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Expert: Arias was trapped in abuse ‘cycle’

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Testimony in the Jodi Arias trial ended abruptly Wednesday when defense expert Alyce LaViolette began feeling ill and Judge Sherry Stephens canceled proceedings until Thursday.

LaViolette, the domestic violence expert, testified that violence and abuse escalated in Arias and Alexander’s relationship. She is methodically walking the jury through the entire history of their relationship using Arias’ journal entries, emails and text messages to illustrate her points. She ended Wednesday's proceedings talking about the tumultuous state of Arias and Alexander's relationship in the spring of 2008.

LaViolette will likely testify Thursday about the events leading up to the fight that Arias claims forced her to kill Alexander in self-defense on June 4, 2008.

On Wednesday, LaViolette described how Alexander and Arias became trapped in a domestic abuse cycle where he would become violent and they would have a loving period after the fight.

"It’s just part of a cycle, part of that whole pattern where something happens that is unacceptable and then there’s forgiveness, based on the fact that the person is seeking forgiveness," said LaViolette.

LaViolette detailed several episodes of Alexander's violent behavior including when he allegedly kicked her and broke her finger. "They have an argument and during this argument he grabs her and throws her to the floor and when she hits the floor she makes a sound and he says basically, 'Don’t act like that hurts, b***, this hurts!' and he kicks her and then he kicks her a second time," LaViolette said.

His violence, according to LaViolette, became more intense and frequent as his relationship with Arias evolved.

HLN is live-blogging the Jodi Arias trial. Read about LaViolette's testimony from Tuesday here, her third day on the stand here, and her second here, and her first moments on the witness stand here. Read below for minute-by-minute updates from the trial. (Best read from the bottom up):

2:46 p.m. ET: Judge Stephens has recessed the court for the day, because LaViolette feels ill. Court will resume tomorrow at 12:30 p.m. ET.

2:38 p.m. ET: Judge Stephens has sent the jury out of the courtroom for five minutes. The attorneys are at a sidebar with the judge now.

2:36 p.m. ET: LaViolette said Arias never displayed any jealousy in any of the text messages she has read between Arias and Alexander.

2:34 p.m. ET: In text messages after the trip in March Alexander and Arias call each other "loving names."

2:31 p.m. ET: In March 2008, Arias and Alexander took a trip to Carlsbad Caverns and Roswell, New Mexico together. In her journal, Arias wrote the trip was a positive experience and they were still engaging in sexual relations at the time.

2:27 p.m. ET:

2:25 p.m. ET: LaViolette said she can see more escalation in Alexander's violence in March 2008. She also said it seemed the violence was happening more frequently.

2:22 p.m. ET: Every domestic violence relationship is different so LaViolette says she has to look at the big picture of the relationship to understand what is going on with the couple.

2:20 p.m. ET: LaViolette said Arias did not write in her journal about Alexander hitting her in the car. She said this is consistent with Arias honoring the promise she made to Alexander about not writing negatives things in her journal.

2:19 p.m. ET: Arias had problems leaving the relationship, because she still cared deeply for Alexander according to LaViolette. 

2:17 p.m. ET: LaViolette said the fight in Alexander's car started when Arias told him she was going to move back to Yreka, California. He eventually got so mad at her that he hit her. In her journal, Arias wrote in March 2008 she was also not going to engage in Pre-Paid Legal as well. LaViolette believes this evidence of Arias trying to leave a violent relationship.

2:12 p.m. ET: The attorneys are at a sidebar with the judge.

2:10 p.m. ET: Willmott is asking LaViolette about a violent episode in Alexander's car on March 2, 2008.

2:08 p.m. ET:

2:06 p.m. ET: LaViolette said Arias tried to set boundaries with Alexander when she was on the trip to Las Vegas, because she refused to come home early from her trip because he wanted to her to leave.

2:02 p.m. ET: In February, Arias wrote in her journal that when she got back from a trip to Las Vegas she had a good intimate sexual experience with Alexander.  LaViolette said Arias also wrote that she thought her relationship with Alexander was coming to end, because he wanted to have a relationship with Mimi Hall. Arias wrote she wanted Alexander to be happy.

1:58 p.m. ET:

1:55 p.m. ET: LaViolette said there is a text message conversation where Alexander got mad at Arias for not answering or her texts right away. LaViolette said this is more evidence of controlling behavior.

1:54 p.m. ET: LaViolette said the fact Arias started to look for other men to date is a sign of her trying to pull away from the relationship.

1:52 p.m. ET: Later in February, Arias began to look for other men to date on an online Mormon dating website.

1:50 p.m. ET: The text messages from February 2008 indicated to LaViolette that Alexander and Arias were getting along. He also had a special night planned for her, and he even sang for her.

1:48 p.m. ET: Willmott is now having LaViolette review text messages sent between Arias and Alexander on February 8, 2008.

1:46 p.m. ET: LaViolette said abuse victims will be fearful of their partners when they are angry. Victims can also adopt behavior they believe will not set off their partner.

1:44 p.m ET: Defense attorney Willmott is asking LaViolette to characterize Arias and Alexander's relationship in January 2008. LaViolette said she would call it an domestically abusive relationship.

1:41 p.m. ET: LaViolette says emotional abuse can start with name calling and saying negative things about people's values.

1:40 p.m. ET:

1:37 p.m. ET: Alexander's act of kicking Arias in January 2008 could be classified as a severe act of aggression, and she believes there was a steep escalation in Alexander's violence over three months.

1:33 p.m. ET: LaViolette said domestic violence victims a very concerned about hurting their partners' reputation.

1:31 p.m. ET: Alexander allegedly splinted Arias' finger, and she did not seek any medical attention about the injury. LaViolette said this is common in domestic violence situations, because abuse victims don't want their partners arrested.

1:29 p.m. ET: The next day Arias told LaViolette that Alexander became mad at her when she didn't have any money to loan him. Arias also said Alexander threw her to the ground and kicked her a couple times. Her finger was allegedly broken during this fight.

"The next day they are talking, he wants to borrow some money from her. She says, 'I don’t have any more money basically to loan you. I’ve loaned you almost $700 dollars.' He calls her selfish, they have an argument and during this argument he grabs her and throws her to the floor and when she hits the floor she makes a sound and he says basically, 'Don’t act like that hurts, b***, this hurts!' and he kicks her and then he kicks her a second time but she’s trying to block that kick and he kicks her finger and breaks it. She shows me her hand and I see that her finger is broken or it looks broken and that it’s healed," said LaViolette.

1:25 p.m. ET: Arias told LaViolette that in January 2008 she caught Alexander masturbating to an image of a little boy, and she left his house. Eventually, she went back to discuss the incident with Alexander. He allegedly told Arias that sex with a woman made him feel normal.

1:23 p.m. ET: Willmott began to ask LaViolette about how Alexander committed an alleged second act of violence in January 2008, but Martinez objected. The attorneys are now at a sidebar.

1:21 p.m. ET: Willmott is now talking about emails sent between Alexander and Arias in January 2008. The emails are loving and show they had some good times in their relationship, according to LaViolette.

1:18 p.m. ET: LaViolette is talking about how abuse victims blame themselves for the relationship going bad, and they lose their sense of identity. Arias is crying during LaViolette's explanation.

1:14 p.m. ET:

1:13 p.m. ET: Willmott is asking LaViolette about an incident between Arias and Alexander on December 25, 2007. Arias said she thought Alexander was going to disappoint her, but he made up for it with some very nice gifts. Arias was still very involved with the relationship to Alexander in Decemeber 2007, according to LaViolette.

1:09 p.m. ET: LaViolette said Alexander was very concerned with maintaining his reputation as a virgin, even though he wasn't.

1:07 p.m. ET: On November 5, 2007, Arias wrote about how Alexander called her names and it hurt her feelings. She also wrote she would not write the names he called her in the journal to keep her promise to Alexander that she wouldn't.

1:01 p.m. ET:

12:59 p.m. ET: Arias is wearing a baby blue dress shirt today.

12:57 p.m. ET: The attorneys are at a sidebar with the judge.

12:56 p.m. ET: LaViolette said Arias' journal entries show a cycle of fighting and making up.

Willmott asked, "And so, how does this fit within a cycle or what we’ve talked about before?"


"Well, as we’ve discussed that cycle which is a tension building incident and loving reset, it’s just part of a cycle, part of that  whole pattern where something happens that is unacceptable and then there’s uh, forgiveness, based on the fact that the person is seeking forgiveness," said LaViolette.
 

12:53 p.m. ET: Alexander's behavior regarding Arias' journal was controlling, according to LaViolette.

12:51 p.m. ET: LaViolette is describing a journal entry Arias wrote about how Alexander demanded that she rip a page out of her journal that involved names he called her. This is emotional abuse, according to LaViolette.

12:47 p.m. ET: The judge is on the bench, and the jury is being seated.

Jodi Arias' defense has portrayed her ex-boyfriend, the man she admits to killing, as a sexually and physically abusive pedophile.

The move, which has chipped away at the prosecution's contention that Alexander was a clean-cut Mormon and businessman, has its critics. For example, there is a petition on Change.org to create a "Travis Alexander law," which would bar defendants from making unsubstantiated claims about murder victims. 

Watch: Arias' mother says her daughter has 'mental issues'

LaViolette will return to the witness stand Wednesday to explain to the jury how, in her opinion, the violence and abuse escalated in Arias and Alexander’s relationship. She is methodically walking through the entire history of their relationship using Arias’ journal entries, emails and text messages to illustrate her points.

On Tuesday, LaViolette listed nine other women Alexander seemed to pursue romantically during his relationship with Arias. She said she saw similarities between how Alexander treated one of these women and how he behaved toward Arias.

"I see an aggressive sexuality that’s there with two women who are vulnerable. One who is younger, one who is just coming out of a relationship. I see a possessiveness where he is, you know, in public physically affectionate, with, and refuses to listen when someone is saying, 'This is not -- I don’t want this to happen.' That he has, also in both these cases, put these women down, but then sort of backs off of it," said LaViolette.

Arias testified Alexander’s abuse culminated in a violent confrontation on June 4, 2008, that forced her to kill him in self-defense.

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