Inside the crime lab that analyzed the Jodi Arias case

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by Carey Pena

azfamily.com

Posted on November 8, 2013 at 8:25 PM

Updated Friday, Nov 8 at 8:40 PM

PHOENIX -- A bloody crime scene. A murdered man. And a mystery that caught the nation’s attention.
 
The pictures told the story of Travis Alexander’s final hours after he was stabbed and shot by Jodi Arias.
 
“It came down to, at that crime scene, documenting that scene. You don’t know what’s important.  But visually, it’s your one chance to see what’s in the scene,” said Kimberly Fiorucci, Administrator of Mesa Forensic Services. 

The crime scene investigators who documented – in graphic detail – what happened inside Alexander’s home back in June of 2008 work at the Mesa crime lab that Fiorucci is in charge of.

There is an increased focus on what happens inside the lab, and labs like this across the country. 3TV was given exclusive access.

All of the evidence that helped convict Jodi Arias was analyzed in this lab.
 
As they do in every case, the techs scan each item looking for DNA.
 
When we sat down with Fiorucci, she gave us this example.

“If we were given a shoe in the lab and they asked for DNA, we would say do you want who wore the shoe, do you want the blood that’s on the shoe, do you want the tread mark to see if that was the print left behind the bottom of the shoe.”
 
Fiorucci fell in love with the idea of solving mysteries back in high school while reading Patricia Cornwell novels.

“Back then crime labs weren’t very publicized” she said.
 
Now, there is increasing demand for DNA evidence because, unlike eyewitness testimony, it is hard to refute.
 
First they look for DNA.  Then they work to create a profile.
 
In this lab alone there are 350 cases pending.
 
But Fiorucci points out, their job is not to solve the case for police or prosecutors. Their job is to find what the science shows.
 
“So if it’s not beneficial to the prosecution and it’s beneficial to the defense, that’s okay,” Fiorucci told 3TV. “We don’t go into it with the mentality that we are trying to solve a case for one side or the other.”
 
In the case of Jodi Arias, despite her repeated denials, DNA discovered in this crime lab told the story of what happened in June of 2008.
 
When asked what the odds are that DNA could be off, Fiorucci said, “We’re talking in the quintillions. Over a million times the Earth’s population.”
 
Because of that DNA evidence, and the extensive photos taken at the crime scene, Jodi Arias eventually changed her story and admitted that she killed Travis Alexander.

While she was convicted of first degree murder, she’s about to get another trial to decide whether she should live or die.

And once again, the work being done in this quiet lab in Mesa will be on display for all the world to see.

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