zerkavos conclude that Arias had been mentally, and more particularly, physically abused?
    It would be interesting to know if there were any ‘waverers’ on guilty of first degree murder. It’s difficult to envisage the foreman as rock solid – and they only needed one.

    • A unanimous conviction of murder-1 doesn’t exactly file in the “not held accountable” folder. I’m really shocked at how many people have completely lost sight of that. (In fact, that’s the textbook definition of “not getting away with murder”.)

      Juries can be strange, organic beasts. A few years ago I was the jury foreman for a trial on seven felony counts. After a month of witness testimony, deliberation, etc., the jury was hung on all seven counts. I was devastated. I primarily saw my role as trying to help facilitate a judgment outcome in either direction — just to make some sort of progress for all the effort put into the trial. Clearly with the jury we had, it was never going to happen. The big block? A few jurors identified with their own abusive relationships in the past and thus seemed sympathetic to the defendant’s defense.

      I won’t go into the details of that trial, but it taught me that:
      1) jury foremen (or women) can’t “make” anyone do what they don’t already want to do (contrary to some opinions about the JA case). The best they can hope to do, besides their own voting and debate as any other juror, is to help facilitate and mediate and ensure the overall jury is following correct instructions. So no matter what you think of Zerkavos doesn’t really matter all that much on the decision outcome.
      2) any two people can interpret the existence and extent of abuse very differently from each other. And part of this comes down to individual personal experience with abuse — or not. Yes, that’s flawed. But in a way, the fact that I feel fortunate to not have experienced much abuse in my life should not make me more or less jury-worthy than someone who suffered (and recovered enough to be emotionally competent for jury selection) from a lifetime of abuse. This is why jury diversity exists in a way. No one perspective or life experience is any more correct than the other.

      At the time, I wanted to strangle the jurors who blockaded things for what I thought was a ridiculously soft application of the ‘abuse excuse’. (Part of being a foreman is also restraint .;) But in time I’ve come to respect their opinions and perspectives more and realize a little more of the role they played.

      Watching this trial, I wish more was considered about the real mental illness behind what happened. Because even if you don’t think Travis’ text messages insulting JA as an “evil, three-holed wonder” merits much on the abuse scale, someone with a ridiculously fragile ego as JA could have easily exaggerated that emotionally to monstrous proportions. Yes, that would not be Travis’ responsibility and it certainly doesn’t clear JA of murder. But is JA capable and responsible enough for her own emotional stability to warrant the death penalty on top of life in prison? I’m pretty sure that’s where the jury got hung.

      • @Greg–Thank you for discussing your jury experience. We can’t fully know what happened within the Arias jury deliberations, of course. But I’d take issue with your statement that a foreperson CAN’T affect an outcome. It sounds like in your case, you did what a foreperson is supposed to do. You understood the role of restraint and you didn’t try to force your opinion on others (even though you understandably wanted to at times!) And that very well may be what happened in the Arias jury too. But I don’t think it is safe to extrapolate to all juries from your experience. IMO, like pretty much everything else in life, it comes down to the personalities involved–personalities of both the other jurors and of the person chosen as foreperson. How a jury functions may also involve WHY a particular person was chosen as foreperson. I’ve served on a few juries (mostly real, but one was a “mock” jury for law school students to practice trial work) and in one case, even though I wasn’t eager to do it, I was chosen as the foreperson simply because I’d taken a lot of notes during the trial! So sometimes jurors may expect the foreperson to “know more” and may look to him/her for guidance. If the personality of the foreperson is a “take charge and lead the group” personality, then there may be influence. And I’m not just talking about “change your vote” pressure/influence but more subtle influences in the mechanics of the deliberations and the length of time that passes before stating “we are hopelessly deadlocked” in the case of disagreement. In another jury I was on, there were 11 women and 1 man. When it came time to choose the foreperson, one female juror said “well, since there is only one man he should be the foreman.” I thought that was an idiotic reason, but I really didn’t care who was chosen and it worked out fine.

        I certainly DO agree with your second point because as the quote says “we see things not as they are—we see things as WE are.”

        • The only thing that doesn’t add up to me is that I’ve yet to find a single person who has seen or experienced Zerkavos’ statements — whether in the jury or in interviews on television — and said, “Wow! There’s a guy who commands a great deal of respect and thus can heavily influence people.”

          People are saying he’s too old, that he doesn’t understand jury instructions, that he seemed clueless about what he could or could not decide upon relative to the judge, that he clearly shows bias in not immediately acknowledging that a diminutive young woman could be a vicious killer. And yet in the same breath these people give Zerkavos credit for influential mind-control command over three others on the jury. The idea is rather preposterous.

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