This week, Steph is back! Join Brianna and Steph as they discuss the insane and intense fatal attraction of Travis Alexander and Jodi Arias. Brianna deep-dives into their lives prior to their meeting, their on-again-off-again relationship, and the devastating events of June 2008. Meanwhile, Steph explores important details through an astrological lens that helps us form a fuller picture of the complicated and conflicted lives these two led, separately and together.
In this episode
Wearing fake, geeky glasses and douchey fedora’s is trending, small waistcoats and enormous waist-cinching belts are plentiful, people are wrestling over manic panic, screaming teens are fangirling over Edward Cullen, iPod Nanos everywhere are playing Low by Flo Rida, and it was a time when people cared about Soulja Boy. The year is 2008, and on June 9, Travis Alexander’s friends called 911 when they hadn’t heard from him in days.
One of the women on the call was a friend of Travis’ named Mimi and she was supposed to go on a trip with him the following day. She hadn’t heard from Travis in days, so she called mutual friends to join her in checking on him. When they got to his Mesa, Arizona home, his roommate said Travis hadn’t been home for days, assuming he had left for his trip early. The roommate and one of the friends found a key to Travis’s master bedroom suite and when they entered, they saw blood everywhere and noticed a terrible smell. The blood led down a hallway to the bathroom, and that’s when they discovered Travis’s naked body in the shower. The operator asks questions about if Travis was suicidal and possibly cut his wrists but the medical examiner, Kevin Horn, determined that Travis was first stabbed in the heart, then shot in the head, then stabbed almost 30 times, his jugular vein, common carotid artery, and trachea had been slashed and he had defensive wounds on his hands. Travis’ death was ruled a homicide, and you may have noticed on the call, that both Michelle and Mimi mention a possible suspect – his ex-girlfriend Jodi, who had been threatening him and slashed his tires.
Let’s get to know Travis and Jodi.
Travis Victor Alexander was born on July 28, 1977, in Riverside, California, to Gary and Pamela Alexander (1948–1997) (1953–2005) and he had 7 siblings. Both of his parents were drug addicts – his father was never around, and his mother couldn’t keep a job because of her addiction. At 10 or 11 years old he ran away from home and moved in with his paternal grandparents – his grandmother in particular was very important to him. His grandparents were part of The Church of Jesus Christ and the Latter-Day Saints, so Travis joined as well. Travis claimed joining the church saved him because it afforded him a community of people who guided him. The consistency of support was something he always appreciated since he didn’t really have that growing up with his parents. As a teenager, he attended Rubidoux High in Riverside, California, he was on the wrestling team, and he graduated in 1995. After graduation, he went on a church mission to Denver, Colorado. The purpose of the mission was to support church services and engage in activities that supported the community. Pretty standard. He finished this mission in 1998 and returned to Riverside. He had dated a woman named Diana from the church for a couple of years, they separated for a bit but rekindled their relationship in 2002, and Travis moved to Arizona to be closer to her. Their relationship didn’t last – it was strained after they had pre-marital sex and Travis didn’t want to settle on marrying her just because they had sex, so they broke up. There are strict rules in the Mormon church – for example, no coffee, no alcohol, no smoking, and definitely no pre-marital sex. But the man loved women, and everyone knew it. In fact, one of his friends named Sky wrote this in an email to Travis: “Travis, with love, you are a heart predator. You take great joy in making women fall for the T-Dogg. You laugh about what you can get away with. It would scare me to death if my little sister liked you, in fact, I wouldn’t allow it.”
He also claimed to love money and power, and he’d even read motivational-type books on getting rich and being successful. This makes sense since, for work, he was a motivational speaker and an executive director in marketing for the Pre-Paid Legal Services (PPL) firm. Sketchy: The firm had been caught up in many lawsuits and it was uncovered that it was pretty much a pyramid scheme.
Let’s let Travis tell us about himself:
“I’m a simple man really. Smart, successful smashing good looks, a real suiter. I love nature, helping the homeless, and cooking with my grandmother just to create memories. Do I work out you ask? Well, I’d like to be modest, but can you say Triathlete, and if you can’t say that well simply say 16 1/2-inch biceps. If I look familiar you are probably an avid reader of GQ or Men’s Health. Any way I enjoy going to Church, teaching Foreign Children English, and gourmet cooking. You might say to yourself yes but what are Travis’ Talents. Well, if I must answer, Poetry, playing the Spanish Guitar (or what I like to call the strings of Love) and understanding more than just people’s voices, but understanding people’s hearts. At least that’s what Maya Angelou said at the awards ceremony when I was nominated for my first Nobel Peace prize. If you’d like to know more. Don’t be shy, go ahead and drop Travis a line. Unless of course a common phrase you use is “Thanks for the add” in that case, you are wasting your life on my space, you should probably go do something more productive like read a book or build an ant farm. Ciao.”Travis a little stitious, MySpace
Personally, this doesn’t do it for me. But you know who was into this? Jodi Arias.
According to her MySpace:
“Open-Minded, Artistic, Tolerant, Kind, Compassionate, Loving, Approachable, Generous, Healthy, Creative, Prosperous, Strong, Playful, Appreciative, Adventurous, Spiritual, Reflective, Responsible, Reverent.”Jodi Arias, MySpace
Jodi Ann Arias was born on July 9, 1980, in Salinas, California, to William and Sandy Arias. She was raised in Salinas and has 4 siblings. She claims she was physically abused by both of her parents from an early age, which traumatized her. Allegedly, her mom would beat her with a wooden spoon and her dad with a belt.
At 12, her parents took note of her artistic ability and enrolled her in an after-school art class. She carried her love of art throughout her life, and in general, she is artistically inclined – she liked photography, she could sing, she was a good artist – but she stuck with photography mainly. At 20, she purchased equipment to begin building a portfolio of weddings and portraits which ultimately led to referrals for other engaged couples, and she started making a bit of money but needed part-time work as well to supplement her income.
In 2001, she applied to work as a server at a luxury coastal resort in California called Ventana Big Sur. A man named Darryl Brewer was the manager at the time, and he hired Jodi. So, he was her supervisor until the resort went through managerial changes and he stepped down from management and began working as a server alongside Jodi, and it was in late 2002 or early 2003 when they began dating. Originally, they both lived in staff housing on the resort, but Darryl finally got on his feet after a divorce and in 2003 he quit working at the resort and moved 30 miles north to Monterey. They were still dating and seeing each other a few times a week outside of work, and Jodi was gradually getting to know his son, Jack. There were oddities about Jodi for sure – she dyed her hair blonde and got breast implants which made her look alarmingly like Darryl’s ex-wife and she even bought similar clothes and the same car as his ex. Apparently, he didn’t notice or didn’t care because, in his eyes, things were going well, they had a good, stable relationship, and by June of 2005, they decided to buy a house together in Palm Desert, 7 hours southeast of Monterey. They were both on the mortgage, they split the expenses, Jodi got a couple of part-time jobs in town, and Darryl said she was easygoing and never had a temper or displayed jealousy and she was pretty understanding – for example, they rarely discussed getting married because Jodi understood Darryl wasn’t ready to re-marry anytime soon, and Darryl was protective of his son, but he trusted Jodi enough to get to know Jack and even live with him.
By March or April 2006, Jodi began working with that sketchy pre-paid legal service firm. The more the year progressed and the more involved she got with her new job, the less interest she paid to Darryl and her responsibilities – she wasn’t paying her bills, she was going into debt, and she was becoming very spiritual and religious, which conveniently lines up with meeting Travis, a Mormon elder. The 2 met on a work-related trip to Las Vegas in September at the MGM Grand Casino. They were inseparable all weekend and Travis invited her to an elegant dinner for top-earning employees. At the end of the trip, Jodi apparently told Travis about Darryl, but Travis didn’t care, and they agreed to keep in touch.
Keep in touch they did because their relationship was immediate and very intense, especially for a long-distance relationship. They spoke on the phone every night and throughout their on-again, off-again relationship they exchanged over 80,000 emails.
By November, 2 months after meeting, Jodi was actively involved with the Mormon church, to the point she was baptized by Travis, she was inviting people over to the house for prayer sessions and she even told Darryl that she wouldn’t be intimate with him anymore because she was saving herself for her future husband. Meanwhile, she’s been sexually active with Travis and had been for a while since they began fooling around after a week of knowing each other. Since sex was a huge no-no in the Mormon church, they stuck to oral and anal sex because “it didn’t count as pre-marital sex”. While Jodi was having these wild Mormon prayer sessions and finding her faith and saving her body for her husband, Darryl was working on being closer to his son because his ex-wife had moved back up north to Monterey and had taken Jack with her. He and Jodi broke up and he got a place near his son and ex-wife, but they agreed Jodi could stay in the house until it sold.
So now, it’s around Christmastime, and Jodi didn’t want to be alone for the holidays, so she asked Travis if she could spend time with him at his new place in Mesa, Arizona. He said no because he was having his family over and there was no room for her, but Jodi was super jealous and lonely so on Christmas Eve she showed up unexpectedly during their family dinner, invited herself in, and introduced herself as his girlfriend. Travis was pissed but he let her stay for dinner as long as she left that night. When he got up the next morning, Jodi was sleeping under the Christmas tree. He didn’t react well, and Jodi could tell he was pushing her away, so she went to his friend Sky for advice. Sky claims she sympathized with Jodi because sometimes Travis wasn’t easy to be with. Sky talked to Travis for Jodi, stating he wasn’t treating her fairly and needed to stop playing games with her, and women in general. She said Travis essentially got a kick out of leading women on and then pushing them away when they fell for him. Originally, this conversation didn’t go well, but Sky claimed after a while, she and Travis reconciled and by February 2007 he had officially begun dating Jodi.
At first, they were happy, and Travis was equally infatuated with Jodi, even hoping to marry her one day. He sent the following email to Sky:
“I went from intrigued by her to interested in her to caring about her deeply to realizing how lucky I would be to have her as part of my life forever. She is amazing. It is not hard to see whoever scores Jodi, whether it be me or someone else, is gonna win the wife lotto.”
Travis’s friends felt differently – hardly any of them liked Jodi. They thought she was creepy because she was so possessive, she followed Travis everywhere, if he wasn’t in the room she constantly asked where he was and wondered what he was doing, if he was talking to his friends Jodi would eavesdrop on their conversations. Sky, who once sympathized with Jodi, reached the point where she couldn’t stand her. She and Travis were talking one day about the events at Christmas, and they realized the story didn’t line up with what Sky was telling Travis Jodi said and what Travis said actually happened, so Sky concluded Jodi was the one playing games and trying to manipulate everyone around her to get her way.
To hammer home how much Sky didn’t care for Jodi, one night, Sky and her husband Chris were talking to Travis about Jodi’s weird behaviour and how they were concerned for him when they heard a noise outside, so they opened the door, and Jodi was standing there. Jodi was apparently very angry and asked Sky if she was trying to convince Travis to stop seeing her, Sky said yes and told Jodi to leave and never come back because she wasn’t welcome anymore, and Chris said the look Jodi gave Sky was “full of pure hatred and evil”.
The infatuated, whirlwind part of their relationship was dwindling, and Travis was acting cold. They were only “official” for a few months before they broke up because of how possessive and jealous Jodi was, you know, doing typical stuff like snooping through his things and going through his cell phone. On one of these cell phone snoop sessions, she saw Travis was talking to other women and she was pissed off and broke up with him, which he was apparently relieved about because he had wanted to see other people anyway and claimed to have never taken his relationship with her seriously.
So, like he wanted, Travis began seeing other women to find the real “wife lotto”. He started dating a woman named Lisa but kept talking to Jodi on the side, mainly for phone sex. When Jodi found out that Travis was dating Lisa, she became so jealous that she left Palm Desert and moved to an apartment in Mesa minutes away from Travis’s house and, somehow, she became even more erratic, doing perfectly normal things like stalking him, hiding in the bushes outside his house to take pictures of him, she was sending threatening messages to him and to anyone he talked to, and breaking in through the doggy door to creep around his house, sleep on his couch and steal his journal. The usual. Important to note that none of this was reported to the police.
While she was behaving perfectly normal, Travis was telling his friends that he was afraid of her because she was “crazy” because he knew she was slashing his tires. Apparently one day he found his tires were slashed, when he was talking to Jodi, he told her about it and how his car was at the mechanics getting new tires, so when the tires were replaced, she picked him up to take him to get his car. When they were leaving the parking lot, he headed in the opposite direction of her, so she called him to tell him he was going the wrong way, but he hung up on her. The next day, his tires were slashed again. Despite this, they were still seeing each other and had even kicked their sexual relationship up a notch by having vaginal sex, not just oral and anal sex. A huge Mormon no-no. They were also traveling all over the place together. They went to Niagara Falls, amusement parks, national parks, a hot air balloon festival, you name it. Travis even had a work-related trip to Cancun scheduled for June 10th and invited Jodi as his plus 1.
Despite upping their sex game, spending time together, and making plans for the future, Travis still wasn’t giving in to exclusivity with Jodi and she was tired of being his sidepiece. Jodi knew he was using her for sex, and she was upset about it and really jealous of Lisa, but she was hopeful that if she stayed in his life, he’d change his mind and see they were meant to be together. She thought her time had finally come in February 2008, when Lisa found out that Travis was having sex with Jodi behind her back and broke up with him. To Jodi’s horror, Travis still didn’t want to be with her, and he started dating a woman named Mimi in March. Feeling absolutely rejected and unable to convince Travis to be with her, she moved back to California in April 2008 to live with her grandparents in Yreka, roughly 16 hours away, so Travis let the firm know that he would be bringing Mimi along to Cancun instead, and Travis and Jodi broke up and never spoke again! The end.
No, of course, that’s not the end. Even though they drove each other crazy – Travis being an indecisive womanizer and Jodi an erratic, possessive, weirdo – they still spoke endlessly – phone calls, messages, emails, sending sexually explicit photos, you name it, they were always communicating.
That was, until June 2008, when, in predictable fashion, Jodi displayed her jealousy once again and it was Travis this time who said, “Nope, I’m done with you, get out of my life forever” because she hacked into his Facebook account to read private messages between him and Mimi. Mimi and Travis weren’t a couple very long, but they remained friends and she still planned on going to Cancun with him.
Now, we’ve reached the point in our story where Travis’s friends found him dead and name-dropped Jodi on the 911 call that we heard earlier. They continued to bring her up when they were interviewed by the detective assigned to the case, Detective Esteban Flores.
Naturally, Jodi was interviewed. Flores interviewed her over the phone and was immediately suspicious because she overshared about her “friends with benefits” relationship with Travis and how he used her and cheated on her and shamed her. She was adamant that his former roommate murdered him and that she wasn’t in Mesa that day. She denied knowing anything about the murder and took to hardcore grieving instead. She made an album on her Myspace dedicated to Travis and their relationship together, she attended his memorial service, and she even sent a letter to his grandmother expressing sympathy.
Jodi could act heartbroken and grief-stricken, but no one believed her because A) ex-lover B) her name was mentioned by everyone Flores talked to and c) when they looked into her background, they saw that on May 28, a burglary occurred at the residence of Jodi’s grandparents, which is where she was living, and among the missing objects was a .25 caliber handgun, which was never recovered and a spent shell casing from a .25 caliber bullet was found at the crime scene.
If Jodi was capable of most likely orchestrating this break-in, what else was she capable of? Well, this timeline of events leading up to Travis’s murder is a good indication of what she’s capable of…
Between 1 and 3 am on June 2, Jodi called Travis 4 times but didn’t talk to him – the longest call was 17 seconds. After 3 am, Travis called Jodi twice, the first time for 18 minutes, and the second time for 41 minutes. At 4 am, Jodi called Travis again, and that call lasted less than 3 minutes.
On June 2, Jodi filled up gas cans to store in the trunk of her car. She drove south to Budget Rent-A-Car in Redding, California for a trip to Utah where she was going to meet Ryan Burns, either a co-worker, a lover, or both. She told the rental place she wanted a car that was plain and ordinary and was adamant that it wasn’t red because she heard they’re more likely to get pulled over. Meanwhile, she removed the front license plate and flipped the back one upside down, a sure-fire way to get pulled over. An employee later testified that her hair was blonde when she rented the car. She left the rental place and called Ryan to say she’d see him the following day. After the call, she removed the battery from her phone.
On June 4, Travis missed that important conference call and Jodi’s cell phone was turned back on. She made a call to Ryan saying she’d be there as soon as possible; she had gotten lost and had stopped to sleep. She then called Travis and left jovial messages on his voicemail, in one she asked if he wanted to go with her and her friend to see a Shakespeare play. In another, she talked about how she was lost.
On June 5, Jodi met Ryan Burns in the Salt Lake City suburb of West Jordan and attended business meetings with him. Ryan later said that he noticed that Jodi’s formerly blonde hair was now dark brown and that she had cuts on her hands.
On June 6, Jodi left Salt Lake City and headed back to California. On the road, she called Travis’s phone a few more times and accessed his voicemail.
On June 7, Jodi returned the rental car and she’d put about 2,800 miles (4,500 km) on it. The rental clerk later testified that the car was missing its floor mats and had red stains on its front and rear seats, but it couldn’t be verified that the car had floor mats when Jodi picked it up, and the red stains weren’t analyzed because the car was cleaned before police could examine it.
On June 9, the group of Travis’s friends went to his house and found his body, called 911, and mentioned Jodi as a possible suspect. On top of noticing the large pools of blood in the hallway and bathroom, police found a bloody palm print along the wall in the hallway and a long, dark hair stuck in some blood in the bathroom. They thought it was weird that his bed didn’t have any bedding on it, so they went to check the washing machine. When they opened it, they found the bedding, along with Travis’s digital camera. It was damaged because someone had attempted to destroy it by putting it through a wash cycle, but they were able to recover the photos from the memory card. The photos showed were of Jodi and Travis and were incredibly sexual. They were time-stamped starting at approximately 1:40 p.m. on June 4. The last photo of Travis alive was taken at 5:29 pm the same day and he was in the shower. Photos taken moments later show an individual believed to be Travis bleeding on the bathroom floor. In these photos, Jodi had brown hair, which means between renting the car and getting to Travis’, she dyed her hair. Most likely on June 3 when she was unaccounted for, yet she claimed to have stopped in southern California to visit some friends on her way to Utah.
So. Soon after her phone interview, a DNA test from both the palm print and hair found at the crime scene came back as a match to Jodi. Jodi was indicted by a grand jury in Maricopa County, Arizona on July 9, 2008, for the first-degree murder of Travis Alexander. She was arrested at her grandparent’s home in Yreka on July 15 and taken in for questioning.
While she was waiting to be interrogated, she was singing classics like “O Holy Night” while casually crying, laughing, sleeping, doing yoga and headstands, and digging through the garbage can in the room. When she was finally interrogated, she said, “If I’m guilty, I’d beg for the death penalty”.
In total, she provided 3 different stories about her involvement in Travis’s death. When she was brought in for questioning on July 15, she told police that she had not been in Mesa or anywhere near Travis on the day of the murder and she hadn’t even seen Travis in 4 months. At that point, she didn’t know the detective had the photos recovered from the camera which proved she was there on the day of the murder, but once he dropped that on her, she said she was there, but she didn’t have anything to do with his death. Now the story was 2 intruders had broken into Travis’s home, murdering him, and attacking her. She said she was freaked out and didn’t call or run for help because it was too horrifying and traumatic, plus she was worried about the attackers hurting her family. Detectives didn’t believe her, and she was arrested. Her main concern wasn’t “holy shit this is serious”, it was “putting on her face” for her mugshot. She was extradited to Arizona on September 5, and by September 11 she had pleaded not guilty to the charge of first-degree murder.
The intruder story is what she stuck with for nearly 2 years.
Allegedly, while being held in the Maricopa County Jail, she told her cellmate that her plan was to murder Mimi, the woman he was planning to take to Cancun, but she wasn’t there so she settled on Travis.
In the same jail, Jodi was interviewed by Inside Edition where she stated, “No jury is going to convict me… Because I am innocent. You can mark my words on that. No jury is going to convict me.”
Like I said, she stuck with the story of the intruders being responsible for 2 years. She finally settled on killing Travis in self-defense, probably because no one ever believed the ‘intruder story’. She claimed she had been a victim of domestic violence because Travis was emotionally and physically abusive.
The trial began in Maricopa County Superior Court on December 10, 2012.
For the trial, Jodi drastically changed her appearance – she had already dyed her hair brown from blonde, but she claimed she didn’t dye her hair, it was her natural colour coming through since she didn’t have access to hair dye in jail. Anyway, now she had bangs, wore glasses, stopped wearing make-up, and began dressing in very conservative clothes. And the cherry on top, in classic narcissistic fashion, Jodi chose to defend herself. She was in over her head the entire time. The final straw was when she accused Travis of being a rapist, pedophile and produced “letters written by him” which “proved” the accusations she was making, but they were found to be fraudulent, so she was like yeah okay I need help and her defense counsel was reinstated.
And there’s no better place to end Part 1 than on a note where Jodi looks like a tool. So, be sure to join us next week for part 2! We’ll get further into the trial, hear from key witnesses and psychologists, talk about what Jodi’s doing today, and of course, talk astrology along the way. Thank you everyone for tuning in to Part 1 of this fatal attraction. If you like the show please rate, review, subscribe, follow, you know the drill by now. Be sure to visit our website, darkadaptationpodcast.ca, follow us on Instagram @darkadaptationpodcast, and share the show! Thank you for the support and kind words. Thank you for joining us, Steph, and we’ll catch you on the dark side.