Arias testimony retreads details from killing

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Associated Press

Posted on March 5, 2013 at 10:34 AM

Updated Tuesday, Mar 5 at 8:33 PM

PHOENIX (AP) — Jodi Arias' defense attorney has concluded questioning her in her Arizona death penalty case after a day of testimony that largely repeated previous details from the day she killed her lover.

The 32-year-old is charged in the June 2008 killing of Travis Alexander in his suburban Phoenix home. She says it was self-defense, but police say she planned the attack in a jealous rage. Arias initially told authorities she had nothing to do with Alexander's death, then blamed it on masked intruders before settling on self-defense.

Arias has been testifying for two weeks. Jurors will now have the opportunity to pose their own questions to the defendant through written queries presented to the judge, something allowed in Arizona criminal cases.

Arias is back on the witness stand Wednesday afternoon.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

Jodi Arias read from her journal Tuesday in her Arizona death penalty case, as her attorneys worked to explain why she made no specific mention in her entries regarding claims that her lover physically abused her and had sexual desires for young boys.

Arias previously testified that she once walked in on victim Travis Alexander viewing explicit pictures of young boys, something that has not been backed up by evidence or witnesses throughout the trial.

During her intense cross-examination, prosecutor Juan Martinez pointed out repeatedly how Arias noted nearly every intimate detail of her life in her journal, yet made no reference to the incident.

"That's exactly the opposite of things I would want to note," Arias testified Tuesday. "I wouldn't want to remember that ... It was very shocking."

She then read another journal entry she says she wrote several days after discovering Alexander viewing the pictures.

"It still remains that I cannot marry him. I cannot quite put my finger on it, but something is just off with that boy," she read.

"What did you mean by that?" asked her defense attorney, Kirk Nurmi.

"That's kind of my indirect way of referring to his issues that were in my mind, something I couldn't look past or accept," Arias replied.

She also has testified that she didn't document negative events about Alexander because he often read her journal and would get angry.

Arias' attorneys were again working to portray the victim as a sexually deviant womanizer in an apparent effort to gain sympathy from jurors.

Throughout her nearly two weeks on the witness stand, Arias has made numerous assertions that Alexander owned a gun, physically abused her, and had illicit desires for children, none of which have been corroborated by testimony or witnesses.

After she concludes her testimony, jurors can pose questions to Arias via written notes provided to the judge, something allowed in Arizona criminal cases. Several pages containing questions were already piled Tuesday in a metal basket along a rail in front of the panel.

Martinez concluded his cross-examination of Arias last week after hammering her repeatedly over her lies and efforts to create an alibi immediately after she killed Alexander.

She acknowledged that she dumped the gun in the desert, got rid of her bloody clothes, tried to clean the scene at Alexander's home, and even left the victim a voicemail on his mobile phone within hours of killing him and dragging his body into the shower. She said 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 the killing — the same caliber used to shoot Alexander — but Arias says she never knew her grandfather had the weapon. Authorities believe she brought it with her, though she has testified she shot Alexander with his own gun as he chased her into his closet after body-slamming her and threatening to kill her.

Alexander had also been stabbed and slashed nearly 30 times and had his throat slit.

Arias is charged with first-degree murder in the June 2008 attack in Alexander's suburban Phoenix home. She says it was self-defense, but police say she planned the killing in a jealous rage.

Arias initially told authorities she had nothing to do with Alexander's death then blamed it on masked intruders before settling on self-defense.

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