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Prosecutor Juan Martinez's "Perry Mason" Moment - Busts Jodi Arias For Lying About Gas Cans

cancercrossMay 8 2013, 8,052 views

Prosecutor Juan Martinez may have been saving his best punch for last. In what appeared to be a "Perry Mason" moment, he catches Jodi Arias in what appears to be a lie about bringing a 3rd gas can. From the start of the trial, Jodi has maintained that she only took 2 gas cans, not 3 (& she only mentions gas cans at all because her ex-boyfriend revealed that he lent 2 of them to her just prior to her trip). The lie is significant because it is not just a lie to the police, to the prosecutor, to Travis or to her family - it would be a direct lie to the faces of the jury members - and multiple times throughout the trial.

When Jodi leaves Utah to go back home, she gets gas. There have been 2 receipts to show this: one for $41.18 (10.672 gallons) which was likely used to fill her car & another for $36.98 (9.583 gallons) which was likely used to fill the 2 gas cans (roughly 5 gallons each), which Jodi doesn't deny bringing. However, she has repeatedly denied bringing a 3rd gas can throughout the trial. Martinez shows her bank statement which reveals there was a 3rd purchase at the same station for $19.65. Dividing that by the price of gas at the time, $3.859, equals 5.09 gallons -- almost the exact gas capacity for a 3rd gas can. Jodi could have been buying something else like a snack or a drink, but the amount seems to be extremely coincidental. Jodi's lawyers would be hard-pressed to find gas station merchandise equaling exactly $19.65. They seemed to have been caught off guard & unaware of the bank statement evidence. At 5:55, Nurmi has a surprised look on his face, as if that was the 1st time he was hearing of those receipts.

Jodi did say she bought a 3rd gas can at the Wal-Mart in Salinas, CA but that she returned it later the same day. Martinez asks her if she would be surprised that there was no record of a return of a gas can at the Wal-Mart in Salinas on that day. Note, evidence may or may not turn up that she returned it but it would do her case no good if she returned it after coming back from her trip since she still would have used it in the commission of her crime.

On March 8, 2013 Martinez added to his witness list employees of both Tesoro and Wal-Mart as rebuttal witnesses - presumably to testify that Jodi made 3 gas purchases that day & that there was no gas can return at Wal-Mart in Salinas on the day she claimed she returned it.

So what's the point? Borrowing 2 gas cans is suspicious in itself, but Jodi managed to think of a questionable but plausible explanation for it (that it is her routine for long road trips that her ex-boyfriend taught her to do & he is also the one lending them to her). If Jodi went out of her way to buy a 3rd gas can, it would take more plausibility out of her story & it would suggest that she went to great lengths to avoid evidence of her travelling in & out of Arizona and to be as far away as possible from the crime scene when she does need to refuel. Stopping at a gas station would have created a record that she was in Arizona (ie/ receipts, video surveillance, etc). Going out of her way to avoid getting gas in Arizona would suggest that killing Travis was carefully thought out & planned. There are other implications of what extra gas could have been used for as well (ie/ burning evidence, etc).

More importantly: Really the only thing Jodi has in this case is her word. Jodi may have jeopardized any trust that she might have garnered from any jury members - trust that she's been fighting for all trial long. This occurs very shortly after Jodi just finishes answering a juror's question who asked that if she had been lying back then, then why should they trust her now?

Why 3 Gas Cans Would Have Been Better For Jodi If She Had Planned To Kill Travis:

Fuel capacity of the car she rented (2008 Ford Focus) = 13.5 gallons
Mileage of 2008 Ford Focus = 24 mpg (City) to 35 mpg (Hwy) = avg 29.5 mpg
2 gas cans = 10 gallons
3 gas cans = 15 gallons

Miles she would've been able to drive with full tank of gas + 2 gas cans = around 693.25 miles
Miles she would've been able to drive with full tank of gas + 3 gas cans = around 840.75 miles
*She would have been able to drive about 147.5 miles further with 3 gas cans vs 2.

Distance from Pasadena, CA to Mesa, AZ = 387 miles
Distance from Mesa, AZ to West Jordan, UT (her destination) = roughly 700 miles
Total distance = 1087 miles

*Even with 3 gas cans & a full tank, she still would've needed to refuel before reaching West Jordan but 3 gas cans would have taken her further from the crime scene than 2 cans would have & this would better support her first story that she was nowhere near Travis' house at the time of his death. 2 gas cans & a full tank would have still taken Jodi at least to the border of Arizona & Nevada but she likely didn't want to risk the slightest chance of running out of gas during the ultimate act of her lifetime.

Clip compiled & edited by PKReport

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