Ryan Burns was one of the first people to see Jodi Arias after she murdered Travis Alexander, and he had no suspicions that the woman who came to visit him had just killed a man.
Burns was a colleague of Arias, and, like Alexander, met her at a work convention. She was on her way to meet burns at his home in Utah when she took a detour to meet Alexander – an encounter that ended in his death. You can read more about the relationship between Jodi Arias and Travis Alexander here.
The Jodi Arias trial gripped the nation following the high-profile murder case of Travis Alexander. ABC’s 20/20 is taking another look at the case Friday, February 14, 2020.
Here’s what you need to know:
Ryan Burns Testified at Jodi Arias’ Murder Trial About Her Demeanor & Their Encounter After the Murder
Ryan Burns’ testimony was key at trial because he was one of the first people to spend time with Jodi Arias after the murder of Travis Alexander. He and Arias first met about two months earlier at a PrePaid Legal convention in Oklahoma. They began talking on the phone between three and five times every week, and made plans to meet up. She agreed to drive to meet him at his home in Utah, according to his testimony. You can watch Burns’ testimony in full here.
On the way, she made a detour and met up with Travis Alexander June 4, 2008 in Mesa, Arizona. They had sex and took provocative pictures of each other. She then shot him and stabbed him to death.
When Arias arrived at Burns’ home, the only indications something terrible had happened were band-aids on her fingers, and her arrival several hours late. She told Burns she cut her fingers working as a waitress, and that she had gotten lost on the way. She said she had broken a glass at work and cut her fingers.
Burns’ described Arias’ demeanor as slightly shy in groups but warm and energetic in one-on-one interactions.
“She was fine, she was laughing about simple little things like any other person. I never once felt like anything was wrong during the day. With a crowd she was a little awkward in social areas, but one-on-one she was very talkative and excitable,” Burns testified.
He said that she was “stronger than she looks” and nearly had a six pack.
Jodi Arias Wrote Ryan Burns a Letter After He Testified At Her Trial
Jodi Arias wrote a letter to Ryan Burns after he offered testimony at her murder trial. In his testimony, he said Arias was feisty and stronger than she appeared. He said they met up just hours after she murdered Travis Alexander with cuts on her fingers, which she explained away by saying she worked as a waitress.
Arias wrote Burns a letter after he gave his testimony, saying he was a good man. She made a point of telling him that he was never in any danger with her. The letter, published by Fox News, was dated March 20, 2009.
The letter said:
Several months ago I read the transcripts of your conversations with Detective Flores and that is what has prompted this letter, which I began to write thereafter but have not revisited until now. You really are a kind person. I know you probably think that I am a total psychopath and frankly that is among the lighter things I have been labeled in these preceding months.
I know you and I were in a different place spiritually, so I don’t know if any of the more spiritually tuned thoughts in this letter will be at all impactful to you, but that is not really my objective. I share these things with you because they are from my heart. I do know that all things happen for a reason. I do not care that this is one of the most clichéd sayings in the language when it comes to trying to understand that which seems beyond comprehension and coming to grips with what seemed so impossible to accept. Yet accept it I have-mostly. I still indulge in a little resistance on occasion a bit of grinding my heels into the ground.
Back to those transcripts. There were a few glaring inaccuracies I simply could not let rest. One being that the Detective said I was “giggling and smiling” after being “taken into custody.” Sooo not the case. I was somber, calm and resolute, though shaking on the inside, what good would it have done to freak out? Eventually I broke down and cried but the crying came and went as the hours rolled by. It was all on tape so I don’t know why Detective Flores would lie to you about that. However, I discovered he does that a lot. Oh, and by the way, I never stopped at Sinclair’s on my trip. You had mentioned that. In fact, I’ve never even heard of that place. It was at Starbucks in Pasadena where I caught those kids acting silly and like they were up to no good. They give skaters a bad rap.
But three things above all that I must verify is no, Detective Flores did not “save your life,” and no, he will not be turning up any “missing ex-boyfriends” from my past and no, I am not a “serial killer.” My goodness, those things are so far from the truth. After getting over the initial shock and indignation that he would propose such notions and the realization that, while, this Detective really does play all the angles, I actually got a small laugh out of such ridiculousness and even cried out,” what a freaking bone-head!” in reference to him. (Jail has made me no less a dork that I was prior to my rest).
My lawyer called you a “whore for the state.” Strong words, I know but by this she means that you were immediately willing to offer your testimony in the state’s favor. The testimony is the testimony under oath, so I did not see the problem, but her strong personality lends strong opinions about everything.
Yet in spite of all these things, what struck me was you still refrained from participating in bashing me with unkind words, and I do not know why. But it has only reinforced my opinion of you: that to the core you are a good man with a strong backbone of integrity. Something you said to me during one of our many late-night conversations has stayed with me throughout this nightmare. I do not remember it verbatim but I do remember the principal idea of what was conveyed to me, or at least how I interpreted it. You said, and I paraphrase, that Heavenly Father must not think you are very strong. Such a thing to say, I wondered. I asked you why and you joked that you have had it pretty easy most of your life and you have not been beset with many difficulties. He must therefore save all of that stuff for the stronger souls who can handle it. I do not know if that is precisely what you intended to communicate, but that’s what I took from that conversation and I thank you for providing me with that perspective to consider. It helps me to believe that I am strong, that the world can do its worst and ultimately I will still be okay.
For the record, I never personally considered you a weaker soul, not for one second. I have no doubt that the blessings you enjoy are for deeper reasons yet unseen and I have no doubt that with the passage of time life is only going to become more and more amazing for you.
You know, he wasn’t the first to say it, but Travis often quoted “the cream always rises to the top.” I guess it is a little difficult for me to ponder much on that concept right now because of my present set of circumstances, although this one abbreviated life by no means compromises of my entire journey despite the eternal implications it still carries. I may have quite the climb ahead of me, but I’m still committed to a vertical path. That expression does remind me of you, however. You have nowhere to go but up and I have admired you for that.
Ryan, you were never in danger with me. I hope you truly know that somewhere within, although what others think has gradually become less and less important to me. The only “danger” Travis was ever in because the me was “spiritual danger,” and of that we were both guilty of endangering each other.
It is no longer important to me that you believe me. You will know for yourself one day. What is important to me is that I tell you these things. If this letter has found its way into your hands and you have read this far then I thank you. You are among so many who have enriched my life just by having shared a small piece of it.
Jodi Ann Arias