Tuesday, February 26, 2013 7:26 pm
Arias faces intense questioning from prosecutor
By BRIAN SKOLOFFAssociated Press
Arias has testified for 11 days about how her one-time lover, Travis Alexander, was a controlling, abusive man who persuaded her to perform raunchy sex acts, beat her, once choked her into unconsciousness and constantly berated her, calling her a "whore" and other names.
Yet prosecutor Juan Martinez noted Tuesday how she told authorities, media, friends and family that Alexander was a great person who treated her well, pointing out text messages she sent him just months before she killed him - she says in self-defense.
"Travis, I thank you for being such an amazing friend. You are a rock, a light and an inspiration," Arias wrote. "I love you dearly."
Martinez remarked how these messages were sent after Arias says Alexander had been physically abusive on numerous occasions.
"This is not in line with the person you have been talking about, is it?" Martinez prodded.
"Yes, it is very consistent with how he was," Arias replied.
"You've been telling us before how he was mean?" Martinez remarked.
"Yes, he also was that," Arias said softly.
She is set to resume testimony Wednesday.
Martinez questioned Arias repeatedly over her numerous lies throughout the investigation. She first told authorities, friends and family that she had nothing to do with Alexander's death. She later blamed it on masked intruders before settling on self-defense.
Arias even sent flowers to the victim's grandmother after she killed him, expressing sympathy for her loss, and attended his memorial service about 10 days after his death. She previously testified she had been working on an alibi to throw off suspicion and avoid being charged, and she was too scared and ashamed to tell the truth.
At the service, Arias wrote in an album for Alexander's family how he was "beautiful on the inside and out."
"This world has been blessed because you have been here," she wrote.
Testimony at times Tuesday turned into a one-sided shouting match between Arias and Martinez over memory problems, with Arias saying his aggressive demeanor and posture was causing her to forget crucial details or provide concise answers.
"I'm not having a problem telling the truth," Arias said softly.
"But you are having a problem answering my questions, right?" Martinez snapped back.
Arias said the prosecutor's anger was confusing her.
In stark contrast to her testimony under questioning by her own lawyers, during which she alternated between poise and tears and recalled precise details of practically her entire life dating back years, Arias recalls virtually nothing under questioning by Martinez.
She often responds to his questions by saying, "sure," to which Martinez loudly snaps backs that he is looking for a yes or no answer.
The barbs have led to numerous private conferences between attorneys and the judge as defense lawyers repeatedly object to Martinez's aggressiveness, accusing him of badgering the witness.
Arias is charged in the June 2008 death of Alexander in his suburban Phoenix home. She says she dated him for about five months before breaking up but continued to see him for sex up until the day she killed him. She says she was forced to fight for her life after Alexander attacked her, but police say she planned the attack in a jealous rage. Testimony began in early January.
Arias has said Alexander invited her to his Mesa home on the day of the killing for sex. His body was found about five days later. He had been shot in the head, suffered 27 stab and slash wounds and his throat was slit.
Of the day of Alexander's death, Arias says he was in a rage, body slamming her and chasing her around his home. She said she grabbed a gun from his closet, and fired it as they tussled, but doesn't recall stabbing him. She says she remembers putting a knife in the dishwasher and disposing of the gun in the desert as she drove from Arizona to see a man in Utah, where she spent the night in his bed kissing and cuddling as she worked to create an alibi and avoid suspicion.
Arias' grandparents reported a .25 caliber handgun stolen from their Northern California house about a week before the killing - the same caliber used to shoot Alexander - but Arias says she knows nothing about the burglary. She says she brought no weapons to Alexander's home on the day she killed him, undercutting the prosecution's theory of premeditation.