Arias trial opens: Jealous lover or abuse victim?

NEED TO KNOW
  • Opening statements get under way in Jodi Arias trial
  • Travis Alexander was found dead in his bathroom, throat slashed, shot and stabbed at least 29 times
Arias trial opens: Jealous lover or abuse victim?

Are Jodi Arias' lawyers conceding guilt?

Jodi Arias is accused of killing her ex-boyfriend Travis Alexander.

Did Jodi Arias snap photos of her dying ex?

Jodi Arias is accused of killing her ex-boyfriend Travis Alexander.

Read In Session's minute-by-minute updates from Wednesday’s opening statements below.

Travis Alexander was found with his throat slit from ear to ear, he’d been shot in the face, and he had at least 29 stab wounds to his body, police say.

Now his ex-girlfriend, Jodi Arias, is facing the death penalty for allegedly killing him.

Read more: Everything you need to know about the trial of 2013

In June 2008, Alexander's roommates found his mutilated body in a shower at his Mesa, Arizona, home.

Arias has given authorities several stories about Alexander's death. First, she said she wasn’t with Alexander when he was killed. But police found a camera at the scene showing the couple in suggestive poses, along with photos of Alexander’s dead body.

Later, Arias said two intruders killed Alexander. Now, she’s saying she killed him in self-defense because he got violent with her.

In Session live-blogged Wednesday’s opening statements below (best read from the bottom up). Check back Thursday for minute-by-minute updates from the trial.

6:32 p.m. ET: Officer Williams is excused from the witness stand, and the judge has recessed for the evening. Arias seems to make one attempt to make eye contact with the jurors as they exit the courtroom. Arias is now crying and is looking down at the ground.

Read more: What can we learn from Jodi Arias' body language?

6:30 p.m. ET: Alexander's sister Tanisha Sorenson is crying profusely as the photos of her brother's body are shown to jury.

6:27 p.m. ET: Martinez is now showing the photos of Alexander's body in his shower to the jury. The photos show a discolored body in the shower. Arias is refusing to look at them. It seems like she is crying.

6:26 p.m. ET: Martinez is asking Williams to confirm that photos of Alexander's body are indeed what he saw on June 9.  Martinez is now submitting them into evidence.

6:25 p.m. ET: Prosecutor Martinez is asking Williams what he witnessed when he responded to the 911 call when Alexander's friends call for help after finding his dead body on June 9, 2008. Williams is describing the condition of Alexander's body with gruesome details. 

6:22 p.m. ET: Williams says he is a patrol officer with the Mesa, Arizona, Police Department.

6:16 p.m. ET: The attorneys have finished their examination of Alexander's friend Marie Hall. The prosecution calls their next witness, Sterling Williams.

6:15 p.m. ET: Martinez is asking Hall about what are the most serious sins in the Mormon church. Hall says murder and premarital sex are very serious sins in the faith.

6:13 p.m. ET: Hall says she does not know what Alexander's status with the Mormon church was.

6:11 p.m. ET: Hall says she talked with Alexander about how he had a "stalker." Hall says she was scared about the "stalker." Defense attorney Nurmi has finished his cross examination of Hall. Prosecutor Juan Martinez is now asking Hall questions about the stalker issue during his re-direct examination of Hall.

6:08 p.m. ET:

 

6:07 p.m. ET: Hall says she had reservations about going to Cancun with Alexander, because she was not interested in being in a relationship him.

6:06 p.m. ET:

 

 

6:04 p.m. ET:

 

6:03 p.m. ET: Defense attorney Nurmi is asking Hall about the dates she had with Alexander.

5:58 p.m. ET: Hall says Alexander was a priesthood holder in the Mormon faith, because he was in good standing with the church.

5:56 p.m. ET:

5:55 p.m. ET: Hall is talking about the hierarchy of sins in the Mormon faith. She says killing is the most serious sin with premarital sex after that.

5:51 p.m. ET: Defense attorney Nurmi is asking Hall about how a sinner can repent in the Mormon faith. She says she doesn't know what the process is, because she doesn't' know anyone who has gone through that process.

5:47 p.m. ET: Hall is explaining the structure of the Mormon church.

5: 44 p.m. ET: Defense attorney Kirk Nurmi is asking Hall about the excommunication process in the Mormon faith.

5:43 p.m. ET: Hall says Alexander's roommate went into his bedroom first, and said he noticed blood. Hall says she stopped looking when his roommate found blood. Prosecutor Martinez is asking Hall about a memorial service in Mesa, Arizona, shortly after Alexander's death. Hall says Arias attended this service, and Arias introduced herself to her. Hall says Arias told her she was upset about Alexander's death. The defense is starting their cross examination of Hall now.

5:40 p.m. ET: Alexander's bedroom was locked, says prosecution witness Hall.

5:38 p.m. ET: Hall says the house smelled really bad, and they eventually made their way upstairs to Alexander's bedroom.

5:36 p.m. ET: Hall is describing how she made her way through Alexander's house looking for him.

5:34 p.m. ET: Hall says a light was on in the house, but she knocked on his door, and no one answered. She called one of Alexander's friends for help.  They all met at Alexander's house and tried to knock on the door again. One of Alexander's friends suggested they use the security code for the garage to get into Alexander's house. Hall is now crying on the stand, and is trying to compose herself.

5:33 p.m. ET: Hall says she became suspicious and went over to Alexander's house to check on him.

5:32 p.m. ET: Hall says shortly before they left for Cancun she couldn't get a hold of him. She texted him, and he didn't respond. She also noticed he didn't attend church that week.

5:29 p.m. ET: Hall says she agreed to go to Cancun, because the trip was with a Mormon family and not just Alexander.

5:28 p.m. ET: Prosecutor Juan Martinez is asking Hall about how she kept in contact with Alexander after she stopped dating him. Alexander even asked her to go to Cancun, Mexico, with her in May 2008, and she agreed to go.

5:25 p.m. ET: Hall is explaining the excommunication process in the Mormon faith, and how a sinner can repent for sin.

5:22 p.m. ET: Hall says the Mormon faith says premarital sex is a serious sin, and a Mormon could be excommunicated for having sex before marriage.

5:20 p.m. ET: Hall says Alexander thanked her for telling him that their relationship wasn't going to work out.

5:18 p.m. ET: Prosecution witness Hall says that after her third date with Alexander she told him they had no chemistry and broke it off. She told him that she just wanted to be friends. Hall says Alexander never made any sexual advances toward her.

5:16 p.m. ET: Hall says after their second date she kept in contact with Alexander. She also says she felt very safe with Alexander, and he never showed his temper.

5:15 p.m. ET: Hall says shortly after her first date with Alexander she began seeing someone else, but that ended after about two weeks. Alexander then asked her out again, and they went out on another date.

5:13 p.m. ET: Hall says her date with Alexander involved going to Barnes & Noble for hot chocolate. She also says that there were no sparks between them.

5:12 p.m. ET: Prosecution witness Hall says Alexander was impressed with a speech Hall made at church, and asked her out on a date shortly after that.

5:06 p.m. ET: Hall is explaining how she participated in church activities with Alexander. These activities included BBQs.

5:03 p.m. ET: The first prosecution witness is on the stand, Marie Hall. Hall says she attended church with Alexander and went on a few dates with him.

5:00 p.m. ET: Judge Sherry Stephens is back on the bench. Court is about to resume.

4:58 p.m. ET: The defense displayed to the jury this picture of Arias being baptized into the Mormon faith with Alexander at her side. Alexander was a devout Mormon when they met in September 2006. Arias was baptized two months after meeting Alexander.

4:54 p.m. ET: Alexander's family gets emotional during the defense's opening statements Wednesday.

4:50 p.m. ET: Here is a photo of the "Inside Edition" interview the prosecution showed the jury earlier Wednesday.

4:48 p.m. ET:

This is one of the slides defense attorney Willmott showed the jurors during her opening statement.

4:45 p.m. ET: Willmott concludes her closing argument by saying that Alexander became enraged when Arias dropped his camera on the bathroom floor, and if she hadn't defended herself, she would not be here right now. Alexander's sister Tanisha Sorenson is crying in the gallery during Willmott's statements. Court is now in recess for 10 minutes.

4:41 p.m. ET: Willmott is showing the jury photos of Alexander taken right before his death. The attorneys are approaching the bench, because the prosecution has objected.

4:37 p.m. ET: Willmott says Alexander became enraged about a CD that didn't work, and bent Arias over the desk and had rough vaginal sex with her.

4:35 p.m. ET: Willmott is talking about the day Alexander died. She says Alexander was prepared to tie her up for their last sexual encounter, and he had a knife to cut the rope.

4:32 p.m. ET: Willmott is reviewing disturbing details of a recording of a phone sex conversation Arias had with Alexander. During this phone call, Willmott says Alexander said he fantasized about having anal sex with her.

4:29 p.m. ET: Alexander had a T-shirt made that he owned Arias, says defense attorney Willmott. In April 2008, Alexander was still seeing other women so Arias moved back to California, Willmott said.

4:28 p.m. ET: Willmott says that an expert will testify about how Arias' relationship with Alexander fits the mold of domestic violence.

4:25 p.m. ET: Willmott says Alexander degraded her to his friends by calling her a stalker, slut and whore.

4:24 p.m. ET: Defense attorney Willmott says Arias broke up with Alexander, because he was seeing other women.

4:21 p.m. ET: Willmott says Alexander pressured Arias into having sex with her despite his Mormon faith. Alexander told Arias that anal and oral sex was not as big of a sin as vaginal sex.

4:19 p.m. ET: Willmott says Arias broke up with her boyfriend four days after the convention. Shortly after, Alexander persuaded Arias to spend the weekend with him and his friends. During that weekend, Alexander introduced Arias to Mormonism by giving her the Book of Mormon. Two months after meeting Alexander, Arias was baptized into the Mormon faith.

4:16 p.m. ET: Willmott says Arias and Alexander hung out a lot that weekend, and Alexander even tried to kiss her. She didn't let it happen, because Arias had a boyfriend.

4:15 p.m. ET: Arias met Alexander at the Rainforest Cafe during lunch, says defense attorney Willmott.

4:12 p.m. ET: Willmott says in September of 2006, Arias met Alexander at a Pre Paid Legal convention in Las Vegas, Nevada.

4:11 p.m. ET: Arias seemed to get upset at the start of Willmott's opening statement. She seems to have composed herself. Willmott is now discussing how Alexander met Arias.

4:10 p.m. ET: Willmott says that Arias did kill Alexander, but the million dollar question is what motivated her to do it.

4:06 p.m. ET: The jury is entering the courtroom. Defense attorney Jennifer Willmott is about to give her opening statement.

4:05 p.m. ET: Judge Sherry Stephens is back on the bench.

3:59 p.m. ET:

 

3:57 p.m. ET:

 

3:54 p.m. ET:

 

3:52 p.m. ET: Martinez asks the jurors to mark Arias' words, and concludes his opening statements. Court is now in a 10-minute recess.

3:51 p.m. ET: Martinez is now talking about how Arias' story has changed and now she says she stabbed, shot and slit Alexander's throat. Martinez plays another part of the interview where Arias says, "Mark my words, no jury will convict me."

3:50 p.m. ET: In the interview, Arias says she can't imagine slitting Alexander's throat. Arias also says two people killed Alexander.

Read more: A look inside Travis' and Jodi's relationship

3:48 p.m. ET: Martinez says Arias didn't call the police, because her cellphone wasn't charged. Martinez is preparing to play a portion of an "Inside Edition" interview Arias gave shortly after Alexander was killed.

3:45 p.m. ET: Arias told police she pushed the woman and was about to run out of the house, and then the man tried to shoot her but the gun didn't go off, says Martinez.  The man let her go, but threatened to kill her if she spoke to the police.  Arias said there was nothing she could do to help Alexander.

3:43 p.m. ET: Martinez says Arias then changed her story and said she was in Mesa, Arizona on June 4, 2008, and they had sex. She also told investigators that she took the photographs on the camera. She claimed that she was knocked out or became unconscious then when she woke up, she figured out that Alexander was hurt, and that there were two attackers responsible for killing him.

3:38 p.m. ET: Arias told investigators after Alexander's death that the last time she was in Mesa, Arizona, was in April 2008, according to prosecutor Martinez.

3:36 p.m. ET: Martinez says Burns will testify that he did not have sex with Arias, because he is Mormon. However, Burns will testify that they had physical contact.

3:34 p.m. ET: The jury is entering the courtroom. Prosecutor Juan Martinez is picking up where he left off, talking about the rental car Arias picked up on June, 2, 2008. Martinez says Arias ended up in Salt Lake City a day after killing Alexander to see another man she had a romantic interest in, Ryan Burns.

3:28 p.m. ET: Judge Sherry Stephens is back on the bench, and is waiting for one juror to return.

2:53 p.m. ET: Court will resume at 3:30 p.m. ET with prosecutor Juan Martinez continuing his opening statement.

2:50 p.m. ET: Here is another shot of Arias crying in the courtroom Wednesday morning.

Read more: Who is Jodi Arias?

2:46 p.m. ET: Here is a photograph of the Maricopa County Courthouse, where the Arias trial is being held.

2:37 p.m. ET:

2:35 p.m. ET:

2:32 p.m. ET:

2:31 p.m. ET:

2:30 p.m. ET:

 

2:28 p.m. ET: Arias sobbed in the courtroom as prosecutor Martinez recounted how Alexander died.

2:23 p.m. ET:

 

2:21 p.m. ET:

 

2:19 p.m. ET: Here is a picture of In Session's truck outside the courthouse in Phoenix.

2:06 p.m. ET: Court is taking a break and will return at 3:30 p.m. ET.

2:05 p.m. ET: Prosecutor says the car Arias rented around the time Alexander was killed had 2,000 more miles on it when Arias returned it.

2:03 p.m. ET: Martinez says on May 28, 2008, there was a suspicious burglary at Arias' house in Yreka, California. Arias reported a .25 caliber gun was stolen during this burglary. Alexander was killed on June 4, 2008, according to Martinez.

1:59 p.m. ET: Arias called up the police after Alexander's body was found and offered to help with their investigation, says prosecutor Martinez. She told them they should start investigating one of Alexander's roommates.

1:56 p.m. ET: Martinez says after slitting Alexander's throat and shooting him in the head, she deleted those photos and put the camera in the washing machine.

Read more: Did Arias snap photos of her dead lover?

1:54 p.m. ET: Martinez says Arias attacked Alexander in the shower, because his defenses were down. 

1:52 p.m. ET: Prosecutor Martinez says there is a photograph of Alexander bleeding and Arias trying to drag his dead body.

1:49 p.m. ET: Martinez says there was a photo on the camera found in the wash that shows Alexander sitting in the shower. 

1:47 p.m. ET: Martinez says the photos are time-stamped and they were "sinning." The time stamps on the photos show that Alexander was still alive in on June 4. Martinez is now talking about a bloody print from Arias found at the crime scene. Investigators also found a hair from Arias at the crime scene.

1:43 p.m. ET: Martinez says investigators were able to recover photos from the camera found in Alexander's washing machine despite them being deleted. The photos show Arias and Alexander "going at it," referring to them having sexual relations. 

1:42 p.m. ET:  Martinez says even though police never recovered the gun they know that firearm was a .25 caliber, because of a shell found at the scene.

1:40 p.m. ET: Martinez says the first wound was to Alexander's heart, and Alexander was able to move around during the attack. Arias is crying as Martinez recounts how Alexander died.

1:37 p.m. ET: Martinez says this was a violent murder, and there are three different ways he could have been killed. He was shot, stabbed in the heart, and his throat was slit from ear to ear. The shot to the head and wound to the throat would have been rapidly fatal. Alexander also had defensive wounds, according to Martinez.

1:34 p.m. ET: Prosecutor Martinez says whoever cleaned the bathroom took their time. The towel that was used to clean up the bathroom was taken to the washing machine downstairs along with some of Alexander's clothes and a digital camera.

1:33 p.m. ET: Martinez says that someone washed Alexander's body to the point that there was no blood on the body.  

1:32 p.m. ET: Martinez is displaying a diagram of Alexander's house to the jury. There is a big red spot depicting where Alexander was found dead. His body was found in the shower and there was blood all around that area. Martinez says someone staged the scene.

1:28 p.m. ET: Martinez says when his friends got into Alexander's house looking for him the house had a really bad smell. Alexander's bedroom was locked.

1:27 p.m. ET: Prosecutor Martinez is talking about how Alexander's friends found his body. He says that Arias had the security code to enter Alexander's house through the garage.

1:21 p.m. ET: Martinez says in April 2008, Arias loaded up a Uhaul truck and moved back to California, but the relationship wasn't over. Martinez says that Arias recorded a phone sex session with Alexander around this time.

1:18 p.m. ET: Prosecutor Martinez says that after the breakup, Arias moved from California to Mesa, Arizona, to be closer to Alexander. He also says they continued to have sex after breaking up.

1:17 p.m. ET: Martinez says the couple breaks up after Arias found text messages from other women on Alexander's phone.

1:14 p.m. ET: Arias and Alexander became an item in February of 2007, and around that time they began to have sex despite what their shared faith demanded, according to prosecutor Martinez.

1:12 p.m. ET: Martinez is talking about how Arias and Alexander met and how their relationship grew through Mormonism.

1.11 p.m. ET: Martinez says Travis Alexander was a good man, and Arias rewarded him for being a good man by brutally murdering him.

 

1:10 p.m. ET: Juan Martinez starts his opening statements for the prosecution. He says this "isn't a case of who done it." The person who committed this murder is sitting in the courtroom.

1:08 p.m. ET: The clerk of court is reading Arias' indictment in open court.

1:05 p.m. ET: Judge Stephens is giving instructions to the jury. Arias is wearing a black shirt, and her hair is cut with bangs.

1:03 p.m. ET: Judge Stephens is on the bench, and the jury is being called into the courtroom..

 

12:47 p.m. ET:

12:42 p.m. ET: Judge Sherry Stephens is on the bench, but dealing with other matters. Attorneys are here. Jodi Arias has not been brought into court. The case should begin shortly.

12:30 p.m. ET: Wednesday's proceedings will start any minute now. Juan Martinez is expected to give the opening statement for the prosecution. Kirk Nurmi, the lead defense counsel, will likely give the opening statement for the defense. 

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