I remember when I was on trial for defending my life against my abusive husband in 1983. No one believed it was self-defense. No one believed that I had suffered years of emotional, verbal, sexual, and physical abuse. The media made me out to be a cold blooded killer, and I remember looking for any opportunity to have someone believe my side of the story.
For several weeks now I have been following the trial of Jodi Arias in Arizona. I have watched as this young woman has broken down in front of America and be continually degraded by every news show and media outlet. I wish I could say I can’t relate to the hell she is going through at this time. But, I remember just like it was yesterday being on the stand and feeling like I was being torn apart and kicked in the stomach all at the same time.
I remember what it felt like to be completely alone as the courtroom continued to be crowded with media and spectators. I knew I was alone and that only I could be the one to tell my story if anyone even cared to know the truth. I knew how lost I felt in the system and how hard it was for me to understand why it was all even happening. To be deemed a liar by people who didn’t even know me, and were not there when my crime happened, was unimaginable. To hear the prosecution give their version of events and for me to feel like they had to be talking about someone else was unthinkable. My life was overwhelming!
It was a crossroad for me to finally realize that no one cared, while also realizing I didn’t stand a chance in court with the way things were being spinned against me. Knowing at the same time I should not be convicted after all I had already been through, I had lost control of my fate.
As the Arias case continues, I have learned that the original domestic violence expert assigned to my case, Alyce LaViolette, is now working on Jodi’s case. Alyce is an incredible woman who was one of the few people who believed my side of the story during my trial and continued to stand by me the entire 26 years I was incarcerated.
I have asked myself many times, after being contacted by multiple media stations, why I feel so strongly about the truth coming out and for people to wait to pass judgement against Jodi until they know all of the facts in the case. It is because I know exactly how it feels to be on trial for killing the man that you loved, and it is truly life altering to know that you are ALONE! The only difference for me was that back in 1983 there were no laws in place for my evidence of abuse to be allowed in court, and Alyce was actually never permitted to take the stand on my behalf.
I wish the best for Jodi, and hope that she will be allowed the chance to finally correct all of the character assassinations that have taken place. Jodi’s fate lies in the hands of 12 jurors, and not the media or even the public at large. She deserves the benefit of the doubt, and shame on society for leaping to conclusions without truly listening. Aren’t we innocent until proven guilty?
We will never know the truth of what happened during Jodi’s crime, but I wish people would simply start listening instead of blaming. I know I wish someone, beyond Alyce LaViolette, had done that for me during my trial. It could have saved me from having to spend 26 years behind bars.