Could Jodi Arias Be Innocent of First-Degree Murder?

On June 4, 2008, Mesa, Arizona man, Travis Alexander fought for his life in his own home. Stabbed 27 times, throat cut from ear to ear, and shot in the head, any one of these methods would have been fatal. His body was found days later, on June 9, in a terrible state of decomposition. He was found in his shower, slumped on the floor, his body contorted. Blood spattered the entire room, floor to ceiling. The carpet was soaked as well. In the 911 call placed that day, the female caller mentions an ex-girlfriend, Jodie, who had been “stalking and slashing tires.”

First-degree murder in Arizona is defined as:

“Intending or knowing that the person’s conduct will cause death, the person causes the death of another person, including an unborn child, with premeditation or, as a result of causing the death of another person with premeditation, causes the death of an unborn child.”

-Arizona Revised Statutes Title 13. Criminal Code § 13–1105

In a 2013 infamous trial, Jodi Arias and her public defenders fought against the death penalty. Investigators believed they had the evidence to prove Arias not only killed Alexander in a brutal fashion, but that she also premeditated the crime. With death on the line, her defense had to be prepared. Despite the arguments given by the defense, Arias was found guilty and convicted of first-degree murder. Death was on the line. After a hung jury of the penalty phase of the trial, twice, the judge sentenced Jodi Arias to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Her defense argued that due to her self-defense claim, she should be charged with manslaughter instead.

It is no secret that the number of people who found Arias guilty were outspokenly outnumbering those who found her innocent. The evidence just seemed too compelling. Now, only 7 years after her sentencing, there is still a presence online that finds the existing evidence should not have led to a first-degree murder conviction. One website dedicated to Arias’s innocence, which also lists official statements, links to funding her appeals, and statements from her parents, says:

It is no secret that Jodi deeply regrets what she did, but no woman should ever lose her life or her freedom for successfully fighting off her abuser.

Despite her initial interviews, there was, during the trial, no debate of whether or not Arias was present and killed Alexander that day. Not only was her bleach blonde hair found at the scene, so was her full handprint, settled in Travis’ blood on the wall. Timestamped, photographic evidence added to this proof. She could not deny that she had been present during his death.

The main debate during the trial was whether or not Travis Alexander was an abusive partner, and if that abuse justified his killing. For the latter, one must then consider what self-defense would imply. If a person is in immediate danger, self-defense would require them to stop the threat. But when would self-defense become overkill? According to Jodi Arias’ story, she had been taking pictures of Alexander in the shower when she dropped the camera, which infuriated him due to it being a new purchase. She claims he then body slammed her on the tile floor. After getting up to run, he chased her, shouting threats.

The spent shell casing of the .25 caliber bullet found in Alexander’s head. Note how it sits on top of the congealed blood on the bathroom floor

It is clear that the stabbing came first, as the single bullet casing from a.25 caliber handgun laid on top of the blood on the bathroom floor. This already pokes a hole in the argument that she ran from him in self-defense, finding his gun in the closet and shooting him there. Next would have had to have been the slashing of this throat, leaving the massive bloodstain in the hallway from his private bathroom. Photos accidentally taken by Arias during this time, show the perpetrator’s foot as they pull the bleeding body of Travis Alexander down the hall. To show that the shooting had to have happened last, the bullet casing lay in the bathroom. The bullet just above the left brow would have almost definitely incapacitated him immediately. The stabbing had to come before the shooting and the throat-slashing before the shooting.

This proves the order of attacks and destroys Arias’ story. The shooting could not have happened first. While the order of events does not fully disprove the self-defense theory, it does call into question Arias’ reliability.

With the stabbing coming first, while Alexander was still in the shower, for self-defense to make sense, there would have to reasonably be a knife nearby. Arias would later claim to have participated in bondage including a rope with Alexander in the hours before his death, where a knife was used to cut the rope in the bathroom. She could not recall if the knife remained in the bathroom. The knife (nor the gun) were ever found, being taken from the scene. In the realm of self-defense, would one stab someone repeatedly, follow them as they flee (likely bleeding out and no longer a threat), and violently slash their throat, nearly decapitating them. When overkill comes into question, consider if Alexander were still after her in this self-defense theory, upon slashing his throat, he would have died immediately, not to mention the previous stabs to the heart and chest. Still, in alleged defense, Arias dragged his body back to the bathroom, shot him in the face, and shoved his naked body into the shower.

Self-defense becomes overkill once the threat is either incapacitated or no longer approaching you dangerously. The initial stab that started the encounter, which hit Alexander in the heart (a majority of the stabs being in the upper torso), would have rendered him no longer a threat, as he staggered from the shower, struggling to breathe. The combination of lies from Jodi Arias and the premeditation she clearly took beforehand as well as previously mentioned and other forensic evidence, created an image of the brutality of this crime.

Further, the accusations against Travis Alexander of physical abuse and pedophilia were not corroborated by any evidence or witnesses.