(PHOENIX) — The tumultuous love affair between accused killer Jodi Arias and Travis Alexander began with such a rush of intensity that just days after meeting one another, Arias broke up with her boyfriend of four years and had her first sexual encounter with Alexander.
Their relationship would turn out to be equally intense, as Arias and Alexander dated for a year and then broke up, but continued to sleep together until Alexander was killed a year later. She is now on trial for Alexander’s murder and could face the death penalty if convicted.
The pair met at a work convention in 2006 and, hitting it off immediately, Arias broke up with her live-in, long-term boyfriend later that week. She then met Alexander for a weekend stay at a friend’s home in California, where they first became intimate, setting off an erotic sexual relationship.
“He said, ‘I’ll come into your room when they’re asleep,'” Arias said of Alexander as they both spent the weekend at a friend’s home. “There was no conversation. I thought there was going to be, but there wasn’t,” she said. “We sat down and started passionately kissing.”
Alexander then began undressing Arias, she testified, fidgeting on the stand and saying, “This is embarrassing,” as she described their encounter. Her mother and relatives watched from the gallery.
“He began to perform oral sex on me. I was uncomfortable,” she said. “He knew what he was doing for sure, but it felt like too much too soon.”
“He asked for reciprocation,” she said, admitting that she then performed oral sex on him, moving his Mormon temple garments — ritual T-shirt and/or underwear that Mormon men wear — out of the way in order to do so. Alexander was an elder in the Mormon church, which prohibits pre-marital sex.
Arias and Alexander fell asleep after the encounter, and after waking up naked the next morning, Arias quickly dressed and went to church for Mormon services. Arias said neither she nor Alexander spoke of the encounter, and she drove home later that day.
A few days later, they met up again, and Alexander talked to Arias about the Book of Mormon and Mormon rules against consuming drugs, caffeine, and alcohol. Then he told her he wanted another sexual encounter, Arias said.
The pair drove to a park where she performed oral sex on him again while sitting in her car. Minutes later, he got into his car and left. “He refused to kiss me after because he said it was gross,” Arias testified.
The defense is attempting to portray Alexander as sex-obsessed and abusive toward Arias, showing that he only used her for sexual gratification and mistreated her.
The defense claims Arias killed Alexander in self-defense, and that he had been controlling and abusive toward her for their entire relationship.
Earlier, Arias testified about a flurry of boyfriends she had before Alexander.
Her odyssey through boyfriends and the spiritual world included a five-year period from age 18 through age 22 when Arias said she became very interested in fundamentalist Christianity, Wicca, Buddhism and Hinduism, all of which she explored as she dated men who practiced those beliefs.
Eventually Arias became interested in Mormonism through Alexander, and converted to Mormonism when she began a torrid sexual relationship with him in 2006.
Arias took the stand for the second time Tuesday to explain to the jury how she came to kill Alexander in what she claims was self-defense. Her story started with other boyfriends.
Through a string of boyfriends in the late 1990s and early 2000s, Arias identified as a Christian who was into spirituality. When she met Alexander in 2006, she immediately became interested in Mormonism. She quickly converted and Alexander, a Mormon elder, baptized her into her new religion.
The two also maintained a torrid sexual affair, which is prohibited for unmarried people in the Mormon religion.
Other witnesses who have been called to the stand have noted her commitment to Mormonism, including Ryan Burns, a Mormon she began seeing after breaking up with Alexander. She also visited Burns the day after killing Alexander.
“Part of our conversations with each other were about her religious views, and my religious views,” Burns testified. “She would often tell me about how she felt about her religious beliefs, the Book of Mormon. She was a convert, by Travis…..She mentioned reading the scriptures.”
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Stephen Collinson, CNN
Tom Kludt, CNN