Who is Jodi Arias?
Jodi Arias is an American convicted for the murder of her thirty year old ex-boyfriend, Travis Alexander. Baptized a Latter-day Saint in 2006, she moved to Mesa, Arizona with Alexander and dated the latter for a while before splitting and returning to California. The two however kept in touch including having sexual encounters; although their relation gradually strained. In June 2008 she killed Alexander in his house in Mesa, which later she testified as a self defensive move and pleaded not guilty. Alexander’s body was found by his friends in the shower of his residence after five days of his killing. He was found dead with a gun shot in the head and with multiple knife wounds. Arias was arrested in July 2008 with charges of shooting and stabbing Alexander. Following around four months of trial that commenced on December 2012, she was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in state prison without parole in April 2015.
Childhood & Early Life
She was born on July 9, 1980, in Salinas California, US, to William Angelo and Sandy S. Arias. She has one older half sister, one younger sister and two younger brothers.
According to Arias, her childhood days starting from seven years of age were marked with child abuse. She claimed that her parents used to beat her with belt and wooden spoons.
She attended ‘Yreka Union High School’ but dropped out in the 11th grade. Later she earned GED.
She developed a knack for photography at ten and such interest continued leading her to pursue it as a profession and take up several part-time jobs as professional photographer.
She took server’s job at a Californian restaurant located at Ventana Inn and Spa in Carmel in the fall of 2001. There she met the restaurant’s food and beverage manager Darryl Brewer and they started dating in 2003.
Arias and Brewer together bought a house in California’s Palm Desert and decided to pay $2800 each per month as mortgage payment.
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Association with Travis Alexander
She started working for ‘Pre-paid Legal Services’ (presently ‘LegalShield’) in February 2006 while still serving the restaurant. Gradually she drifted towards the Mormon Church that saw visitors of the faith frequenting her house for Bible studies and prayer sessions.
As her association with ‘Prepaid Legal Services’ increased her relation with Brewer started deteriorating. She also started defaulting on the financial obligations agreed with Brewer. The two parted ways in December 2006, although kept in touch as friends.
Meanwhile in September 2006, she met Travis Alexander, a salesman and motivational speaker for ‘Prepaid Legal Services’ at the company’s conference in Las Vegas, Naveda. Alexander was a Mormon. According to Arias they developed a sexual relationship following a week of their meeting.
Arias and Alexander developed an immediate attraction towards each other that saw them travelling to many states together. While not with each other they used to be in touch through daily phone calls and email exchanges.
A ceremony at a Mormon Church in Southern California held on November 26, 2006, saw her getting baptized into the ‘Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’. According to her, she took the step to be closer to Alexander, a dedicated Mormon.
In February 2007, she shifted from California to Mesa. They ended the relationship in June that year, but had periodic sexual encounters. Later she accused Alexander of being physically and sexually abusive to her.
Alexander doubted Arias of stalking him including sending him and the women he was dating threatening emails which he complained to his friends. However, in spite of strained association, the two kept in touch continuing their sexual relationship and travelled together in March 2008.
She relocated to Yreka, California in April 2008 and started living with her grandparents.
Murder of Alexander
On June 4, 2008, Alexander was murdered and as he missed a vital meeting and did not turn up for a scheduled trip to Cancun, Mexico, his friends became worried about him. This made them visit his Mesa house on June 9, 2008, where they found him lying dead in the shower.
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His brutally murdered body had around 27 to 29 stab wounds, a gunshot wound in the head and his throat was slit from ear to ear. Many forensic evidences were collected from the murder scene by investigators, which included a digital camera that was found in the washing machine.
Investigations including interviewing Alexander’s family and friends revealed the strained relationship between Arias and Alexander hinting at a possible involvement of Arias in the murder. This led the detectives turn towards her.
Arias however gave different stories at different times to show her innocence. She once claimed that she was not in Mesa on June 4 and had seen Alexander for the last time in April 2008 and some other time she said two intruders broke into Alexander’s house who murdered him and assaulted her.
Images originally deleted were retrieved by the police from the damaged digital camera. Images taken on June 4, 2008, showed Arias in sexually compromising situations with Alexander. One photograph taken later on that day showed Alexander lying on the bathroom bleeding profusely.
The bathroom hallway contained a bloody palm print. Lab test of the print showed it contained DNA of both Arias and Alexander.
Moreover the prosecution argued that to kill Alexander, Arias staged a burglary at her grandparent’s home a week earlier when a .25-caliber gun went missing and that a shell casing of a spent .25 caliber round was found at the murder scene.
On July 9, 2008, she was charged with first-degree murder of Alexander and arrested on July 15. On September 5 she was extradited to Arizona and on September 11 she pleaded not guilty.
Investigations revealed Arias hired a car from Budget Rent A Car in Redding, California, on June 2, 2008, and drove south, visited friends by June 3 and then drove to Alexander’s Mesa home where the two used the digital camera to take their pictures while having sex.
She admitted of killing Alexander only after two years of her arrest citing self defence as the cause and claimed to have endured domestic violence.
Trial & Sentencing
Trial against her started on December 10, 2012, in Maricopa County Superior Court.
After around four months’ trial comprising of eighteen days of her witnessing, she was found guilty and convicted of first-degree murder on May 8, 2013.
Although the jury was initially finding it difficult to come to a unanimous decision regarding her punishment terms between a death penalty and a life term, she was finally sentenced to life in state prison without possibility of parole in April 13, 2015.
Presently she is held in maximum security as a high-risk level 5 prisoner at the Arizona State Prison Complex – Perryville.