Jodi Arias Trial: Prosecution Rests as Evidence Mounts
"Last night was so hard," Arias, 32, allegedly wrote, according to court motions that surfaced during the third week of her Arizona murder trial. "Knowing he wasn't calling me anytime soon was just killing me. I broke down as I climbed into bed and just cried and cried and cried until I fell asleep."
Arias allegedly wrote the entry on June 11, 2008, only two days after Travis Alexander's body was found in his home.
Forensic experts have testified his attacker stabbed him roughly 30 times, slashed his throat from ear to ear and shot him with a .25-caliber gun, the same caliber as a handgun reported stolen from Arias's grandparents' home.
Unaware that police would retrieve photos from Alexander's camera showing them making love the day he was murdered, as well as a photo of her apparently dragging his body, Arias, a photographer, pretended nothing happened and covered her tracks in various ways, according to prosecution testimony.
Ryan Burns, another love interest of Arias's, testified that Arias made out with him the day after she allegedly murdered Alexander. Burns told the jury that, when Arias arrived for their date a day late, she claimed she had gotten lost, making no mention of how she'd spent the previous day allegedly having sex with Alexander before killing him. "She got on top of me pretty aggressively and we were kissing," he testified, adding that Arias is feisty and "stronger than she looks."
When Burns noticed that she had bandages on her fingers, Arias said she cut her hand on broken glass at the restaurant where she worked. He testified they watched a movie, messed around and napped.
In a recording played for the jury, Mesa, Ariz., Detective Esteban Flores, tells Arias: "The gun that was stolen, a .25 auto, just happens to be the same caliber used to kill him."
"A .25 was used to kill him?" she asks incredulously.
"Jodi, we're just playing games here," Esteban replies.
As evidence mounted, Arias changed her story, first saying two intruders killed Alexander while she was present, and later saying she stabbed the motivational speaker in self-defense, and that he was abusive.
Prosecutors entered into evidence a trail of receipts, including rental car receipts, showing that Arias rented a car in Redding, Calif., instead of where she lived in Yreka, Calif., where she could easily be recognized. The receipts show purchases in Southern California and Nevada, but not Arizona – suggesting she did not want to create traceable evidence that she was in the state on June 4, 2008, the day Alexander was killed.
The state's final witness, Leslie Udy, testified Thursday that, when she met with Arias after Alexander's murder, she observed cuts on Arias's hand. Again, Arias attributed the cuts to broken glass. Under cross-examination, Udy testified that Arias seemed too gentle to commit such a horrific crime.
After Udy's testimony, the prosecution rested its case, and the defense attorney for Arias – who could get the death penalty if convicted of first-degree murder – argued outside the jury's presence that the prosecution had failed to prove premeditation. The prosecution scoffed at the motion, saying Arias staged a burglary of her own home, rented a car and brought a gun and a knife to Alexander's home.
The trial resumes Jan. 28 with a hearing on the defense motion.