Jurors grill defense’s domestic violence expert

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  • Arias is accused of killing Travis Alexander, but she says she did it in self-defense
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Jurors drill Jodi Arias expert Alyce LaViolette

When court is done for the day, the conversation is only just beginning. Watch HLN’s newest hit show "HLN After Dark: The Jodi Arias Trial" nightly at 10 p.m. on HLN.

Domestic violence expert Alyce LaViolette answered almost 100 questions from jurors on Thursday and it was clear the jurors had two major things on their minds: Was Jodi Arias lying about the abuse and could she actually have been the abuser, instead of Travis Alexander? Again and again, questions on these two topics kept coming up.

On the point of lying, one juror asked LaViolette to just spell it out: "Please state how confident you are that Jodi did not lie to you."

"Like, ever? I don’t believe she lied to me about significant things. I don’t have reason to believe she lied to me. I don’t have evidence to support she lied to me. Is it possible she lied to me about things? It’s possible," LaViolette said.

Another juror asked: "It has been proven that Jodi has lied multiple times… how are you able to know everything she is saying is truthful?"

"I don’t, I don’t know everything she told me was true... That she lied after the killing of Mr. Alexander does not make her a liar. It makes her a frightened human being," said LaViolette.

On the point of the abuse, one juror asked if Arias’ violent actions towards her mother (kicking and slapping her) categorized her as an abuser. Another juror asked if Alexander’s actions could be considered defensive. LaViolette answered no to both of these. Another juror wanted to know if a female could “abuse, batter or terrorize a man to the point of killing him?" LaViolette admitted it was possible.

The expert seemed stumped when a juror brought up the fact that he or she witnessed LaViolette giving “warm” smiles to Arias during the breaks and sidebars.

"I have done that on occasion just to acknowledge her, but no other reason,” said LaViolette.

A follow-up question referenced a specific incident in which the juror said LaViolette had shrugged at Arias during the prosecution’s cross-examination.

LaViolette said she didn't even know she was doing that -- just that she shrugs sometimes: "I don’t even know what to say to that question."

HLN is live-blogging the Jodi Arias trial. Read about LaViolette's testimony from Wednesday here, her eight day on the stand here, her seventh day here, her sixth day here, her fifth day here, her fourth day here, her third day here, 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):

7:30 p.m. ET: The judge has dismissed court for the day.

7:29 p.m. ET: A juror asks why LaViolette didn't assess Jodi's family for abuse like she did with Alexander's. LaViolette says she did assess Arias' family but "her level of abuse was much lower than Alexander's." She said Arias' family was dysfunctional but she thought Alexander's was more violent.

7:25 p.m. ET: A juror wants to know if LaViolette gave more weight to written or verbal communications.

LaViolette says she had more written communication so she gave more weight to that.

7:21 p.m. ET: A juror asks about a specific incident in which the prosecutor was marking an exhibit and LaViolette gave a smile and shrugged at Arias.

LaViolette says she didn't even know she was doing that, that she shrugs sometimes: "I don’t even know what to say to that question."

7:19 p.m. ET: A juror wants to know why LaViolette has made eye contact with Arias and given her a small "warm" smile during breaks and sidebars.

"I have done that on occasion just to acknowledge her but no other reason... I have friends that have been coming and I look in a direction and it doesn't necessary mean that I'm looking at Ms. Arias," said LaViolette. She says she has tried to avoid that.

7:18 p.m. ET: Do we have any reason to believe Jodi has not manipulated you as she has others?

I didn't use Jodi as my eveidece, I used so many other thing sto look at. So I don't believ ethat Jodi manipulated me beacuse the Arias that I Looked at were corroborated by other people. I mean, it's possible. I also don't have any evicend ethat she's been manipulating people. So I'm not sure where that actually came from," said LaViolette.

7:14 p.m. ET: A juror asks if it's possible that Alexander said some of the negative things about Arias because he was worried about her stalking and wanted to distance himself from her.

"No, no I don’t believe that," said LaViolette.

A juror asks if the secret messages Arias wrote in a magazine were meant for LaViolette.

“I had no idea she wrote hidden messages to anyone. I didn’t receive any,” said LaViolette.

A juror asks if Arias' high IQ made it possible for her to try and outsmart psychological tests.

LaViolette says it doesn’t appear that she tried to do so. And if she did, she didn't succeed.

7:10 p.m. ET: Since LaViolette works with abusive men, a juror asks if most of the men she knows in her life are abusive.

"I have lots of male friends, my own family members and my son, so I have lots of men in my life that aren’t abusive," said LaViolette.

Juror question: Is it possible that your view of men in general is skewed or biased towards being abusive?

LaViolette says she has great men in her life: Her dad, brother, son, brothers-in-law, friends.

7:09 p.m. ET: The judge is on the bench and the jury is being seated.

6:56 p.m. ET: The judge recesses the court for 10 minutes. LaViolette has responded to 68 questions so far.

6:55 p.m. ET: When Arias' voicemail was full, LaViolette says Alexander ordered her to empty it out. A juror asks how she knows he ordered her, not asked her.

"He said, 'empty it out,' as opposed to ‘please’ or whatever," said LaViolette.

A follow-up question asks LaViolette if it’s reasonable that he would be irritated since they talked frequently and he wouldn’t be able to leave a message.

LaViolette says we all get irritated but what matters is the pattern you use to handle it: “It’s just so far over the top, that’s my concern.”

6:49 p.m. ET: Juror question: "Could a female abuse, batter or terrorize a man to the point of killing him?"

"Yes, women can be perpetrators," said LaViolette.

6:47 p.m. ET: A juror asks if any friends or family expressed concerns of abuse regarding Alexander or Arias.

LaViolette says one of Arias' boyfriends says he knew there was verbal abuse – Arias had confided in him – and he suspected physical abuse but he didn’t know.

6:42 p.m. ET: A juror wants to know if a person who appears controlling is automatically abusive.

LaViolette said that no, that's not automatically the case. She also says no ex-girlfriends have said Alexander was abusive to them.

6:37 p.m. ET: Juror question: "Please state how confident you are that Jodi did not lie to you."

"Like, ever? I don’t believe she lied to me about significant things. I don’t have reason to believe she lied to me. I don’t have evidence to support she lied to me. Is it possible she lied to me about things? It’s possible," said LaViolette.

6:34 p.m. ET: LaViolette says Arias and Alexander talked about the Spiderman underwear in an instant message conversation. That's how she has proof of the underwear.

6:31 p.m. ET: A juror asks LaViolette if she would classify Arias and Alexander's relationship as a love/hate relationship.

"I would classify it as an abusive relationship," said LaViolete.

6:29 p.m. ET: Juror question: "Did you ever see any proof that Travis physically abused Jodi?"

"The only thing that I saw was a broken finger," said LaViolette.

"Isn’t it possible that Jodi didn’t write some of those incidents in her journal because they didn’t happen?"

"It's possible," said LaViolette.

6:28 p.m. ET: Juror question: "It has been proven that Jodi has lied multiple times… how are you able to know everything she is saying is truthful?"

"I don’t, I don’t know everything she told me was true. I know that I have enough to back up with the information that I got… to believe that she is telling me the truth about things. That she lied after the killing of Mr. Alexander does not make her a liar. It makes her a frightened human being," said LaViolette.

6:25 p.m. ET: Juror question: "Does it concern you at all that you can’t get a full and complete story from Travis?"

LaViolette says it does concern her: "I got as complete a story as I could get."

Here was Arias' reaction to this question and LaViolette's response:

6:21 p.m. ET: A juror asks if it's possible Arias is guilty of being psychologically abusive towards Alexander since we haven't seen all of their conversations. LaViolette says she doesn't see evidence of that.

Juror question: "Could any of Travis’ actions be considered defensive rather than abusive?"

"When I look at the kind of tirades, that is beyond defensive, that is tearing somebody’s character apart," said LaViolette.

6:19 p.m. ET: Juror question: "How does it affect your assessment when you don’t have the whole story from both individuals?"

LaViolette says it is common in murder cases to not have the whole story but you try and gather all the information you can to make your assessment.

"My goal… is to get as much information as I can from both sides because I don’t want to biased. I don’t want to be just seeing one person’s point of view,” said LaViolette.

6:16 p.m. ET: A juror asks if it's possible that Arias exaggerated the violent events between her and Alexander.

"I think anything’s possible. When I look at the kind of escalation that I’ve seen with Mr. Alexander and when I listen to what his friends have said, it is very difficult for me to believe that," said LaViolette.

6:14 p.m. ET: Juror question: "Is conceivable that a woman could kill her partner just to get away with the abuse?"

"I would say that it’s conceivable but rare," said LaViolette.

Juror question: Have you seen cases where both sides are victims and perpetrators?

LaViolette says she has seen before that but the relationship doesn’t usually stay at that level. The man usually becomes more violent. She doesn’t think Arias and Alexander were in this type of relationship.

6:11 p.m. ET: The attorneys are at a sidebar.

6:08 p.m. ET: A juror asks about the incidents where Arias kicked and hit her mother. "Would this characterize Jodi as an abuser?"

"I believe that happened when Jodi was a teenager and what I would characterize that as is a very angry teenager… I think teenagers do a lot of things that, unfortunately, I don’t think are great things to do. And I know she has anger with her mother and I know that has been part of her history," said LaViolette. But she hasn't seen any evidence that Arias was violent towards her mother as an adult.

6:07 p.m. ET:

6:06 p.m. ET: The judge asks LaViolette to answer the previous question with a "yes" or "no" and not elaborate. She says she's unable to do so.

6:03 p.m. ET: Juror question: "Is it common for women in abusive relationships to snap and commit violent acts against longstanding perpetrators?"

"Usually what we find is that women, when they snap in a lethal way, it’s been a self-defense kind of situation," said LaViolette.

The prosecution objects and the comment is stricken from the record. Attorneys are at a sidebar.

6:00 p.m. ET: A juror asks what LaViolette learned from Alexander's text and instant messages. She says he was good with the women he met. He was able to read them well. But he was also able to irritate them when he played them.

"Mr. Alexander tended to push sexual limits… he would start to talk somebody and make sexual innuendos to people and see where that would go," said LaViolette.

5:58 p.m. ET: Juror question: "Do you think Jodi could have lied to you to help her case?"

LaViolette says she didn't think Arias was lying and that former boyfriends never accused her of lying.

"I don’t find it unusual for people to lie when they’ve done things abhorrent in their own lives," said LaViolette. She brings up Lance Armstrong and Bill Clinton. "People lie when they are afraid and they are afraid of the repercussions."

5:55 p.m. ET: A juror asks what LaViolette learned about Alexander.

"I learned from reading what he wrote in his book and some of his blog that he was a motivation speaker. That he was quite good at it. That he was a man who knew who scriptures, that he was a man that came from an incredibly abusive background and childhood. That his survival as a child was tough. That he was, according to him, made fun of because he was unable to bathe sometimes..." said LaViolette.

5:53 p.m. ET: LaViolette says she didn't read journal entries from Arias before she was with Alexander but she did look at interviews with her family.

"I felt like I had a pretty good picture of Jodi as viewed by other people," said LaViolette.

5:51 p.m. ET: The judge is back on the bench and the attorneys are at a sidebar. The jury is being seated.

5:48 p.m. ET: The attorneys are out of the judge's chambers.

5:46 p.m. ET: Angry trial watchers have taken to LaViolette's Amazon book page to express their views. Read more on HLNtv.com/JodiArias.

5:20 p.m. ET:

5:13 p.m. ET:

5:05 p.m. ET:

4:57 p.m. ET:

4:54 p.m. ET:

4:49 p.m. ET: The judge is back on the bench.

4:46 p.m. ET: Jane Velez-Mitchell finds out how seasoned detectives work firsthand by agreeing to be interrogated:

4:41 p.m. ET: Today Jodi Arias is wearing a black, long-sleeved t-shirt with gray stripes.

Jodi Arias trial day 46

4:35 p.m. ET:

4:27 p.m. ET: Our producer inside the courtroom says testimony won't resume for about another 30 minutes. Redirect is complete but the prosecutor and the defense will get another opportunity to question LaViolette after jury questions.

2:46 p.m. ET: The judge has recessed court until 4:15 p.m. ET. The live blog will start back up then.

2:45 p.m. ET: "If Ms. Arias was a really good liar, she would have planned a really good lie and she didn’t," said LaViolette. Willmott has concluded her redirect examination.

2:45 p.m. ET: "Fear often leads to anger and rage," said LaViolette. "And anger and rage is normally directed at the people you feel the safest with -- the people you feel are not going to tell. The people that are, in effect, the safest targets. And in this case, Ms. Arias is the safest target."

2:43 p.m. ET: LaViolette says Alexander had a "significant amount" to lose if the truth about his relationship with Arias came out.

2:38 p.m. ET:

2:36 p.m. ET: The attorneys are now at a sidebar.

2:34 p.m. ET: LaViolette agrees with Willmott that Alexander was being deceptive when he told his friends and family that he was a virgin.

"He's leading a double life," said LaViolette.

2:30 p.m. ET: Willmott is asking LaViolette about a conversation in which Alexander said he was afraid of Arias.

“Is this the same mouth that lied about his virginity?” asked Willmott.

“Yes,” said LaViolette.

“Lied about his virginity to his church?” asked Willmott.

The prosecution has objected and the attorneys are now at a sidebar.

2:28 p.m. ET: LaViolette says past boyfriends never accused Arias of being a liar.

2:24 p.m. ET: LaViolette says text messages show Arias had worn boys' underwear for Alexander. She had also waxed herself for him, he liked for her to wear pigtails and he liked when she dressed as a schoolgirl.

2:22 p.m. ET: In the months before Alexander's death, LaViolette says Arias was "pursuing a couple of people she met on LDS linkup and beginning to pull away in a more definitive way by looking to meet other men." She says research shows that one of the most dangerous times in a domestic violence relationship is when the victim starts to pull away.

2:20 p.m. ET: LaViolette says it wasn't clear where the knife came from. Arias told her she couldn't remember much after the attack.

2:15 p.m. ET: LaViolette says she has had time to review her notes and Arias didn't tell her that she shot Alexander in his closet.

2:14 p.m. ET: The attorneys are at a sidebar.

2:11 p.m. ET: Willmott is asking LaViolette about a comment Alexander made saying he felt like a sex toy with a heartbeat. Willmott says Arias and Alexander had engaged in phone sex just a couple of weeks earlier.

2:09 p.m. ET: The judge is back on the bench, LaViolette has taken the stand and the jury is being seated.

2:06 p.m. ET: Our producer who is inside the courtroom says the attorneys are out of judge's chambers. Testimony should begin shortly.

2:03 p.m. ET: While we wait for testimony to being, take a minute to vote in our poll:

1:51 p.m. ET:

1:39 p.m. ET: From our producer who is in the courtroom: "Looks like the day will start with an in chambers conference."

1:36 p.m. ET:

1:32 p.m. ET: Testimony should begin any minute now.

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