Defense attorneys for accused murderer Jodi Arias went on the attack
today, drawing testimony from an ex-girlfriend of Travis Alexander in
order to portray Alexander as an insensitive philanderer who was
obsessed with sex.
Arias is charged with killing Alexander in a jealous rage in June 2008, and her lawyers are attempting to convince the jury that it was a case of self defense against an abusive lover.
One observer, veteran defense lawyer Melvin McDonald, said it was "swimming up Niagara Falls" because of the evidence amassed by prosecutors.
Arias' defense tried to bolster their case by questioning Lisa Daidone, the woman who became Alexander's girlfriend after he broke up with Arias.
"Did you tell him that you felt he wanted you just for your body, that kissing didn't mean anything to him and was just a way for him to let out sexual tension? And that it made you feel used and dirty?" defense attorney Jennifer Willmott asked Daidone.
Daidone agreed that she had told Alexander all of those things, along with other complaints, when she broke up with him in an email in the fall of 2007. She had also found out that Alexander had cheated on her.
"I came to the understanding that he was cheating on me with Jodi Arias," said Daidone, a Mormon like Alexander.
Daidone said that Alexander always kept in close contact with Arias, texting and calling her often. She was suspicious that he was cheating on her, but did not know they were involved sexually.
Daidone said she was "shocked" to find out Alexander was not a virgin after his death. She and Alexander never had a sexual relationship though she felt pressured to have sex with him, she testified.
The prosecution has shown that Alexander and Arias often traded sexual phone calls and text messages, and engaged in oral and anal sex. On the day she killed him, Arias posed for graphic sexual photos along with Alexander on his bed in his Mesa, Ariz., home.
The defense has argued that Alexander kept Arias as his "dirty little secret" as he pretended to be a virgin to his friends and family.
Daidone's testimony came on the second day of Arias' defense. She is charged with murder for stabbing Alexander 27 times, slashing his throat, and shooting him in the head. Arias could face the death penalty if convicted.
The attacks on Alexander's character may be the only way to help convince jurors that Arias, who admitted to killing Alexander after initially denying it, was acting in self-defense and should not be convicted of murder.
"What you do, obviously, if you're defending this case, especially when the evidence against you is so compelling, is make a case of self-defense. And to do that, you've got to paint this guy as a bad guy," said McDonald, a former judge and prosecutor who has tried cases against Arias prosecutor Juan Martinez.
The testimony today, McDonald said, has still not proven that Alexander might have threatened or been physically violent toward Arias.
"With this other girl, he's feeding her lies and misleading her, but that doesn't show any inclination toward violence whatsoever," McDonald said.