Jodi Arias is charged with the grisly first-degree murder of her ex-boyfriend, Travis Alexander, in June 2008. (Photo : Reuters)
Jodi Arias was trapped in a domestically abusive relationship with ex-boyfriend Travis Alexander, expert witness for the defense Alyce LaViolette testified in court Wednesday.
(See live stream below)
Arias' lawyers continued to try to establish her inherent need for self-defense against Alexander by focussing on her tales of physical and verbal abuse in the relationship with paid expert witnesses on domestic abuse, psychotherapist LaViolette.
A 32-year-old photographer from California, Arias is charged with the grisly first-degree murder of her ex-boyfriend, 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.
Alexander and LaViolette never met, but you wouldn't gather that from hearing her testimony. She's read through numerous text messages, emails and listened to phone conversations Arias recorded between the two. LaViolette continued to offer her interpretations of the relationship based on her readings of the case files, 40 hours of interviews with Arias, and journal entries written by Arias. She said that Arias and Alexander were clearly in a domestically abusive relationship, citing two of Arias' stories of physical abuse as evidence.
LaViolette testified that in January 2008 Arias had spent some time with Alexander and he gave her a gift. Arias forgot the present, and had to return later to pick it back up.
"When she came back, she found him masturbating to a picture of a little boy," LaViolette said.
LaViolette said Arias and Alexander got into an intense argument the next day over her refusal to loan him money.
"He calls her selfish and throws her to the floor ... he kicks her finger and breaks it," LaViolette said.
This story of Arias' allegedly broken finger has been a focal point of the defense's narrative of Alexander as a sadistic, abusive sociopath.
Alexander put a splint on Arias' finger, and she never went to the hospital, LaViolette said.
"There's not a lot of record of medical or police calls in domestic violence cases ... people don't call the police because they don't want their partner arrested," she testified.
The next act of abuse happened in March 2008 at the time Arias informed Alexander she was moving back to California. The news incensed Alexander and he struck Arias, LaViolette said.
Jennifer Willmott, Arias' lawyer, noted that Arias never wrote of the occurrences of abuse in her journal. LaViolette said she wasn't surprised; that was "consistent" with a promise Arias had made with Alexander that she would not say "negative" things about him in her journal, she said.
Arias testified earlier in the trial that she never wrote of Alexander's alleged abuse or pedophilia in her journal partly because she was afraid he'd read the entires, but also because of her devotion to the "law of attraction." She said she believed thinking positive thoughts would inspire positive changes in her life, and negative thoughts would attract negativity.
Arias' accusations of pedophilia are an integral piece of the defense's portrait of Alexander as a "sexual deviant."
Attempting to contradict Arias' portrayal of Alexander earlier in the trial, prosecutor Juan Martinez brought up a diary entry from two days after the pedophilia incident allegedly took place, in which she wrote, "I haven't written because there has been nothing noteworthy to report," according to The Huffington Post.
Martinez also pointed out that text messages showing Alexander and Arias arranging a meet up to trade cars around the exact same time mention nothing of the incident and don't carry any kind of tone indicating she was upset.
The trial was cut short Wednesday following the afternoon recess. Judge Sherry Stephens informed the court room that LaViolette was not feeling well enough to continue for the day.
Arias faces the death penalty if convicted. The trial resumes with more testimony from LaViolette Thursday at 12:30 p.m. EST.