The Jodi Arias-Travis Alexander murder trial in Phoenix has captivated voyeurs nationwide with its tales of sex, violence and betrayal. Seats in the courtroom were reportedly going for $200 a pop and the house where Arias admittedly killed her former lover has turned into a tourist site for people obsessed with the case.
The jury retired for the day Monday afternoon without a verdict.
Prosecutors say Arias went to Alexander’s home in Mesa, Ariz., uninvited on June 4, 2008. She had sex with him several times that night before stabbing him 27 times, slitting his throat from ear to ear and shooting him in the forehead. When police found his naked body five days later, he had been dragged into the shower.
The trial's lurid appeal is heightened by the explicit photos Arias and Alexander took of each other minutes before the killing. The memory card from the camera was found in the washing machine and contained naked images of the two in the bedroom and in the shower.
After denying any involvement in the case for two years, Arias now claims she killed Alexander in self-defense.
The trial began in the beginning of January. When Arias took the stand for 18 days she weaved a tale from how she and Alexander met up to the fleeting moments before she killed him -- an act she says she doesn’t remember.
The 32-year-old aspiring photographer from Northern California spared no details when it came to her X-rated sex life with Alexander. A raunchy phone-sex conversation with the victim a month before he was killed was played in court.
Arias even began tweeting herself, through a friend, during the trial. She promoted her artwork and recently asked followers to “support other survivors of domestic violence” at her website, JodiAriasIsInnocent.com, to further the “worthy” cause.
“Everybody always has known that if you can tell a story and say it is based on a true story, or ripped from the headlines, then that's often something you can make more compelling because it's real,” Robert Thompson, director of Syracuse University's Bleier Center for Television and Popular Culture told the Los Angeles Times. “Well, this is the ultimate. This isn't based on a real story. You're showing them the real story.”
“We knew the characters involved like Jodi and Travis were interesting young people, in love theoretically, and it went dramatically bad,” Scot Safon, executive vice president and general manager of HLN, told the LA Times. “A crime story like this that goes to trial, it's never just about the story itself. You get to know the people involved.”
Arias once said no jury would ever convict her of murder. The jury is currently deliberating, and if they find her guilty she could face the death penalty.