Prosecutor in Arias trial says victim was afraid
PHOENIX (AP) – The one-time boyfriend Jodi Arias has admitted killing was “extremely afraid” of her before his death as she stalked him while he pursued other relationships, the prosecutor in her murder trial said Wednesday, attempting to discredit a defense witness who says Arias suffered domestic abuse.
Psychotherapist Alyce LaViolette has been testifying for more than a week about her conclusion that Arias was a victim of both physical and emotional abuse.
Arias says the killing was self-defense, and that on the day of Travis 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. 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.
“Isn’t it true that Mr. Alexander was extremely afraid of the defendant Jodi Arias based on her stalking behavior?” prosecutor Juan Martinez asked LaViolette on Wednesday.
The witness has repeatedly dodged Martinez’s yes or no questions under cross-examination, explaining that he has been mischaracterizing her work.
After repeated questioning, LaViolette conceded.
“He was afraid of her, yes,” she replied.
Martinez has been using electronic communications between Alexander and another woman to illustrate his fear. The prosecutor said in the exchange, Alexander says Arias has been stalking him.
Martinez reminded the witness of an instance after Arias and the victim had ended their formal dating relationship when the defendant came over to Alexander’s home and peered in a back window. She saw Alexander “making out” on the couch with a woman.
“Isn’t this stalking behavior,” Martinez prodded.
“No,” LaViolette replied.
Arias has said she continued a sexual relationship with the victim for months after their official breakup in June 2007.
Martinez also informed LaViolette of previous testimony from one of Alexander’s friends that the victim wanted Arias to move away from Arizona after the breakup. Arias has said she broke it off, and that Alexander grew abusive.
“I just don’t see stalking behavior,” LaViolette insisted.
Arias has also said that a few months before the killing, she walked in on Alexander masturbating to photographs of young boys, yet there is no evidence to support her allegation.
Martinez pointed out how she continued to see Alexander for sex afterward and makes no mention of the incident in her detailed journals as he questioned whether it ever occurred.
“The journal doesn’t make mention of anything about this incident, does it?” he asked.
“No, it does not,” LaViolette replied.
“Other than the defendant’s word, you really don’t have anything that corroborates … this allegation of child pornography, do you?” Martinez asked.
“No, I do not,” LaViolette said.
Martinez is working to show that Arias is still lying in an attempt to discredit the witness’s evaluation, which LaViolette has said was based in part on interviews with the defendant.
“Is there anywhere in the journals that you have seen where there’s any indication whatsoever that Mr. Alexander physically hurt the defendant?” he asked.
“Most of the time, you have nothing more than someone’s words,” LaViolette said.
Later, defense attorney Jennifer Willmott reminded LaViolette that after the breakup, Alexander maintained contact with Arias, even inviting her to his home.
In January 2008, about five months before the killing, Willmott noted Alexander told Arias he loved her in a text message.
“Is that in any way behavior that supports him being afraid of her?” Willmott asked.
“Not that I can figure out,” LaViolette said.
In fact, Willmott noted, Arias went to Alexander’s home on the day of his death “at his beckoning.”
“The fact that he would fall asleep and allow someone who he’s supposedly afraid of to sleep next to him, is that typical behavior” of someone who is fearful? Willmott asked.
“No,” LaViolette said.
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.
Arias said she recalls Alexander attacking her after a day of sex. She said she ran into his closet to retrieve his gun 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. She said she was too scared and ashamed to tell the truth then but insists she isn’t lying now.
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