Sadomasochistic sex, obsession, and jealousy gone wrong create a deadly combination in the twisted tale of Jodi Arias: An American Murder Mystery which re-examines one of the most salacious and sensational crimes to rock the nation. In the latest installment of the record-breaking American Murder Mystery franchise, leading true-crime network Investigation Discovery (ID) delves into the explosive investigation and trial of Jodi Arias for the murder of Travis Alexander in a case that was almost too stunning to be believed. When 30-year-old Alexander is found brutally murdered in his Mesa, Arizona home, police are shocked – who would have wanted to harm the popular salesman with no known enemies? But soon, investigators receive a bizarre phone call that changes everything. The caller is Alexander's mysterious ex-girlfriend – Jodi Arias. What happens next is too shocking to be real – but, it is.
Runtime: 60 minutes
Jodi Arias: An American Murder Mystery - Death of Caylee Anthony - Netflix
Caylee Marie Anthony (August 9, 2005 – 2008) was an American girl who lived in Orlando, Florida (United States), with her mother, Casey Marie Anthony (born March 19, 1986), and her maternal grandparents, George and Cindy Anthony. On July 15, 2008, she was reported missing in a 9-1-1 call made by Cindy, who said she had not seen Caylee for 31 days and that Casey's car smelled like a dead body had been inside it. Cindy said Casey had given varied explanations as to Caylee's whereabouts before finally telling her that she had not seen Caylee for weeks. Casey lied to detectives, telling them Caylee had been kidnapped by a nanny on June 9, and that she had been trying to find her, too frightened to alert the authorities. She was charged with first-degree murder in October 2008 and pleaded not guilty. On December 11, 2008, two-year-old Caylee's skeletal remains were found with a blanket inside a trash bag in a wooded area near the Anthony family's house. Investigative reports and trial testimony alternated between duct tape being found near the front of the skull and on the mouth of the skull. The medical examiner mentioned duct tape as one reason she ruled the death a homicide, but officially listed it as “death by undetermined means”. The trial lasted six weeks, from May to July 2011. The prosecution sought the death penalty and alleged Casey wished to free herself from parental responsibilities and murdered her daughter by administering chloroform and applying duct tape. The defense team, led by Jose Baez, countered that the child had drowned accidentally in the family's swimming pool on June 16, 2008, and that George Anthony disposed of the body. The defense contended that Casey lied about this and other issues because of a dysfunctional upbringing, which they said included sexual abuse by her father. The defense did not present evidence as to how Caylee died, nor evidence that Casey was sexually abused as a child, but challenged every piece of the prosecution's evidence, calling much of it “fantasy forensics”. Casey did not testify. On July 5, 2011, the jury found Casey not guilty of first-degree murder, aggravated child abuse, and aggravated manslaughter of a child, but guilty of four misdemeanor counts of providing false information to a law enforcement officer. With credit for time served, she was released on July 17, 2011. A Florida appeals court overturned two of the misdemeanor convictions on January 25, 2013. The not-guilty murder verdict was greeted with public outrage and was both attacked and defended by media and legal commentators. Some complained that the jury misunderstood the meaning of reasonable doubt, while others said the prosecution relied too heavily on the defendant's allegedly poor moral character because they had been unable to show conclusively how the victim had died. Time magazine described the case as “the social media trial of the century”.
Jodi Arias: An American Murder Mystery - Trial coverage - Netflix
The trial was commonly compared to the O. J. Simpson murder case, both for its widespread media attention and initial shock at the not-guilty verdict. At the start of the trial, dozens of people raced to the Orange County Courthouse, hoping to secure one of 50 seats open to the public at the murder trial. Because the case received such thorough media attention in Orlando, jurors were brought in from Pinellas County, Florida, and sequestered for the entire trial. The case became a “macabre tourist attraction”, as people camped outside for seats in the courtroom, where scuffles also broke out among those wanting seats inside. The New York Post described the trial as going “from being a newsworthy case to one of the biggest ratings draws in recent memory”, and Time magazine dubbed it “the social media trial of the century”. Cable news channels and network news programs became intent upon covering the case as extensively as they could. Scot Safon, executive vice president of HLN, said it was “not about policy” but rather the “very, very strong human dimension” of the case that drove the network to cover it. The audience for HLN's Nancy Grace rose more than 150 percent, and other news channels deciding to focus on the trial saw their ratings double and triple. HLN achieved its most watched hour in network history (4.575 million) and peaked at 5.205 million when the verdict was read. According to The Christian Post, the O. J. Simpson case had a 91 percent television viewing audience, with 142 million people listening by radio and watching television as the verdict was delivered. “The Simpson case was the longest trial ever held in California, costing more than $20 million to fight and defend, running up 50,000 pages of trial transcript in the process.” The Casey Anthony trial was expected to “far exceed” these numbers. Opinions varied on what made the public thoroughly invested in the trial. Safon argued the Anthonys having been a regular and “unremarkable” family with complex relationships made them intriguing to watch. In a special piece for CNN, psychologist Frank Farley described the circumstantial evidence as “all over the map” and that combined with “the apparent lying, significant contradictions and flip-flops of testimony, and questionable or bizarre theories of human behavior, it is little wonder that this nation [was] glued to the tube”. He said it was a trial that was both a psychologist's dream and nightmare, and believes that much of the public's fascination [had] to do with the uncertainty of a motive for the crime. Psychologist Karyl McBride discussed how some mothers stray away from “the saintly archetype” expected of mothers. “We want so badly to hang onto the belief system that mothers don't harm children,” she stated. “It's fascinating that the defense in the Anthony case found a way to blame the father. While we don't know what is true and maybe never will, it is worth taking a look at the narcissistic family when maternal narcissism rules the roost. Casey Anthony is a beautiful white woman and the fact that the case includes such things as sex, lies, and videotapes makes it irresistible.” When the not-guilty verdict was rendered, there was significant outcry among the general public and media that the jury made the wrong decision. Outside the courthouse, many in the crowd of 500 reacted with anger, chanting their disapproval and waving protest signs. People took to Facebook and Twitter, as well as other social media outlets, to express their outrage. Traffic to news sites surged from about two million page views a minute to 3.3 million, with most of the visits coming from the United States. Mashable reported that between 2 pm and 3 pm, one million viewers were watching CNN.com/live, 30 times higher than the previous month's average. Twitter's trending topics in the United States were mostly about the subjects related to the case, and Newser reported that posts on Facebook were coming in “too fast for all Facebook to even count them, meaning at least 10 per second”. Some people referred to the verdict as “O.J. Number 2”, and various media personalities and celebrities expressed outrage via Twitter. News anchor Julie Chen became visibly upset while reading the not-guilty verdict on The Talk and had to be assisted by her fellow co-hosts, who also expressed their dismay. Others, such as Sean Hannity of the Fox News Channel, felt the verdict was fair because the prosecution did not have enough evidence to establish guilt or meet its burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt. Hannity said that the verdict was legally correct, and that all of the evidence that was presented by the prosecution was either impeached or contradicted by the defense. John Cloud of Time magazine echoed these sentiments, saying the jury made the right call: “Anthony got off because the prosecution couldn't answer [the questions],” Cloud stated. “Because the prosecutors had so little physical evidence, they built their case on Anthony's (nearly imperceptible) moral character. The prosecutors seemed to think that if jurors saw what a fantastic liar Anthony was, they would understand that she could also be a murderer.” Disagreement with the verdict was heavily debated by the media, lawyers and psychologists, who put forth several theories for public dissatisfaction with the decision, ranging from wanting justice for Caylee, to the circumstantial evidence having been strong enough, to some blaming the media. UCLA forensic psychiatrist Dr. Carole Lieberman, said, “The main reason that people are reacting so strongly is that the media convicted Casey before the jury decided on the verdict. The public has been whipped up into this frenzy wanting revenge for this poor little adorable child. And because of the desire for revenge, they've been whipped up into a lynch mob.” She added, “Nobody likes a liar, and Anthony was a habitual liar. And nobody liked the fact that she was partying after Caylee's death. Casey obviously has a lot of psychological problems. Whether she murdered her daughter or not is another thing.” There was a gender gap in perceptions to the case. According to a USA Today/Gallup Poll of 1,010 respondents, about two-thirds of Americans (64 percent) believed Casey Anthony “definitely” or “probably” murdered her daughter; however, women were much more likely than men to believe the murder charges against Anthony and to be upset by the not-guilty verdict. The poll reported that women were more than twice as likely as men, 28 percent versus 11 percent, to think Anthony “definitely” committed murder. Twenty-seven percent of women said they were angry about the verdict, compared with nine percent of men. On the day Casey Anthony was sentenced for lying to investigators in the death of her daughter, supporters and protesters gathered outside the Orange County Courthouse, with one man who displayed a sign asking Anthony to marry him. Two men who drove overnight from West Virginia held signs that said, “We love and support you Casey Anthony,” and “Nancy Grace, stop trying to ruin innocent lives. The jury has spoken. P.S. Our legal system still works!” The gender gap has partly been explained by “the maternal instinct”. The idea of a mother murdering her own child is a threat to the ideal of motherhood. For example, the trial was compared to the 1960s trial of Alice Crimmins, who was accused of murdering her two small children. Explanations other than, or emphasizing, the prosecution's lack of forensic evidence were given for the jury's decision. A number of media commentators reasoned that the prosecution overcharged the case by tagging on the death penalty, concluding that people in good conscience could not sentence Anthony to death based on the circumstantial evidence presented. The CSI effect was also extensively argued—that society now lives “in a 'CSI age' where everyone expects fingerprints and DNA, and we are sending a message that old-fashioned circumstantial evidence is not sufficient”. Likewise, commentators such as O. J. Simpson case prosecutor Marcia Clark believe that the jury interpreted “reasonable doubt” too narrowly. Clark said instruction on reasonable doubt is “the hardest, most elusive” instruction of all. “And I think it's where even the most fair-minded jurors can get derailed,” she said, opining the confusion between reasonable doubt and a reason to doubt. “In Scotland, they have three verdicts: guilty, not guilty, and not proven. It's one way of showing that even if the jury didn't believe the evidence amounted to proof beyond a reasonable doubt, it didn't find the defendant innocent either. There's a difference.”
Jodi Arias: An American Murder Mystery - References - Netflix