Right after having sex with Travis Alexander, Jodi Arias fatally stabbed him, slit his throat, and shot him in the head in his Arizona home on June 4, 2008.
Warning: This article contains graphic descriptions and/or images of violent, disturbing, or otherwise potentially distressing events.
In the beginning, Jodi Arias and Travis Alexander’s love story seemed like a fairytale. After meeting by chance in 2006, they soon began an intense relationship. But things would quickly sour. And in 2013, Arias was found guilty of stabbing and shooting Alexander to death in his Arizona home.
What happened? Alexander’s friends and family members said that Arias had been obsessive, jealous, and controlling, which escalated to her lover’s violent murder on June 4, 2008. But Arias insisted that there was another side to the story. She claimed that Alexander had been physically and emotionally abusive and that she was forced to kill him in self-defense.
Her ever-changing stories, beauty, and highly charged sexual relationship with Alexander captivated America as her trial played out. Today, Jodi Arias is serving out a life sentence for her actions — but she’s still making news.
How Jodi Arias Met Travis Alexander
Born on July 9, 1980, in Salinas, California, Jodi Arias later claimed that she’d had an abusive childhood, according to E! Online. Her mother Sandra, however, insisted that her early life had been perfectly normal.
But Sandra Arias admitted that her daughter had issues.
“Jodi has mental problems, Jodi would freak out all the time,” she told investigators, according to KSBW 8. “I had quite a few of her friends call and tell me I needed to get her some help.”
What’s more, AETV reports that Jodi Arias had a pattern of secrecy that started after her parents caught her growing marijuana at the age of 14. She also dropped out of high school and struggled to make ends meet as a waitress while dreaming of becoming a successful photographer.
Then, Arias’ life changed when she met Travis Alexander in September 2006.
As ABC News reports, the pair met at a work convention in Las Vegas. Alexander was there as part of his job with Prepaid Legal Services. Arias was looking for networking opportunities. Sparks flew when they crossed paths.
“She’s beautiful. She’s friendly, has long, blonde hair. Cute figure. She was very sweet,” Sky Lovingier Hughes, a friend of Alexander’s, explained to ABC News. “She seemed to like him as much as he liked her.”
Lovingier Hughes added: “The next morning, he tells me that he’s found his wife and this is the girl that he wants to marry.”
Indeed, it truly seemed like love at first sight. But things between Jodi Arias and Travis Alexander would soon take a dark turn.
How A Promising Relationship Went Sour
At first, everything between Jodi Arias and Travis Alexander seemed perfect. Though they lived in different states (Arias in California, and Alexander in Arizona), they stayed in regular contact, and Arias often visited Alexander at his Mesa home. Arias even converted to Mormonism for Alexander.
Beneath the surface, however, things started to fray. Alexander, a devout Mormon, felt guilty about having premarital sex with Arias. According to E! Online, he sometimes took his guilt out on her and called her a “slut.”
Meanwhile, Arias soon struck many of Alexander’s friends as unhealthily obsessed with him. They later recounted that Arias snooped through Alexander’s emails, eavesdropped on his private conversations, and even followed him to the bathroom and waited outside the door until he walked out. And Arias and Alexander seemed to be in near-constant contact. In all, the two would exchange 82,000 emails throughout their relationship.
“I started seeing things that were just disturbing,” Lovingier Hughes told ABC News. “I said, ‘Travis, I’m afraid we’re gonna find you chopped up in her freezer.’ From very early on, she was completely obsessed with him.”
When Alexander attempted to end things after five months, Arias’ obsession with him only deepened. They remained in contact and Arias would sometimes turn up at Alexander’s house uninvited. Though he often reacted angrily, Alexander also frequently agreed to have sex with Arias. And even after the pair officially split in June 2007, they continued to see each other.
As Arias revealed at her trial, he’d called her a month before his murder and told her he wanted to tie her up to a tree and have sex with her.
But outwardly, Alexander seemed to have moved on. He started dating other women, despite the fact that Arias reportedly harassed them and slashed Alexander’s car tires in revenge. Undeterred, Alexander planned to attend a company retreat in June 2008 with a new love interest. But as friends tried to get in touch with him as the trip approached, Alexander didn’t reply.
“I said, ‘T-Dogg, you better be dead, bro,’” Alexander’s friend Chris Hughes told ABC News. “Yeah, like I was joking. ‘Call me back.’”
But Travis Alexander was dead. He’d been murdered. By the time his friends went to his home on June 9, 2008, he’d been dead for five days.
Inside The Murder Of Travis Alexander
When Travis Alexander’s friends went to check on him at his home in Mesa, Arizona, they found blood everywhere. They then discovered their friend’s mangled body in the shower. The 30-year-old had been stabbed 27 times, his throat had been cut from ear to ear, and he’d been shot in the head.
His friends called the police. And before long, suspicion fell on Jodi Arias, then 27. Alexander’s friends told authorities that she’d been a “stalker.”
But at first, Jodi Arias claimed that she couldn’t have killed Alexander. According to E! Online, she told the police that she’d been driving to Utah to meet another man she was dating when Alexander was murdered.
“I know that I talked to him early Monday morning,” Arias told detectives, claiming that she hadn’t seen her ex-boyfriend since April. “He was kinda guilting me because I wasn’t going to Arizona, I was going to Utah.”
Soon, however, investigators found irrefutable proof that Jodi Arias had been with Travis Alexander on the exact day that he died.
A camera recovered from the washing machine at Alexander’s home contained graphic photos of Alexander and Arias from June 4, 2008, the day that Travis Alexander had been murdered. Shockingly, there was also a photo of his mutilated body after he died. What’s more, police recovered both Arias’ and Alexander’s DNA from a bloody handprint found on a wall in the home.
Jodi Arias was quickly arrested. And her story began to change.
Jodi Arias’ Ever-Changing Stories
As ABC News reports, Jodi Arias eventually admitted to being with Travis Alexander on the day he was killed. She said that she had been taking photos of Alexander in the shower after they had sex when two masked intruders suddenly broke in and murdered him. Arias claimed that the intruders threatened her and told her not to tell anyone what happened.
“It was the scariest experience of my life,” she told 48 Hours. “It was just so unreal. It was like a movie unfolding. Like a horrible movie.”
But investigators had other reasons to believe that Arias had killed Alexander. In addition to the bloody handprint and the damning photographs, they also found that Alexander had been shot with a .25-caliber gun. It just so happened that the same kind of gun had been stolen from Arias’ grandparents’ house just a week before Alexander’s death.
Charged with first-degree murder and facing the death penalty, Jodi Arias told a different story during her trial in 2013. Then, she said that Alexander became enraged when she dropped the camera while taking pictures of him in the shower. Arias claimed that she had killed him — but in self-defense.
“He attacked me and I defended myself,” Arias said, according to People.
Jodi Arias further claimed that Alexander had long been abusive toward her. After her Mormon baptism, she testified, he had rough sex with her and made her feel “like a used piece of toilet paper.” Arias also testified that she’d seen Alexander masturbating to photos of a child, according to ABC News.
“Her mission was basically to murder my brother again for a second time by destroying his reputation,” Travis Alexander’s brother Steven later said. “The self-defense story was just… a joke. My brother didn’t even own a gun.”
Steven Alexander wasn’t the only one who didn’t buy Arias’ story. In May 2013, a jury found Jodi Arias guilty of first-degree murder. She was ultimately sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
“The real justice will be in the afterlife when Jodi burns in hell,” Alexander’s sister Tanisha Sorenson said after the sentencing, according to AZ Central.
Where Is Jodi Arias Today?
To date, Jodi Arias is serving out her life sentence at Arizona State Prison Complex – Perryville. But she’s continued to make news.
Arias filed an appeal of her conviction based on the misconduct of a prosecutor, Juan Martinez, which she lost in 2020. She sued her former defense lawyer L. Kirk Nurmi after he wrote a book on the case (he was eventually disbarred). And she made a splash among inmates who said that she used her “sexuality” to manipulate other inmates and guards.
Though she expressed regret about Travis Alexander’s murder during her sentencing in 2015, it seems like she’s since adjusted to her new life in prison. In a recorded call in 2016, according to AETV, Arias was heard saying: “If this is what it is like to be hated, then keep hating! I’ve had so much love coming in my direction I can’t even respond to it now.”
From behind bars, Arias has reportedly been contacted by many “admirers,” some of whom she’s even considered marrying in a jailhouse wedding.
In 2023, a new movie, Bad Behind Bars: Jodi Arias, will tell her story yet again, perhaps introducing her crimes to a new audience. She’ll spend the rest of her life behind bars. But Jodi Arias continues to fascinate.
After reading about Jodi Arias, see how Shayna Hubers killed her boyfriend, Ryan Poston, then alarmed police with her bizarre behavior. Or, learn how Amanda McClure murdered her boyfriend so that she could marry her father.