The prosecution presented testimony Thursday aimed at proving Jodi Arias is a pathological liar who plotted the murder of her ex-boyfriend, 30-year-old Travis Alexander. Arias, now 32, is facing the death penalty for the brutal stabbing and shooting of the former motivational speaker and salesman in his Mesa, Ariz., home on June 4, 2008.
Arias was first arrested in her hometown of Yreka, in Siskiyou County, Calif., after Mesa police detectives discovered physical evidence that linked her to the crime. In court on Thursday, a former Siskiyou County sheriff’s detective, Nathan Mendes, who assisted in the investigation, presented incriminating receipts. The numerous receipts were found at Arias’s grandparents’ home, where she was living at the time of the murder.
The prosecution showed that Arias rented a car in Redding, Calif., instead of her small town of Yreka, implying that she wouldn’t be recognized there.
Numerous other credit card receipts that were presented provide a physical trail of Arias driving through Southern California and Nevada as she described to police, but no receipts reflect a presence in Arizona.
The prosecution is trying to establish that Arias plotted Alexander’s murder after she learned he was taking another woman on a business trip to Cancun. After the murder, she visited a new love interest in Utah, who testified Arias was sexually aggressive with him less than 24 hours after Alexander’s slaying.
That new love interest, Ryan Burns, also testified that Arias told him she got cuts on her hand from broken glass at her bartending job at “Margaritaville.” She also told Burns she had to return to that job in Yreka after a 24 hour visit to Utah. But Thursday, the former Siskiyou detective said there is no such restaurant or bar in Yreka and there never had been. Arias worked at a local Mexican restaurant in Yreka called “Casa Ramos” in 2008.
Arias’ defense team also filed a motion for a mistrial after contending that the state’s theory on the order of how Alexander was killed has changed over time. The defense argued that the lead Mesa police detective, Esteban Flores, initially believed in 2008 that Alexander was shot first and then stabbed in the chest and across his neck, causing the fatal injury. But testimony during the trial by the medical examiner, Dr. Kevin Horn, and repeated by Flores, was reversed. They stated it to be stabbing and then the shooting.
Detective Esteban Flores cleared the matter up under direct examination. He said this was clearly a misunderstanding. Not an attempt to reverse anything that would make the crime appear more heinous than it already is. The Judge appeared to be fine with his reasoning for making the claim. It was simply the order in which he believed at the time Travis Alexander was murdered.
The reversal shows a level of suffering for Alexander and could increase the severity of punishment for Arias who is facing the death penalty. Arias’ attorneys have admitted she committed the crime in self-defense. They say she killed Alexander, a devout Mormon, because he was abusive, controlling and a sexual deviant in his relationship with Arias.
The judge denied the motion for a mistrial. Prosecution testimony continues on Monday.