Did a torrid affair between a trial blogger and a high profile attorney lead to one of the biggest mysteries in the Jodi Arias sentencing retrial? Who was responsible for leaking the holdout juror’s information online? Freelance Reporter Tammy Rose blogs about her experience while covering the trial that led to another Arizona Bar complaint filed against the fiery Maricopa County Prosecutor Juan Martinez.
It was a bit overwhelming covering the sentencing retrial for Jodi Arias who was convicted of first-degree murder in May 2013 because I was not in the courtroom for the original case. I was a Helicopter Reporter for 3 television stations in Phoenix, AZ and would report on what I saw from up above. Hundreds of people from all over the world would line up in front of the courthouse hoping to get a front row seat to see the young, attractive girl accused of killing her 30-year-old ex-boyfriend, Travis Alexander, at his Mesa, Arizona home on June 4, 2008.
This time around, I would be inside the courtroom working as a Freelance Reporter for KFYI, CBS News, 24/7 Radio and filming a web series called ‘Obsessed Trial Watchers’ for my company, Chopper Rose Productions.
It was the first full week of the Jodi Arias trial in October 2014 when I ran into this beautiful, blonde woman typing on her computer in the courthouse cafeteria during one of our lunch breaks. She had a radiant, warm smile and when she looked up at me, I recognized her as the same woman who appeared with me on HLN’s panel of experts the week before discussing the upcoming trial.
We only knew each other for a short time, but it was a fast forming friendship we enjoyed inside the courtroom as well as outside. We shared the same birthday and only lived 5 minutes apart from each other so we would often commute to the courthouse. Since Jen wasn’t employed by a television or radio station, many of us who worked for mainstream media would interview her as a trial watcher and I was thrilled to add her to my ‘Obsessed Trial Watchers’ show which highlighted the craziness that went on behind the scenes. She was very articulate and knowledgeable about this particular case. However, when she talked about her ‘so called’ sources, things didn’t always add up so I was very careful with what information I used, sticking strictly to what Jen observed inside the courtroom. For example, she would tell me she got some of her information from a good friend of hers….a CNN Reporter by the name of Keri Lee who was not inside the courtroom covering the trial.
I thought that was odd since the person CNN hired to cover the trial was sitting next to me in the media room and his name was Mitchell Pietz who owns Desert Sky Media, a production company out of Prescott. So I asked Jen to show me some of Keri’s work. She pulled out her cell phone and showed me a Facebook page, which looked fake to me. That’s when I noticed another white lie of hers from an interview she did with Adam Slinger of KNXV-TV 15. She had stated that she had a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice and that she attended Northern Arizona University, both facts I confirmed from a school representative to not be true.
I didn’t think much of these small white lies until we had a very interesting night of wine and girl talk at my house. On January 9, 2015, I received a strange instant message on Facebook from Samantha Williams, a woman I never heard of so when Jen arrived at my house later that night, I asked my friend about it.
“We need to help Jen get ahead if you know what I mean. She is such a control freak but we need to push her ahead, I love her so much. She has helped me so much. love you too.”
She told me that Samantha Williams was a crazy internet stalker from California who sent her gifts and text messages nonstop. So I told her to block her, which eventually I did after Jen told me that Samantha Williams also goes by the name of Juanstie on Twitter and shockingly told me that she was also Keri Lee, the girl she had told me about earlier who had reportedly worked for CNN. However, the phone number Jen provided me linked up to a Samantha Williams account who was an administrator on her Trial Diaries Fan page. Why would a crazy stalker be helping Jen run her business? According to Jen, she never spoke to this Keri Lee on the phone. She only communicated with her via the internet. This person would make my life a living hell for the next two years blowing up my phone which led to me filing a police report. This person would call, then hang up or leave threatening text messages. This pattern would happen to a lot of other people in the trial world.
Just when I thought the night couldn’t get any weirder Jen revealed a secret of her own that at first was hard to comprehend but all made sense to me now. She told me she was having an affair with Arias’ Prosecutor Juan Martinez and that it had been going on for a year and a half. I knew Juan had a live-in girlfriend and that Jen was married but as far as I was concerned what two consenting adults did behind closed doors was their own business. However, as the trial progressed Jen continued to push the envelope and eventually crossed lines that I couldn’t be a part of. As far as I knew up to this point, none of the information Jen was acquiring was sealed information, only direction from Juan on where to look for documents and a heads up on who was testifying next and for how long.
As I continued to film my ‘Obsessed Trial Watchers’ show, Jen and I spent more time together and eventually I was with her, along with one of her other friends, Deb Mason, when Juan called to check in on her while we were at the Phoenix Municipal Courthouse. One of Jodi Arias’ cellmates, Cassandra Collins, filed an injunction against harassment on Jen. The hearing was on Friday, January 16, 2015, and I decided to make it part of my web series. While I was not able to film inside the courtroom, I sat and listened to the hearing and was shocked when Jen lied under oath. The affair with Juan was brought up which she denied as well as her telling the Judge she worked for KTVK, KPHO & HLN. Jen has never been employed by a radio or television station to cover news or trials. However, the media has interviewed Jen as a court watcher. While I was happy for Jen that she won her hearing, I told her that I would never lie for her if asked about the affair. I was able to film Jen and Deb as they walked outside of the courthouse and followed them to Wood’s car. As soon as we got inside the car, Juan called and I was asked to turn off my camera and be quite. This would be one of five conversations I would hear between Wood and Martinez. They usually talked about what went down that day in court, how much they missed and loved each other and how they couldn’t wait to see each other. On another occasion, I heard them making plans to meet on a Sunday at Juan’s office to which according to Jen confessed they had sex, then to help him prepare for court. My jaw dropped because now this wasn’t just an affair behind closed doors, it was happening while Juan was working on a very expensive trial paid by taxpayers and she may have had access to sealed documents. Jen said she met with Juan in his office on at least three occasions that I’m aware of during the Jodi Arias sentencing retrial, February 8, February 15 & March 1, 2015. She had another date with him on Saturday, January 24, 2015, but I do not recall where they went.
Oddly enough, I was called in for Jury duty during the Arias trial and even though I worked for the media, I couldn’t imagine having to worry about my information being leaked online and having to deal with death threats or people showing up at my house so when I suspected that Jen & Juan’s affair could have been tied to these leaks, I turned my phone records over to an attorney investigating and ended my friendship with Jen. From there a bar complaint was filed on February 24, 2017, by Karen Clark. Shortly after the complaint was filed, I received more threats from someone who appeared to have read the 25-page document which at that time was not of public record. One of the first people to leak Juror 17’s name on the internet was Samantha Williams on Jen’s Fan page. All of the text messages between Jen Wood & myself were forensically verified by Karl Epps with Epps Forensic Consulting in Scottsdale, AZ. I have chosen not to release the text messages to the public.
I know a lot of people will think I turned on a friend but this was more about Juan Martinez because as far as I could see, he was crossing some major ethical lines but thankfully this isn’t for me or you to decide. Jen couldn’t see how Juan was manipulating her because she was busy manipulating the trial world and swaying things the way she wanted or maybe that’s what Juan wanted. I don’t know. That’s why it’s important for this to be looked into. If the bar believes what Jen is telling me in our phone records this case could have turned out differently.
As far as my thoughts on Jen, I always felt she was a shining star on her own. I wish she could have seen that in herself without resorting to so many tactics I could no longer support.