The State of Arizona has rested its case against Jodi Arias for the death of her ex-boyfriend, Travis Alexander. Arias claims she stabbed Alexander 29 times, shot him in the face, and slit his throat from ear to ear in self-defense. Arias’ defense team is now preparing its case for the jury, as the State of Arizona hopes it presented enough evidence to get a conviction.
Naked photos taken hours before the murder
For the first time on camera, jurors heard Arias repeatedly deny that she had anything to do with her ex-boyfriend’s death when Prosecutor Juan Martinez played tapes of Arias’ police interrogation with Detective Flores after her arrest.
After being confronted with evidence that police said placed her at the crime scene, Arias insisted to Flores, “I wasn’t there. I was not at Travis’ house.”
Arias acknowledged that a piece of hair and her bloody palm print recovered from the crime scene was “compelling evidence” against her, but insisted she didn’t hurt Alexander, and told Flores that if she had, “I would beg for the death penalty.”
Courtroom watchers were stunned when Mesa police officer Michael Melendez testified that he recovered date- and time-stamped naked photos of Arias and Alexander that were previously deleted from the camera found in the washing machine.
Pornographic photos of Arias and Alexander taken on the day of the murder suggested the two were involved in sex play in the hours before Alexander was killed.
A series of photos taken on June 4, 2008, between 5:22 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. of Alexander in the shower captured his last moments alive.
The final three photos were taken about a minute apart, and Prosecutor Martinez said they captured the attack in progress.
A photo taken at 5:31 p.m. showed the ceiling, another at 5:32 p.m. showed Arias’ foot appearing next to a bleeding Alexander, and the final photo taken at 5:33 p.m. showed blood smears on the baseboard.
Arias changes her story
After spending just one night in jail, the jury saw the police interrogation tape where Arias changed her story and admitted to Flores she was with Alexander when he was killed, but said they had been attacked by two intruders.
“I turned around. There were two people. One was a guy, and one was a girl. One was in all black. One was in jeans. The girl wanted to kill me,” Arias told Flores.
Arias described the attack in detail, even indicating on a floor plan where she thought the intruders struck.
“I started running this way…I got Travis and he wasn’t doing much. I was trying to get him. She came back…Travis was just starting to get weaker and weaker,” Arias cried.
After the assailants shot and stabbed Alexander, they warned her that if she reported the attack, she and her family would be punished, Arias said as she lied to police.
“Part of me didn’t want to leave. Travis was still alive but not moving a lot…Travis was bleeding everywhere,” she said.
After listening to Arias describe the attack for nearly 45 minutes, Flores said, “I don’t believe you. It doesn’t make sense. This is the most far-fetched story I have ever heard. Is this how you want to leave this?”
During opening statements, Arias' story changed again when Defense Attorney Jennifer Willmott said she killed Alexander in self-defense.
Jurors also saw phone records detailing calls that took place between Arias and Alexander. The records showed Arias made 10 calls to Alexander’s phone in the days before he died and four after his death.
The jury also heard a voicemail Arias left on Alexander’s phone about six hours after she killed him. During that message, Arias made small talk and invited him to see Othello.
Jurors also saw evidence that Arias made a 16-minute phone call to Alexander’s phone, which suggested she was trying to listen to his voicemails just hours after she killed him.
Arias’ mysterious road trip
The court recessed early Wednesday after the jury heard more of the videotaped statements Arias gave to Flores after her arrest.
“You had the knife and you stabbed him several times. Tell me the truth please,” Flores pleaded to Arias.
“If I had it in me to kill him, I would make it as humane as possible…quick. Not that I think killing him is humane,” Arias told Flores.
Raphael Colombo, a Budget Rent A Car owner, testified that he rented a car to Arias a few days before Alexander was killed.
A “gentleman” was with Arias when she rented the car, but he didn’t know who the man was, Colombo said.
Colombo testified that Arias told him she was using the car locally, but she returned the car with more miles on it than he expected -- over 2,800. He also said the car was returned without floor mats, and that the passenger seat and the middle of the back seat appeared to have "Kool-Aid" colored stains.
Officer Michael Galieti — former officer from West Jordan, Utah, where Arias had stopped to visit Ryan Burns the day after the killing — testified he pulled Arias over the day after Alexander was killed.
Galieti said he pulled Arias over because her rear license plate was upside down, and Arias told him, “My friend must have been playing a joke on me.”
The State rests
At the end of day 9, the State of Arizona rested its case after calling Arias’ friend who said she noticed nothing unusual about Arias' demeanor less than a day after she killed her ex-boyfriend.
“She was acting like Jodi,” Leslie Udy recalled after she attended a Prepaid Legal business event with Arias the day after the murder.
Udy testified Arias told her that she and Alexander were no longer together, but they would remain friends.
On cross-examination, Udy said, “The person I had known was very quiet, soft-spoken…I couldn’t imagine her doing something like that.”
In a dramatic fashion, Prosecutor Juan Martinez showed Udy two nude photos of Arias, and asked her, “Know anything about that aspect of her life?”
And after displaying the photo of Arias’ foot next to a bleeding Alexander, Prosecutor Martinez asked Udy, “She never told you she killed him, did she?”
After jurors left the courtroom, Defense Attorney Kirk Nurmi moved to dismiss the count of felony murder, arguing that the State had not presented any evidence of an underlying felony to support the charge.
“No one can debate that if he [Alexander] were alive to be asked ‘Do you want her to be in your house when she is stabbing you?’ he would say that he did not want her to stab him. At that point her status has changed from guest to murderer,” Prosecutor Martinez argued back.
As the judge takes the motion under advisement, Arias’ defense team will prepare to present its case to the jury on January 29.