Killing of Travis Alexander
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Killing of Travis Alexander
Date June 4, 2008
Location Mesa, Arizona
Suspect(s) Travis Alexander's ex-girlfriend, Jodi Arias
Put on trial for murder January 2, 2013
The killing of Travis Alexander occurred on June 4, 2008, at his home in Mesa, Arizona; his killing and the subsequent criminal trial have received widespread media attention. Alexander's injuries consisted of multiple stab wounds, a slit throat, and a shot to the head; the medical examiner ruled his death a homicide.
Jodi Arias, Alexander's ex-girlfriend, was charged with his murder, and her trial began on January 2, 2013. Arias testified that she killed Alexander in self-defense.
3 Discovery and investigation
6 See also
8 External links
Travis Victor Alexander was born on July 28, 1977, in Riverside, California. After his father's death, Alexander and his siblings were taken in by their paternal grandmother, Norma Jean Preston Alexander Sarvey (19322012), who eventually introduced them to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Alexander was a salesman for the network marketing company Prepaid Legal Services; he also worked as a motivational speaker.
Jodi Ann Arias was born on July 9, 1980, in Salinas, California. She 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. After the two broke up on June 29, 2007, Arias moved to Mesa, Arizona, until April 2008, at which time she moved to her grandparents' house in Yreka, California.
Alexander's body was discovered in a shower at his home. His throat had been cut, he was shot in the head, and he was stabbed multiple times. There have been conflicting reports over the number of stab wounds, with some reports stating 29 and others stating 27. 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. Horn further testified that Alexander "may have" been dead at the time the gunshot was inflicted. Alexander's death was ruled a homicide.
Discovery and investigation
Alexander had scheduled a trip to Cancun, Mexico. He had also missed an important conference call on the night of June 4, 2008, at 7 pm. On June 9, having been unable to reach Alexander, people from Prepaid Legal Services went to his home to check on him. His roommates said he was out of town. After some searching, they found a key to Alexander's master bedroom. When they entered it, they noticed large pools of blood in the hallway leading to the master bathroom, where his body was discovered in the shower. The 9-1-1 call they made notifying authorities of the discovery mentioned an ex-girlfriend, Arias, who Alexander said was stalking him, hacking into his Facebook account, and slashing tires.
On May 28, 2008, a burglary occurred at the residence of 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 Arias and the stolen gun was used to shoot Alexander.
Several days before the trip, 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 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, she 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 Alexander's death but before his body was discovered, Arias had continued to call him and had left him several voicemail messages. It was later alleged that she had accessed Alexander's voicemail messages after his death. She said that Alexander had originally planned to visit her in May 2008 but that his plans had changed. On June 2, 2008, 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. Alexander's 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 pm on June 4, 2008. The last photo of Alexander alive, and in the shower, was taken at 5:29:20 pm on June 4. Moments later, images appear of an individual, believed to be Alexander, "profusely bleeding" on the floor.
A bloody palm print was located in 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.
Ryan Burns and others who met 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. 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.
On June 5, 2008, West Jordan, Utah, Police Officer Michael Galieti pulled Arias over while she was in the rented vehicle driving to a meeting with Burns. The front license plate of the car was missing and the rear plate was upside down. Arias attributed this to some kids at a Starbucks playing a trick on her. Burns helped Arias fix the license plate, and Galieti did not cite her for the infraction.
Arias 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. She was extradited to Arizona on September 5, 2008, where she pled not guilty on September 11, 2008.
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 she was a victim of domestic violence.
The trial against Arias began on January 2, 2013, in Maricopa County Superior Court before Judge Sherry K. Stephens. Prosecutor Juan Martinez sought the death penalty.
Arias was represented by appointed counsel L. Kirk Nurmi and Jennifer Willmott. Her counsel argued that Alexander's death was a justifiable homicide committed in self-defense.
Arias took the stand on February 4, 2013. When asked about her quote given to Inside Edition that she would not be convicted, she testified, "At the time, I had plans to commit suicide. So I was extremely confident that no jury would convict me because I didnt 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." 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 dollars had been spent on providing public defenders for 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 Arias with posttraumatic stress disorder, while a prosecution expert diagnosed Arias with borderline personality disorder.
On May 3, 2013, closing arguments concluded and the jury began deliberations.