Digital camera key evidence in Mesa slaying - East Valley Tribune: News

Digital camera key evidence in Mesa slaying

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Posted: Monday, September 8, 2008 8:14 pm | Updated: 11:42 am, Thu Jul 25, 2013.

The last few moments of Travis Alexander's life - before he was shot in the head and stabbed to death - were captured on the memory card of his own digital camera.

Although it had been run through the wash and nearly destroyed, the memory card's eight snapshots told the story for Mesa police investigators of the final hours of the 30-year-old motivational speaker's life.

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There were pictures of his ex-girlfriend, Jodi Arias, lying nude on Alexander's bed. Then there were naked pictures of him posing in the shower. Finally, there were two pictures of a person on the floor of the bathroom, bleeding heavily.

Those images, combined with a bloody palm print found on a wall, have been key factors in the arrest of Arias, 29, on suspicion of first-degree murder, according to a probable-cause statement released Monday by Mesa police.

Alexander, a motivational speaker, was found dead sitting in his shower on June 9 at his Mesa apartment at 11428 E. Queensborough Ave. He was stabbed 27 or 28 times in the head, neck and torso.

One of the most striking details that investigators noticed was that his throat had been slashed from ear to ear. His body had also been rinsed off in the shower.

Alexander's body was found about five days after the photos were taken. His two roommates told police that they believed he had gone on a vacation to Mexico. They had been living in the apartment, unaware that his body lie locked in his room.

After interviewing Alexander's relatives and friends, investigators learned that Arias had moved to Arizona from California to be with Alexander, and even lived with him for a few months while they dated.

"Once they broke off their relationship, Jodi would continue to hang around the house and even enter Travis' home without his permission," the report says. "Jodi was described as being completely obsessed with Travis, by his family and his closest friends."

When police examined Alexander's body, they found that his injuries showed that he tried to put up a fight, the report says. Investigators also noticed a shell casing in the bathroom, but no gun. When detectives took a closer look at Alexander's bedroom, they discovered that his bedding was missing.

The blankets were later discovered downstairs in the laundry room, along with clothing and the camera. The bedding had been washed and was found in the dryer, the report shows.

Alexander's cell phone was found in the downstairs office, with the last call made at12:13 p.m. June 4. All calls after that went unanswered, including an important conference call he was scheduled to take part in.

Police called Arias on June10 for an interview. She said she hadn't seen Alexander since April, but admitted that they had been in a relationship and broke up due to jealousy issues they both had. She said that after the breakup, the pair continued a sexual relationship but kept it quiet from the people they knew, and that they had last spoken on the phone on June 3.

On June 17, Arias came to the Mesa Police Department and voluntarily gave fingerprints and saliva for DNA testing, the report shows. Two days later, police uncovered the nude pictures and said they were able to "prove" that Arias was the last person to see Alexander before he died.

Arias again denied seeing Alexander, the report shows. She said she left her home in Northern California on June 3 to drive to Salt Lake City for a conference. She said she was alone on the trip, which took more than two days, and was not in contact with anyone for 20 hours because her cell phone had run out of power.

She said that she reached Salt Lake City on June 5, participated in the last day of the conference and headed home.

June 5 was one day after the camera shows Arias nude on Alexander's bed.

Finally, detectives examined the bloody palm print found on Alexander's wall and said that it was shown to be Arias' left palm and contained her DNA.

"This was conclusive evidence that Jodi was present at the time of Travis' death, or at least at the time of his initial injury," the report says.

Arias was extradited from California, and she is currently in a Maricopa County jail. Court records show that there was an indictment against her issued Monday, but details of the indictment weren't available.

In an Aug. 29 jail interview with Arias, she denied killing Alexander and said that she is "very calm" and knows she is innocent.

"I have strong faith that whoever did this will be brought to justice," Arias said. "I have strong faith that whoever did this will be held accountable."

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