Exposed: The Secret Life of Jodi Ariasby Jane Velez-Mitchell
On June 9, 2008, the butchered body of Travis Alexander was found in his Mesa, Arizona home. The grisly nature of his death made instant headlines: with twenty-nine knife wounds, his throat slit, and a gunshot to the head, Travis was left to die. The prime suspect in the case was Alexander's ex-girlfriend, the attractive and soft-spoken Jodi Arias. Though Arias… See more details below
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On June 9, 2008, the butchered body of Travis Alexander was found in his Mesa, Arizona home. The grisly nature of his death made instant headlines: with twenty-nine knife wounds, his throat slit, and a gunshot to the head, Travis was left to die. The prime suspect in the case was Alexander's ex-girlfriend, the attractive and soft-spoken Jodi Arias. Though Arias initially said that she was nowhere near the scene of crime, little about this case was as it seemed, and before long she had been caught lying to police. As the investigation progressed, her lies evolved multiple times before finally resting on an appalling claim: she had killed Travis in self-defense. Along the way, startling details emerged about the Mormon couple's relationship, and soon graphic stories of their lurid sexual encounters and jealousy-driven blowouts revealed a dark side to their life together. These revelations launched a trial filled with sex and deception but also raised substantial questions about Arias's deceit, as people from across the country struggled to understand the bizarre world of Jodi Arias.
Now, award-winning broadcast journalist and bestselling author Jane Velez-Mitchell, a veteran of some of the most storied court cases in recent memory, goes behind the scenes of the trial and into the mind of a killer. Using insider accounts from friends who knew Travis and Jodi, Velez-Mitchell turns her sharply-focused lens on Arias and offers her seasoned perspective on the case's most pressing questions. Separating fact from fiction, she reports on the bizarre and explicit stories that have both shocked and fascinated the American public—from Jodi's romantic history before meeting Travis, to their torrid sex life together, to the complicated role their Mormon faith played in the relationship's demise. With unbridled access to the evidence and the case's key players, Velez-Mitchell unearths Jodi's contentious life with those closest to her, examining the paranoid and erratic behavior behind each relationship and illustrating the disturbing pattern of a murderer in the making.
Complete with photos from the case and Jane Velez-Mitchell's fresh insights on the crime, Exposed takes readers behind closed bedroom doors to uncover the truth behind the secret and sordid life of Jodi Arias.
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Read an Excerpt
By Jane Velez-Mitchell
HarperCollins PublishersCopyright © 2013 Jane Velez-Mitchell
All rights reserved.
p chAptEr 1
dEAd At hoME
on June 9, 2008, at just before 10:30 p.m., officers for the Mesa
Police Department in Mesa, arizona, responded to a 911 call at
11428 East Queensborough avenue. it came from a five-bedroom,
well- maintained Spanish-style house in a quiet residential area of town
where the homes were variations of each other, based on a handful of
tasteful models. The owner of this particular home had been found
dead in the shower of the master bathroom. The caller stated she had
no idea how long he had been there.
“a friend of ours is dead at his home,” the young female voice
told the dispatcher, her words shaking in her throat. “We hadn't
heard from him in a while and came to check on him. We think he is
dead. His roommate went to check on him and said, 'There is blood
responding officers found the man, later identified as thirty-year-
old Travis alexander, crumpled naked and lifeless on the floor of his
shower stall. His body was well into the decomposition process, and
although it was unclear how long he had been there, there was no
doubt it had been at least a couple of days. officers observed large
amounts of blood beyond the shower as well, splattered around the
floor, walls, and sink. Police observed a large laceration to the man's
throat, which appeared to cross from one ear to the other.
a fairly hard-edged town with a violent crime rate above the na-
tional average in pretty much every category, the city of Mesa had seen
its share of disturbing deaths. Twenty-five years earlier, in one of Ma-
ricopa County's most heinous crimes ever, a transient by the name of
robert “Gypsy” Comer had murdered a man he had never met before
at a campground near apache lake, then kidnapped a woman one
campsite over and sexually assaulted her for twenty-four hours. He
had been sentenced to death, and he was executed by lethal injection
in May 2007.
Unlike the apache lake crime, this new Mesa murder did not
have the markings of a random crime, though at this early stage, noth-
ing could be ruled out. Travis owned and occupied the house, but
being single, he liked to rent out bedrooms to friends and roommates
for the income. He currently had two boarders, Enrique Cortez and
Zachary Billings, who told police it had been four or five days since
they had last seen and spoken to him. However, they hadn't suspected
anything was wrong, because he had a trip planned to CancÃ?n; they'd
just assumed he had already left.
it was the planned trip to CancÃ?n that had prompted the search
for Travis in the first place. Unable to reach him, Marie “Mimi” Hall,
the friend Travis was supposed to be traveling with, had become in-
creasingly concerned, especially since they were scheduled to leave
in the morning. That evening, she'd gone to his house, knocked, and
waited in vain. When no one came to the door, she went home and
called her friend Michelle lowery and Michelle's boyfriend, Dallin
Forrest. all three entered the house by using the keypad code at the
garage. Mimi immediately detected a foul odor, something she initially
blamed on Travis's dog, Napoleon. inside, they were surprised to find
Zach and his girlfriend, amanda McBrien, in Zach's bedroom. They
had not heard the doorbell. Now that they knew Travis was missing,
ExposEd / 13
Zach tried to turn the doorknob to his room, discovered it was locked,
and went to retrieve the spare key to the master bedroom suite. as
the door opened, a huge bloodstain could be seen on the carpet at the
entryway to the hall leading to Travis's en suite bathroom. The smell
of death was undeniable. That was when all of them knew the search
was not going to end well.
it was ten minutes to midnight when homicide detective and lead
investigator for the case Esteban Flores arrived at the address. By then
the residence had already been secured with yellow police tape, and
a police guard was in place to monitor the comings and goings in the
The scene in the bathroom was gruesome. By the blood spatter
and smears on the walls, there definitely appeared to have been a
struggle between the victim and the assailant. it was difficult to assess
a cause of death because of the high number of wounds visible across
the victim's upper torso and head. The victim was hunched in a sitting
position on the shower floor. The body looked like it had been rinsed
off in the shower some time after death. a .25-mm bullet casing was
carefully removed from atop caked blood on the floor near the sink,
but the handgun it came from was nowhere to be found. Blood swabs,
fingerprints, and hair samples were collected from the bathroom base-
boards and floor.
Nothing in Travis's bedroom looked particularly out of place.
His well-organized closets and drawers had not been disturbed, and
there was no indication that the room had been entered in any forced
manner. of note, however, sheets and blankets had been stripped
from the bed and removed from the room, although it couldn't be
determined by whom or why. The hallway between the bedroom and
master bathroom had blood smears and one latent bloody palm print,
which would be cut from the wall and analyzed later at the crime lab.
With the preliminary assessment of the crime scene complete,
Detective Flores turned his attention to the friends or housemates
who had been present when the body was discovered—Mimi Hall,
Michelle lowery, Dallin Forrest, Zachary Billings, amanda McBrien,
Enrique Cortez, and Karl Hiatt. after being ruled out as suspects,
they might be able to provide
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