(CBS) PHOENIX - Did Jodi Arias kill Travis Alexander in a "crime of passion" or was it a cold, calculated and planned murder as the prosecution wants a Maricopa County jury to believe? The 32-year-old Arias is facing the death penalty for brutally stabbing and shooting Alexander in his Mesa, Arizona home on June 4, 2008.
The prosecution believes the crime was plotted and planned in a jealous rage because after the one-time couple broke up, they continued a sexual relationship but Alexander was not interested in settling down with Arias long-term.
Arias was arrested in her grandparents' hometown of Yreka, Calif., where she was living at the time in July 2008. The lead Mesa police homicide detective, Esteban Flores, recorded the initial police interview with Arias and portions of it were played in court again Wednesday while Flores testified. In the interview, Arias continues to claim she's innocent but says two intruders, a male and female, entered Alexander's home to kill him and let her go with the threat that they would kill her family if she ever spoke about it. In the taped interview, Flores uses interrogation tactics to get Arias to admit she killed Alexander, but she won't admit guilt. Arias said in the video, "It was obvious I was there." And Esteban responded emphatically, "No, it was obvious you did this!"
Arias continued to say in the interview, "I did not plan to hurt him in any way. I would never stab him. I would shoot him."
Arias' defense team questioned the detective's tactics and asked whether he used the same approach when being interviewed on CBS News/48 Hours on the case in 2008. The defense asked Flores if he had said to CBS News correspondent Maureen Maher whether he thought Arias and Alexander had a "booty call" relationship, which he confirmed in court Wednesday. But Flores could not recall whether he had stated to 48 Hours whether he believed it was a "crime of passion" at the time. He said on the stand Wednesday that he thought he said "things got out of control."
The variation of stories makes a difference to Arias' legal team which has now admitted she killed Alexander in self-defense, saying Alexander was a controlling, abusive sexual deviant. Her legal team is now trying to save her life by avoiding a death penalty conviction.
But they will have to deal with incriminating evidence, like the other testimony that came into court Wednesday from a rental car agency in Redding, Calif.,where Arias rented a car to take her road trip to Arizona around the time of the murder.
The owner of the Budget rental agency testified and said that the car was returned with missing floor mats and Kool-Aid like stains in the backseat which he cleaned before police had a chance to do testing. Arias denied involvement in the murder by telling detective Flores to check the car for evidence.
Prosecution testimony is resuming today.
Written by Cindy Cesare