(PHOENIX) — Jodi Arias was cornered, wearing an orange jumpsuit and crying, with her knees pulled up to her chest and her hands shaking, when she came up with one last lie, prosecutors say, to tell police about the killing of her ex-boyfriend.
Intruders came in and murdered Travis Alexander and then threatened to kill Arias and her family, she told police in a 2008 taped interview played at her murder trial Tuesday in Arizona.
“He was kneeling down in the shower, I don’t remember, I was taking pictures, and I don’t really know what happened after that exactly, except I think he was shot,” Arias said on the tape, crying and placing her face in her hands, and then rocking back and forth in her chair.
“I was on my knees here and I heard this loud ring, I don’t really remember except Travis was screaming,” she said.
Arias is on trial and facing the death penalty for the murder of Alexander, 30, whom she has admitted to killing but claims it was in self-defense. Prosecutors allege that she murdered him out of jealousy in a “heinous and depraved” manner.
Detective Esteban Flores of the Mesa, Ariz., police department had spent two days interviewing Arias after she was arrested for the murder of Alexander. He explained the mountain of evidence, including blood samples, hair follicles, and pictures placing her at the scene of the crime.
After a month of denying that she was at Alexander’s home, she finally said she was there, but so were two other individuals. She said she had never confessed it before out of fear for her family’s safety.
“They didn’t discuss much, they just argued about whether or not to kill me because I’m a witness, of Travis, but I didn’t really witness it, I didn’t see much,” Arias said to Flores.
“You need to make this believable. This doesn’t make any sense to me,” Flores said.
“They got my license and registration. My parents address was on it,” she said.
Arias admitted to killing Alexander in later interviews with police. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty because of the way they say she killed him, stabbing Alexander 27 times, slashing his throat, and shooting him in the head.
In interviews leading up to her confession, Arias was confident, leaning back in her chair and resting her head in her hands on the table as she calmly told Flores she was not even in Arizona when Alexander was killed.
“There’s no evidence to show that anyone else did this but you,” Flores told Arias in the first interview. “I’m not seeing any remorse, anything from you, to make me believe anything otherwise. You can continue to say I didn’t do it, but you’re the kid who got caught stealing the candy and continue to say it wasn’t me. I have the proof. Why won’t you admit to it?”
“I didn’t kill Travis,” Arias said. “I did not take his life.”
In the final interview played Tuesday afternoon, on the seventh day of her murder trial, Arias appeared quieter and more nervous than previously. She had spent the night in jail after her initial interview, in which Flores told her she would be charged and tried for murder.
Earlier in the day, prosecutors presented evidence that Arias tried to cover her tracks after killing Alexander by making a flurry of phone calls to his cell phone and hacking into his voice mailbox, prosecutors alleged Tuesday.
Phone records presented in court Tuesday showed Arias persistently calling Alexander in the days before the killing. Ten calls were made from Arias’ cellphone to Alexander’s cellphone in the days leading up to his death, Verizon Wireless records expert Jody Citizen testified. Many of the calls were forwarded by Alexander straight to voice mail, Citizen said.
After Arias killed Alexander around 5:30 p.m. on June 4, 2008. Arias called his phone four more times. The first call was made just hours after the killing at 11:37 p.m., the records showed. At least one of the calls was made as late as June 15, nearly a week after Alexander’s body was found by friends.
At one point, Arias dialed into his voice mail system for 16 minutes, which indicated she was accessing his voice mail messages, Citizen said.
“If a person is in his phone for 16 minutes and they’re not leaving a message what is going on?” prosecutor Juan Martinez asked.
“Somebody is listening to messages,” Citizen answered.
Arias’ attorneys, who argue that she killed her ex-boyfriend out of self-defense, said that she could have been recording a message, and then listening to it and deleting it before recording again, accounting for the 16 minutes spent on the voice mail system.
“On Verizon, is it possible to change your voice mail, to erase it and do it over again?” defense attorney Kirk Nurmi asked Citizen. “Could someone have been doing that for a 16 minute phone call?”
“Yes,” Citizen said.
Nurmi pointed out that phone records showed that two days before his death Alexander also called Arias, initiating two phone calls that lasted nearly 20 minutes and more than 40 minutes in the middle of the night.
The defense has said that Alexander was controlling and abusive toward Arias and was a “sexual deviant” whom she had to kill in self defense.
The prosecution, however, alleges that Arias was obsessed with Alexander, stalked him, and killed him out of jealousy after spending the afternoon having sex with him and taking naked photos of one another.
The jury returned to court Tuesday for the seventh day of testimony in the murder trial, after watching a series of graphic sexual photos of Arias and Alexander displayed on Monday, including the last photos of Alexander alive. The photos show both individuals lying naked on Alexander’s bed, separately, and then Alexander naked in the shower.
The final photo shows a body part covered in blood around 5:30 p.m., which the prosecution alleges is when the attack on Alexander began and the camera fell to the floor.
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