March 07, 2013
"There is a lot of evidence that places me at Travis' home the day he was, uh, not just the day he was killed, but the day, you know, most of that week; and there is a reason for that – and that reason is that I did see Travis that day that he passed away, and, um, a lot of things happened that day."
Jodi Arias in a 2008 interview with CBS's 48 Hours
I like to think of myself as a fairly sophisticated high-minded individual who would never in a million years get pulled in by a base, tawdry, guilty pleasure like watching the Jodi Arias murder trial. I'd like to think I would be way above spending hour upon hour watching the testimony and, then, for hours after that, listening to the talking heads on TruTV and Headline News going item by item through the minutia of the trial.
So, anyway – I'd like to think of myself that way.
However, after having been sucked into it with an almost hypnotic intensity that renders my will impotent – I guess I'll have to come to terms with the fact that I'm not so impervious to this kind of thing after all.
If you haven't been watching the trial, here are the basics. There's a petite, very attractive 32-year-old woman, Jodi Arias, who was dating this guy, Travis Alexander, for a while back in 2007 and 2008.
He introduced her to the Mormon faith and got her to switch her religion, and they dated but then they broke up. At the time of the murder he was living in Arizona and she was living in California. In early summer 2008, Jodi Arias found out Travis was getting ready to go to Cancun with another woman. However, shortly before that trip, he was brutally murdered. That happened on June 4, 2008, in his home in Mesa, Arizona.
The body wasn't found for nine days. After no one could get in touch with Travis, his friends broke into his house and discovered his body decomposing in the shower. He had been shot in the face; his neck had been slashed from ear to ear and he had been stabbed 29 times, with nine of those stab wounds in the back.
When Alexander's friends talked to the police that night, they said they knew of one woman, Jodi, that Travis had previously dated, who had been "stalking him."
So the cops went to question Arias. Her story was that the two had broken up but they still stayed in contact. She said she hadn't been to Arizona in a while, and she acted devastated that someone could do something so horrible to a great guy like Travis.
Now, it turns out, a few days before the murder, Arias had rented a car for "local use only," and had returned it a few days after the murder, after putting 2,800 miles on it. The car's floor mats were missing and there were "Kool-Aid looking stains" on the seats.
But she maintained she hadn't been to Arizona during that time.
Now, the police had found a camera at the crime scene. The camera had been bashed up, thrown in the washing machine,and run through a wash cycle.
The pictures had been deleted but police were eventually able to recover them from the camera's memory card. The pictures were time-stamped photos of Jodi Arias and Travis Alexander from the night of the murder. In some photos, she's nude and in others the two are shown engaged in all manner of sex play.
Unbelievably, the camera also snapped three pictures accidentally, and there was a picture of her foot and his arm as she dragged his body through a pool of blood.
In addition, Arias' DNA was found mixed in with a bloody palm print, and there was plenty of other irrefutable physical evidence that proved she was at the scene of the murder.
When confronted by detectives with all the evidence that showed she was clearly at his house at the time of the murder, she told detectives that what had actually happened was that two armed intruders broke in and killed Travis.
I think her explanation for her change in story was she hadn't told the authorities the truth the first time because she thought they wouldn't believe her, and she was frightened so she just got in the car and fled back to California.
Regardless, it didn't take long for police to show that the armed intruder story was full of gaping holes. So Arias explained that – well, despite her previous two stories – she had actually killed Travis, but she had done so in self-defense.
You know, she had shot him in the face, cut his throat from ear to ear and stabbed him 29 times, nine of those in the back – in self defense. Which is the story she's now telling in court. Arias faces the death penalty and, for the last two weeks, she's been on the stand testifying.
As much as I hate to admit it, I've been glued to the television, watching as much as I can of the trial, and, when I can't, I'm usually live-streaming the trial over my iPhone.
It's simply one of the most fascinating things I've ever seen. It has love, sex,
jealousy, religion, murder, lies – you name it. Here are just a few reasons why, try as I might, I simply can't look away.
• It is highly, highly unusual. If you think about it, you never see the accused murderer testify. Usually, if someone commits a bizarre high-profile murder, they kill themselves, or the police kill them in a shootout, or they plead and there's no trial. And, if they do make it to trial, they never ever take the stand. Watch this case and you'll see why.
In this case, Jodi Arias just talks on and on, day after day. It sounds like a pretty good idea to let the accused murderer testify, in order to humanize him or her in the eyes of the jury and all that. But in reality, it's an absolute train wreck. Arias just comes across as the liar to end all liars. It's just lies, lies and more lies coming from her mouth.
Like, say, where did the gun come from? She testified she was running through the house from Travis, who was trying to hurt her, and she ran into the closet and found a gun on the top shelf.
Only, Travis didn't own a gun and no one had ever heard of him owning one. Oh, and nothing in the closet was disturbed; pictures of the closet taken by police after the murder look like they're from a Southern Living photo shoot. Also, in the initial interviews in 2008, Jodi told detectives that Travis didn't own a gun.
Also, shortly before Travis was killed, there was an "odd" burglary at Jodi Arias' grandparent's house. Cash wasn't stolen, but a gun, of the same caliber that shot Travis coincidentally, was taken.
• It is the strangest self-defense plea in the history of mankind. I don't know how she even says what she's saying with a straight face. I don't care how hard someone is coming at you; after you've shot them in the head, cut their throat and stabbed them, say, 18 times – then, do you really need to stab them 11 more times to protect yourself from them?
• Her memory spans the widest gamut imaginable. On direct examination, Jodi Arias could remember every single, minute detail when asked questions by her attorney.
During direct testimony, she was asked about things that happened five years ago, and she could perfectly recall everything: "Well that morning, I parked my car next to a brown 1994 Toyota Camry LE in front of the Starbucks at 523 Magnolia Road. I remember looking at my phone and it was 9:53 a.m. Monday, May 26, 2008 when I walked in. The cashier was wearing a red shirt and Wrangler jeans. I ordered a grande strawberry and creme Frappuccino. It was $4.53 with tax and I remember I paid with a $10 bill and the cashier accidentally shorted me two pennies on the exchange."...continued on page 2