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Jodi Arias Shocking Death Penalty Trial Testimony, Alleges Horrific Childhood Abuse, Claims Victim Attacked Her

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Feb. 4 2013, Published 4:20 p.m. ET

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Jodi Arias will be back on the witness stand Tuesday morning in a Phoenix, Arizona courtroom after describing to the jury on Monday an upbringing filled with physical and emotional violence and admitting that she did in fact kill her lover Travis Alexander, although she claims it was in self-defense.

“Yes I did,” Arias said when asked if she killed Alexander. When questioned why, she said, “the simple reason is he attacked me.”

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She then explained controversial comments she made during an interview with the TV show Inside Edition, in which she vowed that no jury would convict her, contending she was suicidal at the time.

“I would have been thrown into a padded cell and stripped down…I was very confident no jury would convict me because I was going to be dead,” she testified.

Speaking softly, Arias went on to allege that her father and mother beat her for years until she dropped out of high school and left home, shortly before her 18th birthday.

As previously reported, Alexander was killed on June 4, 2008, after Arias stabbed him 27 times, slit his throat and shot him in the face. Her lawyers contend Arias acted in self defense and have painted the devout Mormon as controlling and abusive, and claim he was living a secret double life - he dated Arias, and then continued to have sex with her after they broke up, violating the rules of his religion, they maintain.

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Arias took the stand shortly after 4 p.m. EST in a move that shocked many, and her defense team methodically guided her into telling a story of a childhood so violent that her father once allegedly knocked her unconscious by pushing her into a door frame.

“He would shove me into furniture…piano, desk…one time I hit a door post,” Arias testified. “The side of my face hit a doorpost and knocked me out. I remember waking up and my mother was telling him to be careful.” She said, claiming she was 17 years old at the time.

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Her mother was also violent and abusive, Arias alleged.

“My mother carried a wooden spoon in her purse,” she testified, adding her mother hit her and her brother, leaving welts. She also said her father - a man so strong he could bench press 525 pounds - hit her with a belt from age 7.

She quietly described one incident where her father allegedly hit her across the face, causing her to fall down and then when she was back up, “he hit me across the face again.”

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Arias testified that she left home shortly after the incident when her father pushed her into the door frame. She went to live with her boyfriend after barely making it through her junior year of high school, with grades of Ds and Fs.

“I just let it all fall apart,” she said in the trial that could land her on Death Row.

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The boyfriend later attempted suicide after Arias broke up with him, she claimed.

“One afternoon I broke up with him on the phone,” Arias testified. “My Aunt Lisa was at the house. I didn’t have time to stay on the phone and had to abruptly end the phone call. And I don’t know, I guess he didn’t take that well…I learned a few years later that he slit both of his wrists and tried to kill himself.”

Arias alleged that her ex was subsequently committed to a psychiatric facility. Arias' testimony was consistent with the defense's attempts to portray her as the victim of physical and psychological violence.

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Earlier in the day, photos of a T-shirt and a pair of panties were shown to the jury - both had Alexander's name written on them and were alleged to belong to Arias - indicating that he was controlling and possessive according to defense attorneys who introduced the evidence.

What’s more, pornography was found on Alexander’s computer, according to a computer expert testifying for the defense.

The T-shirt had the words “Travis Alexander’s” daubed across it and the panties had “Travis” written on them, photographs found on the defendant’s camera showed. Prosecutors objected to the introduction of the evidence but lost that battle.

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Lonnie Dworkin, a computer forensic analyst, also testified there was pornography discovered on Alexander’s computer. "I recall there was some pornography on the computer. I don't recall specifically if there were women's breasts or other content,” Dworkin testified.

“The photo of 'Travis Alexander's' and 'Travis,' both written in the possessive form, will be relied on by our experts discussing the controlling nature of the relationship,” defense attorney Jennifer Willmott said in her successful bid to get the evidence admitted.

Dworkin admitted in court that he could not tell when the victim’s name was put on Arias’ clothing. He also said he found evidence on Alexander’s computer of visits to a website that disguises where a person visits.

The trial is now in its sixth week of testimony. Keep checking back with for all the latest developments and to watch the live stream from inside the courtroom.



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