OTR Interviews

Jodi Arias friend: The Court of public opinion is suppressing the truth

Brutal Boyfriend Murder: Friend who testified on Jodi Arias's behalf believes she 'lost it,' could have 'blacked out' during killing, says the public has already convicted her of murder

 

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," March 15, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Jodi Arias's lawyers say she killed Travis Alexander in self-defense. One of the first defense witnesses called to the stand, Gus Searcy, a former co-worker and friend of Jodi Arias. He testified that he saw Arias fight with Alexander over the phone just weeks before she killed him.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: During this phone call we were speaking about, did Ms. Arias identify who she was speaking to?

GUS SEARCY, FRIEND OF JODI ARIAS: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And whom was that?

SEARCY: Travis.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Travis Alexander?

SEARCY: Travis Alexander.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. Could you describe for us -- you've talked about being in this small motor home. So could you describe for us her demeanor after the phone call?

SEARCY: Well, once it got heated, she excused herself, stepped outside. She talked to him for about a half an hour outside, and when she came back in, she was shaking and crying.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. Had you seen her act like that before in any of your prior interactions with her?

SEARCY: No.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you ever see Ms. Arias get mad at Travis?

SEARCY: No.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAN SUSTEREN: And Gus Searcy joins us. Nice to see you, Gus.

SEARCY: Hello.

VAN SUSTEREN: Gus, tell me, how did you know Jodi Arias?

SEARCY: I had gone to Arizona to speak at a meeting where they were all at, and at the -- after the speaking, they kind of all go out to dinner. And when I -- after dinner, I had actually met -- well, I'd met both Travis and Jodi at the event. And then after dinner, she approached me to ask me if I would help her improve her business and do better at what she was doing.

VAN SUSTEREN: So about how long did you -- how long did you know her before Travis was murdered?

SEARCY: A little over a year.

VAN SUSTEREN: During that time, did she -- did you talk to her often or see her often?

SEARCY: We would talk a couple times a week. We'd see each other probably every two to three months at events somewhere where I was speaking, or at conventions or things like that. But we would talk a couple times a week because in order to help her, there was, like, an accountability, so she had to check in with me so I could see how she was doing and what she was doing and if she was following through with what we had talked about.

VAN SUSTEREN: In all the times that you spoke to her, did she ever confide to you that she was either afraid of Travis or that he had been physical with her or hurt her in any way?

SEARCY: Yes. As it started to progress, as we got to know each other better, in order to work with her, you know, you need to learn what's going on with someone -- you know, is it mental, physical emotional? Why aren't they succeeding? And it started coming out that she was having problems -- that she was upset with him. They were breaking up. They were going back together. And at one point, it became obvious that he was really more using her than anything else.

And then at one point, she called me up one day and she was very upset. They'd had some kind of a fight and she needed to get away. And I said, Well, I happen to be in Las Vegas, about an hour and a half away. Why don't you just come there and spend a day or so with me there, let things calm down.

VAN SUSTEREN: In -- is it though -- I asked -- I'm sort of curious about whether there was any sort of physical interaction because some guys might be cads and creeps and some women may just pick a fight or there may be verbal fights and a bad relationship. And then there's the physical relationship, where someone is abusive or afraid of someone. You know, which category did this -- these -- the relationship -- did it fall in?

SEARCY: What I experienced, what I can, you know, testify, what I had witnessed was verbal. I mean, for example, when she came to the motor home, he called her. She didn't really want to take the call, but she took it. And when she told him, he wanted to get off the phone -- when she wanted to get off the phone with him, all of a sudden, he started cussing at her.

And the moment he cussed at her, she winced -- ducked like she was ducking a bullet, and then capitulated to talk with him. And then she went outside and spoke with him for about a half an hour. So the moment he exerted any kind of dominance over her, she would cave.

VAN SUSTEREN: The night that he was murdered, as I understand it, she called you. I guess it was into the next morning about 3:00 AM?

SEARCY: About 3:30 in the morning, I had gotten a call from Jodi. And you know, I saw the phone said, you know, it was her. I answered the phone. She was crying. And I asked what's wrong. And she was crying a little bit, and she said Travis is dead.

And I knew she was crazy about him so I said, What happened? She said she didn't know. So at this point, keep in mind, I had no reason to suspect anything other than that. I asked, Are you OK? She said yes. I asked, Where are you? She said northern California.

So now, in my mind, she's, like, 1,200 miles away from where he was. I asked her if she needed a ride. She said no, she was going to rent a car. And I said, OK, well, let me know what happened. I know I've been criticized, people say, Well, why didn't you call the police? Well, why would I call the police? I get calls -- lots of times, people die, and if they're saying they don't know why they died, I figured, All right, he died, she was notified. They didn't know the details. And she was 1,200 miles away and going to drive to Arizona, so that's the call that I got.

VAN SUSTEREN: Do you find it now peculiar, sort of if you look back at because now that makes the fourth story. The first story being at 3:30 in the morning, she said she didn't know what happened. To the police, she said -- for one story is that wasn't there. To someone else, she said that somebody else did it. And now she's saying self-defense. Now we've now got four stories. Do you find that peculiar?

SEARCY: Probably not as peculiar as you might think. I'm not condoning what happened, by the way. But you know, somebody has just done something really, really bad, you know, there's, you know, a human experience. You fight or flight, and you're going to try to do what you can do, in your mind, whether it's right or wrong, to protect yourself.

So also, I think there was some evidence she wanted to try to protect Travis's reputation, too. She didn't really want a lot of this getting out that's gone out.

VAN SUSTEREN: And you believe that? I mean, you know her, but you know -- you know, I look at -- I look at the autopsy report. I don't know her, but I see, you know, he has about 30 knife wounds. He was shot. We got four stories, the woman who said it -- I mean, it doesn't look particularly like, you know, anything else, but -- I mean, it doesn't look like self-defense when you have that many wounds. Now, I'm not saying that it can't be, but it's sort of -- you know, the odds are against it.

SEARCY: I think it's a little of both. I mean, think of it logically. You know, I've heard a lot of talk about premeditation, but no one's answered this question for me. You know, let's assume that she had the gun and there wasn't already a gun in the place, like has been alleged. Why wouldn't she, if it was premeditated, when he opened the door, shoot him, or after they had had sex and he was asleep, shoot him? Why would you get in a fight with a guy that's twice as big as you and twice as strong as you?

I actually think what happened is that -- he did have a temper. Something flared. They started to fight. And once it happened, she just lost it. From all the stuff that's gone on, she -- again, I'm not saying this is, you know, a valid reason for doing it. But why would you get in a fight with a guy that could beat the crap out of you when you could just shoot him when he's sleeping? And that's not what happened.

VAN SUSTEREN: I guess the problem is that when it's self-defense, is you've got to -- you know -- you have -- you have -- if she's the aggressor and she has the gun and the knife, and the way you described it, it doesn't look -- quote, "losing it" isn't -- isn't -- isn't in fear of your safety.

SEARCY: Well, I'm not arguing that point. I'm just saying that once it started, I think it got to the point where she just snapped. I can't speak to that. But I know if I was half the size of someone else, that was twice as big as me, I wouldn't take them straight on. I would do it -- you know, shoot them in the head two times, three times when they're sleeping or when they opened the door, but not get in a direct fight with them.

VAN SUSTEREN: Do you know anybody else who knew Travis? And do you have any -- hear anything about Travis getting violent with anybody else, whether it's an old girlfriend or his buddies or family? Ever hear any other acts of violence?

SEARCY: You know, that's one of the big problems with this. You know, on one side, the courts want the truth, but the public doesn't. The public has decided a long time ago she's a bad person, she needs to die. And you know, the court of public opinion is actually suppressing the truth because there are people who know more than -- I mean, if you think about, she was originally a nice-looking girl, and until this happened, you're saying she had no friends? There's no one who knew anything? Well, there are people who knew.

But the problem is -- I have personally experienced one woman that said, Gus, look what happened to you. I mean, I'm a reasonably credible guy. I'm a nice person. I declined interviews. And all of a sudden, I got totally assassinated by the press before I went on the stand, and everyone believed it to be gospelly (ph) true. And I've had women tell me, Gus, I could not have that happen.

I know Mormon women who know stuff, but they're a Mormon. If they go on the news -- on the stand in front of the public, they're going to be ostracized by their friends, by the church. And to them, it's not worth it. I mean, one lady, quote, said, She killed him, we know she killed him, it's not worth me getting involved.

So even though there's more truth to be told, it's being suppressed. And in a society like this, we need to be able to have a fair trial for everybody, whether we like them or not. And if we start not doing that, you're going to create a slippery slope that could hurt a lot of other people down the road.

VAN SUSTEREN: Gus, thank you very much. Thank you for joining us.

SEARCY: Thank you.