She acknowledged trying to clean the scene of the killing, dumping the gun in the desert and working on an alibi to avoid suspicion. She said she was too scared and ashamed to tell the truth. However, none of Arias' allegations that Alexander had physically abused her in the months before his death, that he owned a gun and had sexual desires for young boys, were corroborated by witnesses or evidence during the trial. She acknowledged lying repeatedly before and after her arrest but insisted she was telling the truth in court.
Arias spent 18 days on the witness stand describing an abusive childhood, cheating boyfriends, dead-end jobs, a shocking sexual relationship with Alexander, and her contention that he had grown physically violent.
Psychologist Richard Samuels testified for the defense that Arias suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and dissociative amnesia, which explained why she couldn't recall much from the day of the killing. Another defense witness, psychotherapist Alyce LaViolette, concluded that Arias was a battered woman.
Their testimony was crucial and aimed at convincing jurors that, one, Arias wasn't lying about her memory gaps from the day of the killing, and two, that she did suffer physical abuse by Alexander. Defense attorneys had to get jurors to believe that despite no evidence of Alexander ever having been violent in the past, he had attacked Arias on several occasions, and did so again on the day of his death.
After all, there was no dispute that Arias killed Alexander.
It was the first thing Arias' defense acknowledged as the trial began.
"Jodi Arias killed Travis Alexander," Arias attorney Jennifer Willmott told jurors in opening statements. "There is no question about it. The million-dollar question is what would have forced her to do it?"
Martinez worked feverishly to attack the credibility of the defense experts, accusing them of having sympathy for Arias and offering biased opinions.
Aside from her lies, Arias had another formidable obstacle to overcome.
Her grandparents had reported a .25-caliber handgun stolen from their Northern California home about a week before Alexander's death — the same caliber used to shoot him — but Arias insisted she didn't take it. Authorities believe she brought it with her to kill him. The coincidence of the same caliber gun stolen from the home also being used to shoot Alexander was never resolved.
Meanwhile, the entire case devolved into a circus-like spectacle attracting dozens of enthusiast each day to the courthouse as they lined up for a chance to score just a few open public seats in the gallery. One trial regular sold her spot in line to another person for $200. Both got reprimands from the court, and the money was returned.
Many people also gathered outside after trial for a chance to see Martinez, who had gained celebrity-like status for his firebrand tactics and unapologetically intimidating style of cross-examining defense witnesses.
The case grew into a worldwide sensation as thousands followed the trial via a live, unedited Web feed. Twitter filled with comments as spectators expressed their opinions on everything from Arias' wardrobe to Martinez's angry demeanor. For its fans, the Arias trial became a live daytime soap opera.
Adding to the spectacle, Arias sold drawings from jail throughout the trial on a website operated by a third party, Arias' mother said. According to the site, some pieces were fetching more than $1,000, and Sandra Arias said the money was being used to help pay for family expenses. Nothing prevented Jodi Arias from profiting from her notoriety given she hadn't been convicted of a crime.
Brian Skoloff can be followed at https://twitter.com/bskoloff
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