Jodi Arias plans to tell the jury in her Arizona murder trial that the ex-boyfriend she has admitted to killing, Travis Alexander, was attracted to young boys. In a closed hearing this past Thursday, attorneys on both sides argued as to whether this testimony--that Arias walked in on Alexander committing lewd acts while looking at pictures of young boys--should be allowed. Judge Sherry Stephens of the Maricopa County Superior Court made the decision to allow the testimony, subsequently unsealing the transcript of Thursday's hearing. This would certainly help the defense in their attempts to paint Alexander as violent, but the fact that Arias has told multiple lies to authorities severely hurts her credibility as the only witness to these alleged acts.
Jodi Arias, 32, is charged with first-degree murder in the death of Travis Alexander, who was 30 years old when she killed him in June of 2008. She claims it was in self-defense, yet she stabbed him 27 times, shot him in the head twice and slit his throat. Her defense team has been working to establish Arias as a victim of past abuse in order to use the well-known Battered Woman Syndrome defense. They are also working to convince the jury that Alexander was controlling and used Arias as a sex object, and she was drawn to dysfunctional relationships due to her history of abuse and neglect. She could face the death penalty if this fails. The prosecution argues that Arias was obsessed with Alexander and killed him in a jealous rage.
Arias has previously claimed that Alexander was attracted to children, producing copies of letters she says that he wrote. Those letters were not admitted as evidence because they were not originals, and prosecutor Juan Martinez insisted that they were forgeries. As Arias first claimed not to have been present when Alexander was killed, and then claimed she witnessed his murder at the hands of an intruder before finally admitting to having killed him herself, her credibility is shot. Therefore, it will all come down to whether the jury believes she lied because she's a skittish mess who genuinely has been victimized, or because of what many consider to be obvious guilt. Comparisons have been made between Arias and Casey Anthony due to the persistent dishonesty. Arias has a better defense team than Anthony did, but she is still very likely to be convicted. The prosecution in the Anthony case was never able to tie Anthony to the crime scene, and due to Arias's admission that she killed Alexander, that's not an issue here.
Arias stated that the incident with the photographs occurred six months before she killed him, in January of 2008. A domestic violence expert testifying for the defense by phone stated that two incidences of domestic violence by Alexander occurred in that six month period, and Arias's knowledge of his unnatural attraction to children would have enhanced her level of terror at his controlling and dangerous ways. Martinez countered that Arias has been fudging details, and brought in two police investigators who say that they searched Alexander's home and found no evidence of pornography on his computer or anywhere in the house. Arias is expected to resume her testimony on Monday.
Photo: Alan Cleaver, Flickr