Sex, violence, and lies: Jodi Arias’ murder trial – evidence in review
The Jodi Arias trial continues to steal national headlines as the prosecution paints a picture of sex, violence and lies. Arias is accused of murdering her ex-boyfriend Travis Alexander in cold blood, having sex with him and then only hours later stabbing him 27 times, slitting his throat so deep he was almost decapitated, and then shooting him in the head with .25 caliber handgun.
Arias’ story has changed several times since the June 2008 murder. She originally told officers she was not with Alexander that day until police found photos of her naked with Alexander in his apartment and a bloody handprint on the wall. She then said that two unknown people attacked them and murdered Alexander. Now she is arguing that Alexander was abusive and she killed him in self-defense.
Many are saying this is the most captivating trial since Casey Anthony, so here is a look at the evidence that has been presented at trial thus far:
Two police interrogation tapes between Jodi Arias and Detective Esteban Flores from July 15 and 16, 2008.
Arias said that she and Alexander dated for about five months but that their physical relationship continued after their romantic relationship ended.
Physical Evidence: Photos, DNA, palm print
On the video Arias maintains her innocence and her story that she was not with Alexander on the day he died, even after Flores tells her that he has nude photos of them together. “Are you sure it’s me? Because I was not there.”
Flores then details more incriminating evidence, including that investigators found DNA of their blood mixed together, her hair stuck with blood, and her palmprint in blood.
When informed that her DNA was found at the scene she explained that she was in the apartment often so it’s not surprising to find her DNA. However, Arias started to stumble when confronted with evidence of her palm print found at the murder scene: “How can that be my palm print?” Arias asked, to which Detective Flores replied, “Because you were there. There’s no doubt in my mind that you were there and that you did this. You can tell me till you’re blue in the face that you didn’t do this, and I won’t believe you,” Flores said.
Her story changed twice!
Version 1: I wasn’t there!
Version 2: OK, I was there, but two people attacked us!
Version 3: Alright, we were alone, but it was self-defense!
Key comments made by Jodi Arias to Detective Flores during the interrogation:
Arias adamantly maintains her innocence on the video: “I would not hurt Travis. I would not hurt Travis. I would not do that to him,” she told Flores. “If I hurt Travis I would beg for the death penalty.”
“If I did that, I’d be fully ready to face the consequences. I’m all for the Ten Commandments – thou shall not kill,” Arias said.
“I would never want to hurt him. He never raped me.”
“If I was going to ever try to kill somebody, I would use gloves. I have plenty of them. I did not take his life.”
Arias: “I had issues with Travis. If anything, he had more issues with me.”
“I don’t know why he was killed. I had issues with Travis [but] I had worse issues with other people and they’re all still alive,” Arias said.
Key Comments made by Detective Flores to Jodi Arias during the interrogation:
Flores tells Arias on the video that she needs to tell him the truth and suggests that she was motivated by jealousy, telling her that Alexander’s friends said “[t]hey don’t just say you were jealous. You were absolutely obsessed… a fatal attraction.”
Detective Flores: “You have not acted right since day one. … You’re acting like someone who is guilty. … You’re just not telling the truth.”
In referring to the nude photos of Arias and Alexander recovered from Alexander’s camera – which had been deleted and the camera thrown in the washing machine – Detective Flores told Arias: “Let’s just say I’ve seen all of you and I’ve seen all of Travis.” He added, “The one that sticks out in my mind of Travis is on the autopsy table.”
Police found Alexander’s camera that had sexually explicit photos of Arias and Alexander from the day he was killed.
The photos include both Arias and Alexander posing naked on Alexander’s bed and Alexander naked in the shower. These are the last photos taken of Alexander while he was alive.
There was also one final photo of a bloody body part, allegedly taken accidentally when Arias dropped the camera.
The photos were verified by computer analysts for the city of Mesa, Ariz., where Alexander lived, and time stamped. The analysts testified at trial that the nude photos were taken at around 1:45 p.m. and the shower and blood photos were taken at around 5:30 p.m.
The photos on the camera had been deleted and the camera thrown in the washing machine in an apparent attempt to “dispose” of the evidence but Mesa police were able to recover the images from the camera’s memory card.
Police officers from the city of Yreka testified that a .25 caliber handgun, the same caliber used to kill Alexander, was stolen from Arias’ grandparents’ house, where Arias lived, on May 28, 2008, only a week before Alexander was killed.
Yreka police officers described the scene of the break-in including that the front door was pushed-in, breaking the door jamb. Drawers were opened in both Arias’ and her grandparents’ bedrooms.
Officer Kevin Friedman of the Yreka police department, who investigated the alleged robbery, testified that there was something strange about the scene. “I believed it was unusual that small items worth money or money, for instance, that the change was not taken.” “I also thought it was strange that only one of the firearms was stolen from the cabinet.”
Officer Friedman, on cross-examination, also testified that “[t]here had been a rash of burglaries in our town…around that time.”
Prosecutors on Monday played for the jury a July 15, 2008, police interrogation video where Arias denies stealing and using the .25 caliber handgun that killed Alexander.
A .25 caliber handgun was reported stolen from Arias’ grandparents’ house, where Arias lives, only a week before Alexander was killed. The only items reported stolen were a DVD player, $30 cash, and the handgun.
Arias repeatedly told officers on the video that she had never seen the .25 handgun and did not even know her grandparents owned one until it was reported stolen.
“The gun that was stolen, a .25 auto, just happens to be the same caliber used to kill him,” said Detective Flores after arresting Arias in July 2008.
Arias responded innocently, “A .25 was used to kill him?” Esteban replied “Jodi, we’re just playing games here.” Arias responded “I didn’t even know there were guns until my grandparents reported them stolen the day their house was broken into.” Flores then asked: “What did you do with the gun?” To which Arias replied that “I don’t have a gun, … I don’t know what a .25 looks like.”
An audio recording was played in court last Wednesday of a June 25, 2008, phone call between Arias and Detective Flores where Arias’ discussed her fear of guns and a trip she took to visit a romantic interest in Utah the day after Alexander’s death.
“That is one of the things I am scared of. [Guns and] public speaking.” “That was one of the things [Travis Alexander] was trying to get me to do, get out of my comfort zone.”
Arias said in the phone interview that “handguns are expensive [and] not in my price range.”
Arias also asked Detective Flores if Alexander had cashed a $200 check from Arias for a car payment before he died. She said she emailed Alexander’s sister to offer her condolences and to ask about the check but never received a response.
Testimony by Ryan Burns, a romantic interest of Arias whom she visited in West Jordan, Utah, the day after Alexander was murdered.
Burns was a co-worker of Arias’ at PrePaid Legal Services. He testified that they met at a work convention in Oklahoma in April 2008 and after talking for a bit he asked her for her number. They began speaking to each other three-five times a week.
He testified that they arranged for Arias to visit him in West Jordan, Utah. According to Burns Arias arrived several hours late and had bandages on several of her fingers. He said Arias told him she hurt herself on a broken glass while working at a Margaritaville restaurant in Northern California where she lived.
He said they cuddled and passionately made out, but did not have sex or take off any clothes. “We were talking and we kissed … Every time we started kissing it got a little more escalated.”
When asked about Arias’ behavior on her visit, Burns testified that “[s]he was fine, she was laughing about simple little things like any other person. I never once felt like anything was wrong during the day. With a crowd she was a little awkward in social areas, but one-on-one she was very talkative and excitable.”
The prosecution asked Burns about Arias’ physical strength to show that Arias was capable of committing this crime. “[She’s] a lot stronger than she looks,” Burns testified.
He also testified that Arias was blonde when they met but a brunette when she visited him.
Prosecutors introduced into evidence online conversations between Arias and Burns where Arias admitted that she slept with Alexander, that he cheated on her, and that she had “trust issues” with him.
On day two of the trial the prosecution introduced a Facebook message where Alexander told Arias “I was nothing more than a dildo with a heartbeat for you.”
Testimony by Nathaniel Mendes, a former detective for the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s office.
Mendes testified that there is no Margaritaville restaurant in Yreka, California, contrary to Arias’ statements made to former romantic interest Ryan Burns to explain why she had bandages on her fingers the day after Alexander was killed.
Mendes further testified that he found a car rental receipt showing that Arias rented a car in Redding, Calif., on June 2, 2008 and over six days she put 2,834 miles on it.
Testimony by Lisa Perry, a forensic scientist for the Mesa, Ariz., police department.
She testified that she spent two days at the crime scene, collecting DNA evidence and analyzing blood spatter. She explained the photos of the bloody scene to the jury.
She also testified that she found a .25 caliber bullet casing in a pool of congealed blood, indicating that the bullet was fired after the blood was on the floor.
Testimony by Jodi Legg, a DNA analyst with the Mesa, Ariz., police crime lab who testified that she analyzed a piece of the wall removed from Alexander’s apartment and found DNA belonging to both Arias and Alexander.
Testimony by Detective Esteban Flores of the Mesa police department.
Flores testified that he had several conversations with Arias, and that on at least one occasion Arias told him she had Alexander’s ATM pin number and the code to his apartment’s garage.
He further testified that Alexander at one point sent disparaging emails to Arias calling her a “slut” and a “whore”.
On cross-examination he admitted that he gave incorrect testimony at a hearing on August 6, 2009, when he said that the gunshot occurred before the stabbing. However, forensic evidence introduced at trial showed that the bullet casing was found on a pool of congealed blood, indicating that the blood was on the ground first.
“So your testimony that the gunshot occurred first was inaccurate … Your testimony was a mistake?” asked defense attorney Kirk Nurmi. “No, my testimony wasn’t a mistake; it was a misunderstanding of what [the medical examiner] said,” replied Flores.
Arias’ television interview with “Inside Edition”.
“No jury is going to convict me … because I’m innocent and you can mark my words on that one — no jury will convict me,” Arias said in the interview.
“I understand all the evidence is really compelling. …I’ve never even shot a gun. That’s heinous. I can’t imagine slitting anyone’s throat.”
Phone records showing calls made between Arias and Alexander.
Arias showed obsessive behavior by calling her ex-boyfriend up to ten times in the days leading up to Alexander’s murder. However, what is most bizarre is that she called him four more times AFTER his estimated time of death of 5:30 p.m. Prosecutors say she killed him then tried to cover her tracks by leaving unemotional voicemails. On one of the voicemails she is heard telling Alexander that she got lost while driving to Arizona and drove 100+ miles out of the way in an apparent attempt to provide herself an alibi.
Defense attorney Kirk Nurmi was quick to tell the jury that Alexander also called Arias at least twice in the few days before his death and that one call lasted around 40 minutes in the middle of the night.
Arias is charged with murdering Alexander in a “heinous and depraved” way and could face the death penalty if convicted. Alexander’s body was found by friends on June 9, 2008, 5-days after his murder. Arias has pleaded not guilty, claiming self-defense.
The trial continues this week, and you can watch it all unfold live on Wild About Trial.
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