Self-defense or jealous rage? Jodi Arias on trial for brutal murder of ex-boyfriend
When Mesa, Arizona, police responded to a 911 call at the home of Travis Alexander, they discovered a scene of unimaginable horror and a puzzling collection of clues that would take years to unravel.
"The police now know what happened. They know that on June 4th of 2008 ... the defendant was there with Mr. Alexander, even though they'd broken up, even though she's in Yreka, somehow she's there in his house in Mesa, Arizona," prosecutor Martinez addressed the court in his opening statement of Arias' murder trial.
In 2008, Jodi Arias had a very good explanation as to how she ended up in Travis' house that day.
"Even to this day, I don't know that I've even fully processed everything," she told Maureen Maher. "I have nothing but time on my hands to think. And that's when I really begin to try and remember and relive that day."
Arriving in Los Angeles on the first leg of her road trip, Arias found herself once again in familiar territory and once again, faced with a familiar dilemma.
"I called Travis ... He, of course, said, 'Well, you could always swing by Arizona and come see me, too.' And I thought, 'No, I'm not gonna do that,'" she said. "And then, I thought, 'What the heck, you know, it's not too far out of my way.'"
Despite the fact that she was expected in Utah the next day, just after midnight on June 4, 2008, Jodi Arias was on the road to Mesa instead.
"So I arrived around 4:00, 4:30 a.m. And he was in his office watching some videos on YouTube," she told Maher.
They talked for a bit and then, both exhausted, Arias says they went straight to sleep.
"We woke up around -- I'd say, 1:00 in the afternoon," she recalled. "When we woke up, we had sex twice; once in his bed and once in his office downstairs."
And then, just like old times, they pulled out the camera.
"We decided to do another photo shoot where we were going to just get him in the shower, but these were waist-up shots. You know, tasteful shots," Arias explained. "He was in the shower ... The shower's on. It looked really cool because the water was frozen in the image."
Apparently it was just a lazy afternoon of fun and games, until, Arias says, all hell broke loose. "I heard a really loud -- pop. And the next thing I remember, I was lying next to the bathtub and Travis was -- was screaming."
Without warning, Jodi Arias says someone or something had knocked both of them to the floor, leaving her dazed and confused and Travis badly wounded.
"I looked up and I just -- I saw two other individuals in the bathroom. And they were both coming toward us," she explained.
According to Arias, she was suddenly face to face with two intruders -- a man and a woman disguised from head to toe.
"They were both taller than me," she said. "They were covered -- her hands, the gloves, they had long-sleeved shirts on. They were in all black. He was wearing jeans. But they all -- they had ski masks on.
"I saw Travis was on the floor in his bathroom, on all fours," she continued. "As soon as this guy left, I just got up and I -- I charged her ... And she fell over him."
Asked if the woman had a weapon, Arias told Maher, "She had a knife in her hand."
"Had he been stabbed?"
"I could only assume yes," Arias replied. "But I didn't see her stabbing him. He had some blood. All over the floor. And there was some just coming down on his arms.
"I started pulling on Travis. And I said, 'Come on, come on, come on.' "He finally just said, 'I can't.' ... And then -- he said, 'I can't feel my legs.'"
Before Arias could do anything to help Travis, she says that she was suddenly outnumbered again.
"The guy came back in and got really angry. At me, I -- I guess," she continued. "Eventually, he -- was holding the gun at my forehead. ... They just kept arguing back and forth [about] whether or not, you know, to kill me."
It was a terrifying scene. And if what Arias says is true, what happened next is nothing short of a miracle.
"He pulled the trigger. And nothing happened with the gun. And so -- I just grabbed my purse, which was on the floor at that point, and I ran down the stairs and out of there and I left him there," she said.
It was an unbelievable getaway.
"You get in the car. No one's followed you. And you drive away. And where do you go?" Maher asked.
"I drove forever and ever, until I was in the middle of the desert," said Arias.
But what is truly unbelievable is that Arias says she left Travis, who was critically injured, to fend for himself.
"Did you call 911?" Maher asked.
"No," Arias replied.
"Did you go to a neighbor?"
"Did you call a friend?"
"I didn't call anybody or tell anybody," she replied.
"Why would you do nothing, nothing to help him?"
"I was terrified. And I was scared for my life," she said. "And I think there was a na´ve belief that I could pretend like it didn't really happen."
That is just what Jodi Arias did when she got back on the road and headed off to Utah. She did finally call someone. It was Ryan Burns -- not for help, but to say she was on her way to keep their date.
She made one other call to the one person who was in no position to help anyone.
"I thought, 'I'm gonna call Travis," she explained. "And it just went to voicemail. And I called him again, and it went to voicemail."
Arias says Travis was alive when she left.
"How do you know? Maher asked.
"He was still sort of on his hands and knees, the whole time, until I ran from the room. That's the last that I saw him."
Arias spent less than 24 hours in Utah with Ryan Burns and others before heading home to Yreka, never telling anyone about her horrific ordeal. To this day, Jodi claims that she is consumed with guilt for leaving Travis behind.
"You never called anybody. You never told anybody. You never did anything. And it wasn't until five days later that anyone even knew the guy was missing." Maher remarked.
"I know that people will look at me and say, 'Oh, yeah. He really meant a lot to you, didn't he? By the way that you just left him there.' Not only that. ...they don't even think that this -- they think that this is a fabrication," she said.
Arias would soon discover that she couldn't have been more right.
"I knew that it was murder. I knew it was. I knew something in my heart," Travis' sister, Samantha Alexander said.. "And I immediately thought, 'Jodi.'"
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