Jodi Arias book.
PHOENIX -- Journalist and HLN personality Jane Velez-Mitchell says writing "Exposed: The Secret Life of Jodi Arias" was one of the most difficult tasks she has undertaken. The reason? The woman at the center of the book.
"She is an incredibly gifted liar," says Velez-Mitchell, whose book reached stores this week. "What she does is take a foundation of events that happened, then weaves lies into it, then she sticks it into a blender. Where does the truth end and fiction begin?"
The facts of the case are well-known. On June 9, 2008, Travis Alexander was found dead in his Mesa home, stabbed 29 times, with his throat slit and a gunshot to the head. Ex-girlfriend Arias was charged with first-degree murder and, ultimately, was found guilty in a trial that riveted TV viewers.
"How does a beautiful, demure, articulate woman end up committing such a savage crime?" Velez-Mitchell says, discussing why the grisly murder enthralled so much of the population. "Just thinking about cutting someone's throat ... it's really horrific. How does somebody get to that point of moral degeneracy?"
She discusses that in the book, which includes revelations that Arias stalked a man before meeting Alexander. Arias had a relationship with Darryl Brewer before meeting Alexander.
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Brewer testified for Arias early in the trial, but Velez-Mitchell reports that friends said Arias modeled herself on Brewer's ex-wife, including dyeing her hair blond and purchasing the same car.
Velez-Mitchell thinks such tidbits will grab readers who faithfully watched the proceedings on HLN.
"It was such a long trial, and so many untrue things were said," Velez-Mitchell says. "There were things lost in the shuffle and simple information overload."
The star of the network's "Jane Velez-Mitchell" show covered the trial, which proved invaluable in the creation of the book.
"I was standing outside the courthouse a lot," she says. "All throughout the day, I would see friends of Travis Alexander coming and going, and I would whip out an old-fashioned tape recorder from RadioShack."
For example, Velez-Mitchell interviewed Alexander's pal Sky Hughes, who testified.
She reported that Hughes was so unnerved by Arias' behavior that she and her husband banned her from their home.
Velez-Mitchell also reached out to the families of both Arias and Alexander. Both declined to participate, though she was especially moved by Alexander's family. She dedicates the book to him and his siblings.
"They showed incredible grace and dignity," she says.
Jane Velez Mitchell(Photo: Handout)
Her book comes ahead of "Picture Perfect: The Jodi Arias Story," written by Arizona journalist Shanna Hogan, which will be available Sept. 3. There are also a number of quickie books out on Arias, including "Killer Girlfriend: The Jodi Arias Story" and "Murder in Mesa" among them.
In the case of Velez-Mitchell's book, the author will donate a portion of her proceeds from sales to the Travis Alexander Legacy Fund, established by his family, and to animal-rights group Mercy for Animals.
"It's kind of funny, but as I got to study Travis, I learned we had so much in common," Velez-Mitchell says. "I'm an environmentalist; he was an environmentalist. He traded in his luxury car for a Prius, which is what I did. He saw the movie 'Earthlings' and was horrified by the treatment of animals, and so did I."
Helping to clear Alexander's name is one of her goals, she says. "The whole idea is to get to the truth, and he's not here to tell his side," she says.