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Jodi Arias Trial: Lawyer for accused killer says case comes down to "fear, sex, lies, and dirty little secrets"

Prosecutor Juan Martinez asks defendant Jodi Arias a question about her diary during cross examination testimony in Maricopa County Superior Court on Feb. 21, 2013, in Phoenix. AP Photo/The Arizona Republic, Tom Tingle, Pool

Jodi Arias looks on as the jury is excused for lunch during her trial at Maricopa County Superior Court in Phoenix on Thursday, April 4, 2013.
David Wallace, Pool, AP Photo/The Arizona Republic

(AP) PHOENIX - A lawyer for Jodi Arias began his closing argument Friday by imploring jurors to take an impartial view of the case and his client - even if they don't like her.

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Arias smiled broadly when defense lawyer Kirk Nurmi told the jury: "It's not about whether or not you like Jodi Arias. Nine days out of 10, I don't like Jodi Arias. ... But that doesn't matter."

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Arias, 32, is charged with first-degree murder in the June 2008 death of her one-time boyfriend Travis Alexander at his suburban Phoenix home.

Arias said she killed Alexander in self-defense, but prosecutors say it was an act of first-degree murder that could bring the death penalty. Arias hopes the jury, at the most, convicts her of second-degree murder, punishable by 10 to 25 years in prison. The jury also has the option of manslaughter, which carries a sentence of seven to 21 years.

Nurmi said the case can be summed up with the words "fear, sex, lies and dirty little secrets."

Authorities say Arias planned the attack on Alexander after he wanted to end their relationship and prepared for a trip to Mexico with another woman.

Arias initially denied any involvement then later blamed it on masked intruders. Two years after her arrest, she said she killed him in self-defense when he attacked her after a day of sex.

The trial has become a tabloid and cable TV sensation with its graphic tales of sex and lies and has attracted spectators from around the country who line up as early as 2 a.m. for a chance to score a few open seats in the courtroom.

Arias wept and looked away from jurors Thursday as prosecutor Juan Martinez concluded his closing arguments by displaying a gruesome photo of Alexander's back, covered in stab wounds, while describing her as a manipulative liar who meticulously planned the savage attack.

He pounded his hand on a table, raising his voice occasionally but largely speaking in an almost whisper-like tone. Martinez said Arias lied from the start and is still lying, and hoped to fool the jury into believing she is the victim.

"That's what she wants you to believe," Martinez said, the photo of Alexander's dead body displayed on a large screen behind him. "But actually, in reality, it's this," he said, motioning toward the autopsy picture.

The images displayed Thursday, one after another, of Alexander's decomposed body covered in stab wounds, of his bruised face with a gunshot wound above the forehead, of the bloody scene of the killing, were too much for Alexander's friends and family members.

They sobbed and buried their faces in their hands.

"This is an individual who will stop at nothing, and who will continue to be manipulative and will lie at every turn," Martinez told jurors.

Alexander suffered nearly 30 knife wounds, was shot in the head, and had his throat slit. Arias' palm print was found in blood at the scene, along with nude photos of her and the victim from the day of the killing.

Complete coverage of the Jodi Arias case on Crimesider

  • Crimesider Staff

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