Jodi Arias took the stand today to defend herself in the stabbing murder of her boyfriend, telling jurors that she was abused as a child and lied to investigators because she planned on killing herself.
In an uncommon move by her defense team, the 32-year-old was put on the stand to prove her innocence in a case full of violence, sex, betrayal and lies dating back to 2008.
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Arias is accused of shooting her lover, Travis Alexander, in the face, stabbing him 27 times and slitting his throat from ear to ear in the shower of his Mesa, Ariz., apartment. Public defender Kirk Numi asked her today if she killed Alexander.
"Yes, I did," she said under oath. "The simple answer is that he attacked me and I defended myself."
She went on to describe her childhood in California, which she said was full of abuse starting at 7 years old. She claimed that beatings by her parents became more frequent and intense over the years. She said her mother would carry a wooden spoon in her purse to punish her.
Her mother sat in the front row of the courtroom and showed no emotion as Arias described her childhood.
She also said she made false statements early in the investigation about not being at the scene of the crime because she planned to commit suicide and never have a trial.
"At the time, I had plans to commit suicide. So I was extremely confident that no jury would convict me because I didn't expect any of you to be here," Arias said. "I planned to be dead."
Arias said the abuse she alleges she suffered from her parents continued into her high school years.
At the end of her senior year, Arias said she dropped out of school and moved in with a boyfriend who was three years older than she was and lived outside of Yreka, Calif. Arias testified she moved out of her parents' home because she was tired of the way they disciplined her.
Arias testified that her then-boyfriend had all kinds of "wild ideas" and he "entertained the belief in vampires." She said he wanted to move to San Francisco to look for vampires.
The relationship soon soured, Arias testified, and she broke up with her boyfriend over the telephone.
Court was recessed shortly thereafter for lunch.