Jodi Arias, an aspiring saleswoman and photographer originally from Yreka, Calif., was found guilty of first-degree murder in the shooting and stabbing death of her lover Travis Alexander on Wednesday. The case, which seemed to be made for the tabloids, was one of the more bizarre in recent memory and spun a tale of sadomasochistic sex, obsession, jealousy and in the end, homicide. Here are five of the strangest revelations to emerge from the trial:
1. Arias’ constantly changing story.
In a 2008 interview with Inside Edition while being held in custody, Arias said, “No jury is going to convict me. I am innocent, and you can mark my words on that.” But that attitude changed as the trial drew nearer. In 2010 she admitted to the homicide, but said she did it in self-defense. In her court testimony, she said that Alexander had become abusive and turned particularly violent on the day of the slaying. She said that she lied about her innocence earlier because she planned suicide. Later in the trial, an expert witness testifies that Arias suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, has amnesia, and can’t remember what happened on the day Alexander died. At one point, Arias’ story became so confounding that a prosecutor and a defense expert argued over whether or not Snow White was a battered woman.
2. Creepy photos.
On the night Travis Alexander was killed, he and Jodi Arias had a sexual encounter complete with racy, pornographic photos they had taken just hours before his death. Police found them inside Alexander’s camera, which had been left in the washing machine of the Mesa, Ariz., townhouse where he lived. But the camera also included pictures of the woman dragging her dead lover across the floor, and one of her reflection in his eyes seconds before she killed him. Arias was arrested about a month later at her grandparents’ house in Yreka, Calif. She initially denied having anything to do with the incident, but when she was confronted with the pictures, she claimed armed robbers had killed Alexander and threatened her life. The bloody pictures of Alexander in the shower were the key evidence that placed her in Alexander’s home near the time of the slaying.
3. Text messages and a recording indicate a highly-volatile relationship.
People involved in sexual relationships, of course, choose many ways to stimulate each other, but the exchanges between Arias and Alexander seem to indicate that their affair went from kink to crazed. An early text from Arias read: “Hmm…if ur a lucky boy and u promise to give me a well-deserved spanking…” and other more sado-masochistic communications that we can’t post here. Alexander was also complicit in this, as indicted by a recording in which jurors heard Alexander talk about the explicit things he wanted to do to her. As their rocky hookups continued, the messages devolved into angry rants, including this one from Alexander’s phone to Arias: “You couldn’t get off your lazy butt to read it could you. (sic) That’s the sociopath I know so well. It freakin’ figures.” A later text from Arias’ lover read: “I don’t want your apology, I want you to understand what I think of you. I want you to understand how evil I think you are. You are the worst thing that ever happened to me.”
4. Juror 8 dismissed for bad behavior.
Three jurors were dismissed over the four-month course of the trial, which began in Phoenix, Arizona on Jan. 2. The most glaring breach of juror decorum came from Juror 8, later revealed to be Daniel Gibb, who was dismissed after he was arrested on drunk driving charges. When he was picked up, he boasted to the arresting officer that he was sitting on the jury in the Jodi Arias trial, violating court instructions. Gibb, 52, was known for taking copious notes throughout his time in the jury box. He had also given witnesses on the stand several questions to answer. But after Judge Sherry Stephens dismissed him without comment, Gibb simply told KNXV-TV: “It was a privilege to know the other jurors, and I will miss them,” Gibb said in a statement to KNXV Saturday. “It was actually a great experience. Thank you for respecting my privacy.”
5. After conviction, Arias says “death is the ultimate freedom”.
She was no stranger to the media in the years of her court proceedings, and certainly had a large number of Twitter followers, but just minutes after being found guilty of first degree murder in the death of Travis Alexander on May 8, Arias, maintaining that there was no premeditation, tells KSAZ-TV that rather than being sentenced to life imprisonment, she prefers death. “The worst outcome for me would be natural life… Longevity runs in my family, and I don’t want to spend the rest of my natural life in one place…I said years ago I’d rather get death than life and that still is true today. I believe death is the ultimate freedom, so I’d rather just have my freedom as soon as I can get it.” Although she expressed regret, she offered no apology to Alexander’s family. After her interview she was moved to the psych ward in the Estrella Jail in Phoenix on suicide watch.