Jody Arias is accused (and has admitted) killing her former boyfriend, Travis Alexander in Mesa, Arizona, a heavily Mormon enclave.
It is a brutal crime, which I will not go into in any detail, but involved obsession, stalking and sex. A lot of it. Which makes the Mormon connection that much more bizarre.
Travis Alexander grew up in Riverside, California with four sisters and three brothers. They has a very bad childhood. Their parents were drug addicts and passed away. They went to live with their grandmother in Mesa and she introduced them to the LDS Church. Travis went on to serve a mission in Denver 1996-1998. From all appearances, he was an observant church member.
He went to work as a salesperson for Preferred Legal Services and as a motivational speaker. He met Jody Arias at a Prepaid Legal Services conference, located in Las Vegas, Nevada in September of 2006.
In November of 2006, she was baptized into the LDS Church. She then moved to Mesa and Travis and she were now a couple. However, unbeknownst to everyone, Travis and Jody initiated a very intense sexual relationship including, as Jody has alleged during her trial, the day of her Baptism.
They broke up in June of 2007, but it appeared to still have had a sexual relationship in spite of the fact that she moved back to Northern California. Travis was killed on June 4, 2008. He was found a few days later after not be reached. The murder scene was quite gruesome.
Arias gave three very different accounts of her own whereabouts during the period when the murder was committed, but eventually was placed in Mesa at that time. She was arrested and her trial began January 2, 2013.
If you have watched any portion of the trial you would have heard about Family Home Evening, which Arias calls “FHE.” You would have heard about Mormon prohibition against pre-marital sex and you would have discovered that Arias doesn’t even know that much about the Church even though she attend services and Family Home Evening in her Singles Ward quite regularly.
As I stated above, she has admitting killing Travis but is claiming self-defense saying she was a battered woman and he was very violent toward her. It runs contrary to what his friends and family have testified to but, using the premarital sex angle, she claims no one else knew about his violent side but her.
The trial is expected to wrap up in the next two weeks or less. She is charged with first degree murder and could get the death penalty if convicted.
Have you heard about this Mormon moment? Not such a good one.