This third episode in the Case Studies Season of the National Institute of Justice's (NIJ's) Just Science podcast series is an interview with Heather Conner, the Latent Print Unit Technical Leader in the Mesa (Arizona) Police Department's Forensic Services, who discusses investigative issues in the June 2008 Murder of Travis Alexander by his ex-girlfriend Jodi Areas.
Ms. Conner discusses the investigative activities of the variety of forensic disciplines that were involved in collecting and analyzing crime-scene evidence that was instrumental in obtaining Jodi Areas' conviction for first-degree murder and a life sentence. An emphasis in the interview is the importance of a multidisciplinary approach to crime-scene analysis. The crime-scene investigation required four full days and involved photographic documentation and the collection of evidence-related items and evidence-related portions of the walls. Investigative techniques pertained to latent palmprints and fingerprints, analysis of deleted photos from a camera found at the crime scene, determination of cause of death and the nature of various body wounds. How the various types of evidence related to the identification of Jody Arias as the murderer and her motivation for the murder are discussed. How the evidence undermined her claims and scenarios of innocence and self-defense are also discussed.