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PHOENIX - As the Jodi Arias trial continues to wind down in Phoenix, for one Valley family, the courtroom remains a painful reminder of the friend they lost and the concerns he had about his then-girlfriend.
"He was one of the funniest guys I know with one of the most infectious laughs," friend Brint Hiatt said of Travis Alexander.
Alexander was born in Riverside, Calif. and after his parents died, he and his seven brothers and sisters were taken in by their grandmother. But here in Arizona, Alexander had another family -- the Hiatts.
"I was privileged to have Travis adopt us as his family. He called me his Arizona dad," Dr. Karl Hiatt remembered of his son's close friend.
Brint was the first to meet Alexander at a function -- first impressions were tough, but Alexander soon charmed his way into Brint's good graces.
"He just made a special effort to get to know us guys that he had never known before," Brint described. "He obviously cared very much and was willing to humble himself and do what it took to help me find success."
Brint and his brother soon became Alexander's roommates -- and he became a part of their family.
Karl and his wife became instantly attached.
"He was great; he was open, he was funny. It felt like almost instant family," Karl said.
Alexander not only fit in with the Hiatts, he soon inspired them with his story of childhood abuse and how he overcame it.
"He would mention that when his mom would beat him on the back, he would pretend it was his grandpa patting him on the back and telling him that's he's special," said Karl.
Three days before he was killed, Alexander told Karl and the Hiatts those pats on the back were his calling.
"He said, 'I want to take grandpa Vic's message to the world -- you're special, I don't care how you were raised, in the camper shell or wherever, you are special, you can do anything, you can be anything.'"
According to Brint, one of the last times he spoke to his friend prior to the killing, Alexander said that he was done with Arias and needed to stop seeing her.
It didn't surprise them. Alexander brought Arias to Sunday dinner on only a couple of occasions.
They were not impressed and described her as an introvert and quiet. A far cry from the outgoing, zany and social Alexander.
"I didn't think she was the caliber he was. But then again, I felt whoever he did stay with, they would grow, they would rise to his level because he was a builder of people." said Karl.
"I didn't really see much of a future in it and I don't know that he did," said Brint.
The relationship would last five months. But Brint tells ABC15, Arias wouldn't go away.
Soon Alexander began telling them stories of Arias' stalking. He was suspicious she slashed his tires and he caught her breaking into his phone to send herself messages.
Brint still remembers where he was when he learned of Alexander's brutal killing, "That was a bad call, it was a bad night and I had to break the news to a lot of good people."
Including Arias, who called Brint several times asking about rumors that Alexander had been murdered. At first Brint said he wouldn't answer the phone because he already knew Arias was a suspect. Eventually he picked up.
"She called me and said 'hey I'm hearing rumors is everything okay?' she seemed just as scared as everybody else," said Brint.
Arias seemed sincerely upset, but Brint would soon find out it was all an act.
"That was surreal to me. Especially looking back that I was talking to someone that admittedly killed one of my best friends, said Brint.
The murder trial and all of Arias' claims of abuse in court has been tough to watch for the Hiatt family.
"The hardest part for me is that we're losing him all over again," said Brint.
"It's like she's killing him again in court," agreed Karl.
Even when the jury delivers a verdict, the Hiatts say it will never bring justice for the loss of their dear friend and adopted family member.
"Travis is gone, he'll never come back at least not in this lifetime," said Brint.
Karl said he had the same conversation with the Alexander family.
"It doesn't really matter what the verdict is. Justice will happen and it's going to be eternal, but it happens in the next life. I encouraged them not to take anymore away from their own life -- she stole their brother. Don't let her steal you." Karl told them.
Alexander also told Karl that "if something happened to him, it would be Jodi."
The family says they just thought "she must be angry", but
didn't think Alexander was seriously afraid for his life.