Jodi Arias Trial: Did The Defense Score Big On The Reflection In The Eye Picture?

By | April 16, 2013

Without the jury present, the defense brought in an expert witness who had blown up and enhanced a reflection in the center of Travis’s eye. The expert testified that he had performed a number of procedures to enhance this reflection. His conclusion? He said that he could clearly see Jodi Arias holding the camera and holding no weapon.Juan Martinez, viewed the enhanced photo and said he could not say that. Instead he said he saw the face of a dog. He even pointed out the ears, the nose and the mouth.

The enhanced photo is presented to you, for your examination, on the page you are presently reading. Look at it closely. All that is apparent to the naked eye, are a few light colors surrounded by dark colors. It most certainly does not look like a woman holding a camera. If you can see a woman holding a camera, then I bet you do just great when you’re lying on your back staring at the blue sky with white fluffy clouds. I’m sure you are quite entertained when you look at those clouds and see Bart Simpson riding on the back of a Buffalo. If you have a good imagination, you can see many images in the random formation of water vapor in the sky. Maybe even Jodi Arias holding a camera.lines

What’s most interesting to me, is the reaction of the multiple media “experts.” From talk show expert, to defense attorneys (who apparently lack a sufficient client base to keep them busy during the day) to multiple PhD’s, all of whom expressed wonderment when  Juan Martinez agreed to stipulate that the amorphous colors in the enhanced photo, showed that Jodi Arias did not have a weapon in her hand when the photo was taken.

They also thought that this was a major victory for the defense. They wondered what had gone wrong in the mind of Juan Martinez that he had agreed to this stipulation.

So two questions arise. Is it a victory for Jodi Arias and her defense team and why did Juan Martinez not fight to have this image banned from the jury?

The simplest answer to the first question, is that it is absolutely no victory for Jodi Arias and her defense team. And the simplest answer to the second question, is that Juan Martinez did not fight to ban the image from the jury because it was totally irrelevant to him.

We’ve all seen Travis’s expensive Sony camera. It was a larger digital camera, not a small pocket camera. It would take two hands to use the camera and take a picture. Even with your cell phone, it takes two hands to take a picture. Perhaps, someone- somewhere could do it with one hand but I have never seen anyone take a picture with one hand. I think it’s quite safe to assume that Jodi Arias used two hands, as she held the camera to her eye and composed the picture of Travis. So two hands, on one camera, equals no weapon in either hand.

I have further proof that Jodi Arias did not have a gun or knife in her hand when she took that picture of Travis. My proof? We have a witness and that witness is Travis Alexander. The expert witness said that Ms. Arias was standing directly in front of Travis and that’s why her image is contained within the reflection in his eye. The camera angle which is apparent from the photo of Travis, shows him staring directly into the camera.

You can and should look at that photo of Travis. Look at his expression, the soft look on his face. He’s showing no fear, no terror, no surprise. He would be showing all of these things if Jodi Arias was pointing a gun or a large knife at him. He is the best witness to the fact that at that moment she was not pointing a gun or a knife at him. The picture of Travis is all the evidence you need to conclude that when that picture was taken Jodi Arias did not have a weapon in her hand. However, if she had a knife or a gun tucked into the waistband in the back of her pants, after taking the picture she could have dropped the camera and shot or stabbed Travis within one half of one second. For you naysayers, certainly you would agree that it could be done within one second.

Travis

I can’t speak for Juan Martinez and I hope he will not be offended if I attempt to do so this one time. I don’t think Juan ever thought that Jodi was holding a weapon when that picture was taken. I think that he has always believed that she picked up a weapon and murdered Travis, shortly after that picture was taken.

Juan Martinez is a skilled prosecutor. If the amorphous, color blob, enhanced image was of any significance to the prosecutor’s case, you can be absolutely assured that Mr. Martinez would have, and could have, had it barred from the eyes of the jury.

He simply stepped over a non-issue.

13 thoughts on “Jodi Arias Trial: Did The Defense Score Big On The Reflection In The Eye Picture?

  1. Lisa K

    I found this eye reflection “evidence” to be laughable. I absolutely agree that JM had no worries about this “evidence” because it is “evidence” of nothing.

    This jury has paid very close attention to the witnesses in this case. I follow a few twitter feeds of those who are in the courtroom everyday. They often remark about the jury’s attention and note-taking or lack of note-taking.

    What did the jury get from this? The Judge simply told the jury that both sides agree that JA was not holding a weapon when she clicked this last picture. I guess the defense thinks this will lead jurors to consider that JA really was attacked. This new assertion does no such thing. I doubt that most folks assumed JA was holding the camera and a weapon at the same time. Thus, this agreement means nothing.

    The defense didn’t even get their “photoshop” expert to testify before the jury.

    So, the only “score” from the defense is that JM agrees that JA wasn’t holding 2 items at the same time when the photo was clicked. Yawn.

    What will the jurors remember about Monday? They will remember that they had to trekked into court at 1:30 only to be in the jury box for 5 mins total. The only thing that they learned on Monday is that the defense and prosecutor agree that JA wasn’t holding a weapon while snapping that last pic. They were given no info as to why this agreement was made. And they were at the courthouse for hours to hear 4 sentences about this.

    The jury will remember that they waited for nothing. They will remember how frustrated they were by that. They won’t remember an agreement that was made but not supported or even explained.

    The defense is feeling quite desperate.

  2. Don Osborne

    Dr K., I believe your analysis throughout this article is absolutely spot-on in every respect.
    Actually, I can’t recall the defence scoring big – or indeed scoring at all – during this trial. Their ‘expert’ witnesses were a disaster, and then they produce this nonsense.As you suggest, you could put any number of interpretations as to what can be seen in this ‘reflection’. So yes – it’s totally irrelevant.
    Thank you for your interpretation of the expression on Travis’ face as I was beginning to think my eyes were failing me, having noted these media ‘experts’ describe it as one of fear or even terror. There is no sign of fear here or even apprehension. To me it is a look that suggests he is not too pleased at what he is looking at – puzzlement more than anything. An expression of ‘what the hell are you up to?’ – certainly not fear as to what is about to happen.
    I agree – a photo shot, then drop the camera and produce a weapon. Why would anyone be holding a weapon while taking a photo? The astute Martinez would recognise these factors immediately and I doubt they would be lost on this jury.
    This defence team is attempting to defend the indefensible – a task they should never have taken on.

    1. Carol

      What astonishes me is that this so-called expert thinks that his drawing creates a picture of someone holding a camera. Whether she is holding anything else is irrelevant, as has been stated here before. The astonishing part to me is that he thinks that anyone, anywhere, would hold a camera with their elbows (both elbows) above the level of their shoulders. Awkward and irrational. Then, where did he get that there were legs in that totally black part? How, if the camera is just a couple of feet from the person being photographed would you see a head-to-foot reflection? Maybe face and upper body, but legs for God’s sake?? All right, maybe he can see things in his lab – he should have done a screen shot or photographed the image with a really good camera. He had nothing. From juror questions there are at least several people with adequate intelligence to spot these irrational inconsistencies in his theory and convince the others. Wonder how much they paid him, of Maricopa County taxpayer money, to come up with this smoke and mirror idiocy? Agree with you wholeheartedly but have not seen anyone question these additional points. JMHO

  3. McKealty

    I was pretty offended on behalf of the jury as well.

    Also, any news on what happened to ALV either Monday or Tuesday? Remember how she was told to be there?

    I’m sure we would have heard something if it was along the lines of her testimony being impeached (something I never thought would happen anyway), but I’m curious about her actions as well as why she was called back after she had finished testifying, which is very strange.

    1. Maria Cristina Santana

      There’s a lot of confusion in the public about what constitutes impeachment and whether Alyce Laviolette would get impeached.

      Laviolette was already impeached during the cross examination.

      Impeachment of public officials is a formal process accusing someone of unlawful conduct. This is not the meaning of impeachment when it comes to witnesses in a court proceeding. Impeachment of a witness only means showing through cross examination that prior answers were untruthful, inconsistent, unreliable, not credible, etc.

      That’s what Juan Martinez accomplished during all those days of heated cross examination. The fact we’re reacting to her bias and lack of credibility en mass proves he impeached her effectively. :)

  4. Nella Lee, Ph.D.

    The doctored up photo was not admitted as evidence, so the jury will not see it. For good reason. A stipulation that she didn’t have a weapon in her hand is simple logic. No-one ever suggested otherwise, certainly not Martinez.

    This is just another time wasting tactic by the defense. The really pertinent question is how much of the 1.4 million have Nurmi & Wilmott received? Because their antics have certainly added weeks to this trial.

  5. Maria C. Santana

    I disagree that it’s a non-issue. As an attorney, I know there are no non-issues.

    The question Juan had to ask himself is whether stipulating to a fact about the murder weapon is to the advantage of the prosecution.

    The prosecution is seeking the death penalty. If Jodi does not have a gun or knife in her hand, it supports that she ambushed Travis when he did not expect it. Ambush, otherwise known in the law as “lying in wait,” is particularly depraved and qualifies for the death penalty. If the jury should believe she was already holding a weapon and lost control because he lunged at her, she would be culpable but the crime losses an element that most strongly supports the death penalty.

    This stipulation supports a theory that Jodi ambushed him with a knife from out of the blue when he was sitting down defenseless in the shower.

    The defense has put all their eggs in the self defense basket. If Jodi is not believed, this stipulated fact of no weapon during the photograph will backfire for them.

    Personally, I believe this stipulated fact is a fiction because I believe Jodi held Travis hostage for hours using the gun to subdue him so she could ambush him with the knife when she made him sit down in the shower. But that is a theory for another day. Prosecutor Juan Martinez knows Jodi Arias ambushed Travis and he doesn’t care how he gets that fact entered into evidence.

    1. Taffy Adler

      Maria: I totally agree with you, 100%. ” I believe Jodi held Travis hostage for hours using the gun to subdue him so she could ambush him with the knife when she made him sit down in the shower.” Travis does not look comfortable or at ease to me in any of these pictures. She was definitely ““lying in wait” to ambush him and I can’t wait to hear Mr. Martinez’ closing statements on how he believes it went down.

  6. Maria Cristina Santana

    Thanks, Taffy. In support of our theory, the prosecution charged Jodi with both “premeditated murder” and “felony murder.” Felony murder is a homicide that occurs during the commission of another felony including kidnapping, sexual assault, or burglary. This means the prosecution has evidence that she murdered him in the commission of one or all of those other crimes.

    But Prosecutor Juan Martinez is such a smart prosecutor that he has not pursued those elements at trial. My hunch is that he knows human nature and how people perceive the same evidence so differently. He knows Jodi staged the scene so well that some members of the jury will not be convinced Travis did not let her in and did not consent to sex or those staged photos. So he seems to have made a strategic decision to not challenge Jodi’s version of events from the time she arrived at his house until the photo in the shower. He’s focused instead on just the premeditation to keep it simple for the jury and reduce the number of dots the jury will have to connect. He’s shortened the path to conviction and the death penalty.

  7. Gene

    Two things. Yes it doensn’t amount to much in the way of contributing evidence. The defense has tried to muddy the real evidence waters from the start. This being very muddy evidence. If, by the slightest chance, one juror thinks it’s relevent and they “see” something the defense points out, it would benefit the defense if the prosecution has to debunk it. It’s not as obvious as other more important facts in the case. Why take the chance. This was only a win for the prosecution to let it go.
    Second. I am interested in this as I’m professionally employed in dealing with images and resolutions etc. I understoon what the witness was saying. There could be enough of a pixel value difference to make out edges and forms from an enhanced photo, from the original. These ilmages shown on the internet and across video streams would not have sufficient color space, or resolution to show what the technician was able to see on his high res monitor. That being said, you still would not have enough “pixels” to establish much detail and would leave itself to subjective interpretation. As an example, in the article close up image, do not look for details or focus your vision directly on the picture at your monitor focus. loosely gaze at what would be Arias face area, just to the right of the small flash above the big flash. You can make out the color hue of flesh tone there and begin to barely see a fuzzy face there. Without seeing the technicians hi-res image display, we can’t make out more than that. His photoshopped outline tool, which we see in the picture leaves me with a couple of questions of image interpretation. Another commentor, mentioned the arm angles. I agree. They bother me. I am also an artist and photographer and they don’t conform with holding a camera with 2 hands correctly. In the image, I’ve heard everyone say the camera appears to be held by Arias’s right hand. Remember, this is a reflection, like a mirror, so the connected arm is her left, not her right. (look in a mirror and hold your left hand up) The elbow does appear upwards, which to me, would maybe more logical if you were holding the camera with only one hand. The other hand does not appear connected. But the depth of field or z axix if you will, really can’t be determined in this type image. There is a slight highlight area towards the end. Without a better image to pull from, it could be a weapon??? You can’t really argue it though, nor do you need to. It is just for interest’s sake.

  8. Chris

    I couldn’t disagree with you more about the look on Travis’ face. I see bewilderment/puzzlement or fear. I think he wasn’t aware she was there and this was his first look to see she’s in his bathroom taking pictures of him. I believe all of her statements hold some form of truth so she can keep her stories straight. In her interview with the detective she stated “Travis would never allow me to take photos of him in the shower.” I also agree with an above commentator that said the arm shown on the right in the picture looks like it is straight out, not on the side or bent to be at the eye for a camera. It could have held a gun or knife.

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