Jodi Arias Trial: Ariz. woman charged in boyfriend's slaying takes the stand

"I've always had my camera. It goes with me everywhere," Jodi Arias, a photographer and artist from Yreka, Calif., told "48 Hours" in 2008. "48 Hours" Picture Perfect: The trial of Jodi Arias
Brian Bierwiler/Four Alarm Pictures
Jodi Arias
Brian Bierwiler/Four Alarm Pictures

(CBS/AP) PHOENIX - Jodi Arias, the woman at the center of a sensational murder trial in Arizona, made the surprise move of taking the witness stand in a Phoenix courtroom on Monday.

Arias is charged with killing her lover in 2008 in what prosecutors describe as a jealous rage. She says it was self-defense against an abusive boyfriend.

The decision to put the 32-year-old on the witness stand was not expected because she faces the death penalty.

Arias spoke in a halting voice as she described how an idyllic childhood in California turned abusive when she was about 7-years-old. She also says she made false statements early in the investigation about not being at the scene of the crime because she planned to commit suicide and never have a trial.

Complete coverage of Jodi Arias on Crimesider