Jury selection to begin in sordid Mesa murder case - East Valley Tribune: Public Safety

Jury selection to begin in sordid Mesa murder case

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Posted: Monday, December 10, 2012 9:29 am | Updated: 11:42 am, Thu Jul 25, 2013.

Jodi Arias' MySpace page seems frozen in time. There are still pictures of her and one-time boyfriend, Travis Alexander, scattered throughout the page. The pictures are from happier times, documenting their travels together and their intense, even obsessive relationship lasting five months in 2006 and 2007.

There are no indications Arias has spent more than four years in jail, no signs of the brutal killing which ended Alexander's life, no indications of the trial starting Monday which will ultimately determine whether Jodi Arias lives or dies.

The two met at a conference more than six years ago. Arias said there was an instant connection. They talked on the phone each night, and court records indicate the two exchanged 82,000 e-mails. Alexander was a Mormon, and Arias was so taken with him, she was baptized into the LDS church.

Alexander's family told ABC 15, Arias took his virginity, and that she was obsessed with sex. After their relationship ended, the sexual relationship continued.

On June 9, 2008, Arias allegedly came to Alexander's home in Mesa. They had sex, and took explicit photos of each other, according to court records. Alexander took a shower, and prosecutors say Arias took a picture of him, then pointed a .22 caliber handgun at his head and pulled the trigger. Court records indicate Alexander remained conscious. Arias then allegedly stabbed him, repeatedly. He suffered 27 stab wounds in all, and records indicate some of those wounds were "defensive." The fatal wounds, according to court records, a deep stab wound to the chest, and a wound which went clear across his neck.

"I would never hurt Travis," Arias told ABC 15 shortly after her arrest. The soft-spoken, attractive 29-year-old took the unusual step of holding a jailhouse news conference after she was extradited from California. At first, she denied even being at the home.

Police would find a camera with the nude photos in a washing machine at Alexander's home, an apparent attempt to destroy the contents of the SD card inside. The pictures, however, remained intact. Court records indicate the camera may have even "inadvertently" captured an image of the attack itself. DNA evidence was found at the scene, and a fingerprint matched to Arias. When confronted with the findings, Arias changed her story, saying she was indeed at the home, but acted in self defense.

Arias' demeanor stands in sharp contrast to the brutality of the crime. She has conducted at least two media interviews since her arrest, and has always calmly denied her role in the crime, professing a strong faith in God. Arias was even the winner of a jailhouse Christmas caroling contest two years ago, telling the media she was happy her efforts would benefit charitable causes. Alexander's family says that demeanor masks a much darker, more obsessive side.

"It makes me sick," said Alexander's brother, Steven. "I ask people not to buy into the sweet, innocent persona she puts on."

Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty, for what they see as a cold-blooded killing, and a defendant with no remorse. More than four years after the crime, Arias is now on her third legal defense team. At one point, she even wanted to represent herself.

The trial has been continued and delayed by countless motions. In one of them, her lawyers seek to suppress a statement she made in an interview, saying, "no jury will ever convict me."

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