Prosecutors seek death penalty in Arias trial

FOX 10'S STEVE KRAFFT TWEETS FROM THE ARIAS TRIAL

Prosecutors seek death penalty in Arias trial

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Jodi Arias, Jan. 2, 2013 Jodi Arias, Jan. 2, 2013
PHOENIX -

After years of delay, the trial for Jodi Arias is underway.

Prosecutors say back in 2008, Arias killed 30-year-old Travis Alexander, a devout Mormon and motivational speaker -- and her on-again-off-again boyfriend.

She allegedly shot him in the face, stabbed him 27 times, then slit his throat while he was showering.  Five days later, his body was found.

Arias' story changed several times over the years.  Originally, she blamed intruders for his death, but later claimed Alexander was abusive and that she killed him in self-defense.

Wednesday, Jodi Arias sat quietly in court, rarely glancing over at the jurors, as prosecutors labeled her a vengeful and cold blooded killer.

"This is not a case of whodunit. The person who did this killing sits in court today and it is the defendant Jodi Ann Arias," said prosecutor Juan Martinez.

Prosecutors say Arias killed Alexander after learning he was taking another girlfriend to Mexico instead of her.

"This love, well she rewarded that love for Travis Victor Alexander by sticking a knife in his chest. And he was a good man, well she slit his throat as a reward for being a good man," said Martinez.

"Mr. Alexander did not die calmly. He fought. There was a stab to the heart area, his throat was slit from ear to ear... he did not need that shot to the head but she had a gun. She put that bullet right in his temple."

But defense attorneys painted a very different picture, portraying Arias as a victim of domestic violence. They contended Travis Alexander claimed to be a chaste Mormon, but he hid a dark secret -- a sexual deviant with an explosive temper.

Defense attorney Jennifer Willmott told the jury Arias killed Alexander in self-defense after a long, manipulative and abusive relationship.

"Had Jodi not been forced to defend herself, none of us would be here. In that one minute, had Jodi not chosen to defend herself she would not be here," she said. "Jodi believed Travis was going to kill her, he threatened to kill her, and given her experience with him she had no reason to not believe him."

Arias' defense left jurors with an image of a T-shirt Alexander had made: it said "Travis Alexander's" -- to show Arias was "his property."

Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.  If convicted, 32-year-old Arias would be the fourth woman on Arizona's death row.

The prosecution's first witness was a woman from the LDS church that Travis Alexander dated. The trial continues Thursday.

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