Jodi Arias Takes the Stand and Says She Killed Travis Alexander, Planned Suicide
(PHOENIX) -- Jodi Arias took the stand Monday and quickly told the jury that she killed her ex-boyfriend Travis Alexander in a bloody attack in 2008.
And in a surprise, Arias told the jury that she planned to also kill herself.
"Did you kill Travis Alexander?" defense attorney Kirk Nurmi asked Arias immediately after she took the stand.
"Yes," Arias said softly, turning to look at the jury.
"The simple answer is that he attacked me and I defended myself," she said.
Arias also explained why she said in a news interview that "no jury would ever convict" her of murdering Alexander. At the time she said it was because she was innocent, but on the stand Monday she said she made that statement because she had plans to commit suicide after the interview. The interview took place in September 2008, three months after the killing.
"I was very confident that no jury would convict me because I was sure I'd be dead," she said. "Those are probably the most bitter words I'll ever eat."
Arias is on trial for murdering Alexander by stabbing him 27 times, slashing his throat, and shooting him in the head twice. She could face the death penalty if convicted.
Nurmi questioned Arias about her early childhood, eliciting statements from Arias that she was subjected to frequent, violent beatings from her mother and father, who used belts, spoons, and their hands to discipline her and her siblings.
Earlier in the day, the defense continued their attempt to show that Alexander was controlling and abusive toward Arias during their yearlong relationship and the year after, during which they continued a sexual relationship.
A woman's T-shirt emblazoned with the possessive "Travis Alexander's" and a pair of pink panties with the word "Travis'" on the front hint at the controlling nature and abusive attitude that existed between Alexander and Jodi Arias in the months before she killed him, defense attorneys said Monday.
Defense attorneys also questioned porn on Travis Alexander's computer during Monday's testimony.
Arias is accused of murder for Alexander's death, but her defense attorneys claim she killed him in self-defense because he was an abusive and controlling "sexual deviant." The pair dated for a year before breaking up, but continued to have a sexual relationship for another year until Alexander's death.
The photo of the T-shirt and panties were found on Arias' camera in July 2008, more than a month after Arias killed Alexander on June 4.
"The photo of 'Travis Alexander's' and 'Travis', both written in the possessive form, will be relied on by our experts discussing the controlling nature of the relationship (between Alexander and Arias), the possessive nature of the relationship, and what that does to a woman," defense attorney Jennifer Willmott said Monday after the prosecution objected to the photos.
Prosecutor Juan Martinez asked Lonnie Dworkin, the computer forensic analyst testifying for the defense, whether he knew when the words were put on the shirt and panties. When Dworkin said he could not determine when they were created, Martinez suggested that could have been done after Alexander was killed.
The defense also showed items from Alexander's Internet search history from the early morning hours before he was killed, showing that he watched YouTube videos of scantily-clad women dancing to pop music and visited a proxy server, which covers one's IP address while surfing the Internet. The defense will try to prove that Alexander was obsessed with looking at sexual content on his computer.
"I recall there was some pornography on the computer," Dworkin told the court. "I don't recall specifically if there were women's breasts or other content."
Dworkin combed the hard drives and memory cards of computers and cameras owned by Arias and Alexander. He found images including the T-shirt and underwear, pictures of Arias hugging friends and a dog, and pictures of a penis that Alexander sent Arias on the Internet, according to his testimony.
The defense has spent the past week presenting evidence that Alexander kept up appearances of being a devout Mormon and a virgin in his social life, but had an erotic sex life with Arias that included sending her a lewd picture of himself, phone sex, anal sex, oral sex, and taking nude photos of one another in sexual positions.
She is expected to testify before the defense finishes presenting its case.
Arias could face the death penalty if convicted of murder, which prosecutors say was premeditated and extremely cruel in that she stabbed him 27 times, slashed his throat, and shot him twice in the head. They have also argued that she lied to investigators and friends about killing Alexander until she was cornered with a mountain of evidence proving that she did. She then said she killed him in self-defense, they argue.
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