Can the six-degrees-of-separation concept be applied to places in addition to people? Colorado offers a strong argument in the affirmative, since it's rare that a big national story doesn't have some link to the state. That's certainly the case in the ongoing trial of Jodi Arias, accused of brutally killing boyfriend Travis Alexander in 2008. The crime may have happened in Arizona, but Colorado has cropped up a couple of times amid the lurid, tabloid-TV-friendly tales about "deviant" sex that preceded a murder involving shooting, stabbing and throat slashing.
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 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, with the defense finally resting earlier this week 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:
At this point, Arias's fate has yet to be determined -- yet by last month, the Lifetime cable channel had already announced that it would be making a movie based on the killing, with filming said to have been scheduled to get underway last week. Colorado is unlikely to make the final cut, what with the other shocking assertions by supporters on both sides, but the state was clearly important to Alexander before he met his grisly end.
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