PHOENIX (AP) — The prosecutor in Jodi Arias’ murder trial made quick work of his rebuttals Tuesday in an attempt to discredit defense witnesses.
Arias faces a potential death sentence if convicted of first-degree murder in the June 2008 killing of her one-time boyfriend at his suburban Phoenix home. Authorities say she planned the attack on Travis Alexander in a jealous rage. Arias initially denied involvement then blamed it on masked intruders. Two years after her arrest, she said it was self-defense.
Throughout the nearly 2 ½ months of defense testimony, Arias’ lawyers have worked to portray her as a victim of physical and emotional abuse by Alexander. Arias claims her lover had grown so abusive in the months leading to his death, once choking her into unconsciousness, that on the day she killed him, she feared for her life.
Prosecutor Juan Martinez called to the witness stand Tuesday a former girlfriend of Alexander, who testified he had never been violent with her. No other testimony — other than Arias’ own account — throughout the trial has supported the defendant’s claims.
“Would he ever call you names?” Martinez asked the witness.
“No he did not,” Deanna Reed replied.
“Did he ever strike you or physically advance on you or inflict any physical violence on you?” Martinez asked.
“No, never,” Reed 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 nude photos of her and the victim from the day of the killing.
Arias said she recalls Alexander attacking her in a fury after a day of sex. She said she ran into his closet to retrieve a gun he kept on a shelf and fired in self-defense but has no memory of stabbing him.
Arias’ grandparents reported a .25-caliber handgun stolen from their Northern California home about a week before the killing — the same caliber used to shoot Alexander — but Arias said she didn’t take it. Authorities believe she brought it with her to kill the victim. There has been no evidence or testimony at trial supporting Arias’ claim that Alexander ever owned a gun.
Arias has acknowledged trying to clean the scene of the killing, dumping the gun in the desert and working on an alibi, even attending a memorial service for Alexander and sending his family flowers before her arrest. She said she was too scared to tell the truth then but insists she isn’t lying now.
Last week, a prosecution witness explained how she diagnosed Arias with borderline personality disorder.
Clinical psychologist Janeen DeMarte also testified that Arias doesn’t suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder or amnesia. A defense expert had testified previously that Arias suffers from the conditions, which explains why she can’t recall much from the day she killed Alexander. Another defense expert testified that Arias was a battered woman, yet DeMarte said she found no evidence to support that conclusion.
Martinez has several more rebuttal witnesses ahead of closing arguments which could come next week.
Brian Skoloff can be followed at https://twitter.com/bskoloff