After the State of Arizona rested their case, Jodi Arias’ defense team took center stage this week as they presented their case to the jury for the first time. Arias claims she stabbed her ex-boyfriend, Travis Alexander, 29 times, shot him in the face, and slit his throat from ear to ear in self-defense. If convicted, she faces a possible death sentence.
Former lover defends Arias
Gus Searcy, a Prepaid Legal Executive Director, was the first defense witness called to testify Tuesday.
Searcy testified that he served as a mentor to Arias while she was looking to become more successful in the business of selling legal insurance.
During an overnight stay at his house, Searcy said Arias was crying and shaking after she talked to Alexander on the phone.
Darryl Brewer, Arias’ 52-year-old ex-boyfriend, testified Arias was never jealous or violent during their relationship, and the two remained friends when they split after four years.
In the summer of 2006, a few months after Arias joined Prepaid Legal, she “had become a different person that I’d known previously,” Brewer said.
“We stopped being intimate” after Arias adopted the Mormon faith and became more religious, Brewer testified. “She said she was saving herself for her husband.”
Brewer’s testimony also revealed that Arias stopped by his house the day before Alexander was killed and she asked if she could borrow two 5-gallon gas cans for a long road trip. Brewer said Arias never returned the cans.
During cross-examination, prosecutor Juan Martinez suggested Arias was sexually aggressive when he asked Brewer if he and Arias ever had anal sex. Brewer responded by saying they were equally aggressive and had anal sex on one occasion.
On re-direct, defense attorney Kirk Nurmi asked Brewer if he ever called Arias sexually explicit names like “whore” and “slut.” Brewer denied ever calling Arias those names.
Ex-girlfriend calls victim a cheater
Testimony from the victim’s ex-girlfriend Wednesday painted an unflattering picture of Alexander as a cheater, liar and hypocrite who pursued marriage with one woman while having sex with another.
Lisa Daidone, formerly known as Lisa Andrews, said she had an on-again-off-again relationship with Alexander for almost eight months from July 2007 to February 2008.
Daidone said Alexander was interested in marriage soon after they started dating, but they broke up when she learned Alexander cheated on her with Arias.
The witness said that while she was with Alexander, they never had sex, and she was shocked to find out after his death that Alexander wasn't a virgin.
In a dramatic moment, prosecutor Martinez, without any warning, flashed a photo of Alexander’s dead body on the court’s projector.
The witness was taken aback and Alexander’s sisters began to cry. One of them stormed out of the courtroom while Arias broke down and wept.
Martinez asked Daidone if any of Alexander’s behaviors warranted him having his throat slit. The defense objected and Daidone never answered the question.
Siblings Desiree and Daniel Freeman testified Wednesday that Alexander and Arias had accompanied them on two overnight trips, one to Sedona and the Grand Canyon and another to Havasupai in September 2007.
The witnesses said Alexander appeared to be different with Arias, acting more affectionate with her when they were alone and distant when they were in large groups.
Daniel Freeman also recalled a heated argument between Alexander and Arias before one of their trips during which Arias became very upset and cried.
Phone sex evidence emerges
When Daniel Freeman was called back to finish his testimony Thursday, jurors asked him a series of questions, including if he’d ever seen Alexander be abusive to Arias and whether he ever heard him call Arias names. Freeman answered no to all the questions, and said their fights were much like arguments all couples have.
Freeman said when he called Arias to inform her of Alexander’s death she was initially silent but later began to cry.
As a member of the Mormon Church, Freeman said Alexander risked being ex-communicated if it was ever revealed that he engaged in pre-martial sex with another church member.
After a two-hour wait while the judge reviewed a defense exhibit for admissibility, testimony resumed with forensic computer examiner Lonnie Dworkin.
Dworkin testified that an examination of the victim’s laptop revealed there had been internet access between 4:08 a.m. and 4:45 a.m. on June 4, 2008.
The witness also testified he was able to retrieve photos from a mirror imaged of Alexander’s damaged hard-drive.
Watch Nancy Grace Mysteries tonight at 8 & 11 p.m. ET on HLN for a recap of this week’s court proceedings.