PHOENIX (AP) — Jodi Arias wept and looked away from jurors Thursday as the prosecutor in her murder trial concluded closing arguments by displaying a gruesome photo of the victim's back, covered in stab wounds, while describing her as a manipulative liar who meticulously planned the savage attack on her one-time boyfriend.
Prosecutor Juan Martinez pounded his hand on a table, raising his voice occasionally but largely speaking in an almost whisper-like tone.
He explained how Arias lied from the start and is still lying. He said she is hoping to fool the jury into believing she is the victim.
"That's what she wants you to believe," Martinez said, the photo of Travis Alexander's dead body displayed on a large screen behind him. "But actually, in reality, it's this," he said, motioning toward the autopsy picture.
Arias, 32, is charged with first-degree murder in Alexander's June 2008 death at his suburban Phoenix home. The case has become a tabloid and cable TV sensation with its graphic tales of sex and lies and has attracted spectators from around the country who line up as early as 2 a.m. for a chance to score a few open seats in the courtroom.
If convicted of first-degree murder, Arias faces a potential death sentence or life in prison. Jurors also have the option of finding her guilty of second-degree murder if they don't believe she planned the attack, but instead think it occurred in the heat of the moment. If convicted on that charge, she could face up to 25 years in prison. A manslaughter conviction carries a sentence of seven to 21 years.
The images displayed Thursday, one after another, of Alexander's decomposed body covered in stab wounds, of his bruised face with a gunshot wound above the forehead, of the bloody scene of the killing, were too much to look at for Alexander's friends and family members. They sobbed and buried their faces in their hands.
Gasps could be heard as Martinez displayed a photo of Alexander's deeply cut throat.
"This was a strike to kill, right at the neck," Martinez said.
Authorities say Arias planned the attack on Alexander after he wanted to end their relationship and prepared for a trip to Mexico with another woman. Arias initially denied any involvement then later blamed it on masked intruders. Two years after her arrest, she said she killed him in self-defense when he attacked her after a day of sex.
Defense lawyers will present their closing arguments Friday.
"This is an individual who will stop at nothing, and who will continue to be manipulative and will lie at every turn," Martinez told jurors.
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 of her and the victim from the day of the killing.
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