Jodi Arias Conflicting Images of Devout Mormon or Jealous Killer

Jodi Arias and Travis Alexander had sexual relationship despite shared Mormonism

ByABC News
January 9, 2013, 5:32 PM

Jan. 10, 2013— -- Jodi Arias is depicted by prosecutors as a woman who seduced Travis Alexander, a Mormon, had wild sex with him, stalked him and later killed him in a jealous rage.

Testimony by a second boyfriend and Arias' lawyer draw a picture of a devout Mormon woman who read scripture, was timid about sex and inspired her new boyfriend to renew his own Mormon faith.

Conflicting versions of Arias -- sexually aggressive and a cold hearted killer or a devout Mormon abused by Alexander -- are at the heart of her murder trial.

At the time of the 2008 killing, Arias' hair was dyed blond. These days she watches the trial demurely dressed, her hair restored to his natural brown.

In testimony Wednesday, prosecutors created a timeline from 2008 in which Arias had one last tryst with Alexander, killed him in a ferocious knife and gun attack, and then headed to see her new romantic interest, Ryan Burns in Utah.

Arias, who lived in California at the time, told new beau Ryan Burns she was a day late for her date in Utah because she got lost, not that she was with Alexander, Burns testified.

Photos of Key Players and Evidence in the Jodi Arias Murder Trial

And just 24 hours after killing Alexander, she and Burns kissed, cuddled and she laughed with Burns' friends.

Burns, who is also Mormon, described their time together as almost chaste.

"Every time we started kissing it got a little more escalated," Burns testified. "Our clothes never came off. At some point she was kissing my neck, I was kissing hers, but our clothes never came off. My hands, I never touched her breast or anything like that. At one point I had my hand on her thighs, and she definitely seemed to be into the moment, and we stopped."

"I don't think either one of us said 'please stop.' We just stopped," he said. "Part of our conversations with each other were about her religious views, and my religious views, and I didn't want her to regret her trip, I didn't want to go any further."

Burns said that Arias told him that it was Alexander who convinced her to become a Mormon. Burns, who grew up Mormon, said he had lapsed from going to his temple, but his relationship with Arias had renewed his interest in his faith.

"She would often tell me about how she felt about her religious beliefs, the Book of Mormon," he said. "She was a convert, by Travis... She mentioned reading the scriptures."

Arias' lawyer, Jennifer Willmott, has said that Arias was captivated by Alexander, who talked about marriage, children and leading a pious life. In just two months after they met, Alexander convinced Arias to convert to Mormonism, according to Willmott.

Arias and Alexander broke up in 2007, but continued to have sex occasionally until the day Alexander was killed.

That version of Arias is at odds with testimony and emails between Arias and Alexander, which were punctuated at times with sexually crude references.

In one electronic message, Alexander called Arias a "slut" and a "whore," and complained that he was little more "than a dildo with a heartbeat" to Arias.

But according to Willmott, Alexander was a "sexual deviant" who pressured Arias to have oral and anal sex because they were less sinful than intercourse.

"So while he continued this facade of being a good virginal Mormon man, he was inwardly dealing with his own sexual issues and in Jodi he found somebody who was easily manipulated and controlled, someone who would provide him with that secretive sexual relationship he needed while on the outside he could still pursue the appropriate Mormon woman," Willmott said in her opening statement.

In the hours before he died, Alexander and Arias had sex and they took graphic sexual photos, allegedly at his request, of each other in suggestive positions.