Mimi Hall called her friend Travis Alexander many times on June 4, 2008, before going to his house to look for him. They were scheduled to fly to a conference in Cancun the next day, and he hadn’t answered her calls in almost a week. When she arrived at Travis’s, she knocked and knocked, but no one answered.
Mimi called a mutual friend, and they broke in through the garage. The house smelled terrible as if something was rotting. Soon, to their horror, they found Travis’s body in the shower. There was blood everywhere; it was clear he’d been murdered. Everyone who knew Travis could only think of one person who’d do such a thing: his ex-girlfriend, Jodi Arias.
Who Is Jodi Arias?
Jodi Arias was born in Salinas, California, on July 9, 1980, to Bill and Sandra Arias. She was the oldest of many siblings. When she was a teenager, her family moved to the small Northern California town of Yreka, where they opened a Mexican restaurant where Jodi worked as a waitress. According to her journals, she was unhappy about the move and went through a hard time in Yreka.
The young woman had a tough go making new friends and instead focused on her old hobby, photography, which she had picked up at age ten. When she was seventeen, the troubled young woman ran away from home to live with Bobby Wattis, her 20-year-old, on again off again, boyfriend.
Not So Picture Perfect
According to Jodi, her childhood wasn’t as picture-perfect as it seemed. She claimed that her parents were extremely strict and even abusive. She alleged that they would hit her with a wooden spoon and sometimes a belt if she was disobedient. However, her parents claim that Jodi was the abusive one and would hit her mother.
According to her former babysitter, Beth Hawkins, Jodi was extremely aggressive as a kid and once hit her brother over the head with a baseball bat. Bill Arias shared that Jodi had drastic mood swings that would impact the entire family. He explained that his daughter eventually ran away from home after being grounded for cutting class.
Searching for Her Spirituality
After Jodi and Bobby broke up, she began a relationship with his roommate, Matt McCartney. Matt was very interested in Eastern religions, and he and Jodi took seminars about Buddhism, Hinduism, and Eastern mysticism. Together they explored new age philosophy and meditation. But things didn’t last. Matt cheated on Jodi, and the two broke up.
Jodi then moved to Big Sur, where she got a waitressing job at Ventana Inn Resort and Spa. Jodi developed a crush on her manager, Darrell Brewer, who was 42 years old and twenty years senior. Brewer was divorced and the father of a young child. After he quit working at Ventana, the two began a serious relationship, and Jodi fell deeply in love.
Insecure and Obsessive
As her relationship with Darrell progressed, Jodi began to morph herself into his ex-wife. She died her brown hair blonde and got breast implants to look more like Darrell’s former wife. Jodi even bought the same clothing and same car that her boyfriend’s ex had. Darrell didn’t seem to find any of this odd, and the couple bought a home together in Palm Desert, CA.
Sadly for Jodi, Darrell wasn’t interested in getting married again or having more children. They both began to feel trapped in their relationship, and Brewer decided to move back to Northern CA. In order to keep her house, Jodi started working at Pre-Paid Legal Services (PPL), a corporation that sells legal service products.
Enter Prince Charming
In September 2006, Jodi Arias attended a weekend PPL conference at the MGM Grand Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. There she met Travis Alexander, a handsome executive director of the corporation. Travis was immediately smitten with Jodi; she was beautiful, blonde, and soft-spoken−exactly his type.
The two were inseparable all weekend; Travis invited her to a top-earning employee dinner, to which she wore an elegant gown. At the end of the conference, Jodi told him about her relationship with Darrell, but Travis wasn’t deterred and still wanted her. So, they exchanged information and kept in touch.
Who Was Travis Alexander?
Travis Alexander never thought he’d make it as far as he did to be an executive director of a corporation. He didn’t always have it easy. Travis was born in Riverside, California, on July 28, 1977. Both of his parents were drug addicts, and he had seven brothers and sisters.
Travis’s dad was never around, and his mother was constantly on crystal meth and couldn’t keep a job. The little money she did bring in went to finance her drug problem. So, Travis and his siblings were always hungry, often without shelter and lacking parental support. Travis raised his younger siblings himself.
Saved by the Church
When he was ten years old, Travis ran away to live with his paternal grandparents, Norma and Jim Alexander. They were good people and part of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, known as the Mormon Church. When his grandparents took him in, Travis joined the church and became religious.
The troubled youth finally gained the support of a community and the guidance he’d lacked throughout his childhood. He gave himself wholeheartedly to the church and became an active and respected member. In high school, Travis joined the wrestling team and grew into a strong and handsome man.
A Man on a Mission
When Travis finished high school, he used all the money he had saved to go on a mission trip for his church in Denver, Colorado. The mission consisted of supporting church services and engaging in humanitarian aid and community service. When he was finished in 1998, he moved back to Riverside.
Travis was a handsome, hardworking, devout man, with a positive outlook on life, despite having had a hard childhood. He respected women and was quite a catch. Travis met Dianna Reed through the church, and they began a relationship, which they rekindled in 2002 when she returned from her mission in Costa Reed.
He Wanted Some “Arm Candy”
Travis moved to Arizona to be near Dianna, and the two continued their romance. Things became complicated after they had premarital sex, which is explicitly considered sinful in the Mormon faith. They both felt very guilty about it, and the weight of their sin eventually caused them to break up.
Despite acting as though he was ready for marriage, Dianna claimed Travis was not and wanted to wait. Some of his friends believed Travis didn’t want to “settle” on Dianna and wanted to date other women before committing to someone forever. Travis told his friends he wanted some “arm candy.”
Enter Jodi Arias
When he met Jodi, Travis thought she was perfect. She was gorgeous, blonde, friendly, intelligent, and creative. After the PPL conference, the two spoke on the phone every night, and just a few days later, Jodi officially called it quits with her estranged boyfriend, Darrell Brewer. After her breakup, she and Travis scheduled to meet.
In September 2006, after maintaining a long-distance relationship, Jodi and Travis finally reunited at the home of Travis’s best friends, Sky and Chris Hughes. They lived in Murrieta, CA, and Travis had scheduled to visit them, so he invited Jodi to meet him there.
Jodi Is Baptized Into the Church
During their stay at the Hughes’, the couple slept in separate bedrooms since the Hughes were devout Mormons. However, Jodi alleged that Travis snuck into her room that night, and they gave each other oral sex. Later, Sky claimed Jodi was lying, and the two merely kissed.
A week later, Jodi and Travis met up again, and he brought her a copy of The Book of Mormon, explaining that if they were to get serious and someday marry, she would have to convert. Jodi studied the book, and two months later, she was baptized into the Mormon Church.
Love or Lust?
From the beginning of their connection, Travis and Jodi’s relationship was a sexual one. Despite Travis initially steering away from penetrative sex because of his religion, the two were sexually active from the get-go. According to Jodi, Travis told her they could do everything but have vaginal intercourse.
Arias further claimed that Travis had committed sexual acts on her that she found painful and didn’t want to do after her baptism. Although, Sky Hughes again disputed Jodi’s claim, explaining that Travis hadn’t seen Jodi after her baptism.
No One Wants to Be Alone on Christmas
Not long before Christmas 2006, Travis had moved into a new home in Mesa, Arizona. He’d decided to host a family Christmas at his new place and was very excited. Jodi was not invited and felt jealous and lonely. So, she decided to go to a PPL conference in Arizona over the holidays.
She then asked Travis if she could stay with him, and he declined because he was hosting his whole family and had no room. On Christmas eve, Jodi arrived uninvited to Travis’s family meal and, to his dismay, introduced herself to his family as his girlfriend.
Sleeping Under the Christmas Tree
On Christmas morning, Travis came downstairs and saw something crumpled under the Christmas tree. When he got closer, he saw that it was Jodi. She had slept curled up under his Christmas tree with her coat as a blanket when he’d told her she could not sleepover.
Travis felt embarrassed and angry that she would disregard his wishes and intrude on his family meal and introduce herself as his girlfriend when they weren’t official yet. So, after that night, Travis took a step back from Jodi. She sensed his reserve and turned to Sky for help.
Travis’s Only Fight With Sky
Sky listened to how desperate Jodi was and tried to console her. She understood that being with Travis wasn’t easy, so she confronted her friend. Sky told Travis that he wasn’t treating Jodi well and that he liked to make women fall for him but then push them away when they did.
Sky explained that Jodi was scared to tell Travis what was bothering her for fear of losing him. Travis didn’t take Sky’s criticism well, and they had their first and only fight. Later they reconciled, and all agreed that Jodi was great and that she and Travis should be together.
Officially a Couple
After that, Jodi and Travis became a couple officially and spent a lot of time together, getting closer all the time. Meanwhile, Sky and Chris Hughes reflected on Jodi’s behavior and, in retrospect, felt that she had been manipulative and caused the fight between Travis and Sky.
When the couple next visited the Hughes, Sky and Chris began picking up on weird and creepy things that Jodi was doing. She followed Travis everywhere, and whenever he left a room, she asked where he was incessantly. She also eavesdropped on him whenever he was alone with Sky or Chris.
Serious Red Flags
The Hughes took Travis to talk and shared their concerns about Jodi with him, explaining that her behavior was unhealthy, and she displayed some serious red flags. At first, Travis defended his girlfriend, explaining that she was the kindest and most caring woman he had ever been with.
However, soon they heard a noise outside the door and opened it to find Jodi. She was angry and asked Sky if she intended to tell Travis to stop seeing her. Sky replied that she already had and told Jodi that she was no longer welcome in their home.
The Green Demon of Jealousy
Chris later described Jodi’s look after Sky told her to leave as evil. After that day, Travis began to treat her differently as well. When they would travel alone, he showed her a lot of affection and love. But when they were with friends or at PPL conferences, Travis was cold towards Jodi.
She began to feel discouraged and upset and became exceedingly jealous whenever he spoke to female friends. One friend of Travis’s, Clancy Talbot, got very drunk at a PPL event, and Travis helped her. Jodi later confronted Clancy aggressively and told her to back off Travis.
He Knew What He Had to Do
In the summer of 2007, Jodi chatted with Travis’s neighbor and told her how happy she and Travis were and that they were definitely headed for marriage. When his neighbor shared this conversation with him, Travis knew what he had to do. He needed to break up with Jodi.
Travis didn’t feel the same way Jodi did and decided to end their relationship instead of leading her on. But before he had a chance, Jodi broke up with him. Arias had gone through his phone and found messages that Travis had written to other women.
Moving to Arizona
Jodi accused Travis of cheating, and she ended things, saying that they weren’t ready for a relationship. Travis was relieved and didn’t fight her on it, agreeing that they weren’t healthy for one another. However, the two decided to remain friends and continued speaking on the phone every night.
Soon they decided to be friends with benefits and had phone sex constantly. But when Travis began dating a 19-year-old, devout Mormon named Lisa Andrews, Jodi became jealous again. Two weeks later, Jodi moved to Mesa, Arizona, to an apartment just ten minutes from Travis’s house.
In Through the Doggy Door
Travis told his friends that he didn’t want Jodi in Arizona, but he told her that he was happy for her and could work on their friendship. Soon, Jodi began cleaning Travis’s house. She claimed he was helping her out with some extra cash, while his friends claimed Jodi was cleaning for free.
Jodi was jealous of Lisa and began stopping by the house uninvited, even on days she wasn’t cleaning. Once, she even broke in when the door was locked, coming in through the doggy door. She and Travis soon began their friends with benefits relationship again.
Their White-Hot Connection
Lisa Andrews abided by the Mormon law of chastity, so Travis would text Jodi every other night when he wanted sex. By then, the two were engaging in penetrative intercourse. Their sex was kinky and became more and more aggressive as time went by.
Travis hated himself for sleeping with Jodi. He knew that he was sinning and unfaithful to Lisa, but he couldn’t stop. She was his kryptonite, and their white-hot connection was addictive for him. Whenever he pulled away, Jodi could get him back with just one provocative text or nude photograph.
Crazy Is What Crazy Does
Meanwhile, Jodi began acting more and more unhinged. According to Travis’s roommates, she showed up at their home constantly. Once, she snuck in when no one was home and baked cookies. Another time, Travis was having a sleepover with Lisa when he heard the dog barking in the kitchen.
When he came in, Jodi was there. She admitted to breaking in after seeing him and Lisa in an embrace on the couch. The next day Lisa received an anonymous email threatening her and calling her evil and “shameful in the eyes of God” for sleeping over at Travis’s house.
He Still Didn’t Want Her
Travis had his tires slashed and asked Jodi for help to go to the mechanic and pick up his car. He drove to Lisa’s on the way back, and Jodi called to tell him he was going the wrong way. Travis hung up on her, and the next day his tires were slashed again.
In February 2008, Lisa found out that Travis was sleeping with Jodi and broke up with him. To Jodi’s dismay, he still didn’t want her and began dating Marie “Mimi” Hall in March. Rejected and dejected, Jodi moved back to Yreka to live with her grandparents.
“Stay Out of My Life Forever”
After Jodi moved back to California, Travis wrote in his journal about how relieved he was to have passed an entire day without hearing from her and how great it was living without her distractions and negativity. Yet, he began texting her to have phone sex again.
On one such call, Jodi recorded the entire conversation. She continued pining for Travis from afar and was still envious of Mimi, so she broke into his Facebook account and read his private messages. Travis fought with her when he found out and told her: “Stay out of my life forever.”
What Did Jodi Arias Do?
After telling Jodi she was the worst thing that ever happened to him, Travis made plans to take Mimi to a PPL conference in Mexico. Mimi decided that she didn’t want to date Travis anymore, but she agreed to go on the trip to Cancun as friends.
What did Jodi Arias do next? She made plans to visit an old friend from PPL, named Ryan Burns, in Utah. Jodi decided to drive there from California and asked her ex, Darrell Brewer, for a few empty gas tanks to take her to make the drive without stopping.
A Roundabout Road Trip
On June 3, 2008, Jodi set out on her road trip and dyed her hair brown. She then called Ryan and told him she would see him the following day before removing the battery from her phone. Arias drove all through the night, and instead of heading to Utah, she arrived in Mesa, Arizona, on June 4 at 4 a.m.
Jodi parked in Travis’s driveway, removed her license plate from her car, took a duffle bag from her trunk, and walked into his unlocked home. She walked upstairs to Travis’s room, and he invited her into bed.
Fatal Photo Shoot
According to forensic evidence, Jodi and Travis slept in ’till around one p.m. the next day. Jodi did her hair in pigtails and gave Travis a striptease, all of which he documented on her digital camera. She then took a few naked pictures of him, and they had intercourse.
Around five that evening, Travis took a shower to get ready for a business call. Jodi went downstairs and grabbed a butcher knife from the kitchen, which she hid in her waistband. Then, she entered the bathroom with her camera and asked Travis to model her in the shower.
A Crime of Passion
The camera was set on a two-minute timer and continued snapping shots. As Travis showered and posed, Jodi grabbed the knife from her pants and stabbed him in the chest. Evidence suggests that a struggle ensued in which Travis attempted to push her off as she continued to stab him.
They fought over the knife, and both sustained cuts on their hands before Travis ran from the shower as blood spurted from his chest. He attempted to steady himself on the counter while Jodi attacked him from behind, stabbing him in the back again and again.
Washing Away the Evidence
Travis ran from her again before collapsing in the hallway. Jodi then pounced on Travis and sliced his throat from ear to ear before sawing through his windpipe. Travis was dead. His murderess then dragged his limp body to the bathroom and shot him in the head.
Jodi then cleaned herself up, applied band-aids to her wounds, and washed the blood sloppily off Travis. Then, to wash away the evidence, Jodi stripped the bed and put the sheets in the laundry. She also erased the pictures from the digital camera and threw it in the wash as well.
A Calculated Killer
After killing Travis Alexander, Jodi cleaned up his room and took her bag and belongings with her. She then locked his body inside his bedroom and left. After leaving Arizona, Jodi turned her phone back on and called Ryan, explaining that she’d gotten lost and stopped sleeping.
Jodi promised she’d be in Utah soon and hung up. Then, the calculated killer called Travis a few times, although she knew he was dead and left him a voicemail. Jodi arrived at Ryan’s on June 5, 2008. Four days later, on June 9, Travis’s body was found.
Meanwhile in Mesa
Meanwhile, Mimi Hall was getting worried in Mesa, Arizona, since Travis hadn’t answered her calls in days, and they were scheduled to fly to Cancun on June 10. On June 9, she went to his house, but no one answered the door. Soon a mutual friend arrived to help her break in and check on Travis.
At around 10:30 p.m., they found his body and called 911. The case’s detective, Esteban Flores, arrived at the scene around midnight and began his investigation. He spoke to Travis’s roommates, friends, and family and everyone thought that Jodi Arias was to blame.
Where Did the Evidence Point?
Flores found it suspicious that Travis’s bedroom was very organized, but his bed was stripped, so he looked for the sheets he found in the wash, along with a digital camera, which was wiped of its photographs. He sent the camera to the station, hoping some pictures could be salvaged.
The bathroom looked like a horror film. There was blood all over the bedroom floor and carpet. The autopsy showed that the gunshot to Travis’s head had been made after he was already dead from his 27 to 29 stab wounds. Flores proceeded to interview Travis’s roommates.
Cluelessly Living With a Corpse
Alexander’s roommates had been cluelessly living with a corpse for four days. Flores questioned them, suspicious that they hadn’t noticed the smell or thought it was odd Travis hadn’t been around. They explained that they thought he had gone to Mexico early.
As for the rotting odor, they had smelled it but didn’t want to intrude and look around Travis’s stuff uninvited. One roommate commented how odd it was that the door had been locked since Travis never locked it. The other roommate had noticed that the banister had been wiped clean and the furniture rearranged.
Like in Fatal Attraction
Both roommates believed that Jodi Arias was the culprit. They called her clingy and obsessive, like the main character in the film Fatal Attraction. They shared that Jodi stalked Travis, showed up unannounced, stole his journals and internet passwords, broke into his house, and slashed his tires.
As the detective was interviewing the roommates, Jodi Arias called one of them, asking what was happening. She then called the police station and demanded to know what had happened to Travis. Jodi spoke to detective Flores and told him about her relationship with Travis Alexander in great detail.
Overshare and Overkill
Flores recorded the conversation, which was extremely odd. Jodi overshared, telling him about their friends with benefits arrangement, their plans, and more. She claimed that Travis had shamed her, used her, and cheated on her. Jodi said she believed Travis’s former roommate had murdered him.
This phone call made her a suspect officially. She was far too detailed and too willing to help the investigation and had overshared. A bloody palm print was found outside of his bedroom, and long brown hairs were discovered on the floor and the bathroom walls.
An Intimate Relationship With the Killer
Authorities believed that the overkill of 27 stabs meant that the victim had an intimate relationship with his killer. Sky and Chris Hughes, Lisa Andrews, Clancy Talbot, Mimi Hall, and every one the police spoke to named Jodi as the only person who would do such a thing.
However, Jodi contended that she hadn’t been in Mesa that night. She lied about her road trip, claiming she had stopped in different locations and gotten lost. But after her handprint was found at the scene and the photographs from the camera were recovered, Jodi had to change her tune.
A Creepy Interrogation
The photos showed Jodi at Travis’s house on the day of the murder and showed someone who looked like her dragging his dead body down the hall. Furthermore, Jodi’s grandparents reported a gun stolen with the same bullets that Travis was shot with.
On July 15, 2008, Arias was arrested for Alexander’s murder. Jodi continued to act shocked and heartbroken at Travis’s death. She claimed she was innocent, but cameras caught her singing to herself, stretching, and doing handstands when left alone in the interrogation room. Soon she gained confidence and started giggling and joking with the detectives.
A Tale of Two Burglars
After being confronted with evidence that she’d been present during the murder, Jodi changed her story and claimed that two burglars had attacked her and Travis. She said they’d hit her over the head, and she’d woken up to see a woman and man holding a knife and gun, wearing black and standing over Travis.
Jodi claimed Travis begged her for help, but the burglar chased and threatened, who said that he would kill her family if she told anyone. Arias explained that she hadn’t told because she wanted to protect her family. No one believed her lies.
Changing Her Look and Her Story
During her trial, Jodi completely changed her look. She went from a provocative bombshell blonde to a mousy brunette. Arias began dressing more conservatively and took to wearing glasses. She got a haircut with short bangs and started looking like a good church-going young lady.
During an interview, she was accused of attempting to make the jury think she was innocent using her looks. Jodi explained that she hadn’t died her hair but returned to her natural brown, having no access to hair dye in jail. Like her look, she also changed her story, making herself uncredible.
The Jodi Arias Trial
During her trial, Jodi kept changing her story. After extensive evidence piled up against her, she admitted to having killed Travis but claimed it had been in self-defense. She said that he had abused her throughout their relationship and was a pervert and a pedophile. However, the 82,000 emails they exchanged suggested otherwise.
She claimed that he attacked her, and she killed him while fighting for her life, and that she blacked it out. Her psychiatrist diagnosed Jodi as having dissociative amnesia, explaining her memory loss. However, when checked by a court-appointed psychiatrist, she was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder.
They Couldn’t Reach a Verdict
This new diagnosis explained many of Jodi Arias’s behavior patterns, from her fear of abandonment to her mood swings and uncontrollable anger and obsession. A jury quickly concluded that Jodi Arias was guilty of murdering Travis Alexander, and she was locked away in prison.
Jodi continued to claim self-defense. According to Steve Alexander, Travis’s brother, “Her mission was basically to murder my brother again for a second time by destroying his reputation. The self-defense story was just… a joke. My brother didn’t even own a gun.” However, the trial to decide her sentence went on for years.
Life Sentence or the Death Penalty
The jury couldn’t reach a verdict on whether Arias deserved the death penalty for her deeds or a life sentence. At first, Jodi had said she would rather die than spend her life in prison. However, when push came to shove, she begged for mercy and asked to be given a life sentence and not death.
After two juries failed to decide what she deserved, a judge sentenced Arias to prison for the remainder of her natural life, without parole. Jodi was shocked by her sentence, “I was really hoping the jury would see things for what they are.”
More Than One Appeal
Since receiving her life sentence, Jodi Arias hasn’t disappeared; she’s continued to appeal. She appealed in 2015 and again in 2020 and sued the attorneys involved in her trial for misconduct. All of her appeals have been unsuccessful.
However, Jodi’s lawsuits did better than her appeals. In 2020, a prosecutor from her case was disbarred for leaking the identity of a juror to the press during Arias’s trial. She has also managed to attract a lot of attention from the media while in jail. Two of Jodi’s cellmates did an interview with Lifetime about her.
Where Is Jodi Arias Now?
Jodi’s cellmates claimed that she was manipulative and used her good looks to trick male guards. They also said that Arias tried to be a part of their romantic relationship and wouldn’t leave the room while they made love. Though, how could she, if they shared a cell?
Her cellmates also shared that Jodi is running an art business from inside prison. She sells her works on eBay. “[Jodi has] access to paper and purchase color pencils, and if she wants to release her property to someone outside, she can,” explained a prison official.
A Successful Business
Selling her art has been very lucrative for Jodi, who works with more than one eBay auctioneer. Currently, her net worth is estimated between $1 million and $5 million. She has managed to make quite a lot of money while being locked up in Perryville Prison in Goodyear, Arizona.
Jodi sells many things besides her art. She has auctioned off the glasses she wore during her trial. She also sells “Free Jodi” bracelets and “Survivor” T-shirts for victims of domestic abuse. Jodi’s brother helps her sell things to make money for her and their family.
Murdered Three Times Over
Travis’s family had a tough time throughout Jodi’s trial. They attended court every day, sitting in the first row and watching the woman who murdered their son and brother attempt to destroy his reputation by painting Travis as sexually deviant.
However, the only society that considered him sinful was his own church. When Jodi was finally charged guilty, the family was ecstatic. However, it wasn’t over yet, and they continued to attend court during her sentencing trial, hoping that the woman who murdered Travis three times over would receive maximum sentencing.
A Thin Line Between Love and Hate
Jodi’s love for Travis quickly turned to obsession and then to jealousy, stalking, manipulation, and red-hot rage. Their relationship lacked boundaries and was unhealthy, whether during their courtship, official relationship, or friends with benefits stage that continued for months.
The scariest part of this story is that the red flags were there from the beginning. Sky Hughes said: “I started seeing things that were just disturbing. I said, ‘Travis, I’m afraid we’re gonna find you chopped up in her freezer.’ She shared that “from very early on, [Jodi] was completely obsessed with him.”