Jodi Arias met Travis Alexander in September of 2006 at a business convention in Las Vegas, Nevada. The two became friends right away, and in November of that same year, Arias was baptized into the Mormon faith, Alexander’s church. Several months later, the two were dating, but had broken up in the summer of 2007, and Alexander began dating other women. Around the same time, Alexander told friends that he believed Arias was stalking him, but the two continued a fragmented friendship. When Arias moved to California, they continued to communicate.
On June 4, 2008, Travis Alexander was murdered in his home in Mesa, Arizona. He had 27 stab wounds, a slit throat, and a gunshot to his face. Alexander was meant to leave on a trip to Cancun, Mexico on June 10. Originally he planned to take his girlfriend Jodi Arias on the trip, but reportedly, in April he decided to take another woman, Mimi Hall instead.
After Alexander missed a conference call, concerned friends entered his home, where they discovered pools of blood leading to his body in the shower. The 911 call implicated Arias as an ex-girlfriend who had been stalking Alexander. Arias’ grandparents’ home in California, where she had been living, was robbed in May of 2008. Prosecutors speculated that Arias staged the burglary herself and used the gun that she stole to kill Alexander. In the time between Alexander’s death on June 4th and the discovery of his body on June 9th, Arias repeatedly left messages on his voicemail. She did this in an effort to place herself away from the crime scene, and to appear concerned about Alexander’s wellbeing.
At the crime scene, investigators found Alexander’s damaged digital camera. They were eventually able to recover the images, which included Arias and Alexander in sexually suggestive poses, which were time stamped at about 1:40pm on June 4, 2008. The last photo of Alexander alive was in the shower and taken at 5:29pm, and right after, an accidental image of a bleeding person, likely Alexander, was taken. Investigators used the timestamps on the pictures to determine Alexander’s exact time of death. Investigators also discovered a bloody palm print in the hallway, which was a mixture of Alexander’s and Arias’ DNA.
Throughout the investigation Arias insisted that the last time she saw Alexander was April 2008 despite the photographic and DNA evidence placing her in the home on the day of the murder. Later on, she changed her story, and stated that she was in the home when two intruders broke in and attacked both of them, eventually killing Alexander.
Arias was indicted on a first-degree murder charge on July 9, 2008, and pleaded not guilty on September 11, 2008. The trial began in January 2013. The prosecution sought the death penalty for Arias. On February 6, Arias testified that she had killed Alexander in self-defense and stated that Alexander was abusive during their relationship. On May 8, 2013, the jury reached a verdict. Jodi Arias was found guilty of first-degree murder. The jurors did not reach a consensus about whether the murder was premeditated or not.
Arias’ bizarre behavior throughout the investigation has prompted experts to diagnose her with post-traumatic stress disorder and borderline personality disorder.
On May 16, the penalty phase of the trial began, in which jurors must decide whether Arias should receive the death penalty or life in prison. On May 21, Arias pleaded for a life sentence, despite asking for the death penalty years earlier, in addition to being put on suicide watch shortly after being found guilty. On May 23, the jury announced that they had failed to reach a unanimous decision, declaring a hung jury. According to the Huffington Post, a new jury will be selected to determine Arias’ fate. This has been scheduled for July 18th. At this point, she can be sentenced to death, life in prison, or parole in 25 years. The Jodi Arias case has received round-the-clock coverage on a number of media outlets, and has incited a renewed interest in the justice system.