Defense rests case in Jodi Arias murder trial

Published on NewsOK Modified: April 16, 2013 at 7:51 pm •  Published: April 16, 2013
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PHOENIX (AP) — Defense attorneys in Jodi Arias' murder trial rested their case Tuesday after about 2 1/2 months of testimony aimed at portraying the defendant as a domestic violence victim who was forced to fight for her life on the day she killed her one-time boyfriend.

The trial is expected to continue at least several more weeks before jurors begin deliberations. Testimony in the trial began in early January with the prosecutor making quick work of the state's case, concluding in less than two weeks. Defense attorneys began their case Jan. 29 and concluded a dramatic run of witnesses with a simple, soft-spoken sentence.

"At this point, the defense rests," attorney Kirk Nurmi told the judge Tuesday morning.

Arias faces a possible death sentence if convicted of first-degree murder in the June 2008 killing of Travis Alexander in his suburban Phoenix home.

Authorities say she planned the attack in a jealous rage. Arias initially denied involvement then blamed it on masked intruders. Two years after her arrest, she said it was self-defense.

Arias testified she was taking pictures of Alexander in the shower after a day of sex when she dropped his camera and he became enraged, forcing her to defend herself.

Alexander suffered nearly 30 knife wounds, was shot in the head and had his throat slit. Arias' palm print was found in blood at the scene, along with nude photos in the camera of her and the victim from the day of the killing that authorities say Arias tried to delete.

Arias said she recalls Alexander attacking her in a fury. She said she ran into his closet to retrieve a gun he kept on a shelf and fired in self-defense but has no memory of stabbing him.

She acknowledged trying to clean the scene, dumping the gun in the desert and working on an alibi, even attending a memorial service for Alexander and sending his family flowers before her arrest.

Arias' grandparents reported a .25-caliber handgun stolen from their Northern California home about a week before Alexander's death — the same caliber used to shoot him — but Arias said she didn't take it. Authorities believe she brought it with her to kill the victim.

Later Tuesday, Martinez called to the witness stand a state-hired clinical psychologist who evaluated Arias. With her testimony, the prosecutor tried to discredit two defense witnesses — one who diagnosed Arias with post-traumatic stress disorder and amnesia and another who said the defendant suffers from battered woman's syndrome.

Martinez accused both defense witnesses of shoddy, biased work.

Clinical psychologist Janeen DeMarte addressed the more than 40 hours the defense's domestic violence witness — psychotherapist Alyce LaViolette — spent interviewing Arias in jail, explaining that amount of time was extreme to come to a diagnosis.

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