Defendant Jodi Arias, right, talks to her attorney, Jennifer Wilmott during her trial at Maricopa County Superior Court in Phoenix on Thursday, April 11, 2013. Arias is on trial for the killing of her boyfriend, Travis Alexander, in 2008. Arias faces a possible death sentence if convicted of first-degree murder. (AP Photo/The Arizona Republic, David Wallace, Pool)
Thursday, April 11, 2013 9:23 pm
Arias sells art for money, profits from notoriety
By BRIAN SKOLOFFAssociated Press
The website, which also accepts donations, purports to offer her original art work, noting authenticity in the form of the following: "All pieces created after January 26, 2013 are authenticated with Jodi Arias' right thumbprint."
Her mother, Sandra Arias, said the site is, indeed, Jodi's. The money is being used to help pay for family expenses while attending the trial, she said Thursday.
Asked if the drawings are selling well, Sandra Arias replied, "Oh yeah.
She declined to discuss it further. The Associated Press was unable to confirm the third party.
The site claims to have sold several pieces, including a drawing of Frank Sinatra for $1,075. One piece is being offered for $2,000, shipping included.
No law prevents Arias from profiting from her notoriety given she hasn't been convicted of a crime.
Sgt. Brandon Jones of the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office said inmates aren't allowed to sell items while incarcerated and don't have access to computers.
However, Jones added, she has access to pencils and paper and there is nothing to prevent Arias from using a third party to sell her work.
"She could draw those pictures, but I can't tell you whether they are truly hers or whether this is someone trying to make money off her," Jones said.
He also said the sheriff's office just learned of a Twitter account bearing Arias' name and is examining its options for confronting the situation.
"This doesn't sit well with us," Jones said.
A woman in the gallery says she is tweeting on Arias' behalf. The comments are often attacks on the prosecutor and cable TV pundits who expound on the trial daily. The Associated Press, however, has not confirmed the authenticity of the Arias Twitter account.
"She'll call and say `I have a quote.' We'll talk about it. Sometimes she says `let's tweet.' And then she'll say `no let's not do it,'" Donavan Bering told Fox affiliate KSAZ in Phoenix.
"I think it's a way of her getting out her frustration, because she doesn't have a chance to say much," said Donavan, who claims she is operating Arias' Twitter page.
The trial has dragged on for more than three months, and has at times devolved into bizarre testimony about graphic sexual encounters and fairy tales.
The case has grown into a worldwide sensation as thousands follow the trial via a live, unedited web feed. Twitter has blown up with comments, as spectators express their opinions on everything from Arias' wardrobe to Martinez's angry demeanor. For its fans, the Arias trial has become a live daytime soap opera.
"I just got caught up in all of it," said Kathy Brown, 49, who is a regular attendee.
She said she has a cousin on death row, and started coming to watch the trial out of curiosity.
"It's just interesting and fascinating," Brown said Thursday.
A few weeks ago, as several dozen trial fans gathered outside the courthouse, Brown approached prosecutor Juan Martinez and had him autograph her cane.
"I just love watching him," she said. "I love the passion he has."
In fact, people have flown in from around the country for a chance to score a seat in the gallery, lining up in the morning as they're chosen on a first-come, first-served basis.
Meanwhile, the prosecutor and defense attorney have been presenting dueling portraits of the victim, that of a man who feared for his life as he tried to distance himself from Arias and a manipulative liar who courted multiple women while claiming to be a virgin.
Arias says the killing was self-defense, and that on the day of Travis Alexander's death in June 2008 at his suburban Phoenix home, he attacked her and she was forced to fight for her life.
However, no evidence - other than Arias' accounts - has been presented at trial showing Alexander had ever been physically violent.
Authorities say Arias planned the attack in a jealous rage. She initially denied involvement then blamed it on masked intruders. Two years after her arrest, she said it was self-defense.
She faces a possible death sentence if convicted of first-degree murder.
Psychotherapist Alyce LaViolette has been testifying for more than a week about her conclusion that Arias was a victim of abuse by Alexander in the months before his death.
Jurors posed about 100 questions to LaViolette on Thursday, something allowed in Arizona criminal trials as the queries are read aloud by the judge.
The questions ranged from how the witness can know that Arias isn't lying to queries about Arias' claims that the victim abused her.
LaViolette returns to the witness stand Friday for more juror questions.
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 Alexander from the day of the killing.
Brian Skoloff can be followed on Twitter at https://twitter.com/bskoloff .
Associated Press writer Jacques Billeaud contributed to this report.