Jodi Arias. To some, the name brings shivers. I was in a coma for the past seven years until last month when I heard she’d been given a life sentence without parole. Two different juries couldn’t decide if she should receive the death penalty. However, life without parole—it might as well have been a death sentence. She will die in prison.
ADC 281129. That’s Jodi’s inmate number in the Arizona Department of Corrections. Arizona State Prison Complex – Perryville is now her home. She spends twenty-three hours a day in a 12×7 cell. She can enjoy one hour a day of fresh air—caged. Her bed is hard. Her windows are small. Her toilet is cold and made of metal. Contact with other prisoners is non-existent.
Travis Alexander’s friends found him behind a locked bedroom door rotting in a shower stall, stabbed 27 times, his throat cut from ear to ear, and shot in the face. In court testimony, Mesa Detective Esteban Flores later described the murder as one of the most brutal scenes he has had to investigate in his career.
According to trial prosecutor Juan Martinez, in order to deflect suspicion, Arias not only took meticulous care to stage the scene, wiping the blood from the floor with bathroom towels, but she also attempted to destroy evidence by throwing a digital camera in the washing machine and running it through a cycle.
When questioned by Det. Flores, Arias initially stated she wasn’t at Alexander’s house June 4, 2008, the day of the murder, but had spun a wild tale of being lost in the desert. The next day, after having spent the night in jail, she said two assailants, a man and a woman, killed Alexander. She said she managed to escape with her life.
In 2011, in preparation of her own defense, Arias introduced letters from Alexander depicting him as a pedophile, an accusation the court quickly dismissed after having analyzed the letters as forgeries.
During the trial, she had also accused Alexander of domestic violence, which prosecutor Martinez later disproved with photographic evidence to the contrary.
Other than matching her DNA to the crime scene, including hair follicle and blood sample matches, the bombshell to the prosecution’s case against Arias was the digital camera she thought she had destroyed in the washing machine. Using EnCase software, Forensics was able to retrieve the SD card and restore deleted photos of Arias dragging Alexander’s bloody body down the hall into the shower.
Arias claimed to have killed Alexander in self-defense because she had dropped his camera on the floor. She said he had lunged at her.
Self-defense. Twenty-seven stab wounds. A slit throat. A shot to the face.On April 13, 2015, Judge Sherry K. Stephens asked the defendant, Jodi Ann Arias, if she had anything else she wanted to say before sentencing.
“I do remember the moment the knife went into Travis’ throat and he was still conscious. He was still trying to attack me.” Arias said.
To the very end, Arias did not admit to killing Alexander in a jealous rage as the prosecution had proven with the evidence presented. Instead, she used her moment in front of the judge to attack Alexander’s family one last time.
The last word, however, belonged to the state of Arizona. Judge Stephens sentenced Jodi Arias to natural life in prison without the possibility of parole.
At age 34, Jodi Arias is a prisoner of the state. She no longer can sleep in on a Sunday morning as the birds sing their mating calls outside her window, take a walk in the middle of the woods just when it is about to rain, lay on a hill on a cool spring day to watch the clouds change shapes, curl her toes in the sand on the beach as the tide rolls in, sit by the fire with her favorite drink, enjoy a breath of fresh mountain air, celebrate holidays with family, play catch with her siblings, cook a meal for guests, take a plane ride, shop for clothes, go to the movies, cut the grass, drive a car or feel the tender touch of another human being.
Neither can Travis Alexander.