#1…of course is Jodi Arias
Our number one most fascinating trial voted on by our fabulous Divas and Divos comes as no surprise……with the infamous pop rocks, tootsie rolls, secret ninjas, skateboarders with screwdrivers and the gas cans that nobody should leave home without, the winner goes to Jodi Arias herself. It was the trial of the year that still continues as we write this…or better yet, the trial that just won’t die (no pun intended). Jodi Arias was charged with the murder of her ex-boyfriend, Travis Alexander by stabbing him 27 times, shooting him in the head and slitting his throat from ear to ear. With a denial of being involved, to eventually admitting she did commit the murder in self defense; Jodi was a defendant that could not keep her stories straight.
Between the sex, lies, deceit, Jodi saying confidently in an interview that “No jury will ever convict me” and a fiery prosecutor who literally became an icon as he attacked the witnesses in a style of vigor and aggression, this trial became an epic display that rocked the Maricopa County courthouse. The state began this case with Juan Martinez taking the lead and uttering more times then the pair of Jimmy Choo’s in my closet, “Ma’am do you have a problem with your memory?” Of course Jodi thought she had the situation under control during her infamous 18 day testimony, or rather Juan in the palm of her hand when she fired back, “Usually, when men like you are screaming at me or grilling me, it makes my brain scramble.” In true Juan style he reminded Jodi that she was still able to function in a thick fog by saying, “This fog is not so deep that it stops you from attempting to fabricate evidence, right?”
This banter was the center of the trial as several witnesses were paraded on the stand, leading to the so called expert witnesses known as Dr. Samuels and Alyce LaViolette, who both were testifying in Jodi Arias’s defense. They repeatedly told the court how they felt Travis abused Jodi, how she was fighting in self defense and even saying she suffered from post traumatic stress. Juan’s refusal to back down or show any sign of weakness, he frustrated these witnesses often leaving them to spew words in a five year old fashion. At one point during the trial, Alyce LaViolette threatened Juan of putting him in a time out, “If you were in my group, I would ask you to take a time out.”
In the end, the jury was able to see through the fog Jodi created and found her guilty of first degree murder. The jury ended up being hung on the sentencing phase, leading to a retrial of this phase only. We are still waiting for a trial date as there have been unprecedented delays in this bizarre and twisted trial. It is no wonder it has drawn in more viewers from around the world and created a frenzy that resonated throughout the courtroom. Even with the seats sold by spectators, every corner of the courthouse covered with media and temper tantrums of a kindergarten sandbox, it is perhaps the Juan one-liners that rocked this trail leaving the public to coin him with various nicknames. So, as we deem Jodi Arias victor of the most fascinating trials of 2013, people are ready to line up for part two of the circus and hear the infamous phrases from Juanalicious himself, “God’s not here. We can’t subpoena him,” or when referencing the unloaded gun Jodi says she grabbed from Travis’s closet, Juan asks “What were you going to do with that gun, throw it at him?” These are the quotes people sought to witness first hand, as they stood outside in the wee hours of the morning to get an in person glimpse. Get set for round two of the charades and stare downs and maybe if Jodi is lucky she can win for most fascinating trial of 2014 as well.
Watch Highlights of Jodi Arias Trial
Watch Jodi Arias Guilty Verdict
Watch Jodi Arias Sentencing Verdict
Martin MacNeill garners the number two slot for most fascinating trials of 2013. He came in as a very close second with his larger than life ego, a family that lived in a prominent neighborhood in Utah and a persona that had many fooled into believing their family was perfection. The fractures and deficiencies began to unravel with the death of his wife, Michele MacNeill, in 2007. He was a “doctor” with a secret shady past of fraud and a current state of deceit as he was hiding his affair with a woman named Gypsy Willis (Yes, that is her real name). Upon the death of Michele, the autopsy report determined her cause of death as natural causes. She had just finished having a handful of procedures done in her face lift when the good ol’ doctor said she suffered from heart issues, eventually causing her death. Once the medical examiner signed off on her autopsy, Martin Macneill thought he had escaped with the perfect murder.
Unfortunately for Martin, he had a very smart daughter who looked up to him as a doctor and went to medical school herself. Alexis Somers knew something was wrong after her mom had the face lift and suspected her dad was changing up Michele’s medication. Once Michele died, Alexis made it her mission to reveal the truth and seek justice for her mom. After investigators began to listen to her pleas, they discovered Michele had in fact been drugged and drowned by the hands of her husband. It wasn’t until five years after Michele’s death that Martin MacNeill was charged and arrested for her murder.
This trial began inside a Utah courtroom that was drab in color, attorneys with no personalities and a defense team that reeked of social awkwardness and Botox galore. While we all chanted for some kind of fashion outside of bleak, it was Martin’s former inmate’s testimony that began to bring some excitement. With talk of chicken coups, massages and cellies, it was a made for television movie. Then of course we can’t forget the infamous testimony of Gypsy (later nicknamed by the public Dipsy) Willis who took the stand with a demeanor as if she was going speed dating. Her cleavage was on full display as if to show Martin MacNeill what he was missing and her hair flips showed signs of flirtation to anyone she thought was paying attention. There were no signs of remorse on her end for showing up at Michele’s funeral, moving into the family home as the nanny under a false name of Jillian or assuming the fake identity of one of Martin’s adopted daughters that got shipped back to her country of Ukraine. Lastly, we can’t forget defense expert ergonomics witness, who resembled Kenny Rogers and his tight elastic face so precisely, we were just waiting for him to break out singing Islands in the Streams.
Of course the jury saw right through the charades of “Doc” and Dipsy and convicted him of first degree murder and obstruction of justice. His sentencing is scheduled for next year and he still has one more trial regarding a forcible sex abuse charge in February. Overall, this was a trial that had us on the edge of our seats where we were shocked at how sick Martin MacNeill really is. This was a man who would throw his own children under the bus in order to protect his personal interests and cover up his crime. We just don’t understand why it’s so hard for people to file for divorce. Where does a lifetime behind bars in a chicken coup seem more fabulous than splitting up your assets and walking away? For Gypsy, she was given immunity but deep down inside we all know she knew about Michele’s death. One thing is for sure, this trial put a huge damper in her dating life, so be aware all you online daters….Dipsy is on the loose!
Watch Martin Macneill Trial Verdict
Watch Portion of Gypsy Willis Testimony
Watch Video Clip of MacNeill Daughter’s Testimony
Oh Zimmie, this trial garnered so much controversy he had to land somewhere in the top five….and that he did. The George Zimmerman trial slips in at number three for Most Fascinating Trials of 2013. This was a saga that drew international attention, even leading to the President of the United States claiming the victim Trayvon Martin as his son. George was charged with second degree murder when he shot and killed teenager, Trayvon Martin, on a rainy night in February of 2012. Trayvon was walking in the rain eating skittles, wearing a hoodie and talking on the phone to Rachel Jeantel who would later be identified as “Diamond”. George claimed he only shot Trayvon in self defense and claimed the legal foundation of Florida’s Stand Your Ground.
With this controversial trial bringing heated arguments into the racial arena, it was perhaps the appearance of prosecuting attorney John guy and his straddling of a foam dummy, defense attorney Don West’s insatiable need for water and Diamond who testified with an over the top attitude, that left social media buzzing. George Zimmerman was acquitted by the jury leaving many angry that he got away. Yet that acquittal would not be the end of Zimmerman’s legal troubles. He walked out of the courtroom a free man, however his judicial problems would only continue. Shortly after the trial was over his wife filed for divorce and there was another arrest for the infamous neighborhood watchdog regarding domestic violence charges from his new girlfriend. Let’s just say that all the suits sweet little Leanne bought him for his trial were a smart investment; it appears he will be wearing them again and again and again. Now that was money well spent!
Watch George Zimmerman Verdict
Watch Video of the Famous Foam Dummy
Watch Testimony of Rachel Jeantel
We will deem the winner of fourth place in the Most Fascinating Trials of 2013 as the trial of “Fugly Sweaters.” Andrea Sneiderman was on trial for 13 charges to include perjury, false statements, hindering the apprehension of a criminal and concealment of material facts. However, these were not all of the original charges she was facing. Andrea’s husband Rusty Sneiderman was shot and killed outside the preschool of one of their children. The shooting was performed by a man named Hemy Neuman. It was believed that Andrea was having an affair with Hemy, encouraging him to murder her husband in order to receive insurance money, leaving the two to set sail off into the sunset. Of course that is the plan and we know how that generally works out, it doesn’t ever go according to plan.
Hemy Neuman was eventually convicted of Rusty’s murder, with Andrea making an appearance at his trial pouring out fake tears and the almighty memory loss. She testified with false confidence giving the perception that she thought everybody was incompetent outside of her lovers she had on the side….and of course denied the almighty affair. What appeared to be sufficient evidence to convict Andrea as a key player in her husband’s murder, the prosecution began to doubt and just days before her own trial was set to begin, the charges for murder and manslaughter were dropped. This left many around in shock as the public and Rusty’s family wanted to watch Andrea pay for her husband’s murder. Instead she was set to be tried on her 13 charges surrounding perjury and false statements…..and she had plenty of those. In the end, she was convicted on 11 of her 13 charges and was dumbfounded she was found guilty at all.
Interestingly enough, throughout the trial it became apparent that Andrea was not only having an affair with Hemy, she had another man on the side to the side. It was a love triangle that left us bewildered as to how that happened. Nonetheless, she continually wore a fugly sweater to court each day with her head held high, feeling as if all men wanted her and the suitors on the side were oh so lucky to have her. It is that imaginary presumption that landed her inside the courtroom to begin with.
Watch Andrea Sneiderman Verdict
Watch Andrea Sneiderman Allocution Statement
The number five trial on the list for Most Fascinating Trials of 2013 was one that rocked a police department, creating a huge divide, or should we say a very unbalanced divide. It was cop against cop in the Richard Chrisman trial. Rich, as he was called by his peers, was on trial for charges of second degree murder, aggravated assault and animal cruelty. Richard Chrisman responded to a domestic violence call and by the time he left the scene, there was a man and dog that had been shot and killed. With varying sides as to what really happened that fateful day, it was Officer Virgillo who had been on scene that came forward and informed the department that Chrisman did not shoot in self defense as he was claiming.
It was only the beginning of a trial that not only pitted one officer’s testimony against the other; it was the stage for flaws to be revealed within the Phoenix Police Department as a whole. It was their support for Richard that garnered the community to fight back leading to a protest and subsequent firing of Chrisman. The most interesting part of this situation was the role PLEA (Phoenix Law Enforcement Association) played in their very adamant and forthright support of Chrisman, where they flat out called Officer Virgillo a liar and assisted in bonding Chrisman out of jail.
Upon the verdict coming in, there was talk around the courthouse the jury was hung and that was partly true. They did find Richard Chrisman guilty of aggravated assault, yet could not reach a unanimous decision on the second degree murder charge and animal cruelty. This left the door open for the County Attorney’s office to retry him on those two charges, and they were in fact going to do just that. In a turn of events that was not too surprising, Chrisman accepted a plea days before his sentencing hearing, by pleading guilty to manslaughter and dropping the animal cruelty charge. It appears Junior, the dog, wasn’t going to get justice after all. Chrisman was sentenced to 7 years on the manslaughter charge and 5 years on the aggravated assault, to be served concurrent. It was an intense trial that was laced with sex, three ways, drug use and quite a bit of lying in order to protect those inside the department. It truly showed the loyalty of what is known as the officer “code” and it was apparent that if someone tried to break the circle of inner trust, it was going to set off firecrackers….and that it did.
Watch Richard Chrisman Verdict
Watch Officer Virgillo’s Testimony
Watch Richard Chrisman Testimony
OJ Simpson made the headlines again this year with an attempt to get his conviction over the September 2007 Las Vegas dust up thrown out. Simpson and 6 other thugs confronted sports memorabilia dealers Bruce Fromong and Al Beardsley in a hotel room to get OJ’s “stuff” back. Simpson and the others were brandishing weapons but didn’t fire them, after all The Juice is more a knife guy anyway. This was a case of “What happens in Vegas…can get ya sent to prison in Vegas,” and OJ was convicted on 12 counts, including kidnapping and armed robbery. He was sentenced up to 33 years in prison. Simpson and his new defense team stated his onetime lawyer Yale Galanter, had a conflict of interest in the case, his lawyers improperly advised him not to testify, didn’t tell him of prosecutors’ plea offer and didn’t present “voluntary intoxication” as a defense, during his trial. What a defense that would have been.. “The Vodka Made Me Do It”…sounds like the title to his next book. Thankfully the Nevada judge upheld his conviction on all the charges but due to the parole board partly reducing his sentence earlier this year, he has only 4 years left to serve. We have a feeling it won’t be the last we hear from OJ Simpson.
Watch OJ’s Testimony Part 1
Watch OJ’s Testimony Part 2
Watch OJ’s Testimony Part 3
Watch OJ’s Testimony Part 4
Boston’s most notorious and most feared Irish gangster found himself inside a federal courtroom facing 32 counts of racketeering, money laundering, extortion, weapons charges and murder. Bulger spent 16 years on the lam and made the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted list replacing Osama Bin Laden at the top. Before “Whitey” was finally caught he was enjoying the Santa Monica, California sunshine, with a new name, new apartment, tons of cash, loads of guns and a girlfriend. In a trial nothing short of a Hollywood mobster movie, tales of brutal killings unfolded, with hails of gunfire, strangling, along with his victim’s taking shots to the head. At the time a corrupt FBI was using “Whitey” as an informant to rat out other bosses and help him rise to the top. Not only did the FBI help “Whitey” continue his reign of terror for decades, one tipped him off an indictment was coming down which led to his timely escape. The defense was limited in what they could bring in but in the end the evidence against “Whitey” was overwhelming. It took the jury almost a full week to find Bulger guilty on 31 of the 32 counts, along with 11 of the 19 killings he was charged with but acquitted him of 7 and couldn’t reach a conclusion on an 8th. “Whitey” Bulger was sentenced to two consecutive life sentences plus five years for machine gun charges. At the age of 84, his time in an 8-foot-by-10-foot federal prison cell in Oklahoma will probably be short lived.
Watch A Special done on “Whitey” Bulger…
Some refer to her as another Jodi Arias among us and in the quiet state of Montana, 22 year old, Jordan Graham brought upon them tragedy of a brutal nature. Just married to her husband Cody Johnson, for 8 days, Jordan Graham was accused of deliberately luring, and pushing her husband to his death in Montana’s Glacier National Park, with Cody being possibly blindfolded. Jordan Graham was charged in federal court with first degree murder, second degree, and making false statements. Jordan went to trial in December with it only lasting a short 3 days, and before closing arguments could even take place, a surprise plea deal came to light. The jury heard witnesses state Graham was having “second thoughts” over her new marriage, lied about Cody’s whereabouts to family, friends, and detectives, even trying to throw them off by falsifying an email. The defense stated she was happy during her wedding, showing videos of her smiling, saying pushing Cody off the cliff was an accident. Graham addressed the court outside presence of jury, stating her and Cody were arguing over some “wedding blues” when Johnson grabbed her arm. Jordan said she brushed him away and then pushed him. The shove sent Cody face first over the cliff to his death at the bottom of a ravine. “I ran back up to the car and left,” Graham told the judge. “I was scared of what happened and in the moment I was so scared I didn’t know what to do.” Jordan Graham will be sentenced on March 27th, 2014 but in the meantime is in custody by U.S. Marshals. Although the plea deal took first degree and making false statements off the table Graham is still facing a maximum sentence of life in prison.
Watch New footage released of Jordan Graham…
Nicole Pietz, David’s wife was found back in 2006, beaten, strangled, and dumped in a wooden area in Burien, Washington. The prime suspect was David himself but with no direct evidence tying him to the crime, it would take the police over 6 years to build a case against him. In 2012, David Pietz was finally charged with second degree murder, and with David’s DNA on Nicole’s car along with phone records it would be the strong evidence the prosecution needed. The trial began in September 2013, just lasting a month and only took the jury 2 days to render the verdict. The prosecution built their case on David’s character saying he was a chronic cheater, wanted a wilder sex life than Nicole provided and told many lies. David told many different stories about the night Nicole disappeared and didn’t even help look for her while she was missing. David Pietz didn’t take the stand and gave the defense of blaming the victim instead. The defense stated Nicole had a past pill popping problem and probably relapsed going on a drug run when things went bad…right after Taco Time…remember that…we still want to try their tasty taco’s. With a case based strongly on circumstantial evidence it was David Pietz questionable behavior and shaky timeline, along with DNA that sealed his fate. The jury convicted him of second degree murder and David Pietz was sentenced to 18 years in prison.
Watch Clubbing and Bar Escapades Part 1
Watch Clubbing and Bar Escapades Part 2
In April, 2011, just days after serving her police officer husband Brett Seacat, divorce papers, Kansas mom, Vashti Seacat, is found shot in the neck and head, dead, in her burning home. Numero uno suspect was none other than the husband, Brett Seacat. The police charged Brett with first-degree murder, aggravated arson and two counts of aggravated endangering a child..considering his two children were in the home at the time of the incident. The trial began in the summer of 2013 and it wasn’t short on drama. The prosecution claimed the arrogant ex-police officer was a “manipulative, controlling person” who used his law enforcement background to make it look like Vashti shot and killed herself in an apparent suicide. Seacat had put all his money on that fire destroying evidence and it didn’t, according to the state. Brett Seacat would take to the stand and testify on his behalf claiming Vashti was depressed and had a long history of depression. He testified as he was sleeping downstairs he received a text from Vashti saying to get the boys out of the house before they got hurt, heard her shoot herself and a noticed a fire break out.
During the trial the Medical Examiner couldn’t determine it was a homicide but the prosecution had enough evidence to prove otherwise. The state claimed a suicide note left by Vashti was not in her handwriting and was actually done by Brett, who borrowed an overhead projector while at work one day..you know..for a little side project. A marriage counselor also claimed Brett called her just hours after Vashti’s death and said “I killed her, Vashti is dead and it’s my fault.” Brett’s spin on that statement was he felt responsible but didn’t pull the trigger. Brett testified he tried to save Vashti but the prosecution points out he had no soot or blood on him with only a small burn on his foot. It only took the jury less than a day to find Brett Seacat guilty on all counts and the prosecution would ask the judge for a “Hard 50” sentence. In a bizarre rant during sentencing from Brett Seacat accusing the judge of keeping evidence from his trial that would prove his innocence. The judge imposed a sentence of life in prison with no chance of parole for 25 years for premeditated, first degree murder. He also gave Seacat a total of more than 6 years in prison for one count of aggravated arson and two counts of child endangerment. The four counts run consecutively and Seacat will not be eligible for parole for more than 31 years.
Watch Brett Testifies…
Watch Brett Seacat Sentencing…
Source: Greg Botelho, CNN, AP