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It’s been nearly eight years since Jodi Arias was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for the 2008 murder of her ex-boyfriend, Travis Alexander. Now, those at home will get a dramatized closer look at her life behind bars as she awaited her trial in Lifetime’s “Bad Behind Bars: Jodi Arias,” which debuts Saturday.
Arias initially denied any involvement in killing Alexander in his Mesa, Arizona home on June 4, 2008. But when DNA evidence proved she was lying, she claimed there was a home invasion by two unknown people, according to the Huffington Post. Eventually, years later, she claimed she was physically and emotionally abused by Alexander and was defending herself when she shot and stabbed him — nearly 30 times — in addition to cutting his throat from ear to ear.
Prosecutors argued during the trial that Arias killed Alexander in a jealous rage when he broke up with her. Witnesses testified that Arias had stalked and spied on him prior to his murder.
Following a lengthy trial, all twelve jurors unanimously voted convict Arias of first-degree murder.
In March 2020, the Arizona Court of Appeals unanimously upheld Arias’ first-degree murder conviction and life sentence, according to Oxygen.com reporting. Arias’ lawyers argued that prosecutorial misconduct, as well as judicial failure to control news coverage, had deprived Arias of a fair trial. But the court rejected her appeal, saying she was convicted on “overwhelming evidence.”
Arias is currently being held at the Perryville prison in Goodyear, Arizona, after she was last moved in 2020, according to the Arizona Department of Corrections. She has one disciplinary infraction recorded on Feb. 3, 2016 as disrespect to staff, and is being held in medium custody after she was downgraded from close custody in Feb. 2021 — where she’d had limited controlled movement since Nov. 2016. She last worked as a library aide in prison from Feb. 11, 2021 to July 19, 2022.
The new Lifetime movie examines Arias’ relationship after her arrest with fellow inmate couple Tracy Brown and Donavan Bering during her placement in the Estrella Jail, a woman’s prison facility in Phoenix, Arizona.
A preview released by Lifetime shows Jodi charming her way through prison and becoming friends with Brown and Bering. Brown previously called Arias her “songbird,” and a woman with “a voice of an angel” according to Oxygen.com reporting. It’s part of the reason why Brown let Arias tattoo a bird alongside a musical note on her left calf, with Arias’ name inside the bird, as shown in the preview.
Brown claimed in the Lifetime show “Jodi Arias: Cellmate Secrets” that Arias had confided in her that she was considering ending her life and revealed her suicide plan to her, which Brown now seemingly believes was a lie.
“I agreed to let Jodi put her name on my leg because I was convinced she was going to kill herself,” Brown said in previous Oxygen.com reporting. “I wanted something to remember this friend that I had gotten so close to in such a short time by.”
She let Arias give her six tattoos during the few months they shared together, Oxygen.com reported. In addition to the bird tattoo, Arias gave her a tattoo of a pinnacle, a moon, a Celtic symbol, and Bering's name.
After Bering was released from jail in March 2009, she defended Arias on social media and attended her court appearances.
Bering was behind Arias’ Twitter account, reaching thousands of followers, as Arias awaited trial. Bering told the Phoenix Fox station KSAZ and Huffington Post that she talked to Arias on a daily basis and updated the account with messages told to her by Arias. Many of the early tweets attacked prosecutor Juan Martinez and the media coverage surrounding the trial. The Twitter account also attacked HLN anchor Nancy Grace, who accused Arias of giving the middle finger during the trial, according to ABC.
“Actually, Nancy, that finger was for you. Have a nice day,” the account tweeted.
In April 2013, Bering told ABC the media wasn’t being fair to Arias, and said Arias was not the monster the trial portrayed her to be.
“I find it really hard to believe what happened, knowing her,” Bering said to ABC. “Never, ever have I see her raise her voice, seen her yell, seen her do anything. So when I’m sitting there in court, it blows me away because I’m sitting there knowing the person that I know, seeing her and talking to her and seeing how much compassion she has.”
She told Heavy her friendship with Arias lasted until about 2016, when she began communicating with Arias’ mother.
“When I started speaking to her mom way more than Jodi, I started seeing stuff that didn’t add up, like the stories of her relationships, and how her parents treated her,” Bering told Heavy. “She didn’t really care about anything or anyone but herself. You crossed her in any way, and you suffered. She didn’t know what a true friend was, only someone to use to get what she wanted.”
Another preview for “Bad Behind Bars” from Lifetime shows Arias taking revenge against Bering when she stopping doing her bidding.
“I refused to post on Twitter her parents’ financial situation with their new business,” Bering told Heavy. “I changed the password where she couldn’t get in. She wrote a letter to my wife in prison and had one of her supporters in the U.K. post stuff about me online.”
As recently as Monday, tweets were still coming from the account on subjects like what books Arias is reading, in addition to selling her original art from prison.
Celinda Sinden stars as Jodi Arias in “Bad Behind Bars.” The movie also features actors Tricia Black, Lynn Rafferty, Karl Campbell, Adesola Adesina, Michelle Haffety, Christine Noble and Maggie Cassella.
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