After listening to a month of sensational testimony about sex and violence and betrayal, Jodi Arias is now getting her chance to explain – in her own words and under oath – why her lover Travis Alexander had to die.
On the stand since Monday, the currently brunette murder defendant has worn glasses, a conservative blazer or casual khakis, appearing much more demure than the bikini-clad blonde in many photos she took with Alexander during their relationship.
But the testimony in the Arizona courtroom has been no less shocking as she has claimed how Alexander, a pious Mormon inspirational speaker in public, was, behind closed doors, a womanizer capable of being so abusive that she would kill him in self defense.
“He attacked me and I defended myself,” Arias told the jury on Monday.
She then went on to tell her life story including every romantic relationship leading to her meeting the victim at a Las Vegas conference in 2006.
Within two months, they became close enough that, around Thanksgiving, he prayed over her and dipped her in waist-deep water, baptizing her Mormon.
But that day felt far less special once they were alone together, Arias testified Wednesday. She said that Alexander had rough sex with her, leaving her in pain and feeling “like a used piece of toilet paper.”
Jurors have yet to hear Arias explain the events of June 4, 2008, when Arias allegedly stabbed Alexander 27 times, slashed his throat from ear to ear and shot him in the head with a .25 caliber pistol that she stole from her grandparents. Prosecutors contend Arias was angry and jealous after their breakup.
For much of her testimony, Arias has calmly looked back and forth between the jury and her defense attorney as she smiled and blushed about details of the relationship, speaking in a soft voice as her attorney repeatedly urged her to speak louder, and closer to the microphone. She looked down with a sad expression when asked to testify about the alleged post-baptism rough sex.
Among the evidence entered Wednesday: two graphic photographs of Alexander’s genitals that he allegedly texted to Arias’s phone earlier that November, amid a flurry of sexually provocative texts, before the two officially became boyfriend and girlfriend. Such graphic evidence was expected to continue through the week.
Arias testified that Alexander was alternately sexually aggressive and emotionally distant, and sold her on the belief that they were adhering to his Mormon vow of chastity by participating in various types of sex other than intercourse.
“I hate to put it this way, but I felt a little bit used,” said Arias.
Prosecutors have painted much different pictures of Alexander and Arias.
In opening statements, Deputy Maricopa County Attorney Juan Martinez characterized Alexander as a good and loving man.
He said that Arias “rewarded that love from Travis Alexander by sticking a knife in his chest.”