Travis Alexander, a 30-year-old salesman from Arizona, was killed by his on-off girlfriend Jodi Arias at his home in Mesa on June 4, 2008.
Travis Alexander’s injuries consisted of multiple s**b wounds, a s**t throat, and a gunshot to the head, according to the medical examiner that ruled his death a homicide.
Jodi Arias, Travis Alexander’s ex-girlfriend, was convicted of the murder and testified that she killed him in self-defense. She was found guilty of first-degree murder on May 8, 2013. Both the murder and trial have received widespread media attention.
The victim, Travis Victor Alexander, was born on July 28, 1977, in Riverside, California. After his father’s death, Travis Alexander and his siblings were taken in by their paternal grandmother, Norma Jean Preston Alexander Sarvey (who died in 2012, aged 80), who eventually introduced them to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Travis Alexander was a salesman for the multi-level marketing company Prepaid Legal Services and he also worked as a motivational speaker.
His convicted murderer, Jodi Ann Arias, was born on July 9, 1980, in Salinas, California.
Jodi Arias and Travis Alexander met in September 2006 at a Prepaid Legal Services conference in Las Vegas, Nevada.
On November 26, 2006, Jodi Arias was baptized into the Latter-day Saint faith by Travis Alexander. They became a couple in February 2007.
After they broke up in June 2007, Jodi Arias moved to Mesa, Arizona, before moving to her grandparents’ house in Yreka, California, in April 2008.
On June 9, 2008, Travis Alexander’s body was discovered in a shower at his home in Mesa, Arizona. His throat had been c*t, and he had been shot in the head and stabbed multiple times. There have been conflicting reports over the number of s**b wounds, with some reports stating 29] and others stating 27.
Medical Examiner Kevin Horn testified that Travis Alexander’s jugular vein, common carotid artery, and windpipe had been sl***ed.
Hs hands also had defensive wounds. Kevin Horn further testified that Travis Alexander “may have” been dead at the time the gunshot was inflicted.
Travis Alexander’s death was ruled a homicide.
His body was discovered as he was scheduled to leave on June 10, 2008, for a work-related trip to Cancun, Mexico. It has been reported that in early 2008, Travis Alexander had told his company that Jodi Arias would be joining him, and that in April he asked to change his companion to a female friend.
Travis Alexander missed an important conference call on the evening of June 4. On June 9, having been unable to reach Travis Alexander, people from Prepaid Legal Services went to his home. His roommates initially said he was out of town. After finding a key to his master bedroom, they entered the room and found large pools of bl**d in the hallway to the master bathroom, where his body was discovered in the shower. In the 911 call they made to authorities, they mentioned an ex-girlfriend, Jodi Arias, whom Travis Alexander had said was stalking him, accessing his Facebook account, and slashing tires.
On May 28, 2008, a burglary occurred at the residence of Jodi Arias’ grandparents, with whom she was living in Yreka, California. A .25-caliber gun and other objects were taken. The grandparents’ gun was never recovered. The prosecutor argued that the burglary was staged by Jodi Arias and the stolen gun was used to shoot Travis Alexander.
Several days before the trip, Jodi Arias repeatedly contacted her ex-boyfriend, Darryl Brewer, asking to borrow two 5-gallon gas cans for a trip to Arizona. The cans were not returned to Darryl Brewer. Receipts presented at trial also showed that Arias had purchased a third 5-gallon gas can, sunblock, and facial cleanser from Walmart in Salinas, California, on June 3, 2008. That evening, at an ARCO gas station in Pasadena, California, Jodi Arias purchased 8.301 gallons of gasoline with her debit MasterCard, and four minutes later purchased 9.59 gallons of gas with cash. The MasterCard was used again on June 6, 2008, three times at a Tesoro gas station in Salt Lake City, at a Pilot Flying J travel center in Winnemucca, Nevada and a 7-Eleven in Sparks, Nevada.
After Travis Alexander’s death but before his body was discovered, Jodi Arias had continued to call him and had left him several voicemail messages. It was later alleged that she had accessed Travis Alexander’s voicemail messages after his death. She said that Travis Alexander had originally planned to visit her in May 2008 but that his plans had changed. On June 2, 2008, Jodi Arias rented a white Ford Focus in Redding, California, about 100 miles south of her residence. She told the Budget Rent a Car staff that she would only be driving the car locally, but when the car was returned on June 7, it had been driven about 2,800 miles. It was also missing all of its floor mats, and there were what looked like Kool-Aid stains on the front and rear seats. The car was cleaned before police were able to examine it.
A spent .25 caliber round was located near one of the sinks in the master bath. Travis Alexander’s damaged digital camera was located in the downstairs washing machine. The camera was new. Detective Esteban Flores, via phone interview with Jodi Arias, asked her if she knew a possible motive for why someone would want to damage Travis Alexander’s camera. Although images had been deleted, Mesa Police were able to recover the images. The recovered images included Jodi Arias and Travis Alexander, both in se***lly suggestive poses, at approximately 1:40 p.m. on June 4, 2008. The last photo of Travis Alexander alive, and in the shower, was taken at 5:29:20 p.m. on June 4. Moments later, images appear of an individual, believed to be Travis Alexander, “profusely bleeding” on the floor.
A bl**dy palm print was located in the bathroom hallway, which DNA revealed to be a mixture of Jodi Arias’ and Travis Alexander’s DNA. Jodi Arias continued to insist that she had last seen Travis Alexander in April 2008 despite being presented with DNA and photographic evidence by Detective Esteban Flores.
Ryan Burns and others who met Jodi Arias in Utah after the killing indicated she had bandages on her hands and she wore long sleeves on days when it was very hot.
Jodi Arias told different stories about how she received the cuts to her hands. Ryan Burns was told they were from an injury while working at “Margaritaville” restaurant. At the 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.
She was indicted by a grand jury on a first-degree murder charge on July 9, 2008, and arrested at her grandparents’ home on July 15, 2008.
Jodi Arias was extradited to Arizona on September 5, 2008, where she pled not guilty on September 11, 2008.
She gave three different accounts of her whereabouts. She originally told police that she had not been in the home at the time of Travis Alexander’s death. She later told police that two intruders had broken into Travis Alexander’s home and that they murdered him and attacked her. Finally, Jodi Arias stated that she killed Travis Alexander in self-defense and she was a victim of domestic violence.
The trial of Jodi Arias began on January 2, 2013, in Maricopa County Superior Court before Judge Sherry K. Stephens. Prosecutor Juan Martinez sought the death penalty.
Jodi Arias was represented by appointed counsel L. Kirk Nurmi and Jennifer Willmott. Her counsel argued that Travis Alexander’s death was a justifiable homicide committed in self-defense.
She took the stand on February 4, 2013. When asked about her quote given to Inside Edition that she would not be convicted, Jodi 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, Jodi Arias testified that she killed Travis Alexander in self-defense and recounted an intimate encounter with him that started with kissing and ended in a**l s**, describing the act 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.”
Jodi Arias testified for a total of 18 days, which criminal defense attorney Mark Geragos described as “unprecedented”.
As of March 29, 2013, $1.4 million had been spent on providing public defenders for Jodi Arias.
On April 3, a member of the jury was dismissed for “misconduct”.
The defense team asked for a mistrial, which the judge denied.
On April 12, “Juror 11” was excused for health reasons, leaving the jury with eleven men and six women. A third juror was subsequently dismissed after he was arrested on a DUI offense during the course of the trial.
A defense expert diagnosed Jodi Arias with post-traumatic stress disorder, while a prosecution expert diagnosed her with borderline personality disorder.
On May 3, 2013, closing arguments concluded and the jury began deliberations. On May 8, 2013, after 15 hours of deliberation, Jodi Arias was found guilty of first-degree murder. Out of twelve jurors, five jurors found her guilty of first-degree premeditated murder, and seven jurors found her guilty of both first-degree premeditated murder and felony murder.
With this conviction, Jodi Arias was eligible for the death penalty. The aggravation phase of the trial started on May 15, 2013.
In the aggravation phase, the jury determined in less than three hours that Jodi Arias was eligible for the death penalty.
The penalty phase of the trial began on May 16, 2013, where prosecutors called Travis Alexander’s family members to offer victim impact statements, in an effort to convince the jury that Jodi Arias’ crime merits a death sentence.
On May 21, 2013, Jodi Arias offered an allocution, during which she pleaded for a life sentence. She acknowledged that her plea for life was a reversal of remarks she made to a TV reporter shortly after her conviction, when she said she preferred the death penalty.
“Each time I said that, I meant it, but I lacked perspective,” the former waitress said.
“Until very recently, I could not imagine standing before you and asking you to give me life.”
Jodi Arias changed her mind to avoid bringing more pain to members of her family, who were in the courtroom. At one point, Jodi Arias held up a white T-shirt with the word “Survivor” written across it, telling the jurors that she would sell the clothing and donate all proceeds to victims of domestic abuse. She also said she would sell her hair to Locks of Love charity while in prison, and had already done so three times while in jail. Later Jodi Arias gave a series of interviews, explaining how she addressed the issue of life imprisonment.
On May 23, 2013, the sentencing phase of Jodi Arias’ trial resulted in a hung jury, prompting the judge to declare a mistrial for that phase.
A retrial to determine Jodi Arias’ punishment is scheduled to begin on July 18, 2013, with a new jury empanelled for that purpose.