Conviction

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Conviction is the morbidly fascinating story of a woman who premeditated the brutal murder of her ex-boyfriend then told a number of unbelievable lies to cover it up. This book was written by Juan Martinez, the prosecuting attorney in the case. Perhaps no person knows the case and its intricacies better, except the murderer herself.

Conviction by Juan Martinez
Conviction by Juan Martinez

Juan Martinez was called to the house of Tyler Alexander, a young man who had been brutally stabbed and shot in the head. The district attorney in Arizona often would be invited to be a part of the investigative process as a witness, so he or she could better understand the crime scene when it was time for trial. Not long after Tyler’s body was discovered, his ex-girlfriend Jodi Arias called the police offering her assistance. They initially dismissed her, but her insistence on helping raised their suspicions, along with the allegations by friends that she was stalking Tyler.

After an investigation found her hair at the crime scene and her palm print in his blood, they executed a warrant for her arrest. When searching her belongings, they collected other evidence, eventually finding receipts that showed she purchased a gas can and enough gas to fill up a total of three gas cans (two of which she borrowed from a friend), allowing her to enter and leave Arizona undetected. While she had attempted to make sure that she did not leave any evidence of her being in Arizona, she inadvertently took pictures of herself during the commission of the crime, although they were blurry. For all her planning, she still left evidence of her being at the crime scene.

The way Jodi Arias lied and manipulated those around her repulsed me.

Perhaps I have an unusually low tolerance for habitual liars, but I found myself especially sickened by her lies. She used her words to manipulate everyone around her, hoping that in doing so she would keep her freedom. She manipulated her friends, the police, and the jurors.

Her first version of the story was that she was not in Arizona and that she was grieving the loss of her ex-boyfriend. She left three messages for him in the time between the murder and the discovery of his body in an attempt to throw suspicion off of her. She even spent time talking with her friend, supposedly grieving his loss. All this time, she knew how he died because she had been the one who had killed him.

When she was initially under the suspicion of the police because the camera that had blurry pictures of the murder also had pictures of her and Tyler posing nude only hours before the murder (and nude pictures of Tyler only minutes before the murder) she said that between the nude pictures and the blurry pictures of the murder, two people broke into the house and murdered Tyler. Those two people threatened her so she did not tell anyone. However, there was such a short amount of time between the pictures of Tyler posing in the shower and the beginning of the murder that this scenario was very unlikely. In addition, one of the pictures of the murder showed her pants and sock.

The third and final lie she told was that Tyler attacked her and that she acted in self-defense. Throughout the trial, she made unfounded accusations about his character. While there were emails that showed he lost his temper with her, there was also evidence that she manipulated him and pushed his buttons, and that the extent of his temper was only in verbal abuse (not to belittle verbal abuse in any way). She accused him of being a pedophile and sexually abusive, going as far as to fabricate letters in his handwriting about things he wanted to do. These letters were never presented to the jury, since they were determined to be fake. Despite her claims, though, the boyfriend she met the day after the murder said she acted completely normal. He said she even acted out sexually, which seemed out of character for someone who had just fought for her life after a sexually abusive relationship and won.

What bothers me the most about Jodi’s lies about the murder is that outside of the evidence, Tyler’s family will likely never have the truth. Whenever faced with questions about the inconsistencies in her stories or the lies that were proven to be false by evidence, Arias usually responded with phrases like, “I don’t know,” or “I don’t remember.” While the jury fortunately saw this as a sign of her guilt instead of a sign of her ignorance or forgetfulness, it is frustrating for those who want answers. Even during sentencing, Arias did not accept guilt for what she did.

I have only encountered a few habitual liars in my life (who I knew were lying to me, at least). They have not murdered anyone, but they lie to cover up everything. It doesn’t matter if it is something completely insignificant. I wish I could write more, but I am honestly at a loss because I have so little understanding of what makes people who habitually lie do what they do. While I cannot say I have never lied, I am so far removed from a life of constant dishonestly that I am actually bad at lying. My only hope is that honesty can bring healing to people like Jodi Arias.

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