Jodi Arias Trial: Faltering Domestic Violence Defense Puts Attorneys In Damage Control Mode (LIVE UPDATES)

04/11/2013 01:12 pm ET

Testimony is set to resume Thursday before Arizona jurors who are weighing whether 32-year-old Jodi Arias is guilty of first-degree murder in the brutal 2008 slaying of her ex-boyfriend, Travis Alexander.

On Wednesday, the defense team's domestic violence expert, psychotherapist Alyce LaViolette, endured a lengthy and scathing cross-examination by Maricopa County Prosecutor Juan Martinez.

LaViolette was backed into a corner by Martinez regarding her opinion that Arias' was a victim of physical and emotional abuse at the hands of Alexander. Martinez charged that Arias was the aggressor in the relationship and at one point got the key defense witness to admit Alexander was afraid of Arias.


"Isn't it true that Mr. Alexander was extremely afraid of the defendant, Jodi Arais, based on her stalking behavior?" Martinez asked LaViolette.

"He was afraid of her, yes," LaViolette replied.

"Because of her stalking behavior, correct?" asked Martinez.

"Correct," LaViolette said.

The acknowledgement of the alleged behavior by a key witness for the defense could be seen as a big win for the prosecution.

LaViolette has spent nine days on the witness stand detailing her opinion on the dynamic of Alexander and Arias' on-again-off-again relationship. She testified it was her opinion that Arias feared for her life when she shot him, stabbed him nearly 30 times, and cut his throat from ear to ear in his Mesa, Ariz., home on June 4, 2008.

Prosecutors say Arias killed Alexander in a jealous rage.

The defense team is expected to redirect LaViolette's testimony today. Afterward, the judge will ask the defense expert a number of questions the jury has submitted for her. The juror questions should give some insight into how significant they consider the expert's testimony.

Arias is charged with first-degree murder and faces the death penalty if convicted.

The trial is scheduled to resume at 1:30 p.m. Eastern time, when defense attorney Jennifer Willmott will redirect LaViolette's testimony.

Read below for minute-by-minute updates from court Thursday:

04/11/2013 7:31 PM EDT


The judge has called the evening recess. The trial will resume Friday at 12:30 p.m. Eastern time.

04/11/2013 7:29 PM EDT

Juror Question

LaViolette was asked of the 18 forensic cases she has worked how many involved the male being the victim of abuse.

"At least two," LaViolette said.

04/11/2013 7:23 PM EDT

Juror Question

LaViolette was asked hypothetically if she determined Arias had exaggerated would that change her opinion.

"I would certainly re-look at things because that would be important," LaViolette said.

04/11/2013 7:22 PM EDT

Juror Question

LaViolette was again about smiling at Arias and one one occasion looking at her and shrugging her shoulders when she was asked a question.

"Wow ... I don't even remember doing that," LaViolette said.

04/11/2013 7:20 PM EDT

Juror Question

LaViolette was asked if she has personal feelings for Arias.

"I have liked Jodi in terms of working with her ... but we have not had a relationship other than the 44 hours we spent in jail," LaViolette said.

04/11/2013 7:19 PM EDT

Juror Question

LaViolette was asked why she smiles at Arias during sidebars.

"I have done that on occasion just to acknowledge her, but no other reason," LaViolette said. "I've actually tried to avoid looking at Ms. Arias."

04/11/2013 7:18 PM EDT

Juror Question

LaViolette was asked the same question again about manipulation.

"I didn't use Jodi as my evidence. I didn't. I used so many other things to look at, so I don't believe that Jodi manipulated me because the areas I looked at were corroborated by other people," LaViolette said.

04/11/2013 7:17 PM EDT

Juror Question

LaViolette was asked if there is any reason to believe Arias has not manipulated her as she has others.

LaViolette was answering the question when Martinez objected. The attorneys are now at a sidebar with the judge.

04/11/2013 7:15 PM EDT

Juror Question

LaViolette was asked about Arias' school friend saying she was manipulative and liked playing the victim. The jury wanted to know if those traits could have stayed with her.

"I don't have evidence of that," LaViolette said.

04/11/2013 7:13 PM EDT

Juror Question

LaViolette was asked if Alexander said negative things to Arias because he was afraid of her stalking him.

"No, I do not believe that," LaViolette said.

The Huffington Post is live blogging Thursday's testimony. Check back here for updates.

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