(PHOENIX) — Accused killer Jodi Arias made the dramatic accusation in court Monday that her ex-boyfriend, Travis Alexander, told her he was sexually attracted to young boys and then became increasingly abusive toward her in the months after.
Arias said that in January 2008, she walked in on Alexander masturbating to pictures of young boys and that he confessed to being attracted to children. He then convinced her to sleep with him to cure him of his “deviant urges,” she said.
Arias, 32, said that she ran out of the house where she saw Alexander masturbating, drove to her house and threw up. Later she went back to Alexander’s house so he could explain, and he told her he had a sexual interest in boys. He also told her he bought her boys’ Spider-Man underwear to wear during sex because of his interest in children, she claimed.
The claims have been part of the defense’s strategy to portray Alexander as a “sexual deviant” who was controlling and abusive toward Arias, leading to their conclusion that Arias killed Alexander out of self defense.
She is on trial for murder and could face the death penalty if convicted for the brutal crime.
Arias said Monday that over the next couple of months, Alexander became increasingly abusive, pushing her and shaking her when they argued and when she suggested he seek mental help for his sexual interest in children.
She described a particularly violent episode during an argument in April 2008 in which Alexander threw Arias to the floor and kicked her in the ribs and in the hands.
“He told me he needed to borrow $200, and I didn’t have it, and I had just lent him $699 a few days prior,” Arias testified Monday. “He walked across the room and started shaking my shoulders and said, ‘I’m f***ing sick of you’ and slammed me on floor at the foot of his bed.”
“I let out a yelp, sort of on impact, and he called me a b**** and kicked me, in the ribs, and that hurt for real, and he went to kick me again, but I put out my hand to block his foot and it clipped my hand and hit my finger,” she said.
She claimed that the kick broke her finger and she held up her hand to show the courtroom how the ring finger on her right hand is permanently crooked from the kick.
Arias said that she did not call police or seek medical attention because it would seem “disloyal” to Alexander, and that he had made her a splint of popsicle sticks after he calmed down. The incident allegedly occurred two months before Arias killed Alexander in a violent attack that she claims was self-defense.
Arias’s attorney, Kirk Nurmi, said in court Monday that Arias’ testimony was helping to portray her as a “battered woman.”
Before Monday’s testimony, the prosecution petitioned Judge Sherry Stephens to ban from the trial the allegations of masturbating to boys’ pictures, saying there was no evidence to support Arias’ claims. Police found no photos of young boys on Alexander’s computer or in his home, and found no evidence that would indicate he tried to erase anything on his hard drive.
Additionally, they claim that Arias gave two different accounts of the incident, telling one expert that the images were on Alexander’s computer, and later testifying at a hearing that that they were hard copies of photos spread out on his bed.
But Stephens ruled on Thursday that she would allow the testimony Monday.
“I’m surprised the judge let this in,” said ABC News legal analyst Dan Abrams. “This is incredibly inflammatory and it fits conveniently into the defense’s theory.”
Arias’ defense team has also tried to include 10 letters that they say Alexander wrote as evidence of his attraction to boys. Handwriting experts for the defense claim that the letters were written by Alexander, while experts for the prosecution say they were forged. The letters may be admitted into testimony later this week.
The defense may also play an audio recording of a phone conversation between Arias and Alexander from 2008 that is sexual in nature.
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Laurie Segall, CNN
Polo Sandoval, Melissa Gray and Holly Yan, CNN
Lauren del Valle and Shachar Peled, CNN
Sarah Anderson, Deseret News