Facebook

Twitter

iTunes

RSS

HEAR THIS HOUR'S UPDATE

Entries in Arizona (224)

Thursday
Jan172013

Jodi Arias Even Lied in Her Diary After Travis Alexander Was Dead

ABC News(PHOENIX) -- Jodi Arias, who has admitted to lying about killing her ex-boyfriend Travis Alexander, even lied in her diary in the weeks after his death, according to entries obtained exclusively by ABC News.

The page of diary entries, found in court motions, was seized by police from Arias' bedroom in her grandparents' California home.  The entries are dated from June 10 through June 13, 2008, days after Alexander was shot and stabbed to death on June 4.  His body was found by friends on June 9.

Arias, now 32, has admitted killing Alexander, claiming it was in self defense and that Alexander, 30, was an abusive lover.

The page begins ".. that Travis is dead. What happened?!? Travis, what is this?"

The next entry is dated June 11 and said in part, "Last night was so hard... I wanted so badly to call Travis, but knowing he wouldn't answer was too much to bear. And knowing he wasn't calling me anytime soon was just killing me. I broke down as I climbed into bed and just cried and cried and cried until I fell asleep."

Testimony in her murder trial that cited her phone records showed that Arias did call Alexander four times after she killed him and as late as June 15.  The first call was just hours after he died and one call lasted 16 minutes, which Verizon official Jody Citizen suggested indicated Arias was listening to Alexander's messages and possibly deleting her own messages to him.

On June 12, Arias wrote to her diary, "It just feels like he hasn't called me in too long. I hear him singing. I hear him laugh."

And in the final entry on the page, Arias wrote on June 13 that she sent 13 white irises to someone she called "Mums."

"Travis always told me he liked the name Iris for a girl...If I ever have a son I'll name him Alexander," she wrote.

The diary entries are the latest twist in the Arias investigation.  Police interrogation tapes played in court over the last few days shows her adamantly denying that she traveled from her home in California to Alexander's home in Mesa, Ariz., on the day Alexander was killed.

When presented with overwhelming evidence that she was present and that she killed Alexander, she tells Detective Esteban Flores, "I'm not the brightest person but I don't think I could stab him. I think I would have to shoot him continuously until he was dead."

At another point while still insisting on her innocence, she tells Flores, "If, IF I had it in me.. [I would] make it as humane as possible... make it quick."

Alexander was stabbed 27 times, his throat was slashed and he was shot in the head.

Arias eventually admitted to Flores that she was in Mesa that day, but claimed that Alexander was killed by a masked man and woman who took her driver's license and threatened to kill her if she told anyone.

The prosecution claims that Arias killed Alexander in a jealous rage after one last tryst in which they took nude photos of each other.  The assault began as Arias was taking pictures of Alexander in the shower, prosecutors claim.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Jan152013

Jodi Arias Denied Guilt After Told of Sex Photos, DNA

ABC News(PHOENIX) -- A defiant Jodi Arias insisted she was innocent of killing her ex-boyfriend Travis Alexander even after a detective told her that he had nude photos of them together on the day he died.

"Are you sure it's me?  Because I was not there," Arias is heard saying in the police interrogation tape played for the Arizona jury on Monday.

When Detective Esteban Flores tells Arias she is seen in pigtails in the photos, she asks with a tone of incredulity, "Pigtails?"

As Flores laid out more incriminating evidence, including that investigators found DNA of their blood mixed together, her hair stuck with blood and her palm print in blood, Arias was insistent.

"I would not hurt Travis.  I would not hurt Travis.  I would not do that to him," she told Flores.

At another point Arias said, "If I hurt Travis I would beg for the death penalty."

"Jodi, this is over. … you have to tell me the truth," Flores says.  The detective suggests a motive for the killing to be jealousy, and cites the opinion of Alexander's friends.

"They don't just say you were jealous.  You were absolutely obsessed… a fatal attraction," Flores is heard on the tape.

Arias, now 32, has since admitted to killing Alexander following their tryst in 2008, but has claimed it was self-defense.  She is accused of stabbing Alexander 27 times in the chest, back and head, slashing his throat from ear to ear, and shooting him in the head with a .25 caliber handgun.

Arias is charged with murdering her ex-boyfriend in a "heinous and depraved" way and could face the death penalty if convicted.  The interrogation tape was played after the jury was shown sexually graphic photos that police recovered from Alexander's digital camera.  Among the pictures were shots of Arias and Alexander posing naked on Alexander's bed, as well as pictures of Alexander in the shower.

Those photos were the last pictures of Alexander while he was alive.

The final photos in the series show a body partly covered in blood on the bathroom floor.

Arias looked away from the screen in the courtroom where the sexual photos were shown, as her mother watched from the gallery.  Alexander's sisters, also seated in the gallery, looked away from the photos of their brother.

Computer analysts for the city of Mesa, Ariz., where Alexander lived, went over the photos in detail during the sixth day of testimony in the trial.  The photos were time stamped June 4, 2008, beginning around 1:45 p.m.

Prosecutors have said that Arias drove from her California home to Alexander's house, arriving early in the morning on June 4.  The pair had sex in the afternoon, took photos of one another, and then Arias killed Alexander, age 30, around 5:30 p.m., they said.

The photos on the bed occurred around 1:45 p.m., according to the data on the camera.  The shower photos and the pictures of a bloody body part occurred around 5:30 p.m.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jan112013

Jodi Arias: 'No Jury Will Convict Me' for Murdering Ex-Boyfriend

ABC News(PHOENIX) -- The jury in the Jodi Arias murder trial watched a television interview on Thursday in which Arias said "no jury will convict me" for killing her ex-boyfriend, Travis Alexander.

Arias added that she could never imagine committing such a violent act as killing Alexander.

"I understand all the evidence is really compelling," she said in the interview.  "In a nutshell, two people came in and killed Travis.  I've never even shot a gun.  That's heinous.  I can't imagine slitting anyone's throat."

She went on to tell the interviewer, "No jury will convict me and you can mark my words on that. ... I am innocent."

Arias made the statements to the television show Inside Edition after she was indicted for murdering Alexander.  Months later, she would confess to killing him in his Mesa, Ariz., home and say it was in self-defense.

The tape was played on the fifth day of testimony in Arias' trial, in which police allege that she carried out the murder with such brutal force that she stabbed Alexander 27 times, slashed his throat from ear to ear, and shot him in the head.

Arias, now 32, has claimed Alexander was a controlling and abusive "sexual deviant" who she was forced to kill in self-defense.

She could face the death penalty if convicted of Alexander's murder.

The defense petitioned the court to declare a mistrial at the end of testimony on Thursday, but the request was denied by Judge Sherry Stephens.  Arias' attorneys claimed that testimony presented by Det. Esteban Flores about whether Arias shot Alexander first or at the end of the attack was different from his earlier testimony and, therefore, affected whether Arias was "especially cruel" during the killing -- but Stephens denied that it had any effect.

The jury also watched as dozens of photos of blood-spattered walls, flooring, stained carpets and a blood smeared sink were explained in detail by a forensic analyst from the Mesa Police Department, who noted that on many of the stains water had been mixed with the blood and diluted it.

The prosecution has alleged that Arias tried to wash away the evidence of the killing with water.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jan102013

Jodi Arias Caught Lying to Cops in Recorded Phone Calls

Jodi Arias/Myspace(PHOENIX) -- Jodi Arias blatantly lied to police who asked her about Travis Alexander's death, telling them in recorded phone calls that she kept trying to call and message Alexander the week of his death but never heard back from him.

The phone calls were played on Wednesday as evidence during the fourth day of Arias' trial, in which she is charged with murder and could face the death penalty if convicted of killing Alexander in a "depraved and heinous" way.  Arias has admitted to killing her former boyfriend, but claims it was self-defense.

During the phone conversations played in court, Arias can be heard telling Mesa, Ariz., detective Esteban Flores that she last talked to Alexander on Tuesday, June 3, 2008, around 10 p.m.  She had been in Los Angeles, about to leave to go to Utah to visit a new love interest, she said.

After June 3, he stopped calling her back, she said.

"On Tuesday night (I talked to him), it was brief though, 10 o'clock maybe.  I'd say 10 p.m. or 9-9:30.  I was calling people because I was bored on the road.  He was nice and cordial, but kind of acting like he had hurt feelings," Arias said.

"I may have called him Wednesday, from the road, and I sent him a couple of text messages, and a couple of pictures," she said, though Alexander didn't pick up and his voice mailbox was full.  "That's unusual.  He deletes all of his messages.  I didn't want to be obsessive about it because we're not together anymore and I didn't like to call too much."

According to court records, Arias, 32, actually went to Alexander's home in Mesa on Wednesday morning.  There, the pair had sex and took graphic photos of one another with Alexander's camera.

Then, Arias is believed to have killed Alexander, 30, in his shower by stabbing him, slashing his throat from ear to ear, and shooting him in the head.

In the phone conversations, Arias told Flores that she considered calling Alexander's friends when he stopped returning her calls on Wednesday, but didn't want to act like "his mother."

Alexander's friends found his body five days later with stab wounds and a bullet wound, lying in blood in his home.

Flores asked Arias if she ever considered buying a gun; she said she was too scared of handguns.

"I've looked into handguns.  I have a list of things I'm scared of that I'm trying to overcome," she said.  "I got that from Travis, you know, to push yourself out of your comfort zone, and do things you're afraid of.  But handguns are expensive and not really in my price range right now."

Arias is accused of stealing her grandmother's handgun and using it to shoot Alexander in the head during the attack.  The detective interviewed Arias by phone multiple times in June after Alexander's body was discovered by his friends on June 9.

Arias was indicted on July 9, 2008, and changed her story again before her arraignment, telling a TV news station that she was at Alexander's house when he was killed and witnessed two intruders kill him.

After she was arraigned, Arias told police she killed Alexander, but did it in self-defense.  Arias' attorneys have said that Alexander was controlling and abusive toward Arias, and described him as a "sexual deviant."

In earlier testimony in court Wednesday, Arias' new love interest, Ryan Burns, testified that Arias showed up to his house on the morning of Thursday, June 5, just 24 hours after she killed Alexander.

There, the pair cuddled, kissed and watched movies, according to Burns.

Burns, who met Arias at a business conference in the spring of 2008, said he exchanged frequent long phone calls and online conversations with Arias before inviting her to come visit him in West Jordan, Utah, in June.  Arias lived in California at the time.

She arrived at Burns' home 24 hours after she was expected there, telling him that she got lost, drove the wrong way on a freeway for a few hours, fell asleep for awhile, and then got lost again, Burns testified on Wednesday.  Arias never told him that she had confronted Alexander with a knife or gun and ended up killing him just hours before their date.

When she arrived, the pair quickly got physical, he testified.

"We went back to my house.  We talked for awhile, and agreed that we were going to watch a movie.  At some point we were talking and we kissed.  Every time we started kissing it got a little more escalated.  Our clothes never came off, but at some point she was kissing my neck, I was kissing hers, but our clothes never came off," he said.

Burns said that both he and Arias stopped kissing at the time, though they again became physically involved later in the evening when Arias climbed on top of Burns and began kissing him.  Burns said that they stopped kissing because he did not want her to "regret the visit" because of her Mormon beliefs about sex.

He also told prosecutors upon questioning that Arias was physically strong.

"She's very fit," he said, describing their encounter when she climbed on top of him.  "She's very strong.  She has close to a six pack (of abs)."

Prosecutors likely asked about the strength of Arias because in testimony Tuesday Maricopa County medical examiner Kevin Horn said Alexander was stabbed so forcefully that the blade chipped his skull and his neck was cut all the way back to the spinal cord.

Burns, who is also a Mormon, said he noticed two bandages on Arias' hand when she arrived at his house, which she told him she got when a glass broke at her place of employment, Margaritaville.

During her visit, the pair also went to a business meeting and went out with Burns' friends where Burns described Arias as acting "shy" and a "little awkward."

"She 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," he said.

Prosecutors in the case allege that Arias was jealous that Alexander was dating other women and killed him at his home in Mesa, Ariz.  In earlier testimony, they presented photos showing blood-splattered walls and floors in the bathroom and bedroom of Alexander's home, and photos of Alexander's wounds.

Burns, who knew of Alexander but did not know him well, said that he had no idea Arias was still seeing Alexander when the two began talking frequently on the phone and online and planning visits to see each other.

The prosecution presented parts of their online conversations, in which Arias tells Burns about being "cheated on twice" before and having "trust issues" with Alexander.

She also told Burns that she had converted to Mormonism because of Alexander.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Jan092013

Jodi Arias Jury Views Photos of Deep Gashes on Ex-Boyfriend

Jodi Arias/Myspace(PHOENIX) -- Jodi Arias stabbed and slashed ex-boyfriend Travis Alexander with such force that a wound to his head chipped away bone from his skull, and his throat was cut so deeply that the knife almost reached his spinal cord, the Maricopa County medical examiner testified on Tuesday.

The graphic testimony about Alexander's injuries came on the third day of Arias' murder trial in Phoenix, Ariz.  Arias cried throughout the testimony and looked away from photos of Alexander's decomposing body taken by Medical Examiner Kevin Horn.

Alexander's sisters, who looked away from the gruesome photographs for much of the testimony, eventually abandoned their courtroom seats and left crying.

Horn also testified that Arias fired a bullet through Alexander's brain, likely after he was already dead.  

Establishing a sequence of events in the murder is crucial to the state's effort to secure the death penalty in this case.

According to Horn, Arias stabbed Alexander at least nine times in his upper back and one time in his chest so deeply that she punctured a vein going into his heart.  While he was being stabbed, Alexander likely put up his hands to block the blows or grab the knife, resulting in cuts on the front and backs of his hands and arms.

Alexander suffered two deep stab wounds to the back of his skull which chipped away part of his skull bone.  Arias then slashed his throat with a three- or four-inch slash wound, cutting his major arteries.

"The jugular vein and carotid artery are both cut.  It goes all the way back to the spine, three or four inches.  It doesn't go through the spinal cord, but it cuts all the soft tissue and structure in front of the neck," Horn said, describing a photo of the slash across Alexander's throat.

"He's going to lose consciousness within seconds and die a few minutes later," he said.

"He could get up and walk a couple of feet, move, and then collapse," Horn added.

Horn also described the gunshot wound, which he said would have caused Alexander to lose consciousness or die "very rapidly."  The medical examiner said there was no bleeding near the site of the bullet wound, which could prove that Alexander was already dead by the time Arias shot him.

Arias' attorneys have argued that Alexander was an abusive and threatening boyfriend and characterized him as a "sexual deviant."  They claim Arias killed Alexander in self defense.

In earlier testimony Tuesday, the jury saw grisly photos of a bloody palm print on a wall and floor taken in Alexander's house, at the scene of the killing.

A crime scene investigator from the Mesa, Ariz., police department described the photos, which showed tile floors and walls of a bathroom and hallway that were covered in blood when Alexander was found dead in his home in 2008.

Detailing photos presented by prosecutors Heather Conner, a latent print examiner with the Mesa police department, identified bloody smudges on the floor as shoe prints and pointed out a bloody palm print on the floor and on a door.  She did not identify whose prints they were.

The prosecution is attempting to prove Arias stalked Alexander after the pair broke up and he began dating other women.  They allege that she murdered Alexander out of jealousy, and then changed her story twice when lying about the murder to investigators.

Prosecutors have told the jury that Alexander was a devout Mormon who was seduced and then stalked by Arias.  They dated from 2006 to 2007, but continued a sexual relationship until his death in 2008.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Jan082013

Gabrielle Giffords, Mark Kelly Launch Initiative to Curb Gun Violence

ABC/Ida Astute(NEW YORK) -- After she was gravely wounded by gunfire two years ago in Tucson, Ariz., former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, Mark Kelly, imagined a life out of the public eye, where she would continue therapy surrounded by the friends, family and the Arizona desert she loves so much.

But after the slaughter of 20 first-graders and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., last month, Giffords and Kelly knew they couldn't stay silent.

"Enough," Giffords said.

The couple marked the second anniversary of the Tucson shooting by sitting down with ABC's Diane Sawyer to discuss their recent visit to Newtown and their new initiative to curb gun violence, "Americans for Responsible Solutions."

"After the shooting in Tucson, there was talk about addressing some of these issues, [and] again after [a movie theater massacre in] Aurora," Colo., Kelly said.  "I'm hopeful that this time is different, and I think it is.  Twenty first-graders' being murdered in their classrooms is a very personal thing for everybody."

During their trip to Newtown, Giffords and Kelly met with families directly affected by the tragedy.

"[The] first couple that we spoke to, the dad took out his cellphone and showed us a picture of his daughter and I just about lost it, just by looking at the picture," Kelly said.  "It was just very tough and it brought back a lot of memories about what that was like for us some two years ago."

"Strength," Giffords said she told the families in Newtown.

"Gabby often told them, 'You got to have strength.  You got to fight for something,'" Kelly said.

The innocent faces of the children whose lives were abruptly taken reminded the couple, they said, of 9-year-old Christina-Taylor Green, the youngest victim to die in the Tucson shooting at a Giffords constituent event.

"I think we all need to try to do something about [gun violence]," Kelly said.  "It's obvious to everybody we have a problem.  And problems can be solved."

Giffords, 42, and Kelly, 48, are both gun owners and supporters of the 2nd Amendment, but Kelly had strong words for the National Rifle Association after the group suggested the only way to stop gun violence is to have a "good guy with a gun."

There was a good guy with a gun, Kelly said, on Jan. 8, 2011, when Jared Loughner shot Giffords and 18 other people -- six fatally -- at her "Congress on Your Corner" event.

"[A man came out] of the store next door and nearly shot the man who took down Jared Loughner," Kelly said.  "The one who eventually wrestled [Loughner] to the ground was almost killed himself by a good guy with a gun, so I don't really buy that argument."

Instead, Giffords and Kelly are proposing "common sense" changes through "Americans for Responsible Solutions."

The first change the couple hopes to enact is to require a comprehensive background check for the private sale of firearms.

"I bought a gun at Walmart recently and I went through a background check.  It's not a difficult thing to do," Kelly said.  "Why can't we just do that and make it more difficult for criminals and the mentally ill to get guns?"

The debate over high-capacity magazines and assault weapons has been renewed after the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre.

Kelly, a veteran of Desert Storm and a gun owner, said he doesn't believe an extended magazine is necessary for the sport.

"An extended magazine is used to kill people," he said, "lots of people."

Loughner used a magazine that had 33 rounds in Tucson, while accused Aurora shooter James Holmes had a 100-round magazine.  Adam Lanza, the Newtown shooter, used numerous 30-round magazines to load his Bushmaster AR-15.

Finally, Kelly hopes to address the issue of how the mentally ill are treated in the United States.  Loughner, who was deemed incompetent to stand trial, pleaded guilty to 19 counts in August.

"Jared Loughner was clearly mentally ill," Kelly said.

"Sad," Giffords added.

Kelly said, "We have to learn how to identify these people and get them treatment.  And we don't do a very good job at that."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jan042013

Arizona Teens Cling to Dead Tree After Frozen Lake Cracks

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Two Arizona teens clung to a dead tree branch in a frozen lake for more than four hours this week as the thin ice around them began to crack, but they survived after firefighters came to their rescue.

What started out as a fun walk across Fool Hollow Lake for Christian Van Aller, 14, and Alex Orton, 15, in Show Low, Ariz., turned into a daring rescue by emergency crews on Wednesday.

“It started really cracking maybe about 20 feet back and that’s when we were trying to hurry and get across and that’s when it really sunk in and broke,” Christian told ABC News.

The teens rushed to the dead tree and its small branches sticking out of the ice.  Each lost a shoe in the process and used hats to cover their bare feet.

“We weren’t sure what was going to happen,” Christian said.  “If we would fall all the way and have hypothermia and maybe die.”

Orton’s younger brother, Wesley, used his cellphone to call for help from the shore.  Instead of calling 911, Wesley decided to call his mother first.

Alex said, “I knew I was going to get into a whole lot of trouble when I got home, that was the main thing going through my head.”

When Van Aller’s mother, Bonnie, showed up, she said she panicked.

“I went out there and I went, ‘Oh, my gosh!’  I just kept praying to keep that tree strong because I just kept thinking that if that tree breaks -- they’re gone because we’ll never get them back,” she told ABC News affiliate KNXV-TV.

Rescue crews eventually showed up and used a boat to save the teens, who were still clinging to the tree.  Adding to the danger: temperatures dipped below freezing as day turned to night.

A firefighter in a protective suit crawled across the lake using a rope that was used to pull a boat carrying two other firefighters.

“If they were in a different location and ice that thin, the outcome wouldn’t have been so good,” Show Low Fire Department Capt. Brent Mix said.

The boys were taken to the hospital and released.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jan032013

Jodi Arias Trial: Jurors Shown Photos of Victim's Dead Body in Shower

JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images(PHOENIX) -- Prosecutors in the Jodi Arias murder trial showed jurors a photograph of her former lover, Travis Alexander, lying slashed and lifeless in a pool of blood in his shower.

The gruesome scene was introduced on the second day of Arias' trial, along with a slew of evidence, including a man's bloodied T-shirt.

Defense attorneys for Arias portrayed Alexander as a controlling and abusive lover to the Arizona woman who killed Alexander in self-defense.

 

Evidence emerged Thursday showing they exchanged electronic messages filled with sexually crude references about each other, and the jury heard a recorded phone call between Arias and Police Det. Esteban Flores where Arias said the couple was so distrustful of each other that they shared their online passwords.

"He gave me his Facebook password and MySpace and I gave him my Facebook and Gmail account. Reason we did that [is] because we thought, 'What can we do to reestablish trust?'" she said. "It didn't work."

In a case that is already being compared to the dramatic 2010 murder trial of Casey Anthony, Arias, 32, is facing the death penalty if convicted in the capital murder case.

She is accused of stabbing Alexander 27 times, slitting his throat and shooting him in the head in the shower of his Mesa, Ariz., home in June 2008. A jury will have to decide if she is a cold-blooded murderer or was a victim of domestic violence, as she claims, who was forced to kill.

In the most dramatic moment Thursday, prosecutors showed the jury a graphic photo of Alexander's face and body where he was found.

Earlier, the prosecution introduced emails between the couple. On cross-examination, a defense lawyer asked Flores whether Alexander referred to Arias in those emails with a crude sexual term as well as other insulting words.

"Do you recall her saying he had said several mean things to her?" defense lawyer Kirk Nurmi asked.

"Yes," Flores answered.

Nurmi asked if Alexander referred to Arias "as a slut." "Yes," the detective said.

"As a whore?" the lawyer asked. "Yes," he replied.

Bags of evidence from Alexander's apartment were displayed in court Thursday, including a men's T-shirt soaked in blood that was held up for the jury to see.

Prosecutor Juan Martinez provided jurors with a look inside Alexander's home, presenting pictures of the garage, laundry room, hallway and where Alexander kept his punching bag in his bedroom.

Appearing in court Wednesday as the trial opened, Arias cried through much of the opening arguments. Prosecutor Juan Martinez told the court that it's clear that Arias murdered Alexander.

"This is not a case of whodunit," he said. "The whodunit sits in court today."

Prosecutors told the jury Wednesday that Alexander was a devout Mormon who was seduced and then stalked by Arias, and killed by her in a jealous rage when she learned he was dating other women.

The couple only dated a few months after meeting in 2006 at a work convention in Las Vegas. They broke up in June 2007 but continued a sexual relationship that continued until the day of the crime.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jan032013

Jodi Arias Trial: Defense Claims Victim Was Sexual Deviant

Jodi Arias/Myspace(MESA, Ariz.) -- Defense attorneys for Jodi Arias, the 32-year-old Arizona woman who has admitted to brutally murdering her former boyfriend Travis Alexander in 2008, claim that she was abused and controlled by Alexander, who she says was a sexual deviant.

Arias is facing the death penalty if convicted in the capital murder case.  She is accused of stabbing Alexander 27 times, slitting his throat and shooting him in the head as he showered in his Mesa, Ariz., home in 2008.  A jury will have to decide if she is a cold-blooded murderer or was a victim of domestic violence, as she claims, who was forced to kill.

Appearing in court Wednesday as the trial opened, Arias cried through much of the opening arguments.  Prosecutor Juan Martinez told the court that it's clear that Arias murdered Alexander.

"This is not a case of whodunit," he said.  "The whodunit sits in court today."

Prosecutors told the jury Wednesday that Alexander was a devout Mormon who was seduced and then stalked by Arias, and killed by her in a jealous rage when she learned he was dating other women.

"She rewarded that love by sticking a knife in his chest," Martinez told the court.  "She slit his throat as a reward for being a good man."

Arias' attorney, Jennifer Willmott, told the jury her client was forced to kill in self defense, saying that her client was abused and controlled by Alexander, who she claims was a sexual deviant.  Willmott showed the jury a t-shirt she says he made Arias wear, with lettering that says "Travis Alexander's."

"That t-shirt is the perfect example of how Travis treated her," she said.

The couple only dated a few months after meeting in 2006 at a work convention in Las Vegas.  But the two continued a sexual relationship -- including on the day of the crime.

Police found a camera in Alexander's washing machine.  They say Arias was literally trying to wash away the evidence.

Found on the camera's memory card were pictures of their final sexual encounter, shots of Alexander in the shower -- seconds before he was killed -- and pictures that appeared to be taken accidently when the camera was dropped.  One of the images shows Alexander's bloody body, and another shows Arias actually dragging his body across the ground.

In a series of jailhouse interviews since her 2008 arrest, Arias repeatedly changed her story.  First, she denied being at Alexander's house the night of the murder, but two weeks later, she told the TV show Inside Edition she was there.

"I witnessed Travis being attacked by two other individuals," she said.  "Who were they?  I don't know."

Now, she admits to killing Alexander, but says she had to after he attacked her when she dropped his new camera.

"Jodi Arias killed Travis Alexander," Willmott said in court Wednesday.  "The million-dollar question is what would have forced her to do it, and throughout this trial you will hear that Jodi was indeed forced."

Willmott told the court that Arias, who has remained in jail since her arrest, repeatedly lied about the killing because she was scared.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Jan022013

Arizona Woman Facing Death Penalty over Boyfriend's Murder

ABC News(MESA, Ariz.) -- Prosecutors in Arizona will begin arguing on Wednesday that Jodi Arias, 32, should die for the especially brutal murder of her one-time boyfriend, Travis Alexander, who was found dead in his shower over four years ago.

Investigators say Arias stabbed Alexander 27 times, slit his throat and shot him in the head at his Mesa, Ariz., home in June of 2008.  Arias, who has been locked up since her arrest, has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder.

"I didn't hurt Travis.  I would never hurt Travis," Arias said in a jailhouse interview after she was arrested in July 2008.  "I would be shaking in my boots right now if I had to answer to God for such a heinous crime."

Arias and Alexander met at a work conference six years ago.  Arias says they fell in love, traveled the country together, and to strengthen her ties to the devout Mormon, she even converted to his religion.  But Alexander's friends say after dating a few months he tried to break it off.

"There's nothing about her that I see in marriage material -- or wife material," Alexander said, according to his friend, Dave Hall.  "But it's hard to say no to a woman that sneaks into your house, crawls in your bed and tries to, you know, seduce you."

Alexander's family and friends say Arias was stalking him in the months before the murder -- something she denies.

At first, she also denied being at his house the night of the murder.  Then, police found a camera in Alexander's washing machine containing pictures of the two having sex that day.  There were also pictures of Alexander after he was killed.

Faced with that evidence, Arias then told the television show Inside Edition that she was there, but didn't kill Alexander.

"I witnessed Travis being attacked by two other individuals," she said on Inside Edition.  "Who were they?  I don't know.  I couldn't pick them up in a police lineup."

Now, the accused killer is admitting to the court that she did kill Alexander, but that it was in self-defense.  She claims he was sexually and physically abusive throughout their relationship.

Steven Alexander, Travis Alexander's brother, said that he can see Arias' true colors.

"It makes me sick because I know her true side," he told ABC News.  "And I ask people to please not buy into this sweet innocent personality that she puts on."

Arias told Inside Edition that she believes she will walk away from the trial a free woman.

"No jury is going to convict me," she said.  "Why not?  Because I'm innocent.  You can mark my words on that.  No jury will convict me."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio