The murder of Mormon church elder and director of Pre-Paid Legal (PPL, a MLM outfit) Travis Alexander was shocking. His decomposing body was found in the shower in his own home in Mesa Arizona on the 9th of June 2008. He was stabbed 29 times, his throat was slit ear to ear, nearly decapitating him and he was shot in the head for good measure. There was blood everywhere. But more shocking was the sheer audacity of the prime suspect – Travis Alexander’s clingy ex-girlfriend, Jodi Arias. Her changing story during the investigation, the trial and her preposterous, unconscionable behaviour in court, right up to the point of sentencing in 2014, created a storm on social media, making her one of the most hated people in America. Judge Stephens, however, was able to keep her composure throughout.
It all began with the discovery of Travis’ decomposing body by the tenants at Travis Alexander’s house. One of the first persons the police question was Lisa Andrews, a woman whom Travis was dating just before his murder. She told investigators that she had received the following email from one “John Doe” that said: “You shameful whore. Your Heavenly Father must be ashamed of the whoredoms you have committed with that insidious man. If you let him stay in your bed one more time or even sleep under the same roof as him, you will be giving the appearance of evil.”
That email was somewhat ludicrous as the late Travis and Lisa never had a sexual relationship. The culprit was most likely Travis’ ex-girlfriend and colleague at PPL, Jodi Arias. She would prove to be quite a character as the saga unfolded. Travis’ closest friends said that the victim had earlier expressed concern over a clingy ex-girlfriend who had stalked him, hacked into his social media accounts and slashed his car tyres. They were convinced that it was she who wrote the nasty email to Lisa Andrews and was also the most likely killer.
Jodi did not attend the funeral, but she created her own memorial page for Travis, complete with photos of couple during happier times. At Travis’ memorial, Jodi was described as “kind of bubbly, going around talking to people and catching up”. She worked the crowd, hugging those who were grieving. Some of them felt unbelievably awkward. Travis’ family and others at the memorial, were almost certain that Jodi Arias had killed him. How could she have the audacity to pretend to grieve and console those who were grieving? She also sent a large bouquet of irises to Travis’ grandmother, disgusting the old lady who swiftly threw them into the trash can. Jodi even called up Detective Flores to ask him how the case was progressing. All this could all be a ruse to get her off the list of suspects. Her acting was amazing. He lack of guilt was unbelievable, but the detectives were not fooled.
When questioned by the police, Jodi said that on June 2, at 8:04 am, she rented a car at Budget Rent a Car in Redding, California. Arias visited friends in southern California on her way to Utah for a PPL work conference and to meet with Ryan Burns, a PPL co-worker. By late evening on June 3, 2008, Arias apparently set out for Salt Lake City. The conference started on June 5 and Jodi attended it together with Ryan Burns. The next day, she drove back to California and while en route, left several voice messages on the dead Travis’ phone. The first voice mail was actually sent out at 11.48pm. Jodi was apologising for not being able to make it to Mesa that evening, just hours after she had murdered him! It was an obvious ruse to strengthen her alibi. The car rental company in California recorded on June 7 that she had driven 4,500km. Within the gap between June 3 when she departed from California to June 5 when she arrived in Salt Lake City, her mobile phone had been offline. She took care to change her hair colour, filled 3 gas cans with gas so she would not be captured on gas station CCTVs while travelling in and out of Mesa. When she parked her rental car at Travis’ house, she even removed the licence plates. But the total distance she had travelled, the time she took to get from California to Utah, even after she claimed to have lost her way, didn’t quite add up.
At the scene of the murder, detectives found a damaged camera in the washing machine. The SD card contained several deleted images and recovering them revealed nude photos of Jodi Arias on Travis’ bed. A few of the images showed closeups of her genitals. There was also a series of photos showing Travis Alexander in the shower. Then, the camera must have dropped and two images were inadvertently captured. One was an image of the ceiling and the other was an image of the floor with Travis shoulder, blood on the floor and a foot. The pictures were taken on June 4. Most incriminating, was a latent palm print on the blood-stained wall of the shower. It contained the DNA of both Travis and Jodi. She was indicted by the Grand Jury, extradited to Mesa, Arizona on September 5 2008. Prosecutor Juan Martinez was clearly seeking the death penalty (by gas inhalation in Arizona).
When confronted with all this evidence, Jodi Arias changed her story. She admitted that she was in the house at the time of Travis’ murder and he was killed by two armed intruders. Regardless of how incredulous it was, she insisted that it was true even as the prosecution tore it apart. She told the same story during TV interviews and even audaciously pronounced that no jury would ever convict her. In fact, the masked intruder story was repeated up to June 2011 when she changed her story yet again. This time, she finally admitted that she had killed Travis Alexander – in self defence. She started spinning another tale from the witness box. She relied on things that happened behind closed bedroom doors; things that were difficult to disprove.
Both friends and investigators knew that Travis was a respected member of the Mormon Church. He had never used swear words or watched any movie rated above PG. He was attracted to Jodi Arias’ bubbly nature the moment he set eyes on her. As their relationship grew, he baptised her as a Mormon. In her journals, she did not mention any negative about Travis. She had obviously loved him and was happy with the relationship. But to make self defence convincing, she had to paint Travis as a demon. She told the jury that Travis had anal sex with her immediately after her baptism. She released a audio recording of a phone sex session between them. She even displayed the image of an erect penis which she claimed was sent by Travis. She also presented an email from Travis. She claimed to have been emotionally scarred when Travis said that she was the worst thing that had happened to him. But the email also said that she had betrayed him. How? Jodi didn’t explain. It’s likely that she had tried to blackmail him with the audio recording of their phone sex session done without his knowledge.
These exhibits didn’t prove anything that would work in her favour, but she had hoped that they would at least give a hint to the jury that Travis was capable of being an abusive sexual being. She then claimed to be a victim of domestic violence and of being humiliated by Travis’ deviant sexual behaviour, none of which could be proven from the kinky stuff like a sexy maid’s costume in her possession. She even claimed that Travis had paedophilic tendencies. Everyone who knew Travis well, was aware of her lies. Listening to all this in the courtroom, Travis’ family was infuriated.
When Jodi and Travis were dating, observant friends like Sky Hughes noticed something sinister about Jodi. When the couple was in her house, Sky guessed correctly that Jodi was eavesdropping outside the door every time she was not included in the conversation. Other friends also found her clingy, possessive and paranoid. On one occasion, Travis revealed to a male friend that Jodi was a nymphomaniac. He may have inadvertently confessed that he had broken his vow of abstinence until marriage, but most people following the trial in the courtroom or on TV were certain that Jodi couldn’t have been telling the whole truth about Travis’ degrading and humiliating sexual conduct.
Jodhi claimed that Travis had lunged at her in the shower and tried to kill her because she had dropped his camera and she killed him in self defense. It’s incredible that everyone was still listening to her after all the lies that she had told, but she told them with a straight and guiltless face. The whole thing didn’t seem to have affected her conscience at all. May 8 2013, the unanimous verdict of first degree murder was returned by the jury. Did she deserve to die? The sentencing ran into deadlocks with mistrials and retrials. On April 13 2015, Judge Stephens finally sentenced Jodi Arias to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. Until March 2015, 7 years since the very first trial, Jodi’s trials had cost taxpayers an estimated $3 million!
Many of those watching the trial were disappointed. After seeing the smug and arrogant look on Jodi’s face throughout the trial, they really felt that only death would suit her. Jodi’s incessant lying with a straight face and in her closing statement to the jury, took a last dig at Travis and his family, showing a shirt with the word “survivor” (of domestic violence) she had designed to help raise awareness on the matter even though it was more than a little obvious that nobody believed that she was battered. Amid the angry voices of members of the public who were disgusted with her attitude and “performance” both in the courtroom and in front of TV cameras, such behaviour also provided psychologists with plenty of material to pontificate over.
The general consensus was that Jodi Aria had borderline personality disorder. It should be noted that BPD is not exactly a mental illness but a personality disorder. This makes it difficult if not impossible to treat unless the individual’s personality can be changed. We’re in a Catch-22 situation as BPD individuals almost never admit that they are wrong. They are always blaming the people around them for anything unfavourable that happens to them. When they abuse others, they expect to be forgiven. When others offend them, their anger is only placated by revenge. They adopt a self-centred view and think that the world must revolve around them. They may get extremely jealous when they see someone enjoying something they don’t like or can’t enjoy. When a friend talks to someone they dislike, they may dislike that person too. Emotional instability is a hallmark of these individuals. They throw tantrums over trivial stuff and have few or no close friends because of their overbearing ways and volatile temperament.
Another distinguishing characteristic of BPD people is the ability to love or respect someone completely at one moment and hate the same person just as completely the next moment because of something “offensive” that the person had said or done. Living with BPD people has been described as walking on egg shells. Some have described it as a roller coaster ride with the individual being unbelievably nice one moment and an absolute terror just hours and minutes later. And who does she blame?
Jodi’s behaviour may be explained by her own sense of reality. She felt she was justified to do or feel the way she did. She was indeed the nymphomaniac who seduced Travis. She felt good by having kinky sex with Travis, then the next moment, she felt humiliated. She had sex with him just before she killed him and on the next day in Salt Lake City, she was having a one-night-stand with Ryan Burns.
However, most BPD people kill themselves even though they may feel justified to kill those who had somehow “offended” them. Jodi Arias could have some component of psychopathy. She had imagined all those episodes (and thought she was being clever) to get herself off the hook because she sincerely didn’t think that she deserved punishment for killing Travis. People were wrong to want her punished. The laws were wrong. Everyone was wrong except for her.
BPD individuals can be so nice when they’re nice that it’s hard not to like them, but as certain as night follows day, the evil side will rear its ugly head.
© Chan Joon Yee SarongParty.com
© Dewdrop Publications