Dr. Daniela Schreier& Jean Casarez: The Jodi Arias Murder Case
The killing of Travis Alexander occurred on June 4, 2008, in Mesa, Arizona. The killing resulted in the opening of a 2013 criminal trial in which Jodi Arias was charged in relation to the shooting and stabbing death of her ex-boyfriend. Jodi Arias claims she killed Travis Alexander in self defense.
Killing of Travis Alexander
Travis Victor Alexander
Born July 28, 1977
Riverside, California, United States
Died June 4, 2008 (aged 30)
Mesa, Arizona, United States
Cause of death Excessive blood loss due to stab wounds
Burial June 21, 2008
Olivewood Memorial Park, Riverside, California, United States
Prosecutor Juan Martinez
Suspect Jodi Arias
Travis Victor Alexander (born July 28, 1977), known to his friends as "T-Dogg", was born in Riverside, California, United States. Alexander had three brothers and four sisters. His parents, Gary David Alexander (1948–1997), and Gary's third wife, the former Pamela Elizabeth Morgan (1953–2005), were drug addicts. Gary Alexander died on July 28, 1997, his son Travis' 20th birthday. Alexander and his siblings were taken in by their paternal grandmother, Norma Jean Preston Alexander Sarvey (1932–2012), who eventually introduced them to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She did not live to see the trial open. Following his high school graduation, Alexander served an LDS mission in Denver, Colorado from the summer of 1996 to September 1998. In 2004, he purchased the home in which he died at 11428 Queensborough Avenue in Mesa, Arizona. He reportedly moved to Mesa due to a strong LDS community.
At the time of his death, Alexander was 30 years old. He was a salesman for the network marketing company Prepaid Legal Services; he also worked as a motivational speaker. His funeral was held on June 21, 2008, in Riverside, California.
Jodi Ann Arias was born on July 9, 1980, in Salinas, California, to William Angelo and Sandy D. (née Allen) Arias. She is of Mexican descent from her father and German and English from her mother. Arias has an older half-sister (from her father's first marriage), two younger brothers, and a younger sister. She has testified that both of her parents began physically abusing her after the age of 7 with a wooden spoon and belt as a form of punishment. Although she attended Yreka Union High School, she did not graduate; she later received her GED in jail while awaiting trial. Arias and Alexander met in September 2006 at a Prepaid Legal Services conference, located in Las Vegas, Nevada. On November 26, 2006, Arias was baptized into the Latter-day Saint faith by Alexander. As of February 2, 2007, Alexander and Arias were a couple. She then relocated to Mesa, Arizona. Arias alleges that the two broke up on June 29, 2007 due to trust issues but that they continued to maintain a physical relationship after she moved back to Yreka, California in April 2008. She returned to California after her then roommate in Mesa, Arizona, married. The roommate did not feel it appropriate that Arias live in her marital home and Arias was unsuccessful in finding new housing arrangements. Arias was indicted on a first degree murder charge on July 9, 2008 (also her 28th birthday), by a grand jury. On July 15, 2008, she was arrested at her grandparents' home in Yreka, California. She was extradited to Arizona on September 5, 2008, where she entered a not guilty plea on September 11, 2008.
Alexander's friends discovered his dead body in a shower of his home. He had been shot in the face, his throat was slit from ear to ear, and he had been stabbed 29 times (the original report indicated 27 stab wounds). Maricopa County Medical Examiner, Dr. Kevin Horn, testified that Alexander's jugular vein, common carotid artery, and windpipe had been slashed. Alexander's hands also had defensive wounds. Dr. Horn further testified that Alexander "may have" been deceased at the time the gunshot was inflicted. Alexander's death was ruled a homicide.
Arias gave three different accounts of her whereabouts. She originally told police that she had not been in the home at the time of Alexander's death. She later told police that two intruders had broken into Alexander's home and that they murdered him and attacked her. Finally, she stated that she killed Alexander in self-defense and was a victim of domestic violence.
Discovery and investigation
Alexander had scheduled a trip to Cancun, Mexico with Marie (Mimi) Hall and others from Prepaid Legal Services. He had also missed an important conference call on the night of June 4, 2008 at 7pm. After Mimi and others could not reach Alexander, they went to his home to check on his welfare on June 9, 2008. His roommates indicated that he was out of town. After some searching, they located a key to Alexander's master bedroom. Upon entry, they noticed large pools of blood at the hallway leading to the master bathroom, where his body was discovered in the shower. He had been shot and repeatedly stabbed.
The 9-1-1 call notifying authorities of the discovery made mention of an ex-girlfriend that Alexander had told friends was stalking him, hacking into his Facebook account, and slashing tires. Arias and many of Alexander's friends voluntarily gave fingerprint and DNA samples to Mesa Police. Arias also began calling the detective assigned to the case, Esteban Flores, inquiring about details and offering assistance. She claimed that she had no knowledge of the crime and that she had last seen Alexander in April 2008.
Prior to the discovery of his remains, Arias continued to call and leave multiple voicemails for Alexander. It has been alleged that she also accessed Alexander's voicemail messages after his death. She stated that Travis was to visit her in May 2008 but that plans changed. A white Ford Focus was rented by Arias in Redding, California on June 2, 2008, some 100 miles south of her residence. She advised Budget Rent a Car staff that the rental was for local use only. The vehicle was returned on June 7, 2008 after being driven approximately 2,800 miles, missing floor mats, and "kool-aid" looking stains on the front and rear seats. The vehicle had been cleaned before police could examine it.
Several days before the trip Arias repeatedly contacted her ex-boyfriend, Darryl Brewer, asking to borrow gas cans for a trip to Arizona without explanation. The cans were not returned to Brewer. Receipts presented at trial also show Arias purchased two 5 gallon gas cans, sunblock, and facial cleansers from Walmart in Salinas, California on June 3, 2008. She then made multiple gasoline purchases with her MasterCard, totaling 20 gallons in Pasadena, California the same evening. The MasterCard was not used again until June 6, 2008, in Sparks, Nevada.
Her trip was to head south to photograph a friend's child and then to Utah to spend time with her new love interest, Ryan Burns. Arias has alleged that Alexander called her in the early hours of June 4 and persuaded her to go see him in Arizona. Her arrival at his home was approximately 4 AM on June 4, 2008.
A spent .25 caliber round was located near one of the sinks in the master bath. Alexander's heavily damaged digital camera was located in the downstairs washing machine. The camera was new. Detective Flores, via phone interview with Arias, asked her if she knew a possible motive for why someone would want to damage Alexander's camera. Although images had been deleted, Mesa Police were able to recover the images. The recovered images included Arias and Alexander, both in sexually suggestive poses, at approximately 1:40 p.m. on June 4, 2008. In the photos, she is brunette and wearing pigtails. The last photo of Alexander alive, and in the shower, was taken at 5:29:20 p.m. on June 4, 2008. Moments later, images appear of an individual, believed to be Alexander, "profusely bleeding" on the floor. The attack on Alexander began at approximately 5:30 PM on June 4, 2008.
A bloody palm print was located on the bathroom hallway, which DNA revealed to be a mixture of Arias' and Alexander's DNA. Arias continued to insist that she had last seen Alexander in April 2008 despite being presented with DNA and photographic evidence by Detective Esteban Flores. On May 28, 2008, an "odd" burglary occurred at the residence of Arias' grandparents, with whom she was living, in Yreka, California. One object, each worth very little, was taken from every room of the home while cash and other valuable items were not taken. Arias' grandparents had guns in the home, which Arias denied knowing the existence of. Four firearms were in a gun cabinet, but only a .25 caliber gun (same caliber as the firearm used to shoot Alexander) was taken. The whereabouts of the gun and knife used in the crime are unknown. They were not recovered at the scene.
Ryan Burns and others who met up with Arias in Utah, after the killing, indicated she had bandages on her hands and that she wore long sleeves on days it was very hot. She told different stories about how she received the cuts to her hands. Burns was told they were from an injury while working at Margaritaville. At trial, it was revealed by Siskiyou County, California, authorities that no such restaurant exists, nor ever existed in the area. At the time of the killing, she worked at Casa Ramos in Yreka. When she arrived in Utah on June 5, 2008, Arias had dyed her hair blonde.
Arias arrived approximately 24 hours late of her intended date with Burns. She explained this by telling Burns she had gotten lost. Later, she told Detective Esteban Flores that she had gotten lost but had also been out of touch because her cell phone battery had died, she lost her charger, purchased another charger, and finally that she'd found the missing charger under her seat. There are no cell phone or credit card receipts placing her in Arizona around the time of the killing.
While driving to a meeting with Burns, West Jordan, Utah Police Officer, Michael Galieti, pulled Arias over on June 5, 2008, in the rented vehicle. The front license plate was missing and the rear plate was upside down. Arias attributed this to some kids at a rest stop playing a trick on her. Burns helped Arias fix the license plate and Officer Galieti did not cite her for the infraction.
The trial against Jodi Arias began on January 2, 2013, in Maricopa County Superior Court with the Hon. Sherry K. Stephens presiding. Prosecutors sought the death penalty for Arias.Tanisha Alexander Sorenson, Alexander's sister, has been vocal in her desire to see Arias sentenced to death.
Arias is represented by appointed counsel L. Kirk Nurmi and Jennifer Willmott. Her counsel is arguing that Alexander's death was a justifiable homicide committed in self-defense. The defense asserts that Alexander became enraged and attacked her after she dropped the camera.
In late January 2013, artwork purportedly drawn by Arias began selling on eBay. It was later revealed that the seller was Arias' brother, and the items were being sold to cover the family's travel expenses to Arizona and to purchase Arias better quality food while in jail. Her mother and her mother's twin sister have been in the courtroom every day. Her father, who is disabled, and her younger brother appeared on Monday, Feb. 11.
Arias took the stand on February 4, 2013. When asked about her quote, given to Inside Edition that she would not be convicted, Arias testified, “At the time, I had plans to commit suicide. So I was extremely confident that no jury would convict me because I didn’t expect any of you to be here, I planned to be dead."
On February 6, Arias testified that she killed Alexander in self-defense and recounted an intimate encounter with Alexander that started with kissing and ended in anal sex, describing the anal sex as painful and adding: "It was not something I expected to happen, and I can't say I wanted it to, but I didn't stop him."
The case has been compared by the HLN staff and their commentators to the Casey Anthony case for the perceived similarities between Anthony and Arias and for the emotions that the cases incite in the general public.The Huffington Post reported that Arias "instantly commanded headlines around the world, especially after details [about the case] became public".
ABC News conducted a jailhouse interview with Arias in which she said, "I didn’t hurt Travis. I would never hurt Travis.....I would be shaking in my boots right now if I had to answer to God for such a heinous crime." The case was also featured on an episode of 48 Hours Mystery: Picture Perfect in 2008.
Inside Edition also interviewed Arias at the Maricopa County Jail where she proclaimed, "No jury is going to convict me ... because I am innocent and you can mark my words on that. No jury is going to convict me." It was during this interview that she offered up her second version of events by describing how two unknown individuals attacked her and Alexander. She was "miraculously" spared after the assailants gun misfired which gave her time to flee the home, naked, but she did not make any attempts to get help for wounded Alexander.
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