Jodi Arias is on trial for the brutal murder of her former boyfriend Travis Alexander in what’s expected to be the most watched trial since Casey Anthony. The long awaited trial began on Wednesday where the suspect broke down crying as a prosecutor described the gruesome stabbing and shooting murder of Alexander. Here’s what you need to know about the trial.
1. Travis Alexander was Found Dead in 2008
Travis Alexander was found dead in the shower by his friends in his Mesa, Ariz. home over four years ago on June 4, 2008. He was shot in the face, stabbed 27 times and his throat had been cut from ear to ear.
Photos taken at the crime scene were released to jurors as evidence in the case against Arias.
WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT
Audio was also released from the 9-1-1 called made by a woman identified as Marie Hall.
“A friend of ours is dead in his bedroom, we hadn’t heard from him for a while,” Marie Hall said. “We think he’s dead. There’s lots of blood. His roommate went in and there’s blood in his bedroom, behind the door and all over, then they went in the bathroom and it’s all in the shower.”
2. Jodi Arias Changed Her Story Two Times
When Alexander’s friends found his body, they immediately suspected Arias and even gave the 9-1-1 operator her name. The former girlfriend made matters worse when she changed her story to the police two times. At first, she claimed that she was not with Alexander the day he was murdered.
“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.”
But she was literally caught red-handed when investigators found her bloody hand print at the scene. Then she changed her story to that she was with her lover and two masked intruders broke in his home and murdered him, but was too afraid to call the police.
“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.”
Finally, she changed her story for the last time saying that she did in fact kill her former boyfriend, but out of self defense after he attacked her for dropping his camera.
“Jodi’s life was in danger. He knocked her to the ground in the bathroom where there was a struggle,” Jennifer Willmott, an attorney for Arias said. “If she did not have to defend herself, she would not be here.”
3. Prosecutors are Seeking the Death Penalty
Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for Arias due to the viciousness of the murder. If she is found guilty, she will be the fourth woman ever to be on death row in Arizona.
4. Police Said They Found Potentially Damning Evidence
Police said they found potentially damning evidence against Arias. In an obvious attempt to cover up the evidence, a digital camera was found in a washing machine with time-stamped photos of the two posing naked together in his home. Photos taken just seconds later show Alexander’s lifeless body.
5. Prosecutors Believe She was Just a Jealous Girlfriend
Prosecutors charged Arias for murder, saying that she was just a jealous girlfriend who killed Alexander after he tried ending their relationship once and for all. Alexander even told his friends that Arias was getting too possessive and acting like a stalker. He ended their relationship, but phone calls and e-mails indicate that the couple still carried on a sexual relationship.
6. Alexander’s Brother Says to Not Buy Into Arias’ Innocent Act
“It makes me sick because I know her true side,” Steven Alexander told ABC News. “And I ask people to please not buy into this sweet innocent personality that she puts on.”
7. She Might be Trying to Become Famous for her Murder Trial
Besides the fact that her trial is expected to be the most watched since Casey Anthony’s murder trial, Arias entered and won an American Idol style prison competition. She’s definitely not keeping a low profile. Check out the video above of Arias singing O’ Holy Night, which is mediocre at best. For winning, her prize was a Christmas stocking full of goodies and a turkey dinner for herself and her cellmates.
8. The Trial Began on Wednesday
The long awaited trial began on Wednesday and opened with a prosecutor describing the gruesome murder as Arias broke down crying. The trial is expected to last until April.
9. Alexander was a Motivational Speaker
Travis Alexander was a 30-year-old successful businessman and a well-known motivational speaker. He owned a top-selling legal insurance company, Prepaid Legal Services Inc., and traveled giving motivational speeches for the company. At the time of his death, he had recently finished writing a self-help book.
10. Arias was an Aspiring Photographer