The Untold Truth Of Jodi Arias

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Jodi Arias' trial for the murder of Travis Alexander captivated the world. The case had everything people love (but hate to admit they love): sex, violence, death, and a whole lot of scandal. Despite all the media attention, there are still many aspects of the murder, the trial, and of Arias' own character that much of the world doesn't know or understand. Behold the (mostly) untold truth of Arias.

Arias and Alexander were connected to a controversial company

Even the company hosting the seminar where Arias first met Alexander was questionable. Alexander was a member of multi-level marketing firm Pre-Paid Legal, a company that sold "legal insurance" for around $26 a month—but its actual services were extremely limited, and its "multi-level marketing" compensation plan was compared to that of a pyramid scheme. In 2006, The New York Times reported that the firm had an extremely high turnover rate, was embroiled in more than 30 lawsuits, and was at odds with the Federal Trade Commission.

She and Travis had a sordid love life

Despite Alexander's strict Mormon beliefs, his principles were called into question during the murder trial. His romantic life with Arias allegedly included everything from Tootsie Roll Pops to semi-public trysts to homemade videos to...well, if you really want to know, Google it, because we're a family-friendly operation. Arias also accused Alexander of rape and of possessing and viewing child pornography and claimed she begged him to receive professional help.

Alexander may have been emotionally abusive

Emails Alexander exchanged with a close friend named Sky Hughes, obtained by The Arizona Republic, indicate that Hughes advised Alexander to stop treating Arias (and other women he'd been dating at the same time) so poorly. 

"Travis, with love, you are a heart predator," Hughes reportedly wrote in one email. "You take great joy in making women fall for the T-dogg. You laugh about what you can get away with. It would scare me to death if my little sister liked you, in fact I wouldn't allow it."

Hughes reportedly warned Arias about Alexander's behavior, which led Alexander to send Hughes an angry email claiming Arias dumped him because of what Hughes told her. Hughes responded, telling Alexander that Arias "was being treated horribly, you weren't beating her physically, but you were emotionally." Hughes claimed Alexander was using Arias to satisfy him physically in a way that his on-again-off-again Mormon girlfriend at the time, Deanna Reid, could not under the rules of the church.

Some suggest Arias received mixed messages about and from Alexander that may have literally driven her crazy. According to the New York Daily News, Arias relocated to Alexander's city of Mesa, Ariz. in June 2007. What makes that bizarre? She reportedly moved there after they broke up.

She gave his friends the creeps

Sky Hughes and her husband, Chris Hughes, claimed Arias manipulated them and eavesdropped on one of their private conversations. In Exposed: The Secret Life of Jodi Arias (via the New York Daily News), the couple describes catching Arias listening to them talk through a closed door, at which point she allegedly gave them a look of "pure evil."

Sky and Chris weren't alone in their feelings about Arias. Alexander's friend and roommate, Taylor Searle, who was present when Alexander's body was found, told Radar Online, "When I first met [Arias] we were at his house on a Sunday evening, there were people over from the church and we were all making cookies. She presented herself to me as 'his' woman and welcomed me to her house... As someone who was very close friends with him, she was already trying to make claims on my buddy and I didn't even know her. It really rubbed me the wrong way. There were always small nuances like this. I was put off by how she was." He added, "I immediately suspected Jodi [of the murder] and told the 911 people that I thought it was her."

Searle wasn't the only one who immediately assumed Arias was responsible for Alexander's death. In 911 tapes (via Radar Online), Alexander's friend Mimi Hall says, "There's a girl that's been stalking him."

She hooked up with another man the day after Alexander's death

The day after Alexander was found murdered, Arias reportedly fell into the arms of another man. According to ABC News, her new love interest, Ryan Burns, testified that she arrived at his Utah home "just 24 hours after she killed Alexander. There, the pair cuddled, kissed, and watched movies, according to Burns." Burns also said Arias was a blonde when he met her but dyed her hair brown before her visit, and he testified that she was wearing bandages on her fingers, which she allegedly said was the result of cutting her fingers on broken glass at a restaurant where she claimed to work.

She kept changing her story

Soon after Alexander was found murdered in June 2008, Arias volunteered to help investigators track down his killer, providing fingerprints and DNA samples. At the time, she told police she hadn't seen Alexander since April 2008, reported The Huffington Post.

In July 2008, cops arrested Arias after matching her prints to bloody prints found at the crime scene in Alexander's California home. On Sept. 12, 2008, Arias told The Arizona Republic that she didn't murder Alexander, but she wouldn't explain why evidence linked her to the crime scene. 

Less than two weeks later, Arias told Inside Edition that she'd been present when Alexander was attacked by two intruders. By June 2009, Arias had embellished the home intruder story, telling 48 Hours that one intruder had a gun and the other had a knife, and that she and Alexander had been playing with her camera just before the intrusion occurred. 

In August 2011, Arias claimed there were no intruders and that she had murdered Alexander in self-defense after a fight turned physical. She claimed she was a victim of domestic violence for years at his hand.

Her police interrogation video was a doozy

Minutes before Arias was arrested and charged with Alexander's murder, cameras caught her behaving bizarrely in a police interrogation room. She was alone at the time, following about four hours of questioning. At one point in the footage, she scolds herself: "Goodness. You should have at least done your makeup, Jodi. Gosh." In another moment, she sings lyrics from Dido's "Here With Me," notably (and perhaps pointedly), "It might change my memory." She also does a headstand and digs through the trash can.

She had issues with her lawyers

In August 2011, Arias told Judge Sherry Stephens that she wished to represent herself in her murder trial, reported The Huffington Post. Judge Stephens granted the request but required Arias to keep her defense attorneys, Kirk Nurmi and Victoria Washington, on hand as advisory counsel. 

The Arizona Republic reported that Arias later changed her mind and requested to keep her attorneys, but they didn't all want to stay—Nurmi attempted to resign from the case, but Stephens refused to allow him to do so, forcing him to remain on Arias' defense team. In December 2011, Washington filed a motion to withdraw from Arias' case, which was granted. In January 2012, Jennifer Wilmott was assigned to represent Arias alongside Nurmi.

According to Crime Watch Daily, Arias may have grown to view Nurmi as "her boyfriend." Nurmi told the program, "With Ms. Arias, there was always a need for attention, and visits could sometimes be two, two and a half hours long, and they were very mind-numbing." He added, "I certainly saw elements of manipulative behavior in terms of her interactions with me, trying to manipulate me with her emotions or seeking sympathy."

Three years later, Arias requested to act as her own attorney again for her sentencing trial, but once again changed her mind.

A camera bolstered the prosecution's case

Arias supposedly loved photography, and it would lead to her downfall in court. The Daily Mail reported that prosecutor Juan Martinez showed photos in court that Arias took of Alexander just before the murder, including photos of him in the shower staring right at her—in some, you can see her reflection in his eyes. The timestamps on the photos revealed that they were snapped within minutes of subsequent photos showing Alexander bleeding from stab wounds—some of those photos reportedly captured part of Arias leg in the frame. Other photos on the camera showed Arias in various states of undress. Those timestamps reportedly proved that Arias was the last person to see Alexander alive.

According to the Daily Mail, Arias tried deleting the photos from her camera, even running the camera through a washing machine, but police were able to recover the photographic evidence. 

Some think she had an accomplice

Radar Online reported that Arias may have had an accomplice to help her kill Alexander. According to Arias' former cellmate, Donavan Bering: "[Name redacted to help investigators] told me Jodi looked like a crazy woman when she was stabbing Travis. This person told me how they had never seen anything like it before [and that she was] totally maniacal... 

"She was jealous, but Travis was not the target of the killing," Bering reportedly said. "If his girlfriend was there, Travis would be alive today... There was an altercation, and [redacted] goes running up the stairs. When [redacted] got upstairs, [redacted] said Jodi was on Travis' back, stabbing him. But [redacted] did it all to protect Jodi and was under the impression the fight was started by Travis... [Redacted] didn't know Jodi had started it and, once it was over, was right in the middle of it."

Shanna Hogan, author of Picture Perfect: The Jodi Arias Story, told Radar Online, "Police actually did not believe that it was possible for one person to do it. When people started pointing the finger at Jodi, one of the officers said, 'I don't think that's possible. I don't think that small woman can kill him.'" Hogan notes, "Jodi didn't have any injuries on her—beside the one cut on her finger."

The jury fired tons of questions at her

As The Arizona Republic once explained, "Arizona is one of a handful of states in which jurors in criminal trials are allowed to ask questions of trial witnesses... But there are usually just a few questions per witness—a few more for expert witnesses." The jury in this case submitted a whopping 150 questions for Arias—and that was after the prosecution and defense eliminated questions that were deemed inappropriate. 

Questions included asking if Alexander paid for the trips he took with Arias (she said they usually split the cost); why she put the aforementioned camera in a washing machine; if she was paid for the TV interviews she did following her arrest. There were also questions about her intimate life with Alexander, as well as queries about the murder itself. The jury did "not appear to believe her," The Arizona Republic reported, adding that "it seemed as if some jurors were taunting her.

'Snow White' played a role in the trial

Defense witness Alyce LaViolette was a psychologist and an expert in domestic abuse. Her work history, while admirable, drew scorn from prosecutor Martinez in court. LaViolette previously gave a presentation titled "Was Snow White a Battered Woman?" LaViolette claimed it was a catchy title for a harrowing topic, but Martinez used the metaphor as a means to discredit the psychologist, asking LaViolette the ages of the seven dwarfs and badgering her about whether the dwarves lived in a "shack" or a "cottage."

She may have been threatened before testifying

In November 2014, Judge Stephens attempted to close court from the media so Arias could testify in her sentencing retrial–a motion that was turned over on appeal, The Arizona Republic reported. In 2015, it was revealed that the attempt at a closed hearing was made because Arias feared for her safety after receiving threats. "A lot of crazy people come to the jail and try to visit me," Arias told the court (via The Arizona Republic,) "and some of the threats are of the nature very specific as far as different things that I—if you say this, then this; and if you say that, then that."

She was a jailhouse 'Idol'

Jodi Arias' impressive vocals in her interrogation video may have been practice for Inmate Idol. She reportedly won a singing contest in jail in December 2010 while awaiting trial, reported Talking Points Memo. Competing against other pre-trial inmates (whose crimes ranged from DUI to murder), Arias wowed Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and two other judges with her rendition of "O Holy Night," earning a Christmas dinner of off-the bone turkey, mashed potatoes, and Christmas cookies.

She sued her attorney

Arias sued defense lawyer Nurmi for allegedly breaking attorney-client privilege when he wrote a tell-all about the trial called Trapped With Ms. Arias: Part 1 of 3, From Getting the File to Being Ready for Trial.

"Since his representation of Plaintiff ended Nurmi has made numerous public statements about his client via traditional media (including on televisions, radio, in print, etc.) as well as via the internet and on social media for the purpose of marketing the book and increasing sales," Arias claimed in court documents obtained by The Arizona Republic, adding, "In the course of his quest to 'redeem' himself with the public, Nurmi discloses confidential information about his client, including privileged communications, his mental impressions of the case and other work product privileged information." 

The suit also alleges, "Nurmi had a disturbing, sexual fascination with the case and with Plaintiff and demonstrated a sexist, chauvinistic, domineering, disparaging, demeaning and belittling way of dealing with Plaintiff... In many references in his book, both overt and implied, Nurmi asserts that Plaintiff flirted with him and actually perceived him as 'her boyfriend.' This is false."

Nurmi, who surrendered his license to practice law in Arizona in light of a complaint from Arias' current attorney, countered in a filing of his own. Nurmi writes, "Standing up to the abuse Ms. Arias imparted upon me over the years was an important part of my personal transformation and I will continue to fight this battle with vigor as I defend against this lawsuit which is best viewed as a continuation of Ms. Arias' pattern of attacking men whom she feels have wronged her."

Could she appeal her conviction?

In November 2014, Jodi Arias' attorneys filed a motion to dismiss all charges against her and eliminate the possibility of giving her the death penalty, accusing prosecutor Martinez of "misconduct." According to The Arizona Republic, the defense claimed a computer-forensic expert (hired by the defense) discovered that thousands of pornographic files were allegedly deleted from Alexander's computer while it was in the possession of police in Mesa, Ariz. A police expert later admitted there was pornography on the machine. Judge Stephens rejected the motion to dismiss all charges after four hearings with the defense and prosecution.

After two hung juries in her death penalty sentencing trial and retrial, Arias is now serving a life sentence in prison, which she reportedly believes she'll beat. The National Enquirer reported in April 2017 that Arias raised $40,000 for efforts to appeal her murder conviction, with a source telling the tabloid, "Her mindset is there's no way she is getting death, but it's more than that. She is focused on her appeal because she thinks she'll win it. She truly thinks she will walk free one day... She's talking about writing a book when she becomes a free woman!"