BEFORE JODI ARIAS grew up to become a vicious, coldblooded killer, she was a timid little schoolgirl with an infectious giggle and a quick smile.

One of her closest pals in grade school in Salinas, Calif., who prefers to remain anonymous, told The ENQUIRER: “Jodi was a good student. She was soft-spoken and she laughed a lot. She had a funny giggle and was a little bit shy but seemed pretty normal.”

At her trial for viciously butchering her ex-beau Travis Alexander in 2008, Arias claimed she was abused as a child, including being hit with a wooden spoon.

“I remember the spoon,” said the friend. “Once when she and her little brother Carl were acting up, Jodi’s mom said: ‘Do you want me to get the spoon?’”

Arias’ punishment for killing 30-year-old Alexander will be much more severe. The 32-year-old vixen is facing a possible death penalty, and that seems fitting justice to another one of her ex-boyfriends, businessman Ryan Burns.

“Ten hours after she killed Travis, she drove straight to see me,” Burns told The ENQUIRER. “She called me along the way, laughing and giggling about getting lost, which shows how dark and evil she really is. She could have won an Academy Award for the way she acted. It really makes me sick now.”

Burns – who says Arias plagued him with endless calls and text messages – admits he should have realized sooner that something was terribly wrong with her.

“In hindsight, the fact that she had zero friends and was calling me nonstop should have been a big red flag,” he said. “But I was too smitten to see it.”