Disturbing Things Jodi Arias Has Said While Behind Bars

The June 2008 murder of Arizona motivational speaker Travis Alexander — who was found dead in his shower with 27 stab wounds, his throat slit, and a gunshot wound to the head — was one of the most disturbing and headline-grabbing crimes of the decade. In court, it was confirmed that Alexander had been killed by his on-again, off-again girlfriend Jodi Arias, who had also taken photographs of Alexander's murder scene using a camera that investigators found at the scene. Arias changed her story multiple times but was convicted of first-degree murder, and though she avoided the death penalty she was sentenced to life imprisonment without possibility of parole.

The case shocked America. But to many of Alexander's friends, who warned him that he was at risk, there was a tragic air of inevitability about how events unfolded. Some had reportedly observed Arias' behavior around Alexander and concluded that their relationship was toxic and had the potential to spill over into violence and abuse, with Arias displaying stalking tendencies toward Alexander. Indeed, during the course of the trial details emerged of her strange behavior, including doing headstands and singing while in police custody, and odd responses to questions from the media, like branding one interviewer a "hater" (via YouTube).

Arias has been behind bars in several institutions since the start of her trial in 2013, but since then details of her life in prison have emerged through various sources, including her former cellmates. Through them have emerged yet more disturbing things the convinced murderer has said over the years.

A new confession

Despite her notoriety and the stomach-turning nature of her crimes, it appears that Jodi Arias has had no trouble attracting friends and allies behind bars. One of these was a fellow prisoner named Tracy Brown, who was locked up with Arias in county jail. In an interview with "Inside Edition," Brown discussed her close friendship with the infamous killer, who gave Brown and other prisoners numerous illicit tattoos using pencil lead, one of which bears Jodi's name.

Brown reveals that Arias was prone to flirt with prison guards to get what she wanted, such as their overlooking the presence of tattooing equipment. Shockingly, Tracy, who has since been released, also told "Inside Edition" that Arias once confessed that she had indeed planned to murder someone the day that Travis Alexander lost his life. However, she says that Arias planned to kill another woman she believed Alexander was also in a sexual relationship with. Brown claims that Arias was crying and on her knees during the confession, which hasn't officially been confirmed or discussed in court.

Continued claims of domestic violence

Toward the end of the Jodi Arias murder trial, her defense largely rested on her claims that Travis Alexander had been abusive during their relationship. Arias argued that on the day of Alexander's murder he had become aggressive toward her, after which she shot him out of self-preservation. Arias' story was largely dismissed by the judge and jury and has received little traction in the mainstream media, who instead characterized her as a calculating killer and compulsive liar. Tracy Brown told "Inside Edition" that her former cellmate is a "sociopath" who manipulates the people around her, including prison officers. "She will use you to get what she wants, and when she's done with you she will throw you away," Brown added.

But others now see Arias as a victim herself. The killer made headlines during her trial when it was revealed that she was raising money for domestic violence victims by selling T-shirts bearing the slogan "survivor." And behind bars Arias has continued to portray herself as a victim of domestic violence at the hands of Alexander, and she has attracted a number of allies and supporters. The tabloid Radar Online reported that rapper Kareem "Lefty" Williams has visited Arias multiple times at Perryville Prison in Arizona. Calling her his "little sister," Williams allegedly insisted that Arias is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), as a result of her relationship with Alexander. "Jodi is not the monster everybody thinks she is," he said. 

She still wants to appeal

Kareem "Lefty" Williams released a song in support of Jodi Arias, simply called "Jodi Ann Arias," which gained some attention despite having fewer than 5,000 views on YouTube at the time of writing. Speaking to the tabloid Radar Online, Williams allegedly recalled a visit he made to Arias where he spoke to her via telephone through a pane of glass, telling her that he thought the song made them the two most hated people on the internet. Arias reportedly responded: "It's all good. If this is what it is like to be hated, then keep hating! I've had so much love coming in my direction I can't even respond to it now."

Williams is far from being Arias' only supporter. The "love" she claims comes in the form of letters, and he said the convicted killer receives up to 70 a day, though he previously claimed that Arias has no friends behind bars. Since being jailed, Arias has focused on visual art and even has a website in her own name selling pieces, including a self-portrait in a prison yard. She continues to plan an appeal against her conviction — a previous attempt to have her conviction overturned failed in 2020 — and has a crowdfunding website, justice4jodi.com, to help her case.

Marriage, visitation, and pregnancy

Jodi Arias was back on the front page of gossip magazines in 2016, when details leaked that the woman who is serving a life prison sentence for the murder of her lover had reportedly entered into another relationship while behind bars. According to In Touch Weekly, the outlet that broke the story, Arias had developed a relationship with an Iowa man named Ben Ernst, and the two planned to marry. The source claims that Ernst was in a relationship with another woman when he first made contact with Arias, though he lied to her about his frequent contact with the killer, which included weekly visits, before being found out.

Since coming into contact with Ernst, Arias contacted Maria De La Rosa, an ally and mitigation specialist, to whom she explained: "Ben can't come visit. So, here's what he needs to do. If we marry, then he can petition a court to grant us visitation." In the letter she goes on to claim that the couple could then enjoy conjugal rights, compounding earlier rumors that she was attempting to become pregnant despite being behind bars.

She's considered suicide

A decade on from her murder conviction and life sentence without the possibility of parole, the case of Jodi Arias has ceased to be the headline news it was at the time of her trial. Indeed, little is heard from Arias directly, though an X/Twitter account, Jodi Arias Updates, claims to be operated by one of her close allies and makes occasional posts on what the murderer has been up to behind bars, what she is reading, and her latest artwork.

Arias, who once dreamt of being a professional photographer, is a skilled visual artist, and her website, Art by Jodi Arias, contains some of the most exceptionally revealing biographical information about the killer outside of her case notes. In her bio, which contains a November 2022 photograph of her in what looks like an orange prison uniform, she recalls that following her conviction she planned on writing a memoir, which she would then give to family before dying by suicide. However, she now claims that "the horrors I have overcome have deepened my appreciation for a life I once contemplated throwing away," and that she is content to live out her sentence and be mindful, inspired by creativity behind bars.

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