Jodi Arias was found guilty of the grisly premeditated first-degree murder of her ex-boyfriend Travis Alexander in June 2008. (Photo : myspace.com/jodiarias)
Since Jodi Arias' trial first began, we've heard all too much about the defendant from her own nearly endless testimony and the opinions of expert witnesses. But in a recently surfaced interrogation room video, we finally hear what Arias' parents have to say, and it doesn't help her case: they admit they think she "has mental problems."
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A 32-year-old photographer from California, Arias is charged with the grisly first-degree murder of her ex-boyfriend, Travis Alexander, in June 2008, when she stabbed the 30-year-old man 27 times, primarily in the back, shot him in the face, slit his throat from ear to ear with so much force it almost decapitated him, and left his bloodied corpse crumpled over in the bathroom shower of his home - all in the course of 106 seconds. Arias' guilt is not up for debate - but her mental state at the time of the killing is. Arias' future depends on whether the jury believes she killed Alexander in self-defense, as she contends, or was actually a jilted lover exacting jealous revenge, as the prosecution argues.
TV network HLN obtained footage earlier in the week of Mesa, Ariz. Police Homicide Detective Estaban Flores interviewing Arias' parents, William and Sandra, after she was arrested for murder. As Flores questions Sandra, she reveals that her daughter has always been a little unstable.
"Jodi has mental problems," Sandra says in the video. "Jodi would freak out all the time."
"I had quite a few of her friends call me and tell me that I needed to get her some help. One called me in the middle of the night and told me that she needed help," she adds.
William Arias echoes his wife's assessment of their daughter when questioned by Flores. He tells the detective that Arias "was a strange person ... after she left the house; she just kind of got a little strange."
Arias' lawyers are trying to establish her inherent need for self-defense against Alexander through a series of paid expert witnesses, trying to prove he fractured her mental state so badly that she now has post traumatic stress disorder, and currently questioning an expert on domestic abuse, psychotherapist Alyce LaViolette. The defense's assertion that Arias is a victim of domestic abuse is the crux of its argument at this point in the trial. If they can convince the jury she was physically and mentally abused, she could beat the murder charge against her. Meanwhile, prosecuting attorney Juan Martinez is determined to prove Arias' premeditation in Alexander's killing.
It's unclear just what mental problems Arias' parents are referring to in the video, but we've heard plenty about her contentious family relationship throughout the trial. She claimed her parents began beating her often around the age of 7-years-old, with the abuse intensifying over the years.
Earlier in the week, LaViolette testified that she had read "collateral data" from members of Arias' family and had learned that there was discipline in her family that she believed "went over the line."
"They were hit with spoons ... Jodi's father was controlling and manipulative and made derogatory statements," LaViolette said.
According to LaViolette's research, she said that Arias' father made "sexually inappropriate comments" to Arias while she lived at home.
LaViolette added that Arias also would have altercations with her mother, saying they had an often heated relationship.
"She does have issues with her mother," LaViolette said.
"She's angry at her mother because her mother did not protect her from her father," she said.
The trial resumes Monday at 12:30 p.m. EST with more testimony from LaViolette.