Born in 1980 in Salinas, California, Jodi Arias made headlines when she was charged with murdering her ex-boyfriend Travis Alexander in 2008. Alexander's body was found in the shower of his Mesa, Arizona home by friends on June 9, 2008, five days after he was brutally murdered—he had been shot in the head and stabbed more than two dozen times, and his throat had been slit from ear to ear. Testimony in Arias's trial began in January 2013. Four months later, after spending 18 days on the witness stand, Arias was found guilty of first-degree murder. Two juries became deadlocked over punishment terms, with a judge slated to determine the extent of a life sentence in April 2015.
Meeting Travis Alexander
Convicted killer Jodi Ann Arias was born on July 9, 1980 in Salinas, California. In the summer of 2008, Arias made national headlines when she was charged with murdering her ex-boyfriend Travis Alexander, a 30-year-old motivational speaker and insurance salesman who was a Riverside native and Mormon. Arias and Alexander had met at a conference in Las Vegas, Nevada in 2006, while he was living in Arizona and she was a resident of Palm Desert, California. By the following year, they were a committed couple. After only five months as a couple, however, the two went their separate ways in late June 2007 but still maintained a sexual relationship.
Murder Investigation Begins
On June 9, 2008, Travis Alexander's body was found in a pool of blood in the shower of his Mesa, Arizona home by friends who had become increasingly worried about his whereabouts after not being able to contact him for several days. Almost immediately after entering the residence, the young men began taking in the heinous crime scene. In the bathroom, Alexander's corpse displayed a number of inflictions: a gunshot wound to the head, more than two dozen stab wounds, and a deeply and widely slit throat. Investigators later determined that the murder had occurred five days before his body was found, on June 4, 2008.
Arias quickly became the focus of the sensational case. She was charged with Alexander's murder on July 9, 2008 and arrested soon after. Initially, Arias denied any involvement in his death. Then, after investigators found her DNA mixed with Alexander's blood at the crime scene, she changed her story: She claimed that she and her ex had been attacked by two masked intruders. After killing Alexander, the criminals decided to let her live, she told police, adding that she chose not to alert authorities at the time because she feared the intruders might seek revenge. At trial, she would revise her story for the third time.
Testimony in Arias's trial began in early January 2013, which was aired live to the public and thus became a media sensation. The following month, the alleged killer took the witness stand in her defense, where she would testify for 18 consecutive days. Already infamously known for her different accounts of Alexander's murder, Arias stated that she had killed her ex in an impassioned act of self-defense. She testified that Alexander had frequently abused her and that she killed him after he came at her in a fit of rage when she dropped his camera. She also claimed to have suffered memory loss as the result of emotional trauma experienced during the incident, with a psychological expert corroborating that she was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.
"Lying isn't typically something I just do," Arias stated during the trial in response to a query from the jury. "The lies I've told in this case can be tied directly back to either protecting Travis's reputation or my involvement in his death ... because I was very ashamed."
Conviction and Penalty Trial
Jurors reached a unanimous decision in the case on May 8, 2013: Jodi Arias was found guilty of first-degree murder. Five jurors found her guilty of premeditated murder and seven found her guilty of both premeditated and felony murder. The verdict sparked elation among Travis Alexander's family members as well as the general public. The jury however was deadlocked when it came to sentencing, and thus a penalty trial began in October 2014 with a new jury. During the trial the defense presented nude, intimate photos that Alexander had taken of Arias hours before his death. The images called into question a statement from the prosecution that Arias was stalking Alexander and that he was fearful for his safety.
In March 2015, the second jury was unable to agree on Arias's sentence as well, thus removing the option of the death penalty. The decision on punishment terms was then left to Judge Sherry Stephens. On April 13, after expressing remorse for her actions in a statement, Arias received a life sentence without the possibility of parole after 25 years. With talks of an appeal underway, Aria will serve time at the Arizona State Prison Complex-Perryville.
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