Courtroom is packed for the first time today. There is a lottery to get in. The rest will watch in overflow room. After much delay, sidebars, etc, Court gets underway. We will begin with two impact statements from Travis’ family. This is new. First up, Travis’ younger sister Tanisha Sorenson. I’ve pieced together tweets to give you the gist of her statement.
“My brother was my best friend. He protected me and inspired me. I feel so fortunate to be blessed with such a wonderful brother. He will be forever 30. Today I’m 4 years old. I have outlived my older brother. Travis doesn’t get to have that life. He doesn’t get to have those children. When our parents died Travis was our rock. When we found out Travis was dead we had nobody to comfort us. My children will never grow up to know Uncle Travis. Our family has been through a living hell. Tere are not enough words to express what we’ve been going through. Our family has fallen apart since Travis’s death. I’ve been diagnosed with PTSD from this incident. The images of my brother’s dead body will forever be stained my memory.I’m scared every day to close my eyes in the shower.I see Travis’ dead body in my mind, taking a shower is so difficult. I’m obsessed with carrying out Travis’s legacy. I started to lose my faith in God and my will to live. I’ve lost myself in this. I’ve experienced so much depression that I’ve almost lost my husband. I am continually reminded of the death of brother over and over. The autopsy photos of my brother’s decomposing body and mummified face are the images I can’t get out of my head. I remember the last day i spent with him it was an amazing day. a truly amazing day. Our minds are ruined with seeing Travis’s body slumped over in the shower and his throat slit ear to ear. When I think of my brother I don’t want to see him stabbed, bleeding, shot in the head. I just want to see my brother. I just want to close my eyes and see Travis my brother, but I can’t. “
Some jurors are crying as Tanisha shows happy pictures of Travis up on the screen. Some reports that Jodi is crying. Tanisha has been crying most of the time. Entire Alexander family is crying. Tweeters stress the impact statement is very emotional.
Steven, Travis’ brother is up next. Tanisha did not give an impact statement the first time. Steven did. He is reading the same one from the previous time. Here is the transcript:
My name is Stephen Alexander. Travis was my big brother. I was sleeping in after working a 12-hour graveyard shift in the Amy. I woke up to the sound of my wife crying walking up the stairs. I will never forget what she said. “Samantha, I cannot tell him, you have to.” My wife handed the phone to me. It was my sister, Samantha. She was crying hysterically. She told me, “Stephen, Travis is dead!” I thought I was dreaming. She didn’t really have any details at the time, so I just gave the phone back to my wife. A few moments later we found out he was killed. I remember walking out the back door screaming, crying at the sky, asking why, and I sank down into a corner and I cried some more.
Awhile later, my commander called with the same news. I kept my composure, but in my head I was reliving the same exact moment all over again. As soon as we hung up, I broke down again. I thought my brother was bullet proof. I thought he was stronger than anything. He couldn’t be cut down or knocked down. He was in two motorcycle crashes and walked away unharmed. He wrecked several cars and nothing happened to him. He rolled a snowmobile, and again, not a scratch. He was unbreakable.
Who on earth would want to do this to him? For what reasons? He wanted to move forward in life, to better himself, and only to help others. Why him? Unfortunately, I won’t ever get the answers to most of my questions about my brother’s death. Questions like, how much did he suffer? How much did he scream? What was he saying? What was the last thing he saw before his eyes closed? What was his final thought?
The last time I saw my brother was Christmas of 2007. We had a really good time. A lot of our family was there. We played a bunch of family games. One in particular was the American Idol game. Travis kept beating everybody. The only way I could actually beat him was by singing a Kelly Clarkson in a girl voice so I could hit all the notes.
We had nicknames for each other – Stevis and Travid, so he said, “Stevis, it doesn’t count because it’s a girl song.” I tend to disagree with him.
He got to meet my daughter and hold her for the first time. He said she was the most beautiful little girl he has even seen. I never would have thought that would be the last time I would see him.
The nature of my brother’s murder has had a major impact on me. It has even invaded my dreams. I have nightmares about somebody coming at me with a knife and then going after my wife and my daughter. When I wake up, I cannot establish what is real and what is a dream. I’ve even gone through the house searching through rooms, shaking my family to wake them up to make sure that they are alive.
My wife has woken me up out of nightmares because I was screaming in my sleep. It may sound childish, but I cannot sleep alone in the dark anymore.
I’ve had dreams of my brother, all curled up in the shower, thrown in there, left to rot for days, all alone.
I don’t want these nightmares anymore. I don’t want to have to see my brother’s murderer any more. I don’t want to hear his name dragged through the mud anymore.
I’ve been hospitalized several times for ulcers and came very near to death. I’ve been on several different anti-depressants. Unfortunately, none of them really worked. I wasn’t able to be the husband my wife deserved. I distanced myself from everybody. My wife and I, we ultimately separated two years ago, and it was for a period of two times. My poor little girl had to be passed back and forth every week, and now, yet again, I have to be away from my wife and my child. It has been over four months now. I go home to California during the weekends. Every time I have to come back to Arizona I see my little girl crying and beg me not to go. I miss them very much and I cannot wait for this to end so that we can all get back to our lives.
Travis used to write out his day on a flashcard. The last one he wrote said: Call Stephen. I never got that call. He had been concerned about my health and wanted to fly me to his house and help me quit smoking. I never got to go. Now when I want to talk or see my brother, I have to go to a 3 ½ foot x 8 foot long x 6 foot deep hole in the ground.
He was meant to do so much more. He never got to live his dreams. He never got to meet his goals. In 2008 he wrote his affirmations on his Blog.
“This year will be the best year of my life. This is the year that will eclipse all others. I will earn more, learn more, travel more, serve more, love more, give more, and be more than all the other years in my life combined. True, other years now past have been at times magnificent, but not like this. This is a year of metamorphosis, of growth and accomplishment that at previous times was unimaginable. A year where the impossible will become commonplace and the unachievable will become effortless achieved, where I raise myself to heights only visited by the great men and women of this world and by so doing, this year will be the best year of my life. And how will I do this — through compassionate service, random acts of kindness, unconditional love, and acknowledgement of the true source of all blessings with gratitude in my heart. And when I fail, I will learn from my mistakes. I will strengthen my resolve, be better than I was before. What will I do to improve my finances? I will work harder, yes, but more importantly, I will work smarter and learn to leverage myself and get more out of one day than I previously got out of a month.
“I will succeed through integrity and through selfless service of others through the powerful forces and the structure of the mind I will tap into the source of infinite intelligence and be more efficient in all my endeavors and be an exponentially greater asset to this world. I will love, and then love more. I will serve and serve more. I will forgive and then forgive more. I will not let these thoughts fade but instead remind myself of them daily and spend time visualizing myself in accomplishment of them until the day that my thoughts become reality. Then I will not stop but press forward, to new goals and new heights in my quest to change this world. I will be a published author and effortlessly doing so what I was meant to do to better my life and the lives of others. I will associate with more successfully minded people to be a teacher as well as a student. I will travel this great country and this great planet gaining rich experiences founded by very few. I will find an eternal companion… (long pause) that enhances me exponentially and countless other goals that at one point I dared not even dream. 2008 will be the best year of my life, which will lay the foreground for 2009, to dwarf the accomplishments of 2008. This year will be the best year of my life, and I will succeed.”
I know Travis only hoped to change one life. He never would have thought he could change the world. People across the globe have been influenced by him. Travis believed every single one of us was created to be successful. We all have different trials. We just have to get there. Travis has a legacy. It is up to us to make sure it survives. You were born to be great. It is your destiny. “The difference between a stumbling block and a stepping stone is the character of the individual walking the path.” Travis coined that philosophy. Those are Travis’s words. That is the way my brother lived his life. That is the way he wanted to continue to live. That is how he wanted us to live. He will never get to today, because he was so brutally ripped out of this world – my world. Hopefully, one day I can make him proud. Thank you.
Tanisha sobbed through Steven’s statement from the front row with the rest of the families and everyone went to break.
Major drama when everyone returned. First they seemed to want to kick out the pool photographer. Then it was all the media. Media demanded legal counsel. The theory is that Jodi wants to testify without the media present. That is bullshit. Take your fugly murderous ass and get on the stand. That is just a theory, not fact yet, but is being reported as such. There has literally been half an hour of sidebar and confusion and going in to chambers. Probably, closer to an hour, now. We think the judge has gone to consult about the legality of this potential situation.
While we wait, I should point out that when the proceedings started this morning the public information officer had words with the pool still photographer. We thought he was being asked not to photo the Alexander family during impact statements. But he did. Now it seems it pertained to Jodi. Still no judge. Media lawyers have shown up to have the requisite hissyfit if they try to toss them.
The trial has been stopped for an hour while the lawyers argue the media issue. I predict this will not take an hour. I think it will be the rest of the day.