Defense witness: Arias is not a jealous stalker
PHOENIX (AP) – The prosecutor and defense attorney in Jodi Arias’ murder trial are presenting dueling portraits of the victim, that of a man who feared for his life as he tried to distance himself from her and a manipulative liar who courted multiple women while claiming to be a virgin, as Arias’ team works to build sympathy with jurors and the state tries to keep the focus on the killing and Arias’ lies.
Psychotherapist Alyce LaViolette has been testifying for more than a week about her conclusion that Arias was a victim of physical and emotional abuse by the victim.
Under heated questioning by prosecutor Juan Martinez this week, LaViolette acknowledged that Arias’ one-time boyfriend Travis Alexander had made comments to at least one person that he was “extremely afraid” of Arias as she stalked him while he pursued other relationships.
However, defense attorney Jennifer Willmott reminded LaViolette that after the couple’s breakup about a year before the killing, Alexander maintained contact with Arias, even inviting her to his home. LaViolette said she did not view this as the behavior of a man who feared for his life.
Arias says the killing was self-defense, and that on the day of Alexander’s death in June 2008 at his suburban Phoenix home, he attacked her and she was forced to fight for her life.
However, no other evidence – other than Arias’ accounts – have been presented at trial showing Alexander had ever been physically violent.
Authorities say Arias planned the attack in a fit of jealous rage after their breakup as Alexander saw other women. She initially denied involvement then blamed it on masked intruders. Two years after her arrest, she said it was self-defense.
She faces a possible death sentence if convicted of first-degree murder.
On Thursday, Willmott questioned LaViolette about the prosecution’s contention that Arias was jealous of Alexander’s relationships with other women, noting the defendant had begun to date other men and joined a Mormon singles website.
LaViolette said she saw no evidence of jealousy and noted that Arias had begun to “pull away.”
Willmott also noted how Alexander wrote in his journal about Arias’ decision to move from Arizona after their breakup, and how he described it would be “good for both of them.”
“Is there anything in his journals about him fearing her?” Willmott asked.
“No, there isn’t anything in his journals about him fearing her,” LaViolette replied.
Alexander was a Mormon and active in the church, even recruiting Arias to convert to the faith. He portrayed himself to be a virgin to many friends and family, while simultaneously courting multiple women for sexual relationships, a duplicity the defense has seized on throughout the trial.
“Are you aware that Mr. Alexander portrayed himself as a virgin?” Willmott asked.
“Yes,” LaViolette said.
“Is there deception there?” Willmott prodded.
“Yes,” the witness replied. “He’s leading a double life.”
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 photos of her and Alexander from the day of the killing.
The trial has dragged on for more than three months, often devolving into bizarre testimony about graphic sexual encounters and the tale of Snow White and whether she, too, was a domestic abuse victim, as the prosecutor worked to undermine LaViolette’s credibility.
The case has grown into a worldwide sensation as thousands of fans follow the trial via a live, unedited web feed. Twitter has blown up with comments, as spectators express their opinions from afar on everything from Arias’ wardrobe to Martinez’s angry demeanor, tweeting insults and praise for everyone involved. For its growing number of fans, the Arias trial has become a live daytime soap opera.
People have flown in from around the country for a chance to score just a few open public seats in the gallery each day, lining up early in the morning as they’re chosen on a first-come, first-served basis.
Arias also is purportedly making money off her notoriety, selling jail art work online through a personal website that also accepts donations. The website offers authenticity in the form of the following: “All pieces created after January 26, 2013 are authenticated with Jodi Arias’ right thumbprint.”
Her mother, Sandra Arias, said Thursday that the site is, indeed, Jodi’s. The money is being used to help pay for family expenses while attending the trial, she said.
Asked if the drawings are selling well, Sandra Arias replied, “Oh yeah.
She declined to discuss it further, and The Associated Press wasn’t immediately able to confirm the website’s authenticity. No law prevents Arias from profiting from her notoriety given she hasn’t been convicted of a crime.
The site claims to have sold several pieces, including a drawing of Frank Sinatra for $1,075.
One piece on the site, described as graphite on “acid-free archive paper” is being offered for $2,000, shipping included.
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