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Defense witness: Arias upset after phone call

NEED TO KNOW
  • Jodi Arias is accused of killing her ex-boyfriend, Travis Alexander, in Arizona; she says she killed in self-defense
  • Defense will try to flesh out Alexander’s sexual desires & his supposed rage issues
Defense witness: Arias upset after phone call

Jodi Arias’ defense team began presenting evidence Tuesday in an attempt to prove she killed her ex-boyfriend Travis Alexander in self-defense.

So far, Arias’ attorneys have tried to paint Alexander as a sexual deviant with a temper that could fly out of control.

During her opening statement, defense attorney Jennifer Willmott told the jury that Alexander was enraged because Arias dropped his camera on the bathroom floor, and if Arias hadn't defended herself, she would be dead.

Read more: Does Arias have a girlfriend behind bars?

The first witness the defense called to the stand Tuesday was Gus Searcy (pictured below). He’s an executive with Legal Shield, which used to be known as Prepaid Legal, the company that employed both Alexander and Arias. Monday, Searcy testified during a hearing about prosecutorial misconduct.

In Session legal experts say the defense will try to flesh out their case by presenting more evidence of Alexander’s sexual desires and his supposed rage control problem.

Read more: Did Arias prosecutor play by the rules?

Searcy testified he developed a mentor relationship with Arias, when she was working for Prepaid Legal. At some point, Arias called Searcy upset, and she came to stay with him in his motorhome in Las Vegas. During this visit, Searcy said Arias talked to Alexander on the phone and afterwards she was upset and shaking. Searcy did not comment on why Arias was upset.

Read more: Is Searcy stealing the spotlight in the Arias trial?

During cross examination, prosecutor Juan Martinez asked Searcy if Prepaid Legal was a pyramid scheme. Searcy didn't want to answer the question, but eventually said it wasn't a pyramid scheme. He said it was more like a "circle."

Read more: What really killed Alexander?

It is not clear who else the defense will call to the witness stand, but In Session legal experts say the defense will also likely try to cast doubt on medical examiner Dr. Kevin Horn's theory of how Alexander died. One of the witnesses the defense will probably call is a pathologist who disagrees with Horn's opinion of what killed Alexander. Did the bullet to the head kill him, or was it the stab wounds?

Police say he was stabbed 29 times, had his throat slit from ear to ear and was shot. So what is the significance of the sequencing of Alexander's injuries?

There are two reasons why this is important to Arias' defense: A defense attorney's job is to create as much doubt about the prosecution's case as possible. If the defense can show there are questions about the prosecution’s theory of Alexander's death, it may erode the jury's confidence in the prosecution's case.

The sequencing also matters because this is a death penalty case. If the prosecution can get a guilty verdict and prove that Arias was cruel and made Alexander suffer, she may be sentenced to death. However, if the defense can show that Alexander was shot in the head first, attorneys can argue that all of Alexander's other wounds happened after he died, so he didn't suffer, and that could save Arias from the death penalty.

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