American salesman Travis Alexander was murdered in his house in Mesa, Arizona. Alexander sustained 27 to 29 knife wounds, a slit throat and a gunshot to the head on June 4, 2008. His body was not discovered until June 9.
Suspicion quickly fell on Alexander’s on-again/off-again girlfriend, Jodi Arias. His friends told authorities that Alexander said his now ex-girlfriend was stalking him and hacking his Facebook. While searching Alexander’s home, police found his new digital camera in the washing machine. It was damaged but they were able to recover deleted images that showed Arias and Alexander in sexually suggestive poses, taken at approximately 1:40 pm on June 4. The photos also showed the final photograph of Alexander alive, which was taken in the shower at 5:29 pm that day. Moments later, photos taken show an individual believed to be Alexander “profusely bleeding” on the bathroom floor. A bloody palm print was found that had DNA rom both Arias and Alexander.
On July 9, 2008, a grand jury indicted Arias in Maricopa County, Arizona for the first-degree murder of Alexander. She was extradited from California to Arizona on September 5. Arias pleaded not guilty on September 11, 2008. During this time, Arias gave several different authorities accounts of what happened. At first, she said she wasn’t in Mesa on the day of the murder and claimed she’d last seen him in March 2007. Later, Arias said two intruders broke into Alexander’s home and murdered him and attacked her. Two years after her arrest, Arias changed her story completely, telling police that she killed Alexander in self-defense because she was a victim of domestic violence.
Opening arguments began on January 2, 2013. Arias was represented by defense attorneys L. Kirk Nurmi and Jennifer Willmott, who argued that Alexander’s death was a justifiable homicide committed in self-defense. But the evidence did not point to that. During the trial, Medical Examiner Kevin Horn testified that Alexander’s jugular vein, common carotid artery, and trachea had been slashed and that Alexander had defensive wounds on his hands.
On Feb. 4, 2013, Arias took the stand in her own defense, testifying for a total of eighteen days. According to Arias, they had an increasingly sexual and physically abusive relationship and that the dysfunction of their relationship reached its climax when she killed him in self-defense because he became enraged when she dropped his camera and she fought for her life. The testimony was believed to damage her case because it was the third version of events given to the jury by Arias.
Previously, Arias had told Inside Edition in 2008: “No jury is going to convict me … because I am innocent. You can mark my words on that.” However on May 8, 2013, Arias was convicted of first-degree murder. Immediately following her conviction, Arias told a reporter she’d rather have had the death penalty than life in prison. She told FOX Phoenix 10, “I believe death is the ultimate freedom. I’d rather just have my freedom as soon as I can get it.”
Following the trial, the jury’s foreman, William Zervakos, told ABC’s Good Morning America that Arias’ testimony did not do her any favors. “I think eighteen days hurt her. I think she was not a good witness.”
During the penalty phase, Jodi pleaded for a life sentence over the death sentence, acknowledging this was a reversal of what she’d previously stated in her post-conviction TV interview.
She was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole on April 13, 2015.
In June 2015, Arias was ordered to pay more than $32,000 to Alexander’s siblings following a restitution hearing.