Psychotherapist back on stand in Arias trial
PHOENIX (AP) – A psychotherapist was back on the witness stand Friday in the trial of a woman accused of killing her lover at his suburban Phoenix home.
Jurors had roughly 100 questions for psychotherapist Alyce LaViolette on Thursday.
LaViolette, a defense witness, has been testifying for more than a week about her conclusion that Jodi Arias was a victim of abuse at the hands of Travis Alexander in the months before his 2008 death.
Arizona is among a few states where jurors have the legal right to pose questions to witnesses through queries read by the judge.
The questions have ranged from how the witness can know that Arias isn’t lying to queries about Arias’ childhood and her claims that the victim abused her.
Arias, 32, faces a potential death sentence if convicted of first-degree murder.
Alexander suffered nearly 30 knife wounds, was shot in the head and had his throat slit at his suburban Phoenix home. Arias’ palm print was found in blood at the scene, along with nude photos of her and Alexander from the day of the killing.
Arias claims it was self-defense, but authorities say she planned the attack on her lover.
The prosecutor and defense attorney in the case have been presenting dueling portraits of Alexander, that of a man who feared for his life as he tried to distance himself from Arias and a manipulative liar who courted multiple women while claiming to be a virgin.
No evidence – other than Arias’ accounts – has been presented at trial showing Alexander, 30, had ever been physically violent.
Authorities say Arias planned the attack in a jealous rage. She initially denied involvement then blamed it on masked intruders. Two years after her arrest, she said it was self-defense.
The trial has dragged on for more than three months, and has at times devolved into bizarre testimony about graphic sexual encounters and fairy tales.
The case has grown into a worldwide sensation as thousands follow the trial via a live, unedited Web feed. Twitter has been full of comments, as spectators express their opinions on everything from Arias’ wardrobe to Martinez’s angry demeanor. For its fans, the Arias trial has become a live daytime soap opera.
“I just got caught up in all of it,” said Kathy Brown, 49, who is a regular attendee.
She said she has a cousin on death row, and started coming to watch the trial out of curiosity.
“It’s just interesting and fascinating,” Brown said.
A few weeks ago, as several dozen trial fans gathered outside the courthouse, Brown approached prosecutor Juan Martinez and had him autograph her cane.
“I just love watching him,” she said. “I love the passion he has.”
In fact, people have flown in from around the country for a chance to score a seat in the gallery, lining up in the morning as they’re chosen on a first-come, first-served basis.
Meanwhile, it appears Arias is profiting from the notoriety she has received since killing her one-time boyfriend, selling drawings from jail on a website operated by a third party.
The website, which also accepts donations, purports to offer her original art work, noting 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 the site is indeed Jodi’s and the money is being used to help pay for family expenses while attending the trial.
No law prevents Arias from profiting from her notoriety given she hasn’t been convicted of a crime.
Sgt. Brandon Jones of the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office said inmates aren’t allowed to sell items while incarcerated and don’t have access to computers.
However, Jones added Arias has access to pencils and paper and there’s nothing to prevent her from using a third party to sell her work.
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