5 Eye-Opening Facts About Life Behind Bars For Jodi Arias

From prison tattoos to Ding Dongs to her lawyer blaming her for his cancer, here's what lockup is like for the notorious “Boyfriend Killer.”

May 08, 2019
Mug shot of Jodi Arias [Mesa Police Department]

Photo by: Mug shot of Jodi Arias [Mesa Police Department]

Mug shot of Jodi Arias [Mesa Police Department]

By: Mike McPadden

On June 4, 2008, Jodi Arias attacked her on-and-off-again 30-year-old boyfriend, Travis Alexander, first with a knife and then with a pistol.

Alexander sustained 29 stab wounds and a gunshot wound to the back of the head. His throat was deeply slit and his hands were covered with defensive wounds. Shallow punctures dotted his back as well. A coroner later suggested that Alexander may have been dead by the time the bullet entered his skull.

Police searching Alexander’s home discovered a digital camera. It contained multiple photos of Alexander and Arias in sexually explicit positions, followed by an image of Alexander taking a shower, and one final shot of Alexander “profusely bleeding” on the floor. They also found a bloody palm print containing DNA from both the victim and Arias.

Police indicted Arias on July 9. She initially claimed that masked intruders had invaded Alexander’s home. Later, she said Alexander abused her and she lashed out in self-defense.

On May 8, 2013, a jury convicted Arias of first-degree murder. However, they deadlocked on whether she deserved capital punishment, and the judge declared a mistrial on the penalty phase. After a second hung jury, a judge sentenced Arias to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Even while serving her sentence, Jodi Arias has remained a controversial figure who generates headlines. Here are five facts about what life in lock-up has been like for Jodi Arias.

1. An Ex-Cellmate Claims Jodi Arias Told Her She Had Help When Killing Travis Alexander

According to a 2017 Radar Online report, Jodi Arias once told her former cellmate, Donovan Bering, that she had a female accomplice who helped her murder Travis Alexander, and that her original target had been Alexander’s new girlfriend.

Bering, who had been in jail on felony arson charges, went so far as to name the alleged henchwoman. Bering also reportedly took a polygraph test that indicated she was telling the truth.

At the end of her Radar Online interview, Bering was quoted as saying: “If you cross Jodi Arias, you got to be careful because she does whatever it takes to get at you or harm you. She’s the biggest manipulator you will ever meet. She has no conscience at all. She continues to use people that will let her use them. She’s a sociopath — 100 percent. [CrimeFeed]

2. Another Ex-Cellmate Showed Off The Prison Tattoos She Claims Jodi Gave Her

Tracy Brown is a former inmate at the Estrella prison in Phoenix who shared a cell with Jodi Arias for five months and came away with some permanent reminders: six tattoos she said Arias gave her behind bars, including one that the artist signed personally.

In 2018, Brown said Arias made money in jail by selling her drawings and tattooing other prisoners by using a combination of pencil lead, mascara, and a makeshift needle.

Brown further claimed that Arias got away with her trade by coming on to prison guards and other staffers, saying, “There were a couple of officers — she would flirt with or play with her hair with — and they would go in find that tattoo equipment, and they would leave it alone.”

As for the six tattoos Brown says Arias gave her, she describes the one that Jodi signed forever as “the biggest mistake I ever made.”

In addition, Brown summed up her former roommate by stating, “She will use you to get what she wants, then when she is done with you, she will throw you away … she’s a sociopath.” Now where have we heard that before? [CrimeFeed]

3. Ding Dongs, Sardines, Sausages & Lots Of Toothbrushes Top Arias’s List Of Prison Purchases

A list of goods obtained from the Arizona Department of Corrections that was posted online in 2017 revealed the spending habits of Jodi Arias behind bars.

Among Arias’s purchases were art supplies, hair gel, moisturizer, size small women’s briefs, a pair of scissors, a number of shank-proof toothbrushes, and a variety of munchies that included black and refried beans, sardines in oil, multiple kinds of sausages, and Ding Dong snack cakes. It makes sense, then, that Arias also bought antacids.

While some outlets reported Arias also purchased sex toys, no hard evidence backs that up. However, this article indicates that women in lockup frequently use sausages and toothbrushes for intimate stimulation, so draw your own conclusions. [CrimeFeed]

4. Arias Won A Christmas Dinner In Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s Prison Talent Show By Performing “O Holy Night”

Sheriff Joe Arpaio, the controversial figure known as “America’s toughest sheriff” displayed his own unique interpretation of Christmas spirit back in 2010 when he held an America Idol–style talent show for inmates in Maricopa County, Arizona.

At stake for the winner was a generous holiday meal of turkey, mashed potatoes, and cookies. Reportedly judging the contestants were Arpaio, a man in an Elvis costume, and someone dressed as Santa Claus.

Among the competitors was Jodi Arias. She took first place with a rendition of the Yuletide carol “O Holy Night” that was so stirring that video of the performance was broadcast throughout the correctional facility’s television systems on Christmas morning. The same video made it onto the internet in 2017.

By winning, Arias became the rare inmate who was well fed under Arpaio’s watch, as he proudly preferred serving prisoners restrictive and repulsive food items. [CrimeFeed]

5. Even After Arias Went To Jail For Life, Her Former Lawyer Said She Is The "Reason Why Cancer Infested My Body"

In July 2018, Laurence “Kirk” Nurmi, the court-ordered attorney who spent six years defending Jodi Arias, not only announced he was undergoing cancer treatment, he blatantly pinned the emergence of the illness on his former client.

Nurmi told a reporter, “What I went through with Ms. Arias was very traumatic for me, in retrospect. I think my role in the Arias trial, and everything that happened, was the reason cancer infested my body.”

Three years earlier, Nurmi published a book titled Trapped With Ms. Arias. The tell-all led to him losing his law license and getting sued by Arias.

Even then, Nurmi associated his being sick with the case and giving him a will to fight, saying, “I feared that my death would permit Ms. Arias’s lies to taint my legacy.”

As of 2019, Nurmi remains alive and Jodi Arias remains in prison. [CrimeFeed]

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