Prosecutor Juan Martinez discussed a particular diagnostic criteria of post-traumatic stress disorder at great length: Criterion C: Avoidant/numbing (1): Efforts to avoid thoughts, feelings, or conversations associated with the trauma.
As part of this discussion, he asked Dr. Samuels about all of the various times Jodi seemed to be engaging in “thoughts, feelings, or conversations regarding the trauma” (i.e. killing). Dr. Samuels explained away these behaviors as being her attempt to psychologically distance herself from what she had done. This avoidance, he explained, was a psychological defense mechanism. In a future blog post, I will explain why his defense mechanism explanation isn’t credible or logical.
In the meantime, below is a list of the counterarguments presented in court by the prosecutor to show that she was very much engaged in “thoughts, feelings, or conversations regarding the trauma.” You be the judge as to whether or not her actions meet that criteria.
1. Calling Travis and leaving him a voicemail after killing him
2. Sending an email to Travis after killing him
3. Sending Travis text messages after killing him
4. Voluntarily participating in nationally televised interviews about the killing
5. Sending Travis’s grandmother flowers
6. Sending Travis’s family an 18-page letter
7. Attending Travis’s memorial service (in which she had to travel a great distance to attend)
8. Writing in her journals about Travis
9. Revisiting the crime scene, after the memorial service with a friend named Erin Mortensen
10. Not mentioned in court was the fact that she also left him a message on Legacy.com (obituary website) that said: “Travis, what can I say to you that I haven’t already said? I am so grateful for the endless hours of conversation and amazing experiences we’ve shared. Thank you for having the courage to share the Gospel with me. You’ve had one of the greatest impacts on my life, and have forever altered it’s course for the better. I love you, my friend, and always will.”
Do these actions appear to you as someone who is engaging in avoidance behavior?
It’s also important to note that despite Dr. Samuels’ claims about the aforementioned actions being defense mechanisms, Jodi admitted in her testimony that many of these actions she engaged in were done with the express purpose of avoiding being seen as the perpetrator of the crime. She was attempting to throw the police “off her scent.”