|Jodi Arias mugshot from 2008|
The toxic, troubled and deeply obsessive love affair between Jodi Arias and her Mormon on/off boyfriend, Travis Alexander, ended in his murder on June 4th, 2008. As the prosecution in the Arias trial would later say, Mr Alexander was murdered three times over - after being stabbed 30 times, shot and having his throat cut from ear to ear. Travis Alexander's body lay undiscovered in the shower at his home until concerned friends broke in and found him. Arias initially denied all knowledge of Travis' murder, instead playing the distraught friend and former love. Unbeknown to Arias, her name had already been mentioned to police by Travis' friends, as early as the 911 call from his home on June 9th. Arias was formally questioned by police on June 14th where she stuck to her story of knowing nothing. However, the physical evidence at the crime scene was beginning to tell a different tale, and Arias knew her game was up when police revealed they had found her hair and blood mixed in with Travis' at the crime scene. Rather than confess any wrongdoing, she told her second set of lies. Weaving a some what elaborate tale of how she and Travis were attacked in his home by two masked ninjas. Travis, she said, had desperately fought for his life. Probably the only true sentence she uttered in her deceitful web of lies. After learning from friends of Travis, his own emails and texts and Arias' own emails and journals, a picture of a beyond obsessed jilted lover soon emerged. She had manipulated Travis Alexander into taking her into his bed by conforming to his Mormon faith and acting like the demure girlfriend in public and a slut in the bedroom. Arias was indicted by Grand Jury for first-degree murder on July 9th 2008 and arrested on July 15th. Following her extradition to Arizona, Arias officially pleaded 'not guilty' on September 11th, 2008.
|The object of Jodi Arias' obsession|
Due to a number of delay tactics by the defence, including having Arias submitted for an IQ test to assess competency, it was the summer of 2011 when Arias submitted a request to represent herself at trial. Judge Sherry Stephens,presiding over the upcoming trial, agreed to this although she specified that Arias' defence counsel (Victoria Washington and Kirk Nurmi) stay on in an advisory capacity. Later in the same year, Arias requested letters sent to her by Mr Alexander in the weeks leading up to his death be admitted into evidence. According to her, these letters were proof that Travis Alexander was not only a paedophile, but he was also abusive, controlling and violent towards her. Judge Stephens denied the request. She also denied the defence's motion to have the death penalty removed as potential punishment. Shortly after, Victoria Washington's request to step down as Arias' defence counsel was accepted and she was replaced by death penalty qualified attorney, Jennifer Wilmott. Around Christmas 2011, Jodi Arias' sister Angela appeared on a special edition of 48 Hours. During the programme, Angela Arias said her sister's claims of being attacked by ninjas was false and that Jodi Arias herself had killed Travis Alexander in an act of self defence after an abusive Alexander had attacked her. It was, therefore no surprise, when Arias' trial finally opened on January 2nd that she claimed she was guilty of killing Alexander but only because she was defending her own life. It was also no surprise that she had decided to hand over her representation to her attorneys.
During opening arguments, Maricopa County Prosecutor Juan Martinez pointed out the many lies Jodi Arias had told before settling with her self defence motive. He highlighted the fact that, up until then, she had told many lies and two other versions of the events of June 4th 2008. He pointed out that, not only did Mr Travis Alexander have significant self defence injuries, he had actually been killed three times over. He concluded his opening argument with a segment of interview from July 2008, before Arias claimed stories of ninjas and self defence, where she said "I did not kill Travis. Mark my words, no jury will convict me". Arias' defence team told a much different tale. Telling the jury that Travis Alexander, who appeared wholesome and devoutly Mormon to his friends and loved ones, was actually an aggressive bully who bullied Arias into having both anal and vaginal sex. On June 4th 2008, Alexander had become violently outraged when Jodi Arias accidentally dropped his new camera. Warding off his violent attack, Arias had been left with no choice but to fight back, seemingly to the death. During the trial, Juan Martinez brought several female friends of Travis Alexander to the stand. All testified that Alexander was kind, devout to his religion and that they all felt safe in his company. Police Detective Esteban Flores who had interviewed Arias way back in 2008, remembered her calling him in the days after Travis Alexander's body was found. He told how Arias had said she and Travis were 'friends or buddies', she said they had once had an intimate relationship but that they had broken up as she suspected him of 'cheating...plus he got upset real easy'. He also recalled Arias telling him that she had been told the crime scene was a bloody one and enquiring whether a weapon had been recovered at the scene. Finger print experts, the Medical examiner, forensic firearms experts and blood spatter specialists all took the stand to explain the physical evidence. On January 9th 2013, Ryan Burns a once potential new love interest for Arias, took the stand and revealed how he and Jodi Arias had enjoyed an intense make out session on the day after Travis Alexander was killed. Burns also testified how Arias showed up at his home several hours late and with two fingers covered by bandages. He concluded his testimony by stating that Arias was 'fit' and 'much stronger than she may appear'. Jodi Arias would also take the stand, in fact she testified for 13 long days. During this time she appeared confident, almost emotionless. She was not swayed by the fact the Alexander family were in court,nor was she bothered when she revealed how she had been physically abused by her parents as a child. All this as her mother sat in court in support of her.
The long trial came to a close in May 2013. The prosecution had painted her as manipulative, obsessive and absolutely determined to 'have' Mr Alexander at any cost. When it looked like he was potentially thinking of marrying someone else, her plan to murder him was put in place. Her active cover up both before and after the murder were proof of premeditation and the prosecution had no doubt if she were to be set free it would only be a matter of time before she killed again. The defence painted an altogether more different person. Jodi Arias, who had been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder since the murder, was deeply in love with Travis Alexander and only ever sort to please him. Her testimony that he was a paedophile and that she had caught him getting aroused over pictures of young boys, was proof that she loved him. She had kept his secret, hoping to help 'cure' him. She put up with abuse and violence from Travis because she saw the good in him. Why, she even chose to enter his religion, because she loved him. Of course, she was actually scared of Alexander and complied with his sexual requests, which she actually found debasing, because she was too scared to say no. The day of the murder, says Arias, Travis flipped and, although she couldn't remember a lot of what happened due to a 'brain fog'. She knew Travis was going to try and kill her.
The jury found Jodi Arias guilty of First Degree murder on May 9th 2013. While the same jury panel found Arias guilty of committing murder in an especially cruel and unusual manner, they could not reach a unanimous verdict on the appropriate punishment - death or life without parole. The jury was dismissed and Judge Sherry Stephens ordered a retake of the penalty phase with a new jury. And that brings us to today, January 5th 2015, some seven years after Travis Alexander's death. The retrial of the penalty phase, which began in October 2014, was originally scheduled to be over by December,2014. However, due to the long list of mitigating factors introduced by the defence, secret testimony by Jodi Arias and a plethora of witnesses still to give evidence it looks like we won't be seeing a verdict soon.
So, what is your view? Is Jodi Arias guilty of cold, calculated murder and therefore should receive the death penalty? Or does her self defence story have a ring of truth to it, can a jury be happy beyond a reasonable doubt that she DID kill Travis Alexander in cold blood or is there an element of doubt that means she should be sentenced to life without parole?
On April 13th 2015, following a second hung jury, Judge Sherry Stephens sentenced Jodi Ann Arias to life in prison with no chance of parole.
|Jodi Arias refused to give any interviews without makeup or|
in her prison stripes.