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Thursday
May022013

Prosecutor: Jodi Arias Used Knife for 'Direct Strike' on Ex-Boyfriend's Throat

ABC News(PHOENIX) -- Jodi Arias chased her wounded ex-boyfriend Travis Alexander with a knife as he stumbled down a hallway, smearing blood on the walls, and she caught him and delivered the "direct strike" to his throat that killed him, the prosecutor told an Arizona jury in his closing argument Thursday.

Prosecutor Juan Martinez described what he said were the final moments of Alexander's life in grisly detail, aided by photos of the blood-soaked crime scene. Many spectators in the court looked away when the gruesome photos were shown on a projector.

Martinez argued that in June 2008, Arias, 32, went to Alexander's home in Mesa, Ariz., with a knife, a gun, and intent to kill her ex-boyfriend, who had recently called her "evil" and a "sociopath."

After having sex with him and taking nude photos of each other, Arias stabbed Alexander in the shower and again on the bathroom floor, Martinez said. Alexander was stabbed again as he stood, trying to gain his balance. One knife blow to the back of his head came as he stood over the sink, the prosecutor said.

 

Martinez flashed a series of crime scene photos, interpreting for the jury the bloody trail, including a rainbow-shaped smear of blood on the hallway wall where Alexander collapsed.

"He is trying to get away from her," Martinez said.

Arias averted her eyes, put her hand over her face and cried through his description of the murder, which Martinez noticed. He told the jury, "She may cry now, but sympathy is not to be considered."

"He goes down, he collapses, and she catches up to him and goes for the throat," the prosecutor said. "If it was a crime of passion she wouldn't have directed a hit to where it would kill, but when he goes down there is a direct strike to his neck, where it will kill him."

"It's a very well-orchestrated kill," Martinez added.

The prosecutor is hoping to convince the jury that Arias is guilty of first-degree murder with premeditation, a charge that could carry the death penalty.

"The state is asking that you return a verdict of guilty, a verdict of first-degree murder, not just premeditated murder, but also felony murder, for no other reason than it's your duty, and the facts and the law support it," Martinez said at the end of his statement.

Arias's attorney will give his closing statement on Friday.

The jury has been told they can consider first-degree murder, second-degree murder, and manslaughter in their deliberations.

Arias' attorneys have argued that she killed her ex-boyfriend in self-defense after he flew into a violent rage while they were taking pictures in the bathroom.

During his closing remarks, Martinez hammered the message that Arias was manipulative and deceitful, and her testimony could not be trusted.

He paced the Maricopa County, Ariz., courtroom telling jurors that Arias "looked at each and every one of you in the eye and lied" about her relationship with Alexander, whom she claimed abused and menaced her and pressured her into sex.

In reality, Martinez said, Arias was the one who manipulated and abused Alexander.

Arias's attorneys have tried to prove the killing was not premeditated, but Martinez drove home his allegation again and again during his closing remarks. At one point he focused on evidence that she brought extra gasoline and gas cans on her trip from her home in California to Arizona so she would not have to stop and use her credit card near Alexander's home.

He noted that she dyed her hair shortly before the trip, rented a car and that the license plate was upside down, which he said were attempts to avoid being tracked.

Arias claimed during her own testimony that the June 4, 2008, trip to Arizona was spontaneous, a claim Martinez dismissed.

"She knew. She absolutely knew and had already planned that she was going to kill him," Martinez thundered.

The prosecutor, who often shouted at witnesses and grew irritated and combative during questioning, was soft-spoken to the jury throughout his statement, his voice rising only occasionally.

Arias shook her head and at times smiled in disagreement with many of Martinez's statements, writing notes to her attorney seated next to her.

Relatives and friends of Alexander filled the courtroom's gallery Thursday, taking three rows, while Arias's mother, aunt, grandmother, and friends filled her side of the room. Many of the relatives have sat through four months of testimony in the case.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio