Opening statements began this morning in Phoenix, Arizona in the murder trial against 32 year old defendant Jodi Arias. Arias is charged with first degree murder for the June, 2008 homicide of her ex-boyfriend Travis Alexander. In a brief summary of the case, on June 9, 2008 Travis Alexander was discovered dead in the shower of his Mesa AZ home by close friends who became concerned when they couldn't reach him.
Arias & Alexander had met the previous year during a conference for Pre-Paid Legal, where Travis Alexander was employed. The pair had brief but intense relationship that ended when Jodi Arias's jealous and possessive behavior became more bizarre and Travis broke things off with Arias. By friends account, Arias did not take the break up well and Alexander twice had his tires slashed, and suspected Arias was hacking into his Facebook account and reading his messages.
Travis's friends suspected Jodi Arias was involved with the murder almost immediately, and provided police with her name. When initially questioned, she denied any involvement and said she hadn't seen Travis in several months. By July 15, 2008 police had enough physical evidence to arrest Jodi Arias and charge her with the first degree murder of Travis Alexander. Arias has been held on $2,000,000 bail in the Estrella Jail in Maricopa County since her arrest.
It has taken more than four and a half years for the case to go to trial. Many of the delays were because of the defendants own shenanigans. In August of 2011, Arias request to represent herself was approved by the judge. Almost immediately she had second thoughts, and got a new defense attorney. That attorney, Victoria Washington asked to be removed from the case in December, 2011. That motion was granted within a week and finally, in January of 2012 defense attorney Jennifer Willmott was assigned to represent Jodi Arias.
Arias's attorneys have argued that she should not be facing a potential death penalty because the killing was not premeditated. Their arguments failed and if convicted, Arias would become the 4th woman on Arizona's Death Row. She would join the following women, all convicted of first degree murder and sentenced to death: Shawna Fordes, sentenced in February, 2011, Wendi Andriano, sentenced in December of 2004 and Debra Milke, sentenced in February, 1991. All three current death row residents are Caucasian.
The lead prosecutor for the State of Arizona is Juan Martinez. He began his opening statement this morning and has pointed out the brutality of the crime. Alexander was shot in the face, stabbed at least 27 times and had his throat slit. Any of these inflicted individually could have been fatal. Alexander had defensive wounds as well. The killer took the time to clean up and Travis Alexander's body appeared to have been washed. The crime scene appeared to be staged.
I was hoping to find streaming coverage of the opening statements online, but haven't been successful. HLN should provide details of the day's events during Jane Valez-Mitchell and Nancy Grace's shows. I believe In Session's coverage begins on Monday, January 7th. Should be the most talked about trial since Casey Anthony's. Stay tuned!!