Court documents show that attorneys for Jodi Arias attempted to negotiate a possible plea deal prior to her trial for the 2008 murder of ex-boyfriend Travis Alexander.
In a July 2011 memorandum, Arias’ defense team tried to convince prosecutors to “discuss the resolution of the case within the parameters of the sentences available for second degree murder.” Attorneys argued that “it will require quite the feat of mental gymnastics” to prove the state’s felony murder theory to a jury.
The document describes some of the evidence the defense planned to introduce at trial, much of it dealing with the nature of Arias and Alexander’s relationship. The defense claimed expert witnesses would testify about the “extremely demeaning, degrading, and abusive behavior” Alexander exhibited toward Arias.
According to the memorandum, Alexander’s texts, emails and voicemails will “paint a tawdry picture not of a choir boy steadfastly practicing his faith, but of a playboy expert manipulator and sexual deviant.” Text messages would also allegedly show that Alexander was upset at Arias and called her names, but in the days before his death Alexander still wanted Arias for sexual purposes.
In a letter to prosecutors in December 2010, Arias claimed that testimony about Alexander’s relationships at the trial would cause “collateral damage” to others in the Mormon community and tarnish Alexander’s memory, according to the memorandum. After sending that letter, Arias was informed that a second degree murder plea would not be possible.
In addition to arguing that a conviction on first degree murder would be difficult to obtain, the defense also claimed that a death sentence was unlikely because the murder was a product of the “chaotic and unhealthy” relationship between Arias and Alexander. As a result, they felt she had no incentive to plead to a charge more serious than second degree murder.
The defense stated that Arias could receive a more favorable verdict at trial, but she was willing to plead guilty to second degree murder to avoid causing more pain to Alexander’s friends and family and “because she has grave regrets for the falsehoods she told the media after Mr. Alexander’s death and how such falsehoods might have caused the family even more pain.”
No plea deal was ever reached. Arias’ defense is expected to begin presenting testimony to the jury on Tuesday.