Jodi Arias is a 28-year-old spiritual woman with long hair and a flawless smile. But Mesa police believe she's a killer - someone so brutal that she stabbed a former boyfriend dozens of times and shot him in the head.
Travis Alexander, 30, was found dead in his shower on June 9 at his Mesa apartment at 11428 E. Queensborough Ave.
According to an autopsy report, Alexander's cause of death was sharp force trauma to his neck and head. He was stabbed 28 times in his head, neck and torso.
Arias is awaiting extradition in Northern California's Siskiyou County Jail, court records say.
And while police won't release any details on why Arias is their suspect, the calm, soft-spoken woman told the Tribune on Friday from a phone in her jail cell that she is innocent.
"Originally, I just sort of, I didn't tell them a lot..." Arias said of her statements to detectives. "Then I just broke down and told them what I knew. It was almost like it was happening, like I was watching ... I was just very calm and rooted in my own innocence."
Arias said she and Alexander dated from Feb. 2, 2007, until late June 2007 and that she broke up with him on June 29 and moved to California in April 2008. She says neither of them was interested in marriage, so she moved away to put some distance between them.
"Even after we broke up, we continued to be a little more than friends, but we tried to keep it a little clandestine," Arias said.
Alexander's family members said he had mentioned some problems that had come up in the relationship, but that there was never anything that raised safety concerns. Family members also said Arias and Alexander's relationship wasn't exclusive.
Arias declined to discuss all the reasons police believe she killed Alexander, but said that while investigators' evidence is "compelling enough," it is purely "speculation."
"None of it is solid proof that I committed a murder," Arias said.
Arias said detectives told her that they found her DNA inside Alexander's home, but said that her DNA "could've been found there just as easily as (Alexander's)" since she spent a lot of time over there.
Alexander, who was a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, introduced Arias to the Mormon faith and baptized her into the church, she said. Arias said she is holding onto her faith as she sits in jail.