The second, and final, jury in the Travis Alexander murder is out right now deliberating his killer Jodi Arias’ fate. The first jury hung in deciding her sentence after finding her guilty of first degree premeditated felony murder with the special circumstance of extreme cruelty. I’ve spoken with some of those jurors and it is my personal opinion after some of those conversations, that they had a stealth foreperson who would not have considered a death sentence for her, although passed the gauntlet to become “death qualified”. Whether he came in “death qualified” or not, he didn’t end up that way. Those conversations will remain protected but this is my clear opinion. It is also my opinion that the first foreperson was in contact with a member of the media, who reported his identity during deliberations and who was notoriously biased toward the defense in the Arias trial. Again that is only my opinion based on conversations I’ve had and strange dealings I witnessed first hand from attending nearly every single day of that trial up through the delivery of the hung jury in the sentencing phase.
Here we are again, a year later with this first degree convicted murderer still unsentenced, still being championed for, still carrying out threats to murder her victim again and again in court, still ruling the courtroom through sophisticated sociopathic manipulation.
And We the People are funding it. All of it.
Now on the front end here I will admit that I have ambivalence about this sentence, personally. I will be completely ok for my own reasons with whatever sentence is handed down, hopefully today. This is a relief for me but not one that Travis Alexander’s family has the luxury of experiencing. They are invested in this sentence being the death penalty and if I was in their shoes, having been in their shoes, I would feel exactly the same way right now. This has been a very long arduous road for them and they have endured far more torture after their beloved brother/nephew’s death than anyone I’ve ever seen in a courtroom. And I’ve followed several murder trials very closely.
I attended nearly every day of the Jodi Arias trial in support of the victim’s family.
Jodi Arias deserves the Death Penalty straight up plain and simple. In the State of Arizona, she could receive Life Imprisonment or Death. In our law structure, the Death Penalty is reserved for the worst of the worst crimes. This is an important distinction. If there could possibly be any deterrent for evil in our society, there has to be a looming severe consequence that could cause a person to reflect upon before committing that crime. The problem is of course that those personality disorders such as Arias and the men who murdered my sister don’t often reflect on much of anything. They feel invincible, entitled and without a conscience so they will basically do whatever they think they can get away with. And they typically believe they can get away with anything, including murder. If they get away with it once, they will again so protecting society from this ilk is imperative no matter how you feel about the death penalty.
The men who killed Cindy, my sister, were sentenced to death in 1990. They were young men in their 20’s at the time they killed her in a nearly identical fashion to the way Jodi Arias murdered Travis Alexander. She had a stab wound straight in to her heart severing two ribs and breaking the knife handle as it penetrated her alive body. She was beaten, stabbed multiple times in the back and nearly decapitated; left like trash in the desert on the day before Christmas Eve 1988. Trash that was a very high commodity to her killers who wanted it found so they could start collecting on the $400,000 insurance policies taken out on her life. They manipulated a bank for a $2000 loan, convinced local luxury car dealers, custom home builders, fancy watch sellers that they were anything from international bankers to professional athletes. They plotted an escape plan from jail before trial and a sophisticated plot to have two more women killed in an identical fashion to Cindy while they were incarcerated to make it seem like a serial killer was on the loose. One of them got married while on Death Row.
Read about my sister’s murder here.
Yet 17 years after murdering my sister, an appeal was launched for them claiming they were both mentally retarded at the time of her murder. Yes you read that right. These men who had lengthy rap sheets in Germany from multiple burglaries, assaults, prostitution, violent gang rape and insurance fraud–all before the ages of 26 and 27–were being claimed as poor victims of the system with mental retardation. Well, right after the Supreme Court issued a ruling we can’t execute the mentally retarded that is.
Read about the mental retardation appeal here.
And it worked for one of them. That hearing alone lasted seven years, cost AZ and Federal taxpayers (meaning ALL of you out there reading) over 10 million dollars to pull off. It included digging up elderly witnesses who had not laid eyes on these violent killers for over four decades and flying them and their spouses to Arizona and forcing my father and I to testify again. There was one finder of fact–a Judge Silvia Arellano who was notoriously against the Death penalty personally but a sitting Judge in a Death Penalty appeals process–who favored the murderers at every single turn. In one of her most bizarre and dangerous rulings, she deemed that nothing could be admitted in this sentencing hearing–the hearing which would determine the sentence for the murder of my sister Cindy–that involved their lives after the age of 18. Let me emphasize this. There was no jury in this appeal–just one biased Judge who ruled nearly every argument in the favor of these murderers and who was the only finder of fact. You think we weren’t terrified? We were. For the first time since her killers were arrested, we were abjectly terrified of their release and rightfully so.
Let me spell this out, as they were both in their mid 20’s at the time they slaughtered my sister, any element of the crime could not be entered as evidence for the sentence for their crime. Not one iota of evidence could be considered related to their CRIME. How convenient for a retiring Judge who, in my opinion wanted to let her final swan song include releasing a killer from Death Row to make some kind of political statement. She set it up that way and followed her own rules through the entire hearing. I’ve said many times that the worst treatment my family ever received in the entire process of my sister’s murder aside from her death itself of course, was from Death penalty opponents in the name of life. And we are nothing but grieving 100% innocent family members of a murder victim.
Hence lies my ambivalence about Jodi Arias’ sentence. I know what’s coming for the Alexanders should she receive what she deserves. Arias is truly, in my opinion, the worst of the worst killer I’ve ever seen. I’m comparing her to Scott Peterson who’s trial I attended, Dan Willoughby who was also released from Death Row in my State on a lengthy appeal/new trial( that I attended) after plotting a violent murder of his wife Trish, Michael Peterson who is also out of prison now on appeal after beating his wife Kathleen’s head to smithereens in a staircase, David Westerfield, a child killer who’s trial I followed online closely and of course Cindy’s killers Michael and Rudi Apelt. Jodi Arias is scarier than all of those killers to me. She is more dangerous and more vicious than any of those men from where I stand. She has tortured her victim’s family far after killing him and from where I observe, she enjoys it. Without a doubt, her crime fits the criteria for our worst of the worst penalty in the State of AZ: death. Her crime is what the Death Penalty was designed for.
Yet, once she is sentenced to death, she will be afforded the best of the best legal assistance like all the other death row killers. Lawyers who oppose this sentence will use her as a pawn in their larger game of abolishing the death penalty and will soak up millions of taxpayer dollars fighting for anything for her. Issues will be appealed for decades, the family will receive notices from the State for years documenting her latest strategies, she will receive worldwide attention from bleeding hearts who believe her to be the victim in all of this and Travis’ name will almost never be brought up in any of it. She will be far more a burden on society financially and she will scheme and manipulate it to every inch of her life–which will be spared as she maneuvers there–having I believe a 1% chance of being executed, ever.
Do-gooders in her name will harass her victim’s grieving loved ones as happened to me on a cold December morning just three weeks before the anniversary of Cindy’s death. An investigator for her killers’ appeal showed up, uninvited and unannounced on my doorstep pleading for my help in the mental retardation appeal. I asked her in to my house assuming she was someone representing our side, the side of right and justice, as I know the AZ Victims Bill of Rights details how someone siding with the murderers cannot approach me, legally. Yet this woman knew that too because once I sort of came to and realized what she was there for, soliciting my help to release these murderers from death row, I pointed this out to her. “You are not allowed to approach me legally” to which she replied “yes but I’m working under the Federal law so it doesn’t apply”. She came prepared to justify her unconscienable invasion in to my space should I call the police on her.
I kicked this doe eyed woman out of my living room but not after she was reduced to tears. “I don’t know why I’m crying” she said, tears rolling down her face after I let her know that I was intending to decorate my house for Christmas that day which was why all the boxes were around her. And reminded her that my sister’s bloody body was found in the desert on Christmas Eve. “You are crying because you do have a conscience and you are looking in to the face of a real victim, not these murderers you are championing” after she tried her best to convince me that these sophisticated life long criminals were mentally retarded.
I then told her to vacate my house after walking in to my kitchen leaving her alone in my living room so not allowing her to see my full body shaking and my own tears out of pride. “I’m leaving my card if you want to use it” she said before following my orders to use the same door she came in and I replied “Oh I will be using it–to report you”.
And report her I did. I contacted our prosecutor who immediately put me in touch with a Victims Rights attorney who wrote me right back on that very day, a Sunday. She was seeking a specific case to use to argue to close a loophole these abusive death penalty opponents were slipping through to approach victims and this was it. She educated me on another case where they ambushed a grieving mother of a murdered child in her own home similarly yet upped the ante saying if she didn’t cooperate with them, perhaps this murderer would be freed from prison and “if we can find you, he could find you”. That was all I needed to hear to get on board. Yes, this is the reality of what families face years later from these “do-badders” who champion our worst of the worst. I went to lunch with a friend that December day who said, hours later “you’re still shaking”. And I’m a badass strong woman but I was shaking for hours after this assault to my peaceful space.
My attorney, Keli Luther, and I succeeded in closing up that loophole that these murderer supporters were slipping through to accost victims’ families blindside in their homes so in the State of Arizona what happened to me will never occur to another victim’s family. But really, why do we need to keep fighting for ourselves in the face of those who murdered our loved ones? Really?
Rudi Apelt, the man who wielded the knife that slit my sister’s throat from ear to ear on December 23 1988 for money, the man who served 5 years in Germany for a violent gang rape of a woman who was also left in a remote rural area, luckily alive but beaten as was Cindy, was deemed “mentally retarded” and released from Death Row in 2009. He lives now in General population which is fine with me because we finally got one blessing in our favor–no one is fighting for his release anymore, unlike his brother who still remains on the Row. We still get the letters monthly and they are still appealing the mental retardation decision although it was supposed to be “final”. The State doesn’t get to appeal Rudi’s decision from that biased Judge but Michael gets to keep appealing it. The scales swing far to the side of murderers at this stage and We the People pay for it.
I was so disgusted after years of dealing with this mental retardation ridiculous agenda’d appeal that I wasn’t going to attend the final sentencing. I was convinced Arellano would rule in their favor as she did every single other thing through her choreographed biased agenda and she would generously deem this throat slitting rapist/murderer a Life WITH Parole sentence as aw, bless his little sociopathic heart, there was no Life WITHOUT Parole when he committed this crime so he gets grandfathered in. What this meant was this man had the chance of going from Death Row to parole in 5 years. He had served 20 years of his sentence and it would be a 25 to Life resentence. How special.
Luckily, this now “mentally retarded” violent criminal was also convicted a conspiracy to murder. Yes take a moment to let that sink in. He’s “mentally retarded” yet still, legally deemed able to conspire to commit this heinous murder. As topsy turvy as that is, thank God we had that conviction as well. That meant 2 LwOP sentences but it wasn’t over yet. His supporters decided in consistent fashion to push the envelope and ask those sentences to run concurrent so , still, he could be up for parole from Death Row in 5 years.
It was six simple words that got me back down to the Pinal County Courthouse on that empty desolate drive that day in 2009–“I think you should be there” my attorney encouraged.
I stayed up until 2am the night before writing my Victim Impact Statement for this biased Judge who had truly assaulted my family herself through the legal system for years siding with these murderers. I walked in to that courtroom flanked by my attorney and no one else and saw Rudi Apelt for the first time in two decades. I began uncontrollably shaking all over as I sat there and endured a bizarre apology levied at me by his attorney claiming none of this was personal. Right, like the murder of my sister was somehow not personal to me. It was personal allright and was getting ready to get far more personal to him having to listen to me letting him know what he had, personally, forced my family to endure. I sat there stoned faced staring straight ahead resisting my own natural urges to accept apologies knowing this man was still strategizing, trying to break me down before I went up to that witness stand and kicked his ass all over the courtroom. Which I did and you can read it below.
I was later told by the new AG representing our case at this time that Arellano’s ruling to run his sentences consecutive vs. concurrent was “all you”. That if I hadn’t appeared and checked her on this decision as is what happens most of the time, she would have done what she wanted to do all along: release a Death Row inmate back in to society or at least get him as close to it as she could.
Pardon my French when I say , just how fucking bizarre is that?
Hence, this is where my ambivalence on the Jodi Arias sentencing comes in.
I know what’s coming.
Not only will she have the best of the best legal help for the rest of her life on Death Row, she is smarter and more cunning than most killers and she will manipulate the system and continue to torture Travis’ family all on her own from prison. I mean what else does she have to do and she lives for the pain inflicted, that’s obvious to me.
Yet I stand firm believing this is the correct sentence for her for two big reasons. First, it’s the law. Her crime fits this punishment like no other. Killers should not be allowed to shuttle around their crimes by manipulating the system no matter the crime and this is the sentence she deserves under the LAW.
She and her team–including paid experts who lied under oath for money and were willing to twist the truth for some kind of retirement plan ridden on the backs of murder victims and one member of the media this defense team used throughout–have unconscienably attacked this victim’s reputation and his family for the benefit of this murderer. The Judge has allowed the worst treatment of victims I’ve ever witnessed in a court of law through the six years this has taken to get to justice. The victim blaming and bashing allowed born solely from the mouth of his murderer, an admitted pathological liar and CONVICTED KILLER is a phenomena that We the People should never see again, much less pay for. And still her crime qualifies for the ultimate sentence clear as day.
And, perhaps more important to me, it’s what Travis’ family wants to see and I stand with them in pure solidarity. And if they need me as appeals pull them through the ringer here in AZ as they have my family, I still stand strong with them then in solidarity. In the meantime I will keep shouting to the rooftops that this victim trashing/blaming strategy has to end sometime. It’s so far beyond an adequate defense or fair trial. That has been long gone and bloated beyond recognition here. The collective fear of the Death penalty in our culture has created a monster and the only ones suffering, the absolute ONLY ONES SUFFERING are the loved ones of the victim. Oh and the taxpayers who foot the bill for the murderer to the tune of millions and millions of dollars in legal fees–not housing or execution fees–legal fees.
The very ones who cry about how expensive the death penalty is, are the ones making bank off it it–at our expense. When does it end?
I say right now.
I say this trial be used as a pivot point. Enough is enough. When will some politician come forth and claim Travis Law that limits the amount a victim can be blamed for their violent death at the hands of another. That fiction can be sold as fact while murderers are protected and coddled through the court system. I don’t have a clear solution, I just know that clearly what’s happening is wrong. And it needs to end. Now. No grieving families need to be retortured over and over again by the system. It’s not what our Founding Fathers intended I am completely sure.
May justice come today for Travis Alexander. And then may the healing process, finally, not end but begin for his family and loved ones. Let’s be clear, it never ends, there is no closure. But at least they can begin to heal once this bitch is sentenced to anything. And I’m also a testament to the fact that healing is possible.
May Travis Alexander’s killer’s name be forgotten as soon as possible. In fact, let’s let the forgetting begin today.
Rest in peace Cindy and Travis–your lives meant something to me. And to many others. We will forget your killers but we won’t forget you.
My Victim Impact Statement which was published here:
Why have I chosen to take time out of my busy schedule once again to drive to Florence to give this impact statement? I ask myself the same question as I honestly don’t think anything I have to say will make much difference or cause much impact toward the decision on resentencing this defendant but the question always is “can I live with myself if certain decisions are made and know I’ve said nothing?
So, here I am with a few things to say.
I don’t intend to get in to the impact this crime itself has had on me personally or on my family. Partly because I don’t think it’s necessary at this stage and partly because I think it could potentially do more harm than good. I’ll let you fill in the blanks on how losing your only
sister/ your oldest daughter on the day before Christmas impacts on a family. To a vicious senseless murder for money.
I will tell you the impact of this particular hearing and decision over the last several years has had and has the potential to have on me and my family.
When the men who murdered my sister in this cold blooded plot were sentenced to death, we were told there were two options in the State of AZ — Life with the possibility of parole in 25 years and Death which meant they would never get out of prison. Of course, no matter how we might have felt politically about the death penalty, we knew these were young men and would still be as violent and dangerous in 25 years, perhaps more so and the Death Penalty was the only sentence that insured the public’s and our safety from them forever. We were
warned that in time, the tables would turn, the victim would be forgotten and the murderers would be seen as victims. Well that time has come, over 20 years after the loss of my sister. It’s still hard to fathom but it’s the absolute reality now.
I am here to remind the court who the true victim of this crime was, and still is. It was my sister Cindy who was my only sister, fourteen months older than me, whose life was taken for one motive: money. On the day before we were to fly home for Christmas on Christmas eve 1988. I was 29 years old and she was 30. We grew up together with each other to lean on as we lost our mother at a very young age. She was kind and truly an innocent and the defense in both trials could produce no evidence about her in a derogatory way — there simply was none. She was like a lamb to slaughter with the men who murdered her — Rudi and Michael Apelt.
The victim was not and still is not the man, Rudi Apelt, who is being resentenced today. The man who wielded the knife that slashed Cindy’s throat from ear to ear leaving her to be discovered by a young boy in the desert on Christmas Eve.. Rudi Apelt, who has served another prison sentence for a violent rape of another woman in Germany. Rudi Apelt
who conned many women throughout the Phoenix area during the months prior to the murder of my sister for money, use of their car, a living situation in their home, procurement of goods, all of these actions performed ALONE and not in the presence of his brother or any other familiar person to him. All of these facts are clearly documented in the trial transcripts. He is a violent man, a repeat offender and took the life of my sister for money. I do not believe he demonstrates any signs of mental retardation in the commission of this crime–quite
the contrary, in fact. Sophisticated, calculated and cold-blooded homicide are not adjectives I would ascribe to the mentally retarded.
I am here also to tell you the impact that just this one hearing lasting several years has had on my family. My 78-year-old father was required to testify and cancel a prepaid trip to China because the Court would not consider a 2-week postponement of the original hearing
for this which he was required to testify at. This postponement was the one and only thing my family ever asked of this Court in the many YEARS leading up to this hearing and it was not granted. This was perhaps my father’s only opportunity to go to China for the rest of his lfe.
Yet the defense in this case was granted delay after delay over a period of years causing me and my family to be inconvenienced, put plans on hold, prepare ourselves emotionally only to be told yet another delay for the defense for years upon years.
I opened my door one December day, 3 years go, ironically the same day I was planning to decorate my house for Christmas which you can imagine what a task that is for me year after year seeing my sister’s bloody body was discovered in the desert on Christmas Eve morning, only to find an advocate for Rudi Apelt misrepresenting herself to me and asking for my cooperation with this very issue–the mental retardation hearing. And this advocate bald-faced lied to me in my own home assuring me that this murderer, if reversed in sentence, would be
resentenced to life WITHOUT parole. Yes of course she knew this was impossible due to sentencing guidelines yet chose to manipulate me in this way. What did I or my family ever do to deserve this kind of treatment? Laws have been changed now to disallow the abuse of victims in this manner in the State of AZ because of this heinous situation I endured.
My father and I endured sitting in a courtroom often being the only representatives on the side of the State while onlookers filled the side of the defendant hoping obviously to glean some kind of clues for arguing their murderer clients were also mentally retarded to avoid the ultimate penalty.
I have personally learned that in addition to the tides of sympathy swinging away from the murder victim to the murderer over the years that the “worst of the worst” in our society, once on Death Row, receive the “best of the best” when it comes to legal assistance. I am
convinced that a death row inmate has a greater chance of being released from prison than a “lifer” serving a term for a nonviolent crime, simply because more people care about those on Death Row. The murderers also receive free websites which read like singles ads soliciting donations, penpals, wives and the like. When the “serial shooter” claimed to desire the death penalty in his sentencing hearing this year, I completely understood what was motivating him — and it most certainly wasn’t a possibility of execution.
My one consolation with this preposterous ruling/resentencing is that finally Rudi Apelt will receive what he deserves. Which is to be forgotten, finally. I have no doubt that those helping so fervently over the years will drop him like a hot potato once he no longer holds the prestige of Death Row status and he will fade in to the woodwork with all the other violent common criminals in the general population. Until of course we are asked to appear at parole hearings. Then we will be forced to remember him and his violence once again. When do we ever
get to let this go? Do we?
Finally, I did not come all the way down here with any delusions that my words would have any true impact whatsoever on the outcome of this hearing. Biases have been shown throughout and I hold no fantasies that my family’s feelings and wishes will fall in to consideration. Yet let it be known, we all have a certain degree of terror at the thought of
Rudi Apelt ever being released from prison due to a possible switch to concurrent sentences where he could have the possibility of actually being paroled. Yes that terrifies my family and me personally. This again is the man who took my sister in to the desert, and among other
violent acts, slit her throat. Then enjoyed a celebratory meal with his co-murderer/conspirators at a restaurant using her credit card right after commiting the murder. Call it what you want, but I call that nothing but a DANGER TO SOCIETY. His sentences, at the very least,
need to remain CONSECUTIVE to protect society from his violence. Call him mentally retarded, call him an imbecile, call him an idiot savant, whatever you wish. But call his behavior what it has been: VIOLENT and DANGEROUS.
The reason I did come though is in hopes that down the road, whatever decision is reached as a result of this resentencing hearing is REVIEWED by hopefully a non biased individual who has no political agenda at stake. Then that a sound decision will be made then that will prohibit this dangerous individual Rudi Apelt from ever being released from prison again. And to allow me and my family to finally move forward without ever having to worry about him again. And to hopefully get to begin to live a life where we get to focus on remembering my sister’s life and not her violent death.