Jodi Arias, convicted of murder, says she'd prefer death penalty over life in prison
We've detailed efforts by representatives of Chuck E. Cheese slayer Nathan Dunlap to prevent the execution of the quadruple murderer. But not everyone would make the same choice -- including, apparently, Jodi Arias, convicted in Arizona yesterday of first-degree murder in the 2008 death of boyfriend Travis Alexander.
Alexander was a Mormon who, between 1996 and 1998, served his mission in Denver. Just months before his death, he returned to the state to enjoy its natural wonders, as documented in photos obtained by the staff of Dr. Drew On Call, one of numerous Headline News network programs that's been giving a tremendous amount of airtime to the crime. Here's one of the shots:
These images wouldn't be especially newsworthy if they weren't connected to an especially heinous incident. In early June 2008, Alexander's body was found in the shower at his home in Mesa, Arizona. He'd been shot in the head, his throat was slashed and he'd been stabbed so many times that news agencies haven't always agreed on the number of wounds; the totals have vacillated between 25 and 29.
It didn't take long for law enforcement to target Arias. She was arrested the next month and pleaded not guilty that September, claiming she killed Alexander in self-defense after initially denying she'd played a role in his death. Yet it took well over four years before her trial began, in January. The defense finally rested in mid-April after 38 days, with Arias on the stand for eighteen of them.
In instances like these, many defense lawyers opt not to let their clients testify, and the Arias trial demonstrates why. Although her appearance (brunette hair, glasses) contrasted sharply with her previous look (vintage blond bombshell), she was still put in the position of describing a myriad of sexual acts involving her and Alexander, leading to salacious stories aplenty. Example: An ABC report from February begins, "Accused murderer Jodi Arias testified today that her ex-boyfriend, Travis Alexander, had a 'Bill Clinton view of sex' because Alexander was eager for oral and anal sex to get around Mormon church rules against premarital sex."
This assertion soon led to speculation about which member of the couple was the leader when it came to sexual adventurism -- although that's not what HLN called it, as seen in this screen capture:
This response to Arias's lurid tale-spinning seems to have carried over to the those charged with determining her fate. As reported by the Associated Press in a piece shared by 9News, the jury found her guilty after fifteen hours of deliberation -- a relatively modest amount of time given the marathon trial.
Today, jurors are expected back in the courtroom to determine if the death penalty is an appropriate sentence -- and Arias, in a post-verdict interview with KSAZ-TV, suggests that she'd prefer it to the alternative.
"Longevity runs in my family, and I don't want to spend the rest of my natural life in one place," she told the station. "I believe death is the ultimate freedom and I'd rather have my freedom as soon as I can get it."
Of course, Arias could change her mind at any point during the process, which can be extremely long, as demonstrated by the Dunlap case. He killed four people, and grievously wounded a fifth, in December 1993 and was arrested within hours. But he wasn't convicted until 1996, and his August execution week wasn't set until earlier this month.
Whether she stays the course or not, her story will live on in a very 21st Century way. In March, as we pointed out, the Lifetime cable channel announced that it would be making a movie based on the killing, with filming said to have been scheduled to get underway in April.
More from our News archive: "Video: Christopher Dorner, ex-L.A. cop, presumed dead after fiery cabin standoff."
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Westword's biggest stories.