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Opening Statements in Jodi Arias Trial

Aired January 2, 2013 - 19:00   ET


JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST: A stunning start to the Jodi Arias trial. So many secrets spill out during opening statements. And tonight, we`re showing you these never-before-seen pictures shown to jurors as they hear two wildly different versions of the night Travis Alexander was brutally murdered and what caused Jodi Arias to kill him.


VELEZ-MITCHELL (voice-over): Tonight, opening statements in the trial of Jodi Arias. The beautiful photographer is accused of stabbing her boyfriend 29 times and slitting his throat ear to ear after an afternoon of sex that was caught on camera.

Did she also accidentally take photos of the murder itself? What secrets does this camera hold? And did Jodi Arias build a brazen web of lies to throw police off her trail?

We`ve got reporters and producers inside the courtroom as well as one of victim Travis Alexander`s close friends joining me live tonight.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did you -- I have to ask you this, did you kill Travis Alexander?

JODI ARIAS, ON TRIAL FOR MURDER: Absolutely not. No, I had no part in it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You see her manipulating him, trying to drag him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Jodi Arias goes on trial today in Arizona for killing her ex-boyfriend.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Travis had been shot in the face and stabbed. His throat was slit from ear to ear.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (via phone): Hi, what`s going on?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (via phone): He`s -- he`s dead.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She says the killing was in self-defense.

ARIAS: There was a point in time where we were in love, but it was short-lived.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (via phone): Has he been threatened by anyone recently?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (via phone): Yes, he has. He has this sick ex- girlfriend that`s been bothering him. Her name is Jodi.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, secrets, sex, and a murder literally caught on camera, all exposed in open court on the very first day of the Jodi Arias trial.

The beautiful 32-year-old sobbed as the prosecutor accused her of stabbing her ex-boyfriend 29 times, slitting Travis Alexander`s throat from ear to ear and shooting him in the face. Will accidental photos of the killing itself be the smoking gun?

Good evening. I`m Jane Velez-Mitchell coming to you live tonight.

Jodi Arias drove the 1,000 miles from her home in Yreka, California, to Travis` House in Mesa, Arizona, where the couple spent the afternoon having sex and taking naked photos of each other. The prosecution says the same camera that took those explicit photos later caught images of Travis` murder. Listen to this.


JUAN MARTINEZ, PROSECUTOR: And you do see the killer in this one. You see this individual here. You see her foot. Not only do you see her foot, but you see Mr. Alexander`s head. You see his arm; you see him bleeding profusely. You see the area of the sink down here. And you know what else you see? You see her manipulating him, trying to drag him or move him.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: The prosecution laid out the crime for the jury in dramatic detail, portraying Jodi as a heartless killer of a good and honest man. Listen to this.


MARTINEZ: She rewarded that love from Travis Caphor (ph) Alexander by sticking a knife in his chest. And you know he was a good man, according to her. And with regard to being a good man, well, she slit his throat as a reward for being a good man. And in terms of these blessings, well, she knocked the blessings out of him by putting a bullet in his head.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: But the defense gave an entirely different story, claiming Travis lived a double life, acting like a virginal Mormon while privately engaging in steamy, kinky sex with Jodi, who the defense called Travis` dirty little secret.


JENNIFER WILLMOTT, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Jodi Arias killed Travis Alexander. There is no question about it. The million-dollar question is what would have forced her to do it?

But in reality, Jodi was Travis` dirty little secret. From the moment, despite projecting himself as a good and virginal Mormon man, someone who was a temple member. From the moment he met Jodi, he was pushy and pushing her to have a sexual relationship with him.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Jodi cries during the whole thing. Will this blame- and-smear-the-victim strategy backfire? What do you think? Call me: 1- 877-JVM-SAYS. That`s 1-877-586-7297.

Straight out to our senior producer, Selin Darkalstanian, who was inside the courtroom during these astounding opening statements. Selin, take us inside. Who was there? Tell us about some of the photos we didn`t see, which were very graphic. Describe what you can and what was the reaction.

SELIN DARKALSTANIAN, HLN PRODUCER: It was a very, very dramatic day in the courtroom because all of Travis Alexander`s family was there present; his three sisters, brother, and a lot of other relatives were there. And they were reliving this nightmare of losing their brother.

So first they started off describing how not only was he stabbed 29 times and his throat was slit from ear to ear. But then, as if that wasn`t enough and he was struggling for his life, he was also shot in the head. And you could tell his sisters were all visibly very upset. They were crying. They had their head down in their laps. They were sobbing out loud in court.

At one point, a few jurors looked at them because they were crying and they were so upset at all these details that were coming out.

And then they started showing some of the photos which, again, was very, very upsetting to the family. They were very, very upset. At one point his sister, Tanisha, put her head in her husband`s chest and just was crying and she was shaking her head no as they were painting her brother as a guy who was abusing his girlfriend, who lost his temper, who hit Jodi Arias, who was -- you know, as they were painting that picture, she was just shaking her head no and crying. So it was a very, very dramatic day in the courtroom.

You have to understand, these people have lost a family member. And now they`re seeing very, very graphic, graphic photos of their brother in the shower, hunched over with stab wounds. There`s blood. I mean, these are some very graphic photos that the family had to see today in court.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. Do you see here Jodi Arias turn on the waterworks, crying, sobbing through the opening statements, through the first witness, second witness? And we`re going to talk about whether this is a performance for the jurors or not.

The defense, very astounding opening statement, telling the jury that Travis, while pretending to the world that he was a virgin as part of his Mormon faith, allegedly -- remember, he`s not here to defend himself -- allegedly manipulated Jodi into having sex with him.

We`ve got to warn you: the way the defense attorney in her opening statement describes Jodi and Travis`s alleged interactions, it`s very graphic and very sexually explicit. But this is what happened in open court today. So listen.


WILLMOTT: As Travis would explain to Jodi, oral sex really isn`t as much of a sin for him as vaginal sex. And so he was able to convince her to give him oral sex. And later in their relationship, Travis would tell her that anal sex really isn`t much of a sin compared to vaginal sex. And so he was able to persuade her to allow him to have anal sex with her.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: And again, supporters of Travis Alexander, the victim, who is not here to defend himself, visibly outraged and upset by this defense strategy of trying to paint the victim, Travis Alexander, as some type of sexual abuser. They cried and shook their heads.

Beth Karas, correspondent "In Session," you were there. You were in the courtroom. First of all, what does this sexual activity have to do with the murder trial? As she`s claiming justifiable self-defense, but so what? If he wants to have sex with her even if it`s true, this way or that way, what does it have to do with her stabbing him 29 times and shooting him in the face?

BETH KARAS, TRUTV`S "IN SESSION": Well, they engaged in sexual activity that afternoon just hours before the killing. The defense doesn`t tend to put on an expert in domestic violence, who will presumably talk about Jodi Arias, the victim, who was constantly berated by Travis Alexander, says the defense.

She was his dirty little secret. He led a double life. That is -- that`s a fact, OK. That`s not in dispute. He did portray himself as an upstanding member of the Mormon faith who was not engaging in premarital sex. It is a fact that he had quite a sexual relationship. He did lead a double life. So -- at least with Jodi Arias. And he, you know, made her feel like that -- what she was basically, you know, somebody to have sex with.

So it`s very relevant to establish her state of mind and how he went into a rage when she dropped his new camera. And that`s when she stepped on it, they say, and it took the photo of the ceiling. And then there were a few more accidental photos of him in the course of the killing. That`s according to the state.

So it`s to explain the relationship, who he was, and her state of mind at the time.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, less than 30 minutes into opening statements, Jodi Arias turns on the waterworks and starts crying as the prosecution describes in vivid detail this very, very bloody murder. Listen to this.


MARTINEZ: When he ended up there, that`s when his throat was slit. And he was still alive.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. She continues to sob through the opening statements, through witness testimony. It was virtually nonstop sobbing.

So I want to go to Shanna Hogan, journalist and true-crime author, because you`ve studied this woman. You`re writing a book on her. Could this be effective, causing jurors to feel sorry for her? Could it backfire? And perhaps what jurors don`t know is she has a history of very flamboyant behavior, engaging in a singing contest behind bars, doing various interviews, putting on make-up, that kind of thing. Could this be perceived as acting or for real -- Shanna.

SHANNA HOGAN, JOURNALIST/TRUE-CRIME AUTHOR (via phone): It is really tough. Because I actually think that a lot of the defense strategy was to point her out as such a beautiful, young, demure young woman.

They talked about how articulate she was. They talked about how she`s a talented photographer. They showed glamorous photos of her. And I thought that that was a little manipulative.

But I do in the end, once they point the -- paint the picture of who the victim was, I think it will backfire against her, because she wasn`t innocent in this. And it`s pretty clear that, you know, whatever their sexual relationship was, that doesn`t justify stabbing someone 29 times, taking their life.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, exactly. I mean, if you are justified in killing somebody because they manipulate you sexually, as opposed to rape. That`s a totally different thing. But if you engage in a consensual relationship as an adult woman with somebody who is treating you badly, even if that`s true, is that a legal justification for killing them? I would think not.

More on the other side. We`re just getting started. We`re taking your calls.


ARIAS: Yes, as much as Travis and I told ourselves and everyone that we were just friends, our behavior was not as clandestine as we tried to make it.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Towards the end of their relationship after they`d kind of broken up and he had put some distance between them, it really was an obsession type of a thing. And the way he described it is that she was really stalking him.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: The defense has painted Travis Alexander, the victim in this case, as a person who was living a secret double life. This was an extraordinary opening statement by the defense, essentially trying to blame the victim. And we`ve got to warn you: some of the defense claims you`re about to hear are very sexually graphic, but this is what happened in open court just a couple of hours ago.


WILLMOTT: While he was supposed to be this virginal Mormon man who didn`t want to have any type of relationship with Jodi and she just wouldn`t leave him alone, in this phone call, he talks about his fantasies. His fantasies with Jodi of tying her to a tree and putting it -- forgive me -- in her (EXPLETIVE DELETED) all the way. That`s Travis.

And then, when Jodi pretends to climax during this phone call, Travis tells her that she sounds like a 12-year-old girl who was having an orgasm for the first time. And then he tells her, "It`s so hot."


VELEZ-MITCHELL: And we certainly don`t really know what happened. Because, again, the victim is not here to defend himself. The defense attorney claimed that that is all on an audiotape that is going to be played for the jury.

But I want to bring in a good friend of the victim, Travis Alexander. Taylor Searle, I want to ask you for joining us tonight from Phoenix, Arizona, where this trial is occurring, in that very area.

You know, even if he was having premarital sex behind closed doors, there is a huge difference between doing something illegal and doing something that may be against the confines of your religion. What is your reaction to this blame-and-smear-the-victim strategy by the defense?

TAYLOR SEARLE, FRIEND OF VICTIM: I think it`s the only defense that they can have. Somehow saying Travis had this coming to him because the things that he preached to his friends and the things that he tried to inspire others to become was somehow a facade, and he was really some sex- crazed maniac. And it was Jodi`s duty to rid the world of him. I don`t know how there`s any other defense besides that, even though that`s ridiculous.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You knew Travis Alexander well. Was he the kind of guy who led a double life? Essentially, that`s what they`re accusing him of. And I want to give you an opportunity, as a friend of his, to set the record straight, given that he cannot speak for himself anymore.

SEARLE: I think calling it a double life is a little simplistic. I would say that he had ideals he wanted to live up to, and he had standards that he truly believed in. And he was a natural man with natural tendencies.

And the fact that he had these relationships with women doesn`t mean that he was lying when he said what his ideals were. He had no reason behind closed doors and in the confidence of his friends to lie about what he believed in. I mean, there`s no reason that I would call it a double life, because he has ideals and because he struggles in trying to uphold them.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Of course. Who doesn`t? Who lives the perfect life? Who lives up to their own ideals? I certainly don`t. I don`t know really anybody who does. We are all conflicted.

Now, what I want to ask you, Taylor, is that the defense tried to also diffuse this notion that she was stalking him, essentially arguing that, while he was telling his friends, "Oh, she`s stalking me," he was privately continuing a relationship with her where he was sort of the aggressor. Your thoughts on that?

SEARLE: My thoughts are, if that was the case -- let`s take their word for it on that. Is that the reason she drove from California and took a knife and a gun upstairs and shot and stabbed him?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Right. I`m just presenting what the defense is saying. I`m certainly not arguing the defense. I`m actually trying to give you the opportunity.

SEARLE: Yes, of course.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. And I want to bring in Jordan Rose. You`re an attorney also located in the Phoenix, Arizona, area.

Listen, she`s arguing self-defense. What is the criteria for self- defense? Because as we mentioned before, if every woman or any individual who`s had a bad sexual relationship with somebody feels that that`s a justification for slitting their throat, we`d have a lot -- even more violence in this country than we already do.

What criteria do they have to meet? And did the defense attorney kind of drop the ball by kind of being very general? I mean, the defense attorney never specifically stated why she would purportedly need to stab him 29 times and then shoot him in the face.

JORDAN ROSE, ATTORNEY (via phone): Yes, right. You know, in Arizona, in order to prove self-defense, she has to prove that she was in imminent threat of danger and that she used the same level of force as he used to defend herself from him.

And stabbing him 29 times before she then shot him, it`s insane to believe that the defense did any favors to their client in proving self- defense, which is what they have to do in order -- in order for her to somehow get off of this charge.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, what struck me was that the defense opening statement was very vague in general. It talked a lot about sex, but very little about the actual crime when they are having whatever tumult occurred as he was being murdered. And so the defense kind of just ends right before the crimes begins and says it was her or him, leave it at that.

So they didn`t even get into the details of the 29 stab wounds and the gunshot to the face, the slitting the throat ear to ear. How can you justify that?

On the other side, we`re taking your calls.


ARIAS: I witnessed Travis being attacked by two other individuals.


ARIAS: I don`t know who they were. I couldn`t pick them out in a police lineup.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So what happened?

ARIAS: They came into his home and attacked us both.




MARTINEZ: As he sat there, she took the knife and began to stab him when he was in that defenseless sitting position and began -- stuck the knife in his chest. He struggled. The slitting ear to ear took place. And by the time she was dragging him down, pulling him down towards this area right here, he didn`t need that shot to the head. But, she had a gun somewhere. She put that bullet right in his temple.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: That was a prosecutor laying out this very, very violent killing of motivational speaker and insurance salesman Travis Alexander by his ex-girlfriend, Jodi Arias, who has admitted, finally, admitted that she killed him. We`re going to get to her other wild stories she told first in a moment.

But first out to the phone lines. Greg, California, your question or thought -- Greg.

CALLER: Hi, Jane.


CALLER: Happy new year, and I just want to say thank you for taking my call and God bless you. I hope your show has better ratings than last year.

Just want to know, when she was in jail, Jane, did she have a lawyer? Because all these interviews -- I`ve seen three different shows she had interviews in pinstripes and doing interviews on TV shows. Was she represented by a lawyer? Or is she just that crazy? Because all her stories are different. She already hung herself. I just want to know.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, yes, and thank you for that. And happy new year to you, as well.

Beth Karas, Jodi has told three wildly different stories. As more evidence mounted, she would change her story. Give us the 411 on that.

KARAS: Well, first of all, to answer the question, she did have lawyers. But because he was incarcerated, she was agreeing to do interviews, and I don`t know that her lawyers knew about these interviews.

She has a new set of lawyers now. She`s not giving any interviews. I had one scheduled with her. She said yes. I flew out here with a crew. And her lawyers found out about it just before I did the interview, and they showed up and put a stop to it. So she was represented, but she was able to do it, perhaps, without her lawyers` knowledge, at least the early set of lawyers.

And regarding her stories, initially, she absolutely denied it. That was July 15, 2008, the day she was arrested. And then she said she hadn`t seen him for four months. And then she thought about it overnight, because the police knew -- they had evidence by then, right? I mean, they found him June 9, and they talked to her July 15th and arrested her. They had their probable cause. They had blood evidence. They had fingerprint evidence. They had stuff by then. They had the camera, the deleted photos they restored. They saw she was with him just hours before the killing.

So then overnight she says, "Well, actually, I change my story. I was there, but it was two intruders who came in, and I was threatened that if I said what happened to him, they would come after me. They saw my license on -- they saw my address on my license. So I left and I didn`t tell anyone." And only more recently did she say it was self-defense.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And now we`re hearing the nitty-gritty details of her self-defense strategy, which is a blame-the-victim strategy. More on the other side.


MARTINEZ: Now, it`s not that she wasn`t there. Now, it`s not that it`s two people, whatever variation she may have provided to these national shows. Now, she admits it was her. She is the person who actually did this.




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Jodi Arias killed Travis Alexander. There is no question about it. The million dollar question is what would have forced her to do it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You mark her words, her words that no jury will convict her even though she has admitted that she`s the person that did this.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In just those two minutes, Jodi had to make a choice. She would either live or she would die.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There were three ways that he was killed.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Jodi did not always tell the truth about what happened that night.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And she says, you know, it really wasn`t me.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In reality, Jodi was Travis` dirty little secret.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: The defendant, the 32-year-old defendant in this high-profile case, Jodi Arias sobbing as you can see during opening statements -- this, the first day of this very, very high-profile case.

And the family of the victim being Travis Alexander who is not here to speak for himself; there, the family sobbing and crying, filled, though, with anger over the defense`s strategy of blaming this man who is not here to say what really happened, essentially arguing that he sexually and psychologically and emotionally manipulated Jodi Arias who has now admitted yes she did kill him. Stabbing him 29 times, slitting his throat and shooting him in the face; she`s claiming it was self-defense.

Now, it would seem to be one of the first cases. This could be a history from a criminal justice perspective where the murder is caught on camera, not on a surveillance camera, but on camera inside a private home. Listen to this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And this is, if you will, a photograph of movement. The photograph is a picture of the lights above the shower, and it`s nothing more than movement. That`s when the attack is happening. You see this individual here, you see her foot. Not only do you see her foot, but you see Mr. Alexander`s hands, you see his arm, you see him bleeding profusely. And you know what else you see? You see her manipulating him, trying to drag him or move him.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Prosecutors called the photos of the actual killing accidental. Saying the killer did not want the pictures to be taken, but they were taken accidentally when she dropped the camera, when she stepped on the camera. And prosecutors said, you just heard him, you could see Jodi in some of those photos and a bleeding victim, Travis Alexander.

Shanna Hogan, journalist, true crime author; you`ve been in the courtroom, you`re writing a book about this case. Is this some kind of first? Could cops get any better proof than seeing the two of them on camera and he`s bleeding to death?

SHANNA HOGAN, JOURNALIST/TRUE CRIME AUTHOR: No, this kind of proof is like unprecedented. I mean to have -- to be able to narrow down a time of death to the second is just unbelievable in a crime case. And so this is really, I think it could be a first for sure.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, absolutely.

Let`s go out to the phone lines. I believe we have Christine, North Carolina, Christine, your question or thought.

CHRISTINE, NORTH CAROLINA (via telephone): Hey, Jane, I just want to tell you I love you and your show and your mother.


CHRISTINE: And I just want to let you know, I`m having a real problem with her tears, first of all. I don`t buy it. Because I`ve seen too much of her being, you know, out there in public and smiling and, you know, she`s been laughing through the whole thing.

And now bad-mouthing this man is wrong because he`s not there to defend himself. If she was involved in this sexual activity, then she took part. If she didn`t like it, she could`ve got out.


CHRISTINE: You know, I was raped by multiple men, I didn`t go out killing people. I didn`t get justice for anything, but, you know, I didn`t go out killing people and murdering because of this kind of stuff. This isn`t self-defense to me. It`s overkill.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, first of all, I want to say thank you for sharing your story, Christine, North Carolina, and I`m so sorry that you went through that. But kudos for having your evolved attitude toward what trauma you experienced.

Jordan Rose, attorney, you`re out of Phoenix, Arizona. I think everybody keeps honing on the fact you could say what you want about the victim`s sex life and his sex life might not have been perfect according to his religious traditions, but who cares? Why is that relevant to this criminal case?

JORDAN ROSE, ATTORNEY (via telephone): Right, it`s just not. Her staged waterworks, she`s a bad actress. She looks like -- her mug shots look like submissions for "America`s Next Top Model", and you know, Miss -- smug shots. They have testimony about her climbing through the doggy door, hacking bank accounts, attending the funeral of the person that you just killed.

Maybe if she spent as much time with her psychiatrist as her hairdresser or her stylist, things would`ve worked out better for her and her victim.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I think the biggest problem that Jodi Arias faces aside from the fact that, according to prosecutors, the murder is actually caught on tape and she`s in the photos, Jodi has lied repeatedly. She`s told three wildly different stories as we`ve been discussing of what happened the day Travis died. Changing her story every time cops confronted her with more evidence -- listen.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did you -- I have to ask you this, did you kill Travis Alexander?

JODI ARIAS, ON TRIAL FOR MURDER OF TRAVIS ALEXANDER: Absolutely not. No, I had no part in it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So you had nothing to do with Travis Alexander`s death?

ARIAS: Nothing to do with it.

I witnessed Travis being attacked by two other individuals.


ARIAS: I don`t know who they were.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Jodi Arias changed her story yet again. She acted in self-defense.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Jodi, were you ever afraid of Travis?

ARIAS: I`ll pass on that question.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: And my understanding is that those three stories will be allowed in. In other words, jurors will hear that she lied and changed her story. And they even played some of the tape of her changing her story at the prosecution opening statement.

Shanna Hogan -- again, journalist/true crime author -- you`re writing a book on this case. I hear that you were actually contacted by the defendant Jodi Arias. Tell us about that.

HOGAN: Well, I received a contact from her through a prison pen pal that seems to be taken about her and started writing her. And she asked to have my first book. And that was sent to prison. And she had sent him a message that I was sitting on the wrong side of the courtroom if I ever wanted to interview her because I was sitting behind the prosecution at one point. I actually haven`t talked to her just like everyone else in the media. I`ve tried to talk to her and she shut me down.

The only people who talk to her talked to her in 2008 and 2009 before her attorneys got to her and said, you know what; if you ever want to get off on this, you need to stop talking. So that`s what she did.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, she communicated with you in essence. And my understanding is she said you want to get my side of the story, you want to do an interview with me, you better sit on my side. Was that the words that -- that was essence of the communication?

HOGAN: Yes, I guess. I mean the journalists just usually sit whatever side`s open and a lot of times you sit behind the prosecution, but she seemed to want some sort of support on her side. And today, the first three rows of Travis` side were full of his friends and family; her side she had maybe two or three people and the rest of it was just the public and media. So I think she wants support. It`s important to her to seem to want to be supported and some people to be on her side literally and physically.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: It`s interesting. At one point she wanted to defend herself. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing. And it seems that her little knowledge is giving her ideas that may actually ultimately backfire.

On the other side of the break, why her defense attorney says a T- shirt with the victim`s name on it is some kind of kinky sex game. We`ll get to it in a second.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Travis` temper flared and he took the CD and threw it up against the wall in the den. Jodi went immediately into protective mode. Protective mode means that she`s trying to calm him down, trying to do something to avoid his temper, telling him that "It`s ok, I`ll fix it. Don`t worry about it."

And as she was telling him, she knew that the one thing that calms his temper the quickest is sex. So as she`s telling him "it`s ok, I`ll fix it, don`t worry," Travis grabbed her and spun her around. Afraid that he was going to hurt her, Jodi was actually relief relieved when all he did was bend her over the desk.



VELEZ-MITCHELL: Extraordinary, opening statements today. And both the prosecution and the defense spent a lot of time talking about sex. We`re going to tell you exactly what they said on the other side of the break. And why it may have been a prosecution strategy to try to get the sex out of the way right from the start. You`ll see in a second.





VELEZ-MITCHELL: Jodi`s defense team seemed to be portraying Jodi in their opening statements today Jodi as a victim of Travis` psychological and emotional abuse, implying Travis demeaned her and turned her into a submissive sexual object. Listen to this from the defense opening statement.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Now, the best evidence of Travis` manipulation of Jodi is his insistence to others that Jodi stalked him. But it was always at his demand and his beckoning that Jodi spent time with him. In fact, at one point during their relationship, Travis even had a T-shirt made, a T-shirt made proclaiming his ownership of Jodi.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ok. So there`s a T-shirt that Jodi Arias the defendant is wearing with the victim`s name on it -- "Travis Alexander". I want to go to Taylor Searle, close friend of the victim, Travis Alexander, on this. They`re taking this photo that could be completely innocent and they`re weaving and they`re creating a story that somehow this is a sign that Travis owned Jodi and that they had some kind of a sexually demeaning game that they were playing.

You know, how can you -- anybody could make that up -- there could be other explanations for why Travis Alexander had a T-shirt with his name on it.

TAYLOR SEARLE, FRIEND OF TRAVIS ALEXANDER: Well, I mean -- if he was so good at manipulating, maybe that makes sense that she kept lying after he was gone. And she was so afraid of him even though he was dead that she had to keep lying -- I mean, it`s ridiculous. We make shirts all the time. He might have given ten of those shirts out. That was his personality, to be fun and any girl he saw just flirt with them.

And I see nothing -- I mean I read nothing into the fact that she had a T-shirt on for some picture.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Jordan Rose, attorney out of phoenix, Arizona, it`s like me as a journalist taking a picture of a street with a bunch of lights off because it`s 3:00 in the morning and saying there was a blackout. And the lights were turned off because there`s no energy or electricity anywhere.

I mean you can take anything. And if you paint a picture around it, create a totally different conclusion and take something that might be totally innocent and make it seem sinister.

ROSE: Oh, sure. I think we saw the image of the day. And I don`t mean the photo of Ms. Smug Shot`s private parts, but rather that fairly powerful photo of her wearing the T-shirt. The image just speaks louder than any expert. And if the defense was going to put something on to suggest that Travis had some undue control of her every action and her every mental state, I still think, you know, putting the raunchy pictures out there was crazy. But I guess you get that out there, the horrific factor out there because seeing those depraved photos in the opening might explain things away.

And I guess they figured they had to come out, so let`s get the jury used to those awful photos by now by showing the worst of them day one. But that T-shirt -- yes, it could be explained so many different ways.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Lisa -- and she`s smiling, by the way. She`s smiling. She doesn`t look like she`s being traumatized there. She`s got a big smile on her face.

Lisa, Wisconsin, your question or thought, Lisa, Wisconsin.

LISA, WISCONSIN (via telephone): Actually, Jane, I was curious if she had been -- if Jodi was checked for like mental illness or any drug abuse; seeing as though her stories had changed so many times.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, excellent question. Shanna Hogan, You`ve been covering this case and the trial, obviously usually they do psychiatric evaluations before a case like this. What do you know?

HOGAN: From what I know, she had no history of mental disorders, no drug abuse. But I mean clearly she`s kind of crazy to have done what she`s done. But not in a way that defense -- is a defense of murder. You know, but she had a very normal background. There`s nothing in her history. She doesn`t have a criminal record.

She was with a guy before she was with Travis for four years. They owned a house together. You know, she had normal jobs and was able to carry on a normal life. That does not make her criminally crazy. But she does, you know, seem to be kind of crazy to do what she did.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: More on the other side.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Throughout this trial, you will learn more about Jodi Arias -- much more about Jodi. You will find that she is an articulate, bright young woman who is a very talented artist and photographer.

But most of all, what you`ll learn is that Jodi loved Travis. And so what would have forced her to have to take Travis` life on that awful day? In order to answer that question, we have to go back to the beginning. Back to before -- just before she and Travis first met.



VELEZ-MITCHELL: A fascinating aspect of this case -- about a week before Travis Alexander was killed Jodi Arias allegedly stages a break in at her house in California. And she tells the cops, oh, my grandfather`s gun was stolen. No gun was ever recovered in Travis` murder.



ARIAS: And as much as Travis and I told ourselves and everyone that we were just friends, I think that our behavior was not as (inaudible) as we tried to make it.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: We know Jodi Arias likes to talk. Well, guess what, the day after Travis Alexander`s body was found, detectives get a call from -- guess who -- Jodi Arias herself saying she wants to help in the investigation. It`s unbelievable. Here is the prosecutor explaining what Jodi told the cops.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The other thing that she says is that, well, you may want to start looking. She gives him a lead. "You may want to start looking at one of his roommates, a guy by the last name of Brown, Thomas Brown. That`s who you really need to look at. Because you know, if you`re really looking for people that`s the person who you may want to look at because I wasn`t there."


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Talk about brazen. She has now admitted that, yes, she killed Travis Alexander claiming self-defense but she -- the day after his body is discovered she`s calling cops saying "Hey, look at the roommate. I think he did it." Wow. Does that show a sinister quality that could be an aggravating factor that could get her the death penalty? Jordan Rose, attorney out of Phoenix, what do you think?

ROSE: The state wants her dead. They want her to be the fourth woman on death row in Arizona. They need to show premeditation. They need to show an aggravating factor.

They showed in their opening, they talked about how she reported a gun stolen from her house a few weeks prior to the murder. She showed up at the house with a gun. She showed up with a knife. She cleans the linens, she had e-mails knowing about this trip to Mexico with another girl that apparently set her off, and she rented a car outside of her city.

She absolutely shows premeditation. There will be an aggravating circumstance here, and they`re going for it all. They`re going for the death penalty. And unless she testifies and charms the heck out of the jury -- and I don`t know how that is possible -- but that`s her only, only saving grace.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, Shanna Hogan, you have covered her from the beginning, and she does have a reputation as a charmer. And even Travis` friends when interviewed said they were very suspicious of her but yet they would be charmed by her and invite her out again and again even though they were sort of repulsed by her.

HOGAN: She was quite charming. She has this way about her to kind of suck people in. Even the other boyfriend, Ryan Burns, that she started dating after. You know, he believed up until the end that she was innocent, up until the photos came out, you know, after she got arrested he was still defending her. So she does have some sort of spell over people. Let`s hope it`s not a spell that she has over the jury.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Jamie, Utah, your question or thought? Jamie?

JAMIE, UTAH (via telephone): Hi. Being from Utah there`s obviously a huge LDS presence here and when I very first heard the story about Jodi and hearing that she converted to Mormon church fairly quickly, I very first thought that it`s possible that she felt manipulated and felt like there was turmoil and conflict inside. And I don`t want to say that she is justified in killing him because she is absolutely not.

But I can see maybe where it did cause some instability that, you know, she was an otherwise responsible person -- well-put together person prior to this relationship. And my reason for saying that is because here what I`ve experienced is that the, I guess, confines of the church and the rules and the guidelines that the people live by -- I`m not LDS, by the way -- that it causes so much turmoil and conflict in themselves that in relationships, dating, what I`ve gotten is the guy saying, I love you. You know, this is what I want. This is ok. You`re a good person, and then the next minute feeling regret. Making you feel like you are evil.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Jamie, we have to break, but I just want to say, Jamie from Utah, you`re raising an important point. And we`re going to discuss the Mormon connection right after this quick break.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In just those two minutes Jodi had to make a choice. She would either live or she would die.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Such outstanding opening statements today. And I want to go back to our producer Selin Darkalstanian. This whole issue of Mormonism and why Jodi converted was a key in the opening statements. Tell us.

SELIN DARKALSTANIAN, HLN PRODUCER (via telephone): Well, you can tell by where the defense is going today`s first witness on the stand that they`re going to go very deep into Mormonism and the sins that Travis Alexander, you know, committed by having sex before marriage. And they kind of opened the door to it a little bit today but you can tell that they`re going to go down that path a lot more through the trial.

So we`re going to see what happens as the trial progresses. You can be sure that that`s going to be a huge emphasis for them.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Absolutely and essentially the defense is arguing she didn`t convert as much as they converted her.

We`re all over this case. It`s fascinating. We`re just getting started. Join us every night as we bring you the very latest as this trial progresses with witness after witness to justice.

Nancy next.