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JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL

Did Jodi Steal Travis`s Engagement Ring?; Sister of Executed Murderer Shares Experience

Aired March 29, 2013 - 19:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST: Breaking news tonight, just in. And we`re in the process of sorting it out. Did Travis Alexander have a secret engagement ring? And if so, what happened to it? You won`t believe what we`re learning tonight.

And just how much is Jodi Arias`s defense costing Arizona taxpayers? The secret skyrocketing figure. We`ll bring it to you.

Plus, will a death penalty jitter get Jodi off the hook for premeditated murder? I`ll talk to a woman whose brother was put to death in Arizona next.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, the countdown is on. Is Jodi one day closer to death? Tonight a brand-new survey shows the overwhelming majority think she`s guilty of murder one. But we`ll tell you the surprising results of the survey on whether Jodi will be put to death.

And I`ll talk with a woman whose brother was put to death by lethal injection for murder, exactly a year ago in the very same state, Arizona. She`ll share her experience with us.

Plus, the cost of Jodi`s trial skyrocketing. You won`t believe what milestone it`s now passed. How high will it go? We`ll debate it with my expert panel.

ALYCE LAVIOLETTE, DOMESTIC VIOLENCE EXPERT: I learned that in Jodi`s family there was a certain amount of physical discipline, some which I would consider went over the line.

TRAVIS ALEXANDER, MURDER VICTIM (via phone): I`d like you to ride my (EXPLETIVE DELETED) like a horse.

LAVIOLETTE: He would talk about her boobs being too small, that her friends had a smaller booty than she did.

She performed -- when you leave welts on a child...

ALEXANDER: I love the braids.

LAVIOLETTE: They had anal sex.

That they were hit with spoons.

ALEXANDER: I`m going to get some (UNINTELLIGIBLE) of freaking (EXPLETIVE DELETED) in you.

LAVIOLETTE: She said she was uncomfortable, because she thought it was too fast, too soon.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, breaking news: did victim Travis Alexander have a secret engagement ring? If so, why? And what happened to it? We`ve just have gotten new information in. We`ll bring it to you with a report from Arizona.

Plus, stunning new information about the skyrocketing cost of defending Jodi Arias. The defense wanted to keep this figure secret, but a judge said, "No way." You won`t believe what this is costing the taxpayers.

Plus, we`re learning about deep divisions over whether Jodi should get the death penalty. It`s becoming a much bigger issue as we approach the end of this gripping trial.

Now, one of our regular panelists, Tanya Young Williams, questioned nearly 3,000 people. Ninety-five percent said they think Jodi is guilty of premeditated murder. But here`s the shocking part. Despite the overwhelming majority believe Jodi planned to kill, planned to murder her ex-boyfriend, Travis Alexander, stabbing him 29 times, slicing his throat, shooting him in the head. By a small margin, most think she will not be sentenced to death. Basically, a nearly 50/50 split over the death penalty issue for the woman who said this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JODI ARIAS, MURDER DEFENDANT: If I`m found guilty, I don`t have a life. I`m not guilty. I didn`t hurt Travis. If I hurt Travis, if I killed Travis, I would beg for the death penalty.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Did Jodi really mean that? Well, tonight, I`ll talk exclusively with the woman who watched her own brother put to death by lethal injection in a very same state, Arizona.

But, first, straight out to journalist Shanna Hogan. She is writing a book on this case called "Picture Perfect." Shanna, you`ve obtained new information about a ring. Tell us all about it.

SHANNA HOGAN, JOURNALIST: Yes. In one of Travis`s previous relationships, he was in love with a woman, and he actually bought an engagement ring. And at one point, he -- it ended up not going through. He didn`t get engaged, but he kept that in his house.

And during the time that Jodi was living in Arizona, she had actually come into his house several times. He had caught her breaking through the doggy door. And one point he noticed that the engagement ring had gone missing and was very suspective [SIC] that Jodi was the one who had actually stolen that ring, because she could not stand the thought of him having something that tied him to another woman.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. If I can`t have him, nobody else can. Interesting that that doesn`t come up as evidence.

Gloria Allred, famed victims` rights attorney. What is so fascinating about this case is that there are so many facts that the jury has not heard, and that`s why some people are shocked sometimes when the verdict is very different from what their common sense tells them.

For example, there are claims by Travis`s friends that she slashed his tires. Now we`re hearing that she may have taken an engagement ring he had purchased for someone else and had kept. But the jury doesn`t know anything about this.

ALLRED: Well, that`s right, Jane. And in addition, the jury also doesn`t see all of the e-mails, some of which have been excluded by the judge.

However, some of that, in terms of a summary of those e-mails, are coming in through the expert on domestic violence, who`s letting the jury know about some of them. And the court really has to decide what`s too prejudicial, what`s more prejudicial than probative, and what is relevant. These are the tests that any court has to apply.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And if nobody can say for sure that she`s the one who took the ring, even though it disappeared, and everybody thinks that she`s responsible. They can`t really introduce that.

Let`s get back to our other big story of the day and this survey that shows while overwhelming majority, almost 100 percent, in the high 90s, think Jodi did premeditate the murder of Travis Alexander, it`s split 50/50 approximately. Fifty-two percent, a narrow margin of people surveyed, believe she will not get the death penalty.

Now Jodi herself talked about her desire to commit suicide repeatedly throughout this trial. Could those statements somehow come back to haunt her in the end? Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ARIAS: I`d been feeling suicidal, so I thought that that was kind of the point where I decided I wanted to go through with that.

I wanted to kill myself.

I had plans to commit suicide. So I was extremely confident that no jury would convict me, because I didn`t expect any of you to be here.

If I hurt Travis, if I killed Travis, I would beg for the death penalty.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. So most surveyed by a narrow margin think she will not get the death penalty.

However, she has made these statements: "Hey, if I really did it, I wish to get the death penalty, and I`ve also had thoughts of suicide." Will any of those comments impact this decision?

And let`s bring it out to our expert panel and start with Joey Jackson for the prosecution.

JOEY JACKSON, ATTORNEY: You know what, Jane? I think this jury is going to determine this based upon the facts of the case. What she says, what she doesn`t say.

I think they`re more interested not about whether she thinks she warrants death, but whether the facts of the case and what she did to Travis Alexander warrants it. Based upon that, we can very well see, regardless of this 50/50 split, this jury convict and sentence to death.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Janet Jackson -- Johnson for the defense.

JANET JOHNSON, ATTORNEY: Well, not only that. If they don`t like her, it might actually have a reverse effect, because they might say, "If she wants to die, we don`t want to give her an easy out. We`d rather she get life in prison and suffer the rest of her life, thinking about what she did to Travis." In a way, those words could help her not get the death penalty, I think.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, Beth Karas, there`s been so much talk about this case, so many days. It`s gone on for so many months. Bring us up to date. How much has the jury heard about her desire or contemplation of suicide? And particularly, did they hear this comment where she said, "Hey, if I did it, go ahead, kill me"?

BETH KARAS, CORRESPONDENT, TRUTV`S "IN SESSION": Yes to that. She said it in the interrogation: "If I hurt Travis, I would beg for the death penalty."

They heard about her suicide also in an interview -- no, when she was on the stand. And they heard about suicide from her journal entries.

So the origin is all Jodi Arias. It`s not like anyone else testified that Jodi told them that.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: So the question is, will that make her more sympathetic, that, oh, she was so traumatized and she was contemplating suicide? Or will they say, well, since she was saying, "Hey, I don`t deserve to live, maybe we should give her the death penalty."

Gloria Allred, victims` rights attorney, famed attorney, covered so many of these cases. Here`s the thing. As the defense expert, the battered woman expert said on the stand, 90 percent of communication is non-verbal. We know so much about this woman now. We have, whether we like it or not, developed some kind of relationship with her, particularly those jurors who are in the same room with her day after day.

Is it going to make it harder for them to say, "Yes, we want to put this woman to death"?

ALLRED: Well, it may, Jane, but in addition, some of what the domestic violence expert has testified to actually may hurt Jodi Arias.

For example, the anger that she had at her father, whom she accused of making sexually inappropriate comments. And the anger that she had at her mother for not defending her from some inappropriate conduct by her father, including allegedly, physical abuse.

And well, I mean, the jury might decide, well, you know, she`s got a lot of anger built up. Maybe there`s similarities between the way her father treated her and the way she perceived that Travis treated her. And maybe the anger unleashed itself, finally, from her in the form of intentionally killing Travis and premeditating murder against him.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: On the other side, we`re going to talk to a woman who we are very honored to have join us. She watched her own brother be put to death by lethal injection in Arizona just a year ago this month. And she`s going to talk about what that experience was like.

Stay right there.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Here`s your shoes. Why don`t you go ahead and put those on? Go ahead and stop right there and turn around. Put your hands behind your back.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KIRK NURMI, JODI`S ATTORNEY: Do you remember what point and time that first encounter happened?

ARIAS: It was in the spring, 2007. I think it was in May.

NURMI: Where were you when this first happened?

ARIAS: I was in his bed. We fell asleep. And I woke up, and he was on top of me. And he`d already penetrated and started having sex with me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: The reason the Jodi Arias trial has gone on so very long is that the prosecution is seeking the death penalty. They want to put her death by lethal injection.

Joining me now is a very special, exclusive guest, Christine Towery, whose brother, Robert, was executed by the same state, the state of Arizona, a year ago this month at the age of 47. Robert Towery was convicted in Maricopa County, the very same place where Jodi Arias is currently being tried, for murdering philanthropist Mark Jones during an armed robbery way back in 1991. He was on Death Row for 20 years.

The letters Towery wrote while on Death Row were recently published as a book entitled "Death Watch Diary." In these letters, Towery wrote, quote, "While there are many things wrong with this whole death watch, while it is noisy, humiliating, and by nature I would be just as wrong if I didn`t stress how kind the staff here have been. Bending over backwards to accommodate all of the calls and visits."

One of Towery`s most frequent visitors was his sister, Christine, who is joining us now.

And thank you so much. I know this has to be difficult for you. And I want to talk about the family. Because when somebody does commit a crime, there has to be a penalty. And in some states there is the death penalty.

But what is it like for the innocent family members? Somebody like yourself? How has what your brother went through and watching him die -- you actually saw that with your own eyes -- how did it affect you emotionally? How has it changed your life?

CHRISTINE TOWERY, SISTER OF ROBERT TOWERY: Watching that has changed a lot for me. I -- it`s hard to describe what it`s like to witness an execution. I just remember looking and thinking that this isn`t fixing anything. This isn`t right. I -- he`s laying [SIC] on the gurney; he`s strapped down. I can`t help him. I`m his big sister.

This -- the grieving process of this is incredibly intense. And is still affecting me and my family today.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: The night before his execution, Towery was able to order a special meal. He also wrote about his final meal, which he ate the morning of his execution. This is what he wrote: "I actually slept well. I woke up at about 5 a.m., I was given a doughnut in a fairly large container. The orange juice was great. First orange juice I`ve had in I don`t know how long. The doughnut was prison issue. Enough said." So it seems that he had a sense of humor -- and there you are with your brother in happier times -- even in his final moments.

Describe, if you can -- and I know it has to be difficult -- how long did this process take, him being put to death via lethal injection. What was it like? How long did it take?

TOWERY: Do you mean from the time that he was laying [SIC] there in the room?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, well, whatever you feel comfortable describing.

TOWERY: OK. Oh, OK. Well, the execution was to take place at, I think, 10 and we were put into a holding room. And about -- it was about 11 that they called us all into the area where you watch the execution.

And the process itself, once started, maybe took ten minutes total. He was able to give his last words, apologized -- he apologized to the family of the victim, and made some comments to our side, to our family, and then they started the injection. Very, very brief.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Once the injection started, how long?

TOWERY: He died within minutes of the injection. It was a single cocktail. So within -- within just a few seconds, he closed his eyes, turned his head to us, took two sharp breaths, and at 11:17 he was gone. They announced him dead at 11:26 because of the three drug protocol process. But he was gone at 11:17. Probably minutes, three, four minutes.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: First of all, I want to thank you for sharing a very difficult, obviously, experience. Stand by.

On the other side, I want to talk about your interaction with the family of the victim, of the person who was killed by your brother. Fascinating, heart-wrenching, gut-wrenching, but fascinating. Stay right there. More on the other side.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JUDGE SHERRY STEPHENS, PRESIDING OVER TRIAL: "Is Ms. Arias taking medication to treat this terrible PTSD disorder?"

RICHARD SAMUELS, PSYCHOLOGIST: She has been taking -- at various times, she was on a tranquilizer, was on an antidepressant. Sometimes medication is suggested for PTSD, depending upon the nature of the symptoms.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JUAN MARTINEZ, PROSECUTOR: Ma`am, were you crying when you were shooting him?

ARIAS: I don`t remember.

MARTINEZ: Were you crying when you were stabbing him?

ARIAS: I don`t remember.

MARTINEZ: How about when you cut his throat? Were you crying then?

ARIAS: I don`t know.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: The Jodi Arias case, obviously very gruesome crime scene. And we are very delighted to be speaking with Christine Towery, who has shared her experience of watching her brother die via lethal injection, the punishment for a murder he was involved in, after spending decades on Death Row.

It`s awkward to say, but the crime for which your brother was put to death was also a gruesome crime, and interestingly enough, reading it, he also claimed some memory loss during some of the more gruesome aspects of the killing.

In a crime, a murder, there are so many victims. There`s the victim himself, but there`s the families on both sides. What happened in court between you and the family of the victim, of the man killed by your brother? Can you describe that?

TOWERY: Yes. Throughout the trial, I kept -- their side and our side and it felt like a chasm between the two groups and I kept looking at the sister, the victim`s sister, and my heart was breaking for her. She had lost her brother. I was in the process of losing mine. And every time we`d get on the elevator together, it was very stiff and impersonal, and I just felt compelled to, you know, reach out to her.

And one day, the day of the sentencing for my brother, I gave her a sympathy card, and I wrote on there, you know, "I am so sorry for your loss, and the loss of your brother." And I said, "Today I will lose my brother, as well. And I hope that you find peace in this."

And she was a little startled by the card. But then, when the sentence came out, the wonderful part was when the sentence came out of death, she was on the other side and I was on one side. And the people between us sort of parted, and she walked over to me and hugged me, and we cried together. And she said, "I`m sorry for your loss, as well."

VELEZ-MITCHELL: It`s very emotional. I can tell that that had to be -- was, wow.

TOWERY: I just didn`t want it to be a continuum. There were people suffering on both sides. I wanted her to know I felt for her. Then she then knew that I was suffering, as well. She even sent me a Christmas card that year, and I sent her a Christmas card. I just needed it to be peace at that end of it.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, Christina, I want to thank you for your courage in sharing these difficult stories. I hope it`s some catharsis for you. We really appreciate it. And I know it takes a lot of courage. Thank you.

TOWERY: Thank you.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: On the other side, more debate with our expert panel. Stay right there.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ARIAS (singing): Oh, holy night...

LAVIOLETTE: If you`re dealing with someone who`s jealous, what happens is they let you know in lots of ways.

ARIAS (via phone): I like the role (UNINTELLIGIBLE). That`s fun.

SAMUELS: She met that criteria.

MARTINEZ: And you can bang on it all you want.

ARIAS: Is there any way I could see some of those photos?

Some of it is morbid curiosity.

LAVIOLETTE: Using sex as a way to control.

ARIAS: I wish that it was just a nightmare that I could wake up from.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: We are barreling toward the end of this trial. And if Jodi is convicted of first-degree murder, the death penalty is an option.

Could the fact that death is on the table make it harder for jurors to convict Jodi of first-degree murder? And does this add to pressure that jurors are more likely to possibly go for a lesser charge?

The reason we`re talking about this, a new survey showing essentially a 50/50 split among people surveyed, 3,000 people surveyed. About half, 52 percent, they don`t think she will get the death penalty.

Let`s debate it with our expert panel, starting with Joey Jackson for the prosecution.

JACKSON: What ends up happening is when you pick a jury, you know, when picking that jury and speaking with them, that they`re there to do a job. And irrespective of the punishment, you know in talking to them, and they agree before they get on that jury that they`re going to do what the law requires.

And so they cannot, and it cannot factor into their mind, Jane, whether or not death is an issue, it`s not an issue. They have any issue with death, they`re off that jury. So irrespective of any personal feelings, they agree that, if the facts warrant a first-degree conviction, they`ll do it. And if the facts warrant an aggravating factor of death, they will do that, too.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, Gloria Allred, the reason why we`re asking this question is that this survey just came out, and basically, everybody has concluded that she`s guilty, she`s guilty of first-degree murder. And that she -- they don`t buy any of her domestic violence stuff.

But, when they`re asked, "If convicted, do you think Jodi will be sentenced to death?" 52 percent said no. So I think they may be sensing something in terms of how we`ve gotten to know this woman over the course of 39 days of court.

ALLRED: Well, it may be, Jane, they don`t have confidence that the jury will feel that the death penalty is warranted for any reason. It may be that they think that it is difficult to get the death penalty, that they may feel sorry for Jodi or even if they don`t feel sorry for her, that they would not be willing to impose the death penalty on a woman who apparently is -- to put it mildly -- as confused, mixed up, and in a sense, psycho as Jodi appears to be.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Janet Johnson for the defense.

JANET JOHNSON, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Yes. And you know Gloria, as you know as women, we have a lot of people who sort of have opinions on one side against us, but I think this might be the one case where having people discriminate against you as a woman is going to help her.

There are only three women that have ever been executed in Arizona. I think there is still squeamishness about putting women to death as a society. I`m not sure they`re going to be able to do that.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Shanna Hogan, you`re there in Arizona. You`re shaking your head?

SHANNA HOGAN, AUTHOR, "PICTURE PERFECT": No. Actually only one woman has ever been put to death in Arizona; there`s been three women that have been convicted and one of them was overturned just recently throughout Jodi`s trial.

But, you know, I thought from the beginning that she wouldn`t get the death penalty. But I think that there is a chance that the jurors are going to be angry at her for putting his name through the mud after killing him, you know, now getting up there on the stand in front of his family accusing him of being a pedophile. If they don`t believe her I think they`re going to be angry and maybe sensitive to that because of that.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let`s take a look at what`s left in this marathon trial -- it lasted 39 days and counting. Once defense attorney Jennifer Willmott finishes questioning this last defense witness, the domestic violence expert, prosecutor Juan Martinez will cross examine her.

In Arizona, the jury then gets to ask questions, and there could be hundreds if history is any indication. After that final witness finally steps down, the prosecution gets a rebuttal case that could last a week. Then we`re going to hear closing arguments.

Beth Karas, give us a sense of how long before we get to a verdict here.

BETH KARAS, "IN SESSION" CORRESPONDENT: Well, depending upon what the initial guilt/innocence phase verdict is, there could be one or two more verdicts. Now, I think the jury is not going to begin deliberating the guilt, deciding which degree of homicide or not guilty until the earliest, the week of April 15th. I would say Wednesday or Thursday of that week because each side will probably take a day for closing arguments.

So we`re looking into May if there is a first degree conviction. We`re looking into May to finish the case.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And then if she is found guilty of murder one, tell us briefly because I know it is extremely complicated, what happens then.

KARAS: Well, the jury then will reconvene and they`ll hear arguments, maybe a little more evidence, to decide whether or not the aggravating factor of cruelty is proven beyond a reasonable doubt. They`ll deliberate. If they say yes, it`s proven then the defense will have an opportunity to present mitigating evidence and that could be a week or two weeks more of evidence and then they will deliberate on life or death.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wow. Let`s go to the phone lines. Lisa, Massachusetts, your question or thought -- Lisa.

LISA, MASSACHUSETTS (via telephone): Hi, Jane Velez -- I`ve been waiting a long time to get on.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, you`re here.

LISA: I have a lot of things to say. We`re all tired. We`re all sick. I really have little sympathy for Jodi`s migraine because I had a migraine probably for half of this trial. And what about what Travis` family is going through? The defense --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: What are your thoughts, Lisa, what are your thoughts on this death penalty issue?

LISA: Ok. Very clear thoughts on my side. I feel bad that anybody has to die. But I feel that she made the decision to take another human life, and I feel that the price has to be paid that she has to lose hers. I feel that even if my son had committed a crime like that, as horrible as it would be, I think that justice must be served.

And I believe that if somebody kills somebody in cold blood, taking another human`s life, nobody has the right to do that, and I think as hard and gut-wrenching as that must be that I would probably have to decide that, well, you made your choice and this is your penalty for that. Just like when my children were small, and I taught them --

(CROSSTALK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Lisa, thank you for that. I want to bring my panel back because a couple of thoughts come to mind. If they are considering this prospect of death, they know -- they already have been -- this started how many months has this been already? Like I joke, I said I had my hair colored three times since the start of this trial. I know it`s no laughing matter, but it seems like ages.

Could subconsciously they be impacted by the fact that if they do go for murder one, then they are guaranteed to be spending more time deliberating the next phase which is what Beth Karas explained, are there enough aggravating factors for her to be put to death. And I`ll give it to Joey.

JOEY JACKSON, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: You know, it is a great point, Jane. But I think the fact that this jury is not sequestered plays deep here too because at least they`re allowed to go home and be with their family. And so it`s a complicated job and I`m sure at the outset, the judge explained we can never anticipate how long a trial will take. But jurors have a commitment to get it right.

And if they`re going to get it right I think they will sacrifice, do their civic duty and not at all be impacted by the length of the process it will take to do justice here.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And Gloria Allred, everybody is saying, well, these jurors seem so tired, but then when you hear them 230 questions of Jodi Arias and more than 100 questions of the defense psychologist, how tired could they be if they`re asking all these questions?

ALLRED: I think that they`re going to want to be able to vote or indicate how they feel about the death penalty. There may be women on that jury who have felt that they wanted to kill boyfriends or husbands that betrayed them, that discarded them and wanted somebody new and didn`t keep their promises to them. But those women who were betrayed didn`t end up killing their boyfriends, or their husbands, even though they felt like it. They may want a vote on all of this.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Janet Johnson for the defense, there was a trial watcher that we had on and she actually thinks that Jodi is guilty of premeditated murder. I said, do you think she`s going to be convicted. She said, I think it`s going to be a hung jury. I`ve been watching the jury.

Now, that`s one person`s opinion. Who knows? I never predict what a jury is going to do. But it kind of startled me that she was so emphatic about that.

JOHNSON: Well, we`re coming off of the Casey Anthony verdict and I`m from Florida. That`s where I practice. Every day practically somebody comes up to me and says, I hope it is not a Casey Anthony verdict. I hope it`s not Casey Anthony.

People have opinions and they don`t think juries get it right. Now, as a defense attorney, I think juries get it right because they hear the relevant information and they actually deliberate and they take it really seriously. But they`re going to make a mistake. They`re going to err on the side of not killing somebody because it is a really weighty decision they have to live with the rest of their lives.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And we here on the show, 7:00 p.m. Eastern, HLN every night, bring you the latest developments. You come here for this trial.

On the other side, you will not believe how much the defense is costing. I hope you`re sitting down. Strap yourself in.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: A lot of people say to me it is boring just to eat your veggies. Au contraire -- take a look at this. I`m in a food co-op and these are beets, and you got snow peas, you got brussel sprouts, oh, you got green butter lettuce. Take a look at this -- black kale. All right. And how about this one? This is purple kale.

And when you start treating vegetables as an adventure, and exploring all the many different kinds of vegetables that there are, you`ll realize that, hey, it`s not just potatoes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: We`re following every moment of the Jodi Arias trial but we want to keep you posted on other top stories. Justin Bieber in trouble again. It has been a rough month for the Biebster. First he goes off on the paparazzi in London. Now he`s being accused of threatening and spitting on his neighbor. Bieber denies this happened, but the L.A. County sheriff`s office is investigating. What`s going on with the Biebs?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ALYCE LAVIOLETTE, DEFENSE WITNESS: I learned that in Jodi`s family there was a certain amount of physical discipline, some which I would consider went over the line. When you leave welts on a child and that was information I was given, that they were hit with spoons. Jodi`s mother and father, that Jodi`s father was controlling and manipulative, and made derogatory statements.

Her grandparents said that they believe that Jodi is angry at her mother and that she`s angry at her mother because Jodi`s mother didn`t protect her from her father.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: This domestic violence expert for the defense is pointing out Jodi had a strained relationship with her parents, despite her mom being there with her twin sister -- her mom`s twin sister, in court every day. Jodi has never acknowledged her presence. Jodi`s father came to trial during the first week that Jodi was on the stand. And he hasn`t been there lately. It is clear they want to show their support.

But my question to our expert panel, what does this have to do with whether or not Jodi Arias killed Travis Alexander in self-defense or it was a premeditated killing? We have lost sight of what this trial is all about. Let`s start with Janet Johnson for the defense.

JOHNSON: It is totally relevant. I think this expert is fantastic. She had a great day yesterday. What she`s saying is that she`s a battered person to begin with, and a reasonable person in her position with her history sees somebody enraged over his broken camera, she would have reacted the same way Jodi did. That it was a reasonable person with her history in her position and it made her so sympathetic that what she learned from her mother staying with the husband was that you stay with the man even if he`s abusive. It completely explains why she didn`t leave because people are going to be asking that question and I think it was answered.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Gloria Allred, you are famous for representing women who have been victimized by men. Do you buy it?

ALLRED: I don`t buy it for Jodi. And the problem is there is a complete absence, zero, Jane, of any physical violence against Jodi by Travis. So even if she would react in a way and be sensitive to -- and have a fear that she might be physically attacked, there doesn`t seem to be really any evidence that he attacked her in the past in a physical manner.

JOHNSON: Doesn`t have to be physical. It was psychological in his case.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, look at this, remember the finger thing, where she does that whole finger demonstration. I`ve been trying to do it. I can`t do it. I don`t know whether I`m not double jointed or whatever. But is that evidence -- and I`ll throw it out to Beth Karas -- I mean I`m confused already about the finger.

KARAS: Ok, well, first of all, Jane there are many people who have told me and these are just people in their life experiences who say a broken finger doesn`t heal the way her finger has healed in court. The way her finger has healed where the joint is, like, up and bent, like that, it is from a cut tendon. And so the finger is shorter now. And that would be consistent with cutting her tendon when she was killing Travis Alexander.

Jodi Arias says that that didn`t happen, she wasn`t asked specifically about a cut tendon versus a break, she said it was a break on January 22nd. But there is no evidence to support it, independent of Jodi`s words because even in her journal entry on January 24th, 2008 she said I haven`t written for a couple of days because nothing of note had happened.

Well, according to her on the stand, two days earlier, he broke her finger. Three days earlier, she caught him pleasuring himself to a photograph of a little boy. Those are quite noteworthy, but she says the law of attraction -- don`t write anything negative -- prevented her from writing that.

JOHNSON: That makes sense -- that makes perfect sense. And, you know, I think we`re being a little archaic in our definition of abuse. He called her a skank. He joked about her. I mean (inaudible) themselves, his friends said he has a history of being unkind to women. It`s exactly this behavior and it doesn`t have to be physical, Joey.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. We`re going to give Joey the last word on this.

JACKSON: However, two issues that concern me, Jane. Number one as to self-defense -- the absence of fear, complete devoid of fear, how do you establish in the past that there was anything for which she needed to be fearful? Number two, the total disproportionality of this crime. You have to do all that you did in defending yourself does not make sense. Guilty.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: We got to leave it there. But first, I want to answer this question. The bill for Jodi`s defense so far -- I wish I had a ding-ding-ding -- over $1.4 million. $1.4 million. $1,402,668. And the taxpayers of Maricopa County, Arizona, are footing that bill and it`s going up.

Thank you, fantastic panel always. Great debating with you. We`ll have more on the other side.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Time for Pet of the Day. Send your pet pics to hlntv.com/jane. JJ and Rocco, you`re rocking on. And Sophie -- elegant and serene outdoors. Oh, Guapo, which is very handsome in Spanish, and you are. And Hillary, regal, almost secretarial.

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VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, our "Animals Investigation Unit" is fighting for the rhinos, right Rico? Yes, little Rico is here with me.

A deadly battle being fought in South Africa -- each year, nearly 700 rhinos, these innocent creatures killed for their horns. Poachers are ruthless killing more than 100 park rangers who dared to get in their way.

Now, there is new hope for the rhinos, and you will be surprised to find out who it is but we are so delighted for U.S. Special Forces that`s fighting back against these poachers, trying and fighting to save the rhinos.

I am so excited, so jazzed to have one of the brave men here now. He goes by Oz. He`s a Green Beret, one of the stars of the brand new Animal Planet series, "Battleground Rhino Wars". Oz, tell us how you wound up in South Africa and why you`re going toe to toe, risking your life. Tell us how you risk your life to defy these poachers and save these rhinos.

OZ, "BATTLEGROUND RHINO WARS": Hi, Jane. Hi, everyone. Well essentially we were tasked to come out and protect the animals. We had no idea how big of a mission we had on our hands. We got involved through an animal activist by the name of Peter Lamberty who owns a production studio in Africa. And he wanted to get the most outspoken, the most brazen, and the most powerful group of people to speak out on behalf of the animals. So he realized that was the American public. So in doing that he recruited American special operations to come to Africa and to fight for this animal and portray the story of what`s going on.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Your show is called "Battleground: Rhino Wars" which is on Animal Planet. Let`s take a look at a clip from the first day there.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our first day in South Africa was a real eye opener. These rhinos are being killed at an alarming rate -- more than one a day. That is unacceptable.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: This is a horror. Why are people so interested in having these rhino horns?

OZ: Well, it goes back to Asian mythology and folklore. There is a belief that the horn of the animal has some sort of magical healing properties. I`m not the smartest person in the world, but I can tell you that there really hasn`t been any evidence to support that keratin, which is the same material you have in your finger nails, can cure any problems. And as I`ve been telling people, if that were true, we`d all just sit at home and bite our fingernails and none of us would ever get sick.

They claim that it cures cancer. That it has healing agents and it simply doesn`t.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. And we have to do something to alert the world that this is a scam and people get these trinkets and they have no idea. It`s the same thing with elephants.

We`re going to talk more about what you can do on the other side.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: South Africa is at war with poachers. Last year alone, it`s estimated they lost 100 of their men and 668 rhinos. For this mission, I`ve recruited a crack team of U.S. Commandos -- Oz, Green Beret, medic.

OZ: The situation here is worse than it can ever be depicted.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. And we`ve got another clip for you to check out. It involves a little baby rhino. It`s tough to watch but bear witness so you can do something.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The noises you are hearing, the squeaking noises of this one-month-old little baby, trying to get milk from its mother, that has been poached.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wow.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good god.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Very traumatic for this cub.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: This is gut wrenching stuff. Makes grown men cry. These rhinos are killed for their horns, their babies starve to death and cry. We need to do something. The same thing is happening to elephants, by the way, for their tusks. And, you know, almost a hundred elephants were killed two weeks ago by poachers on the African continent, including 30 pregnant elephants.

I know there are groups World Wild Life Fund, International Fund for Animal Welfare and others, and go to my Web site we`ll tell you what to do. But what should the American public do to stop this?

OZ: You know, Jane, the big issue here is that once you know the truth, you`re responsible for it. You`ve got a team of guys that are professionals that have seen some horrific things out there, and they are going into this environment, and I`ll tell you what. It actually does make us a little bit sick.

I mean you`re talking about Navy SEALs and Green Berets, the toughest guys out there. And it is gut-wrenching. And just to give you an idea of how bad this epidemic is last year they lost almost 700 animals. This year, it`s only March, there`s only been 88 calendar days in this year and they`ve lost over 190 animals this year. That`s more than two a day. At this rate, they`re going to far surpass last year`s number. It`s exponentially getting worse.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: We`re out of time. But we have to do something. Americans, stands up for the animals, they can`t speak for themselves.

Nancy next.

END