Arias resumes testimony in Arizona murder trial
- Article by: BRIAN SKOLOFF
- Associated Press
- March 13, 2013 - 2:06 AM
PHOENIX - Jodi Arias is set to return to the witness stand for an 18th day of testimony in her Arizona death penalty trial after being questioned by jurors last week over why she killed her lover, then methodically covered her tracks and only claimed self-defense two years after her arrest.
Arias is charged with first-degree murder in the June 2008 death of Travis Alexander in his suburban Phoenix home. Authorities say she planned the killing in a jealous rage, but Arias says it was self-defense when Alexander attacked her after a day of sex.
She initially told authorities she had nothing to do with the killing then blamed it on masked intruders. Two years after her arrest, she admitted to it, but says she was forced to fight for her life.
Last week, jurors made it clear they aren't satisfied with her explanations as they peppered her with about 220 questions read aloud by the judge.
Arizona is one of just a few states where jurors in criminal trials can ask questions of witnesses. In many other states, it's up to individual judges to decide whether it's permissible.
Arias was set to resume testimony Wednesday as a prosecutor questions her again over her responses to the juror queries.
Alexander suffered nearly 30 knife wounds, had been shot in the head and had his throat slit before Arias dragged his body into his shower. He was found by friends about five days later. She says she remembers little from the day of the killing, but recalls Alexander attacking her in a fury. Arias says she ran into his closet to retrieve a gun he kept on a shelf and fired in self-defense. She said she has no memory of stabbing him.
She has acknowledged she then dumped the gun in the desert, got rid of her bloody clothes, and left the victim a voicemail on his mobile phone within hours of killing him in an attempt to avoid suspicion. She says she was too scared and ashamed to tell the truth.
Arias' grandparents had reported a .25-caliber handgun stolen from their Northern California home about a week before Alexander's death_ the same caliber used to shoot him — but Arias says she didn't take it. Authorities believe she brought it with her.
Throughout her nearly three weeks of testimony, she has described her abusive childhood, cheating boyfriends, dead-end jobs, a raunchy sexual relationship with the victim and her contention that Alexander had grown physically abusive in the months leading up to his death, once even choking her into unconsciousness.
However, none of her allegations of Alexander's violence, that he even owned a gun or Arias' claims that he had sexual desires for young boys have been corroborated by witnesses or evidence during the trial, and she has acknowledged lying repeatedly but insists she is telling the truth now.
© 2013 Star Tribune