The illness of a key defense witness has caused the postponement of the jury trial of accused killer Jodi Arias.
Judge Sherry Stephens made the announcement following a brief afternoon recess.
"The witness is ill and feels she cannot continue today, so I am going to cancel court for the afternoon," Stephens said of the defense team's psychotherapist, Alyce LaViolette.
Day 40 of Arias trial marks the fourth time the trial has been delayed due to an illness. The first occurred on Valentine’s Day when the trial was postponed for several days because Stephens was suffering from an unknown illness. The next illness-related delay came late last month when a spectator became ill and vomited in the gallery. The third was Wednesday of last week, when Arias was reportedly suffering from a migraine headache.
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Before court was recessed Wednesday, LaViolette again detailed her impressions of the relationship between Arias and Alexander. The domestic violence expert said her opinions are based on interviews with Arias, the case files and Arias' journal entries.
LaViolette said she characterizes Arias and Alexander's relationship as a domestically abusive relationship. She cited two examples of physical abuse -– one that allegedly occurred in January 2008 and another in March 2008 –- roughly three months before Alexander was killed.
In regard to the alleged incident in January, LaViolette said Arias was spending some time with Alexander when he gave her a gift. However, when she left she forgot the item and had to return to retrieve it.
"When she came back, she found him masturbating to a picture of a little boy," LaViolette said.
LaViolette said the following day Arias and Alexander got into a heated argument when she refused to lend him money.
"He calls her selfish and throws her to the floor ... he kicks her finger and breaks it," LaViolette said.
LaViolette said Alexander put a splint on Arias’ finger and she did not seek medical treatment.
"There's not a lot of record of medical or police calls in domestic violence cases ... people don't call the police because they don't want their partner arrested," she said.
LaViolette said the next incident occurred in March 2008, when Arias told Alexander she was going to move back to California from Arizona. Arias told LaViolette that Alexander became angry and hit her.
Arias' defense attorney, Jennifer Willmott, pointed out Arias did not write about the alleged incident in her journal. LaViolette said this did not surprise her. She said it is consistent with a promise Arias' made to Alexander that she would not write negative things about him in her journal.
Before court was adjourned for the day, LaViolette described Alexander as controlling and abusive, something the defense has claimed led up to Alexander's slaying on June 4, 2008, when Arias shot him, stabbed him nearly 30 times and cut his throat from ear to ear in his Mesa, Ariz., home.
"She talks about words being as hurtful as being hit," LaViolette said of an entry in Arias' journal.
The jury could view LaViolette's testimony as crucial in determining whether there is merit to Arias' claim that she was a victim of domestic violence.
The trial is scheduled to resume at 12:30 p.m. Eastern time Thursday, when LaViolette will continue her testimony.
WEDNESDAY'S LIVE BLOG:
04/03/2013 2:50 PM EDT
Court Is In Recess
Due to a technical issue the live blog went down. During that time Judge Sherry Stephens recessed court for the day because LaViolette feels ill and feels she cannot continue today. The trial will resume Thursday at 12:30 p.m. Eastern time.
04/03/2013 2:26 PM EDT
More On The Alleged Incident In March 2008:
"Once again you're seeing a short period of time between incidents," LaViolette said of the alleged March 2008 incident.
04/03/2013 2:25 PM EDT
On The Lack Of Documentation:
LaViolette said Arias not documenting the alleged violent incident in March 2008 would be consistent with Arias' promise to Alexander that she would not write negative things about him in her journal.
04/03/2013 2:21 PM EDT
On The Alleged Incident:
LaViolette said Arias did not mention the alleged violent incident in her journal.
04/03/2013 2:16 PM EDT
On March 2, 2008:
LaViolette said Arias told Alexander she was going to move back to California from Arizona and he became angry and hit her.
04/03/2013 2:14 PM EDT
Defense attorney Jennifer Willmott was asking LaViolette about an alleged violent incident that occurred on March 2, 2008, when prosecutor Juan Martinez objected. The attorneys are now at a sidebar with the judge.
04/03/2013 2:11 PM EDT
On February 29, 2008 Text Messages:
"Mr. Alexander ... says he's had more memorable experiences with Jodi than anyone else in his life," LaViolette said.
04/03/2013 2:09 PM EDT
On Arias' Feelings:
LaViolette said it is her opinion, from reading Arias' journal entries, that Arias thought her relationship with Alexander was coming to end because he indicated he wanted to have a relationship with Mimi Hall.
04/03/2013 2:05 PM EDT
More On Arias February 2008 Journal Entries:
"There's talk in the journal that the relationship may be coming to an end," LaViolette said.
04/03/2013 2:03 PM EDT
When Arias Arived After Her Drive:
"When they got together ... the mood is that he is tender, sweet and loving," LaViolette said.