PHOENIX (AP) — A woman charged with killing her lover in his Arizona home after a lust-filled day of sex and raunchy photographs told jurors Monday that she once awoke from sleeping in his bed to find the victim having sex with her.
Jodi Arias, 32, faces the death penalty if convicted of first-degree murder in the killing of Travis Alexander in June 2008.
Arias has testified about the couple's volatile relationship and his abusiveness and emotional detachment. Prosecutors claim Arias killed Alexander in a jealous rage, stabbing and slashing him 27 times, slitting his throat and shooting him in the head.
Arias says it was self-defense after initially telling authorities she wasn't there. She then blamed it on masked intruders. She now claims Alexander attacked her, forcing her to fight for her life.
In testimony last week, Arias recounted her troubled childhood marred by abuse at the hands of her parents and a string of bad relationships. She later described for jurors how Alexander made repeated sexual advances while converting her into the Mormon faith during their initial courtship.
On Monday, she described an encounter with Alexander in May 2007, when she was sleeping in his bed and awoke to find him having sex with her.
She said she didn't tell him to stop but the sex made her uncomfortable because she felt it violated the teachings of the Mormon church, which discourages sex before marriage.
Defense attorney Kirk Nurmi asked why she felt the sex while she slept was OK.
"I felt like I was partially responsible because I went to sleep next to him. I was wearing a T-shirt, cute shorts," Arias said.
She said she continued their relationship, even while believing he was cheating on her because she had low "self-esteem."
"I was kind of a door mat," she said, adding that she finally ended their relationship in June 2007, and that Alexander called her the next day for phone sex, and promised he would change.
Julie Haslem, a friend of Alexander who has been watching the trial, said Arias' testimony that Alexander was abusive is false.
"It's bad enough that she took his life. Now she's trying to take his reputation, too," Haslem said outside court.
Alexander, a Mormon, persuaded Arias to become a member of the church and performed her baptism in late 2006, she said.
She said she first met him in Las Vegas in late 2006, and that they stayed together for about five months, then broke up but continued to see each other for sex.
Arias claims she went to Alexander's home on June 4, 2008, the day of the killing, at his urging, and that he had hired her to clean his house twice a week, but wanted her to wear a French maid's outfit.
Alexander's friends said she stalked him and became possessive and jealous.
Authorities said they found Arias' hair and bloody palm print at the scene, along with time-stamped photographs in a camera discovered inside Alexander's washing machine.
The photos included one of Arias nude on his bed, one of Alexander lying down, and one of his body crumpled on the floor of his shower — all taken the day he died. Authorities also say Alexander was shot in the head with a .25 caliber gun, the same caliber Arias' grandparents reported stolen from their Northern California home.