The Crazy, Stalker Ex

Asia Cruz, Sports Editor

    We all have our guilty pleasures, social media, Netflix, or coffee; there is not one person on this planet that does not have one. Out of the never-ending list of these guilty pleasures, there is also true crime. Chandler High’s many true crime fans will be excited to learn about the once-happy relationship between Travis Alexander and Jodi Arias turned toxic. Continuing the Wolf Howl’s True Crime segment, this is The Case of Travis Alexander. 

    Jodi Arias was born In the small city of Salinas, California, on July 9, 1980.Her childhood was uneventful; however, she dropped out of high school in the eleventh grade to pursue her dream of becoming a professional photographer. Although she tried to achieve this dream for about 10 years, it did not work out, and she started working for Prepaid Legal, a multi-level marketing company in Mesa, Arizona. Arias moved to sales in February 2006. 

    Travis Alexander was born in Riverside, California, on July 28th, 1977. He was raised in California until his father died in 1997; Alexander then moved with his seven siblings to live with his grandmother in Arizona. At this point, Travis was introduced to Mormonism. Travis Alexander was a salesman and motivational speaker for Prepaid Legal into his thirties, which is where Travis and Jodi finally met

    The relationship between Travis and Jodi blossomed in September 2006 at a work conference in Las Vegas, Nevada. They spoke every day of their long distance relationship, exchanging a total of over 80,000 emails in just five months. Because the Mormon church discourages their members from dating outside their faith, Jodi converted to Mormonism to be with Travis and wasbaptized her in November 2006. At first, everything seemed terrific between them; however, Travis broke up with Jodi in June 2007, after only a few months of dating. According to ____ (source), Jodi was still in love with Travis when he had no emotional feelings for her. After the break-up, perhaps in an attempt to repair their relationship, Jodi moved from Salinasto Mesato be closer to Travis. According to [source], the two had a very complex friendship; they only had sexual encounters with no emotional feelings, as some would say, “friends with benefits” for a few months. (coffeehouse crime). Soon after Jodi moved to Mesa, Travis’ friends quickly became alarmed at Jodi’s behavior: arriving at his house unannounced, contacting him non-stop, even slashing his tires after (what sparked it).Jodi was labeled the “crazy stalker ex” by Travis and his friends. Jodi thought that she and Travis would eventually get together again; however, Travis still saw other women. In April 2008, Jodi moved back to California to live with her grandparents; however, she was still emotionally attached to Travis. 

     On June 9, 2008, Alexander’s friends, family, and colleagues became worried when they realized he hadn’t responded to any texts or phone calls in over five days. Travis’ friends entered his home to find pools of blood in his living room and immediately called the police. In the 9-11 recording, the operator asked the caller, “Who do you think could’ve done this?” Without hesitation, we can hear one of the friends say, “Her name is Jodi… there’s this girl that’s been stalking him.” Police arrived at the crime scene and found Alexander’s brutalized body in his bathroom on the shower floor. Travis Alexander’s autopsy files say Alexander had 27 stab wounds, was shot in the forehead by a .25 caliber bullet, and nearly decapitated. A coroner later stated that Alexander may have already been dead by the time his murderer shot him.

    The police quickly contacted Jodi, and she sounded devastated but claimed she hadn’t seen Travis since April earlier that year. Later, detectives learned that Jodi rented a car on June 2nd from Redding, California. Several days before the 2nd, she had contacted one of her ex-boyfriends, Daryl Brewer, to ask if she could borrow two five-gallon canisters of gas. Jodi ended up purchasing 32 gallons of gas just days before the muder. Investigators found Travis’s damaged digital camera downstairs in the washer machine, but the SD card was still intact. On the SD card, police were able to recover intimate photos of Jodi and Travis from 1:40 PM on [date]Using evidence from Alexander’s damaged digital camera, police were able to identify the last photo of Travis Alexander alive, taken at approximately 5:30 PM on the same day, apparently by Jodi.  showingTravis’ body heavily bleeding on the floor and the shoes of the assailant, which was an accident. Detectives would soon confirm that Jodi’s shoe that she accidentally kicked caused the photo. After the murder, the killer attempted to clean the crime scene to remove any evidence, including wiping the floor, surfaces, and Travis’ body. However, the killer left a bloody handprint on the wall. DNA would later reveal that the handprint consisted of Travis and Jodi. At this point, police were almost sure that the killer was Jodi Arias.

     After murdering Travis, Jodi drove out of Mesa to the desert toward Utah to create an alibi to meet her new boyfriend, Ryan Burns. When she arrived in Utah, Ryan and his friends noticed Jodi wore bandages on her hands and wore long sleeve shirts, which aroused suspicion since it was the summertime. They also saw that she dyed her hair brown from her bleach blonde color. She told Ryan that the cuts on her hand were from her job as a pizza chef at “Margaritaville” back in California, although when Ryan searched it up, there was no such thing as a ‘Margaritaville” in California at the time. Later that day, in West Jordan, Utah, Jodi would be pulled over in her rental car. Jodi had removed the front plate and flipped the rear plate upside down. Jodi blamed teenagers she claimed to have seen earlier that day at a Starbucks parking lot. Jodi then drove back to California and handed her rental car back on June 7, but was handed a hefty fine because she came back with over 2800 miles on the car. She had also removed all of the car’s floor mats and stained the front and rear seats with what she claimed to be Kool-aid. Unfortunately, the rental company had the vehicle deep cleaned before police could examine it. 

During Jodi’s interviews, she maintained her innocence. Unaware of the evidence against her, investigators applied more pressure on Jodi and her story. She claimed to have never traveled to visit Travis the week he was murdered and only went to Utah. Investigators say she pretended to be confused and was unable to answer their questions sufficiently. They then confronted her about the camera that she thought she had destroyed; she continued to deny. Arias also tried to trick the detectives into thinking that she was asleep to make her seem calmer than she was. (crime psychology) She soon changed her story to say it was a burglary gone wrong. She contended that there were two masked assailants. Arias explained how the two allegedly attacked her but they let her go after telling her to keep quiet; she left and they killed Travis. But this was just one of many of Jodi’s lies because, after telling this story, Jodi hired a lawyer and changed her story again. She now claimed that it was all in self-defense. Shortly before trial, however, Arias dropped her defense team and represented herself and sent letters to the court she claimed  were written by Travis [that said…]. Investigators confirmed these letters to be forgeries. Then Jodi, realizing her story will not work, reinstated her defense team back to her. 

    Opening arguments started on January 2nd, 2013; prosecutor Juan Martinez sought the death penalty while Jennifer Willmott represented Jodi, who argued that Travis’s death was self-defense. The trial lasted five months; Jodi was on the stand for 18 days.Sshe claimed that Travis was secretly sexually attracted to young boys and girls and that he was emotionally, physically, sexually abusive to her, alleging that he body-slammed her to the ground before kicking her in the ribs the day of his death. According to Jodi, Travis forced her to take sexual images of him in the shower. When she accidentally dropped the camera, Travis became enraged and attacked her. She said she feared for her life, and she acted in self-defense. On May 8th, 2013, after 15 hours of jury deliberation, Jodi Arias was found guilty of first-degree murder. Cheers were heard from outside the courtroom when the verdict was announced.     The sentencing period was  very complicated, but on April 15th, 2015,  Jodi was formally sentenced to life in prison without a chance of parole. She is now serving her time in Arizona’s Department of Corrections at the maximum level of security. 

    The case of Travis Alexander has been and will continue to be easily recognizable in households across the country for some time. It is essential to respect him and how he lived his life. He was described as charismatic, loyal, and driven by his family. May Travis Alexander rest in peace, and may Jodi Arias live the rest of her days behind bars.