Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Self Defense or Jealous Rage? Trial Begins in Brutal Boyfriend Murder

Jodi Arias. Myspace photo.

A Phoenix jury will hear evidence in the trial of Jodi Arias, a 32-year-old photographer charged with the 2008 murder of her boyfriend, Travis Alexander. The 30-year-old man’s body, found in the shower of his Mesa home, told a story of a brutal end to a promising life. The motivational speaker and insurance salesman had been stabbed 27 times, shot in the face, and his throat was slit from ear to ear.

Arias, who was trying to make it as a freelance photographer, met Alexander at a conference in Las Vegas in the fall of 2006. The two hit it off, and began emailing each other constantly and talking on the phone every day. They started dating, and Arias moved from California to Arizona to be with him. She was baptized in the Church of Latter Day Saints because Alexander was a Mormon. When they broke up and Alexander started dating another woman, Alexander allegedly told friends Arias had slashed his tires and started harassing his new girlfriend.

Arias with Alexander. Myspace photo.

Arias moved back to California in April 2008. Alexander had allegedly told her to stay out of his life, but the two continued their rocky relationship. On June 4, Arias allegedly visited him in Mesa. The two allegedly had sex, and took nude photos. These photos were allegedly found on a camera that had been run through the washing machine, along with photos of Alexander “bleeding profusely,” according to police. Worried friends who hadn’t heard from Alexander for several days went to his home on June 9 and found blood throughout the residence and his dead body in the shower. The friends told police to question Arias.

According to court records, Arias originally told police that two people had broken in and killed Alexander, but later said she killed him in self defense. She said letters that she received from Alexander contain information that support her claim of self defense. However, a request to admit these letters to evidence was denied. Prosecutors argue that Arias killed Alexander because she was jealous when he tried to end their involvement. Arias may face the death penalty if convicted.

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