It was a circus. A multi-million trial and a story that captured national attention. It was Jodi Arias.
Arias, currently serving a life sentence, was convicted of killing her ex-boyfriend Travis Alexander and her tale intrigued the nation for years, sparking criticism and support from both sides. Now, Arias is set to be profiled in the new Reelz series Murder Made Me Famous, scheduled to premiere at 9 p.m. on Saturday night.
Here’s what you need to know about Arias, her family and her crime:
1. Arias Killed Her Ex-Boyfriend, Travis Alexander, in 2008
According to records, Arias killed Travis Alexander on June 4, 2008 and his body was discovered the next day by his family in the shower of his Mesa, Arizona home. Alexander had sustained 27 to 29 stab wounds, his throat had been slit and he had been shot in the head.
After police were able to recover deleted photos on a digital camera, showing Arias and Alexander in several provocative positions on June 4. The photos continued to show Alexander in the shower, “profusely bleeding” on the bathroom floor. A bloody palm print that was discovered on the wall contained DNA from both Arias and Alexander.
On July 9, Arias was indicted by a grand jury for first-degree murder. She was arrested on July 15 and extradited to Arizona on September 5, pleading not guilty to the charges.
2. Her Lawyers Argued Justifiable Homicide in Self-Defense
Prosecutor Juan Maritnez sought the death penalty from the earliest stages of the trial, which began on January 2, 2013. Arias, meanwhile, was represented by appointed counsel L. Kirk Nurmi and Jennifer Wilmott, who argued that Alexander’s death was justifiable homicide committed in self defense.
Arias took the stand in her own defense on February 4, an unprecedented move by the defense team, as she testified for 18 days. On her first day Arias described being abused by her parents from a young age and continued to detail a trend of abuse throughout her relationship with Alexander.
When asked by Numi if she killed Alexander, Arias responded “Yes, I did. The simple answer is that he attacked me and I defended myself.”
3. The Story Was Depicted in a 2013 Lifetime Movie
The case, which the Associated Press called “a circus,” was not only heavily publicized in both print and across social media but it also drew TV movie attention when Lifetime broadcast Jodi Arias: Dirty Little Secret.
The film starred Tania Raymonde as Jodi Arias and Jesse Lee Soffer as the late Travis Alexander.
Filming actually began while the trial was still ongoing and concluded just after Arias was convicted on May 8, 2013. The film’s courtroom scenes were shot two days after the trial ended as parts of the script were required to be rewritten in order to include recent events.
4. Her Parents Posted YouTube Videos Asking for Donations to Arias’ Appealate Fund
Arias’ parents finally broke their silence in November 2014 with a YouTube video titled “A message from Bill and Sany Arias.” The clip showed the couple thanking viewers and appealing to supporters to continue sending donations so that Arias could “obtain the best legal representation possible”
The video was removed two days after it was originally posted with no reason as to why it was taken down.
Arias’ parents also helped set up the website Justice4Jodi.com so that supporters could donate to the appeal fund. The site was reportedly managed by the Arias family and donations were non-refundable and not tax-deductible.
5. Arias Was Convicted of First-Degree Murder in 2013 & Sentenced to Life in Prison in 2015
After nearly four months of courtroom drama, which included millions of dollars in taxpayer money, dismissed jurors and psychological evaluations, Arias was found guilty of first-degree murder on May 8, 2013. Out of 12 jurors, five found Arias guilty of first-degree premeditated murder and seven found her guilty of both first-degree premeditated murder and felony murder.
Arias’ lawyers filed a mistrial in January, April and May 2013 and shortly after the verdict was read began the long and winding road through appeals. On October 20, 2014 Arias’ sentencing retrial began and jury deliberations began, once again, on February 25, 2015 before announcing that they were deadlocked on March 3.
Finally, on April 13, 2015 Judge Stephens was scheduled to announce sentencing with the option either life imprisonment without the possibility of parole, or with the possibility of parole after 25 years. Arias was sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.