(PHOENIX) — Accused murderer Jodi Arias was kept away from the Mormon friends of her lover Travis Alexander and their torrid sex affair was kept secret by Alexander, even as he sent lewd photos of himself to her online, according to court testimony Thursday.
The testimony in Arias’ trial for killing Alexander in 2008 was intended to bolster the defense’s argument that she killed him in self-defense, that Alexander was a sexual deviant who treated Arias as his “dirty little secret.”
Arias’ attorneys introduced as evidence photos that Alexander took of his genitals and sent to Arias, part of a string of graphic messages and sexual phone calls the two engaged in while Alexander, an elder in the Mormon church, was supposed to be chaste.
Thursday’s witness was the latest in a string called by the defense, including Alexander’s former girlfriend Lisa Daidone, who told the court that Alexander had professed to be a virgin.
Daniel Freeman continued his testimony Thursday, describing how he was a friend of both Arias and Alexander but that Alexander kept Arias distanced from his Mormon pals.
“Travis had made more friends at [the Mormon] ward, and had [Ultimate Fighting Championship] fight nights at his house many times, and Jodi was in town, but she wasn’t there,” Freeman said.
“There was that group of friends, them and Jodi, two different groups, and so Lisa [Daidone] and friends from church were there, but Jodi wasn’t there,” Freeman said.
Alexander’s behavior, the defense hopes to prove, shows that he mistreated Arias.
Arias, 32, is on trial for murdering Alexander, whom she dated for a year and continued to have a sexual relationship with for a year after that. Her attorneys claim that Alexander was abusive and controlling toward Arias, and that she was forced to kill him.
Freeman described how he took a trip with his sister, Alexander, and Arias, and how Alexander had asked him to come along so that he and Arias “would not get physical.”
“I don’t know that I can say he didn’t want to be alone with her, but he liked that when I was there, and my sister was there. They weren’t as physical,” Freeman said.
Freeman admitted that he had no idea Alexander and Arias had been having a sexual relationship the entire time they were together. He said Alexander never mentioned that to his friends.
In fact, Freeman noted that Alexander was considered to be a church elder when he baptized Arias into the Church of Latter-Day Saints. Both a church elder and a convert were expected to abide by the church’s strict law of chastity, which banned any sexual relations outside of marriage.
“One thing people give up in this baptism process was sex,” prosecutor Juan Martinez said. “Did you know she was having oral sex with Mr. Alexander at the time of her baptism? Would that be an insincere baptism?”
“She would not be ready to be baptized in that case,” Freeman said.
“You were asked about Miss Arias, whether she was worthy of baptism if she was performing oral sex, but what about the elder receiving oral sex?” defense attorney Kirk Nurmi said.
“They would not be worthy of performing that ordinance at that time until they had gone through repentance,” Freeman said. “They would go to a discipline council and could face excommunication or a probation period or have their priesthood removed.”
Freeman said that Alexander never confessed to having a sexual relationship with Arias.
Freeman’s testimony came on the third day of the defense’s attempt to paint Alexander as a controlling, sex-obsessed liar who was cruel to Arias. Other witnesses have said that Alexander cheated on other women he dated with Arias, and lied to his friends and family about their relationship.
The defense also had Freeman point out that Alexander was strong and fit. They are expected to conclude that Alexander was physically threatening Arias when she killed him.
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Matt McFarland, CNN
Julia Horowitz, CNN
Ralph Ellis and Chuck Johnston, CNN