Skip to main content

Jodi Arias Murder Trial Begins in Phoenix, AZ

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!!


  1. This criminal law blog is one of my favorite ones. I want to gather contacts of all good US lawyers in Attorney Directory. Hope to see your contacts in this directory, for example in the section of Arizona criminal attorneys. Please. tell about this possibility to all good lawyers you know.

    1. Thanks for your comment - I don't know many attorneys, haven't had the need for one thankfully! I began writing this blog because I had an interest in this case since I heard about it back in June of 2008. Thank you for writing!


Post a Comment

Thank you for commenting!

Most popular posts

Dr. Janeen DeMarte - A Look At The Prosecution's Expert Witness

Dr. Janeen DeMarte is expected to take the stand in the Jodi Arias murder trial as a key witness for the prosecution. Think of DeMarte as the State's response to Dr. Richard Samuels and potentially Alyce LaViolette. It's unclear when DeMarte will testify, but with Alyce LaViolette's testimony wrapping up, I thought it would be helpful to take a look at who the State's expert witness is.

Dr. Janeen DeMarte is a licensed clinical psychologist who has a private practice in the Phoenix area. She holds a master's degree and PhD in clinical psychology. with a concentration on forensics - and graduated from Michigan State University and fulfilled her doctoral residency at Arizona State Hospital.  Her clinical training was done at outpatient clinics, correctional facilities and inpatient unit settings. She has served as the Clinical Director of a large outpatient behavior health clinic in Phoenix and "oversaw the practice of numerous multidisciplinary treatment provide…

Is Alyce LaViolette Cashing In On Murder Trial?

As the defense finishes questioning their star witness, domestic abuse expert Alyce LaViolette, many are disillusioned by her choice to take the stand to portray murder defendant Jodi Arias as a battered and abused woman.  Maybe I'm the one who's crazy, but wasn't Travis Alexander the one who had the life stabbed, slashed and shot out of him at the hands of Jodi Arias? Who battered whom here?  Are Travis Alexander's not-so-kind text messages to Jodi Arias PROOF that he was a womanizing batterer and bully who held all the power in the relationship between Arias and Alexander?

Alyce LaViolette seems to think so. Does she have any idea the feelings of outrage she is bringing out in the hearts and minds of the real victims of domestic abuse all over the country? Before LaViolette began testifying, I kept asking myself "why would a woman who is so well respected in her field choose THIS case, defend THIS woman?"  Could it be the money? I suppose $250-$300 an hour c…

Was Trip to Cancun Catalyst to Murder? Jodi Arias Murder Trial

Marie "Mimi" Hall was the first prosecution witness to take the stand in the Jodi Arias Murder trial. She took the stand on January 3, 2013. Hall told jurors that she met Travis Alexander through the Mormon Church. Although they initially went on a date, it was quickly recognized that they were a great match as friends, and they remained such good friends that Alexander invited Hall to accompany him on a work retreat to Cancun, Mexico. The trip was to begin on June 10, 2008. Travis wouldn't live to see that day. Friends found him murdered in his home in Mesa, AZ on June 9, 2008. Coincidence, or catalyst? Travis's close friends have told investigators that Arias had been engaging in stalker-like behavior in the months preceding the murder. Twice, Alexander had his tires slashed after going out with other women. He told close friends his Facebook account had been hacked into. Arias even reportedly would use the doggie door to gain entry to Alexander's home. …

A Look At Alyce LaViolette And More Strange Video Footage of Arias Arrest

Yesterday, as Dr. Richard Samuels finished up his testimony the Jodi Arias defense team called their next expert witness to the stand, Alyce LaViolette. LaViolette is a very legitimate expert on the subject of domestic violence, having been one of the early leaders back in the 1970's when this was not a topic that was spoke of often. Jennifer Willmott had LaViolette introduce herself and her educational background, and list her many accomplishments helping battered women and even helping the men who battered them, hoping to return these women to a safer environment. She is likable, and she is a legitimate voice on this topic. The prosecution should not expect this witness to be as sloppy in the trial casework and reporting as Dr. Samuels was. 

While it's unknown exactly how far out on a limb LaViolette will go for Jodi Arias, she is expected to testify about some of the characteristics of battered women, why they return to their abusers - and what some of characteristics are of…

"Cold Justice" Heats Up Unsolved Murder Cases

This is my third blog post on TNT's new reality show, "Cold Justice".  Cold Justice pairs former Texas prosecutor Kelly Siegler with former Las Vegas CSI Yolanda McClary, who travel to small rural towns across America to look at unsolved murder cases.  Their first episode which aired Tuesday has already delivered results - the arrest of Ronnie Hendricks (see yesterdays post for details) for the murder of Pam Shelley. TNT lists an episode guide online, and 
I couldn't resist taking a peek and looking for details on those cases.  I was astonished at what they have accomplished in their first season.  This is more than just another crime drama, these ladies are committed and determined to bringing justice to those who may have escaped it previously in small towns that may lack the resources to bring a suspect to trial.

You can see the episode guide on their website. They give a brief description of the victims and circumstances of their deaths. Here is a list of this seas…