So as a quick justification for this post I want to state that I come from a long line of proudly alcoholic lawyers centered primarily in Wyoming and Utah–so while not a lawyer, I am occasionally fascinated by all things legal and criminal–depending on one’s definition. That said I can’t help but notice two recent news items that have struck a chord with the lawyerly part of my genome, and a twinge of deja vu–having been married/divorced several times; the tales of Shannon Rogers Richardson and Jodi Arias.
We’ll start with Jodi Arias whose story involves anal sex, Mormonism and murder most foul. Jodi met and fell in love with Travis Alexander, devout Mormon, motivational speaker and salesman at a business conference in Vegas September 2006. He converted her to Mormonism and subsequently baptized her in November of 2006, according to her they had anal sex the same day…whew, now there’s a way to celebrate a religious milestone. They became a couple–whatever that means–in February of 2007. The relationship, like most, was great in the beginning but eventually become purely sexual–a big no-no for devout Mormons, and it eventually forced their break up in June 2007. Suffice it to say, Arias hadn’t had enough and would occasionally venture to Mesa AZ from Yreka CA for some lubricated cuddling. During one of these visits on 4 June 2008, based on her own testimony, she killed Travis when he attacked her for taking an inappropriate photo of him in the shower. His body was found five days later, 27 (or 29, the autopsy is unclear) stab wounds, a 25 caliber wound to the head, and his throat slit deeply enough to almost sever it. Overkill. Turns out the murder went way beyond that–it was also coldly calculated on her part including purchasing a 5 gallon gas can and filling it so she wouldn’t leave a string of credit card records (what no cash Jodi?) and staging a burglary at her own home of the 25 caliber semiautomatic used for the slaying a week before the event. Being a budding photographer she also recorded a few sexual encounters with Travis and then his slaying for posterity, events which took place within hours of each other. Brrrrr.
Our next suspect is Shannon Rogers Richardson, a walking argument for long term intimate relationships. Richardson, an aspiring actress who has played bit roles on such fine fare as “The Vampire Diaries” and, appropriately, “The Walking Dead,” evidently attempted to frame her husband by sending ricin encrusted letters to the Thief Executive and to Mayor Bloomberg. Trick is she was cooking up this deadly toxin, made from the innocuous castor bean, in her home, with several children in residence. She and her husband, Nathaniel a 33yr old Army Vet, were in the process of divorce and evidently she pretty much wanted everything including the rest of his life. The above is all conjecture of course and she has only recently been arrested–though I have a feeling that this one is going to get better. Finally, Richardson’s screen name is Sharon Guess–you just can’t make this stuff up.
So is there a lesson in these two stories culled from the News o’ the Day? I’m not sure, the old “Hell hath no fury…” cliche seems tired so I’ll dispatch that one immediately. I kind of get the feeling one gets when you watch the Japanese horror masterpiece, “The Audition” directed by Takashi Miike, where a minor Japanese media executive dates a woman for a few weeks, dumps her and in the final scene she surprises him at home and proceeds to torture him, she is eventually killed by his son. In these stories, however, there seems no happy endings are on the horizon, and the final lesson is the ever practical line from The Stranglers “you’d better watch out for the skin deep…”